Thoughts of the Day for October 21, 2015

The World Series

Well the final conclusion of baseball is upon us. Yes, the World Series is finally almost here. It looks like it’s going to be the Kansas City Royals vs NY Mets, who are both heavily leading in their respective division championship series.

And my thought is, thank God!

Thank God baseball is almost over! After one hundred and sixty-something torturous games, half the god-damn year of seeing nothing but baseball after baseball scores contaminate the sports highlights and ticker scoreboards, it’s hard to give a shit. Baseball exhaustion starts about after the first month of the season for most. For me it starts the first day of spring training mania.

And the ridiculously overpaid soft and coddled “athletes”, pumped full of steroids, more than a freakishly over-sized Thanksgiving turkey, don’t really “earn” the money as much as other sports. Other sports like football and basketball have far greater risk of serious injury. Whereas, in baseball, if a juiced player pulls a hamstring trying to run a whopping 90 feet, it’s about as serious as it gets. Meanwhile they sit and collect their $30 million a year paycheck just to work once every 5 days for 6 innings on average ¬†(2 hours).

Gimme a fucking break.

But, let’s not forget the most important thing…it’s just fucking boring to watch. Baseball is like watching snails race across the sidewalk. The biggest excitement is wondering if they’ll get squashed by a passing pedestrian before they finish the race. At least the snails race “sport” is free. And these critter “athletes” don’t complain they didn’t get a $26 million contract, instead of a measely $25 million a year to work part time once a week. They’re just happy to not be growing up in an escargot farm, versus a AAA club farm.

I used to love to play baseball. I lost interest in the sport many years ago after the second player’s strike that shutout the season. I never got back into it. I realized these idiots don’t deserve my money or interest. And I’m glad I didn’t. Occasionally, I watch the World Series with mild interest when the SF Giants play, but nothing more. And frankly, I don’t even care who wins that much.

Yes, thank God the World Series is finally here. It means we don’t have to be tortured with any more baseball soon – at least until spring when the training camps start, and the half-year torture cycle begins anew.

We can finally focus on other real sports, like basketball and football. And while these players are also highly overpaid, at least these players have to work their ass off. Yes, these are real athletes at least.

And probably the reason why America’s former “pastime” is getting passed in time, falling disgracefully into irrelevance.

Long live real sport!

The Chinese Communist Masseuses 

I’m always sarcastically amazed at how efficient and accurate the Chinese GDP figures are. They somehow release quarter economic growth information before America or any other developed country. And they always seem to get it so close to prediction. Amazing! Yes, so much sarcasm.

American economic growth estimates can sometimes be wildly off. Economists may forecast 2-3% growth in a quarter but be surprised the economy actually contracted. It’s the same in every developed economy. And our GDP revisions can often swing wildly as well as get more complete data months or a year later.

But yet China always hits the nail on the head. In Q3, the forecast was for 6.8% growth and they miraculously achieved 6.9%. LOL. And they figured this out only a few weeks after the quarter ended, for an economy somewhere in the range of $15 trillion (nobody really knows the true size), and 1.3 billion consumers making economic decisions daily.

China has the best economic masseuses in the business!

The truth is the Chinese government already “knows” what the “real” GDP growth rates will be in 2016 and 2017! How amazing!

The amazing part is how the west ignored this for so long. It’s nothing new. If I can know this a decade ago, it can’t be such a secret.

The most shocking thing about all of this is the western media. We’ve know this reality for decades. But suddenly, now everyone is beginning to question it.

This is generally how economic busts happen in the west too. The truth and terrible indicators can be obvious for months or a year before a recession, but everyone ignores these facts. Only when shit hits the fan does everybody start questioning things – always after the fact. People start questioning the true strength of earnings, of the real dangers of credit and risk, etc.

There’s a reason why foreign capital is fleeing China faster than ever before (and before the government started to devalue the Yuan). Because the people “in-the-know” understand this slowdown is far more substantial than most people believe. In August, foreign capital outflows reached another record of $145 billion. In July a previous record of $125 billion left the country. September will be another new record. This is why the RMB will continue to depreciate, creating a self-reinforcing downward spiral. The government trying to keep the currency within their mandated tight range is costing the government hundreds of billions, which they cannot fight forever. And why China is selling hundreds of billions in US government debt out of their large currency reserves. Thus, more currency weakness is a certainty. The next devaluation will shock the global markets even more and cause a fierce global stock selloff.

Yum Brands, a huge restaurant conglomerate and owners of the widely popular Chinese KFCs and Pizza Huts, and one of the largest foreign investors in China over the past two decades, recently decided to split apart their China business. They would only do this if they thought long term prospects of growth and earnings were dire. The China exposure is going to hurt their overall growth and earnings in the future, so they need to separate out the China exposure from their core global business. This is a likely corporate trend.

I’m far more bearish on the Chinese economy than I am of our domestic, or any other global economy. Mark my words, within the next decade, ¬†China’s fall will redefine the meaning of hard landing.

In real dollar terms, I believe the Chinese economy is actually shrinking. Nobody truly knows the real growth rate of China.

I wish the utterly corrupt communist party good luck in trying to prevent the unpreventable. But given this is an existential threat, they will stop at nothing to try to prevent this.

Good luck.

The last desperate measure will be war. The communist party will not willingly go down in defeat without trying the last tool in the bag – war – to divert the people’s attention and blame and to hold onto power. The southeast China sea island disputes are a slow fuse that will eventually explode into war among the regional players, likely dragging the US, and hence Europe (through NATO), into a full scale global war, precipitated by economic calamity.

I’m sure everyone thinks I’m crazy and this isn’t possible. Just watch.

The Craziest Things Financial Planners Have Heard People Say

I recently read an article with the above title. It made me laugh pretty hard. My favorite one was the following statement one of his clients told him:

“I recently came into a quarter of a million dollars. I’m going to give my five sons fifty thousand each and invest the rest.”

Perhaps the client was Janet Yellen, head of our US Federal Reserve. She seems to be able to create money out of thin air, and also seems mathematically challenged.