FIG Topics of Interest



"The way you create deflation is you create an asset bubble. If I was 'Darth Vader' of the financial world and decided I'm going to do this nasty thing and create deflation, I would do exactly what the central banks are doing now," he told CNBC's Kelly Evans in an exclusive interview airing Tuesday on "Closing Bell." "Misallocate resources [with low interest rates], create an asset bubble and then deal with the consequences down the road," he said.


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"Huge regime change in tax, monetary, trade is underway; that makes forecasting very prone to large error terms,'' wrote David Kotok, chairman and chief investment officer at Cumberland Advisors, in response to the survey.

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“2018 is the year when we have true tightening,” said Ebrahim Rahbari, director of global economics at Citigroup in New York. “We will continue on the current path where financial markets can deal quite well with monetary policy but perhaps later in the year, or in 2019, monetary policy will become one of the complicating factors.”

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Ford Motor Company is changing gears again in Mexico, shifting planned production of a small electric-powered sport utility vehicle to a plant south of the border instead of a Michigan factory.

Sending the electric vehicle to Mexico, where labor costs are lower, will help the business case for the costly model.

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A U.S. B-1B bomber on Wednesday joined large-scale U.S.-South Korean military exercises that North Korea has denounced as pushing the peninsula to the brink of nuclear war, as tension mounts between the North and the United States.
The U.S.-South Korea drills coincide with a rare visit to the isolated North by U.N. political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman.

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House Republicans on Monday introduced a temporary stop-gap spending bill to fund the government until Dec. 22. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the measure would be passed by the end of the week.

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A cool $1 million has long been considered the gold standard of retirement savings. These days, it's only a fraction of what you will really need.

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Congress is headed toward passing another stop-gap spending bill that puts off for two more weeks some hard choices on funding the government and on a host of other issues that lawmakers are scrambling to wrap up before the end of the year.

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Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has said he opposes the bill as written because it offers more tax advantages to corporations than to pass-through businesses, such as partnerships and limited liability companies. He’s seeking changes, but it’s not yet clear whether Senate leaders will be able to satisfy his demands.
Johnson has said he’d vote no on the bill as it’s currently written because the measure offers major corporations a more generous tax cut than it offers to pass-throughs. The bill would provide such businesses -- which can range from mom and pop grocers to national law firms -- a 17.4 percent deduction on their business income. By comparison, the bill would cut the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent beginning in 2019.

 “I’m not exactly sure what’s going to happen in committee; we’re working diligently to fix the problem,” Johnson told reporters from his home state Monday, according to his office. “If we develop a fix prior to committee, I’ll probably support it but if we don’t, I’ll vote against it.”
Bob Corker of Tennessee, meanwhile, has joined his fellow Republican James Lankford of Oklahoma in seeking a tax-increase trigger in the bill that would prevent it from increasing U.S. deficits. The official congressional scorekeeper has said the bill would boost federal deficits by $1.4 trillion over 10 years.

The mechanism under discussion might boost tax rates if the bill doesn’t result in a sufficient level of economic growth to cover the cuts, Lankford told reporters. The bill’s proponents say they’re confident it would produce additional annual growth of 0.4 percent -- though independent studies have questioned that assertion.

“This is not a threat,” Corker said of his possible “no” vote at the committee. He noted that he has said repeatedly that he will oppose tax legislation that adds to deficits.

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, the chamber’s chief tax writer, said Monday evening that he’s concerned about the budget panel’s vote. “I’m very concerned about it,” the Utah Republican told reporters. “I think we’ll be fine, but I am concerned, yeah.”

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What to Watch This Week:

On Tuesday, the Senate Budget Committee is scheduled to meet on the tax legislation at 2:30 p.m. The panel, which has 12 Republicans and 11 Democrats, could decide to send the tax bill to the Senate floor. Trump is also scheduled to attend the regular policy lunch held by Senate Republicans. On Tuesday, the Senate Budget Committee is scheduled to meet, and it may send the bill to the Senate floor. Two GOP panel members have emerged as potential sticking points. One of them is Bob Corker of Tennessee and the other is Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who wants more generous tax cuts for partnerships, limited liability companies and other so-called pass-through businesses. Senate leaders have said they want to address Johnson’s concerns.

If all goes well for GOP leaders, the Senate may begin floor debate, which would culminate perhaps Wednesday or Thursday in a “vote-a-rama”-- a chaotic session in which any senator can offer an amendment to the bill. Democrats would be expected to offer a variety of amendments designed to damage, delay or derail the measure -- which may lead to some political fireworks. The voting would probably take place overnight.

If Republicans have the 50 votes they need, Senate leaders may call for a floor vote on Thursday or Friday.

The bill’s path to passage isn’t clear yet. Three Republicans -- Tennessee’s Bob Corker, Arizona’s Jeff Flake and Oklahoma’s James Lankford -- have raised concerns about the measure’s effects on the nation’s debt, and Corker has said he won’t support legislation that adds to the deficit. He has said he’d allow for “reasonable” estimates of economic growth.

GOP Senator John Thune of South Dakota said on “Fox News Sunday” that even a small uptick in growth “would cover the cost” of the tax bill. But so far, he and other Senate leaders lack official findings to back their assertions.

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