Thursday, February 04, 2016

Financial Sarcasm Roundup for 02/04/16

The US Congress does not feel like rushing through a review of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It is unusual to see lawmakers take their time with important legislation. They typically pass major lobby-backed items in record time, like the Affordable Care Act. "We have to pass the bill so we can see what's in it," or something like that. There's no time to lose when there's money on the table gathering dust.

Vanguard can now buy a bigger block of Chinese A-shares than ever before. Suckers! If you don't know who the mark is in a group of people, it means you are the mark. Western investors keep falling for any China story, whether it was the bull market everyone thought they could ride to planetary dominance or distressed-value bargain investing. Investors raised in Anglo-West cultures, where anti-corruption auditing and property rights are norms, simply cannot fathom that those traits do not characterize the Chinese economy.

The corporate bond market's signals have analysts scratching their heads. Dumb analysts don't realize that the US economy has been truly stagnant since the 2008 financial crisis, with overstated GDP growth and understated unemployment and inflation. National policies to avoid mortgage defaults and backstop corporate credit have only postponed the inevitable crack-up. No one on Wall Street wants to admit that the bond market is toast because that would have investors running for the exits. A whole bunch of careers and firms are bound to implode.