In The News Today

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California State Workers Hoarding Vacation Days, Creating $3.5-Billion Debt For Taxpayers
March 7, 2019

After 36 years as a California government transportation engineer, Bijan Sartipi retired with much more than a goodbye party: He was paid $405,000 for time off he never used — one of more than 450 state workers who took home six-figure checks when they left their jobs last year.

And Sartipi didn’t top the list — a prison surgeon in Riverside pocketed $456,002.

In a trend that stems from lax enforcement of the state’s cap on vacation accrual, more and more state workers are able to retire with massive payouts for unused vacation and other leave. That could become a budget breaker for California as an aging workforce heads into retirement. During the next recession, California will be obligated to continue the payouts, forcing lawmakers to cut programs to balance the state budget.

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

This is a true story, I termed this “debt saturation”. There is no mathematical escape…

The Dollar – King Rat Of Failing Currencies
March 7, 2019

The explanation for the sudden halt in global economic growth is found in the coincidence of peak credit combining with trade protectionism. The history of economic downturns points to a rerun of the 1929-32 period, but with fiat currencies substituted for a gold standard. Government finances are in far worse shape today, and markets have yet to appreciate the consequences of just a moderate contraction in global trade. Between new issues and liquidation by foreigners, domestic buyers will need to absorb $2 trillion of US Treasuries in the coming year, so QE is bound to return with a vengeance, the last hurrah for fiat currencies. However, China and Russia have the means to escape this fate, assuming they have the gumption to do so.

Introduction

It may be too early to say the world is entering a significant economic downturn, but even ardent bulls must admit to it as an increasing possibility. Financial analysts, both bovine and ursine, face a complex matrix of factors when judging the future effect of any downturn on currencies, and of the prospects for the dollar in particular.

Some will take the view that a global downturn will continue to drive foreign currencies to be sold for dollars, because dollars are perceived to be less risky and required to repay debt. Some will point to the tension in the euro from the extra twist an economic downturn gives to the debt crisis forced on Italy and the other three PIGS, compared with the relative stability of the Hanseatic nations. Some analysts will expect China to get her come-uppance when her debt-fuelled economy implodes into crisis.

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Philadelphia Is First U.S. City to Ban Cashless Stores

March 7, 2019

Philadelphia is the first major U.S. city to ban cashless stores, placing it at the forefront of a debate that pits retail innovation against lawmakers trying to protect all citizens’ access to the marketplace.

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