Category Archives: United States

“Progressive” Attacks on Capitalism Were Key to Hitler’s Success


Ludwig von Mises wrote this essay in 1940 from Geneva, where he lived after Nazis forced him out of Austria and his apartment was ransacked by German troops.

“Progressive” Attacks on Capitalism Were Key to Hitler’s Success

Published on Mises.org  Date: February 7, 2019 – 2:00 PM
Author 1: Ludwig von Mises [1]

The following, written in 1940, is excerpted from Interventionism, An Economic Analysis, which was originally part of Nationaloekonomie [2], the German predecessor to Human Action.

Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini constantly proclaim that they are chosen by destiny to bring salvation to this world. They claim they are the leaders of the creative youth who fight against their outlived elders. They bring from the East the new culture which is to replace the dying Western civilization. They want to give the coup de grace to liberalism and capitalism; they want to overcome immoral egoism by altruism; they plan to replace the anarchic democracy by order and organization, the society of “classes” by the total state, the market economy by socialism. Their war is not a war for territorial expansion, for loot and hegemony like the imperialistic wars of the past, but a holy crusade for a better world to live in. And they feel certain of their victory because they are convinced that they are borne by “the wave of the future.”

It is a law of nature, they say, that great historic changes cannot take place peacefully or without conflict. It would be petty and stupid, they contend, to overlook the creative quality of their work because of some unpleasantness which the great world revolution must necessarily bring with it. They maintain one should not overlook the glory of the new gospel because of ill-placed pity for Jews and Masons, Poles and Czechs, Finns and Greeks, the decadent English aristocracy and the corrupt French bourgeoisie. Such softness and such blindness for the new standards of morality prove only the decadence of the dying capitalistic pseudo-culture. The whining and crying of impotent old men, they say, is futile; it will not stop the victorious advance of youth. No one can stop the wheel of history, or turn back the clock of time.

Continue reading

>A Million HFT Algos Cry Out In Terror And Are Silenced in Citi 1 For 10 Stock Split


>

 A Million HFT Algos Suddenly Cry Out In Terror And Are Suddenly Silenced As Citi Announces 1 For 10 Reverse Stock Split
Tyler Durden

zero hedge

March 21, 2011 13:19: CET


While the wacky desperation antics of America’s nationalized bank (that would be Citigroup for the cheap seats) enter the surreal zone, after the bank just announced a 1 for 10 reserve stock split (finally returning the stock price to Al Waleed’s cost basis, if not entrance market cap) and a 1 cent dividend (which effectively means the Fed can now exit the prop each failing bank game… but won’t), the bigger question is what happens to the momentum algos that traditionally traded 500 million shares of Citi stock, providing a supporting base for the market courtesy of massive momentum surges that provided a buying feedback loop mechanism driven out of pure churn volume. Those days are now over, as the volume will plunge pro rata from half a billion to a measly 50 million shares. Furthermore, with algos receiving liquidity rebates on a volume basis, it is conceivable that the biggest piggy bank to the 3 man Ph.D. HFT operations is about to break, as exchanges cut their rebate payouts by 90%. And with the stock market these days being far more a function of volume churn than technicals or, heaven forbid, fundamentals, what happens with the natural HFT support to the market is anyone’s guess. One simple assumption: the next time the S&P does a May 6, or a USDJPY flash crash, the liquidity providers will pull out that much faster, leading to a massive freefall without any of the foreplay.

Full release:
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Citigroup Inc. today announced a 1-for-10 reverse stock split of Citigroup common stock. Citi also announced that it intends to reinstate a quarterly dividend of $0.01 per common share in the second quarter of 2011, following the effective date of the reverse stock split.
“Citi is a fundamentally different company than it was three years ago,” said Vikram Pandit, Chief Executive Officer of Citigroup. “The reverse stock split and intention to reinstate a dividend are important steps as we anticipate returning capital to shareholders starting next year.”
Citi anticipates the reverse stock split will be effective after the close of trading on May 6, 2011, and that Citi common stock will begin trading on a split adjusted basis on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at the opening of trading on May 9, 2011. When the reverse stock split becomes effective, every ten shares of issued and outstanding Citigroup common stock will be automatically combined into one issued and outstanding share of common stock without any change in the par value per share. This will reduce the number of outstanding shares of Citigroup common stock from approximately 29 billion to approximately 2.9 billion. Citigroup common stock will continue trading on the NYSE under the symbol “C” but will trade under a new CUSIP number.
No fractional shares will be issued in connection with the reverse stock split. Following the completion of the reverse stock split, Citi’s transfer agent will aggregate all fractional shares that otherwise would have been issued as a result of the reverse stock split and those shares will be sold into the market. Stockholders who would otherwise hold a fractional share of Citigroup common stock will receive a cash payment from the proceeds of that sale in lieu of such fractional share. Additional information on the treatment of fractional shares and other effects of the reverse split can be found in Citi’s definitive proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 12, 2010.
Citi is executing its strategy of focusing on its core businesses in Citicorp to support economic growth including banking, providing loans to small businesses, making markets and providing capital, while continuing to wind down Citi Holdings in an economically rational manner. At the end of 2010, the U.S Treasury sold its remaining shares of common stock, earning in total a $12 billion profit for taxpayers on its investment in Citi. 2010 was Citi’s first year of four profitable quarters since 2006, with $10.6 billion of net income. Citi’s capital strength is among the best in the industry and the bank is focused on putting its unmatched global network to use for its clients to foster sustainable and responsible growth.

Read more…

Debt Factoids on Our National Debt Are Puzzling – And Scary – Seeking Alpha


If you’re interested in the subject of our national debt, there is a new must read report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on the topic. It includes some odds and ends that I found interesting.
We know that there is a law called the debt ceiling. We also know that we will (again) hit that limit early in 2011. Many think that this will be a line in the sand fight with the new Congress. Phooey. According to the CBO report, suspending issuance of maturing cash management bills in the supplementary financing program will cost $200 billion; suspending flows and redeeming securities in government accounts, $124 billion; from the civil service retirement fund, “at least” $200 billion; from the exchange stabilization fund, $20 billion; and swapping debt with the federal financing bank, $15 billion. Total: $560 billion.

Conclusion: If there is to be a fight over the debt limit, it could be a long one.
The CBO is speaking with forked tongue in this report. A critical issue: How do we define what debt is at the federal level?

There are so many components to the puzzle. I give the CBO an A+ for this position:

CBO believes it is appropriate and useful to policymakers to include Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s financial transactions with other federal activities in the budget. The two entities do not represent a net asset to the government but a net liability — that is, their impact on the government’s financial position is a negative one.

So how does CBO actually account for F/F? It gets a D- for this:

Neither CBO nor the Administration currently incorporates debt or MBSs issued by Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB) and Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB).

That’s interesting. They say they “should” do it, but they don’t. Who makes that decision?

The Administration’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) makes the ultimate decision about whether the activities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be included in the federal budget.

The White House decides which categories of debt are included when determining what constitutes debt? That is convenient. When did that happen? We are not talking chicken scratch here. The good folks over at the Fannie and Freddie have piled up $6 trillion in debt. We would blow out the debt ceiling set by Congress by over 40% if that came on the books. So it stays off the books. But the debt is staring us in the face. Funny system.
This also caught my eye:

Payments of interest from the FFB to the Treasury have been less than $1 billion annually in recent years but are projected to increase (to as much as $6 billion) because of higher loan activity (particularly by the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program and the Rural Utilities Service). As of September 30, 2010, the FFB portfolio totaled $60 billion.

Hello, what is this? For interest to rise at the FFB from $1 billion to $6 billion, it would have to imply that there is at least a four- or five-fold increase in the balance sheet. This means that there is a plan to grow the FFB by $250 billion. Who is going to be the beneficiary of that? That is a hell of a lot of money. Is the FFB going to fund a solar build-out? The existing portfolio of Department of Energy loans:

Another (minor) data point of interest: The federal government has a number of trust funds that are used as accounting vehicles to store up IOUs from the government. The principal accounts and current holdings:

Social Security Trust Fund…….2.6t
Civil Service Retirement Fund…0.8t
Military Retirement Fund………0.3t
Medicare……………………….0.3t
All others…….…………………0.6t

Total:…………………………..4.6 trillion

These funds are all anticipated to grow over the next decade. One has a growth rate that is way out of whack with the others:

The Military Retirement Fund is growing at three times the rate of the others. The raw numbers are $282 billion for 2010 and $1.012 trillion for 2020. That’s a 10-year increase of $730 billion (a 350% increase). What is that about? Are we planning on a new war, or have we just not accounted for the retirement costs of the military properly over the past decade or two? I suspect (hope) it is the latter.
We have all seen a form of this chart elsewhere. It is nothing to be proud of. Yes, there are a few countries in worse shape than us. But Italy, Greece and Belgium are now making front-page news with their debt. And the U.S. will have a different outcome than Japan.

This chart of trust fund assets is central to our problem. Notice that these funds are scheduled to grow by more than $2 trillion. It sounds nice that the nation has trust funds where money is squirreled away someplace safe — money that can be used to pay bills (Social Security) when they come due over the next 20 years.

But there is no money in the trust funds. They have IOUs that obligate future taxpayers to come up with the cash when needed. The trust funds have nothing to do with “savings” in the traditional sense.
This has been going on since 1983, when Greenspan created the accounting gimmick and the huge surpluses that followed. The fact is we do have future liabilities, and there have been some savings set aside for that. But the money has been spent on funding past deficits. So, really, there are no savings.
I am not sure there is a fix to this problem. I do know that the bills on this are coming due in the next five years or so. I don’t think we will make it another 10 years without having to confront this problem.

Debt Factoids on Our National Debt Are Puzzling – And Scary – Seeking Alpha

var addthis_config = {“data_track_clickback”:true, ui_header_color: “#000”, ui_header_background: “#F4F3EF”, services_compact: ‘ twitter, facebook, blogger, delicious, email, google, live, favorites, gmail, hotmail, yahoomail, digg, technorati, newsvine, myspace, googlebuzz, linkedin, more’}; var addthis_localize = {share_caption: “Compartir”};