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  • The Transparency Trap

    This week we take a brief pause in our series on the choices facing the developed world to look at some items that are catching my attention. We will get back to the US next week, as somehow I think we will not solve our problems between now and next Friday, and there will be plenty left for us to talk about. So today we look at the “shift” in Fed policy, and at the balance sheets of central banks, US GDP, Portugal and the ECB, the LTRO policy, and yes, there’s even a tidbit on Greece. Plenty of ground to cover, so with no “but first,” let’s get started.

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  • Staring into the Abyss

    Choices, Debt, and the Endgame
    Staring into the Abyss
    An Unintended (and Very Negative) Consequence
    A Preview of Coming Attractions
    Hallucinogenic Data and Other Fun Activities
    Gentlemen, Choose Your Disaster
    What Europe Should Do
    South Africa and Sweden

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  • The End of Europe?

    Solving the Mayan Code
    To Solve the Crisis You Must Solve Three Problems
    Getting Simple About Europe
    How Much Risk Do You Want in a Government Bond?
    Do You Have a Spare €1.5 Trillion?
    Singapore, Cape Town, and Thoug

    One of the interesting things about being in Hong Kong is that I get to see the weekend edition of the Financial Times12 hours early. And the headlines were not all that pleasant. As I promised last week, we will cast our eyes to Europe and ponder what is in store for Europe for the year and the next five years. And what do we read on page 2? The "ECB raps revisions to draft a fiscal pact." Seems they feel there are too many loopholes, which will make the document meaningless … somewhat like the treaty they have now. And we further learn that "Greek default threat grows as talks falter." Seems there is a lack of agreement on how much of a haircut the investors ought to take, and the Greeks don't want to guarantee any future debt, just in case they need to default some more in the future. But they do want the €15 billion they need to keep the debt machine running for a few more months.

    hts on Hong Kong

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  • A Player to Be Named Later

    We have come to the end of yet another European Summit that was supposed to be the one to fix the problem. If you are confused as to what happened then you are not alone. Was it something we will look back on in ten years and say, "This was where it all started," or will it be viewed as just another meeting in what will prove to be a string of even more meetings? I will argue that both views are the correct answer, depending on your frame of reference.

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  • Changing the Rules in the Middle of the Game

    Angela Merkel is leading the call for a rule change, a rewiring of the basic treaty that binds the EU. But is it both too much and too late? The market action suggests that time is indeed running out, and so we’ll look at the likely consequences. Then I glance over the other way and take notice of news out of China that may be of import. Plus a few links for your weekend listening“pleasure.” There is lots to cover, so let’s get started.

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  • Print or Perish

    Europe is again at center stage. At conferences and meetings and in private conversations, it is the topic of the hour. I have thought a lot this week about Europe and its impact, so once again we delve into what is an evolving situation. This time, we look at possible impacts on the markets, as we ponder the questions,“Are we back to 2008?” and “Is there a Lehman in our future?” and I try once again to keep from making this a book-length letter. And I close with some brief thoughts I brought back from DC on the Super Committee and the deficit cuts.

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  • Where is the ECB Printing Press?

    Where Can I Find €3 Trillion?
    When Leverage Comes Back to Haunt You
    The German Dilemma
    So How Do We Solve the Eurozone Problem?
    Where Is the ECB Printing Press?
    DC, Cleveland, and New York

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  • European Summit: A Plan with No Details

    A Definite Plan (Minus Those Sticky Details)
    Dear Mario
    When Leverage Is the Kind-of Answer
    Meanwhile Back in Portugal
    Let’s Just Change the Rules
    San Francisco, Kilkenny, Atlanta, DC … and the World Series Loss

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  • Can “It” Happen Here?

    Can “It” Happen Here?
    How Could This All Happen?
    Currencies, Culture, and Chaos
    What Causes Hyperinflation?
    A Very Frank Idea
    But What About the $70 Trillion in Off-Balance-Sheet Debt?
    New York, London, South Africa, and the Future

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  • Catastrophic Success

    400 Billion Yellow Aspirins
    The US Government Is in the “No-Money-Down” Mortgage Business
    Crash Alert?
    Is Social Security a Ponzi?
    Catastrophic Success
    Europe, and Breaking the Light-Speed Barrier

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  • Twist and Shout?

    Bailing Out Europe’s Banks
    WWGD?
    What Is the Fed Really Risking?
    What Will the Fed Do Next Week?
    Twist and Shout?
    Europe, Houston, NYC, and South Africa

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  • It’s All About the Jobs… and Gold

    The Flat Earth (Employment) Society
    Let’s Do a Little Time Travel
    The Implications of an Older Workforce
    How Do We “Fix” the Employment Problem?
    Some Thoughts on Gold
    Europe, New York, Conferences, Etc.

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  • Kicking the Can Down the Road One More Time

    In This Issue:

    Kicking the Can Yet Again
    It’s Not Just Greece
    Who is Going to Buy that Debt?
    You Have to Admire the Commitment
    The Problem with US Employment
    Washington DC, Vancouver, NYC, Maine, and now Europe

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  • The Contagion Risk of Europe

    The Contagion Risk of Europe
    Will the Euro Survive?
    A Greek Coup?
    No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
    Home Again, Home Again

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  • A Random Walk Through the Minefield

    In This Issue:

    Would You Like to Read Over My Shoulder?
    Dysfunctional, Thy Name Is Europe
    What Happens if the Greeks Default?
    Trigger Points and Evasive Action
    A Random Walk Through the Minefield
    Gaming the GDP Numbers
    Tuscany (And I Get the Irony)

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