Crisis Accelerates: Food Banks Running Out of Food, Bubbles Are Everywhere, Income Gains Stagnate, Food Stamps, Holiday Spending “Hopes” Crumble, Oil Prices Just Hit A 4-Month Low

Holiday Spending “Hopes” Crumble As Income Gains Stagnate

But this year was supposed to be different… Early-year prospects for a revival in consumer spending quickly faded in the wake of the lagged impact of the $148 billion tax hike that began the year. As Bloomberg’s Joe Brusuelas notes in the following brief interview, combined with a slower pace of hiring and sluggish wage growth, the result will probably be another in a string of disappointing holiday shopping seasons. It is increasingly doubtful that consumers have the wherewithal to meet the ambitious National Retail Federation forecast for a 3.9% increase in holiday spending to $602.1 billion. Brusuelas believes a 2 to 2.5% increases appears closer to the mark given the economic and policy challenges in place this year.

Via Bloomberg Briefs,

First, starting Nov. 1 one-sixth, or about 48 million, of individuals receiving food stamps will see a net loss of almost $16 billion in transfer payments due to cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere

Easy Money Will Lead to Bubbles
Excess Liquidity Creating Bubbles
Humans Never Learn
Anatomy of Bubbles and Crashes
A Few Good Central Bankers
Cleveland, New York, Geneva, and Saudi Arabia

(Note to readers: A small number of readers reported receiving a blank email of today’sThoughts from the Frontline, and so we decided to resend the letter in order to ensure that all readers were getting it.)

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.
– Albert Einstein

Genius is a rising stock market.
– John Kenneth Galbraith

Any plan conceived in moderation must fail when circumstances are set in extremes.
– Prince Metternich

You can almost feel it in the fall air (unless you are in the Southern Hemisphere). The froth and foam on markets of all shapes and sizes all over the world. It is an exhilarating feeling, and the pundits who populate the media outlets are bubbling over with it. There is nothing like a rising market to help lift our mood. Unless of course, as Prof. Kindleberger famously cautioned (see below), we are not participating in that rising market. Then we feel like losers. But what if the rising market is … a bubble? Are we smart enough to ride and then step aside before it bursts? Research says we all think that we are, yet we rarely demonstrate the actual ability.

Fed’s Bullard: Bubbles Are “Blindingly Obvious”

Crisis Accelerates: Food Banks Running Out of Food

Oil Prices Just Hit A 4-Month Low

The price of oil slipped closer to $94 a barrel Monday after falling more than 7 percent in the past month on ample supplies and muted demand.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude for December delivery was down 31 cents to $94.30 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped $1.77 to a four-month low of $94.61 on Friday.