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10 Signs That The American People Are Starting To Freak Out About The Condition Of The Economy

10 Signs That The American People Are Starting To Freak Out About The Condition Of The Economy

Courtesy of The Economic Collapse Blog

All over America, restlessness and frustration are growing. It has now been almost three years since the great financial crash of 2008, and yet the U.S. economy is still a complete and total mess. In fact, there are all sorts of signs that things are about to get even worse, and the American people are just about fed up. Virtually every major poll, survey and measure of consumer confidence shows that the American people are becoming more pessimistic about the economy. Millions of hard working Americans that worked their fingers to the bone for their employers and that did everything “right” are sitting at home on their couches tonight staring blankly at the television. Many of them still have a hard time believing that they were laid off and that there is nobody out there that wants to give them a good job. There are millions of other Americans that won’t get much sleep tonight because they will spend much of the night rolling around in bed wondering how they are possibly going to be able to pay the mortgage. We have never faced such an extended economic downturn in modern U.S. history, and a lot of people are starting to freak out about the condition of the economy. As Gerald Celente likes to say: “When people lose everything and have nothing left to lose – they lose it.”

Every single month, the number of good jobs continues to go down. Wall Street actually rewards companies that have a good “outsourcing strategy“. As I have written about previously, a growing percentage of the jobs that are being “created” these days are very low paying jobs. But you can’t support a family, pay a mortgage or even afford decent health insurance on what you would make stocking shelves at Target or passing out buckets of chicken for KFC.

The American people keep waiting for “hope” and “change” to show up, but all they get instead are more helpings of “despair” and “frustration“.

Sadly, most Americans still cling to the hope that if the “next election” will just turn out the right way that things will be okay. But the truth is that things seem to stay on pretty much the same course no matter who we put into office.

For many years the status quo seemed to be okay for most people, but now we are starting to reap the results of the economic seeds that we have sown.

Now our economic decline is starting to accelerate and people are starting to panic. Most Americans may not know why all of this is happening, but what many of them do know is that something in their gut is telling them that things have gone terribly, terribly wrong somehow.

The following are 10 signs that the American people are starting to freak out about the condition of the economy….

#1 Things have already gotten so bad that Americans will literally trample one another just to get on a waiting list for rental assistance vouchers. Just check out the following excerpt from a local news report about a recent incident in Texas….

At least eight people were hurt Thursday morning while scrambling to line up for a limited number of Dallas County rental vouchers — after waiting for hours in their cars.

People lined up Thursday morning to apply for Dallas County Section 8 housing vouchers. Dallas County sheriff’s spokesman Kim Leach estimated the crowd at about 5,000.

Video of this incident is posted below. One of the people that was trampled was a pregnant woman….

#2 Almost every measurement of consumer confidence is going down. For example, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell from 61.7 in May to 58.5 in June.

#3 The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index has fallen to 63.8 after being at 71.5 in June. It is now the lowest that it has been since the last recession “ended”.

#4 The Rasmussen Consumer Index is down 9 points from a month ago.

#5 A recent poll taken by Rasmussen found that 68 percent of Americans believe that we are actually in a recession right now.

#6 According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans that lack confidence in U.S. banks is now at an all-time high of 36%.

#7 In many areas of the United States this summer, just about anything that is not bolted down is being stolen by people that are desperate for money.

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#8 According to one recent poll, 39 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy has now entered a “permanent decline”.

#9 Another recent survey found that 48 percent of Americans believe that it is likely that another great Depression will begin within the next 12 months.

#10 According to a brand new Reuters/Ipsos poll, 63 percent of Americans believe that the nation is on the wrong track. That figure is three percent higher than it was last month.

One of the only things preventing chaos from breaking out in the streets of our cities from coast to coast is government handouts.

Today, almost 20 percent of all personal income in the United States comes from benefits provided by the federal government.

You don’t believe this? Just check out what the New York Times recently had to say….

Close to $2 of every $10 that went into Americans’ wallets last year were payments like jobless benefits, food stamps, Social Security and disability, according to an analysis by Moody’s Analytics.

There are tens of millions of Americans that are living “on the edge”, but at least the massive government handout programs are enabling most of them to survive.

So what happens when the checks from the government stop coming?

Look, I am not advocating that the “welfare society” that we have become is a good thing. Today, Americans receive more in direct government benefits than they pay in taxes. That is not even close to sustainable.

What I am pointing out is that tens of millions of Americans that are deeply suffering are currently being pacified by these government handouts. Once the handouts are cut significantly or taken away completely it is going to unleash a lot of anger and frustration.

Of course what the American people really need are good jobs that will give them dignity and allow them to provide for their families, but millions of those keep getting shipped out of the country.

So the only thing that millions of Americans still have to hang on to are their government benefits. Once that changes a whole lot of people are going to throw a fit.

In fact, we are already seeing some really bizarre behavior across the United States. In many areas of the country we are literally watching society crumble right in front of our very eyes.

But not all Americans will resort to lawless behavior. In fact, there are a lot of really good, hard working people out there that this economy has left behind.

There are some people that have put in decades of hard work only to see their dreams shrivel up over the past few years.

Some of the stories people send me are absolutely heartbreaking. I have looked at each and every comment that has been left on The Economic Collapse over the past couple of years. Needless to say, it has taken a huge investment of my time to go through more than 20,000 comments. But in the process I have gotten a very good idea of what people are going through across the nation.

So how badly are people hurting? Well, a reader identified as “Anna44” recently shared with us what some of her family members have been going through in this economy….

My B-I-L was a dealership owner/manager who worked long hours over 38 years and had to close his doors when Saturn was dissolved. When his dealership went under, 72 others lost their job. That’s 72 families who took a hit. He lost his home, everything. A few of his former employees lost their homes as well eventually. They were not lazy or WORTHLESS. It took him a year and a half to finally find something, but now he lives in a hotel unable to qualify for a house or apartment. This is an educated man who competed nationwide for top dog and got it more then once. His biggest fault? He’s almost 60, young enough to need the work, but too old to be hired.

As for my husband- 26 years AF officer, handling millions & billions on International & National levels has just entered his 7th month of unemployment. Two tours abroad- lazy he is NOT. He doesn’t qualify for unemployment, nor is he counted because he gets a retirement check. He wants and needs to work- yet there is little out there. If he doesn’t find something soon, we too will lose the home we sunk every cent into after 20 years of saving for it!

All across America tonight there are similar stories. People have done everything “right” all of their lives and they are frustrated that now they have been pushed to the edge of poverty by this economy.

Unfortunately, it looks like things may soon get even worse. Economist David Rosenberg recently told CNBC the following….

“We’re just one small shock away from the economy going back into recession.”

That is not what the American people want to hear.

What they want to hear is that things are about to get better.

What they want to hear is that things are going to get back to normal soon.

Sadly, that is just not going to be the case.

The economy is going to get worse and worse, and the frustration and the anger of the American people is just going to continue to grow.

SOURCE

U.S. caught China buying more debt than disclosed

U.S. caught China buying more debt than disclosed

ReutersBy Emily Flitter | Reuters – Thu, Jun 30, 2011

Thu, Jun 30, 2011

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The rules of Treasury auctions may not sound like the stuff of high-stakes diplomacy. But a little-noticed 2009 change in how Washington sells its debt sheds new light on America’s delicate balancing act with its biggest creditor, China.

When the Treasury Department revamped its rules for participating in government bond auctions two years ago, officials said they were simply modernizing outdated procedures.

The real reason for the change, a Reuters investigation has found, was more serious: The Treasury had concluded that China was buying much more in U.S. government debt than was being disclosed, potentially in violation of auction rules, and it wanted to bring those purchases into the open – all without ruffling feathers in Beijing.

Treasury officials then worked to keep the reason for the auction-rule change quiet, with the acting assistant Treasury secretary for financial markets instructing subordinates to not mention any specific creditor’s role in the matter, according to an email seen by Reuters. Inquiries made at the time by the main trade organization for Treasury dealers elicited the explanation that the change was a “technical modernization,” according to a document seen by Reuters. There was no mention of China.

The incident calls into question just how clear a handle the Treasury has had on who is buying U.S. debt. Chinese entities hold at least $1.115 trillion in U.S. government debt, and are thought to account for roughly 26 percent of the paper issued by Washington, according to U.S. government data released on June 15.

China’s vast Treasury holdings are both a lifeline and a vulnerability for Washington – if the Chinese sold their Treasuries all at once, it could undermine U.S. markets and the economy by driving interest rates higher very quickly. Scenarios of this sort have been discussed in Washington defense-policy circles for at least a year now. Not knowing the full extent of these holdings would make it even more difficult to assess China’s political leverage over U.S. finances.

The Treasury has long said that it has a diversified base of investors and isn’t overly reliant on any single buyer to digest new U.S. Treasury issuance. Evidence that China was actually buying more than disclosed would cast doubt on those assurances.

THE ‘GUARANTEED’ BID

The United States sells its debt to investors through auctions that are held weekly – sometimes four times per week – by the Treasury’s Bureau of the Public Debt, in batches ranging from $13 billion to $35 billion at a time. Investors can buy the bonds directly from the Treasury at auctions, or through any of the 20 elite “primary dealers,” Wall Street firms authorized to bid on behalf of customers. The Treasury limits the amount any single bidder can purchase to 35 percent of a given auction. Anyone who bought more than 35 percent of a particular batch of Treasury securities at a single auction would have a controlling stake in that batch.

By the beginning of 2009, China, which uses multiple firms to buy U.S. Treasuries, was regularly doing deals that had the effect of hiding billions of dollars of purchases in each auction, according to interviews with traders at primary dealers and documents viewed by Reuters.

Using a method of purchases known as “guaranteed bidding,” China was forging gentleman’s agreements with primary dealers to purchase a certain amount of Treasury securities on offer at an auction without being reported as bidders in that auction, according to the people interviewed. After setting the amount of Treasuries the guaranteed bidder wanted to buy, the dealer would then buy that amount in the auction, technically on its own behalf.

To the government officials observing the auction, it would look like the dealer was buying the securities with the intent of adding them to its own balance sheet. This technicality does not preclude selling them later in the secondary market, but does influence the outcome of bidding in the auction, by obscuring the ultimate buyer. In fact, the dealer would simply pass the bonds on immediately to the anonymous, guaranteed bidder at the auction price, as soon as they were issued, according to the people interviewed.

The practice kept the true size of China’s holdings hidden from U.S. view, according to Treasury dealers interviewed, and may have allowed China at times to buy controlling stakes – more than 35 percent – in some of the securities the Treasury issued.

The Treasury department, too, came to believe that China was breaching the 35 percent limit, according to internal documents viewed by Reuters, though the documents do not indicate whether the Treasury was able to verify definitively that this occurred.

Guaranteed bidding wasn’t illegal, but breaking the 35 percent limit would be. The Uniform Offering Circular – a document governing Treasury auctions – says anyone who wins more than 35 percent of a single auction will have his purchase reduced to the 35 percent limit. Those caught breaking auction rules can be barred from future auctions, and may be referred to the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Justice Department.

The Treasury Department generally does not comment on specific investors but a source in the department said China was not the only Treasury buyer striking guaranteed bidding deals.

People familiar with the matter named Russia as being among the guaranteed bidders. But Russia’s total Treasury holdings, while significant, represent 2.8 percent of outstanding U.S. debt, versus one-fourth for China’s.

CHANGING THE RULE

Traders at primary dealers did not have the same diplomatic concerns about the level of Chinese buying. But they did have reasons to dislike guaranteed bidding, and they began clamoring for a change. One trader said in an interview he first brought the issue to the attention of Treasury officials in 2007.

Some primary dealers began expressing concern that the deals were opaque in a way akin to the Salomon Brothers Treasury trading scandal in the early 1990s. In that case, traders from the securities firm submitted false bids under other bidders’ names in Treasury auctions in order to more closely control the results, and their bids altered the auction prices. The idea that unseen bidders were again influencing auction prices raised similar concerns among traders.

There were also commercial concerns: Dealers say that knowing that the practice was going on at other firms made them less confident they could see and understand overall patterns of buying in the Treasury market. Such visibility can be one of the greatest benefits of being a primary dealer, since the service itself often doesn’t pull in big profits directly.

Some traders at primary dealers say they simply refused to do the deals and ended up turning away customers, including China. That irked sales colleagues who were promising clients guaranteed bidding deals.

At the beginning of 2009, Treasury officials began discussing the issue of guaranteed bidders, with a focus on China’s behavior, internal documents seen by Reuters show. The culmination of their efforts was a change to the Uniform Offering Circular published on June 1, 2009 that eliminated the provision allowing guaranteed bidding.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was in Beijing that day meeting with Chinese government officials on his first formal visit to China since taking up his cabinet post. There is no evidence he discussed the rule change with Chinese officials there.

A spokeswoman for the Treasury Department said: “We regularly review and update our auction rules to ensure the continued integrity of the auction process. The auction change made in June 2009 eliminated some ambiguity in auction rules and increased transparency, which ultimately benefits taxpayers and investors.”

The rule change had an immediate impact.

In the first auctions conducted after guaranteed bidding was banned, a key metric rose sharply: the percentage of so-called indirect bidders, those who placed their auction bids through primary dealers. Indirect bidders are seen as a proxy measure for foreign central bank buying, because foreign central banks most often bid through primary dealers. With the elimination of the guaranteed bidder provision, far more buyers were put in this class in reports to the Treasury Department.

The seven-year U.S. Treasury note, which was sold in sizes of between $22 billion and $28 billion once a month from February 2009 to September 2009, had an average indirect bid percentage of 33 percent from February through May. But from June to September the average indirect bid rose to 63 percent.

(Graphic: http://r.reuters.com/hyn42s)

BIDDERS REACT

Shortly after the Treasury revised the auction rules, U.S. officials learned from dealers that some bidders were seeking to continue using guaranteed bids. According to a Treasury document, a large client asked one primary dealer whether the Treasury might make an exception to the new rule for them. Neither the client nor the dealer were named.

Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, RBS Securities and UBS all received calls from clients asking for secret bid arrangements immediately after the rule change went into effect, according to the internal Treasury document, a summary of inquiries received seeking guidance from dealers after the rule change.

Deutsche Bank, according to the document, said their client canceled a bidding deal. Goldman told Treasury that a large client would be going to other dealers who in the past had done the deals after Goldman turned them away, the document said.

JPMorgan asked if there were any exceptions to the new prohibition on guaranteed bids. RBS said it actually struck a deal with a customer for a guaranteed bid after the rule change, but it used a different structure and wanted to know what was legal. UBS told the New York Fed that its former guaranteed-bidder client would now change its behavior and buy Treasuries in the secondary market directly after an auction, according to the document.

Spokespeople for Goldman Sachs and UBS declined to comment for this story. Deutsche Bank, RBS, and JPMorgan did not respond to requests for comment.

The change came at a delicate time in U.S.-Chinese financial relations. China, long a major buyer of American government securities, was at the time snapping up huge amounts of debt as Washington was suffering a sharp drop in tax revenue during a crushing recession.

Almost all of the business of buying Treasuries on behalf of the Chinese government is conducted by China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), an arm of the Chinese central bank which manages China’s currency reserves, which include large amounts of U.S. Treasury bonds.

SAFE, for its part, was facing heat in China over the extent of its U.S. holdings. SAFE was hit hard by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the doomed investment bank that was SAFE’s trading counterparty in the U.S. overnight-lending market. And the potential losses SAFE faced upon the collapse of the U.S.-backed mortgage titans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac whipped up such a storm in China that Chinese officials publicly berated the Americans for lapses in financial stewardship. (For more, click on http://link.reuters.com/qec28r )

SAFE officials in Beijing did not respond to a request for comment.

After evidence mounted that China was disconcerted by the auction-rule change, U.S. officials moved to tweak the system, to offset some of the pinch of the stricter bidding rules. The move gave big buyers a way to maintain some anonymity, by increasing the amount of securities it was possible to buy at a single auction without having to declare the purchase in a letter to the New York Fed.

The old requirement stipulated that any purchase of $750 million in Treasury securities had to be declared by the buyer in a letter to the New York Fed. Officials increased the threshold to $2 billion.

‘TECHNICAL MODERNIZATION’

The official explanation for eliminating guaranteed bidders did not mention foreign central banks at all. It focused instead on “technical modernization” of auction rules.

One government official warned others in a written message “not to include the words ‘China’ or ‘SAFE’ in email subjects.” The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, the main trade organization for Treasury dealers, asked the Treasury in early June 2009 to explain the change. The Treasury’s response: It had found that a detail in its auction rules no longer applied to the way auctions were conducted, and so the rule was changed, according to an internal Treasury memo.

Separately, the Treasury’s acting assistant secretary for financial markets, Karthik Ramanathan, told subordinates in an email: “Please let’s stick to the ‘Modernization of Auction Rules’ when outside requests come in on the (rule) change. Please DO NOT emphasize the guaranteed bid portion, or mention any specific investors.”

Ramanathan, who left the Treasury in March of 2010 and is now senior vice president and director of bonds at Fidelity Investments in Merrimack, New Hampshire, declined to comment.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which interacts directly with primary dealers on Treasury auctions, issued a strongly worded letter on June 23, 2009, dealers say, urging them to “comply with the spirit as well as the letter of this recent auction rule clarification.”

“That was how we knew they wanted us to tell them who was buying what,” said a trader at one primary dealer.

(Additional reporting by Kristina Cooke and Benjamin Kang Lim; Editing by Michael Williams and Claudia Parsons)

SOURCE

China Has Divested 97 Percent of Its Holdings in U.S. Treasury Bills…..they know what you don’t!

China Has Divested 97 Percent of Its Holdings in U.S. Treasury Bills

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Friday, June 03, 2011
By Terence P. Jeffrey

(CNSNews.com) – China has dropped 97 percent of its holdings in U.S. Treasury bills, decreasing its ownership of the short-term U.S. government securities from a peak of $210.4 billion in May 2009 to $5.69 billion in March 2011, the most recent month reported by the U.S. Treasury.

Treasury bills are securities that mature in one year or less that are sold by the U.S. Treasury Department to fund the nation’s debt.

Mainland Chinese holdings of U.S. Treasury bills are reported in column 9 of the Treasury report linked here.

Until October, the Chinese were generally making up for their decreasing holdings in Treasury bills by increasing their holdings of longer-term U.S. Treasury securities. Thus, until October, China’s overall holdings of U.S. debt continued to increase.

Since October, however, China has also started to divest from longer-term U.S. Treasury securities. Thus, as reported by the Treasury Department, China’s ownership of the U.S. national debt has decreased in each of the last five months on record, including November, December, January, February and March.

Prior to the fall of 2008, acccording to Treasury Department data, Chinese ownership of short-term Treasury bills was modest, standing at only $19.8 billion in August of that year. But when President George W. Bush signed legislation to authorize a $700-billion bailout of the U.S. financial industry in October 2008 and President Barack Obama signed a $787-billion economic stimulus law in February 2009, Chinese ownership of short-term U.S. Treasury bills skyrocketed.

By December 2008, China owned $165.2 billion in U.S. Treasury bills, according to the Treasury Department. By March 2009, Chinese Treasury bill holdings were at $191.1 billion. By May 2009, Chinese holdings of Treasury bills were peaking at $210.4 billion.

However, China’s overall appetite for U.S. debt increased over a longer span than did its appetite for short-term U.S. Treasury bills.

In August 2008, before the bank bailout and the stimulus law, overall Chinese holdings of U.S. debt stood at $573.7 billion. That number continued to escalate past May 2009– when China started to reduce its holdings in short-term Treasury bills–and ultimately peaked at $1.1753 trillion last October.

As of March 2011, overall Chinese holdings of U.S. debt had decreased to 1.1449 trillion.

Most of the U.S. national debt is made up of publicly marketable securities sold by the Treasury Department and I.O.U.s called “intragovernmental” bonds that the Treasury has given to so-called government trust funds—such as the Social Security trust funds—when it has spent the trust funds’ money on other government expenses.

The publicly marketable segment of the national debt includes Treasury bills, which (as defined by the Treasury) mature in terms of one-year or less; Treasury notes, which mature in terms of 2 to 10 years; Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), which mature in terms of 5, 10 and 30 years; and Treasury bonds, which mature in terms of 30 years.

At the end of August 2008, before the financial bailout and the stimulus, the publicly marketable segment of the U.S. national debt was 4.88 trillion. Of that, $2.56 trillion was in the intermediate-term Treasury notes, $1.22 trillion was in short-term Treasury bills, $582.8 billion was in long-term Treasury bonds, and $521.3 billion was in TIPS.

At the end of March 2011, by which time the Chinese had dropped their Treasury bill holdings 97 percent from their peak, the publicly marketable segment of the U.S. national debt had almost doubled from August 2008, hitting $9.11 trillion. Of that $9.11 trillion, $5.8 trillion was in intermediate-term Treasury notes, $1.7 trillion was in short-term Treasury bills; $931.5 billion was in long-term Treasury bonds, and $640.7 billion was in TIPS.

Before the end of March 2012, the Treasury must redeem all of the $1.7 trillion in Treasury bills that were extant as of March 2011 and find new or old buyers who will continue to invest in U.S. debt. But, for now, the Chinese at least do not appear to be bullish customers of short-term U.S. debt.

Treasury bills carry lower interest rates than longer-term Treasury notes and bonds, but the longer term notes and bonds are exposed to a greater risk of losing their value to inflation. To the degree that the $1.7 trillion in short-term U.S. Treasury bills extant as of March must be converted into longer-term U.S. Treasury securities, the U.S. government will be forced to pay a higher annual interest rate on the national debt.

As of the close of business on Thursday, the total U.S. debt was $14.34 trillion, according to the Daily Treasury Statement. Of that, approximately $9.74 trillion was debt held by the public and approximately $4.61 trillion was “intragovernmental” debt.

SOURCE

Market strategist: “We’re on the verge of a great, great depression.”

Market strategist: “We’re on the verge of a great, great depression.

By: Margo D. Beller
Special to CNBC.com

Wall Street is having a hard time figuring out what to do now that the U.S. economy appears to be sputtering and yields are so low, Peter Yastrow, market strategist for Yastrow Origer, told CNBC.

What we’ve got right now is almost near panic going on with money managers and people who are responsible for money,” he said. “They can not find a yield and you just don’t want to be putting your money into commodities or things that are punts that might work out or they might not depending on what happens with the economy.

“We need to find real yield and real returns on these assets. You see bad data, you see Treasurys rally, you see all bonds and all fixed-income rally and then the people who are betting against the U.S. economy start getting bearish on stocks. That’s a huge mistake.”

Stocks extended losses after the manufacturing fell below expectations in May and the private sector added only 38,000 jobs during the month.


“Interest rates are amazingly low and that, thanks to Ben Bernanke, is driving everything,
” Yastrow said. “We’re on the verge of a great, great depression. The [Federal Reserve] knows it.

“We have many, many homeowners that are totally underwater here and cannot get out from under. The technology frontier is limited right now. We definitely have an innovation slowdown and the economy’s gonna suffer.”

However, he said he wouldn’t sell stocks.

“Any bears out there better be careful because the dividend yields on these stocks look awesome relative to all the other investment vehicles out there,” Yastrow said. “So bears are going to have to find a new way to express their discontent with the U.S. economy.”

SOURCE

America is Bleeding Wealth and Jobs: 28 Economic realities

America Is Rapidly Bleeding Wealth And Jobs: 28 Statistics About The Gutting Of The U.S. Economy That Will Blow Your Mind

Red alert! Over 40 billion dollars of America’s national wealth is being shipped out of the country every single month. Our economy is being gutted and we are bleeding wealth and we are bleeding jobs. This is a distress call. Is anyone listening? Thousands of our factories and millions of our jobs are being shipped overseas. Over the past decade over 6 trillion dollars have been transferred into the hands of foreigners. Our national government is so broke that they constantly have to go and beg those foreigners to lend us back some of that money in order to finance our exploding debt. The number of good jobs continues to decline and there are millions upon millions of my countrymen that are unemployed. Can anybody help us? Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!

Sadly, the vast majority of Americans really are dead asleep on this issue. They just continue to run out to the big retail stores and fill their carts with products made in China and yet they seem completely bewildered by the fact that the number of good jobs continues to decline.

Over the past decade, the number of middle class jobs has fallen by about ten percent. There is a reason for this. America is becoming poorer. The economic pie is shrinking. When we ship 40 to 50 billion dollars into the hands of foreigners every single month, that means that there is a lot less wealth for all of us to divide up.

Every single month, the U.S. ships in massive amounts of foreign oil and massive amounts of cheap plastic trinkets from places such as China which we greedily consume. In return, we send them a giant pile of money.

This happens month after month after month. You see, we always need more of their oil and more of their plastic trinkets. They are more than happy to keep getting richer and richer.

Meanwhile, thousands of our factories and millions of our jobs continue to be sent overseas where labor is far cheaper. Thanks to globalization, American workers much now directly compete for jobs with workers that are willing to work for less than a dollar an hour on the other side of the globe.

The dismantling of our economy is happening right in front of our eyes and most of our politicians are not doing a thing to stop it.

The following are 28 statistics about the gutting of the U.S. economy that will blow your mind….

#1 According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. trade deficit for the month of March was $48.2 billion. That was up from $45.4 billion in February.

#2 The United States has had a negative trade balance every single year since 1976.

#3 Between December 2000 and December 2010, the U.S. ran a total trade deficit of 6.1 trillion dollars.

#4 The U.S. trade deficit with China in March was $18.1 billion. This is money that is not going to support U.S. businesses and U.S. workers. If that money was actually going to our businesses and to our workers it would increase tax revenues.

#5 Since China entered the WTO in 2001, the U.S. trade deficit with China has grown by an average of 18% per year.

#6 During 2010, we spent $365 billion on goods and services from China while they only spent $92 billion on goods and services from us.

#7 Since 2005, Americans have gobbled up Chinese products and services totaling $1.1 trillion, but the Chinese have only spent $272 billion on American goods and services.

#8 The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.

#9 According to a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute, between 2001 and 2008 the United States lost 2.4 million jobs due to the growing trade deficit with China. Every single state in America experienced a net job loss due to our trade deficit with China during that time period.

#10 The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

#11 The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

#12 Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.

#13 Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.

#14 China produced 19.8 percent of all the goods consumed in the world last year. The United States only produced 19.4 percent.

#15 According to the IMF, China is going to have the largest economy in the world by 2016.

#16 Nobel economist Robert W. Fogel of the University of Chicago is projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040 if current trends continue.

#17 Back in 1998, the United States had 25 percent of the world’s high tech export market and China had just 10 percent. Ten years later, the United States had less than 15 percent and China’s share had soared to 20 percent.

#18 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry was actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.

#19 In 2002, the United States had a trade deficit in “advanced technology products” of $16 billion with the rest of the world. In 2010, that number skyrocketed to $82 billion.

#20 Last year, China produced 11 times as much steel as the United States did.

#21 Do you remember when the United States was the dominant manufacturer of automobiles and trucks on the globe? Well, in 2010 the U.S. ran a trade deficit in automobiles, trucks and parts of $110 billion.

#22 In 2010, South Korea exported 12 times as many automobiles, trucks and parts to us as we exported to them.

#23 According to one recent study, China could become the global leader in patent filings by next year.

#24 China is now the number one supplier of components that are critical to the operation of U.S. defense systems.

#25 In 2010, the number one U.S. export to China was “scrap and trash”.

#26 Thanks to our exploding trade deficit with China, the Chinese have accumulated nearly 3 trillion dollars in foreign currency reserves. That is the largest stockpile of foreign currency reserves on the entire globe.

#27 The amount of the trade deficit that can be attributed to foreign oil is at the highest level that we have seen since 2008.

#28 It is being projected that for the first time ever, the OPEC nations are going to bring in over a trillion dollars from exporting oil this year. Their biggest customer is the United States.

Our dependence on foreign oil is literally bleeding us dry. Once we have burned up all of that foreign oil in our cars we are left with nothing. But the people we bought all that oil from are still sitting on all that cash.

As we ship our wealth, our factories and our jobs out of the country, America is getting poorer.

That means that individual Americans are getting poorer.

According to one estimate, between 1999 and 2009 real median household income in the United States declined by 5.0%.

Today, over 44 million Americans are on food stamps and over 47 million Americans are living in poverty. This is not an accident and it didn’t happen overnight. Our economic policies are absolutely killing us.

This economic downturn has hit men particularly hard. As thousands of manufacturing facilities have shut down, millions of blue collar workers have been dumped out on the street. Most blue collar workers are men.

Since January 2008, male employment has declined by 4,932,000 jobs.

Ouch.

During 2010, only 66.8% of American men had jobs, which was a new all-time record low.

There are a lot of blue collar workers that are sitting at home on their couches today that are still trying to figure out what in the world happened to their good jobs.

There are now more than 6 million Americans that the government says have given up looking for work completely. Most of them are men.

Sadly, in our society today most of the people that pursue higher education are women. Today, 61% of all college degrees are earned by women.

Not that a college education is a ticket to success in today’s world. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the unemployment rate for college graduates younger than 25 years old was 9.3 percent in 2010.

In fact, the majority of all of our college graduates end up running home to Mom and Dad after they graduate.

According to a poll conducted by Twentysomething Inc., 85 percent of U.S. college graduates will move back home with their parents (at least initially) after graduation. That is up from 67 percent back in 2006.

The truth is that there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone and that is a huge problem.

We have become a nation that consumes far more wealth than it produces. That is a recipe for disaster any way that you cut it.

Until we have some fundamental changes to our trade policy, these long-term trends are just going to continue. We are going to continue to bleed wealth, bleed factories and bleed jobs.

Tax revenues go down when factories shut down and when American workers are sitting at home on their couches. This is a huge factor in why our federal, state and local governments are drowning in debt. We have got to have more wealth creation inside this country or else we are going to continue to see our government debt problems get even worse.

If you walk into just about any major retail store today, what do you find?

You find loads and loads of products that have been made somewhere else.

I hope that you are enjoying “the low, low prices” because they come at a very high cost.

We once had the greatest economic machine in the history of the world but now it is being gutted like a fish.

If we continue on the road that we are on, the entire country is eventually going to become just like Detroit.

Is that what you want?

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/america-is-rapidly-bleeding-wealth-and-jobs-28-statistics-about-the-gutting-of-the-u-s-economy-that-will-blow-your-mind

18 Facts Which Prove That Illegal Immigration Is A Nightmare For The U.S. Economy

Barack Obama Is Wrong: 18 Facts Which Prove That Illegal Immigration Is An Absolute Nightmare For The U.S. Economy


Barack Obama has declared that “immigration reform is an economic imperative”, and is promising to do his best to get an immigration bill pushed through Congress this year. But will “legalizing” all of the illegal immigration that has taken place over the last several decades improve the struggling U.S. economy or will it actually make our economic problems worse? One of the favorite tricks of top politicians is to promise that the economy is going to improve if we just support what it is that they are currently pushing. Hopefully the Americans people will not buy the nonsense that Obama is spewing. The truth is that Barack Obama is wrong about the economic impact of illegal immigration. Illegal immigrants don’t do jobs that Americans “don’t want” to do. A million Americans recently showed up to apply for a job at McDonald’s. That is how desperate Americans are for work these days. Please don’t try to tell me that there aren’t millions of Americans out there that would not pick fruit for minimum wage. The millions upon millions of illegal immigrants in this country are stealing jobs, they are depressing wages in a whole host of industries and they are a huge factor in the erosion of the middle class. Millions of middle class American families can’t afford to provide for their families anymore and are losing their homes, drowning in debt or going bankrupt. Rather than what Barack Obama is proposing (which is to essentially “legalize” illegal immigration), we need an immigration policy that makes sense and that protects American jobs.

Before we go any further, it is important for me to make a few points. It is not a bad thing that people want to come to this nation from another country. A lot of people that want to come to the United States are really hard working and have really solid character. This nation has a long tradition of immigrants arriving to build a better life here. At different times this country will need different levels of immigration, but we will always need new immigrants. People on one side of a border are not more “valuable” than people on another side of a border. There is a reason why our founding fathers believed that “all men are created equal”. In every nation on earth there are really wonderful people. We should love all men, women and children no matter where they were born and no matter what they look like. God created us all and He loves us all dearly.

The reason I went into all that is because of the way politics is played in America in 2011. The moment that anyone suggests that there might be a problem with illegal immigration they are immediately branded with all kinds of horrible labels. To put a horrible label on someone that is completely and totally untrue just to score political points is absolutely despicable.

The funny thing is that some of the organizations that denounce others the loudest should actually be examining themselves. For example, one of the largest pro-illegal immigration organizations is called “La Raza”, which literally means “The Race” (as if we all couldn’t figure it out). Perhaps it is time for them to come up with a new name.

Look, we all have to start learning to love each other. If not, our society is going to continue to break down.

A majority of the American people (yes, that is what the polls show) are not against illegal immigration because they “hate” another group of people. Rather, they just want all immigrants to go through the “front door” and they want the government to be sensitive to changing economic conditions.

The sad truth is that the U.S. government has absolutely refused to secure the U.S. border with Mexico for decades, and this has allowed millions upon millions of criminals, drug dealers and gang members to cross freely into the United States. In addition, by refusing to secure the border we have allowed new diseases to spread unchecked into this country.

Meanwhile, the law abiding people that would like to get into this country legally are put through absolute hell. I used to practice law and I have filled out immigration forms. The process is a complete and total nightmare.

So we have been making it really easy for law breakers to sneak in the back door of our country and we have been making it really hard for law abiding people to get in the front door.

What in the world could be wrong about wanting to fix that?

Once many illegal immigrants arrive in the United States they either try to make a living legally (by directly competing with blue collar American workers for jobs and driving their wages down) or illegally by selling drugs or being involved in other kinds of criminal activity.

Apparently Barack Obama believes that this kind of behavior should be rewarded with a “path to citizenship”.

The vast majority of illegal immigrants pay absolutely no federal or state income taxes and they never intend to. At the same time, they seem more than happy to take advantage of the free social services and benefits offered to them. In fact, stories of how “good” life in America is just encourages more and more immigrants to come to the United States illegally.

We need an immigration policy that insists that everyone come in through the front door.

Is there anyone out there that cannot agree with that?

We also need to set immigration levels that our economy can handle.

Right now our economy is struggling. Millions upon millions of Americans are out of work. 44 million Americans are on food stamps. 47 million Americans are living in poverty. We just can’t take in a whole lot of extra workers right now.

You would think that would just be common sense.

But instead, Barack Obama wants to grant amnesty to all of the illegal immigrants that are already here and put them on a path to citizenship.

Wow – do you think that might embolden millions more illegal immigrants to come flooding in?

Barack Obama is against a border fence. He says we don’t need it.

Meanwhile, thousands more illegal immigrants pour into this country every single day.

Barack Obama supports all of the “sanctuary cities” that have openly declared that they are not going to enforce our immigration laws.

So where do you think illegal immigrants are going to flock to? The truth is that word about these “sanctuary cities” gets around really fast. If you live in one of these cities, then you probably know all about it.

If Barack Obama gets his way, nobody will be breaking our immigration laws because essentially there will not be any more immigration laws.

Not that George W. Bush was any better. He was an absolute disaster on immigration as well.

The truth is that our immigration policy has been slowly eroding the U.S. middle class for many decades.

But according to Barack Obama, we desperately need to implement his “immigration reform” plan for the good of the middle class….

“One way to strengthen the middle class in America is to reform the immigration system, so that there is no longer a massive underground economy that exploits a cheap source of labor while depressing wages for everybody else.”

What a joke. The reality is that illegal immigration hurts that U.S. middle class and it is severely damaging to the U.S. economy. Because of illegal immigration, every single day wages are lost, taxes don’t get collected, hospitals provide “free health care” for which they are never paid, huge criminal gangs of foreigners are roaming our streets and the cost of providing social services to illegal aliens is slowly bankrupting state and local governments.

The following are 18 facts which prove that illegal immigration is an absolute nightmare for the U.S. economy….

#1 Illegal immigrants take jobs away from American citizens. According to a review of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau data, legal and illegal immigrants gained over a million additional jobs between 2008 and 2010 even as millions of American citizens were losing their jobs during that same time period.

#2 The majority of our immigrants now sneak in through the “back door” that the federal government purposely leaves open. Thanks to the negligence of the federal government, far more people move into the United States illegally than come in through the legal immigration process. This has got to change.

#3 Illegal immigrants generally don’t pay taxes. The vast majority of illegal aliens would never even dream of paying income taxes, but Mexicans living in America send billions upon billions of dollars out of the United States and back to Mexico every single year.

#4 Although illegal aliens pay next to nothing in taxes, they have no problem receiving tens of billions of dollars worth of free education benefits, free health care benefits, free housing assistance and free food stamp benefits. Many communities in the United States now openly advertise that they will help illegal aliens with these things.

#5 The cost of educating the children of illegal immigrants is staggering. It is estimated that U.S. taxpayers spend $12,000,000,000 a year on primary and secondary school education for the children of illegal immigrants.

#6 Thanks to illegal immigration, California’s overstretched health care system is on the verge of collapse. Dozens of California hospitals and emergency rooms have shut down over the last decade because they could not afford to stay open after being endlessly swamped by illegal immigrants who were simply not able to pay for the services that they were receiving. As a result, the remainder of the health care system in the state of California is now beyond overloaded. This had led to brutally long waits, diverted ambulances and even unnecessary patient deaths. Sadly, the state of California now ranks dead last out of all 50 states in the number of emergency rooms per million people.

#7 It was estimated that there were approximately 7.7 million illegal aliens employed by U.S. employers during 2008. How much better would our economy look if all of those jobs were being filled by American workers?

#8 The region along the U.S./Mexico border is now an open war zone. Just across the U.S. border, the city of Juarez, Mexico is considered to be one of the most dangerous cities on the entire planet because of the brutal drug war being waged there. In fact, Juarez has now become the murder capital of the western hemisphere. Much of that violence has begun to spill over into areas of the southwestern United States.

For example, a while back NPR described one incident in the Juarez Valley that involved American citizens….

A couple of weeks ago, gunmen in the Juarez Valley killed the Mexican relative of a Fort Hancock high school student. When the student’s family in Fort Hancock heard about it, they crossed the border at 10 a.m. to see the body, and took the student with them.

“By 10:30, they had stabbed the relatives that went with him, which included his grandparents, with an ice pick,” says school superintendent Jose Franco. “My understanding is that the gentleman is like 90 years old, and they poked his eyes out with an ice pick. I believe those people are still in intensive care here in a hospital in the U.S.”

#9 A substantial percentage of young illegal immigrants end up in gangs. U.S. authorities say that there are now over 1 million members of criminal gangs operating inside the United States. According to federal statistics, these 1 million gang members are responsible for up to 80% of the violent crimes committed in the U.S. each year. Latino gangs made up primarily of illegal aliens are responsible for much of this violence.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, some of the most notorious gangs in the country are made up almost entirely of illegal immigrants….

“Gang investigators in Virginia estimate that 90% of the members of MS-13, the most notorious immigrant gang, are illegal immigrants.”

#10 The “18th Street Gang” is certainly giving MS-13 a run for their money. It is believed that the 18th Street Gang has thousands of members in the city of Los Angeles alone. In fact, the gang has become so notorious that there are even rumors that some police officers in Los Angeles simply will not venture into the areas most heavily controlled by the 18th Street gang.

The following is what Wikipedia says about the 18th Street Gang….

A US Justice Department report from 2009 estimates that the 18th Street gang has a membership of some 30,000 to 50,000 with 80% of them being illegal aliens from Mexico and Central America and is active in 44 cities in 20 states. Its main source of income is street-level distribution of cocaine and marijuana and, to a lesser extent, heroin and methamphetamine. Gang members also commit assault, auto theft, carjacking, drive-by shootings, extortion, homicide, identification fraud, and robbery.

#11 The “drug war” in northern Mexico is one gigantic bloodbath. The Mexican government says that as many as 28,000 people have been slaughtered by the drug cartels since 2007. A very significant percentage of those deaths have happened in areas right along the U.S. border, and yet our federal government still sees no reason to get serious about border security.

#12 It is an open secret that Mexican drug cartels are openly conducting military operations inside the United States. The handful of border patrol agents that we have guarding the border are massively outgunned and outmanned.

One agent who patrols the border and who asked to remain anonymous told Fox News the following….

“To say that this area is out of control is an understatement.”

A different federal agent put it this way in an email to Fox News….

“Every night we’re getting beaten like a pinata at a birthday party by drug, alien smugglers.”

#13 Federal border officials say that Mexican drug cartels have not only set up shop on U.S. soil, but they are actually maintaining lookout bases in strategic locations in the hills of southern Arizona. If you go to Arizona today, there are actually signs that have been put up by the federal government warning American citizens not to venture into certain wilderness routes that are used by Mexican drug cartels to bring in drugs.

#14 The drug war being waged on both sides of the border is so violent that it is almost unimaginable. For example, one very prominent Mexican assassin known as “the soupmaker” has confessed that he made approximately 300 bodies disappear by dissolving them in acid baths. But right now there is essentially nothing that is preventing the next “soupmaker” from crossing the U.S. border and moving into your neighborhood.

#15 Arizona police are being openly warned by the Mexican drug cartels that if they try to interfere with the drug traffic in their area that they will be “taken out” by drug cartel snipers.

#16 While the U.S. military endlessly hunts for “members of al-Qaeda” in the caves of Afghanistan and on the streets of Iraqi cities, a very real threat has been building just south of the border. Over the past 15 to 20 years, Hezbollah has set up operations all over Mexico, Central America and South America. Hezbollah is reportedly making a lot of money in the drug trade and in trafficking illegal aliens. Sadly, our government is largely ignoring this.

#17 Each year, it costs the states billions of dollars to incarcerate illegal immigrant criminals that should have never been allowed into the country in the first place. It is estimated that illegal aliens make up approximately 30 percent of the population in federal, state and local prisons and that the total cost of incarcerating them is more than $1.6 billion annually.

#18 The drug cartels and the gangs always seem to be a couple steps ahead of our agents along the border. Approximately 75 tunnels along the U.S. border with Mexico have been discovered by law enforcement authorities in the last four years alone.

How much do you think all of this crime, gang violence and drug cartel activity is costing our economy?

Why won’t the federal government do what the Constitution requires and secure the border?

Oh, but Barack Obama says that he has a plan.

He says that he is going to save the day.

The following is how Barack Obama describes his plan…

“We are not going to ship back 12 million people, we’re not going to do it as a practical matter. We would have to take all our law enforcement that we have available and we would have to use it and put people on buses, and rip families apart, and that’s not who we are, that’s not what America is about. So what I’ve proposed… is you say we’re going to bring these folks out of the shadows. We’re going to make them pay a fine, they are going to have to learn English, they are going to have to go to the back of the line…but they will have a pathway to citizenship over the course of 10 years.”

So how many illegal immigrants do you think are going to step forward to pay a fine?

One percent?

How many of them do you think are going to show up for English classes?

Who is going to make them do it?

Obama?

Are we going to have law enforcement officials running around trying to collect fines from illegal immigrants and trying to get them to attend their English lessons?

According to Obama, the millions upon millions of illegal immigrants that are in this country are going to be glad to willingly do the following….

1) Admit they broke the law

2) Pay back taxes and a fine

3) Learn English

4) Be willing to undergo background checks before starting the legalization process

Those four points are taken directly from Obama’s plan.

So what are illegal immigrants going to do when this plan is passed?

99 percent of them are going to laugh and they are just going to keep on doing what they have been doing.

Large numbers of illegal immigrants are already enjoying the “high life” in the dozens of “sanctuary cities” across the United States.

The following is how the Ohio Jobs & Justice PAC defines sanctuary cities….

Generally, sanctuary policies instruct city employees not to notify the federal government of the presence of illegal aliens living in their communities. The policies also end the distinction between legal resident aliens and illegal aliens–so illegal aliens often benefit from taxpayer funded government services and programs too.

Sounds like a good deal to me.

Can I sign up for that plan?

After all, who wouldn’t want to earn all income tax-free and yet enjoy unlimited government services?

Today we are being told that we need to make life as comfortable as possible for the waves of illegal immigrants that are coming in. In fact, Barack Obama says that all of us need to make sure that our kids are learning how to speak Spanish….

“I don’t understand when people are going around worrying about, we need to have English only. They want to pass a law, we just, we want English only…Now, I agree that immigrants should learn English, I agree with this. But understand this, instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English, they’ll learn English, you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish.”

All of this is utter insanity.

The cold, hard reality of the matter is that we have tightly secured the border between South Korea and North Korea for over 50 years and we could secure our own borders if we really wanted to.

But instead, we continue to leave our border with Mexico completely wide open. Thousands of criminals, gang members and drug pushers continue to come in completely unchecked every single day.

Meanwhile, the rest of us have to subject ourselves to some of the most humiliating “security measures” imaginable before we are even allowed to get on to an airplane.

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, does it?

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/barack-obama-is-wrong-18-facts-which-prove-that-illegal-immigration-is-an-absolute-nightmare-for-the-u-s-economy

BUY SILVER! Join the SILVER LIBERATION ARMY!

Max Keiser’s – Silver LIberation Army and the “Million Ounce March”
April 6th, 2011 by maxkeiser

April 7, 2011 – Catalyst X Media and Max Keiser are teaming up again to release 10 million, 1/10th ounce silver bullion rounds to the public from the depleting global silver supply. The company will be taking orders on the website created strictly for these precious and limited bullions, and demand is expected to be extremely high based on previous releases.

The design features former Wall Street broker and current broadcaster/journalist Max Keiser and the slogans “Fiat Money Sucks!”, “Inflation is a Crime” and the campaign name “Million Ounce March.” Keiser calls his following the “Silver Liberation Army”, and wants to put silver in the hands of the people.

The last time Max Keiser teamed up with Troy James for silver bullions, the supply sold out within three days prompting the immediate increase in production. The previously launched bullion was incubated from the Alex Jones Show episode on November 11th, 2010. Idea creator Troy James said “This truly shows the demand for the precious metal and that people are seeking change. We are happy to be a part of this history by showing our abilities of creating viral messages to the World.” The first generation rounds have been seen on eBay recently selling as high as $202 for a one ounce silver “Keiser” round.

Max Keiser, while dedicating his likeness and slogans once again, will not be profiting from the silver bullions. “This is the thumb tack that I use to mark how well my message to the World is spreading,” said Keiser. Along with the slogans, this new bullion is in support of Max’s campaign for the Silver Liberation Army that was just announced during Keiser’s recent return visit to the Alex Jones show.

The Silver Liberation Army and the Million Ounce March is another campaign started by Keiser to encourage the public to hedge against inflation by purchasing silver. This trend has been witnessed several times throughout history. Like with everything else, history seems to repeat.

There was communication and slow-delivery problems with the last bullion release but Catalyst X Media’s, President, Jason Springett said “We have figured out all the complicated problems with the communication barriers by hiring a 24-7 bonded call center and sped up the delivery process by retaining a bonded freight forwarding company.” He went on to add that a percentage of the net earnings of the new “Keisers” will go to support Japan’s recovery.

Catalyst X Media (www.catalystxmedia.com) is handling the entire campaign for this release. They specialize in social viral media and guerilla marketing. For more information, contact Catalyst X Media or visit www.silverkeiser.com to see the new rounds.

http://maxkeiser.com/2011/04/06/max-keiser%E2%80%99s-silver-liberation-army-and-the-%E2%80%9Cmillion-ounce-march%E2%80%9D/

Good Economic Numbers? Don’t Be Fooled By The Financial Sugar High

Good Economic Numbers? Don’t Be Fooled By The Financial Sugar High

The U.S. financial system is like a junkie that needs continually increasing amounts of “junk” to get the same “buzz”. So what is the U.S. financial system addicted to? It is addicted to money and debt. For many years, whenever the Federal Reserve would lower interest rates or the U.S government would borrow and spend more money, the U.S. economy would respond positively. But just like with any other kind of artificial stimulation, over time it has taken greater and greater amounts of debt and cheap money to get a response from our economic system. So yes, the fact that the official unemployment rate went down 0.1% last month is good news, but considering the massive amount of spending that the U.S. government is doing and considering the gigantic quantity of money that the Federal Reserve is injecting into the financial system, the truth is that the unemployment rate should be falling much faster than that. So don’t be fooled by the good economic numbers and don’t be fooled by the financial “sugar rush”. The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have been pulling out all the stops to stimulate the economy, and the fact that all of their efforts are barely moving the unemployment rate at all is an indication of just how far our economic situation has degenerated.

Many in the mainstream media were extremely excited when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the U.S. unemployment rate declined to 8.8% in March. U.S. stocks soared as investors enthusiastically welcomed the news. But should we all really be jumping up and down over this?

The truth is that some other measures show that the unemployment situation in the United States is becoming worse.

According to Gallup, the number of Americans that are either unemployed or working part-time but desiring full-time work actually rose from 19.8 percent in February to 20.3 percent in March.

So let us not get too excited about the employment situation. Yes, unemployment is not spinning wildly out of control at the moment and that is good news.

However, when you look at the larger picture things look rather grim.

What the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have been doing is that they have been mortgaging our future big time for short-term economic gain.

This year alone, the U.S. government is going to run an all-time record budget deficit of approximately 1.6 trillion dollars. By borrowing 1.6 trillion dollars that we do not have and spending it into the system, it does stimulate the economy.

There are some members of Congress that would like to implement substantial budget cuts, but most members of Congress fear doing too much budget cutting right now because it would “harm the economy”.

And you know what? They are right – budget cuts would harm our economy in the short-term.

But continuing to pile up all of this debt is setting the stage for an absolute economic nightmare in the mid to long term.

We have lived far, far beyond our means for decades, and most of our politicians are acting like this can go forever.

But tell me, does anyone out there actually believe that we can keep expanding the national debt like this indefinitely?….

Yes, government spending does stimulate the economy. The Keynesians are right about that.

However, by accumulating a national debt that is spinning wildly out of control, we have completely destroyed the economic future of this nation.

The Federal Reserve has been very busy trying to stimulate the U.S. economy as well.

Over the past couple of years, the Fed has been injecting massive amounts of money into the financial system. The theory is that the financial system will loan this money out to the American people and that will stimulate the economy and create more jobs.

Well, that may very well be true to a certain extent in the short-term, but as I wrote about yesterday, in the long-term this is going to create a substantial amount of inflation.

The chart posted below cannot be emphasized enough. It shows how the Fed has dramatically increased the size of the adjusted monetary base since mid-2008….

Yes, all of this new money will stimulate economic activity, but it is completely and totally ludicrous for Ben Bernanke to attempt to deny that this is also going to cause significant inflation.

So when taking a look at the economic numbers, it is absolutely critical to keep in mind that our “authorities” have pushed all the chips to the middle of the table in an all-out attempt to stimulate the economy in the short-term.

The small economic “sugar rush” that we are experiencing right now is all we have gotten out of it so far.

Sadly, this is about the best that the U.S. economy is going to do from now on. Things really are not going to get much better than this.

Yes, unemployment numbers might come down a little more, but pretty soon inflation is going to really kick in and that is going to have a really negative impact on tens of millions of Americans.

First of all, when inflation really starts taking off it is going to be absolutely devastating for those on fixed incomes. Many of them will be completely wiped out.

Secondly, those that do have jobs are going to find that their incomes are not nearly keeping up with inflation.

In fact, we are seeing this starting to happen already.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. workers in the private sector only saw their pay increase by 2.1% during 2010.

So did what we are paying for food and gas only go up 2.1% in 2010?

Of course not.

So are things getting better so far in 2011?

No.

One of the depressing things about the new numbers released by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was that wages for U.S. workers did not increase in March.

According to the BLS, the average U.S. worker earned $22.87 an hour during the month of March, which is exactly the same number we saw in February.

So inflation is going up and wages are staying flat.

That means that American family budgets are going to be squeezed even more.

In addition, the numbers from the BLS show that it is still incredibly difficult to get a job. In fact, the average length of unemployment in the U.S. is now an all-time record 39 weeks.

So is anyone doing well right now?

Well, yes – as I have written about previously, those at the very top of the food chain are doing quite well these days.

According to USA Today, median CEO pay soared 27 percent during 2010. For the year, median CEO pay was a stunning $9.0 million.

Wouldn’t you like to be making 9 million dollars a year?

According a recent report by CNN, the 25 highest-paid hedge fund managers in the United States combined to bring in an astounding $22.07 billion in income during 2010.

Wouldn’t you like to get just a small piece of that?

All of the measures that the government and the Federal Reserve are using to stimulate the economy are causing tremendous distortions in our financial system.

Wall Street is absolutely swimming in cash right now. There are some people that are making obscene amounts of money.

But ultimately the party is going to end for all of us.

It has been incredibly foolish for the government and the Fed to go “all in” in a desperate attempt to boost short-term economic numbers.

Our long-term economic future is completely gone. Our financial system is heading for a horrible collapse. It is not a matter of “if” it will happen, but rather “when” it will happen.

You better buckle up and get ready.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/good-economic-numbers-dont-be-fooled-by-the-financial-sugar-high

Foreign Banks Tapped Fed’s Lifeline Most as Bernanke Kept Borrowers Secret

Foreign Banks Tapped Fed’s Lifeline Most as Bernanke Kept Borrowers Secret
By Bradley Keoun and Craig Torres – Apr 1, 2011 1:19 AM ET

March 31 (Bloomberg) — Bloomberg reporter Bob Ivry discusses the release of the Federal Reserve’s discount-window lending records and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s borrowing history. He speaks with Matt Miller on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart.” (Source: Bloomberg)
Foreign Banks Tapped Fed’s Secret Lifeline Most Crisis Peak

Dexia SA borrowed as much as $33.5 billion through its New York branch from the Fed’s “discount window” lending program, according to Fed documents released yesterday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s two-year fight to shield crisis-squeezed banks from the stigma of revealing their public loans protected a lender to local governments in Belgium, a Japanese fishing-cooperative financier and a company part-owned by the Central Bank of Libya.

Dexia SA (DEXB), based in Brussels and Paris, borrowed as much as $33.5 billion through its New York branch from the Fed’s “discount window” lending program, according to Fed documents released yesterday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Dublin-based Depfa Bank Plc, taken over in 2007 by a German real-estate lender later seized by the German government, drew $24.5 billion.

The biggest borrowers from the 97-year-old discount window as the program reached its crisis-era peak were foreign banks, accounting for at least 70 percent of the $110.7 billion borrowed during the week in October 2008 when use of the program surged to a record. The disclosures may stoke a reexamination of the risks posed to U.S. taxpayers by the central bank’s role in global financial markets.

The caricature of the Fed is that it was shoveling money to big New York banks and a bunch of foreigners, and that is not conducive to its long-run reputation,” said Vincent Reinhart, the Fed’s director of monetary affairs from 2001 to 2007.

Separate data disclosed in December on temporary emergency- lending programs set up by the Fed also showed big foreign banks as borrowers. Six European banks were among the top 11 companies that sold the most debt overall — a combined $274.1 billion — to the Commercial Paper Funding Facility.

Bank of America

Those programs also loaned tens of billions of dollars to each of the biggest U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley.

The discount window, which began lending in 1914, is the Fed’s primary program for providing cash to banks to help them avert a liquidity squeeze. In an April 2009 speech, Bernanke said that revealing the names of discount-window borrowers “might lead market participants to infer weakness.”

The Fed released the documents after court orders upheld FOIA requests filed by Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, and News Corp.’s Fox News Network LLC. In all, the Fed was ordered to release more than 29,000 pages of documents, covering the discount window and several Fed emergency-lending programs established during the crisis from August 2007 to March 2010.

Public Outrage

The American people are going to be outraged when they understand what has been going on,” U.S. Representative Ron Paul, a Texas Republican who is chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees the Fed, said in a Bloomberg Television interview.

What in the world are we doing thinking we can pass out tens of billions of dollars to banks that are overseas?” said Paul, who has advocated abolishing the Fed. “We have problems here at home with people not being able to pay their mortgages, and they’re losing their homes.”

The Monetary Control Act of 1980 says that a U.S. branch or agency of a foreign bank that maintains reserves at a Fed bank may receive discount window credit.

David Skidmore, a Fed spokesman, declined to comment.

Wachovia Corp. was the only U.S. bank among the top five discount-window borrowers as the crisis peaked.

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank borrowed $29 billion from the discount window on Oct. 6, in the week after it nearly collapsed, the data show. Wachovia agreed in principle to sell itself to Citigroup Inc. on Sept. 29, before announcing a definitive agreement to sell itself to Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) on Oct. 3. The Wells Fargo deal closed at the end of 2008.

Wells Fargo spokeswoman Mary Eshet declined to comment on Wachovia’s discount-window borrowing.

Bank of Scotland

Bank of Scotland Plc, which had $11 billion outstanding from the discount window on Oct. 29, 2008, was a unit of Edinburgh-based HBOS Plc, which announced its takeover by London-based Lloyds TSB Group Plc in September 2008.

The borrowings in 2008 didn’t involve Lloyds, which hadn’t completed its acquisition of HBOS at the time, said Sara Evans, a spokeswoman for the company, which is now called Lloyds Banking Group Plc. (LLOY)

“This is historic usage and on each occasion the borrowing was repaid at maturity
,” Evans said. “The discount window has not been accessed by the group since.”

Other foreign discount-window borrowers on Oct. 29, 2008, included Societe Generale (GLE) SA, France’s second-biggest bank; and Norinchukin Bank, which finances and provides services to Japanese agricultural, fishing and forestry cooperatives. Paris- based Societe Generale borrowed $5 billion that day, and Tokyo- based Norinchukin borrowed $6 billion.

Bank of China

We used it in concert with Japanese and U.S. authorities in the purpose of contributing to the stabilization of the market,” said Fumiaki Tanaka, a spokesman at Norinchukin.

Bank of China, the country’s oldest bank, was the second- largest borrower from the Fed’s discount window during a nine- day period in August 2007 as subprime-mortgage defaults first roiled broader markets. The Chinese bank’s New York branch borrowed $198 million on Aug. 17 of that month, while two Deutsche Bank AG divisions borrowed $1 billion each, according to a document released yesterday.

Arab Banking Corp., then 29 percent-owned by the Libyan central bank, used its New York branch to borrow at least $1.1 billion from the discount window in October 2008.

The foreign banks took advantage of Fed lending programs even as their host countries moved to prop them up or orchestrate takeovers.

Dexia received billions of euros in capital and funding guarantees from France, Belgium and Luxembourg during the credit crunch.

‘Backward-Looking’

Dexia’s outstanding balance at the Fed has been reduced to zero, Ulrike Pommee, a spokeswoman for the company, said in an e-mail.

This information is backward-looking,” she said. “We experienced a great deal of tension concerning the liquidity of the dollar at the time of the crisis. The Fed played its role as central banker, providing liquidity to banks that needed it.

Depfa was taken over in October 2007 by Hypo Real Estate Holding AG, which in turn was seized by the German government in 2009. Oliver Gruss, a spokesman for Depfa’s parent company, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Many foreign banks own large pools of dollar assets –bonds, securities and loans — funded by short-term borrowings in money markets. The system works when markets are calm, said Dino Kos, former executive vice president at the New York Fed in charge of open-market operations. In times of stress, banks can be subject to sudden liquidity squeezes, he said.

‘Playing With Fire’

They are playing with fire,” said Kos, a managing director at Hamiltonian Associates Ltd. in New York, an economic research firm. “When the market dries up, and they can’t roll over their funding — bingo, you have a liquidity crisis.”

The potential for dollar shortages remains. As the Greek fiscal crisis roiled financial markets last year, the Fed had to open swap lines with the European Central Bank, the Swiss National Bank, the Bank of England and two other central banks to make more dollars available around the world. That move was partially the result of U.S. money market funds shrinking their exposure to European bank commercial paper.

To contact the reporters on this story: Bradley Keoun in New York at [email protected]; Craig Torres in Washington at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at [email protected]
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-01/foreign-banks-tapped-fed-s-lifeline-most-as-bernanke-kept-borrowers-secret.html

30 Ben Bernanke Quotes That Are So Stupid That You Won’t Know Whether To Laugh Or Cry

Say What? 30 Ben Bernanke Quotes That Are So Stupid That You Won’t Know Whether To Laugh Or Cry

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on 60 Minutes portrayed the Federal Reserve as the great protector of the U.S. economy. They claimed that unemployment would be 15 percent higher if the Federal Reserve had sat back and done nothing during the financial crisis and he even started laying the groundwork for a third round of quantitative easing. Unfortunately, 60 Minutes did not ask Bernanke any hard questions and did not challenge him on his past record. It was almost as if they considered Bernanke to be above criticism. But someone in the mainstream media should be taking a closer look at this guy and his record. The truth is that the incompetence that Bernanke has displayed over the past few years makes the Cincinnati Bengals look like a model of excellence. Bernanke kept insisting that the housing market was stable even while it was falling apart, he had absolutely no idea the financial crisis was coming, he declared that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in no danger of failing just before they failed, his policies have created asset bubble after asset bubble and the world financial system is now inherently unstable. But even with such horrific job performance, Barack Obama and leaders of both political parties continue to publicly praise Bernanke at every opportunity. What in the world is going on here?

Not that Bernanke is solely responsible. His predecessor, Alan Greenspan, was responsible for many of the policies that have brought us to this point. In addition, most of the other presidents of the individual Federal Reserve banks across the United States seem just as clueless as Bernanke.

But you would think at some point someone in authority would be calling for Bernanke to resign. Accountability has to begin somewhere.

The Bernanke quotes that you will read below reveal a pattern of incompetence and mismanagement that is absolutely mind blowing. Looking back now, we can see that Bernanke was wrong about almost everything.

But the mainstream media and our top politicians keep insisting that Bernanke is the man to lead our economy into a bright future.

It is almost as if we have been transported into some bizarre episode of “The Twilight Zone” where the more incompetence someone exhibits the more they are to be praised.

The following are 30 Ben Bernanke quotes that are so stupid that you won’t know whether to laugh or cry….

#1 (October 20, 2005) “House prices have risen by nearly 25 percent over the past two years. Although speculative activity has increased in some areas, at a national level these price increases largely reflect strong economic fundamentals.”

#2 (On 60 Minutes in response to a question about what would have happened if the Federal Reserve had not “bailed out” the U.S. economy) “Unemployment would be much, much higher. It might be something like it was in the Depression. Twenty-five percent.”

#3 (February 15, 2006) “Housing markets are cooling a bit. Our expectation is that the decline in activity or the slowing in activity will be moderate, that house prices will probably continue to rise.”

#4 (January 10, 2008) “The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession.”

#5 (When asked directly during a congressional hearing if the Federal Reserve would monetize U.S. government debt) “The Federal Reserve will not monetize the debt.”

#6 “One myth that’s out there is that what we’re doing is printing money. We’re not printing money.”

#7 “The money supply is not changing in any significant way. What we’re doing is lowering interest rates by buying Treasury securities.”

#8 (November 21, 2002) “The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at no cost.”

#9 (March 28, 2007) “At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained. In particular, mortgages to prime borrowers and fixed-rate mortgages to all classes of borrowers continue to perform well, with low rates of delinquency.”

#10 (July, 2005) “We’ve never had a decline in house prices on a nationwide basis. So, what I think what is more likely is that house prices will slow, maybe stabilize, might slow consumption spending a bit. I don’t think it’s gonna drive the economy too far from its full employment path, though.”

#11 “Although low inflation is generally good, inflation that is too low can pose risks to the economy – especially when the economy is struggling.”

#12 (February 15, 2007) “Despite the ongoing adjustments in the housing sector, overall economic prospects for households remain good. Household finances appear generally solid, and delinquency rates on most types of consumer loans and residential mortgages remain low.”

#13 (October 31, 2007) “It is not the responsibility of the Federal Reserve – nor would it be appropriate – to protect lenders and investors from the consequences of their financial decisions.”

#14 (On the possibility that the Fed might launch QE3) “Oh, it’s certainly possible. And again, it depends on the efficacy of the program. It depends on inflation. And finally it depends on how the economy looks.”

#15 (November 15, 2005) “With respect to their safety, derivatives, for the most part, are traded among very sophisticated financial institutions and individuals who have considerable incentive to understand them and to use them properly.”

#16 (January 18, 2008) “[The U.S. economy] has a strong labor force, excellent productivity and technology, and a deep and liquid financial market that is in the process of repairing itself.”

#17 “I wish I’d been omniscient and seen the crisis coming.”

#18 (May 17, 2007) “All that said, given the fundamental factors in place that should support the demand for housing, we believe the effect of the troubles in the subprime sector on the broader housing market will likely be limited, and we do not expect significant spillovers from the subprime market to the rest of the economy or to the financial system. The vast majority of mortgages, including even subprime mortgages, continue to perform well. Past gains in house prices have left most homeowners with significant amounts of home equity, and growth in jobs and incomes should help keep the financial obligations of most households manageable.”

#19 “The GSEs are adequately capitalized. They are in no danger of failing.”

#20 (Two months before Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed and were nationalized) “They will make it through the storm.”

#21 (September 23rd, 2008) “My interest is solely for the strength and recovery of the U.S. economy.”

#22 “Economics has many substantive areas of knowledge where there is agreement but also contains areas of controversy. That’s inescapable.”

#23 “I don’t think that Chinese ownership of U.S. assets is so large as to put our country at risk economically.”

#24 “We’ve been very, very clear that we will not allow inflation to rise above 2 percent.”

#25 “…inflation is running at rates that are too low relative to the levels that the Committee judges to be most consistent with the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate in the longer run.”

#26 (June 10, 2008) “The risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so.”

#27 “Not all information is beneficial.”

#28 “The financial crisis appears to be mostly behind us, and the economy seems to have stabilized and is expanding again.”

#29 “Similarly, the mandate-consistent inflation rate–the inflation rate that best promotes our dual objectives in the long run–is not necessarily zero; indeed, Committee participants have generally judged that a modestly positive inflation rate over the longer run is most consistent with the dual mandate.”

#30 (October 4, 2006) “If current trends continue, the typical U.S. worker will be considerably more productive several decades from now. Thus, one might argue that letting future generations bear the burden of population aging is appropriate, as they will likely be richer than we are even taking that burden into account.”

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/say-what-30-ben-bernanke-quotes-that-are-so-stupid-that-you-wont-know-whether-to-laugh-or-cry

20 Quotes About The Economic Collapse In Europe That Will Make Your Hair Stand On End

Most Americans have been paying very little attention to it, but right now Europe is desperately fighting to avoid a complete financial and economic collapse. As the euro continues to fall precipitously, European leaders are openly declaring that this is the biggest financial crisis that Europe has experienced since at least World War II. So exactly what is causing all this? Well, just like the United States, countries throughout Europe responded to the economic crisis of the last several years by spending a ton of money. The problem is that quite a few of these European nations got into debt way over their heads. In particular, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy are literally drowning in debt. There is a very real possibility that several of them may soon default on their debts. If that happens it could set off a financial shockwave that could encircle the entire world. Because of the interconnectedness of the global economy, a financial meltdown in Europe would have a dramatic impact on the U.S. economy. In fact, the continued ability of millions of Americans to enjoy the American Dream is dependent on events that are currently playing out in Europe. Most Americans completely do not understand this, but it doesn’t make it any less true. If Europe’s economy goes down hard, the already very fragile U.S. economy will be crushed as well.

So just how bad is the situation in Europe right now?

Well, let’s hear from some of the experts.

The following are 20 quotes about the economic collapse in Europe that will make your hair stand on end….

#1) Andrew Lilico, chief economist at Policy Exchange:

“Greece will certainly default on its debts, and it is an open question whether Greece will experience some form of revolution or coup – I’d put the likelihood of that over the next five years as around one in four.”

#2) Bank of England Governor Mervyn King:

“Dealing with a banking crisis was difficult enough, but at least there were public-sector balance sheets on to which the problems could be moved. Once you move into sovereign debt, there is no answer; there’s no backstop.”

#3) GFT Forex’s Boris Schlossberg:

“I think we run the risk of seeing 1.16/1.17 before the next selling phase dies down. The euro is just absolutely hated here. The European rescue package still faces some regional opposition. There were rumors the German high court could rule it was unconstitutional. They don’t have a federal mechanism to put it in place, and there’s worries that at any point in time, the rescue package could be sabotaged.”

#4) Jeremy Batstone-Carr, analyst at Charles Stanley:

“The world is in the midst of a gigantic credit collapse.”

#5) German Chancellor Angela Merkel:

“The current crisis facing the euro is the biggest test Europe has faced for decades, even since the Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957.”

#6) Charles Lieberman, chief investment officer of Advisors Capital Management:

“Investors don’t have the confidence that Europe will be able to address its shortfalls, or that European growth can recover enough to help these economies.”

#7) U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron:

“Today we spend more on debt interest than we do on running schools in England. But £70bn means spending more on debt interest than we currently do on running schools in England plus climate change plus transport. Interest payments of £70bn mean that for every single pound you pay in tax, 10 pence would be spent on interest.”

#8) Jeremy Charlesworth, manager of the Moonraker Commodities fund:

“Yet the European Union has decided that the solution to the debt crisis is even more debt and confidence in the recovery package has now evaporated. When people abandon bonds and Western currencies they will look for real assets, which can’t be created at the touch of a button.”

#9) Michael Pento, Chief Economist at Delta Global Advisors:

“The crisis in Greece is going to spread to Spain and it’s going to be very difficult to deal with. They are bailing out debt with more debt and it isn’t sustainable. It’s a wonderful scenario for gold.”

#10) Frank McGhee, the head dealer at Integrated Brokerage Services LLC in Chicago:

“The fear in Europe is very palpable, and it’s spreading to the U.S.”

#11) Dan Burrows of Daily Finance:

“You don’t have to be a member of the build-a-bunker-in-Montana crowd to believe gold could hit $2,500 in the next couple of years.”

#12) Tim Congdon of International Monetary Research:

“The eurozone will lose three or four members”

#13) Paul Donovan, the Senior Economist at UBS:

“Now people are questioning if the euro will even exist in three years.”

#14) Equity Strategist Peter Boockvar:

“Not becoming the next Greece is the European rallying cry to get budget cuts passed and there is nothing like a crisis to get politicians to act.”

#15) A recent editorial in El Pais:

“To maintain debt solvency Spain must squeeze public spending: yet this policy undermines the chances of recovery which itself causes further loss of confidence.”

#16) LEAP/E2020:

“LEAP/E2020 believes that the global systemic crisis will experience a new tipping point from Spring 2010. Indeed, at that time, the public finances of the major Western countries are going to become unmanageable, as it will simultaneously become clear that new support measures for the economy are needed because of the failure of the various stimuli in 2009, and that the size of budget deficits preclude any significant new expenditures.”

#17) Anthony Fry, the senior managing director at Evercore Partners:

“I don’t want to scare anyone but I am considering investing in barbed wire and guns, things are not looking good and rates are heading higher.”

#18) Greg Peters, global head of fixed income and economic research with Morgan Stanley:

“Really, what I worry about most is the sovereign debt crisis becoming a rolling crisis and hitting the shores of the UK and the United States.”

#19) Bob Chapman of the International Forecaster:

“There is still no question in our minds that Greece was a setup to lead to a deflationary collapse later and the Greek people refused to listen. As a result it is now apparent that Greece is even worse off than the elitists imagined. We do not see European bailouts going any further. The result is the US and UK will follow. Financial Europe is history. You should all keep in mind that this is child’s play. Wait until England and the US go down, perhaps before the end of the year.”

#20) The front page of Der Spiegel, May 5th, 2010:

“Euroland, burned down. A continent on the way to bankruptcy.”
http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/20-quotes-about-the-economic-collapse-in-europe-that-will-make-your-hair-stand-on-end

Wow, That Was Fast! Libyan Rebels Have Already Established New Central Bank Of Libya

Wow, That Was Fast! Libyan Rebels Have Already Established New Central Bank Of Libya

By 21st Century Wire

The rebels in Libya are in the middle of a life or death civil war and Moammar Gadhafi is still in power and yet somehow the Libyan rebels have had enough time to establish a new Central Bank of Libya and form a new national oil company. Perhaps when this conflict is over those rebels can become time management consultants.

They sure do get a lot done. What a skilled bunch of rebels – they can fight a war during the day and draw up a new central bank and a new national oil company at night without any outside help whatsoever. If only the rest of us were so versatile! But isn’t forming a central bank something that could be done after the civil war is over? According to Bloomberg, the Transitional National Council has “designated the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and the appointment of a governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with a temporary headquarters in Benghazi.” Apparently someone felt that it was very important to get pesky matters such as control of the banks and control of the money supply out of the way even before a new government is formed.

Of course it is probably safe to assume that the new Central Bank of Libya will be 100% owned and 100% controlled by the newly liberated people of Libya, isn’t it?
Libyan rebels

BANKERS REBELS: Western-backed Libyan rebels managed to liase with Goldman Sachs and form a bank? Smells like a City rat.

Most people don’t realize that the previous Central Bank of Libya was 100% state owned. The following is an excerpt from Wikipedia’s article on the former Central Bank of Libya….

The Central Bank of Libya (CBL) is 100% state owned and represents the monetary authority in The Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and enjoys the status of autonomous corporate body. The law establishing the CBL stipulates that the objectives of the central bank shall be to maintain monetary stability in Libya , and to promote the sustained growth of the economy in accordance with the general economic policy of the state.

Since the old Central Bank of Libya was state owned, it was essentially under the control of Moammar Gadhafi. But now that Libya is going to be “free”, the new Central Bank of Libya will be run by Libyans and solely for the benefit of Libyans, right? Of course it is probably safe to assume that will be the case with the new national oil company as well, isn’t it?

Over the past couple of years, Moammar Gadhafi had threatened to nationalize the oil industry in Libya and kick western oil companies out of the country, but now that Libya will be “free” the people of Libya will be able to work hand in hand with “big oil” and this will create a better Libya for everyone.

Right?

Of course oil had absolutely nothing to do with why the U.S. “inva—” (scratch that) “initiated a kinetic humanitarian liberty action” in Libya. When Barack Obama looked straight into the camera and told the American people that the war in Libya is in the “strategic interest” of the United States, surely he was not referring to oil. After all, war for oil was a “Bush thing”, right? The Democrats voted for Obama to end wars like this, right? Surely no prominent Democrats will publicly support this war in Libya, right? Surely Barack Obama will end the bombing of Libya if the international community begins to object, right? Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize. He wouldn’t deeply upset the other major powers on the globe and bring us closer to World War III, would he?

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has loudly denounced “coalition strikes on columns of Gaddafi’s forces” and he believes that the U.S. has badly violated the terms of the UN Security Council resolution….

We consider that intervention by the coalition in what is essentially an internal civil war is not sanctioned by the U.N. Security Council resolution.

So to cool off rising tensions with the rest of the world, Obama is going to call off the air strikes, right? Well, considering the fact that Obama has such vast foreign policy experience we should all be able to rest easy knowing that Obama will understand exactly what to do.

Meanwhile, the rebels seem to be getting the hang of international trade already. They have even signed an oil deal with Qatar! Rebel “spokesman” Ali Tarhouni has announced that oil exports to Qatar will begin in “less than a week“. Who knew that the rag tag group of rebels in Libya were also masters of banking and international trade? We sure do live in a strange world.

Tonight, Barack Obama told the American people the following….

Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different.”

So now we are going to police all of the atrocities in all of the other countries around the globe? The last time I checked, the government was gunning down protesters in Syria. Is it time to start warming up the Tomahawks? Or do we reserve “humanitarian interventions” only for those nations that have a lot of oil? In fact, atrocities are currently being committed all over Africa and in about a dozen different nations in the Middle East.

Should we institute a draft so that we will have enough young men and women to police the world with? We all have to be ready to serve our country, right? The world is becoming a smaller place every day, and you never know where U.S. “strategic interests” are going to be threatened next. The rest of the world understands that we know best, right? Of course the rest of the world can surely see our good intentions in Libya, can’t they?

Tensions with Russia, China and the rest of the Arab world are certainly going to subside after they all see how selfless our “humanitarian intervention” has been in Libya, don’t you think? In all seriousness, we now live in a world where nothing is stable anymore. Wars and revolutions are breaking out all over the globe, unprecedented natural disasters are happening with alarming frequency and the global economy is on the verge of total collapse.

By interfering in Libya, we are just making things worse. Gadhafi is certainly a horrible dictator, but this was a fight for the Libyan people to sort out.

We promised the rest of the world that we were only going to be setting up a “no fly zone”. By violating the terms of the UN Security Council resolution, we have shown other nations that we cannot be trusted and by our actions we have increased tensions all over the globe.

http://21stcenturywire.com/2011/03/29/wow-that-was-fast-libyan-rebels-have-already-established-new-central-bank-of-libya/

Monday, March 28, 2011

Libya: War for World Government


“It is a test that the international community has to pass. Failure would shake further the faith of the people’s region in the emerging international order and the primacy of international law
.” -Brookings Institute’s “Libya’s Test of the New International Order,” February 2011.

Peaceful protesters become tank commanders and fighter pilots?

Tony Cartalucci, Contributing Writer
Activist Post

While a parade of politicians and pundits cite the “international community,” the UN, and the “Arab street” as giving them the justification to not only wage illegal war on Libya, but to threaten illegal war against Syria as well, it should be remembered that it was neither the UN nor the “international community” that laid the ground work for this campaign.

What started out, supposedly, as spontaneous, simultaneous uprisings across the Middle East, has transformed clearly into an aggressive Western-backed blitzkrieg of destabilization and regime change. This was a plan that was years in the making, talked about in 2007 by then, presidential hopeful, CFR member, and International Crisis Group trustee Wesley Clark.

As hard as our “leadership” tries to act surprised, the current Middle Eastern conflagration has been years in the making.

We now know that the protesters from Tunisia to Egypt had been trained by US created and funded CANVAS of Serbia. We have learned that the US State Department openly admits to providing funding to tech firms to assist protesters across the Middle East and Northern Africa to circumvent cyber-security inside target nations. Perhaps most alarming of all, we now know that the US State Department is also funding corporations like BBC to undermine the governments of China and Iran, revealing the full-scope of their ambitions.

The “international community” that feckless stooges like Joe Lieberman talk about, or his French equal in impotency, Nicolas Sarkozy’s “new post-UNSC 1973 model of world governance” are concepts not born of these “elected representatives,” but rather the product of the corporate think-tanks that hand them their talking points. It is the corporate-financier oligarchy that constitutes the “international community” and who aspires to rule through “world governance.” Their goal is to eliminate national sovereignty and assert their agenda and the laws & regulations to achieve it homogeneously across all national borders.

To see who Lieberman and Sarkozy are channeling, we look to the Brookings Institute report “Libya’s Test of the New International Order” back in February 2011. In it, it talks about the primacy of international law over national sovereignty and considered it being at stake in Libya. Allowing Libya to defy the “international community,” they worried, could ultimately threaten its “resolve and credibility.

Another telling Brookings Institute report, “Bifurcating the Middle East,” mentions rallying “the Arab street” to confront defiant states like Libya, Syria, and Iran, all of which are mentioned by name. Nowhere was oil mentioned, nor the tremendous profits defense contractors would surely reap, and while these are primary motivators to garner support for the regional campaign within the corporate combine, they are by no means the primary motivators for the campaign itself. The final goal is world government, the elimination of borders, and a monopolistic corporate-financier cartel that can systematically eliminate all challenges to its hegemony – in other words, the dream of all oligarchs since the beginning of time.

In Syria, resistance to the Western-backed opposition is a similar direct challenge to the corporate-financier oligarchs. Nations like Syria, Iran, Libya, Burma, Belarus, and many others are demonized and systematically isolated and undermined not because they are a threat to the world, but because their independence and refusal to acquiesce is an obstacle before a corporate-financier ruled world government.

We are given childish explanations that prey on the most ignorant and feeble of minds as to why we are fighting in Libya, and why we are threatening war with Syria and Iran. Nowhere in Lieberman or Sarkozy’s ranting statements is talk of who these rebels are; that they’ve been fighting on and off against Qaddafi for nearly three decades with US help, that their opposition is based in London and the United States, and that they have overt ties to Al-Qaeda, with rebel leaders themselves openly admitting their affiliations to the terrorist group. We are now told that recently returning to Libya to lead the rebels is Khalifa Hifter, who has spent the last 20 years in “suburban Virginia,” and has spent his time in America lending support to anti-Qaddafi groups.

We will protect your privacy…guaranteed!

After fighting a decade in Afghanistan and Iraq at the cost of nearly 6,000 US lives, supposedly to stop the ubiquitous “Al Qaeda,” an organization the US itself created in the mountains of Afghanistan in the 1980’s to fight the Soviets, we have come full circle, with CIA/Al-Qaeda assets fighting side-by-side in Libya, complete with US air support.

Do regular folks forget that Syria was mentioned as part of George Bush’s “Axis of Evil” and that Obama is merely carrying on a continuous agenda that has transcended administrations up to this very day? Considering the agenda revealed by Wesley Clark in 2007, we see how seamlessly “Obama’s war” against Libya fits in. If we are to believe Obama and Bush are ideological opposites, what other explanation can be given as to why this agenda, scorned by the political left under Bush, has now found a new home in Obama’s administration?

Quite clearly politics in America is but a mere illusion. So to is the “War on Terror,” as the US helps Al-Qaeda sweep westward towards Tripoli. It is all empty rhetoric carrying the agenda of global government forward. Despite losing nearly 6,000 of their brothers in arms, the US military carries on, following orders despite the absolute, overt absurdity of their mission. They are literally providing air support now for the men that helped send their buddies back in pine boxes from Iraq. They do this while the media that lied them into a decade of war now celebrates their enemy, these rebels of Benghazi, as heroes of democracy. Again – we come full circle as the Mujaheddin fighting the Soviets were once “heroes” of the West as well.

None of this makes any sense from the political left or right perspective. None of this makes sense from a West verses “Muslim extremist” perspective. The only perspective from which it makes sense, is if a cartel of corporations has been lying to us all along, saying anything and everything to get us to jump through the appropriate hoops. With their plans becoming bolder, perhaps even desperate, they have begun to mix up their narratives to the extent that they are bombing “Al Qaeda” in Pakistan and giving “Al Qaeda” air support in Libya. They are admittedly strafing civilians from the air in Pakistan, but imposing no fly zones on Qaddafi over unverified claims of doing the same.

As the globalists admittedly strafe civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan, they have lobbied for war with Libya over verified lies of doing the same.

Indeed, this is not a war of America, the UN, NATO, or the European Union. The feckless politicians that pose as our leadership are merely taking orders from the powers that be – the corporate-financier oligarchs. If we are to frustrate these oligarchs, we would be wise to waste little time on their front men and instead get straight to the issue. Boycott these corporations and systematically replace them on a local level. While they wage war to eliminate the nation state, from its borders down to our own individual rights and liberties, we must wage a campaign to undermine and eliminate them, from their crass consumerist networks that infest our towns, to the parasitic monstrosity that is the international banking system which infests this planet.

While they must wage their battle through murder, lies, and deceit, we must wage our battle through constructive pragmatic solutions, ingenuity, hard work, community, and self-sufficiency. This is not a war for Libya – this is a war for world government, that if won by the globalists, means our defeat as well.

http://www.activistpost.com/2011/03/libya-war-for-world-government.html

NEW $5 ATM FEE JUST THE LATEST CHECKING TRAP

CT by Bob Sullivan

“Total Checking.” “Value Checking.” “MyAccess Checking.” What do they all have in common? The word “free” is missing from the name.

You are likely painfully aware that big banks like Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America have ended no-strings-attached free checking accounts. But if you had any questions about how restrictive — or expensive — those strings can be, consider Chase bank. Scarcely two years ago, we marveled at banks’ efforts to inch fees up to $3 per withdrawal. Chase bank is now test-piloting $5-per-withdrawal fees for non-customers in Illinois. That’s in addition to fees the consumers’ bank charges. Soon it may cost $10 to grab $20 in a pinch.

Once upon a time, consumers could expect to earn money by leaving their cash sitting in a bank. Today, consumers must worry about their bank slowly bleeding money out of the account. The change is happening swiftly. Chase says it’s converted around 8 million free accounts — many former customers of Washington Mutual — into “follow-our-rules-or-pay-up-to-$144-annually” accounts.

It costs banks about $300 apiece annually to offer checking accounts, according to a recent study by Bretton-Woods. They used to recoup these costs by helping themselves to some $30 billion worth of overdraft fees from consumers. But now that the cash cow has been largely eliminated by new consumer regulations, banks are trying out new techniques to recoup this lost revenue.

Just how far will banks be able to push fee-weary consumers? That’s unclear. Earlier this month, Bankrate.com released a survey showing 75 percent of consumers earning $75,000 or more would rather switch banks than pay higher fees. Overall, 64 percent of customers said they’d bolt.

That ire may not translate into action, however, and banks know it. A J.D. Power study released on March 1 found that, while consumers are switching banks at a slightly higher rate than in the past (8.7 percent last year, compared to 7.7 percent a year earlier), fees and interest rates have almost nothing to do with their choices. “Pricing” impacted only 4 percent of consumers, the study found.

This would not be a surprise to behavioral economists. Consumers almost never consider fees — particularly punitive fees like overdrafts or “your balance fell below $1,000” charges — when making purchase decisions. Nearly everyone suffers from what’s sometimes called “magical thinking” — as in, “I’ll never misbehave and get hit by that fee.”

It’s the shallow things that matter
So what do people consider when switching banks? Big, impressive buildings and billboards seemed to matter most, the survey found. Here’s the depressing quote from the JD Power press release:

“For customers evaluating and ultimately selecting a new bank, the most important factors driving their decision are advertising; branch convenience; products and services; promotional offers; and direct and indirect customer experience,” it said.

That means you can expect higher fees, more buildings and more kooky ads from banks.

There was one positive note in the J.D. Power research. There is evidence consumers do have their limits. About 17 percent of consumers who switched banks said high fees or low interest motivated the breakup.

Banks argue that it’s not fair to say free checking has disappeared. OK. Let’s just say NSA relationships with big banks are dead, replaced It’s by accounts wrapped in red tape. And remember, many of these rules can change at any time. So here’s five Red Tape Traps you’ll find along the way to a free checking account.


1) Soaring ATM fees
We’ve already mentioned Chase’s $5 experiment. Plenty of folks now pay $6 or $7 per withdrawal, when the ATM machine fee is added to their own bank’s fee. These fees are perhaps the best example of magical thinking at work. Most folks think they’ll be good about walking the extra block to access cash at their bank’s ATM. But when there’s a screaming kid in a stroller or an impatient date on the arm, you’re likely to just pay the fee. Even one so-called “foreign” ATM transaction with a $5 hit every month costs $60 annually. Be realistic: If your bank charges for such transactions, you should just budget $100 annually for ATM service. But a much better choice is to find a bank that doesn’t charge you. For those ATM emergencies, you’ll at least cut your ATM fees in half, and some banks — USAA Federal Savings Bank, for example — refund the ATM bank’s fees. There’s no law preventing you from getting a secondary checking account with a new institution that you use primarily for accessing cash on the fly. I recommend this kind of “allowance” account structure in Stop Getting Ripped Off.

A few other creative efforts can cut your ATM fees. Get cash back when you shop at grocery stores with your debit card, although that’s not my favorite way to use debit. Better yet: Find fee-free ATMs. They’re out there. The WaWa convenience store chain offers them, and it recently performed its one billionth fee-free cash withdrawal.

What it costs: Two “foreign” withdrawals per month — $120

2) Keeping your minimum balance
Most account holders are familiar with the idea that they might have to do something — maintain a minimum balance or direct deposit their paychecks — in order to keep some level of service.

But now, a single slip-up, such as a flurry of cashed checks that sink your balance to $998.43 for one afternoon, can be costly. With fees of $12 or more, the experience is not unlike getting hit with an overdraft. The same advice you followed to prevent overdrafts applies here. Some banks let you link your savings and checking accounts to make sure you don’t dip below that minimum. Sign up for text message alerts so you can get early notification of a dangerously low balance, and log on to online banking to check your balance often. Stagger your regular payments so they hit after your paychecks.

The biggest Red Tape Trap of all, however, is the dreaded movable minimum balance. Consumers who once enjoyed fee waivers for keeping $500 in an account can see that minimum raised to $750 or $1,000. It’s easy to miss a warning letter from the bank, and end up with one or two months of $12 fees. The clearest hint a balance change is coming is an account name change (see below).

What it costs: Two slip-ups — $24

3) Overdraft fee marketing
The voracious overdraft fee animal isn’t gone, it’s just been put back in its cage. Until recently, consumers could incur $35 overdraft fees by making small purchases with their debit cards. Today, those transactions are simply declined by the bank, or approved without the fee — unless the bank has received explicit opt-in permission from the account holder. Banks have driven hard to trick consumers into giving up this permission, which is inappropriate for the vast amount of consumers. They’ve given it pleasing sounding names like “courtesy pay,” “Buffer Zone,” or “debit card advance,” and plastered bank windows with pictures of smiling, attractive men and women who say they are relieved to have this peace of mind. If you’ve been tricked into signing up for overdraft protection, un-sign up immediately.

What it costs: Two overdrafts — $70

4) The name has changed
The surest sign a new fee or restriction is coming is a name change — either the name of your bank has changed because of an acquisition (like Washington Mutual becoming Chase) or the name of your account has been changed. Former Washington Mutual customers have seen their account names changed from “WaMu Free Checking” to “Chase Free Extra Checking” to “Chase Total Checking,” which is totally more expensive than free. Ironically, a Google search for Washington Mutual still sends consumers to a Web page at Chase.com with the title “WaMu.com, home of WaMu Free Checking, is now Chase.”

Chase customers can avoid checking fees through a variety of methods — maintaining a minimum daily balance, a high average balance, making at least one large direct deposit, or by paying a bunch of other fees.

The amounts required — at least one $500 deposit — aren’t Draconian, but the rules mean consumers have a lot of new things to keep track of. They will slip up, and pay. And of course, the rules can and will change. Beware the notice that you’ve just been upgraded to “Complete Awesome Checking” or “Value Asset Acquisition Checking.” You almost certainly are about to be hit with a new fee or rule.

What it costs: Two mistakes — $24

5) The hidden cost of no interest
Of course, requiring a minimum balance of $1,500 or so is itself a fee. That’s money you could park in a high-yielding money market account earning interest. Even a 1 percent interest rate would get you a smidge more than $15 on your $1,500, so that kind of minimum requirement amounts to a $15 annual fee.

What it costs: Missed interest — $15

TOTAL TRAP COST: $253 annually.

This entire column has been a not-so-subtle suggestion that you consider banking alternatives. Online banks like ING Direct offer higher interest and fewer fees. Credit unions and small banks still offer really free checking. In fact, BankRate.com just released a survey showing 38 of the 50 largest credit unions have free checking with no strings attached, and about half of them don’t even require a minimum balance. Their ATM fees are, on average, half of traditional bank fees and one-quarter of the large credit unions charge no ATM fees at all.

That means there’s no reason not to open a credit union account, even if it merely serves as a secondary checking account.

http://redtape.msnbc.com/2011/03/total-checking-value-checking-myaccess-checking-what-do-they-all-have-in-common-the-word-free-is-decidedly-missing-from-t.html?GT1=43001