Busted: Bankers and The Global Economy

July 31, 2011

Realities Behind the U.S. Debt Crisis

While incompetent and corrupt politics continues to announce a huge divide between sides, the real truth is that Americans have been deceived. The last election proved how little difference exists between moderates on either side, and that is what politics in the United States plays to. Despite the rhetoric in debt crisis debate, there are few meaningful differences in the plans that are being voted on.

Both bills have been estimated to reduce the national budget deficit by around $900 billion over the next 10 years, which is small change in a nation that is overspending by 50%. $750 billion is linked to actual decisions to cut spending. The remaining savings are another accounting gimmick, a projected reduction in interest payments on the national debt because of the proposed budget cuts. $70 billion of the “huge savings” will be applied to 2012 and 2013. As usual, deciding to do anything meaningful always points off somewhere in the distant future. $70 billion is small potatoes for a large economy that continually overspends by increasing margins.

The real issue resides in the fact that the nation has an unstable fiat currency that has been losing its purchasing power for decades. Today, the well is virtually dry, which could easily result in the collapse of the dollar as international currency. This makes the reality of planning ahead a mere mental exercise instead of meaningful in any way. What is worse is that all this fancy accounting is dependent on an unrealistic gross national product of 4.86%. As a result, this budgeting is an exercise in smoke and mirrors.

If you live in the United States, you’ve probably heard the grim news. National GDP growth for the first quarter of 2011 was just revised down yesterday by 81% from 1.91% to 0.36%. Never mind that 1.91% is paltry growth anyway. Second quarter estimates for the nation look even worse as the Federal Reserve prints more fiat dollars than ever before. Printing greenbacks doesn’t create economic growth or employment.

As the Federal Government wriggles in credit agony, the Treasury had $51.6 billion available for discretionary spending. The U.S. Treasury expects to bring in $172.4 billion from August 3rd through August 31st in tax receipts, while being scheduled to pay out $306.7 billion. This means a projected deficit of $134.3 billion. The Federal Government is scheduled to make its interest payment of $30 billion on the national debt on August 15th. They are now on track to spend a record $514.5 billion this year on interest payments alone. The nation faces an increase of the interest rate because of a likelihood of a credit downgrade, which would destroy any deficit reductions proposed by national politicians.

The Treasury has been able to pay bills in recent weeks by using accounting gimmicks, but that has come to an end in a few days. The Federal Government is in a real pickle without more fiat money printed by the Federal Reserve. Prioritizing incoming tax receipts of an expected $174.2 billion is essential, which will include the $30 billion interest payment on August 15th to avoid default.

The immediate obligations to the populace in August are $49.2 billion in Social Security, $50 billion in Medicare and Medicaid, topped by $12.8 billion in unemployment benefits. $23 billion of $49.2 billion in Social Security payments are due to be paid on August 3rd. $59 billion in treasury bills are due on August 4th to pay back investors. This says nothing of $31.7 billion in defense payments to pay soldiers and the like.

As a U.S. debt default and credit shortage looms, investors continue (so far) to invest in Treasury Bonds as a safe haven, which would be worthless in the event of a national default. All of this assumes, of course, that they don’t rewrite all the rules because of the need to save the international economy. I’m surprised that they haven’t already taken over the ‘renegade’ credit agencies in the name of national security so that the world can continue to ride the dollar bubble.

After all the politics, interest rates are likely to be propelled rapidly upward, resulting in obvious hyperinflation that cannot be quietly manipulated or explained away. The world is flooded with American greenbacks, thanks in no small part to the uninspired management of Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve. As a result, the Federal Reserve is likely to be the only buyer for U.S. debt. How long will that last as it is?

February 4, 2011

Bernanke: Catastrophic Implications for U.S. Economy

Filed under: banking, business, corporatism, economy, federal reserve, government, money, recession — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — digitaleconomy @ 6:09 am

 

USA facing debt crisis

Ben Bernanke of U.S. Federal Reserve has warned that the failure to promptly raise the national debt ceiling would catastrophic.  This catastrophe would clearly have a negative impact on paper assets denominated in dollars and other fiat currencies.

Bernanke was blunt about the threats by some congressional Republicans to use the upcoming debt-ceiling vote as sledgehammer to force harsh spending cuts:

“I would very much urge Congress not to focus on the debt limit as being the bargaining chip in this discussion, but rather to address directly the spending and tax issues that we have to deal with in order to make progress on this fiscal situation,”

“Beyond a certain point … the United States would be forced into a position of defaulting on its debt. And the implications of that on our financial system, our fiscal policy and our economy would be catastrophic.”

It’s important to realize that Bernanke did not use his typical conservative language regarding the necessity of addressing U.S. fiscal challenges. To the contrary, he painted a bleak picture of the possible consequences of failing to act:

“… if government debt and deficits were actually to grow at the pace envisioned, the economic and financial effects would be severe. Sustained high rates of government borrowing would both drain funds away from private investment and increase our debt to foreigners, with adverse long-run effects on U.S. output, incomes, and standards of living. Moreover, diminishing investor confidence that deficits will be brought under control would ultimately lead to sharply rising interest rates on government debt and, potentially, to broader financial turmoil. In a vicious circle, high and rising interest rates would cause debt-service payments on the federal debt to grow even faster, causing further increases in the debt-to-GDP ratio and making fiscal adjustment all the more difficult.”

January 5, 2011

Hyperinflation: Top Economic Predictions

The National Inflation Association is pleased to announce its top 10 predictions for 2011:

1) The Dow/Gold and Gold/Silver ratios will continue to decline.

Major declines in the Dow/Gold and Gold/Silver ratios in the works. The Dow/Gold ratio was 9.3 at the time and finished 2010 down 15% to 8.1. The Gold/Silver ratio was 64 at the time and finished 2010 down 28% to 46. We expect to see the Dow/Gold ratio decline to 6.5 and the Gold/Silver ratio decline to 38 in 2011. Later this decade, we expect to see the Dow/Gold ratio bottom at 1 and the Gold/Silver ratio decline to below 16 and possibly as low as 10.

2) Colleges will begin to go bankrupt and close their doors.

The USA has a college education bubble in America that was made possible by the U.S. government’s willingness to give out cheap and easy student loans. With all of the technological advances that have been taking place worldwide, the cost for a college education in America should be getting cheaper. Instead, private four-year colleges have averaged 5.6% tuition inflation over the past six years.

College tuitions are the one thing in America that never declined in price during the panic of 2008. Despite collapsing stock market and Real Estate prices, college tuition costs surged to new highs as Americans instinctively sought to become better educated in order to better ride out and survive the economic crisis. Unfortunately, American students who overpaid for college educations are graduating and finding out that their degrees are worthless and no jobs are available for them. They would have been better off going straight into the work force and investing their money into gold and silver. That way, they would have real wealth today instead of debt and would already have valuable work place experience, which is much more important than any piece of paper.

Colleges and universities took on ambitious construction projects and built new libraries, gyms, and sporting venues, that added no value to the education of students. These projects were intended for the sole purpose of impressing students and their families. The administrators of these colleges knew that no matter how high tuitions rose, students would be able to simply borrow more from the government in order to pay them.

Americans today can purchase just about any type of good on Amazon.com, cheaper than they can find it in retail stores. This is because Amazon.com is a lot more efficient and doesn’t have the overhead costs of brick and mortar retailers. NIA expects to see a new trend of Americans seeking to become educated cheaply over the Internet. There will be a huge drop off in demand for traditional college degrees. NIA expects to see many colleges default on their debts in 2011. These colleges will be forced to either downsize and educate students more cost effectively or close their doors for good.

3) U.S. retailers will report declines in profit margins and their stocks will decline.

Although most analysts on Wall Street believe retailers will report a major increase in holiday season sales over a year ago, NIA believes any top line growth retailers report will come at the expense of dismal bottom line profits. NIA expects many retailers to report large declines in their profit margins for the 4Q of 2010 and first half of 2011. Retailers have been selling goods at bargain basement prices in order to generate demand. Americans, being flush with newly printed dollars from the Federal Reserve, have been eager to buy up supplies of goods at artificially low prices. However, shareholders will likely sell off their retail stocks on this news. As share prices of retail stocks decline, retailers will begin to rapidly increase their prices by mid-2011.

4) The mainstream public will begin to buy gold.

Although the mainstream media continues to proclaim we have a gold bubble, it is impossible to have a gold bubble when mainstream America isn’t buying gold. The average American is more likely to be a seller of gold through companies like Cash4Gold, in order to raise enough dollars to put food on their table. Most Americans today don’t even know the price of gold. During the next 12 months, we expect to see a huge ramping up in the public’s knowledge about gold. More Americans than ever will know the current price of gold and understand that it is real money. By the end of 2011, we expect the general public to begin looking at gold as an investment, just like they began looking at Real Estate as an investment in 2003. Sometime during the next six months, we believe you will overhear a stranger at a restaurant talking about investing into gold. We believe the price of gold could surge to as high as $2,000 per ounce in 2011.

5) We will see a huge surge in municipal debt defaults.

In the closing months of 2010, we saw yields on municipal bonds rise to their highest levels since early 2009. After 29 consecutive weeks of inflows into municipal bond funds, investors are now pulling money out of municipal bond funds by record amounts, with $9 billion exiting municipal bond funds in the five weeks leading up to Christmas. NIA believes there could be a small dip in municipal bond yields over the next couple of months as investors realize that municipal debt defaults might not be imminent, but we expect municipal bond yields to begin rising again by mid-2011 with a huge surge in municipal debt defaults coming in the second half of 2011. Although the Federal Government has a printing press that it uses in order to pay its debts, cities and municipalities do not.

6) We will see a large decline in the crude oil/natural gas ratio.

When we released our top 10 predictions for 2010, crude oil was $73 per barrel and we predicted that oil prices would rise to $100 per barrel in 2010. Crude oil ended up rising by 26% in 2010 to $92 per barrel, coming short of our outlook. However, it is possible our $100 per barrel oil forecast might be off by just a month or two. We wouldn’t be surprised to see $100 per barrel oil within the first two months of 2011 and if so, we expect to see a huge movement in America this year towards natural gas.

The crude oil/natural gas ratio currently stands at 20. Historically, the crude oil/natural gas ratio has averaged 10 and based on an energy equivalent basis, crude oil and natural gas prices should have a 6 to 1 ratio. Brand new fracking technology has caused natural gas supplies in the U.S. to rise to record levels. Although our country might be flooded with natural gas, the natural gas fracking boom that is taking place across the U.S. today is causing ground water in the U.S. to become contaminated. Americans living near natural gas wells that use fracking, are finding that they can now light the water coming out of their faucets on fire. New government regulations are likely to crack down on natural gas fracking and this will come at the same time as American individuals and businesses begin to convert their automobiles and machinery to run off of natural gas. A large decline in the crude oil/natural gas ratio in 2011 is likely, possibly down to as low as 15.

7) The median U.S. home will decline sharply priced in silver.

For the past couple of years, being able to make ones mortgage payment has been the primary concern for the average American. In an attempt to support housing prices and keep mortgage interest rates at artificially low levels, the Federal Reserve has been implementing massive quantitative easing and buying mortgage backed securities. NIA believes the Federal Reserve will be successful at putting a nominal floor under Real Estate prices. NIA also believes that the Federal Reserve’s actions will cause a massive decline in the value of the U.S. dollar, which will allow Americans to more easily pay back their mortgages with depreciated U.S. dollars.

However, the Federal Reserve will not be successful at reinflating the Real Estate bubble. In fact, in terms of real money (gold and silver), NIA believes Real Estate prices will decline to record lows. The median U.S. home is currently priced at $170,600 or 5,500 ounces of silver. Priced in silver, the median U.S. home price is down 16% from one month ago and 45% from one year ago. After the inflationary crisis of the 1970s, silver rose to a high in 1980 of $49.45 per ounce. The median U.S. home price in 1980 was $47,200, which means the median U.S. home/silver ratio declined to a low of 954.

With the Federal Reserve printing money at an unprecedented rate and record amounts of new homes built during the recent Real Estate bubble, NIA believes it is inevitable that the median U.S. home will decline to a price of 1,000 ounces of silver this decade and possibly as low as 500 ounces of silver. In 2011, we believe a decline in the median U.S. home price to 4,000 ounces of silver is possible.

8) Food inflation will become America’s top crisis.

Starting a few decades ago and accelerating in recent years, America has seen a boom in non-productive service jobs, mainly in the financial sector. Most of these jobs were made possible by inflation. Without inflation, which steals from the purchasing power of the incomes and savings of goods producing workers, the majority of the jobs on Wall Street would not exist today and our country would be in much better financial shape because of it.

With most Americans in recent decades seeking non-productive jobs in the financial services sector because that is where they could access the Fed’s cheap and easy money, very few Americans sought jobs in the farming and agriculture sector. In the 1930s, approximately 28% of the population was employed in the agriculture sector, but today this number is less than 2%. Agriculture currently makes up only 1.2% of U.S. GDP, compared to the services sector, which makes up 76.9% of U.S. GDP.

There is currently a major shortage of farmers in the U.S. and a lot of land that was previously used for farming has now been developed with Real Estate. To make matters worse, agricultural products now trade on the international market and Americans must now compete against citizens of emerging nations like China and India for the purchasing of food.

Prices of goods and services do not rise equally when governments create monetary inflation. Inflation gravitates most towards the items that Americans need the most and there is nothing that Americans need more to survive than food and agriculture. As the U.S. government prints money, the first thing Americans will spend it on is food. Americans can cut back on energy use by moving into a smaller home and carpooling to work. They can cut back on entertainment, travel, and other discretionary spending. However, Americans can never stop spending money on food.

The days of cheap food in America are coming to an end. The recent unprecedented rise that we have seen in agricultural commodity prices is showing no signs of letting up. In the past few days, sugar futures reached a new 30-year high, coffee futures reached a new 13-year high, orange juice futures reached a new 3-year high, corn futures reached a new 29-month high, soybean futures reached a new 27-month high, and palm oil futures reached a new 33-month high.

We estimate that it takes as long as six months for rising agricultural commodity prices to be felt by U.S. consumers in their local supermarket. Even if food producers and retailers accept substantially lower profit margins in 2011, we are still guaranteed to see double-digit across the board U.S. food inflation in the first half of the year. That is correct, let us repeat, NIA guarantees that Americans will see double-digit food inflation in the first half of 2011.

Shockingly, except for Glenn Beck (who was kind enough to feature our food inflation report), absolutely nobody in the mainstream media is doing anything to warn Americans about the food inflation crisis that is ahead. In fact, left-wing groups like Media Matters (funded by George Soros) have been working tirelessly to try and discredit NIA’s research while reassuring Americans that they need not worry about food inflation. The truth is, when Americans realize that they can no longer take food for granted, we will likely see the outbreak of an all out food price panic with everybody rushing to the supermarket to stock up on goods before prices rise even further. The end result will likely be government price controls and empty store shelves, but NIA doesn’t project this to occur until later this decade.

9) QE2 will disappoint and the Federal Reserve will prepare QE3.

The Dow Jones is now back up to 11,670, which is where it was in mid-2008 before the crash. NIA believes that most of QE2 has already been priced into the market, before the Federal Reserve even prints the $600 billion. At some point, we expect it to become apparent to all that the U.S. economic recovery is phony and stock prices are rising solely due to inflation. In our opinion, we will see some sort of catalyst that causes the stock market to sell off at some point and the consensus on Wall Street will be that QE2 will not be enough to save the U.S. economy. By the end of 2011, we expect the Federal Reserve to begin planning QE3. QE3 might be the final dose of inflation that causes the U.S. economy to overdose into hyperinflation.

10) Sarah Palin will announce she is running for President as a Republican.

NIA believes that Sarah Palin has been setup perfectly to run for President in 2012 and that she will announce her candidacy for the Republican nomination with great fanfare from tea party supporters in 2011. We give Sarah Palin credit for recently speaking out against the Federal Reserve’s QE2 and warning Americans about the food inflation crisis that is ahead. Unfortunately, we believe Sarah Palin is not a true independent and is being controlled by the Republican establishment, which is just as responsible as the Democrats are for the financial crisis we have today. As President, Palin would be unlikely to implement the measures that are necessary to prevent hyperinflation. In our opinion, we need to elect a true libertarian candidate as President who will cut government spending, balance the budget, and restore sound money. NIA intends to support Ron Paul, if he decides to run for President.

Thanks to the National Inflation Association for these really decent and down-to-earth predictions.

December 31, 2010

2011: A New Year for Dogs & Ponies

It’s been a great year if you haven’t looked much at the world around you, but there is always potential, especially for Wall Street leveraging and central bankers. Since I’ve retired in earnest, I sometimes shut off the news because I’d rather think about something else. Perhaps you’ve been doing this too. If so, you may not for much longer. Scuttlebutt at the G20 has it that the dollar won’t be the darling of the world much longer. So what, you say! That kind of talk has been going on for years. Apparently, the G20 finance ministers have decided that on May 4, 2011 that the dollar will no longer be the “world reserve currency.” So what you say? Even if you don’t believe it, the scenario is rather entertaining, i.e., would make a great movie. It’s a real dog and pony show.

Even now silver and gold paper is highly leveraged, much like the dollar is with the fractional reserve. There is so much leveraged paper out there that the system in place is likely to implode from the panic. There isn’t enough silver and gold bullion in the marketplace, or rather, in the storehouses. This is already heating up into a potential crisis, a run on the bank, as it were. Won’t that make gold and silver more valuable? Only if you have your gold or silver in real gold or silver. In that case, you won’t have worthless paper securities, but a real danger of having your life taken from you if anyone knows you have it. Because of this, you won’t be able to spend it either, because if you did, somebody would know you had it.

As I said, the demand for the real gold and silver will be terrific as the former world reserve currency plunges into oblivion. Either singular scenario means hyperinflation. With OPEC oil being the USA major import, the nation will shut down from lack of fuel or rather, the ability to buy it. The nation has an oil reserve, but that won’t last long the way America consumes it. Too bad we can’t leverage the oil reserve to pretend there’s more. I’m not finished yet.

The Fed has initiated Quantitative Easing (known as QE2) that spells an end to the Bretton Woods accord with the idea of replacing it with a different system. Trading partners are nervous, but they aren’t the only ones. For now, export-dependent nations recycle capital to USA markets in order to sustain demand. The Federal Reserve decided that the only way to fight deflation and high unemployment in the USA was by weakening the dollar to make USA exports more competitive. That means that the USA will be battling for the same export market as the rest of the world, which will shrink global demand for goods and services. Never mind that China’s decision to back off on the dollar would be enough to cause a dollar crisis. Never mind that the multinationals will hate this as profits plunge. Government officials will wet their pants in panic. Number of jobless Americans will go through the roof, if we had one. Wal-Mart, so dependent on China exports will close. Inventories will be short. National GDPs will shrink. Economies will contract. Ooh. It’s not pretty.

Paul Volcker recently opined: “The growing sense around much of the world is that we have lost both relative economic strength and more important, we have lost a coherent successful governing model to be emulated by the rest of the world. Instead, we’re faced with broken financial markets, underperformance of our economy and a fractious political climate…” Everyone has rode the pony too hard. Now the powers that be are preparing to run the show in a way that is untested. We aren’t sure whether the dogs can carry the weight. All those “risk-free” treasury bonds are in real danger. The whole system is bankrupt. The USA stands to lose all its status. Central bankers know this, but they already hold all the valuables, and the means for a new system.

The world doesn’t care about the USA deficit, as long as it’s used to bail out the world in some sense. 100 major cities are facing bankruptcy this year unless they get a federal bailout. Even though Great Britain opted for austerity measures, the USA doesn’t really have this for a choice because they hold the debt bag for the global standard. Central bankers have the valuables and the credit to prolong the current system as they please or not. Meanwhile, Main Street and the population is more tightly squeezed than ever. Those trained dogs are walking a tightrope, but for how long? President Obama needs to hold everything together with a grand distraction so that he will be handily re-elected. What do you think that will be? It’s sure to be glorious.

In the meantime, go ahead and shut off your TV until something better comes along. Have a party while you can. You might not have long to wait.

December 27, 2010

Hyperinflation Projected by 2015

Filed under: banking, business, central bank, corporatism, economy, inflation — Tags: , , , , , — digitaleconomy @ 2:18 am

November 10, 2010

Obama: Embrace Globalism And The Emerging One World Economy

Barack Obama made some interesting comments about the USA economy and American attitudes during a joint commentary in Mumbai, India.

President Obama made these comments about the Federal Reserve, effectively a “no comment” statement.

The Federal Reserve is an independent body. It doesn’t take orders from the White House, and it’s important as a policy matter, as an institutional matter, that we don’t comment on particular Fed actions.

About offshoring or outsourcing, President Obama made the following remarks:

I don’t think you’ve heard me make outsourcing a bogeyman during the course of my visit. In fact, I explicitly said in my address in Mumbai to the Business Council that I think both countries are operating on some stereotypes that have outlived their usefulness.

I want to be able to say to the American people when they ask me, well, why are you spending time with India, aren’t they taking our jobs? — I want to be able to say, actually, you know what, they just created 50,000 jobs. And that’s why we shouldn’t be resorting to protectionist measures; we shouldn’t be thinking that it’s just a one-way street. I want both the citizens in the United States and citizens in India to understand the benefits of commercial ties between the two countries.

Essentially, the attitude of President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Singh is one of tough nuts to America. They advertise outsourcing as good for India and the world.

November 5, 2010

USA Economy: Bernanke Gets ‘Creative’

The Federal Reserve has been mandated by Congress to reduce unemployment while holding their interest rate near zero.  They plan to buy $600 billion in Treasury securities to keep prices from falling and reduce further the long-term borrowing costs, even as 8,000 commercial banks are being locked out of the money flow that could be used to begin financial healing on Main Street.

Bernanke plans to use the tools created during the recession to pump life into the USA economy. They have been projecting that the USA economy has been expanding for 15 months, but not to their satisfaction. They want the USA economy to grow at a larger rate. The reaction of the market has caused the dollar to fall and stocks to rise, as if Wall Street is a true measure of the USA economy. The focus is on Wall Street. Main Street be damned.

Bernanke hopes that he can encourage Wall Street investors to take more risks without risking inflation or encouraging price bubbles of assets by pushing the unemployment rate, which has been above 9 percent since June 2009.

Allen Sinai, the chief global economist at Decision Economics Inc. in New York claims that the Federal Reserve is not working up to standard. He criticized that they are paid to do the job more effectively, but their work is not up to standard. The fact remains that no human institution is truly equipped to deal with the crisis. We are in new economic territory with a global currency at stake, currently propped up by Wall Street as a distraction from the truth.

To push the rate of unemployment down, the central bank wants to spur the rate of US economic growth above a 2.5 annual growth rate.

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