Creation of Debt As The Basis For Growth

Welfare states by regulation, a system by which growth is created with debt, money no longer a store of value, punishing savers and creating speculators, outrage over the last three US federal administrations has led to the current midterm election result, currency war, trade war, virtual fence broken.

November 3 2010

The UK, Europe, the US and Canada are different degrees of welfare states. By way of regulation, government controls via taxation. The states and their inhabitants send taxes to Washington, which takes its cut and sends funds back to the states with strings attached. You either do what we want you to do, or we cut off your funds. The states and the people are subject to extortion with government using their funds to do so. By using regulations, welfare and extortion, the federal government creates dependency.

Another phenomenon that has developed is a second dependency. People in society, not just in the US, but also in many countries, are dependent on their grandparents and parents and as years progress that situation will worsen. Earning power to maintain a previous lifestyle is no longer available with the staggering tax burden. Including income and VAT taxes in Europe, taxation averages 70%. The ability and opportunity to become successful and wealthy is more limited in today’s societies. Even the college degree has been demeaned. Almost anyone who can hold a pencil today is college material, when 60% of attendees shouldn’t even be there. Adding insult, the jobs once available to college attendees are no longer available, because more often then not illegal aliens hold them. As a result, it is far more difficult to work your way through college and as a result one graduates with a loan for $60,000 that will be paid back in many cases over a lifetime. In most cases that means most won’t be able to afford to buy a house until they are in the 30s or 40, if ever.

Since 1913 the basis for growth in America has been creation of debt out of thin air, a product of the privately owned Federal Reserve and a fractional banking system. It is considered prudent under such a system to lend nine times your underlying assets. Several years ago the figure was 70 and today it is still 40 times. Government and citizens purchase economic goods on credit. Government issues bonds and individuals borrow money.

Today money is only a method of exchange; it is not longer a store of value, especially in an environment of zero interest rates. An important characteristic of money to retain its soundness is gold backing. Today only one currency has any gold backing and that is the euro, which has about 5% gold backing. Ten years ago that backing was 15%, but gold was sold off to suppress the price of gold in conjunction with the US government and many other central banks. As a result we have a world of essentially worthless fiat currencies. The world is left with no sound money and as a result gold has again taken its place as the world’s reserve currency. If for no other reason is that it owes no one anything. Occasionally silver fulfills this role as well - both have for the last six centuries.

Financial operations conducted by government and a privately owned Federal Reserve leads to the extended creation of money and credit exceeding revenues. That leads to inflation, perhaps hyperinflation, and some times eventually deflationary depression. This is especially true when currency is not backed by gold. Having a Federal Reserve makes sound money even more difficult, because it can create endless amounts of money and credit as we have witnessed since August 15, 1971. What the banks and the Federal Reserve have done is use the fractional banking system to steal and expropriate the wealth of dollar owners. Such a system by its very nature is unsound. There is no such thing as full faith and credit, because it is not worth the paper it is written on, whether it is issued by a Federal Reserve or by a government, especially if it’s fiat or unbacked by something such as gold. This money leads to servitude because as it carries less value perpetually and the discovery leads to war and totalitarian government.

A recent manifestation of this profligacy is the urging by government for consumers to consume more with their steadily depreciating currency and to stop paying off debt. At the same time interest rates are lowered to zero to encourage consumption. Needless to say, savers are penalized with poor returns. That is for the most part the elderly. Such policy forces savers to become speculators, unless, of course, they have discovered gold and silver related investments. This process reduces the savings base and forces central banks to create more and more aggregates. It also enrages savers. The entire game has been changed and for the most part few have learned how to protect themselves.

The foregoing allows the Dow to sell at higher levels than previously because a part of those savings go into the stock market and bonds. If you haven’t noticed the bond market is in a bubble created by the Fed. You would think there was some kind of safety in stocks and bonds. Then again, desperate people do desperate things. If you want to see what safety in bonds is, just look at Britain’s bond markets since WWII. This is the sort of result you can expect when you marry corporations and government, and you end up with corporatist fascism.

By the time you read this the US congressional elections will be over and the Democrats will have lost about 50 House seats and probably 9 Senate seats. The American people are outraged over what has been done to them by the last three administrations.

As a result gold has been rising strongly, as the dollar remains under pressure. This in part is due to QE2, as well as the systemic problems facing the US economy. Spending the economy into strength again is not working. The only party increasing spending is the government. They also reflect most of the job growth. Private construction was the weakest in a dozen years.

This is reflected as well in government debt up $1.65 trillion to $13.5 trillion. The government is so deep in debt it cannot sell more debt fast enough to keep up with increases and old debt. The Fed has to purchase 80% of that debt, which cannot continue indefinitely. The result of all this is that the US lurches from one crisis to another.

As always bankers have been borrowing short to lend long, a sure recipe for disaster. That leads us to one of the greatest frauds of the century, the collapse of the real estate market and securitized mortgages. In order to survive banks are borrowing from the Fed at zero rates and lending back to them at 2-1/2%. No one says anything because no one wants the banks to fail. No matter what you call it the result is extending the debt timeline hoping something good will happen

Over the past few weeks we have seen the beginnings of trade war, which in reality had been going on for years. The statements by Chairman of the Fed, Bernanke, and statements as well by Treasury Secretary Geithner, started the ball rolling. The discussion of a possible QE2 set off wild currency volatility with the dollar falling the most and the yen, euro and Aussie dollars being the strongest. The Swiss franc shared leadership with the yen. While this transpired Mr. Geithner told the world the government wanted a strong dollar and that its lower level was just about right.

The significance of currency war is that inevitably leads to trade war. You might call it a backdoor entry. The string of competitive devaluations over the years were overlooked and tolerated by the US because cheap foreign goods held down US inflation and the dollars purchased to subdue domestic currency value were used to buy US Treasuries and Agencies. That benefit was now of limited benefit as nations bought less Treasuries and the Fed had to monetize US Treasury debt. This has and will continue to bottle up inflation to a larger degree in the US, as less hot US dollar flow goes into foreign countries. Countries such as Brazil have already implemented a tax on dollar flows into their country. We can expect more countries to follow and that will be followed by US trade taxes on goods and services. We have already started to see this in goods sold in China and the US. The US wants to increase exports and a weaker dollar makes that happen.

The Fed via stealth has been engaged in QE2 since early June via the bond and repo markets and Wall Street is well aware of that. The easing is talked to in terms of $500 billion over the short term in order to keep the economy level to slightly higher. Some $2.5 trillion will be needed over the next year and another 42.5 trillion the following year. If not forthcoming deflation will rear its ugly head and devour the US and then the world economy. In the meantime the secretive Fed has been surreptitiously lending more funds to Europe to Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

The deliberately cheapened Chinese yuan has caused a $260 billion trade deficit with China, or a 20% plus increase. That is a doubling in 10 years from 20% to 40% of its trade deficit. China says it is willing to raise the value of the yuan incrementally over the next several years, but that simply isn’t good enough. We believe trade barriers will become a major issue in the coming session of Congress. The transnational conglomerates know such a move is inevitable. The US has to find a way to solve growing unemployment, which in the real world now stands at 22-3/4%. You cannot have a recovery as long as that many people are unemployed. In addition, those numbers are headed higher, soon to reach 1930’s depression levels. This is something that should have been done long ago, but the elitist forces fought it off as long as possible. The end of free trade and globalization, as we have known it, over the past 20 years will be one of the bigger issues in congress over the next two years. When the yuan is 40% undervalued it becomes a major issue.

The flip side of the immediate problem of QE2 and a lower dollar is higher gold, silver and commodity prices, and an increase in inflation. Mr. Bernanke says we need inflation. Not a lot just a little. Official CPI figures are up 1.6%, whereas real inflation has risen 7% and is headed higher. It’s tough being between the rock and the hard place and that is where the Fed sits. It’s expanded money and credit for banking and Wall Street so no one will be too big to fail.

This issue will hit the streets prior to all the election results being known.

Just as big news will be how much QE2 will be admitted to by the Fed and besides Treasuries and Agencies, how much and what other bonds will the Fed purchase? After we find out how money will be injected into the system we then have to discern how much inflation it will foster.

The truth of the current Keynesian economic system has been taken for granted and it is in the processes of failure. That event demands that the system be purged of its excesses. As we projected back in May, the Fed and the administration will pour $5 trillion into the economy over the next two years just to keep the economy going sideways. This is a staggering amount of money and credit created out of thin air to be monetized, which will certainly depreciate the dollar. We have just seen food and other prices double again. What will happen when all this liquidity hits the economy? You guessed it, more inflation. For some reason the masters of the universe on Wall Street seem to think that somehow inflation and hyperinflation will not appear. They believe in a destructive theory that everything they believe is true. It is part of their misreading of life and its real meaning.

The US would be spending a whopping $200 million per day on President Barack Obama's visit to the city.

"The huge amount of around $200 million would be spent on security, stay and other aspects of the Presidential visit," a top official of the Maharashtra Government privy to the arrangements for the high-profile visit said.

About 3,000 people including Secret Service agents, US government officials and journalists would accompany the President. Several officials from the White House and US security agencies are already here for the past one week with helicopters, a ship and high-end security instruments.

"Except for personnel providing immediate security to the President, the US officials may not be allowed to carry weapons. The state police is competent to take care of the security measures and they would be piloting the Presidential convoy," the official said on condition of anonymity.

Navy and Air Force has been asked by the state government to intensify patrolling along the Mumbai coastline and its airspace during Obama's stay. The city's airspace will be closed half-an-hour before the President's arrival for all aircraft barring those carrying the US delegation.

The personnel from SRPF, Force One, besides the NSG contingent stationed here would be roped in for the President's security, the official said.

The area from Hotel Taj, where Obama and his wife Michelle would stay, to Shikra helipad in Colaba would be cordoned off completely during the movement of the President.

 

Shares of Ambac Financial Group Inc. (ABK 0.50, -0.32, -39.23%) were down 49% in Monday's premarket trading after the company in a regulatory filing said its board has decided not to make a regularly scheduled interest payment on notes due in 2023. If the interest is not paid within 30 days of the scheduled interest payment date of Nov. 1, an event of default will occur under the indenture for the notes, Ambac said. The firm has been unable to raise additional capital as an alternative to seeking bankruptcy protection and is currently pursuing with an ad hoc committee of senior debt holders a restructuring of its outstanding debt through a prepackaged bankruptcy proceeding, according to the filing. If Ambac is unable to reach agreement on a prepackaged bankruptcy in the near term, it intends to file for bankruptcy prior to the end of the year. "Such filing may be with or without agreement with major creditor groups concerning a plan of reorganization," Ambac said.

[When Ambac insures, mostly municipal bonds, they transfer their own rating to the bonds so if a municipal has a rating of BBB and Ambac is AAA, the municipals assume a Triple A status. If Ambac goes out of business the bonds lose their AAA status and revert to their normal rating status, which might be B or BBB or AA, the bottom line is munis are going to fall in value and we predicted this would happen two years ago, and as usual few were listening. Bob]

 

The Transportation Security Administration is implementing an enhanced pat-down procedure at national airport security checkpoints, including in Greater Rochester International Airport.

Last week the Dow fell 0.1%, S&P was unchanged, the Russell 2000 was unchanged and the Nasdaq 100 gained 1%. Banks fell 1.1%; broker/dealers rose 0.6%; cyclicals fell 0.4% and transports were unchanged. Consumers fell 0.5%; utilities fell 0.6%; high tech rose 1.6%; semis surged 4.4%; Internets rose 3.2% and biotechs rose 1.4%. Gold bullion rose $30.00, the HUI rose 4.4% and the USDX fell 0.4% to 77.04.

The 2-year T-bills fell 2 bps to 0.33% and the 10-year T-notes rose 4 bps to 2.60%. The 10-year German bunds gained 4 bps to 2.52%.

Freddie Mac 30-year fixed rate mortgages rose 2 bps to 4.23%, the 15’s rose 2 bps to 3.66%, one-year ARMs were unchanged at 3.30% and the 30-year fixed rate jumbos fell 6 bps to 5.18%.

Fed credit fell $1 billion. Fed foreign holdings of Treasury, Agency debt rose $12.9 billion to $3.294 trillion. Custody holdings for foreign central banks rose Year-to-date to $339 billion, or 13.9% annualized.

M2, money supply, expanded $13 billion to $8.873 trillion, that is up 3.5% annualized and yoy it is up 3.3%.

Total money market fund assets rose a large $24.6 billion to $2.807 trillion. YOY assets have fallen $487 billion.

Total commercial paper outstanding jumped $22.8 billion to $1.168 trillion, a high for the year.

 

Economist Stiglitz: We need stimulus, not quantitative easing Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel prize- winning economist at Columbia, disagrees. He thinks it can hurt, and it also won't do very much.

Joseph Stiglitz: The Fed, and the Fed's advocates, are falling into the same trap that led us into the crisis in the first place. Their view is that the major lever for economic policy is the interest rate and if we just get it right, we can steer this. That didn't work. It forgot about financial fragility and how the banking system operates. They're thinking the interest rate is a dial you can set and by setting that dial, you can regulate the economy. In fact, it operates primarily through the banking system, and the banking system is not functioning well. All the literature about how monetary policy operates in normal times is pretty irrelevant to this situation.

The point is the stimulus did work. They made a very big mistake in underestimating the severity of the downturn and asked for too small of a stimulus, and they didn't do enough in the design.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/30/AR2010103004612.html

Stiglitz, Nobel or not, is recycling Keynesian remedies that are the cause of US economic and financial problems; and his logic is faulty.

Joe says QE is undesirable because it will intensify ‘currency wars’. But the currency wars are a direct result of US reliance on Keynesian economics that have pushed the US toward bankruptcy and forced the Fed to paper over the enormous Keynesian deficits. [‘Tis why most economists aren’t money managers.]

The cost of tires, gloves and condoms is set to rise following a 65 per cent jump in the price of natural rubber in the past year.

Yves Smith op-ed in NY Times: How the Banks Put the Economy Underwater - When mortgage securitization took off in the 1980s, the contracts to govern these transactions were written carefully to satisfy not just well-settled, state-based real estate law, but other state and federal considerations. These included each state’s Uniform Commercial Code, which governed “secured” transactions that involve property with loans against them, and state trust law, since the packaged loans are put into a trust to protect investors. On the federal side, these deals needed to satisfy securities agencies and the Internal Revenue Service.

This process worked well enough until roughly 2004, when the volume of transactions exploded. Fee- hungry bankers broke the origination end of the machine. One problem is well known: many lenders ceased to be concerned about the quality of the loans they were creating, since if they turned bad, someone else (the investors in the securities) would suffer.

A second, potentially more significant, failure lay in how the rush to speed up the securitization process trampled traditional property rights protections for mortgages.


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