March 27, 2012
Alexander Higgins Blog
By Alexander Higgins
The Dallas Federal Reserve blasts too big to fail as a perversion of capitalism, outlining how Wall Street bailouts resulted in an unprecedented concentration of wealth.
The Dallas Federal Reserve has just released its damaging annual report titled “Choosing the Road to Prosperity – Why We Must End Too Big to Fail—Now” which reads much like a manifesto of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The report holds no punches in pointing out the concentration of wealth that has been amassed in nation’s top Wall Street Banks following the bank bailouts and directly calls out too big to fail as a perversion of capitalism.
If it wasn’t for the pro-federal reserve talking points in the annual report, you could replace the title on the report with “Why We Occupy” and use it as a handout for the Occupy movement.
In any case, the Dallas Federal Reserve’s annual report hammers home the case of why the “Too Big To Fail” Wall Street banks need to be broken up to restore a more balanced approach to economic equality in the United States.
February 17, 2012
By Tyler Durden
There are those who have been waiting to buy undilutable precious metals in response to a headline announcement from the Fed that it is starting to buy up hundreds of billions of Treasurys or MBS. This is understandable – after all that is precisely the trigger that the headline scanning robots which account for 90% of market action in the past year are programmed to do. And the worst thing that one can do is put on the right trade at the wrong time. Yet it may come as a surprise to some, that while the world was waiting, and waiting, and waiting, for Bernanke to hit the Print button, virtually every other central bank was quietly unleashing it own mini tsunami of liquidity. In fact, as Morgan Stanley puts it, “the Great Monetary Easing Part 2 is in full swing.” But wait, there’s more: in an Austrian world, where fundamentals don’t matter and only how much additional nominal fiat is created is relevant, it is sheer idiocy to assume that the printers will stop here… or anywhere for that matter. They simply can’t, now that the marginal utility of every dollars is sub 1.00 relative to GDP creation. This means that by the time the Global Weimar is in full swing, we will see much, much more easing. Sure enough, MS anticipates an unprecedented additional round of easing in the months ahead. So for those waiting to buy gold et al at the same time as DE Shaw’s correlation quants do, the time will be long gone. Because slowly everyone is realizing that it is not the Fed that is the marginal creator of fake money. It is everyone.
February 13, 2012
By Michael Pento
They always tell you no one rings a bell when a market top or bottom is reached. But a bell is now ringing for the end of the thirty-year bull market in U.S. debt. And ironically, the bell ringer is our very own U.S. Treasury!
The U.S. Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee, which brings together dealers and Treasury officials, met last week in a closed meeting at the Hays Adams Hotel. The committee members unanimously agreed that the Treasury should start permitting negative interest rate bids for T-bills. In other words, newly issued T-bills from the Treasury would offer investors a guaranteed negative return if held to maturity. The mania behind the U.S. debt market has reached such incredible proportions that investors are now willing to lend money to the government at a loss; right from the start of their investment. This is a clear signal that the bond market can’t get any more overcrowded and can’t get any more overpriced.
Of course, many in the MSM contend there is justification for today’s ridiculously low bond yields and that a bubble in U.S. debt is impossible. But those are some of the same individuals who claimed back in 2006 that home prices could never decline on a national level and any talk of a bubble in real estate was nonsense. These are also the same people who assured investors in the year 2000 that prices of internet stocks were fairly priced because they should be valued based upon the number of eyeballs that viewed a webpage.
But we can easily see the future of U.S. Treasuries from viewing what is occurring in Portugal and Greece today. Portugal and Greece were able to borrow tremendous amounts of money because they converted their domestic currencies to the Euro and therefore, had the German balance sheet behind them. If these two countries had to borrow in Escudo’s and Drachma’s instead, yields would have increased much earlier, forcing a reconciliation of the debt years before a major crisis occurred. Therefore, their current debt to GDP ratios would be much more manageable. But now their bond bubbles have burst. The yield on the Portuguese 10 year was 5% a year and a half ago; today it is 15%. Greek 10 year bonds yielded 5% two and a half years ago; today they are 34%! The bottom line is that these counties were able to borrow more money than their economy was able to sustain because their interest rates were kept artificially low.
February 9, 2012
By Tom Woods
“Haven’t you been wondering why people are voting for anyone other than Ron Paul? It’s mind boggling.” –KTRN
I am trying to understand the thinking behind the great many Americans who have decided to vote for a mainstream politician in 2012.
Now before you read the below and send me an angry email telling me I should be nice, that I should try to persuade them through love, etc., let me note that I have generally done that. My video appeal to Iowa radio host Steve Deace was a friendly, reasoned discussion of Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich. My videos about Rick Santorum have been straightforward examinations of the facts. (See my video on Santorum’s view that we need inflation in order to prosper, and my video on why Catholics should instead vote for Ron Paul.)
But once in a while you just can’t take it anymore, and you have to let loose.
So, whether they realize it or not, here are 26 things non-Paul supporters appear to be saying.
(1) The American political establishment has done a super job keeping our country prosperous and our liberties protected, so I’m sure whatever candidate they push on me is probably a good one.
(2) Our country is basically bankrupt. Unfunded entitlement liabilities are in excess of twice world GDP. Therefore, it’s a good idea to vote for someone who offers no specific spending cuts of any kind.
(3) Vague promises to cut spending are good enough for me, even though they have always resulted in higher spending in the past.
(4) I prefer a candidate who plays to the crowd, instead of having the courage to tell his audience things they may not want to hear.
(5) I am deeply concerned about spending. Therefore, I would like to vote for someone who supported Medicare Part D, thereby adding $7 trillion to Medicare’s unfunded liabilities.
January 30, 2012
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
A report for the Kiel Institute for the World Economy said Portugal would have to run a primary budget surplus of over 11pc of GDP a year to prevent debt dynamics spiralling out of control, even in a benign scenario of 2pc annual growth.
“Portugal’s debt is unsustainable. That is the only possible conclusion,” said David Bencek, the co-author, warning that no country can achieve a primary budget surplus above 5pc for long.
“We won’t know what the trigger will be but once there is a decision on Greece people are going to start looking closely and realise that Portugal is the same position as Greece was a year ago.”
Yields on Portugal’s five-year bonds surged on Thursday to a record 18.9pc, reflecting fears that the country will need a second rescue from the EU-ECB-IMF Troika. Three-year yields hit 21pc.
Antonio Saraiva, head of the Confederation of Portuguese Industry, said the first loan package of €78bn (£65bn) did not acknowledge the vast liabilities of public companies, which have been shut out of global capital markets.
“What is lacking is €30bn. I think we will need a mix of more funds and longer terms to be negotiated with the Troika,” he told Reuters.
As Portugal nears the brink, a chorus of voices exhorted Europe to stop bickering over ideology and grasp the nettle at long last. “It is necessary to bring out the bazooka immediately, before the gunpowder gets wet,” said Mexican president Felipe Calderon.
Mr Calderon said the G20 bloc will have to chip in to ensure that the crisis does not engulf Italy and Spain. “The failure of a containment strategy will mean not only the potential implosion of the euro, but an economic crisis with devastating consequences for the rest of the world. This is a task for all of us in the G-20,” he said.
Olli Rehn, the EU’s economics commissioner, said EU bodies may have to absorb some losses on Greek bonds if Greece’s debt is to stay below the target level of 120pc of GDP by 2020. “There is likely to be some increased need of official sector funding, but not anything dramatic,” he said.
Will Kevin Trudeau Run For United States Congress? How To Fix America (What Newt, Mitt, & Obama wont tell you)
Kevin Trudeau is back, and he’s back with a vengeance!
Kevin outlines the beginning steps of How To Fix America. This is the information they are not telling you. You will not hear this discussed by Newt, Mitt, Obama, Trump, or any other pundits or politicians.
If you want to know How To fix America, you must watch this video.
Our liberties and freedoms are being taken away! Trudeau divulges what is wrong with America, and what YOU can do set it back on the right track!
Today is the day you have all been waiting for…KT is back, and he’s back with a vengeance! Our liberties and freedoms are being taken away! Trudeau divulges what is wrong with America, and what YOU can do set it back on the right track!
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November 1, 2011
By Greg Hunter
Last week, the government announced the economy (gross domestic product, GDP) grew at a 2.5% rate. The mainstream media (MSM) hailed this as some significant turnaround. Businessweek.com reported, “Buoyed by a resurgent consumer and strong business investment, the economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the July-September quarter, the government said Thursday. The expansion, the strongest quarterly growth in a year, came as a relief after anemic growth in the first half of the year and weeks of wild stock market shifts.” (Click here for the complete Businessweek.com story.) Where did this so-called growth come from? My bet is most of it came via money printing by the Fed, credit card use and inflation that is mistakenly reported as growth.
Economist John Williams of Shadowstats.com says the 2.5% GDP growth rate story is a sham. In his latest report, he says the economy is not growing but “sinking anew.” Williams criticized the government numbers the day they came out last week by saying, “. . .the widely-followed gross domestic product (GDP) nonetheless remains the most-heavily-biased, the most-heavily-guessed-at, the most-heavily politicized and the most-worthless major indicator of domestic business activity. Today’s numbers out of the Bureau of Economic Analysis are outright nonsense. Consider that latest numbers showed that the level of inflation-adjusted third-quarter 2011 GDP broke above the pre-recession high of fourth-quarter 2007: a full recovery. That is absurd. No other major economic indicator, including payrolls, real (inflation-adjusted) retail sales, industrial production, trade deficit or housing starts is showing that.” (Click here to go to the Shadowstats.com home page.)
There are many other signs the economy is not getting better. The latest data from both Consumer Sentiment and Consumer Confidence surveys have recently plunged right along with home prices. Business week.com reported last week, “The New York-based Conference Board’s household sentiment index slumped to 39.8 in October, the lowest level since March 2009 and less than the most pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey, the group’s data showed today. Property values in 20 cities were little changed in August from the prior month and down 3.8 percent from 2010, according to S&P/Case-Shiller. “The outlook continues to deteriorate,” said Yelena Shulyatyeva, a U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York. “It’s not good for confidence when people see their main asset, their homes, decline in value. Our best-case scenario is we’ll muddle through.” (Click here to read the complete article.)
To top it off, a nationwide survey of bankers last month revealed that most expect home prices will not recover until the year 2020! CNBC covered the story and said, “The survey conducted by the Professional Risk Managers’ International Association for FICO, found that 49 percent of respondents do not expect housing prices to rise back to 2007 levels for another nine years. Only 21 percent of respondents said they would. The findings, which authors called “a decidedly pessimistic outlook,” are a sharp reversal from cautious optimism the survey respondents expressed late last year and in early 2011. In addition, 73 percent of surveyed bankers say they expect mortgage defaults to remain elevated for at least another five years. And 46 percent believe mortgage delinquencies will increase over the next six months.” (Click here for the complete CNBC story.) So, don’t hold your breath for the so-called recovery story becoming reality anytime soon.
October 24, 2011
While all the focus has been on the Eurozone debt crisis recently, the US is suffering a stealth debt crisis of its own which is being ignored – for the moment. As is the burgeoning debt crisis in China.
The US fiscal position is appalling with a $1.6 trillion deficit projected for fiscal 2012 alone. For those who have lost count, the US national debt has risen to over $14.8 trillion. The latest updated projections reveal that the US will reach a 100 percent debt to GDP ratio by Halloween – in 10 days time.
Gold’s recent weakness has coincided with a period of dollar strength but with trade and budget account deficits as far as the eye can see, this dollar strength is likely to be brief.
Indeed, the dollar’s recent strength is due to the fact that while the dollar’s fundamentals are very poor – its competing fiat currencies such as sterling and the euro have similar if not worse outlooks due to imprudent monetary policies.
The possibility that gold could surge to as high as $10,000/oz is gaining traction amongst some respected market participants.
Paul Brodsky, co-founder of QB Asset Management Company has again warned regarding the risks posed to US Treasuries and the possibility of a sharp revaluation of gold that could see gold reach $10,000/oz.
A twenty-year veteran of the bond market in his own right, Brodsky told King World News that the US may return to some form of Gold Standard in order to restore faith in the US dollar.
Proponents, including Steve Forbes and Ron Paul, argue a gold standard would prevent what they see as irresponsible money creation and force the US to live within its means by limiting the amount of money monetary authorities can create.
The idea that the US could revalue gold and devalue the dollar (as was done by Roosevelt in the Great Depression) is gaining increasing currency.
Gold prices would hit $10,000 an ounce or even more should current calls for a return to the gold standard become reality, according to Brodsky.
In conversation with King World News, money manager, Stephen Leeb, said that gold is remarkably undervalued and “is going to add another digit over the next five to ten years there is very little doubt about that.”
Leeb recently said that gold could rise to $12,500/oz. He concluded this based on many of the factors documented by GoldCore in recent years such as gold in terms of financial assets, the monetary base and surging money supply globally.
As the ‘U.S. M2 Money Supply: Accelerating Sharply in 2011’ chart shows, US money supply (M2) has surged in a parabolic manner in the last few months and is up by more than 50% year to date and up 33% in just 4 months – from June 1st to October 1st.
October 20, 2011
The Economic Collapse Blog
Most people have no idea that Wall Street has become a gigantic financial casino. The big Wall Street banks are making tens of billions of dollars a year in the derivatives market, and nobody in the financial community wants the party to end.
The word “derivatives” sounds complicated and technical, but understanding them is really not that hard. A derivative is essentially a fancy way of saying that a bet has been made. Originally, these bets were designed to hedge risk, but today the derivatives market has mushroomed into a mountain of speculation unlike anything the world has ever seen before. Estimates of the notional value of the worldwide derivatives market go from $600 trillion all the way up to $1.5 quadrillion. Keep in mind that the GDP of the entire world is only somewhere in the neighborhood of $65 trillion. The danger to the global financial system posed by derivatives is so great that Warren Buffet once called them “financial weapons of mass destruction”. For now, the financial powers that be are trying to keep the casino rolling, but it is inevitable that at some point this entire mess is going to come crashing down. When it does, we are going to be facing a derivatives crisis that really could destroy the entire global financial system.
Most people don’t talk much about derivatives because they simply do not understand them.
Perhaps a couple of definitions would be helpful.
The following is how a recent Bloomberg article defined derivatives….
Derivatives are financial instruments used to hedge risks or for speculation. They’re derived from stocks, bonds, loans, currencies and commodities, or linked to specific events such as changes in the weather or interest rates.
The key word there is “speculation”. Today the folks down on Wall Street are speculating on just about anything that you can imagine.
The following is how Investopedia defines derivatives….
A security whose price is dependent upon or derived from one or more underlying assets. The derivative itself is merely a contract between two or more parties. Its value is determined by fluctuations in the underlying asset. The most common underlying assets include stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies, interest rates and market indexes. Most derivatives are characterized by high leverage.
A derivative has no underlying value of its own. A derivative is essentially a side bet. Usually these side bets are highly leveraged.
At this point, making side bets has totally gotten out of control in the financial world. Side bets are being made on just about anything you can possibly imagine, and the major Wall Street banks are making a ton of money from it. This system is almost entirely unregulated and it is totally dominated by the big international banks.
Over the past couple of decades, the derivatives market has multiplied in size. Everything is going to be fine as long as the system stays in balance. But once it gets out of balance we could witness a string of financial crashes that no government on earth will be able to fix.
The amount of money that we are talking about is absolutely staggering. Graham Summers of Phoenix Capital Research estimates that the notional value of the global derivatives market is $1.4 quadrillion, and in an article for Seeking Alpha he tried to put that number into perspective….
If you add up the value of every stock on the planet, the entire market capitalization would be about $36 trillion. If you do the same process for bonds, you’d get a market capitalization of roughly $72 trillion.
The notional value of the derivative market is roughly $1.4 QUADRILLION.
I realize that number sounds like something out of Looney tunes, so I’ll try to put it into perspective.
$1.4 Quadrillion is roughly:
-40 TIMES THE WORLD’S STOCK MARKET.
-10 TIMES the value of EVERY STOCK & EVERY BOND ON THE PLANET.
-23 TIMES WORLD GDP.
It is hard to fathom how much money a quadrillion is.
If you started counting right now at one dollar per second, it would take 32 million years to count to one quadrillion dollars.