Posts Tagged ‘central banking’
By James Quinn
“A system of capitalism presumes sound money, not fiat money manipulated by a central bank. Capitalism cherishes voluntary contracts and interest rates that are determined by savings, not credit creation by a central bank.” – Ron Paul
I wonder what goes through Ben Bernanke’s mind as he sits in his gold plated boardroom in the majestic Marriner Eccles building in Washington DC and decides to impoverish grandmothers in order to further enrich Wall Street bankers. He just pledged to keep interest rates at zero percent for two more years. Ben is a supposedly book smart man. Does he have no guilt or shame for what he has wrought? How does he sleep at night knowing he has created bloody revolutions around the globe due to his inflationary zero interest policy? People are dying because he has decided that an elite group of Wall Street bankers who recklessly brought down the worldwide financial system in 2008 deserve to be kept alive and enriched at the expense of the many.
He uses words like transitory to describe inflation. Even as the price of gold reveals his lies he continues to promote policies that will lead to the demise of the USD and our economic system. There is only one way to counter his lies – truth. With a corporate fascist government run by the few for the benefit of the few, telling the truth is treason as stated by Ron Paul:
“Truth is treason in the empire of lies.”
The storyline being sold to you by Bernanke, his Wall Street masters, and their captured puppets in Washington DC is that deflation is the great bogeyman they must slay. They make these statements from their ivory jewel encrusted towers as the real people in the real world deal with reality. The reality since Ben Bernanke announced his QE2 policy in August 2010 is:
Unleaded gas prices are up 45%.
Heating oil prices are up 46%.
Corn prices are up 71%.
Soybean prices are up 26%.
Rice prices are up 13%.
Pork prices are up 31%.
Beef prices are up 25%.
Coffee prices are up 38%.
Sugar prices are up 48%.
Cotton prices are up 13%.
Gold prices are up 42%.
Silver prices are up 115%.
Copper prices are up 23%.
These are the facts and they fly in the face of the lies being spouted by Bernanke and his Federal Reserve cronies. Words like transitory, quantitative easing, extended period, and liquidity are used by Professor Bernanke to obscure what he is doing to the average American. He lives in a world of theories and models, while the rest of us live in the real world, where theories kill and impoverish millions. There are 40 million Americans over the age of 65 today. You might even know a few of them. There will be 10,000 people per day joining their ranks for the next nineteen years as the Baby Boomers retire en masse. The vast majority of these senior citizens are risk averse. Some disturbing facts reveal the true picture for seniors today:
Most senior citizens do not have a traditional pension plan because they have been going out of style over the past 30 years. In 1980, some 39% of private-sector workers had a pension that guaranteed a steady payout during retirement. Today that number stands closer to 15%, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington, D.C. 35% of Americans already over the age of 65 rely almost entirely on Social Security payments alone.
Approximately 3 out of 4 Americans start claiming Social Security benefits the moment they are eligible at age 62. Most are doing this out of necessity. This probably has something to do with the fact that the median retirement savings of households over the age of 65 is less than $45,000.
The median household net worth of all Americans fell from $97,000 in 2005 to $70,000 in 2009. The median household net worth of households over 65 years old fell from $200,000 in 2005 to approximately $150,000 in 2009. Two thirds of seniors’ net worth is the equity in their primary residence, meaning they have $50,000 or less of financial assets (cash, stocks, bonds).
20% of all the households in the United States have zero or negative net worth.
This data sets the scene for the crime of the century committed by Ben Bernanke and his co-conspirators on the Federal Reserve Board. The easiest way to understand how Ben has impoverished seniors and savers to pay off his Wall Street and K Street benefactors is to use a real life example.
A seventy five year old widow living in her paid off row home, bought in 1955, gets by on her annual social security income of $17,000 and the income generated from the $125,000 in retirement savings left from her husband’s forty years working as a truck driver. She is a child of the Depression, financially unsophisticated and risk averse. This describes most senior citizens. The widow and her late husband were only comfortable investing their money in CDs and money market funds. In 2007, before the Wall Street created financial collapse, savers and risk averse senior citizens could earn 5% in a money market fund, 5.5% in a 2 year CD and 6% in a 5 year CD. The widow could supplement her meager social security income with an additional $6,000 of interest income. This money was used to pay the ever increasing real estate taxes, medical insurance premiums, upkeep on the old house, and necessities like food, fuel, insurance and heating.
Fast forward four years to 2011. Savers and seniors are getting average interest rates on 6-month CDs this week of 0.58% nationwide, according to Bankrate.com. Rates on one-year CDs fell this week to 0.86%, while 5- year CDs fetched 2.04%. Money market funds are paying a pitiful 0.16% on average. The widow that was able to generate a risk free $6,000 only four years ago has only been able to generate less than $500 per year for the last three years. In addition, the government manipulated CPI, as calculated by the drones at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was used to deny senior citizens an increase in their Social Security payments for the last two years. Meanwhile, the prices of food, fuel, clothing, insurance, medical care, and local taxes have been skyrocketing due to Federal Reserve created inflation. Do you think the number of Americans on food stamps surging from 26.3 million in 2007 to 45.8 million today has anything to do with Bernanke’s zero interest rate, inflationary policies?
This is not a theoretical hypothesis. Ben Bernanke has purposely sacrificed the savers and seniors in this country at the satanic altar of his Wall Street high priests of debt. According to the BEA data on personal income, in the 3rd quarter of 2008 savers and seniors were able to earn $1.42 trillion of interest income. By the 3rd quarter of 2010 these same people were only able to earn $984 billion of interest income due to Ben Bernanke’s zero interest rate policy. Make no mistake about it, the $436 billion difference was taken out of the pockets of senior citizens and Americans trying to save for their futures and deposited into the accounts of the mega-Wall Street banks that destroyed our financial system with their reckless greed induced debt toga party. The beneficiaries of zero interest rates, QE1, QE2, and all future QEs are Wall Street bankers and heavily indebted entities – namely our profligate Federal Government, who make drunken sailors, seem fiscally responsible. The victims of zero interest rates and quantitative easing are savers and risk averse senior citizens as their income has plummeted and inflation has ravaged their everyday existence. Meanwhile, the Wall Street fat cats have paid themselves over $70 billion in bonuses since 2008.
The fantasy world of moderate inflation is a myth created by the Federal Reserve in conjunction with the government bureaucrats in Washington DC. These people have tortured the CPI calculation worse than a Muslim being water boarded at Guantanamo Bay. Alan Greenspan, bubble blower extraordinaire, began the process of systematically screwing grandmothers in the 1980s. As a way to hide and obscure the true level of inflation caused by running endless deficits supporting a welfare/warfare empire, Greenspan and Clinton implemented devious adjustments to the CPI in order to screw senior citizens and allow Big Government to get bigger while stealthily impoverishing the middle class. One man has pulled back the curtain on the Wizards of Inflation to reveal the truth. John Williams at www.shadowstats.com publishes the true rate of inflation as measured in 1980, prior to the fraudulent manipulation of the CPI. The reality is that inflation has not dropped below 5% since 1987 and currently exceeds 10%.
John Williams described the Greenspan/Clinton conspiracy to defraud Americans:
“The Greenspan argument was that when steak got too expensive, the consumer would substitute hamburger for the steak, and that the inflation measure should reflect the costs tied to buying hamburger versus steak, instead of steak versus steak. Of course, replacing hamburger for steak in the calculations would reduce the inflation rate, but it represented the rate of inflation in terms of maintaining a declining standard of living. Cost of living was being replaced by the cost of survival. The old system told you how much you had to increase your income in order to keep buying steak. The new system promised you hamburger, and then dog food, perhaps, after that. Over a period of several years, straight arithmetic weighting of the CPI components was shifted to a geometric weighting. The Greenspan benefit of a geometric weighting was that it automatically gave a lower weighting to CPI components that were rising in price, and a higher weighting to those items dropping in price.”
Now we hear the latest bipartisan plan to “save” Social Security is to alter the CPI again and further defraud Americans by pretending inflation does not exist. Why address a problem when you can obfuscate, misinform and lie? Anyone with critical thinking skills can clearly see that since 2007 real inflation for our widow has ranged between 5% and 10%, while her subsistence level income has been slashed by 26% due to Ben Bernanke’s zero interest rate policy. The good news is our widow will have the peace of mind knowing the price of steak and hamburger hasn’t really risen as she decides on whether to dine on dog food or cat food tonight.
“Government spending is always a “tax” burden on the American people and is never equally or fairly distributed. The poor and low-middle income workers always suffer the most from the deceitful tax of inflation and borrowing.” – Ron Paul
The Road to Impoverishment & Authoritarianism
There is a direct connection between Federal Reserve policies and the impoverishment of the middle class and seniors. The average American does not appreciate the disastrous consequences of deficit spending and currency devaluation by the Federal Reserve. Ron Paul has been sounding the warning for over a decade, but no one has been listening:
“The greatest threat facing America today is the disastrous fiscal policies of our own government, marked by shameless deficit spending and Federal Reserve currency devaluation. It is this one-two punch– Congress spending more than it can tax or borrow, and the Fed printing money to make up the difference– that threatens to impoverish us by further destroying the value of our dollars.”
It is no longer a threat. It is reality. The chart below tells the story.
The Federal Funds rate was 6.5% when George W. Bush assumed the presidency in 2000. The economy was booming, unemployment was 4.2%, the country was running fiscal surpluses, and the National Debt stood at $5.7 trillion. Alan Greenspan was the Federal Reserve Chairman and had been in that position since 1987. The Federal Funds Rate averaged 5.25% from 1990 through 2000 as the country grew strongly and America came the closest to full employment in its history. In 2001 Greenspan set in motion the creation of a tsunami of debt that swept over the entire country in 2008. The short shallow 2001 recession convinced Greenspan to reduce rates to 1% and keep them below 3% until the middle of 2005. He did this with the full support of his right hand man at the Fed – Ben Bernanke.
“The failure of Chairman Greenspan and other FOMC members to address the fiscal and monetary problems of the United States during his almost two decades at the Fed has left the United States on a trajectory for economic stagnation, hyperinflation, and the attendant political and social costs of such policies.” – Chris Whalen – Inflated – How Money & Debt Built the American Dream
Greenspan kept interest rates excessively low three years into an economic recovery, creating the largest bubble in world history. He handed the inflation baton to Bernanke in February 2006 and Ben has been sprinting at top speed for the last five years printing money faster than a Japanese bullet train. With a true rate of inflation running between 5% and 10% during the 2000 through 2011 time frame, market driven interest rates should have been in that same range. But Alan and Ben have kept the Federal Funds rate at an average level of 2.25% over this period. The result has been a consumer debt bubble, housing bubble and now a government debt bubble. Instead of accepting the consequences of excessive liquidity, excessive debt and mal-investment by the Wall Street banks and liquidating the toxic poison from our economic system with the resulting economic depression and losses borne by the stockholders and bondholders of the criminal Wall Street enterprises, Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner chose to sacrifice the American taxpayer, savers, and seniors to keep their Wall Street masters in their NYC penthouses and Hamptons estates.
The shrieking liberal left blames capitalism and demands more social welfare benefits for their entitled constituents. The fact is we have not had true capitalism in this country since 1913.
“Capitalism should not be condemned, since we haven’t had capitalism. A system of capitalism presumes sound money, not fiat money manipulated by a central bank. Capitalism cherishes voluntary contracts and interest rates that are determined by savings, not credit creation by a central bank.” – Ron Paul
The Day the Dollar Died – August 15, 1971
“With the exception only of the period of the gold standard, practically all governments of history have used their exclusive power to issue money to defraud and plunder the people.” – F.A. von Hayak
“The road paved with inflation and debt is also the road to authoritarianism.” – Chris Whalen – Inflated – How Money & Debt Built the American Dream
On August 15, 1971, exactly forty years ago this week, Richard Nixon closed the gold window and removed the last vestiges of restraint on politicians and central bankers. Politicians were free to make promises that couldn’t be kept to buy votes and central bankers were free to print fiat dollars and create inflation to support an ever growing warfare/welfare state. On that date the non-manipulated CPI was 40.8. Today, forty years later, the highly manipulated CPI is 225.7, a 553% increase. In reality, true inflation has risen more than 700% since August 1971. Some other facts put this relentless inflation into perspective:
1 – GDP has ascended from $1.1 trillion to $15.0 trillion today, a 1,364% increase in forty years.
2 – The National Debt has risen from $400 billion to $14.5 billion, a 3,625% increase in forty years.
3 – Total wage income has grown from $588 billion to $6.627 trillion today, a 1,127% increase in forty years.
4 – Consumer credit outstanding has accumulated from $141 billion to $2.446 trillion today, a 1,735% increase in forty years.
5 – War spending has increased from $95 billion to $966 billion today, a 1,017% increase in forty years. The U.S. was in the midst of the Vietnam War in 1971.
6 – Social welfare transfers from the Federal government for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans, and Unemployment increased from $87 billion to $2.305 trillion today, a 2,649% increase in forty years.
These facts prove how twisted and warped our economic system and society have become. Real wages are lower than they were in 1971 as families were forced to put two parents into the workforce forcing children to be raised by strangers, with the resultant social consequences. The corporate media, financial industrial complex and housing industrial complex convinced Americans they had to keep up with the Joneses with new luxury automobiles, extravagant McMansions, and the expensive accoutrements that went along with these representations of fake wealth. The financial plundering of the country by the peddlers of debt on Wall Street could not have happened without the easy money, no regulation policies of the Federal Reserve for the last decade. The National Debt is increasing at a rate of 10% per year while GDP is increasing at a rate of less than 2% per year. Anyone with even the most basic math skills can see this train is going to go off the tracks. Our spending on social welfare benefits has grown at a rate twice as high as our GDP growth for the last forty years and the establishment in Washington has no resolve to address these un-payable promises. The liberals squealed like stuck pigs over the horrific non-cuts in the recent joke debt ceiling compromise. The neo-cons who control the Republican agenda think $1 trillion per year for their war machine is far too little and endangers our very existence. Consumers refuse to accept the reality of their precarious existence balanced on the edge of their 13 credit cards.
Americans of all parties, ages, races, persuasions, education and beliefs have shirked their civic and moral responsibility to future generations. The rampant greed on Wall Street, corruption in Washington DC, shallowness of the American people and cowardice of all in not accepting responsibility for their actions will lead to the end of this country as we know it. There is no courage among the political class in Washington DC to truly take the steps required to save this country from the most predictable cataclysm in history. The politicians and citizens they represent have decided to delegate their civic responsibility to Ben Bernanke. He has tripled the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet by acquiring the toxic mortgage “assets” of the Wall Street banks and buying $600 billion of U.S. Treasuries. The Federal Funds Rate is .07%. His announcement of zero interest rates for two more years proves he has run out of theories and ammo. Jim Rickards, in 2010, pointed out the danger in Bernanke’s reckless policies:
“Fed Chairman Bernanke wakes up every morning and tries to trash the dollar with quantitative easing, zero interest rates and swap lines with the central banks. But it has not been working. The Fed has never taken it to the next step and asked what happens when quantitative easing does not work.”
The utter failure of QE2, hollow Congressional spending “cuts” that will keep the National Debt on track towards $23 trillion by 2021, S&P downgrade and recent plunge in the stock market are the first cracks in the façade of the great American Empire. We have entered a period of institutional crisis and this fiscal spiral will lead us further into the clutches of a more centralized authoritarian form of government unless the people stand up to the junta of mercantilist oligarchs that control this country. Do we want to relinquish our remaining freedoms and liberties for the cloak of corporate fascist authoritarian central planning disguised as safety and security? The Romans chose security over freedom. The time has come to make a choice about what we will become. Ben Franklin stated the obvious two centuries ago:
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. – Ben Franklin
Read the entire article HERE.
by Tyler Durden
08/03/2011 13:30 -0400
As always happens, about a week after Goldman telegraphs the need for QE3, which they did last Friday, the WSJ’s Fed mouthpiece Jon Hilsenrath reaches out to the media and proceeds to give the secret QE handshake. Now in its third iteration. In an “exclusive” interview with the Fed’s last tree monetary affairs committee, Donald Kohn, Vince Reinhart and Brian Matigan, Hilsenrath observes that according to these masters of the universe the chance of another recession is 20-40%, which we are confident is a given at 100%, but more importantly, he quotes Don Kohn who “said the Fed still has some options to support the economy, but “they’re kind of limited.” He said he expects the central bank, which holds a policy meeting Aug. 9, to wait and see whether the recovery is really losing steam before taking any action. If that’s the case–and inflation is coming down–then he would give “very serious consideration” to a new round of bond purchases, he said.” Well, the 30 Year is at 2011 lows, TIPS are screeching, and stocks are plunging: all indications that the market anticipates deflation. Looks like the only wildcard is whether the FOMC will determine next Tuesday that the economy has slowed down. Which it has. We believe the August 9 statement will be very interesting to most, and will result in some quite serious market volatility, as ever more are pricing in hints of an imminent resumption of LSAP or, in the least, Operation Twist with the confirmation likely to come at this year’s Jackson Hole meeting, as we predicted back in April.
From the WSJ:
In an exclusive interview this week with The Wall Street Journal, Donald Kohn, Vincent Reinhart and Brian Madigan–the last three directors of the Fed’s powerful monetary affairs committee–put the risk of a new economic contraction at between 20% and 40%. Madigan and Kohn said the Fed should consider a third round of bond purchases only if inflation slows from recent elevated levels and if the economy continues to underperform. But they cautioned a new purchase program, dubbed QE3, wouldn’t represent a cure-all.
Reinhart, who said he gives Congress “a very low grade” like most Americans, believes the odds of a credit downgrade by rating companies haven’t changed following the debt deal. Standard & Poor’s was looking for 10-year budget cuts of $4.0 trillion to confirm the U.S.’s top-notch AAA rating.
Madigan, who advises Barclay Capital and teaches at Georgetown University after retiring from the central bank a year ago, said the Fed’s $600 billion bond purchases that ended in June had a “relatively modest” positive effect on the economy. “Purchases of that order of magnitude could be helpful at the margin,” he said in his first public interview since leaving the key position at the Fed.
“We’re flying the plane slower and closer to the ground, so we’re less resilient to adverse shocks,” said Reinhart, who puts the odds of a new
recession at 40%. Following a financial crisis, seven out of 15 countries studied by Reinhart have experienced two recessions over a 10-year period.
Most important were Kohn’s remarks:
Kohn said the Fed still has some options to support the economy, but “they’re kind of limited.” He said he expects the central bank, which holds a policy meeting Aug. 9, to wait and see whether the recovery is really losing steam before taking any action. If that’s the case–and inflation is coming down–then he would give “very serious consideration” to a new round of bond purchases, he said.
Kohn noted the deal leaves lots of uncertainty over the path of fiscal policy, making it harder for the Fed to decide what to do with monetary policy. The debt deal doesn’t specify what happens to the payroll-tax cut enacted in January and passes on the key long-term decisions of cutting the deficit to a bipartisan committee.
While more bond purchases could help the U.S. economy at the margin, Madigan said that providing more explicit guidance on how long the Fed’s short-term interest rate remains close to zero–another easing option mentioned by Bernanke–wouldn’t be so effective.
The irony is that we all know the Fed knows one thing and one thing only: printing, and any of its infinite variations, which can be named anything but which do nothing to change the fact that the Fed will i) continue to push risk assets higher, ii) continue to take on ridiculous duration risk: its DV01 now is about $1.5 billion if not more, and iii) issue its daily Conviction Sell Price Target on the USD as zero in the medium- to long-run.
Everything else is much overused foreplay and strategically placed mirrors.
By Jason Kelly
January 11, 2011
I’m concerned that inflation is taking hold in China and will accelerate into hyperinflation that sends China’s economy over the edge. The following appeared in the Want China Times last week: “China continued to be the largest money-supplying country in 2010 as its M2, a broad measure of money supply, was up 19.46 percent at the end of November from a year earlier. This compares with 3.3 percent and 2.5 percent of annual M2 growth in the US and Japan respectively over the same period.”
The article noted that China’s broad money supply is now “larger than that of the US and Japan” and that the past ten years have seen China’s M2 expand at 19 percent a year as its GDP averaged annual growth of only 11 percent and it “needs only 14.1 percent of growth in money supply to sustain its economic development.”
The article quotes Wu Xiaoling, vice chairman of the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee of China’s National People’s Congress saying that for the past three decades China has “used excessive money supply to rapidly advance our economy.”
One reason for the explosive growth in China’s money supply is its legal requirement to release a $1 equivalent amount of yuan for every $1 increase in foreign exchange reserves. The annual growth rate of China’s foreign exchange reserves hit 28 percent after it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. That’s why by the end of last September, its foreign exchange reserves reached a level more than 18 times bigger than they were in 1998.
This ramp-up in foreign exchange reserves coupled with the matching yuan injections have created a money supply “phenomenon unprecedented in the history of the world economy.” The article concludes:
The excess money flows into the property market and any assets available for making investments, causing land, housing, and commodity prices to surge.
Since 2003, land prices in Beijing and its surrounding areas have increased nine times. Furthermore, the prices of approximately 70 percent of agricultural produce in 36 cities in China have risen since July last year.
That’s the data that most investment analysts are examining and is the reason you’re seeing red flags fly up in global finance journals. I, however, am in possession of even more convincing evidence that something unpleasant is rising from China’s out-of-control money supply growth.
I stay in touch with a network of business associates throughout Asia and have found that the best way to keep tabs on Asian economies is by talking with small to midsize Japanese manufacturers who outsource operations to the Asian mainland, primarily China. Because Japan is an island economy with almost no natural resources, its business leaders have become experts at watching global commodity price trends to carefully manage inventories. Nobody knows commodity patterns better than people who’ve made careers out of managing resource scarcity.
Last month, my accounting contact sent me a report from a Japanese client whose company outsources the manufacturing of clothing to factories in China. For the first time ever, the client said the company may need to exit China entirely due to runaway inflation. His prices are rising 35 percent per month and many of his larger competitors have already fled to factory contracts in Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Because his firm is smaller, it’s harder for him to relocate his overseas operations. He’s worried that he won’t be able to get out of China before “something enormous happens” in 2011.
Yes, he said, and explained that he hasn’t seen anything like the current environment since the oil shock of the 1970s. Ahead of the shock “everybody used extra money to hoard supplies they didn’t need. They adapted to make something from the supplies they’d bought, but then all the raw materials were gone in the shock.” He remembers a shortage of toilet paper because the raw materials for it disappeared into the voracious maw of a runaway money supply.
The same thing is happening now. The raw material of cloth is harder to find in China and some of the outsourcing factories are sitting idle for lack of it. The ones still operating are guarding their supply so closely that the Japanese client must pay for materials first in cash, then the factories will make the clothing to order. He calls it a dangerous situation that violates the tradition of partial payment which protects both signers of a contract from undue loss. It’s easy to see how that could unravel in a hurry if a factory is tempted to accept more cash upfront than it has cloth in storage.
I’m watching this closely and will share more as I receive it.
Read the entire blog post HERE.