Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Bernanke next week is likely to preside over a decision to launch another round of large-scale asset purchases after deploying $1.7 trillion to pull the economy out of the financial crisis, comments from policy makers over the past week indicate. This time, with interest rates already near zero, the Fed will be aiming to increase the rate of inflation and reduce the cost of borrowing in real terms. The goal is to unlock consumer spending and jump-start an economy that’s growing too slowly to push unemployment lower.
Estimates for the ultimate size of the asset-purchase program range from $1 trillion at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch Global Research to $2 trillion at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., with economists at both firms agreeing the Fed will likely start by announcing $500 billion after the Nov. 2-3 meeting. The danger is that once the Fed kindles price increases, inflation will be difficult to control.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
In most wars - the object is to kill the enemy. In the currency war, the object is to kill your own troops.
Because, in a currency war it’s a nation’s own citizens that suffer because they’re the ones being made poorer.
Unfortunately, America is going to win the currency war, so our citizens have the most to lose because we’re going to be the greatest casualties in the currency war. It’s going to be American retirees, people living on fixed incomes - because unforetunately that’s how you win the currency war.
Whichever country succeeds in making its citizens the poorest is the winner.
Monday, October 25, 2010
“People are going to wait for the elections in November. They think they’re going to have some other change that they can believe in. It won’t happen. When the economic winter sets in, then you’re going to start seeing people protesting more and more. This is just the beginning.”
Celente foresees more protesting in the US in 2011 and 2012. “The United States is slow on the draw when it comes to protesting, but get ready for it,” he comments. “It’s the mainstream media that keeps sucking up to these greedy pigs (‘The White Shoe Club Boys’) that tempers the people down from taking to the streets.”
The trends forecaster discusses the sellout of America by present and former presidents. “This country’s gone from the greatest entrepreneurial empire to one that Mussolini would have called fascism, the merger of state and corporate powers.”
Is the USA a Mussolini described fascist state?
Is the economy recovering or getting worse?
What will the reaction be across the country if protests break out after the election?
Discuss in comments.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
by John Hoefle
The return to what Lyndon LaRouche describes as the “Glass-Steagall standard” is an essential component of any successful effort to pull the United States out of its second Great Depression, and avoid a collapse into a global New Dark Age. The term “Glass-Steagall standard” refers both to the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which created a legal firewall between commercial banking and speculative “investment” banking, and its founding principles. The Glass-Steagall Act was one of a series of reforms initiated by President Franklin Roosevelt, designed to break the grip of the Anglo-American financiers led by J.P. Morgan over our nation’s economy, and reassert national sovereignty.
Glass-Steagall, the law of the land from 1933 until 1999, provided significant protection to the depositors and borrowers who depended upon a sound commercial banking system. It arose out of the Pecora Commission hearings (1932-34), which revealed the manner in which the big banks of the day had looted their customers for the benefit of a small coterie of insiders. FDR used the outrage provoked by these revelations to force through reforms over the vehement objections of Wall Street.
In addition to preventing commercial banks from engaging in Wall Street-style speculation, Roosevelt also created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to insure deposits—necessary to restore public confidence after the widespread failures—and created the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to police Wall Street. To emphasize the latter point, he appointed Ferdinand Pecora as one of the initial SEC Commissioners.
Public TrustCommercial banking is, essentially, a public trust, and a necessary component of a healthy economy. Citizens place their funds on deposit at a bank, and the bank then uses those deposits to make loans to other citizens, for the purpose of improving the standard of living of the community as a whole. The bankers have a special responsibility to protect those funds, to lend them wisely. The money does not belong to the banks, it belongs to the depositors, and the bankers are merely custodians. For such a system to function properly, these depository institutions must be highly regulated, provided with a clear framework of what is permissible, and what is not. Banking regulators must closely watch each bank to make sure the rules are followed, and promptly correct any violations.
Banks are, or should be, creatures of their local or regional economies, whose job is to assist the development of their service areas. The success of a bank is the byproduct of the success of the economy.
This perhaps sounds quaint, like something out of a 1950s movie, to those who are used to what, until quite recently, was the go-go world of international finance, but it is precisely the abandonment of these concepts in favor of unrestrained speculation, that blew up the
global economy. Our deviation as a nation from these principles has brought us to the brink of disintegration; if we are to survive, we must return to them.
ModernizationThe rallying cry of those who sought the repeal of Glass-Steagall was that laws passed in the 1930s were outmoded, and inadequate for the glorious new world of finance. What we need, the bankers of Wall Street claimed, is a new set of rules for the modern world, freeing us from the limitations of the past.
As with many things the bankers say, the truth is just the opposite: It was FDR who modernized banking, by reinstating the principles embedded in the Declaration of Independence, over the ancient predatory practices of the Anglo-Venetian monetary empire. The demands of the bankers for “reform,” which began with FDR’s death, and escalated in the 1980s and 1990s, were actually demands to return to the system against which we fought the American Revolution. It was the sovereign constraints imposed by FDR upon imperial banking, that had upset the bankers. Which, of course, is precisely the point of regulation. The predators should never be happy. If they are, the regulators are not doing their jobs.
The repeal of Glass-Steagall, which was preceded by a series of other deregulatory measures, opened the flood-of-money gates for the wildest speculative frenzy the world has ever seen. It allowed the creation of a handful of giant super-banks which dominate the national economy, and whose failure has led to the largest bank bailout in history. It has also bankrupted the nation, and triggered a hyperinflationary expansion of the money supply which is destroying the value of the dollar. If the dollar collapses, the entire world—not just the economy, but civilization itself—will break down.
Franklin Roosevelt was right, and those who opposed his reforms were, and remain, wrong. If we are to save our nation, we must return to the Glass-Steagall standard.
The Fatal RepealThe Glass-Steagall firewall between commercial and investment banking was formally repealed in November 1999, by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which created the new classification of financial holding company, with the power to underwrite and sell insurance and securities, engage in both commercial and investment banking, invest in and develop real estate, and related activities.
One of the worst aspects of Gramm-Leach-Bliley, is that it gave the speculative side of these new monstrosities access to the deposit base of the commercial banking side, turning bank deposits into fuel for the derivatives machine. At the end of 1999, these holding companies had $4 trillion in assets, and $38 trillion in derivatives, or about $9 in derivatives per dollar of assets. A decade later, as of the second quarter of this year, they had $13 trillion in assets and a staggering $291 trillion in derivatives, or $23 in derivatives for every $1 of assets. These aren’t banks, they are casinos.
The top four banking casinos, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo, represent almost half of the U.S. banking system—46% of the assets and 42% of the deposits. They also have $194 trillion in derivatives bets. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the two investment banks that converted to financial holding companies last year, add between them another $88 trillion to the derivatives total.
This insane derivatives bubble is what blew up the global financial system, bankrupted the U.S. banks, and has devastated most of what remains of the productive capacity of the U.S. economy. It would never have been possible, had the Glass-Steagall standard been maintained and enforced.
We must begin by wiping out all the derivatives, declaring all such bets null and void, by law—in effect, restoring the law to its status before it was corrupted.
Outlawing derivatives solves the problem of having to wind down all the speculative bets and fictitious claims, and allows us to turn our attention to the more complicated process of sorting out the valid debts from the speculative ones. The valid debts—those arising from real economic activity related to the physical economy— will be honored, while debts related to the speculative bubble will be set aside, to be dealt with after the nation recovers. For debts which have a bit of both— say a mortgage on a home whose purchase price was highly inflated by the effects of the mortgage-securities scam—the size of the debt would be written down to reflect the actual economic value of the property.
FDR understood what Obama does not: People are more important than money. The issue is not maintaining the values of speculative finance. The issue is protecting the lives and welfare of the people. The immediate reinstatement of Glass-Steagall is a necessity, if we are to survive.
Please discuss in comments section below.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Tthis is an except from LaRouchePAC a political action committee founded and headed by Lyndon Larouche, a somewhat infamous American Economist/Political Analyst. He has interesting theories and ideas about Economics, but his style of presentation of these ideas makes him come across as a raving nut-bag. Anyway, I figured you would all enjoy a good read. Factually, the article is not too bad, but once the boarders are crossed between fact and opinion, it goes down hill very quickly.
Discuss in comments below
As a deadly cholera epidemic, Haiti's first in a century, raged ever-closer to the unsanitary and filthy "temporary" camps of 1.3 million earthquake refugees in Haiti's capital of Port-au-Prince, Lyndon LaRouche said today that, "I warned that this Administration's policy towards Haiti would lead precisely towards this sort of outbreak, and it has now done that. Therefore, since this was foreknowable, and foreknown, this means that the policy of genocide implicit in Obama's policy is now coming to bear. And probably, among the next targets of this genocide, is going to be the people of the United States themselves, unless Obama is removed before that."
On February 23, LaRouchePAC reported that, "Lyndon LaRouche issued an urgent call for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to work with Haitian government to help relocate up to a million Haitians, now homeless and living amid the rubble of shattered Port-au-Prince in the aftermath of the Jan 12 earthquake that killed some 300,000 Haitians....
"If we do not act, LaRouche stressed, Haiti will soon face conditions in which dengue, cholera, malaria, thyphoid, and other epidemics will spread, with devastating consequences. Haiti is the image of what awaits all of humanity under the current, British-imperial international financial system: it is the face of the New Dark Age. We must stop it in Haiti, if we are to have the moral fitness to survive on this planet.
"To prevent another wave of mass deaths and total national disintegration, a bilateral treaty agreement between the United States and Haiti should be promptly reached to evacuate up to a million people from this potentially deadly situation, into the United States, on an interim basis, and possibly into inland parts of Haiti as well...
Obama flatly rejected this warning.
EIR reported in its Oct. 22 issue that the numbers of Haitians in temporary camps has grown, not shrunk: 1.3 million are still living in temporary camps. As of July, 40% of the 1,000 camps in the capital had no access to water, and 30% lacked any kind of toilet at all. A survey by a City University of New York professor found that the average number of people sharing a toilet in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area is 273! In the 30% of camps with verifiable information that had no toilets at all, people are forced to urinate and defecate in a plastic container or in an open area.
And that only an estimated 10% of families living in the camps have tents; the rest use tarps or bedsheets. Only 2% of the 25 million cubic yards of debris has been removed.
Not a cent of the $1.15 billion U.S. aid pledged for Haiti by the U.S. government has been actually sent.
As E.I.R's Cynthia Rush wrote in that Oct. 22 article: "That there haven't been major outbreaks of cholera or malaria is miraculous; but signs of acute medical problems—chronic infections, malnutrition, hunger, and untreated psychological trauma—are everywhere. Mobile clinics visit camps sporadically. Given the lack of public health and sanitation facilities, and the pitiful supply of clean drinking water, the question is not if, but when Haiti's weakened and vulnerable population will be stricken by a medical catastrophe."
David Darg, from the humanitarian organization Operation Blessing International, writing on Reuters AlertNet blog, described a horror scene at St. Marc hospital in Artibonite today, where cholera is raging within 50 miles of the capital.
"I had to fight my way through the gate as a huge crowd of worried relatives stood outside, while others screamed for access as they carried dying relatives into the compound. The courtyard was lined with patients hooked up to intravenous (IV) drips. It had just rained and there were people lying on the ground on soggy sheets, half-soaked with feces. Some children were screaming and writhing in agony, others were motionless with their eyes rolled back into their heads as doctors and nursing staff searched desperately for a vein to give them an IV. The hospital was overwhelmed, apparently caught out suddenly by one of the fastest killers there is."