The so-called “trustees” of the social security system issued their annual report last week and the stenographers of the financial press dutifully reported that the day of reckoning when the trust funds run dry has been put off another year - until 2034. So take a breath and kick the can. That’s five Presidential elections away!
...Except that is not what the report really says.
Why are governments suddenly so keen to ban physical cash? The answer appears to be that the banks and government authorities are anticipating bail-ins, steeply negative interest rates and hefty fees on cash, and they want to close any opening regular depositors might have to escape these forms of officially sanctioned theft. The escape mechanism from bail-ins and fees on cash deposits is physical cash, and hence the sudden flurry of calls to eliminate cash as a relic of a bygone age — that is, an age when commoners had some way to safeguard their money from bail-ins and bankers’ control.
Did you know that the Federal Reserve pays an annual 6% dividend to its shareholders, i.e., the member banks of the cartel? Must be nice, considering savers who had nothing to do with cratering the world economy, and failed to receive a taxpayer funded bailout, can barely earn 0.5% on their money. It’s also quite bizarre. How many other “public institutions” have private shareholders to whom they pay 6% risk free dividends? None, which once again highlights the point that the Federal Reserve is NOT a public institution working on behalf of the citizenry, but is rather a banking cartel designed to enriched and protect its member banks (as we saw on clear display in 2008). It appears that some members of Congress are now targeting the estimated $17 billion per year paid out by the Fed to its member banks via the highway-funding bill.
Here we now call market deflation by the sobriquet “volatility”, as in “major market indices suffered from volatility today, down almost one-half of one percent”, where a down day is treated as something akin to the common cold, a temporary illness with symptoms that we can shrug off with an aspirin or two. You can’t be in favor of volatility, surely. It’s a bad thing, almost on a par with littering. No, we want good things and good words, like “wealth effect” and “accommodation” and “stability” and “price appreciation”. As President Snow says in reference to The Hunger Games version of a political utility, “may the odds be always in your favor”. Who doesn’t want that?
There could be trouble ahead....
There has now been an unprecedented 31 consecutive months of CAT retail sales declines. This compares to "only" 19 during the near systemic collapse in 2008. In other words, if global demand for heavy industrial machinery, as opposed to unemployed millennials' demands for $0.99 Apple apps, is any indication of the true underlying economy, forget recession: the world is now in a second great depression which is getting worse by the month.
So having acquired substantial quantities of gold for itself and having also ensured it is widely held by its public, the Chinese government is arguably in a more compelling position to encourage a gold revaluation as a means of stabilising her economy in a credit crisis than America was eighty years ago. It will be China's only option, and if the government doesn't go for it, China's middle classes certainly will. This simple fact could override all the geostrategic considerations upon which China-watchers have tended to focus. A gold revaluation would be presented to the world as bound up with China's domestic economic problems, instead of an act aimed at undermining the dollar's reserve status: a solution that is less confrontational than outright disagreement with Western central banks over gold's role in the international monetary order.
The last time these criteria were met... stocks plunged over 90% over the next 24 months.
The people of Greece are facing further years of economic hardship following a Eurozone agreement over the terms of a third bailout. The deal included more tax rises and spending cuts, despite the Syriza government coming to power promising to end what it described as the "humiliation and pain" of austerity. With the country having already endured years of economic contraction since the global downturn, The BBC asks, just how does Greece's ordeal compare with other recessions and how have the lives of the country's people been affected?
Hyperinflation in the U.S. is coming sometime in the next 20 years or so, and this isn't a cry from a Chicken Little, but a conclusion that the analysis strongly suggests. It is possible hyperinflation could happen during the next few years, but that seems unlikely since it would require a series of major crises and political blunders – events unprecedented in the history of the United States. If this led to a corruption of Constitutional rights in the midst of an exaltation of the Executive Branch that resulted in loss of the rule of law, hyperinflation might result. It is much more probable that hyperinflation will be preceded by a long slow decline that will include a protracted period of high inflation, and that the crash of the dollar and hyperinflation will be the final tumble off a looming, steep cliff.
This is the most absurd global financial situation we can remember. There may have been wilder outbreaks of mass fatuous behaviour – as Adam Smith could easily have said, there’s a great deal of absurdity in a market. But we have long held that if you don’t understand the rules of the game, best not to play the game. Doing anything in markets today involves making a macro market call that is fundamentally impossible. All markets have become speculative arenas courtesy of central bank activity.
In his Pulitzer-Prize-winning book, Lords of Finance, the economist Liaquat Ahamad tells the story of how four central bankers, driven by staunch adherence to the gold standard, “broke the world” and triggered the Great Depression. Today’s central bankers largely share a new conventional wisdom – about the benefits of loose monetary policy. Are monetary policymakers poised to break the world again?
There is democratic capitalism, and there is fascist capitalism. What we have today is fascist capitalism; and the following will explain how it works, using as an example the case of Greece. Simply out - The whole system is a money-funnel, from the public, to the aristocracy.
When Warren Buffet put $5 billion in Berkshire Hathaway funds into Goldman Sachs the week after Lehman failed, amidst total turmoil and panic, it appeared from the outside a high risk bet. Buffet had long tried to portray himself as a folksy engine of traditional stability, investing only in things he could understand, so jumping into a wholesale run of chained liabilities may have seemed more than slightly out of character. We have no particular issue with Buffet making those investments, only the pretense of intentional mysticism that surrounds them. The reason the criticism of crony-capitalism sticks is because this was not Buffet's first intervention to "save" a famed institution on Wall Street. If Buffet's convention is to stick with "things you know" then he has been right there through the whole of the full-scale wholesale/eurodollar revolution.