Forget Cyprus. A much bigger story in the coming weeks and months will be in Japan, where one of the greatest economic experiments in the modern era is about to begin.
If you don’t collapse the system, the system will collapse you.
- Cardinals head to conclave to elect pope for troubled Church (Reuters)
- Hyperinflation 'Unthinkable' Even With Bold Easing: Abe (Nikkei)
- Ryan Plan Revives '12 Election Issues (WSJ)
- Italy 1-yr debt costs highest since Dec after downgrade (Reuters)
- Republicans to unveil $4.6tn of cuts (FT) - Obama set to dismiss Ryan plan to balance budget within decade
- CIA Ramps Up Role in Iraq (WSJ)
- Hollande Hostility Fuels Charm Offensive to Show He’s No Sarkozy (BBG)
- SEC testing customized punishments (Reuters)
- Judge Cans Soda Ban (WSJ)
- Hungary Lawmakers Rebuff EU, U.S. (WSJ)
- Even Berlusconi Can’t Slow Bulls Boosting Euro View (BBG) - luckily the consensus is never wrong
- Funding for Lending ‘put on steroids’ (FT)
- Investigators Narrow Focus in Dreamliner Probe (WSJ)
- With new group, Obama team seeks answer to Karl Rove (Reuters)
There was a time when the Fed's unofficial mouthpiece, WSJ's Jon Hilsenrath, who eagerly and promptly put to print anything the Fed deemed worthy of leaking to the access journalist, was relevant. Perhaps the only positive side effect with the advent of QEternity, which essentially took away the "surprise function" from the Fed as everyone now knows what will happen in perpetuity or until hyperinflation arrives, whichever happens first, was making such leaks as Hilsenrath completely irrelevant. After all, when the Fed has shown its cards to everyone, even as it keeps doubling down and pulling jokers out of its sleeve, those who "share" the Fed's thoughts have become completely marginalized. Today was one of those days when Hilsy strove to regain some of his former glory releasing the Fed's his take on today's NFP, which said absolutely nothing new. Yes we know even 500K jobs created a month will not end QE, and neither will 1MM, or more: after all the US still has $1+ trillion deficits needing monetization as far as the eye can see. In fact, the only thing remotely useful in Jon's article was at the very end...
Governments Worldwide are Implementing Orwellian Gold Confiscation Today. You Just Haven’t Realized it Yet.Submitted by smartknowledgeu on 03/07/2013 03:52 -0500
Bankers have turned the paradigm of monetary truth upside down. People believe in fiat paper & digital money that is counterfeit and have always ended up in massive collapse to their intrinsic value of zero, and have zero belief in real money, like physical gold and silver, that has served civilizations as money and kept price indexes constant and stable for over 5,000 years.
For those who, like Time magazine and its exhaustive treatise on soaring healthcare costs, are shocked and confused how it is possible that prices for some of the most rudimentary staples, among them basic medical care and college tuition, have exploded we have the answer. In fact, we had the answer in August 2012, when we showed our "Chart Of The Day: From Pervasive Cheap Credit To Hyperinflation." As the title, and chart, both imply, the simple reason why college tuition is up 1200% in 35 years, while healthcare fees have soared by a neat 600% or double the official cumulative inflation, is two words: "cheap credit."That is also the reason why the BLS and the Fed can get away with alleging inflation is sub-2%: because the actual cost for any of these soaring in price services is never actually incurred currently, but is deferred with the only actual outlay being the cash interest, which as everyone knows is now at the ZIRP boundary thanks to 4+ years of ZIRP and three decades of the "great moderation." Which is why we are confident it will come as no surprise to anyone, especially not those who have no choice but to follow the herd and pay exorbitant amounts for a generic higher education that has negligible utility at best in the New "Okun's law is broken" Normal, that tuition at public colleges jumped by a record amount in the past year!
My generation, born during or near post World War II, has been quite fortunate. Those of us lucky to have been born in the US during this period hit a sweet spot of both place and history. The economy thrived, standards of living soared and many avoided the numerous wars that dominated the Twentieth Century. Today, the future does not look so bright. Economies are stagnant, standards of living are declining and the threats of war increase. Younger generations will have more difficult lives than my generation. Life has its own ways of ensuring that TANSTAAFL (“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”) is enforced. My twilight years now present major challenges. Because high inflation and a market collapse are real possibilities, I (and millions of others who believe similarly) am forced into playing the wildly dangerous game of financial chicken. When we should be enjoying our retirement and grandchildren, government has forced us to take risks that even wild teenagers likely would avoid.
Recent news about Federal plans to "help" manage private retirement accounts renewed our interest in the topic of capital controls. One example of capital control is to limit the amount of money that can be transferred out of the country; another is limiting the amount of cash that can be withdrawn from accounts; a third is the government mandates private capital must be invested in government bonds. Though presented as "helping" households, the real purpose of the power grab would be to enable the Federal government to borrow the nation's retirement accounts at near-zero rates of return. As things fall apart, Central States pursue all sorts of politically expedient measures to protect the State's power and the wealth of the political and financial Elites. Precedent won't matter; survival of the State and its Elites will trump every other consideration. All this raises an interesting question: what would America look like at $5000 an ounce gold?
A successful entrepeneur's take on the European sitaution...
By 1789, a lot of French people were starving. Their economy had long since deteriorated into a weak, pitiful shell. Decades of unsustainable spending had left the French treasury depleted. The currency was being rapidly debased. Food was scarce, and expensive. Perhaps most famously, though, the French monarchy was dangerously out of touch with reality, historically enshrined with the quip, “Let them eat cake.” Along the way, the government tried an experiment: issuing a form of paper money. It didn’t matter to the French politicians that every previous experiment with paper money in history had been an absolute disaster. The Bourbon monarchy paid the price for it, eventually losing their heads in a 1793 execution. History shows there are always consequences to entrusting a paper money supply to a tiny handful of men. The French experiment is but one example. Our modern fiat experiment will be another.
In many Western industrialized nations, debt has overwhelmed or is about to overwhelm the economy's debt-servicing capacity. In the run-up to a debt crisis, bad debt tends to move to the next higher level and may ultimately accumulate in the central bank's balance sheet, provided the economy has its own currency. Many observers assume that, once bad debt is purchased by the central bank, the debt crisis is solved for good; that central banks have unlimited wealth at their disposal, or can print unlimited wealth into existence.
However, central banks can only create liquidity, not wealth. If printing money were equivalent to creating wealth, then mankind would not have to get up early on Monday morning. Only a solvent central bank can halt hyperinflation. The longer governments run large deficits, the longer central banks continue to monetize them, and the longer their balance sheets grow, the higher the potential for enormous losses and thus hyperinflation.
Necessary preconditions for hyperinflation are a quasi-bankrupt government whose debt is monetized by a central bank with insufficient assets. One way or another, owning physical gold is the safest and most effective way of insuring against hyperinflation.
Think Americans are the only people in the world toiling under a gargantuan debtload, which at last check was a massive $55.3 trillion, or about $175K per person? Think again. Meet Sherry Sheng, a 29-year-old Shanghai policewoman, who bought herself a 4,000 yuan ($642) black fur jacket, splurging for the last time before she starts paying off the mortgage on her first home.
Sherry is what is known as a Chinese "housing slave."
In April of 2010, Zero Hedge first brought up the topic of the Fed's DV01, or the implicit duration risk borne by the Fed's burgeoning balance sheet which at last check will approach 25% of US GDP by the end of 2013 (tangentially, back in 2010 the Fed's DV01 was $1 billion - it is nearly $3 billion now and rising fast). Recently, we have noticed that the mainstream media has, with its usual 2 year delay, picked up on just this topic of the implicit and explicit risk borne by Bernanke's grand (and final) monetary experiment. And slowly but surely they are coming to the inevitable conclusion (which our readers knew two years ago), that the Fed has no way out? Why? Ray Stone of Stone McCarthy explains so simply, a Nobel prize winning economist can get it.
Warren Buffett’s aphorism: "price is what you pay; value is what you get" has been rightly celebrated. But to be a true value investor, it helps to have values. Courtesy of near-zero interest rates and global competitive currency debauchery, it is increasingly difficult to assess the value of anything, as denominated in units of anything else. The business of investing rationally becomes problematic when market participants are pursuing maximum nominal returns without a second thought as to the real (inflation-adjusted) value of those returns. In a global deleveraging that is likely to persist for some years, the heavily indebted countries will desperately need to attract foreign capital to help service their heavy debt loads. And in order to do so, they will likely devalue their currencies. There is an increasingly disorderly currency war going on out there, and the advantage of gold is clear – they can’t print it, they can’t default on it, and there will always be demand for it. Simply put, in the global currency wars, owning gold is like abandoning the battlefield altogether.
"The financial problems of the Postal Service are getting bigger every year," is how US Postmaster General Donahoe tried to convinced Congress not to block the bill the end Saturday delivery of mail. Raising the specter of mutually assured destructive bailouts in the future, the CEO rattle lawmakers (and other stakeholders) as NBC News reports, Representative Darrell Issa noting "It's very clear that ultimately, either the rate payer or the taxpayer will have to pay the $20 billion in debt of the Postal Service." Indeed Mr. Issa - so by our reckoning the plan to tax emails was a non-starter and so we compare the 73.5 billion pieces of mail handled by the USPS and the $20bn budgetary gap, it would appear the answer is simple - the current 46c stamp will have to rise in value by 27c or 60% in order to meet the shortfall. The problem of course is the legal limit on increasing stamp prices is bounded by what the BLS' official annual inflation report is, and which as the Fed is happy to reminds us, is at best 2% per year. Luckily, every problem, in this case too little inflation, has a solution: in this case hyperinflation.