New York City
Desperate people do desperate things, and it appears that Americans are rapidly becoming a lot more desperate. An epidemic of thievery is sweeping across America, and authorities are not quite sure what to make of it. So why is all of this happening? Well, as we have written about previously, crime is on the rise in the United States, and poverty is absolutely exploding. In fact, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, 49.2 percent of all Americans are receiving benefits from at least one government program each month. Over the past five years, we have seen an unprecedented rise in the number of people that cannot take care of themselves without help from the government. Millions upon millions of Americans that have been forced into poverty are becoming increasingly angry, frustrated and desperate. And what we are watching right now is only just the beginning - all of this is going to get a whole lot worse.
- Investors are stampeding into initial public offerings at the fastest clip since the financial crisis (WSJ)
- Kerry hails disgruntled Saudi Arabia as important U.S. ally (Reuters)
- SAC Capital prepares for a second life (FT)
- BlackBerry's Fate Goes Down to the Wire (WSJ)
- Dutch Gamble on U.S. Housing Debt After Patience Wins (BBG)
- U.S. Wants Broad Divestitures From AMR, US Airways (WSJ)
- Tensions with allies rise, but U.S. sees improved China ties (Reuters)
- China berates foreign media for Tiananmen attack doubts (Reuters)
- China manufacturers squeezed as costs rise (FT)
- European Borders Tested as Money Is Moved to Shield Wealth (NYT)
- Zurich Probe Finds No ‘Undue Pressure’ Put on Late CFO (BBG)
- US admits surveillance on foreign governments ‘reached too far’ (FT)
- He must be so proud: Obama halted NSA spying on IMF and World Bank headquarters (RTRS)
- Obamacare website gets new tech experts; oversight pressure grows (Reuters)
- R.B.S. to Split Off $61 Billion in Loans Into Internal ‘Bad Bank’ (NYT)
- Draghi’s Deflation Risk Complicates Recovery (BBG)
- Abenomics: Nissan slashes full-year profit forecast 15% (FT)
- Credit Suisse Dismisses London Trader Over 'Unusual Trading' Losses (WSJ)
- RBS avoids break-up with 38 billion pounds 'internal bad bank' (Reuters)
- Twitter Said to Attract More Than Enough Interest for IPO (BBG)
Did you know that the number of Americans on welfare is higher than the number of Americans that have full-time jobs? Did you know that 1.2 million public school students in the U.S. are currently homeless? Anyone that uses the term "economic recovery" to describe what is happening in the United States today is being deeply insulting to the nearly 150 million Americans that are considered to be either "poor" or "low income" at this point. Yes, things are great in New York City, Washington D.C. and San Francisco, but almost everywhere else economic conditions continue to steadily get worse. The gap between the wealthy and the poor is at a level that America has never seen before, and this is beginning to create a "Robin Hood mentality" that could cause a tremendous amount of social chaos in the years ahead. Despite unprecedented borrowing by the federal government in recent years, and despite unprecedented money printing by the Federal Reserve, poverty in the United States keeps getting worse with each passing year. The following are 29 incredible facts which prove that poverty in America is absolutely exploding
The number one American export is U.S. dollars. It is paper currency that is backed up by absolutely nothing, but the rest of the world has been using it to trade with one another and so there is tremendous global demand for our dollars. The linchpin of this system is the petrodollar. For decades, if you have wanted to buy oil virtually anywhere in the world you have had to do so with U.S. dollars. But if one of the biggest oil exporters on the planet, such as Saudi Arabia, decided to start accepting other currencies as payment for oil, the petrodollar monopoly would disintegrate very rapidly. For years, everyone assumed that nothing like that would happen any time soon, but now Saudi officials are warning of a "major shift" in relations with the United States. In fact, the Saudis are so upset at the Obama administration that "all options" are reportedly "on the table".
European MEP Nigel Farage blasted French President Francois Hollande as leading the pack “in the modern day Pantheon of idiots who are running countries around the world…” Of course, the French president had recently introduced a ‘hate tax’ on its countries most successful people, driving out whatever few productive people remain in France. But this hate tax was just the tip of le iceberg. Just look at what they’ve done or announced just in the last month...
The collapse of American society is accelerating. For the moment, much of our social decay is being masked by the tremendous level of affluence that we are experiencing in aggregate. It has been reported that 4 out of every 5 adults in the United States "struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives", but in general Americans still enjoy a debt-fueled standard of living that is far beyond what most of the rest of the world enjoys. When that debt-fueled standard of living permanently disappears, it is going to unleash chaos unlike anything that America has ever seen before. So how can we be so sure that this is going to happen? After all, the United States didn't descend into complete and utter chaos during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Wouldn't an economic depression unfold in a similar manner today? Unfortunately, a lot has changed since then. A lot more Americans were self-sufficient back in those days, and the truth is that the character of our nation has been rotting and decaying for decades.
Public corruption, based on all the evidence, appears rampant. And the ranks of those convicted in office have swelled to absolutely unacceptable levels. State Senators as well as State Assemblymen; elected officials as well as party leaders; city council members as well as town mayors; Democrats as well as Republicans.
- Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York
It’s no surprise that New York is exceedingly corrupt. It’s a huge city, with a ton of wealth and massive income inequality. That’s basically the primary breeding ground for wide-scale corruption. However, it also comes as no surprise that the situation has gotten a lot worse in recent years. After all, NYC is the headquarters of some of the largest financial institutions in the world. As such, some of the worst actors in the recent financial collapse call the city home. The whole world watched as these criminals and shysters not only evaded criminal charges, but were also rewarded trillions of dollars of public support for their efforts. The example was set. Crime pays, and now the entire city seems to be following their lead.
In what is the most remarkable news of the day, which has so far passed very quietly under the radar, Fosun International, China's largest private-owned conglomerate which invests in commodities, properties and pharmaceuticals also known as "Shanghai's Hutchison Whampoa", announced in a statement filed just as quietly with the Hong Kong stock exchange, that it had purchased JPM's iconic former headquarters, the tower built by none other than David Rockefeller, at 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza for a measly $725 million. None of this is particularly newsworthy What is, however, is what Zero Hedge exclusively reported back in March, namely that the very same former JPM HQ at 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza is also the building that houses the firm's commercial gold vault: incidentally, the largest in the world. Why? We don't know. We do know that China's gross gold imports from Hong Kong alone have amounted to over 2000 tons in the past two years. This excludes imports from other sources, and certainly internal gold mining and production. One guess: China has decided it has its fill of domestically held gold and is starting to acquire gold warehouses in the banking capitals of the world. For now the reason why is unclear but we are confident the answer will present itself shortly.
Bonus: Did the Saudi Intelligence Chief and Other High-Ranking Officials Trade on Inside Information Regarding 9/11?
Quick: which BRIC nation has the highest consumer loan default rate?
If you said China, India or Russia, you are wrong. Actually, if you said China you are probably right, but since absolutely all economic "data" in China is worthless, manipulated propaganda, only a retrospective post-mortem after the Chinese credit, housing, commodity, consumption bubbles have all burst will we know the answer. So excluding China, which country's consumers after a multi-year shopping spree funded entirely on credit, are suddenly suffering the epic hangover of soaring non-performing loans as they suddenly find themselves unable to even pay the interest on the debt? Just ask former billionaire Eike Batista whose OGX oil corporation is days away from filing bankruptcy. The answer, with 5.6% of all loans in default, above Russia, South Africa, Mexico, Turkey and India, is Brazil.
Just in case you thought the surreality of the US political debacle we are witnessing was too much, the NYPD releases a statement that stokes the fire of confusion. The New York Police Department is looking for two unidentified people who may (or may not) have parachuted on to a lower Manhattan Street. Private security guards reported seeing the skydivers land in front of the Goldman Sachs HQ at around 3am (which we could not help but note was the highs of the European session for Gold). The police noted it was unclear if they jumped from a plane or from a high-rise building (or from Bernanke's helicopter).
Don't Blame Free Market Capitalism ... We Haven't Had It for a While
"In every city and state I have visited, the jails have become the de facto mental institutions," warns the president of the American Jail Association as the WSJ notes, America's lockups have become its new asylums. After scores of state mental institutions were closed beginning in the 1970s, few alternatives materialized. Many of the afflicted wound up on the streets, where, untreated, they became more vulnerable to joblessness, drug abuse and crime. Stunningly, the number of mentally ill prisoners the country's three biggest jail systems - Cook County, IL; Los Angeles County; and New York City - handle daily is equal to 28% of all beds in the nation's 213 state psychiatric hospitals. "We're finding sicker and sicker people all the time" who have to be treated for their mental illnesses. Prisons "can't say no to the mentally ill. They have to solve the problem."