Creation of Debt As The Basis For Growth
November 5, 2010
By Bob Chapman
The UK, Europe, the US and Canada are different degrees of welfare states. By way of regulation, government controls via taxation. The states and their inhabitants send taxes to Washington, which takes its cut and sends funds back to the states with strings attached. You either do what we want you to do, or we cut off your funds. The states and the people are subject to extortion with government using their funds to do so. By using regulations, welfare and extortion, the federal government creates dependency.
Another phenomenon that has developed is a second dependency. People in society, not just in the US, but also in many countries, are dependent on their grandparents and parents and as years progress that situation will worsen. Earning power to maintain a previous lifestyle is no longer available with the staggering tax burden. Including income and VAT taxes in Europe, taxation averages 70%. The ability and opportunity to become successful and wealthy is more limited in today’s societies. Even the college degree has been demeaned. Almost anyone who can hold a pencil today is college material, when 60% of attendees shouldn’t even be there. Adding insult, the jobs once available to college attendees are no longer available, because more often then not illegal aliens hold them. As a result, it is far more difficult to work your way through college and as a result one graduates with a loan for $60,000 that will be paid back in many cases over a lifetime. In most cases that means most won’t be able to afford to buy a house until they are in the 30s or 40, if ever.
Since 1913 the basis for growth in America has been creation of debt out of thin air, a product of the privately owned Federal Reserve and a fractional banking system. It is considered prudent under such a system to lend nine times your underlying assets. Several years ago the figure was 70 and today it is still 40 times. Government and citizens purchase economic goods on credit. Government issues bonds and individuals borrow money.
Today money is only a method of exchange; it is not longer a store of value, especially in an environment of zero interest rates. An important characteristic of money to retain its soundness is gold backing. Today only one currency has any gold backing and that is the euro, which has about 5% gold backing. Ten years ago that backing was 15%, but gold was sold off to suppress the price of gold in conjunction with the US government and many other central banks. As a result we have a world of essentially worthless fiat currencies. The world is left with no sound money and as a result gold has again taken its place as the world’s reserve currency. If for no other reason is that it owes no one anything. Occasionally silver fulfills this role as well – both have for the last six centuries.
Financial operations conducted by government and a privately owned Federal Reserve leads to the extended creation of money and credit exceeding revenues. That leads to inflation, perhaps hyperinflation, and some times eventually deflationary depression. This is especially true when currency is not backed by gold. Having a Federal Reserve makes sound money even more difficult, because it can create endless amounts of money and credit as we have witnessed since August 15, 1971. What the banks and the Federal Reserve have done is use the fractional banking system to steal and expropriate the wealth of dollar owners. Such a system by its very nature is unsound. There is no such thing as full faith and credit, because it is not worth the paper it is written on, whether it is issued by a Federal Reserve or by a government, especially if it’s fiat or unbacked by something such as gold. This money leads to servitude because as it carries less value perpetually and the discovery leads to war and totalitarian government.
A recent manifestation of this profligacy is the urging by government for consumers to consume more with their steadily depreciating currency and to stop paying off debt. At the same time interest rates are lowered to zero to encourage consumption. Needless to say, savers are penalized with poor returns. That is for the most part the elderly. Such policy forces savers to become speculators, unless, of course, they have discovered gold and silver related investments. This process reduces the savings base and forces central banks to create more and more aggregates. It also enrages savers. The entire game has been changed and for the most part few have learned how to protect themselves.
The foregoing allows the Dow to sell at higher levels than previously because a part of those savings go into the stock market and bonds. If you haven’t noticed the bond market is in a bubble created by the Fed. You would think there was some kind of safety in stocks and bonds. Then again, desperate people do desperate things. If you want to see what safety in bonds is, just look at Britain’s bond markets since WWII. This is the sort of result you can expect when you marry corporations and government, and you end up with corporatist fascism.
By the time you read this the US congressional elections will be over and the Democrats will have lost about 50 House seats and probably 9 Senate seats. The American people are outraged over what has been done to them by the last three administrations.
As a result gold has been rising strongly, as the dollar remains under pressure. This in part is due to QE2, as well as the systemic problems facing the US economy. Spending the economy into strength again is not working. The only party increasing spending is the government. They also reflect most of the job growth. Private construction was the weakest in a dozen years.
This is reflected as well in government debt up $1.65 trillion to $13.5 trillion. The government is so deep in debt it cannot sell more debt fast enough to keep up with increases and old debt. The Fed has to purchase 80% of that debt, which cannot continue indefinitely. The result of all this is that the US lurches from one crisis to another.
As always bankers have been borrowing short to lend long, a sure recipe for disaster. That leads us to one of the greatest frauds of the century, the collapse of the real estate market and securitized mortgages. In order to survive banks are borrowing from the Fed at zero rates and lending back to them at 2-1/2%. No one says anything because no one wants the banks to fail. No matter what you call it the result is extending the debt timeline hoping something good will happen
Over the past few weeks we have seen the beginnings of trade war, which in reality had been going on for years. The statements by Chairman of the Fed, Bernanke, and statements as well by Treasury Secretary Geithner, started the ball rolling. The discussion of a possible QE2 set off wild currency volatility with the dollar falling the most and the yen, euro and Aussie dollars being the strongest. The Swiss franc shared leadership with the yen. While this transpired Mr. Geithner told the world the government wanted a strong dollar and that its lower level was just about right.
The significance of currency war is that inevitably leads to trade war. You might call it a backdoor entry. The string of competitive devaluations over the years were overlooked and tolerated by the US because cheap foreign goods held down US inflation and the dollars purchased to subdue domestic currency value were used to buy US Treasuries and Agencies. That benefit was now of limited benefit as nations bought less Treasuries and the Fed had to monetize US Treasury debt. This has and will continue to bottle up inflation to a larger degree in the US, as less hot US dollar flow goes into foreign countries. Countries such as Brazil have already implemented a tax on dollar flows into their country. We can expect more countries to follow and that will be followed by US trade taxes on goods and services. We have already started to see this in goods sold in China and the US. The US wants to increase exports and a weaker dollar makes that happen.
The Fed via stealth has been engaged in QE2 since early June via the bond and repo markets and Wall Street is well aware of that. The easing is talked to in terms of $500 billion over the short term in order to keep the economy level to slightly higher. Some $2.5 trillion will be needed over the next year and another 42.5 trillion the following year. If not forthcoming deflation will rear its ugly head and devour the US and then the world economy. In the meantime the secretive Fed has been surreptitiously lending more funds to Europe to Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Italy.
The deliberately cheapened Chinese yuan has caused a $260 billion trade deficit with China, or a 20% plus increase. That is a doubling in 10 years from 20% to 40% of its trade deficit. China says it is willing to raise the value of the yuan incrementally over the next several years, but that simply isn’t good enough. We believe trade barriers will become a major issue in the coming session of Congress. The transnational conglomerates know such a move is inevitable. The US has to find a way to solve growing unemployment, which in the real world now stands at 22-3/4%. You cannot have a recovery as long as that many people are unemployed. In addition, those numbers are headed higher, soon to reach 1930’s depression levels. This is something that should have been done long ago, but the elitist forces fought it off as long as possible. The end of free trade and globalization, as we have known it, over the past 20 years will be one of the bigger issues in congress over the next two years. When the yuan is 40% undervalued it becomes a major issue.
The flip side of the immediate problem of QE2 and a lower dollar is higher gold, silver and commodity prices, and an increase in inflation. Mr. Bernanke says we need inflation. Not a lot just a little. Official CPI figures are up 1.6%, whereas real inflation has risen 7% and is headed higher. It’s tough being between the rock and the hard place and that is where the Fed sits. It’s expanded money and credit for banking and Wall Street so no one will be too big to fail.
This issue will hit the streets prior to all the election results being known.
Just as big news will be how much QE2 will be admitted to by the Fed and besides Treasuries and Agencies, how much and what other bonds will the Fed purchase? After we find out how money will be injected into the system we then have to discern how much inflation it will foster.
The truth of the current Keynesian economic system has been taken for granted and it is in the processes of failure. That event demands that the system be purged of its excesses. As we projected back in May, the Fed and the administration will pour $5 trillion into the economy over the next two years just to keep the economy going sideways. This is a staggering amount of money and credit created out of thin air to be monetized, which will certainly depreciate the dollar. We have just seen food and other prices double again. What will happen when all this liquidity hits the economy? You guessed it, more inflation. For some reason the masters of the universe on Wall Street seem to think that somehow inflation and hyperinflation will not appear. They believe in a destructive theory that everything they believe is true. It is part of their misreading of life and its real meaning.
The US would be spending a whopping $200 million per day on President Barack Obama’s visit to the city.
“The huge amount of around $200 million would be spent on security, stay and other aspects of the Presidential visit,” a top official of the Maharashtra Government privy to the arrangements for the high-profile visit said.
About 3,000 people including Secret Service agents, US government officials and journalists would accompany the President. Several officials from the White House and US security agencies are already here for the past one week with helicopters, a ship and high-end security instruments.
“Except for personnel providing immediate security to the President, the US officials may not be allowed to carry weapons. The state police is competent to take care of the security measures and they would be piloting the Presidential convoy,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Navy and Air Force has been asked by the state government to intensify patrolling along the Mumbai coastline and its airspace during Obama’s stay. The city’s airspace will be closed half-an-hour before the President’s arrival for all aircraft barring those carrying the US delegation.
The personnel from SRPF, Force One, besides the NSG contingent stationed here would be roped in for the President’s security, the official said.
The area from Hotel Taj, where Obama and his wife Michelle would stay, to Shikra helipad in Colaba would be cordoned off completely during the movement of the President.
Shares of Ambac Financial Group Inc. (ABK 0.50, -0.32, -39.23%) were down 49% in Monday’s premarket trading after the company in a regulatory filing said its board has decided not to make a regularly scheduled interest payment on notes due in 2023. If the interest is not paid within 30 days of the scheduled interest payment date of Nov. 1, an event of default will occur under the indenture for the notes, Ambac said. The firm has been unable to raise additional capital as an alternative to seeking bankruptcy protection and is currently pursuing with an ad hoc committee of senior debt holders a restructuring of its outstanding debt through a prepackaged bankruptcy proceeding, according to the filing. If Ambac is unable to reach agreement on a prepackaged bankruptcy in the near term, it intends to file for bankruptcy prior to the end of the year. “Such filing may be with or without agreement with major creditor groups concerning a plan of reorganization,” Ambac said.
[When Ambac insures, mostly municipal bonds, they transfer their own rating to the bonds so if a municipal has a rating of BBB and Ambac is AAA, the municipals assume a Triple A status. If Ambac goes out of business the bonds lose their AAA status and revert to their normal rating status, which might be B or BBB or AA, the bottom line is munis are going to fall in value and we predicted this would happen two years ago, and as usual few were listening. Bob]
The Transportation Security Administration is implementing an enhanced pat-down procedure at national airport security checkpoints, including in Greater Rochester International Airport.
Last week the Dow fell 0.1%, S&P was unchanged, the Russell 2000 was unchanged and the Nasdaq 100 gained 1%. Banks fell 1.1%; broker/dealers rose 0.6%; cyclicals fell 0.4% and transports were unchanged. Consumers fell 0.5%; utilities fell 0.6%; high tech rose 1.6%; semis surged 4.4%; Internets rose 3.2% and biotechs rose 1.4%. Gold bullion rose $30.00, the HUI rose 4.4% and the USDX fell 0.4% to 77.04.
The 2-year T-bills fell 2 bps to 0.33% and the 10-year T-notes rose 4 bps to 2.60%. The 10-year German bunds gained 4 bps to 2.52%.
Freddie Mac 30-year fixed rate mortgages rose 2 bps to 4.23%, the 15’s rose 2 bps to 3.66%, one-year ARMs were unchanged at 3.30% and the 30-year fixed rate jumbos fell 6 bps to 5.18%.
Fed credit fell $1 billion. Fed foreign holdings of Treasury, Agency debt rose $12.9 billion to $3.294 trillion. Custody holdings for foreign central banks rose Year-to-date to $339 billion, or 13.9% annualized.
M2, money supply, expanded $13 billion to $8.873 trillion, that is up 3.5% annualized and yoy it is up 3.3%.
Total money market fund assets rose a large $24.6 billion to $2.807 trillion. YOY assets have fallen $487 billion.
Total commercial paper outstanding jumped $22.8 billion to $1.168 trillion, a high for the year.
Economist Stiglitz: We need stimulus, not quantitative easing
Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel prize- winning economist at Columbia, disagrees. He thinks it can hurt, and it also won’t do very much.
Joseph Stiglitz: The Fed, and the Fed’s advocates, are falling into the same trap that led us into the crisis in the first place. Their view is that the major lever for economic policy is the interest rate and if we just get it right, we can steer this. That didn’t work. It forgot about financial fragility and how the banking system operates. They’re thinking the interest rate is a dial you can set and by setting that dial, you can regulate the economy. In fact, it operates primarily through the banking system, and the banking system is not functioning well. All the literature about how monetary policy operates in normal times is pretty irrelevant to this situation.
The point is the stimulus did work. They made a very big mistake in underestimating the severity of the downturn and asked for too small of a stimulus, and they didn’t do enough in the design.
Stiglitz, Nobel or not, is recycling Keynesian remedies that are the cause of US economic and financial problems; and his logic is faulty.
Joe says QE is undesirable because it will intensify ‘currency wars’. But the currency wars are a direct result of US reliance on Keynesian economics that have pushed the US toward bankruptcy and forced the Fed to paper over the enormous Keynesian deficits. [‘Tis why most economists aren’t money managers.]
The cost of tires, gloves and condoms is set to rise following a 65 per cent jump in the price of natural rubber in the past year.
Yves Smith op-ed in NY Times: How the Banks Put the Economy Underwater – When mortgage securitization took off in the 1980s, the contracts to govern these transactions were written carefully to satisfy not just well-settled, state-based real estate law, but other state and federal considerations. These included each state’s Uniform Commercial Code, which governed “secured” transactions that involve property with loans against them, and state trust law, since the packaged loans are put into a trust to protect investors. On the federal side, these deals needed to satisfy securities agencies and the Internal Revenue Service.
This process worked well enough until roughly 2004, when the volume of transactions exploded. Fee- hungry bankers broke the origination end of the machine. One problem is well known: many lenders ceased to be concerned about the quality of the loans they were creating, since if they turned bad, someone else (the investors in the securities) would suffer.
A second, potentially more significant, failure lay in how the rush to speed up the securitization process trampled traditional property rights protections for mortgages.
Business inventories increased $115.5B, which is far more than expected. The inventory binge contributed 1.44% to GDP growth. Final sales (GDP less inventories) increased 0.6%. Final sales to domestic purchasers increased 2.5%. This is down significantly from the 4.3% increase in Q2.
The measure is in place for travelers who choose not to go through the imaging technology devices known as the full-body scanners.
Passengers always have had the option to walk through the metal detectors and be patted down, but there will be some change to the latter procedure. The enhanced pat-down, which TSA officials tested in Boston and Las Vegas airports and which officials say adds another detailed layer of security, uses a front-of-the-hand, slide-down technique on passengers’ bodies.
“If you refuse to go through the full body scan, you are going to be subject to a physical pat-down of your person,” said David Damelio, Greater Rochester International Airport director. “In Rochester, we only have one machine, so we are not always going to be able to get everyone through that machine.”
Damelio said passengers will be able to request a pat-down from someone of the same gender.
“TSA constantly evaluates and updates screening procedures to stay ahead of evolving threats,” said TSA spokesperson Ann Davis. “While we cannot share specific details of our procedures for security reasons, pat-downs are designed to address potentially dangerous items, like improvised explosive devices and their components, concealed on the body.”
Sixty-five airports use the body scan imaging technology, with the device coming soon to four more major airports: Chicago Midway Airport, Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., William P. Hobby Airport in Houston and LaGuardia Airport in New York City.
The body scan has been known to speed up security procedures by producing images in seconds and reducing the need for additional screening.
Images are transferred to monitors in another room, where they are viewed by security personnel.
The images are disposed of immediately after they are evaluated, and facial features are blurred.
“I’ve gone through the scan before, and it takes seconds and doesn’t bother me,” Damelio said. “But I know it does bother some people. The more you travel, the more you are going to be impacted by these changes because they are happening nationwide.”
One of our contacts in the oil and gas business says that oil will move up $30 to $50 a barrel over the next 8 months; that means that those in that business should take action to protect themselves.
“Indianapolis Workforce Development spokesman Marc Lotter said the agency is merely being cautious with the approach of an early-December deadline when thousands of Indiana residents could see their unemployment benefits end after exhausting the maximum 99 weeks provided through multiple federal extension periods.
“Given the upcoming expiration of the federal extensions and the increased stress on some of the unemployed, we thought the addition of 36 armed guards would provide an extra level of protection for our employees and clients,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this weekend promised to force the Senate to vote on an immigration bill, the Dream Act, in a lame-duck session of Congress next month.
Mr. Reid, a Nevada Democrat who is in a desperate battle to keep his Senate seat, told Univision’s “Al Punto,” a Sunday political talk show, that he has the right as majority leader to decide what legislation reaches the floor, and said he is “a believer in needing to do something” on immigration.
In doing so, he elevated immigration to join jobs, spending and tax cuts — the issues most lawmakers expect to dominate Congress when they reconvene in November.
“I just need a handful of Republicans. I would settle for two or three Republicans to join with me on the Dream Act and comprehensive immigration reform, but they have not been willing to step forward,” Mr. Reid said. “They want to keep talking about this issue, and I say [it] is demagoguery in its worst fashion and is unfair to the Hispanic community.”
The Dream Act would grant legal status and a path to citizenship to illegal immigrant schoolchildren and to illegal immigrants who agree to serve in the U.S. military.
In September, just before Congress adjourned for two months, Mr. Reid tried to attach the Dream Act to the annual defense policy bill, which already was loaded down with language laying out a path for gays to serve openly in the military. But Republicans blocked the defense bill, arguing that Mr. Reid was playing politics just before the election.
The immigration issue has been dominant in the Nevada Senate race, which pits Mr. Reid against Republican nominee Sharron Angle, who has been running ads accusing Mr. Reid of being a friend of illegal immigrants.
Then, Mr. Reid last week had to fire a staffer after it was revealed she had entered into a sham marriage to help a man stay in the United States.
The Justice Department is sending a small pack of election observers to Arizona as Hispanic groups sound the alarm over an anti-illegal immigration group’s mass e-mail seeking to recruit Election Day volunteers to help block illegal immigrants from voting.
Hispanic voting rights groups say the e-mail is just an attempt to intimidate minority voters. But election fraud monitors say that there are hundreds of examples of duplicate registrations, wrong information and past unregistered voters getting ballots.
The New York Times said in an editorial Sunday that Secretary of Homeland Security United States, Janet Napolitano, should eliminate the costly and inefficient virtual fence that has tried to build on the border with Mexico.
Napolitano, who slowed this year, new works of Secure Border Initiative Network (SBInet) and allocated 50 million of its funds to other programs, you should delete “once and for all” when the contract expires with the Boeing company late next month recommended.
The SBInet program, consisting of towers with radar and cameras to curb illegal immigration along the three thousand 200 kilometers of border “is a costly failure” and it is time to “disconnect the virtual fence,” the newspaper said New York.
The project initially estimated at seven thousand 600 million dollars was driven in 2006 by former President George W. Bush and continued by his successor, Barack Obama, but has been plagued by software defects.
With over a billion dollars already spent, barely have covered 80 kilometers from the border to date, to which is added critical reports on Government Oversight Office (GAO), which questioned the failure to meet deadlines already established.
The GAO also criticized Boeing for providing evaluation data “incomplete and abnormal”, which has prevented the Department of Homeland Security asked for an accounting firm for its cost control and timeliness, said The New York Times.
He said the virtual fence was a malconcebida idea based on the false premise that immigration control is achieved by closing the border, with more sensors, fences and “boots on the ground.”
As long as the demand for cheap labor, the need for better jobs and legal impediments to enter the country, people continue to seek ways of crossing the border, the newspaper said.
Urged a comprehensive immigration reform that allows for greater border security.
The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index rose to 56.9 in October from 54.4 a month earlier, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said today. Readings greater than 50 signal growth.
Economists forecast the ISM manufacturing gauge would decline to 54, according to the median of 75 projections in a Bloomberg News survey. Estimates ranged from 52 to 56.8.
U.K. factory growth unexpectedly accelerated as hiring and export orders improved, other reports showed today.
A China purchasing managers’ index released by the logistics federation rose to 54.7 last month from 53.8. A second PMI, from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics, jumped to 54.8 from 52.9.
Consumer spending rose less than forecast in September as incomes dropped for the first time in more than a year, a sign Americans may keep rebuilding savings and paring debt as the economy is slow to recover.
Purchases increased 0.2 percent, the smallest gain in the third quarter, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Incomes fell 0.1 percent, the first drop since July 2009, and the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation stagnated, capping the smallest 12-month gain in nine years.
Construction spending in the U.S. unexpectedly rose in September, led by increases in homebuilding and public projects.
The 0.5 percent gain brought spending to $801.7 billion after a revised 0.2 percent drop in August that was previously reported as a 0.4 percent gain, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington.
Homebuilders are recovering from a slump in demand following the expiration of a government tax break and still face the challenge of mounting foreclosures that are adding to the housing inventory. While rising profits may help corporate spending on structures grow next year, government construction outlays may slow as federal stimulus funds fade and state and local municipalities cut budgets.
“Construction is still a very low- to no-growth scenario for the next nine months at least,” Russell Price, a senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in Detroit, said before the report. “There’s still a lot of capacity out there to be absorbed. We’ve already been seeing some hit to infrastructure spending from budget cuts on the state and local governments especially as the federal stimulus eases.”
Economists forecast construction spending would decrease 0.5 percent, according to the median projection in a Bloomberg News survey. The 50 estimates ranged from a drop of 1.2 percent to a 0.5 percent increase.
Other figures from the Commerce Department today showed consumer spending rose less than forecast in September as incomes dropped for the first time in more than a year, a sign Americans may keep rebuilding savings and paring debt as the economy is slow to recover.
Purchases advanced 0.2 percent, the smallest gain of the third quarter. Incomes fell 0.1 percent, the first drop since July 2009, and the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation stagnated, capping the smallest 12-month increase in nine years.
Construction spending was down 10 percent in the year ended in September, today’s report showed.
Private construction spending was unchanged. A 1.8 percent increase in homebuilding was offset by a 1.6 percent drop in commercial projects as fewer factories were put up. Non- residential construction decreased to the lowest level since January 2005.
Public construction climbed 1.3 percent following a 2.2 percent gain in August. Federal construction outlays increased 6.1 percent, while state and local government spending rose 0.8 percent. New transportation grids and schools accounted for most of the gains.
State and local debt sales swelled to an 18-month peak of $13.8 billion, overwhelming investor demand and sending municipal bond yields to the highest level in more than two months.
The Federal Reserve will probably introduce an unprecedented second round of unconventional monetary easing tomorrow by announcing a plan to buy at least $500 billion of long-term securities, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
Policy makers meeting today and tomorrow will restart a program of securities purchases to spur growth, reduce unemployment and increase inflation, said 53 of 56 economists surveyed last week. Twenty-nine estimated the Fed will pledge to buy $500 billion or more, while another seven predicted $50 billion to $100 billion in monthly purchases without a specified total. The remainder said the Fed would buy up to $500 billion or didn’t quantify their forecast.
The varied responses reflect differences among Fed officials over the total amount of purchases needed to bolster the recovery. Policy makers, pursuing unprecedented stimulus, have cut the benchmark rate almost to zero and bought $1.7 trillion in securities without generating growth fast enough to bring down unemployment from near a 26-year high.
“There’s no silver bullet right now” and central bankers have “very few options left in terms of lowering interest rates,” said John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina. He predicted $500 billion of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities purchases in the next six months.