DOOM is an appropriate title for this post. With the Dow tumbling to the lowest point of the year there is no shortage of changing sentiment about this so called “Jobless Recovery”. As Joe Biden rides around all over the country in Ben Bernanke’s helicopter pitching the idea of a “Recovery Summer” or maybe even the “Summer of Magic Leprechauns with Pots of Gold” these days, it might be worthwhile to see what the actual financial community is saying about the direction we are headed.
Deutsche Bank’s Peter Hooper:
Financial conditions appear to have worsened substantially in recent quarters based on our update of the broad index of US financial variables presented earlier this year at the US Monetary Policy Forum. In the wake of recent developments in Europe, increased stress in financial markets has pushed that index halfway back to its immediate post- Lehman crisis lows.
‘World could be plunged into crisis in 2014′: Cambridge expert predicts ‘a great event’ will determine course of the century
A ‘Doomsday’ moment will take place in 2014 – and will determine whether the 21st century is full of violence and poverty or will be peaceful and prosperous, according to a Cambridge University professor.
In the last 500 years there has been a cataclysmic ‘Great Event’ of international significance at the start of each century, he claims.
Occurring in the middle of the second decade of each century, they include events which sparked wars, religious conflict and brought peace.
The turmoil that has stricken Greece has spread to Romania and Ireland. This crisis may be spreading worldwide as the debt crisis continues, there have been reports that it may spread to Japan, one of the biggest economies in the world. Gerald Celente says that this is the greatest bank robbery in history and it is the banks that are doing the stealing.
hat tip: Washington’s blog
Monday, March 29, 2010
On March 3rd, Richard Fisher – President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas – told the Council on Foreign Relations:
A truly effective restructuring of our regulatory regime will have to neutralize what I consider to be the greatest threat to our financial system’s stability—the so-called too-big-to-fail, or TBTF, banks. In the past two decades, the biggest banks have grown significantly bigger. In 1990, the 10 largest U.S. banks had almost 25 percent of the industry’s assets. Their share grew to 44 percent in 2000 and almost 60 percent in 2009.
The existing rules and oversight are not up to the acute regulatory challenge imposed by the biggest banks. First, they are sprawling and complex—so vast that their own management teams may not fully understand their own risk exposures. If that is so, it would be futile to expect that their regulators and creditors could untangle all the threads, especially under rapidly changing market conditions. Second, big banks may believe they can act recklessly without fear of paying the ultimate penalty. They and many of their creditors assume the Fed and other government agencies will cushion the fall and assume the damages, even if their troubles stem from negligence or trickery. They have only to look to recent experience to confirm that assumption.
Some argue that bigness is not bad, per se. Many ask how the U.S. can keep its competitive edge on the global stage if we cede LFI territory to other nations—an argument I consider hollow given the experience of the Japanese and others who came to regret seeking the distinction of having the world’s biggest financial institutions. I know this much: Big banks interact with the economy and financial markets in a multitude of ways, creating connections that transcend the limits of industry and geography. Because of their deep and wide connections to other banks and financial institutions, a few really big banks can send tidal waves of troubles through the financial system if they falter, leading to a downward spiral of bad loans and contracting credit that destroys many jobs and many businesses.
China has succumbed to hubris. It has mistaken the soft diplomacy of Barack Obama for weakness, mistaken the US credit crisis for decline, and mistaken its own mercantilist bubble for ascendancy. There are echoes of Anglo-German spats before the First World War, when Wilhelmine Berlin so badly misjudged the strategic balance of power and over-played its hand. Within a month the US Treasury must rule whether China is a “currency manipulator”, triggering sanctions under US law. This has been finessed before, but we are in a new world now with America’s U6 unemployment at 16.8%. “It’s going to be really hard for them yet again to fudge on the obvious fact that China is manipulating. Without a credible threat, we’re not going to get anywhere,” said Paul Krugman (pictured left), this year’s Nobel economist. China’s premier Wen Jiabao is defiant. … “Some say China has got more arrogant and tough. Some put forward the theory of China’s so-called triumphalism’. My conscience is untainted despite slanders from outside,” he said. Days earlier the State Council accusing America of serial villainy. “In the US, civil and political rights of citizens are severely restricted and violated by the government. Workers’ rights are seriously violated,” it said. “The US with its strong military power has pursued hegemony in the world, trampling upon the sovereignty of other countries and trespassing their human rights,” it said. “At a time when the world is suffering a serious human rights disaster caused by the U.S. subprime crisis-induced global financial crisis, the U.S. government revels in accusing other countries.” And so forth. Is the Politiburo smoking weed? – UK Telegraph
Dominant Social Theme: The Chinese are acting uppity. Too bad for them.
Free-Market Analysis: So China and the West are headed for a protectionist spat over an under-performing yuan? We have some difficulty believing this. China and America in particular have a 21st century symbiotic relationship, though the hostile posturing may be helpful to the political classes. In fact, the rhetoric has apparently been kicked up a notch, according to the Telegraph, as follows: “Beijing [has shown a] willingness to up the ante. It has vowed sanctions against any US firm that takes part in a $6.4bn weapons contract for Taiwan, a threat to ban Boeing from China and a new level of escalation in the Taiwan dispute.”
Yes, It Really is a Capitalist Plot
by Diana Johnstone
Hat tip: Global Research, March 4, 2010
There are two strikingly significant levels to the current crisis. While primarily economic, the European Economic Community also claims to be a community, based on solidarity — the sisterhood of nations and brotherhood of peoples. However, the economic deficit is nothing compared to the human deficit it exposes.
To put it simply, the Greek crisis shows what happens when a weak member of this Union is in trouble. It is the same as what happens on the world scale, where there is no such morally pretentious union perpetually congratulating itself on its devotion to human rights. The economically strong protect their own interests at the expense of the economically weak.
The crisis broke last autumn after George Papandreou’s PASOK party won elections, took office and discovered that the cupboard was bare. The Greek government had cheated to get into the EU’s euro zone in 2001 by cooking the books to cover deficits that would have disqualified it from membership in the common currency. The European Treaties capped the acceptable budget deficit at 3 per cent and public debt at 60 per cent of GDP respectively. In fact, this limit is being widely transgressed, quite openly by France. But major scandal arrived with revelations that Greece’s budget deficit reached 12.7 per cent in 2009, with a gross debt forecast for 2010 amounting to 125 per cent of GDP.
From the article, “California Budget Dilemma: Turning Crises into Opportunity” by Ellen Brown — modified for Ohio by the LV Editors.
Many states such as California, Pennsylvania and Illinois are in the midst of financial chaos. Ohio is among them. With a proposed budget that is already more than $3 billion out of balance, Governor Strickland seeks to fix Ohio’s woes by using over $5 billion in one-time “bailout” dollars, increasing fees (taxes) by $1.3 billion and burning through the entire rainy day fund. The creation of dozens of new government programs sets Ohio up for even greater deficits in the future when the bailout dollars end but the costly programs remain.
What to do? Perhaps Ohio could take a lesson from the island state of Guernsey, located in the English Channel off the French Coast, which faced similar funding problems in the 19th century. Toby Birch, an asset manager who hails from there, tells the story in Gold News:
“As weary troops returned from a protracted foreign war [the Napoleonic Wars ending in 1815], they encountered a land racked with debt, high prices and a crumbling infrastructure. . . There was economic gridlock as labor and materials were abundant, but much-needed projects could not be funded for want of cash. This led to a period of so-called ‘poverty amongst plenty’ … existing borrowing costs were consuming 80% of the island’s revenues. This was when a committee of States members was formed . . . The committee realized that if the Guernsey States issued their own notes to fund the project, rather than borrowing from an English bank, there would be no interest to pay. To prevent an inflation of the money supply, the Guernsey States issued the notes with a date due, and on that date the bearer was paid in gold. The money came from rents on the finished infrastructure, supplemented with a tax on liquor.
“The end result of the Guernsey Experiment was spectacular – new roads, sea defenses and public buildings were established, fostering widespread trade and prosperity. Full employment was achieved, no deficits resulted and prices were stable, all without a penny paid in interest. Money was used in its purest form: as a convenient mechanism for oiling the wheels of commerce.”
by Jim Quinn
Hat tip: www.opednews.com
Do you know the enemy?
Do you know your enemy?
Well, gotta know the enemy
Violence is an enemy
Against the enemy
Violence is an energy
Bringing on the fury
The choir infantry
Revolt against the honor to obey
Know Your Enemy – Green Day
Do you know the enemy?
Is it Iraqis, Iran, the Taliban, terrorists, Muslims, Russia, North Korea, China, or our government? General Douglas MacArthur had a distinct point of view on the more likely threat.
“I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within.”
William Strauss and Neil Howe wrote the book The Fourth Turning in 1997. Their theory is that history is a series of repetitive 100 year cycles with four generations living through each cycle. Each cycle and generation has many similarities, only the particular events change. We are currently in the most hazardous part of the cycle with the most volatile generation in positions of power. Strauss & Howe foresaw perilous times ahead:
“Based on historical patterns, America will hit a once-in-a-century national crisis within the decade…’like winter,’ the crisis or ‘fourth turning’ cannot be averted. It will last 20 years or so and bring hardship and upheavals similar to previous fourth turnings, such as the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression and World War II. The fourth turning is a perilous time because the result could be a new ‘golden age’ for America or the beginning of the end. It all will begin with a ‘sudden spark’ that catalyzes a crisis mood around the year 2005.”
We are currently in the midst of the Fourth Turning, an era of upheaval, a crisis in which our country will redefine its very nature and purpose. The sudden spark that catalyzed this crisis occurred on the beautiful sunny morning of September 11, 2001. The crisis reached an initial crescendo in late 2008. Many believe that the worst is behind us and the future has begun to brighten. This is highly unlikely. Previous crisis periods lasted fifteen to twenty years. The Civil War crisis was confined to five brutal years that resulted in 600,000 American deaths. The crisis in our past history that appears most analogous is the Great Depression/World War II crisis that lasted sixteen years. A financial depression caused by the Federal Reserve pumping too much credit into the financial system during the 1920′s had been considered the worst in U.S. history. The current financial crisis, caused by the Federal Reserve pumping too much credit into the financial system along with politicians turbo charging the effort by eliminating all regulation of the financial system, has led to the Greater Depression. We are likely only half way through this crisis, with tears and bloodshed yet to follow.
by Leonce Gaiter
Unemployment benefit payouts hit a 26-year high. Foreclosures up 30% from a year ago. Layoffs abound. 43 states face budget deficits, forcing them to cut jobs, programs, and funds for education and social services.
A major story on CNN.com is, “‘Mad Men’ star’s hair is ‘bane of my existence.’” The Fox News front page promises Glenn Beck on the “Washington State Christmas Scandal.”
Economists fear deflation and depression. Two of the Big Three automakers may not survive through the end of the year.
The Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker writes about a 27 year-old on Facebook, and a Hillary Clinton cardboard cutout. Jackson Diehl luxuriates in a bubble bath of quid pro quo and self-congratulations for his attendance at a Bush photo-op.
Food stamp usage nears an all-time high with more than 31.5 million Americans using the program. Americans are losing their livelihoods and having trouble buying food to eat.
I sense a disconnect.