The Feds Were Quick To Bail Out Their Friends At The Big Banks But Are Letting All The Small Banks Die Like Dogs

The Feds Were Quick To Bail Out Their Friends At The Big Banks But Are Letting All The Small Banks Die Like DogsThe massive federal bailouts that Congress passed in 2008 and 2009 were supposed to stabilize the banking system and breathe new life into the U.S. economy.  We were told over and over that the major banks were “too big too fail” and that the U.S. government was helping “Main Street” by giving massive bailouts to Wall Street.  But unfortunately all that is not working out too well.  Instead, the major banks (which got the bailouts) have cut their collective small business lending for the seventh month in a row while the feds are letting all the small banks die like dogs.

The truth is that the major Wall Street banks that had friends positioned in the U.S. government were able to get massive bailouts during the economic collapse of 2008/2009, but all of the small banks that have been so good to so many communities across the United States for so many years are not getting any help.  In fact, there are rumors that they are purposely being allowed to fail.  In 2009, 140 banks and S&Ls failed.  In addition, 31 credit unions went under.  So that makes a total of 171 lending  institutions that were allowed to collapse in 2009.  It is estimated that the bank failures during this financial crisis have already cost the FDIC ten times more than the entire S&L crisis of the 1980s did.

But the crisis is far from over.  In fact, some analysts are now projecting that 200 banks will fail in the U.S. in 2010.

The FDIC is officially in the red and it is rapidly hemorrhaging cash and there is no sign that the bleeding is going to stop any time soon.  Small banks are failing at a rate that is beyond alarming.

But do you know what they are being told when they turn to the U.S. government for help?

They are being told to go find a big bank that is willing to gobble them up.

In fact, there are persistent rumors that the banking system is being consolidated by design.  So if that is the case, expect to see a lot more small banks continue to fail and get gobbled up by the sharks for pennies on the dollar.

Meanwhile, the big boys on Wall Street are being criticized for the gigantic year end bonuses that their top executives will be receiving.  

Life is good if you are a bankster.

So are all of those big Wall Street banks helping out “Main Street” by lending to small businesses?

No way. 

In fact, the biggest banks in the U.S. cut their collective small business lending balance by another $1 billion in November.  That drop was the seventh monthly decline in a row.

The truth is that in modern America, small businesses are incredibly dependent on credit.  For many small businesses, no credit means that they simply will not have the capital to operate.

But the big fat cats who got all of those bailouts have reduced their lending to small businesses each of the past seven months.

So, no, “Main Street” is not reaping the benefits of all of those bailouts.

Apparently the big banks needed to save up cash to pay all of those outrageous bonuses.

So all of the big banks are hoarding cash, and hundreds of small banks are being allowed to die like dogs.

What a mess!

Anyone have any ideas for cleaning it up?

Will Americans Be Able To Handle The Next Great Depression? Not If They Are Anything Like This Guy

Will Americans be able to handle the next Great Depression?  The truth is that most Americans today simply do not possess the strength of character to handle losing their jobs, their homes and the inflated lifestyles that we have all enjoyed by spending beyond our means.  During the Great Depression of the 1930s, things were different.  Family units were much stronger, people knew how to rely on each other and most Americans possessed enough morality and inner strength so that they did not freak out when things went from bad to worse.

But that is not the case in the United States today.  Instead, Americans have become a bunch of spoiled brats who come apart at the seams at the first sign of trouble.  We pushed prayer and the Ten Commandments as far out of public life as we could and instead we filled our minds with literally thousands of hours of character-rotting entertainment.  Now our families are falling apart, we’ve raised entire generations who expect the world to be handed to them on a silver platter, and we’ve got tens of millions of crybabies who don’t have any concept of how to respond to hard times.

But hard economic times are coming.  In fact, for many Americans they are already here.  So how will most Americans respond when they start losing their jobs and their homes?  Well, the truth is that we are already seeing a lot of people “go postal” because they simply do not know how to handle these setbacks.  Just consider the video below.  It is footage of one of the greatest office freakouts of all time.  If you were to get fired tomorrow, would you react like this guy?….  

The reality is that an economic collapse does not have to be the end of the world.  The guy in the video above could have gone out and tried to get another job or start his own business.  But instead he treated it like it was the end of his life and he threw a massive temper tantrum.

Unfortunately, we are likely to see an increasing number of spoiled Americans throw temper tantrums as the economic collapse goes from bad to worse in the years ahead.  The U.S. financial system is literally coming apart at the seams, and at this point there is very little that can be done to prevent a total economic breakdown.

So we are going to see more Americans trash their homes when they are foreclosed upon, we are going to see more Americans commit insurance fraud, we are going to see more Americans “go postal”, we are going to see more Americans freak out in public and we are going to see more Americans turn to crime.

Why?

Because the collective morality of America has experienced a catastrophic collapse.  People care very little about what is right or wrong anymore.  What they care about is what is going to make themselves happy and comfortable.

The only thing that has been keeping the entire U.S. from turning into New Orleans right after Hurricane Katrina is the relative level of affluence that we are all still experiencing.  Yes, things are not as good as they were, but the United States still has one of the highest standards of living in the world.

For now.

If you want to get an idea of where the U.S. is headed, go spend a few days in Detroit.  Once one of the shining examples of the American Dream, today many areas of Detroit resemble a war zone.  The real unemployment rate in Detroit is somewhere up around 45 or 50 percent and the crime rate is shooting through the roof.  Vandalism is rampant and some houses in the worst areas are virtually unsellable because they aren’t even worth the taxes that must be paid of them.

When people get desperate, their true character comes out.  When the U.S. financial system completely fails one day, the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted will evaporate in a matter of days.

At that point we will all wish that we had paid a lot more attention to teaching our kids about “character” and “morality”.

Goldman Sachs Admits To Engaging In “Improper Behavior” During The Housing Crash – But They Aren’t About To Give The Money Back

Goldman Sachs Wall StreetIn an absolutely stunning admission, the CEO of Goldman Sachs acknowledged on Wednesday that the investment bank engaged in “improper” behavior during 2006 and 2007.  This improper behavior included making huge bets against the housing market while at the same time peddling more than $40 billion in securities backed by risky U.S. home loans.

The CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, made this stunning admission during the opening hearing of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.  The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission is a 10 member panel that Congress created to investigate the causes of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

The chairperson of this commission, Phil Angelides, warned Blankfein that he would be “brutally honest” during his questioning.  He directly confronted Blankfein about Goldman’s behavior during the housing crash.  In particular, he pressed Blankfein about whether it was proper or not for Goldman Sachs to make huge bets against the housing market when they were peddling tens of billions of dollars worth of mortgage-backed securities at the same time.  In response to the questioning by Angelides, Blankfein made the following statement….

“I do think the behavior is improper, and we regret . . . the consequence that people have lost money in it.”

Lost money?

The truth is that tens of billions of dollars were lost.  In fact, the garbage that Goldman sold them has some state governments on the verge of bankruptcy.

But Goldman came out of the housing crash smelling like a rose.  In fact, they made tens of billions of dollars in 2009.

So will this commission get to the bottom of this mess?

Not likely, but at least Angelides was willing to ask some of the tough questions.

You can see a large portion of the confrontation between Blankfein and Angelides below….

Meanwhile, the U.S. government continues to deal with the horrific aftermath of the housing crisis.  The U.S. government just posted its largest December budget deficit on record (91.9 billion dollars) as higher unemployment reduced revenue and the government spent large amounts of money to help the U.S. economy recover.

A 91 billion dollar deficit in a single month?

What kind of madness is this?

We are dumping a massive debt on to our children and grandchildren that they will never, ever be able to repay.

In fact, a two year study by the 24 member Committee on the Fiscal Future of the United States says that the United States must soon either raise taxes or cut government spending to curb its debt.

But either action would have devastating effects on the U.S. economy.

However, if the U.S. government keeps piling up debt at the current rate it is absolutely going to destroy the financial system of the United States.

The truth is that the U.S. government is between a rock and a hard place.

If it raises taxes or cuts spending it will seriously hurt the economy, but if the government continues to rack up debt at this pace the consequences will be catastrophic.

The truth is that hard choices need to be made and that there is going to be economic pain no matter what is decided.

In fact, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue is warning that the U.S. faces a double-dip recession because of the new taxes and the new regulations under consideration by Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress.

While some in the mainstream media talk hopefully of “recovery”, the truth is that things continue to get worse for the U.S. economy.

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and are now stuck in a cycle of hopelessness.  In fact, some analysts now believe that the true unemployment rate in the United States is close to 22 percent.

All of this unemployment means that millions of Americans cannot pay their mortgages.  Almost 3 million U.S. homeowners received at least one foreclosure filing during 2009 which set a new all-time record.

However, things are going to get even worse for the housing market when the next wave of adjustable mortgages start resetting in 2010.  A massive wave of adjustable mortgages is scheduled to reset between 2010 and 2012, and the reality is that there is simply no way that another huge wave of mortgage defaults is going to be able to be avoided.

Things have gotten so bad that a record number of American citizens are turning to the U.S. government for assistance.  The number of Americans enrolled in the food stamp program has set a record for the ninth month in a row.

So is there any end to this economic misery?

Are things going to get even worse?

Well, not for the folks over at Goldman Sachs.  Total bonuses for executives at Goldman Sachs for 2009 are expected to be somewhere around 20 billion dollars.

You see, being a bankster is quite profitable these days – even if it did take a little “improper behavior” to get it done.

11 Clear Signs That The U.S. Economy Is Headed Into The Toilet

The U.S. Economy Is Headed Into The ToiletThe vast majority of the talking heads on television are still speaking of the current economic collapse as if it is a temporary “recession” that will soon be over.  So far, the vast majority of the American people seem to believe this as well, although for many Americans there is a very deep gnawing in the pit of their stomachs that is telling them that there is something very, very wrong this time around.  The truth is that the foundations of the U.S. economy have been destroyed by an orgy of government, corporate and individual debt that has gone on for decades.  It was the greatest party in the history of the world, but now the party is over.  The following are 11 signs from just this past month that show that the U.S. economy is headed into the toilet and will not be recovering….

#1) When even Wal-Mart is closing stores you know things are bad.  Wal-Mart announced on Monday that it will close 10 money-losing Sam’s Club stores and will cut 1,500 jobs in order to reduce costs.  So if even Wal-Mart has to shut down stores, what chance do other retailers have?

#2) Americans are going broke at a staggering pace.  1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 – a 32 percent increase over 2008.

#3) American workers are working harder than ever and yet making less.  After adjusting for inflation, pay for production and non-supervisory workers (80 percent of the private workforce) is 9% lower than it was in 1973.  But those Americans who do still have jobs are the fortunate ones.

#4) Unemployment is absolutely exploding all over the United States.  Minority groups have been hit particularly hard.  For example, unemployment on many U.S. Indian reservations is over 80 percent.

#5) Unfortunately the employment situation is showing no signs of turning around.  December was actually the worst month for U.S. unemployment since the so-called “Great Recession” began.

#6) So just how bad are things when compared to past recessions?  During the 2001 recession, the U.S. economy lost 2% of its jobs and it took four years to get them back. This time the U.S. economy has lost more than 5% of its jobs and there is no sign that the bleeding of jobs will stop any time soon.

#7) Can you imagine trying to get your first job in this economic climate?  Our young men and women either can’t get work or have given up on work altogether.  The percentage of Americans 16 to 24 who have jobs is 13 percent lower than ten years ago.

#8) So where did all the jobs go?  Over the past few decades we have allowed the corporate giants to ship mountains of American jobs overseas, and there are signs that this trend is only going to get worse.  In fact, Princeton University economist Alan S. Blinder estimates that 22% to 29% of all current U.S. jobs will be offshorable within two decades.  So get ready for even more of our jobs to be shipped off to Mexico, China and India.

#9) All of these job losses are leading to defaults on mortgages.  Over the past couple of years we have seen the American Dream in reverse.  According to a report that was just released, delinquent home loans at government-controlled mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac surged 20 percent from July through September.

#10) But that is nothing compared to what is coming.  A massive “second wave” of mortgage defaults is getting ready to hit the U.S. economy starting in 2010.  In fact, this “second wave” is so frightening that even 60 Minutes is reporting on it

#11) Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has announced that it made a record profit of $46.1 billion in 2009.  Apparently during this economic crisis it is a very good time to be a bankster.

America: Land Of The Unemployed – 3 Unemployment Charts That Will Absolutely Shock You

UnemploymentWith the unprecedented spending by the U.S. government over the past year and a half, shouldn’t we at least see some jobs being produced by now? After all, if we are putting our children and grandchildren into perpetual debt from which they will never emerge, shouldn’t we at least be able to put American workers back to work? Unfortunately, as you will see from the charts in this article, that is most definitely not the case. In fact, unemployment is reaching levels in the U.S. that have not been seen for decades. The high paying manufacturing and construction jobs that were the bedrock for the American middle class for decades have disappeared and they are simply not coming back.

Despite the reckless spending of the U.S. government, the U.S. economy continues to bleed jobs month after month.  In fact, December was the worst month for U.S. unemployment since the “Great Recession” began.  The U.S. labor force contracted by 661,000 in December.  The number that actually “lost” their jobs in December was much smaller than this.  The 661,000 number includes thousands upon thousands of American workers that have given up on employment and have simply dropped out of the system. The broader U6 measure of unemployment in the United States rose to 17.3 percent in December.  That is staggering.

In fact, the civilian participation rate in the employment pool has nosedived and has now reached levels not seen since the recession of the early 80s…..

Unemployment

In particular, the construction industry has been hit particularly hard.  As you can see from the chart below, construction employment boomed during the years of the housing bubble, but the bursting of the housing bubble has been absolutely catastrophic for construction employment….

Construction Employment

But not only have millions of people lost their jobs, they also can’t find jobs once they start looking for work.  The average duration of unemployment is already at record levels and it is shooting through the roof….

Duration Of Unemployment

It is really easy to tell someone to “go get a job”, but in many areas of the United States there simply are NO jobs.

In fact, there have been reports of people literally getting down on their knees and begging for a job at a city dump in Florida.  In other areas of the U.S., hundreds of people line up to apply for fast food jobs.

Without jobs or even the hope for a job, many families are now existing on the edge of survival.  Millions of men and women would be more than willing to work if something was available.

But nothing is available.

All of their jobs have been shipped off to Mexico, China and India.

For the last several decades the politicians in Washington D.C. have sold out U.S. workers and have sold out the U.S. economy and now the day of reckoning is here.

Unfortunately, as is too often the case, it is the working man that is feeling the pain first.

But eventually we will all feel the economic pain.

The great American economic empire is crumbling and the fall will be very great.

The economic despair that is coming in the years ahead is going to be so great that there are no words to even describe it.

You better get ready.

Ponzi Scheme: The Federal Reserve Bought Approximately 80 Percent Of U.S. Treasury Securities Issued In 2009

The Federal Reserve Bought Approximately 80 Percent Of U.S. Treasury Securities Issued In 2009No, the headline is not a misprint.  According to CNBC, the Federal Reserve bought approximately 80 percent of the U.S. Treasury securities issued in 2009.  In other words, the Federal Reserve has been gobbling up the massive tsunami of U.S. government debt that has been created over the past year.  This is absolutely unprecedented, and it is yet another clear indication that the U.S. financial system is on the verge of a major economic collapse.

You see, the Federal Reserve is not part of the federal government.  In fact, the Federal Reserve is about as “federal” as Federal Express is.

The Federal Reserve is a private bank owned and operated for profit by a very powerful group of elite international bankers.

It is this private central bank that controls the money supply and the issuance of currency in the United States.

When the U.S. government needs to borrow more money (which happens a lot) they go over to the Federal Reserve and they ask them for some more green pieces of paper called Federal Reserve Notes.

The Federal Reserve swaps these green pieces of paper for pink pieces of paper called U.S. Treasury bonds.

Now normally the Federal Reserve takes these U.S. Treasury bonds and they sell them all to other buyers.

But in 2009 there were not nearly enough buyers.

So in 2009 the Federal Reserve sold itself about 80 percent of this debt.

This is even being admitted on CNBC.  The video below is from January 8th, and at the 1:45 mark CNBC anchor Erin Burnett drops this bombshell along with a comment about how it is a Ponzi scheme….

So why is it a Ponzi scheme?

Well, basically the Federal Reserve is creating money out of nothing, loaning it to the U.S. government and then collecting interest on the loan.

That is nice work if you can get it.

But also, this intervention by the Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates on U.S. Treasury bonds artificially low.

In a true “free market” situation, the interest rates on U.S. treasuries would rise to reflect the rapidly declining economic situation in this nation.

Due to the massive explosion in the size of the U.S. government debt and due to the very weak U.S. economy, interest rates on U.S. treasuries should have shot through the roof by now.  Rational investors would normally require an increased return for the increased risk that U.S. treasuries now represent.

But that is not happening.

Instead when there are no buyers for U.S. treasuries at current interest rates, the Federal Reserve just steps in and buys up all the excess bonds that need to be purchased.

But in a normal free market situation, interest rates would rise on U.S. treasuries until they would be attractive enough for investors to buy them all.

However, that would create some huge problems.

If the U.S. government was not able to borrow all of the money it wanted to at artificially low interest rates, the results would be absolutely disastrous.

Much higher interest rates on U.S. government debt would cause the U.S. federal budget deficit to absolutely explode.  Interest rates on everything else throughout the economy would also skyrocket.  As mortgage rates climbed dramatically, the housing market would completely collapse.  The U.S. economy would be totally in flames.

But for now (and this situation cannot last forever) the Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates artificially low by lending the U.S. government as much money as it wants at extremely low interest rates.  Of course the Federal Reserve is making an insane amount of money out of the arrangement, so it is working out quite nicely for them as well.

But by essentially “printing” a flood of cheap money for the U.S. government to borrow, the Federal Reserve is ultimately going to end up destroying the value of the U.S. dollar.

Every fiat currency throughout history has always ended up losing its value, and that is exactly what is going to happen this time too.  The only way to protect the buying power of your money is to put it into something that will hold value (like gold or silver).  Your dollars are never going to be worth more than they are today.

The actions taken by the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have guaranteed the demise of the U.S. dollar.  At this point it is unavoidable.  It is only a matter of how soon it will happen and how bad it will be as things play out.

You better get ready.

A Record Number Of Americans Turn To Food Stamps As America Is Gripped By Economic Despair

Food StampsWould you ever accept government welfare?  Would you look down on someone who does?  Well, if you would look down on a fellow American who receives food stamps then get ready to look down on a massive sea of people.  The truth is that over 37 million Americans now receive food stamps, and the program is expanding at a pace of about 20,000 people a day.  As hordes of Americans have been forced out of their jobs and their homes, millions are finding that the only way they can make it is to accept food stamps.  For many it is a tremendously humbling moment to turn to the government for help, and for so many millions to be dependent on the food stamps program is yet another indication of how deep the economic despair in America has gotten.

Most of the time you won’t even notice them being used at the checkout counters.  Today food stamps take the form of inconspicuous plastic cards and they can be used to purchase a wide variety of food items.  A record 37.2 million people, which is approximately one out of every eight Americans, received food stamps in September, and that number is growing rapidly.

In particular, children are being enrolled in this program in staggering numbers.

One out of every four children in America now gets assistance from food stamps each month.  In fact, it is projected that half of all U.S. kids will be on food stamps at some point in their lives.

So if nobody in your family has ever had to go on food stamps consider yourself to be very fortunate.

Things are particularly bad in rural areas such as Tennessee.  Nearly 1,186,000 people who live in Tennessee, or more than one in six residents, currently receive some kind of food stamp assistance and that number is rapidly increasing.

But there are places where things are even worse.  In fact, there are 239 counties in the United States where at least a quarter of the population now receives food stamps.

Not only that, but it has now come out that about one in 50 Americans lives in a household with a reported income that consists of nothing but food stamps.

Can you imagine trying to live on nothing but food stamp assistance?

That is the case for 2 percent of all Americans.

Can you imagine the despair they must feel?

So is there economic hope on the horizon?

Hardly.

The number of Americans filing for personal bankruptcy rose by nearly a third in 2009.

In addition, the number of people preparing to buy a home in November fell sharply in the latest sign that the housing market may be headed for another downturn.

So more Americans are going to go broke.

And more Americans are going to lose their homes.

And a whole more Americans are going to end up on food stamps.

Can you feel the despair in the air?

We can.

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