Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke Warns Congress That The Federal Reserve Will Not “Print Money” To Pay For The Exploding U.S. National Debt

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Congress that the Federal Reserve does not plan to “print money” to help Congress finance the exploding U.S. national debt.  In fact, Bernanke told Congress that the U.S. could soon face a debt crisis as bad as the one in Greece if the U.S. government does not get things in order financially.  This represents a fundamental change in policy for the Federal Reserve, because they have been enabling the massive borrowing by the U.S. government over the past couple of years by “buying” the majority of new U.S. government debt that has been issued.  But now the fat cats over at the Federal Reserve have apparently changed their minds.  Using uncharacteristic bluntness, Bernanke told Congress that the Federal Reserve is “not going to monetize the debt”.

So why is the Federal Reserve changing course?

Well, there are a couple of possibilities.  One is that the Federal Reserve could legitimately be concerned that the exploding U.S. debt could actually collapse the U.S. economy and ultimately the U.S. government.

You see, the Federal Reserve is a parasite.  They make money for their owners by sucking money out of the U.S. government and out of U.S. taxpayers.  So, just like any parasite, they must strike a delicate balance.  They have to keep feeding off the host without killing off the host completely.  If the host dies it could end up killing the parasite.  So the Federal Reserve actually needs to try to keep the U.S. economy alive so that it can slowly keep draining it.

In fact, during his remarks to Congress, it certainly sounded like Bernanke honestly desires that the U.S. government will come up with a sustainable financial plan for the future….

“It is very, very important for Congress and administration to come to some kind of program, some kind of plan that will credibly show how the United States government is going to bring itself back to a sustainable position.”

The second possibility is a bit more insidious.  As we have written previously, it looks like “the financial powers that be” have decided to reduce the money supply, tighten credit and hoard cash.  All of those things reduce economic activity. 

This new public stance by Bernanke is right in line with that.  If the Federal Reserve will not finance the exploding U.S. government debt, then either the U.S. government will have to dramatically cut back on spending (which would seriously slow down the U.S. economy) or the U.S. government will have to borrow from other sources at much higher interest rates (which will have very serious negative effects on the U.S.. economy).  Either way, this new stance by the Federal Reserve is not good news for those hoping for U.S. economic growth.     

The truth is that someday the exponential growth of the U.S. national debt will basically force the Federal Reserve to “print money”, but for now it looks like the financial powers have another agenda. 

From all indications, it look like that agenda is seriously going to slow down the U.S. economy.

That is likely to seriously anger American voters.  Already, millions of Americans have lost their homes and their jobs, and things are probably only going to get worse.

The result is that there is likely to be an overwhelmingly strong anti-incumbent mood in the nation as we approach the election season of 2010.  Even now, only 10% of American voters say that Congress is doing a good or excellent job.

That is not good news for the fat cats in Washington.

Not that we should feel sorry for them when they get voted out.

Anyway, as always we welcome your comments.  If we do not publish your comment right away, don’t be discouraged, because sometimes we hold on to a comment for a bit because we want to figure out a way to feature some of the very best comments in a future article.

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The American Economy: The Wealthy Make The Mistakes But The Hard Working Middle Class Pays The Price

This is how the U.S. economy works much of the time – the wealthy make most of the big economic mistakes but the hard working middle class ends up paying for them. This time around is no exception. The financial crisis of the past several years was caused by Wall Street, but they got bailed out and relatively few of them lost their jobs. However, even though middle class and working class Americans were not the ones who made the mess, they are paying for it dearly. This is especially true when it comes to unemployment. While it is true that jobs are being lost on every level of American society, the reality is that unemployment is hitting Americans on the lowest end of the income scale the hardest.

Just check out the chart below.  The ten percent of Americans that have the lowest household incomes have an unemployment rate of over 30 percent, while the ten percent of Americans that have the highest household incomes have an unemployment rate just about 3 percent….

Does this seem right to you?

After all, we were promised that we needed to bail out Wall Street so that they could help “Main Street”.

But that didn’t happen, did it?

Instead, it appears that previously bailed out corporations are going back to their old ways of paying out ridiculous bonuses.

For example, the CEO of General Motors is in line to get a $9 million pay package. 

What in the world?

A company that was so flat broke that it would have likely collapsed without U.S. government intervention is handing out 9 million bucks to the CEO?

Something is very, very wrong.

And the truth is that working class Americans are getting pissed off.

For example, one Ohio man actually decided to bulldoze his own home rather than let the bank take it in foreclosure proceedings.

Now that is an incredibly destructive and vindictive act, but it just shows how angry some people are getting.

Many working class and middle class Americans feel powerless as the politicians and the wealthy recklessly destroy the U.S. economy.

Just consider the following chart.  The U.S. government has massively increased spending at a time when revenues are decreasing sharply.  Does this look like a “recovery” to you?….

The truth is that the U.S. national debt is wildly out of control.  In 2010, the U.S. government is projected to issue almost as much new debt as the rest of the governments of the world combined.

In fact, it is anticipated that the U.S. national debt will climb to an unprecedented 200 percent of GDP by 2038 without a fundamental change in course.

Is this kind of reckless financial mismanagement going to cause an economic collapse?

Of course.

And Americans are starting to wake up and realize this.

In a recent ABC News poll, 87 percent of Americans said that they are concerned about the U.S. national debt.

In a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey, 86 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. system of government is broken.

And it is broken.

So is it still possible to repair it?

Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion….

Has China Begun Dumping U.S. Treasuries?

Has China decided that now is the time to start dumping U.S. Treasuries?  The Treasury Department announced on Tuesday that foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury securities fell by $53 billion in December, which is an all-time record decline for one month.  China alone reduced its holdings by $34.2 billion.  So is this because the U.S. doesn’t need to borrow as much money anymore?  Of course not.  In fact, the Obama administration just released a new budget which calls for a record 1.56 trillion dollar budget deficit.  Obama has publicly stated that the U.S. will be running trillion dollar deficits for the foreseeable future.  No, China is not getting rid of U.S. Treasuries because the U.S. doesn’t need to borrow anymore.  The U.S. needs to borrow from China (and from everyone else) more than ever.

So what is going on?

The truth is that China recognizes that the long-term prognosis for U.S. Treasuries is really bad.  The U.S. government had piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world, and when the U.S. dollar eventually collapses (and it will) the Chinese could end up holding a trillion dollars of worthless paper.

So they are slowly starting to slide towards the door, hoping that everyone else does not suddenly catch on that the party is over.

The Chinese know that the great U.S. economy is slowly spiralling into the toilet.  Everyone is so focused on the financial disaster in Greece right now, but Michael Pento, a senior market strategist with Delta Global Advisors, says that the financial situation in the United States is “worse than Greece”.

The Chinese don’t want to be the ones left standing when this bizarre game of musical chairs is over.  In fact, it is just not U.S. Treasuries that the Chinese are getting rid of.  There are reports that the Chinese government has ordered its reserve managers to dump all “riskier securities” and to hold on to only U.S. Treasuries and U.S. agency debt that comes with an implicit or an explicit U.S. government guarantee.

But as we have seen, the Chinese government is also reducing the size of their U.S. Treasury holdings.

For years, there have been financial analysts that have been warning of this day.  They have been warning that when the Chinese and other foreign governments start dumping Treasuries it will send interest rates skyrocketing through the roof and it will crash the U.S. economy.

Well, China is starting to dump Treasuries and the U.S. government is borrowing more money than ever, but interest rates are staying somewhat stable.

So what is happening?

Well, as we have covered previously, the truth is that the Federal Reserve is soaking up the excess borrowing.  Some analysts refer to this as “printing money”, but it is more like “printing debt”.  In fact, the Fed “bought” the vast majority of new U.S. Treasuries issued in 2009.

So that is how the U.S. government can continue to borrow obscene amounts of money when the rest of the world won’t lend it to us.  But this can’t continue forever and it is obviously a recipe for hyperinflation in the long-term.

Meanwhile, the Chinese are trying to make a smooth move towards the “exit” sign.  Whether they will be able to successfully pull it off is another matter.

Extreme Food Storage

14 Fun Facts About The U.S. Government’s Massive Debt Problem

The U.S. government is currently creating one of the most colossal monuments in the history of the world.  It is the U.S. national debt, and it threatens to literally destroy the American way of life.  For decades now, this generation has been recklessly spending the money of future generations and has been convinced that they have been getting away with it.  Americans have been enjoying an obscenely high standard of living, but the party is almost over and the day of reckoning is fast approaching.  It has been a great party, but it was fueled by the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world.  As many of us know, it can be extremely fun running up a huge credit card bill, but it can be even more painful to pay it off.  Now our national “credit card bills” are starting to arrive and nobody really seems to know what to do.  The U.S. national debt will forever be a lasting reminder of the greed and recklessness of this generation.  The truth is that the United States is NOT the “richest and most powerful nation” in the world.  Rather, we are a spoiled, bloated, greedy nation that has run up a debt so big that words simply do not do it justice.

In fact, the U.S. national debt is so bizarre that it is hard to know whether to laugh about it or cry about it.  For today at least, we will have some fun with it.  The following are 14 fun facts about the U.S. government’s massive debt problem….

#1) As of December 1st, 2009, the official debt of the United States government was approximately 12.1 trillion dollars.

#2) To pay this 12.1 trillion dollar debt would require approximately $40,000 from every single person living in the United States.

#3) Now the U.S. Congress has approved an increase in the U.S. government debt cap to 14.3 trillion dollars.  to pay this increase off would require approximately $6,000 more from every man, woman and child in the United States.

#4) The U.S. government’s debt ceiling has been raised six times since the beginning of 2006.

#5) So how hard is it to spend a trillion dollars?  If you spent one dollar every second, you would have spent a million dollars in twelve days.  At that same rate, it would take you 32 years to spend a billion dollars.  But it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend a trillion dollars.

#6) When Ronald Reagan took office, the U.S. national debt was only about 1 trillion dollars.

#7) The U.S. national debt has more than doubled since the year 2000.

#8) Barack Obama’s most recently proposed budget anticipates $5.08 trillion in deficits over the next 5 years.

#9) The U.S. national debt on January 1st, 1791 was just $75 million dollars. Today, the U.S. national debt rises by that amount about once an hour.

#10) The U.S. national debt rises at an average of approximately $3.8 billion per day.

#11) In 2010, the U.S. government is projected to issue almost as much new debt as the rest of the governments of the world combined.

#12) The U.S. government has such a voracious appetite for debt that the rest of the world simply doesn’t have enough money to lend us.  So now the Federal Reserve is buying most U.S. debt, and the only reason they can do that is because they basically create the money to lend us out of thin air.

#13) A trillion $10 bills, if they were taped end to end, would wrap around the globe more than 380 times.  That amount of money would still not be enough to pay off the U.S. national debt.

#14) As if all of the above was not bad enough, according to the 2008 Financial Report of the United States Government, which is an official United States government report, the total liabilities of the United States government, including future social security and medicare payments that the U.S. government is already committed to pay out, now exceed 65 TRILLION dollars.

Mountain House Sale

Are We On The Verge Of An Economic War With Russia And China?

Has our exploding national debt become an economic weapon of mass destruction in the hands of the Russians and the Chinese? Have increasing tensions between East and West put us on the verge of an economic war with those two superpowers? Those who are convinced that the Russians and Chinese would never work together to collapse the U.S. economy should really consider what former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is saying in his new book. Paulson’s new book is entitled “On The Brink“, and in it he claims that the Russians contacted the Chinese in 2008 and proposed that both nations dump their Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds at the same time in a bid to force a bailout of the largest U.S. mortgage-finance companies by the U.S. government.  Fortunately, China declined to go along with Russia’s proposal at the time, but this revelation just underscores the economic danger that the United States has gotten itself into.

You see, if the Chinese and the Russians had done that, it would have set off mass panic in the financial markets.  It would have been an unmitigated economic disaster.

Due to our greed and our reckless spending, we have gotten ourselves into a situation where China and Russia have a tremendous amount of leverage on us.

Near the end of 2009, China owned U.S. Treasuries worth approximately $789 billion, and Russia owned U.S. Treasuries worth approximately $128 billion.

If China and Russia decided to dump their Treasuries in unison it could literally devastate the U.S. economy.  Already the Federal Reserve is having to “purchase” the vast majority of all new U.S. Treasuries.  The talking heads on the cable networks claim that this kind of “Ponzi scheme” by the Fed cannot continue indefinitely, but the U.S. government is continuing to spend recklessly and nobody else is stepping up to buy our new debt.  So what would happen if China and Russia suddenly decided to dump nearly a trillion in U.S. Treasuries on the market?

Don’t think that it can’t happen.

Already, the Chinese government has reportedly ordered its reserve managers to dump all “riskier securities” and to hold on to only U.S. Treasuries and U.S. agency debt that comes with an implicit or an explicit U.S. government guarantee.

So is this a prelude to even more dumping to come?

The truth is that tensions between the United States and China are escalating rapidly….

*Barack Obama recently promised to get “tough on trade” with China, and the Chinese government responded to that notion very angrily.

*Senior Chinese military officers have suggested that the Chinese government should sell some U.S. bonds to punish the U.S. government for the latest round of arms sales to Taiwan.

*Barack Obama has attempted to pressure Chinese President Hu Jintao to raise the value of the Yuan, but the Chinese are not giving an inch.  In fact, there are reports that the Chinese regard Obama as weak.

*The Chinese government is reportedly extremely upset that the White House has announced that Obama will meet with the Dalai Lama in the next few weeks.

The vast majority of the American people have no idea what is going on, but the truth is that the Chinese people, and especially the Chinese military and the Chinese government, are very pissed at us.  Just consider the following quotes….

Luo Yuan, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences:

“Our retaliation should not be restricted to merely military matters, and we should adopt a strategic package of counter-punches covering politics, military affairs, diplomacy and economics to treat both the symptoms and root cause of this disease.”

Chinese Major-General Yang Yi:

“This time China must punish the U.S.”

Huang Xiangyang, a commentator in the China Daily newspaper:

“When someone spits on you, you have to get back.”

Nationalism is surging right now in China, and attitudes toward the West and toward the United States are taking a turn for the worse.

In facat, one new poll taken in China recently has revealed that more than half of Chinese citizens now believe that China and America are heading for a new cold war.

But China was so weak a few decades ago.

How could this happen?

That sad thing is that we have done this to ourselves.

It was us who allowed the Chinese to artificially keep their currency so low for so long.

It was us who struck highly imbalanced trade agreements with them.

It was us who allowed our corporations to shut down factories in the U.S. and open them up in China.

It was us who insisted on “free trade” with China even as the human rights abuses over there continued to get worse.

It was us who kept running out to the big box stores to keep buying cheap Chinese-made products when we could have bought more American-made products.

It was us who kept voting for politicians who promoted “globalism” and “free trade agreements” when we should have known that globalism would ultimately have some very painful consequences.

It was us who kept giving China access to advanced military technology and allowed Chinese generals to sleep over at the White House.

It was us who kept pumping money into China and then asking them for loans when we knew all along that they were one of our biggest strategic enemies.

It was us that has allowed China to become the second-largest economy and the number one exporter in the entire world.

If it was not for the stupidity of the United States, the biggest Communist nation on earth, China, would not be an economic and military powerhouse today.

But it is.

And we did it.

In addition, most analysts in the United States seriously underestimate Russia.

Russia (not Saudi Arabia) is now the number one oil exporter in the world.  Their economy has been humming like a machine for most of the past decade, and they are rapidly modernizing and expanding their military.  Russia has made it known that they intend to play a major role in world affairs and that they do not intend to be pushed around by someone like Barack Obama.

The sad thing is that the majority of economic talking heads on the cable channels are still convinced that Russia and China will never use the economic time bombs that we have put into their hands.

They are convinced that they would be “shooting themselves in the feet” by taking us down.

While that may be true, the truth is that there comes a time when other matters become much more important than losing money on some investments.

For both Russia and China, the United States is still the number one strategic enemy out there.  They do not look at the United States as a true friend.  If it comes to a point where it suits their purposes to pull the trigger on an economic war with us, then that is exactly what they will do.

For more on the potential for economic war with Russia and China, check out the excellent video below….

It Is Now Mathematically Impossible To Pay Off The U.S. National Debt

A lot of people are very upset about the rapidly increasing U.S. national debt these days and they are  demanding a solution. What they don’t realize is that there simply is not a solution under the current U.S. financial system. It is now mathematically impossible for the U.S. government to pay off the U.S. national debt. You see, the truth is that the U.S. government now owes more dollars than actually exist. If the U.S. government went out today and took every single penny from every single American bank, business and taxpayer, they still would not be able to pay off the national debt. And if they did that, obviously American society would stop functioning because nobody would have any money to buy or sell anything.

And the U.S. government would still be massively in debt.

So why doesn’t the U.S. government just fire up the printing presses and print a bunch of money to pay off the debt?

Well, for one very simple reason.

That is not the way our system works.

You see, for more dollars to enter the system, the U.S. government has to go into more debt.

The U.S. government does not issue U.S. currency – the Federal Reserve does.

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

If you will pull a dollar bill out and take a look at it, you will notice that it says “Federal Reserve Note” at the top.

It belongs to the Federal Reserve.

The U.S. government cannot simply go out and create new money whenever it wants under our current system.

Instead, it must get it from the Federal Reserve.

So, when the U.S. government needs to borrow more money (which happens a lot these days) it goes over to the Federal Reserve and asks 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. The Federal Reserve either sells these U.S. Treasury bonds or they keep the bonds for themselves (which happens a lot these days).

So that is how the U.S. government gets more green pieces of paper called “U.S. dollars” to put into circulation. But by doing so, they get themselves into even more debt which they will owe even more interest on.

So every time the U.S. government does this, the national debt gets even bigger and the interest on that debt gets even bigger.

Are you starting to get the picture?

As you read this, the U.S. national debt is approximately 12 trillion dollars, although it is going up so rapidly that it is really hard to pin down an exact figure.

So how much money actually exists in the United States today?

Well, there are several ways to measure this.

The “M0” money supply is the total of all physical bills and currency, plus the money on hand in bank vaults and all of the deposits those banks have at reserve banks.  As of mid-2009, the Federal Reserve said that this amount was about 908 billion dollars.

The “M1” money supply includes all of the currency in the “M0” money supply, along with all of the money held in checking accounts and other checkable accounts at banks, as well as all money contained in travelers’ checks.  According to the Federal Reserve, this totaled approximately 1.7 trillion dollars in December 2009, but not all of this money actually “exists” as we will see in a moment.

The “M2” money supply includes everything in the “M1” money supply plus most other savings accounts, money market accounts, retail money market mutual funds, and small denomination time deposits (certificates of deposit of under $100,000).  According to the Federal Reserve, this totaled approximately 8.5 trillion dollars in December 2009, but once again, not all of this money actually “exists” as we will see in a moment.

The “M3” money supply includes everything in the “M2” money supply plus all other CDs (large time deposits and institutional money market mutual fund balances), deposits of eurodollars and repurchase agreements.  The Federal Reserve does not keep track of M3 anymore, but according to ShadowStats.com it is currently somewhere in the neighborhood of 14 trillion dollars.  But again, not all of this “money” actually “exists” either.

So why doesn’t it exist?

It is because our financial system is based on something called fractional reserve banking.

When you go over to your local bank and deposit $100, they do not keep your $100 in the bank.  Instead, they keep only a small fraction of your money there at the bank and they lend out the rest to someone else.  Then, if that person deposits the money that was just borrowed at the same bank, that bank can loan out most of that money once again.  In this way, the amount of “money” quickly gets multiplied.  But in reality, only $100 actually exists.  The system works because we do not all run down to the bank and demand all of our money at the same time.

According to the New York Federal Reserve Bank, fractional reserve banking can be explained this way….

If the reserve requirement is 10%, for example, a bank that receives a $100 deposit may lend out $90 of that deposit. If the borrower then writes a check to someone who deposits the $90, the bank receiving that deposit can lend out $81. As the process continues, the banking system can expand the initial deposit of $100 into a maximum of $1,000 of money ($100+$90+81+$72.90+…=$1,000).”

So much of the “money” out there today is basically made up out of thin air.

In fact, most banks have no reserve requirements at all on savings deposits, CDs and certain kinds of money market accounts.  Primarily, reserve requirements apply only to “transactions deposits” – essentially checking accounts.

The truth is that banks are freer today to dramatically “multiply” the amounts deposited with them than ever before.  But all of this “multiplied” money is only on paper – it doesn’t actually exist.

The point is that the broadest measures of the money supply (M2 and M3) vastly overstate how much “real money” actually exists in the system. 

So if the U.S. government went out today and demanded every single dollar from all banks, businesses and individuals in the United States it would not be able to collect 14 trillion dollars (M3) or even 8.5 trillion dollars (M2) because those amounts are based on fractional reserve banking.

So the bottom line is this….

#1) If all money owned by all American banks, businesses and individuals was gathered up today and sent to the U.S. government, there would not be enough to pay off the U.S. national debt.

#2) The only way to create more money is to go into even more debt which makes the problem even worse.

You see, this is what the whole Federal Reserve System was designed to do.  It was designed to slowly drain the massive wealth of the American people and transfer it to the elite international bankers.

It is a game that is designed so that the U.S. government cannot win.  As soon as they create more money by borrowing it, the U.S. government owes more than what was created because of interest.

If you owe more money than ever was created you can never pay it back.

That means perpetual debt for as long as the system exists.

It is a system designed to force the U.S. government into ever-increasing amounts of debt because there is no escape.

We could solve this problem by shutting down the Federal Reserve and restoring the power to issue U.S. currency to the U.S. Congress (which is what the U.S. Constitution calls for).  But the politicians in Washington D.C. are not about to do that.

So unless you are willing to fundamentally change the current system, you might as well quit complaining about the U.S. national debt because it is now mathematically impossible to pay it off.

***UPDATE***

It has been suggested that the same dollar can be used to pay off debt over and over – this is theoretically true as long as the dollar remains in the system.

For example, if the U.S. government gives China a dollar to pay off a debt, there is a good chance that the U.S. government will be able to acquire that dollar again and use it to pay off another debt.

However, this is not true when debt is retired with the Federal Reserve.  In that case, money is actually removed from the system.  In fact, because of the “money multiplier”, when debt is retired with the Federal Reserve it can remove ten times that amount of money (and actually more, but let’s not get too technical) from the system.

You see, fractional reserve banking works both ways.  When $100 is introduced into the system, it can theoretically create $1000 as the example in the article above demonstrates.  However, when that $100 is removed, it can have the opposite impact.

And considering the fact that the Federal Reserve “purchased” the vast majority of new U.S. government debt last year, we have got a real mess on our hands.

Even if a way could be figured out how to pay off all the debt we owe to foreign nations (such as China, Japan, etc.) it would still be mathematically impossible to pay off the debt that we owe to the Federal Reserve which is exploding so fast that it is hard to even keep track of.

Of course we could repudiate that debt and shut down the Federal Reserve, but very few in Washington D.C. have any interest in doing that.

It has also been suggested that instead of just using dollars to pay off the U.S. national debt, we could use the assets of the U.S. government to pay it off.

That is rather extreme, but let us consider that for a moment.

That total value of all physical assets in the United States, both publicly and privately owned, is somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 to 50 trillion dollars.  Of course the idea of the U.S. government “owning” every single asset of the American people is repugnant to our entire way of life, but let’s assume that for a moment.

According to the 2008 Financial Report of the United States Government, which is an official United States government report, the total liabilities of the United States government, including future social security and medicare payments that the U.S. government is already committed to pay out, now exceed 65 TRILLION dollars.  This amount is more than the entire GDP of the whole world.

In fact, there are other authors who have written that the actual figure for the future liabilities of the U.S. government should be much higher, but let’s be conservative and go with 65 trillion for now.

So, if the U.S. government took control of all physical assets in the United States and sold them off, it could not even make enough money to pay for everything that the U.S. government is already on the hook for.

Ouch.

If you have not read the 2008 Financial Report of the United States Government, you really should.  Actually the 2009 report should be available very soon if it isn’t already.  If anyone knows if it is available, please let us know. 

The truth is that the U.S. government is in much bigger financial trouble than we have been led to believe. 

For example, according to the report (which remember is an official U.S. government report) the real U.S. budget deficit for 2008 was not 455 billion dollars.  It was actually 5.1 trillion dollars.

So why the difference?

The CBO’s 455 billion figure is based on cash accounting, while the 5.1 trillion figure in the 2008 Financial Report of the United States Government is based on GAAP accounting. GAAP accounting is what is used by all the major firms on Wall Street and it is regarded as a much more accurate reflection of financial reality.

So needless to say, the United States is in a financial mess of unprecedented magnitude.

So what should we do?  Does anyone have any suggestions?

***UPDATE 2***

We have received a lot of great comments on this article.  Trying to understand the U.S. financial system (even after studying it for years) can be very difficult at times.  In fact, it can almost seem like playing 3 dimensional chess.

Several readers have correctly pointed out that when the U.S. money supply is expanded by the Federal Reserve, the interest that is to be paid on that new debt is not created. 

So where does the money to pay that interest come from?  Well, eventually the money supply has to be expanded some more.  But that creates even more debt.

That brings us to the next point.

Several readers have insisted that the Federal Reserve is not privately owned and that since it returns “most” of the profits it makes to the U.S. government that we should not be concerned about the debt owed to it.

The truth is that what you have with the Federal Reserve is layers of ownership.  The following was originally posted on the Federal Reserve’s website….

“The twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, which were established by Congress as the operating arms of the nation’s central banking system, are organized much like private corporations – possibly leading to some confusion about “ownership.” For example, the Reserve Banks issue shares of stock to member banks. However, owning Reserve Bank stock is quite different from owning stock in a private company. The Reserve Banks are not operated for profit, and ownership of a certain amount of stock is, by law, a condition of membership in the System. The stock may not be sold, traded, or pledged as security for a loan; dividends are, by law, 6 percent per year.”

So Federal Reserve “stock” is owned by member banks.  So who owns the member banks?  Well, when you sift through additional layers of ownership, you will ultimately find that people like the Rothschilds, the Rockefellers and the Queen of England have very large ownership interests in the big banks.  But there are so many layers of ownership that they are able to disguise themselves well. 

You see, these people are not stupid.  They did not become the richest people in the world by being morons.  It was the banking elite of the world who designed the Federal Reserve and it is the banking elite of the world who benefit the most from the Federal Reserve today.  In the article above when we described the Federal Reserve as “a private bank owned and operated for profit by a very powerful group of elite international bankers” we may have been oversimplifying things a bit, but it is the essence of what is going on.

In an excellent article that she did on the Federal Reserve, Ellen Brown described a number of the ways that the Federal Reserve makes money for those who own it….

The interest on bonds acquired with its newly-issued Federal Reserve Notes pays the Fed’s operating expenses plus a guaranteed 6% return to its banker shareholders. A mere 6% a year may not be considered a profit in the world of Wall Street high finance, but most businesses that manage to cover all their expenses and give their shareholders a guaranteed 6% return are considered “for profit” corporations.

In addition to this guaranteed 6%, the banks will now be getting interest from the taxpayers on their “reserves.” The basic reserve requirement set by the Federal Reserve is 10%. The website of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York explains that as money is redeposited and relent throughout the banking system, this 10% held in “reserve” can be fanned into ten times that sum in loans; that is, $10,000 in reserves becomes $100,000 in loans. Federal Reserve Statistical Release H.8 puts the total “loans and leases in bank credit” as of September 24, 2008 at $7,049 billion. Ten percent of that is $700 billion. That means we the taxpayers will be paying interest to the banks on at least $700 billion annually – this so that the banks can retain the reserves to accumulate interest on ten times that sum in loans.

The banks earn these returns from the taxpayers for the privilege of having the banks’ interests protected by an all-powerful independent private central bank, even when those interests may be opposed to the taxpayers’ — for example, when the banks use their special status as private money creators to fund speculative derivative schemes that threaten to collapse the U.S. economy. Among other special benefits, banks and other financial institutions (but not other corporations) can borrow at the low Fed funds rate of about 2%. They can then turn around and put this money into 30-year Treasury bonds at 4.5%, earning an immediate 2.5% from the taxpayers, just by virtue of their position as favored banks. A long list of banks (but not other corporations) is also now protected from the short selling that can crash the price of other stocks.

The reality is that there are a lot of ways that the Federal Reserve is a money-making tool.  Yes, they do return “some” of their profits to the U.S. government each year.  But the Federal Reserve is NOT a government agency and it DOES make profits. 

So just how much money is made over there?  The truth is that we have to rely on what the Federal Reserve tells us, because they have never been subjected to a comprehensive audit by the U.S. government.

Ever.

Right now there is legislation going through Congress that would change that, and the Federal Reserve is fighting it tooth and nail.  They are warning that such an audit could cause a financial disaster.

What are they so afraid of?

Are they afraid that we might get to peek inside and see what they have been up to all these years?

If you are a history buff, then you probably know that debates about a “central bank” go all the way back to the Founding Fathers.

The European banking elite have always been determined to control our currency, and that is exactly what is happening today.

Ever since the Federal Reserve was created, there have been members of the U.S. Congress that have been trying to warn the American people about the insidious nature of this institution. 

Just check out what the Honorable Louis McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee had to say all the way back in the 1930s….

“Some people think that the Federal Reserve Banks are United States Government institutions. They are private monopolies which prey upon the people of these United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers; foreign and domestic speculators and swindlers; and rich and predatory money lenders.”

The Federal Reserve is not the solution and it never has been.

The Federal Reserve is the problem.

Any thoughts?

The Endless Debt Spiral: Barack Obama Proposes A 3.83 Trillion Dollar Budget For 2011

What would happen to your household if it spent $9,000 every single month but only brought in $6,000 every single month?  Well, you would quickly accumulate a massive amount of debt that you would very soon not even be able to pay the interest on.  You would probably have to end up declaring bankruptcy.  So if it is not okay for your household to spend like this, then why is it okay for the U.S. government to do it?  On Monday, Barack Obama unveiled his proposed budget for 2011.  It calls for 3.83 trillion dollars in spending, and it projects a deficit of 1.3 trillion dollars.  In other words, one out of every three dollars that the U.S. government would spend under Obama’s proposed budget would be borrowed.

In a statement about his proposed budget, Obama warned that we need to start thinking about controlling spending….

“We simply cannot continue to spend as if deficits don’t have consequences.”

That is very true.

We cannot continue to spend as if deficits don’t have very serious consequences.

And yet Obama is doing it anyway.

Not that Bush was much better in this area.  Under George W. Bush, federal budget deficits absolutely exploded.

But now Obama is taking things to an entirely new level.

Obama’s proposed budget anticipates $5.08 trillion in deficits over the next 5 years.  Those projected deficits are 35 percent higher than the White House projected just 12 months ago.

But the truth is that they are still numbers straight out of fantasyland.

Why?
Because Obama’s budget is based on economic assumptions that are outrageously optimistic.  Just check out these numbers that Obama’s budget is based on….

*Obama’s budget projects that the U.S. economy will grow at a 3% rate in 2010, and then will grow by 4.3% in 2011 and 2012.

*Obama’s budget projects a 1% inflation rate in 2010, and inflation rates of less than 2 percent for the rest of the decade.

*Obama’s budget projects that the unemployment rate will remain at 10% in 2010 and then will decline to about 5% by the end of the decade.

So basically the White House expects the U.S. economy to miraculously recover and to grow at a robust pace with super low inflation and super low unemployment for the rest of the decade.

What in the world are they smoking over there?

And even with these incredibly rosy projections, they are still forecasting massive federal deficits for the rest of the decade.

So what if things don’t go so smoothly?

The reality is that the U.S. economy is simply not going to recover.  For a comprehensive look at why this is true, please read our previous article entitled “Economic Black Hole: 20 Reasons Why The U.S. Economy Is Dying And Is Simply Not Going To Recover” which goes into great detail about the problems facing our economy.

How bad are the deficits going to be if the U.S. economy really goes down the tubes?

That is such a frightening scenario that it is hard to even think about it.

Meanwhile, the watchdog in charge of monitoring the U.S. government’s $700 billion bailout program says that TARP is simply not working.

In his recent quarterly report to Congress, special inspector general Neil Barofsky said that TARP has basically completely failed to boost bank lending and has basically completely failed to halt the spread of foreclosures.

So why did we spend all that money if it isn’t doing any good?

After all, Obama promised that if we helped out Wall Street, they in turn would be more than happy to help out “Main Street”.

But a funny thing happened.

The banks decided to hoard the cash.

In fact, the Treasury Department reported earlier this month that the 22 banks that got the most aid from the government’s various bailout programs have cut their small business loan balances by $12.5 billion since April.

So they are not even lending as much money as they used to.

Ouch.

It seems that very little of what the U.S. government is trying to do is working these days.

But at this point there is not much that can be done.

As far as the economy goes, there are basically two choices.

#1) The U.S. government could try to cut spending and balance the budget, but that would cripple the economy and it would potentially send unemployment soaring to Great Depression levels.  The U.S. would experience a deflationary depression that could take decades to recover from.

#2) The U.S. government could try to stimulate the U.S. economy by borrowing even more money than before and by cranking up the debt spiral that our financial system is based on one more time.  Of course this could very well result in the complete destruction of the dollar and the complete destruction of our financial system, but it is the choice that would keep life in the U.S. somewhat “normal” at least for now.  This is essentially the choice that the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve have chosen.

Because of the gigantic mountain of debt that our society has accumulated, there really are no other alternatives.  We can try to put off the inevitable for a while, but the truth is that we will either be facing a deflationary depression or a hyperinflationary nightmare in the years ahead.

All indications are that the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve are pursuing policies that will lead to a hyperinflationary nightmare.  They are hoping that all of this government borrowing can crank up the debt spiral the U.S. economy is based on one more time.  But ultimately this is only going to lead to hyperinflation and the destruction of the dollar.

When a loaf of bread costs ten dollars a whole lot of people are going to be really pissed off, but it isn’t as if many of us haven’t been trying to warn you.

It simply was not realistic for the American people to pile up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world and to think that there would not be very serious consequences.

There are going to be very, very serious consequences.

We did this to ourselves and the fallout is going to be very, very painful.

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