Budget Cuts?

As violent protests erupted outside, the leaders of the world’s largest economies plotted the future course of the global economy at this weekend’s G20 summit.  So what was decided?  Well, according to various reports in the mainstream media, it was the “deficit hawks” who got their way.  Apparently the consensus of the G20 meetings was that a round of tough budget cuts is the medicine that the world economy needs.  In fact, the G20 leaders all pledged to cut their respective budget deficits in half by 2013.  Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, one of the key advocates of budget cuts, said that the G20 nations need to walk a “tightrope” between stimulating their economies and debt reduction.  But as the largest economies around the globe transition from reckless government spending to budget reductions and austerity measures, what is that really going to mean for the world economy?

Well, the truth is that as good as “budget cuts” sound, they can have some very nasty short-term side effects.

You see, there is no getting around the fact that whenever governments spend more money it is good for economic growth.  The problem is that a large number of governments around the globe have been consistently spending way beyond their means for decades and now they find themselves up to their eyeballs in debt.

The exploding sovereign debt levels around the globe are not sustainable by any definition, and so it was undeniable that something had to be done.

In fact, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso put it quite succinctly during the G20 meetings in Toronto when he told the press the following….

“There is no more room for deficit spending.”

The reality is that nations such as Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy are already on the verge of default.  Japan has accumulated so much debt that it makes headlines almost constantly in the newspapers over there.  The exploding U.K. debt was one of the key factors that enabled the Conservatives to take power in the most recent election.

But nobody has more debt than the United States.  As of June 1st, the U.S. National Debt was $13,050,826,460,886.97.  The U.S. government has accumulated the most colossal mountain of debt the world has ever seen and it is exploding at a rate that is breathtaking.

So, yes, the largest economies of the world have a major problem with government debt.

But are budget cuts and austerity measures the correct solution?

It depends who you ask.

The reality is that the U.S., the U.K. and many of the other most powerful economies in the world now find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

If they continue recklessly going into debt their economies will continue to be stimulated (at least to some degree), but interest expenses will continue to spiral upwards and borrowing costs will go through the roof as credit ratings fall.  In the end, nation after nation would end up defaulting and the world financial system would crash hard.

However, if the G20 nations actually do implement the hard budget cuts that are necessary to get their debts under control, it will suck a ton of money out of the system and could send the already vulnerable global economy into a devastating deflationary depression.

The truth is that neither option is a good option.

Either path is going to contain a good amount of economic pain.

So what do you do when there is no good solution?

Stephen Lewis of Monument Securities recently argued that the path of “fiscal stimulus” has been totally played out and so there is no good reason to continue to go down that path….

“Growth could be negative again as soon as the fourth quarter. There is no easy way out since fiscal stimulus has already been pushed as far as it can credibly go without endangering US credit-worthiness.”

However, Chris Whalen, a former Federal Reserve official and now head of Institutional Risk Analytics says that unless the printing presses are quickly cranked up again we are definitely headed for deflation….

“The party is over from fiscal support. These hard-money men are fighting the last war: they don’t recognise that money velocity has slowed and we are going into deflation. The only default option left is to crank up the printing presses again.”

So what is the right answer?

For now, G20 leaders have decided that budget cuts and austerity measures are the right answer.

Not that Barack Obama and U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke didn’t fight behind the scenes for additional “stimulus” for the world economy.

You see, when it comes to “Helicopter Ben”, his first instinct is to always pump more money into the economy.  In fact, according to one major U.K. newspaper, U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has been fighting an intense behind the scenes war for control of U.S. monetary policy.  Bernanke is reportedly frightened that the U.S. could be headed for a deflationary spiral and has been pushing the idea of a fresh injection of money into the U.S. economy.

But for now Bernanke has lost.  Barack Obama has joined the other leaders of the G20 in promising to cut their budget deficits by 50 percent by 2013.

Not that we are actually going to see that happen.

We all know how reliable Barack Obama’s promises are.  He was busy breaking his 2008 campaign promises before he was even sworn in.

And the day will come when Barack Obama needs to turn the economy around in order to win some votes, and when that day arrives the temptation to “stimulate” the economy with some more government spending will prove irresistible.

But for the moment, Obama is lining up with the other G20 leaders and is swearing that he is going to get spending under control.

That should settle world financial markets down for the moment, but the reality is that as all of the major economies around the world suddenly see a dramatic reduction in government spending, a substantial economic slowdown will be inevitable.

When the world economy slows down, unemployment will spike, the global real estate mess will get even worse and “austerity riots” could even break out in many areas of the globe.

So at some point, the pendulum will once again swing back towards “stimulus” and world leaders will indulge their debt addictions once again.  But that will only make the long-term global economic problems even worse.

The truth is that the entire world economic system is broken.  It is built on a fraudulent pyramid of debt, derivatives, central banking and paper money that is doomed to fail.  But world leaders will continue to keep it alive for as long as they can.

Right now their big solution is to get all of the major industrialized nations to agree to huge budget cuts.  These budget cuts, if they are actually implemented, are very likely to lead to a severe economic slowdown and potentially even a deflationary depression.

But continuing on the path that the G20 leaders were on would have resulted in a wave of sovereign defaults and hyperinflationary meltdowns.

So the G20 leaders have decided to change course and they are hoping that they can navigate the economic minefield ahead and bring our economies through all of this okay.

But in the end they are going to fail.

Get Ready To Taste The Bitter Side Of Keynesian Economics

Most Americans have no idea what the term “Keynesian economics” means, but the truth is that it has been deeply influencing U.S. economic policy for decades.  Essentially, it is an economic theory that originated with a 20th century British economist named John Maynard Keynes, and it advocates government intervention in the economy in order to smooth out economic cycles.  The general idea was that lower interest rates and increased government spending could be used to increase aggregate demand when the economy was experiencing a downturn, thus increasing economic activity and reducing unemployment.

And you know what?

To a certain degree, Keynesian economic theory actually does work.

Increased government spending DOES stimulate the economy.

But the problem is that governments all over the world decided that they would just run constant budget deficits and stimulate the economy all the time.

All of this debt has brought a temporary prosperity to many of the nations around the globe, but there is one huge problem with debt.

It has to be paid back eventually.

With interest.

So what happens when nations have to start spending huge chunks of their national budgets just to service all the debt that they have piled up?

Well, that is when they taste the bitter side of Keynesian economics.

In fact, we see that starting to happen all over the world right now.

All of a sudden, governments all over the globe are talking about huge budget cuts, pay decreases, and higher taxes.

We all know about what is going on in Greece right now, but suddenly it seems like “austerity measures” are being implemented all over the place.  Just consider the following examples….

*Portugal has pledged to impose fresh austerity measures that include much higher taxes and dramatic budget cuts.

*Barack Obama is personally pressuring Spain to make severe austerity cuts.

*It’s not just Southern Europe that is facing these austerity measures either.  It is being reported that Germans are bracing themselves for a “bitter” round of budget cuts.

*The exploding debt situation in the U.K.was a major issue in the most recent election.  Bank of England governor Mervyn King has even gone so far as to warn that public anger over the “austerity measures” that soon must be implemented in the U.K. will be so painful that whichever party is seen as responsible will be out of power for a generation.

*Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that United States citizens will soon have to make difficult choices between higher taxes and reduced government spending.

*California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is reportedly planning to seek “terrible cuts” to eliminate an $18.6 billion budget deficit facing the most-populous U.S. state through June 2011.

*In fact, many U.S. states are getting ready for their biggest budget cuts in decades.

Austerity measures for everyone?

That is the way it is shaping up.

So what happens when austerity measures are implemented?

Well, just as Keynesian economics correctly predicts that economic growth goes up when government spending increases, it also correctly tells us that economic growth goes down when government spending decreases.

So all of these austerity measures are going to mean economic pain for a whole lot of people.

Not only that, but there are now whispers that this European debt crisis could potentially cause the break up of the euro.

Whether or not that is actually the case, officials in Europe are sure seizing on this crisis to advocate for increased centralization of power in the EU.

For example, senior administrators of the European Union are proposing that they be given unprecedented power to scrutinize the spending plans of member countries before national parliaments can vote on those budgets.

Talk about a loss of sovereignty.

But not only that, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, has come right out and said that he believes that the European Union must become a federalized fiscal union if it is to survive.

Doesn’t it seem like whenever there is a crisis the solution that is always being proposed is to give centralized institutions even more power?

There has also been talk that nations such as Greece could end up being ejected from the euro, but the reality is that such a scenario is not very likely.

For one thing, the ECB has already come out and said that under current EU law, ejection of a nation from the monetary union is “legally next to impossible”.

In addition, leaders throughout Europe realize that if the euro fails then the entire EU may fail as well.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel made this very clear when she recently warned that if the euro collapses, “then Europe and the idea of European union will fail.”

For many in Europe that would seem like a disaster, but the truth is that it would be a wonderful, wonderful thing if the euro failed.

Why?

Because it would represent a major defeat for those who are seeking to drag us towards a “world currency” and a “global government”.

It would also be a huge victory for those who still believe in national sovereignty and the decentralization of economic power.

So let us hope that the euro breaks up.

But don’t count on it.

Meanwhile, the one thing that we can count on is all of the economic pain that all of these new austerity measures are going to bring.

Is The Greek Debt Crisis Being Purposely Hyped And Manipulated?

Everywhere you turn in the financial media right now you see some “expert” declaring that the Greek debt crisis has become a “contagion” which is going to spread all over the globe and which could potentially bring down the entire world economy.  Now certainly Greece has badly mismanaged their finances for decades, and without a doubt they have gotten themselves into a huge mess.  But could Greece bring down the entire world economy?  Hardly.  The truth is that you could remove Greece from the world economy tomorrow and most people would hardly notice.  The economy of Greece is only about 2% the size of the United States economy, and it takes in less than 0.1% of U.S. exports.  But we are being led to believe that Greece has suddenly become the epicenter of a financial crisis which is going to bring down everything.  Could it be that this Greek debt crisis is purposely being hyped and manipulated?  Could it be that this Greek debt crisis is yet another example of the “problem, reaction, solution” paradigm that the global elite have employed so many times before?

Right now almost all of the governments in the western world operate debt-based economies that rely on ever-inflating amounts of paper money in order to survive.  The elite international bankers of the world have made a killing by creating money out of nothing and loaning it to the nations of the world.  The interest on those loans is the primary method by which the wealth of the world is slowly transferred into the hands of the ultra-wealthy.  When the interest on the loans starts to become too much for a particular nation, they borrow even more money so that they can stay afloat.  It is a debt trap that is designed to continue indefinitely.  Even the most powerful nations in the world are caught in this debt trap.  In fact, most people are absolutely amazed when they learn that it is mathematically impossible to pay off the national debt of the United States.  But the United States is far from alone in that respect.  Almost all of the other major nations in the world are in the exact same boat.

So what normally happens when a nation like Greece gets into big trouble is that they just go out and borrow even more money from the international bankers.

But this time the big financial powers are insisting on big budget cuts and other “austerity measures”.

So what is the deal with that?

Well, there are a couple of possibilities.

The first alternative is that the IMF and the European Central Bank actually believe that the financial situation in Greece has gotten so desperate that they could actually be forced to default on their debt and so something dramatic needs to be done.  You see, the truth is that the international bankers want the game to continue no matter what.  They are a parasite, and they can’t keep draining a host if the host dies.  So it does them no good for the economy of Greece to completely die.  So maybe they are just trying to revive the host economy (Greece) so that they can continue slowly draining the wealth of that nation.

And perhaps that is all that is happening here.  After Greece agreed to the required “austerity measures”, the EU and the IMF extended to Greece the bailout loans that they needed, and on Sunday European Union finance ministers agreed to create a 750 billion euro safety net for troubled eurozone countries.  The EU’s monetary affairs commissioner, Olli Rehn, says that this safety net “proves that we shall defend the euro whatever it takes.”

There are even rumors that the ECB is prepared to engage in a new round of quantitative easing.  That would entail very large loans to distressed governments in the eurozone in the form of buying up their bonds.

Of course all of this “help” is just more debt that continues to put Greece into an even bigger hole, but at least Greece will not be faced with immediate default.

The second alternative is that what is going on is the financial powers of the world are deliberately hyping and manipulating the Greek debt crisis because they actually want to crash the world economy.

At this point, the debt crisis in Greece has been hyped for weeks on end, and the kind of alarm being raised about the situation is Greece just seems massively out of proportion.

After reading some of the recent news reports coming out of Europe, you would think that the world is on the verge of a financial doomsday just because of what is happening in Greece.  The following excerpt from the Guardian is representative of what we have been seeing in recent days….

“The growing crisis in the eurozone threatened to undermine the global economic recovery as markets plunged across the world on fears that European leaders may not be able to contain the debt contagion spreading from Greece.”

In fact, just about wherever you turn some financial expert is coming forward with predictions that the “contagion” of the Greek debt crisis is going to spread and cause economic chaos all over the world….

Harvard University economist Jeffrey Frankel:

“What we have seen is that contagion has gone global”

Japan’s deputy finance minister, Rintaro Tamaki:

“All the financial markets are now in turmoil”

Finance Minister Anders Borg of Sweden:

“We now see herd behavior in the markets that are really pack behavior, wolfpack behavior.”

The truth is that this Greek debt crisis could end up being the first domino in a sovereign debt crisis that will sweep the globe – if that is what the international bankers want.

If the international bankers decide to cut off the ever-expanding flow of debt to the nations around the world it would create a disastrous financial crisis.  Without the loans that they desperately need, country after country would plunge into an economic nightmare that most people do not even think is possible.

So would the international bankers ever do that?

They have done it before.

Just study the causes of the Great Depression.

Now there are indications that it may be getting ready to happen again.

Suddenly everyone is starting to talk about the “austerity measures” that will not only have to be implemented in Greece but all over the world.

For example, check out this recent quote from an article in the Guardian….

“Riots and strikes in Greece could be repeated in other countries which have yet to adopt their own austerity packages.”

Other countries which have yet to adopt their own austerity packages?

And it just isn’t Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal they are talking about.

Bank of England governor Mervyn King recently warned that public anger over the “austerity measures” that soon must be implemented in the U.K. will be so intense that whatever party wins this election will be out of power for a generation.

Austerity measures in the U.K.?

Not only that, but Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is publicly saying that United States citizens will soon have to make difficult choices between higher taxes and reduced social spending.

Why all of a sudden do nations all over the world have to implement austerity measures?  Why all of a sudden are we all being told that we are going to have to tighten our belts?

Well, unless all of this was planned of course.

And that is exactly what some out there are claiming is happening.  There is a belief by many that the financial powers of the world are going to create a world economic crisis (the problem) so that when everyone cries out for help (the reaction) they will be there with the solution they wish to propose (perhaps a world currency or increased global governance).

In fact, Pastor Lindsey Williams even claims that an individual who is from these elite circles has told him exactly what is coming.  If you have never heard of Lindsey Williams you should really check out the video posted below.  He was the one (based on inside information from his source) who correctly predicted a couple years ago that oil would go down to 50 dollars a barrel when at the time it was pushing up into record territory.  When oil did in fact plunge down to 50 dollars a barrel people were not laughing at him anymore.  Now, the same source has told him that a massive economic downturn is planned over the next couple of years….

So is Lindsey Williams right?

As with so many things, time will tell.

But when top banking officials all over the world start talking about “austerity measures” and the need to tighten our belts, it is best to start paying attention.

We are moving into a time of extreme economic uncertainty.  To the folks that play around with hundreds of billions of dollars, you are nothing more than a pawn on a chessboard.  If you believe that “things are always going to be good” and that the people with real power in this world honestly care about you then you are going to end up in a whole lot of trouble.

Now is the time to prepare while there is still time.  Someday when the U.S. economy does completely collapse and you have done nothing to prepare it will be far too late.

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