Should central banks create money out of thin air and give it directly to governments and average citizens? If you can believe it, this is now under serious consideration. Since 2008, global central banks have cut interest rates 637 times, they have injected 12.3 trillion dollars into the global financial system through various quantitative easing programs, and we have seen an explosion of government debt unlike anything we have ever witnessed before. But despite these unprecedented measures, the global economy is still deeply struggling. This is particularly true in Japan, in South America, and in Europe. In fact, there are 16 countries in Europe that are experiencing deflation right now. In a desperate attempt to spur economic activity, central banks in Europe and in Japan are playing around with negative interest rates, and so far they seem to only have had a limited effect.
So as they rapidly run out of ammunition, global central bankers are now openly discussing something that might sound kind of crazy. According to the Telegraph, central banks are becoming increasingly open to employing a tactic known as “helicopter money”…
Faced with political intransigence, central bankers are openly talking about the previously unthinkable: “helicopter money”.
A catch-all term, helicopter drops describe the process by which central banks can create money to transfer to the public or private sector to stimulate economic activity and spending.
Long considered one of the last policymaking taboos, debate around the merits of helicopter money has gained traction in recent weeks.
Do you understand what is being said there?
The idea is basically this – central banks would create money out of thin air and would just give it to national governments or ordinary citizens.
So who would decide who gets the money?
Well, they would.
If you are anything like me, this sounds very much like Pandora’s Box being opened.
But this just shows how much of a panic there is among central bankers right now. They know that we are plunging into a new global economic crisis, and they are desperate to find something that will stop it. And if that means printing giant gobs of money and dropping it from helicopters over the countryside, well then that is precisely what they are going to do.
In fact, the chief economist at the European Central Bank is quite adamant about the fact that the ECB can print money out of thin air and “distribute it to people” when the situation calls for it…
ECB chief Mario Draghi has refused to rule out the prospect, saying only that the bank had not yet “discussed” such matters due to their legal and accounting complexity. This week, his chief economist Peter Praet went further in hinting that helicopter drops were part of the ECB’s toolbox.
“All central banks can do it“, said Praet. “You can issue currency and you distribute it to people. The question is, if and when is it opportune to make recourse to that sort of instrument“.
Apparently memories of the Weimar Republic must have faded over in Europe, because this sounds very much like what they tried to do. I don’t know why anyone would ever want to risk going down that road again.
Here in the United States, the Federal Reserve is not openly talking about “helicopter money” just yet, but that is only because the stock market is doing okay for the moment.
Most Americans don’t realize this, but the primary reason why stocks are doing better in the U.S. than in the rest of the world is because of stock buybacks. According to Wolf Richter, corporations spent more than half a trillion dollars buying back their own stocks over the past 12 months…
During the November-January period, 378 of the S&P 500 companies bought back their own shares, according to FactSet. Total buybacks in the quarter rose 5.2% from a year ago, to $136.6 billion. Over the trailing 12 months (TTM), buybacks totaled $568.9 billion.
When corporations buy back their own stocks, that means that they are slowly liquidating themselves. Instead of pouring money into new good ideas, they are just returning money to investors. This is not how a healthy economy should work.
But corporate executives love stock buybacks, because it increases the value of their stock options. And big investors love them too, because they love to see the value of their stock holdings rise.
So we will continue to see big corporations cannibalize themselves, but there are a couple of reasons why this is starting to slow down.
Number one, corporate profits are starting to fall steadily as the economy slows down, so there will be less income to plow into these stock buybacks.
Number two, many corporations have used debt to fund buybacks, but now it is getting tougher for corporations to get new funding as corporate defaults rise.
As stock buybacks slow, this is going to put downward pressure on the market, and we will eventually catch up with the rest of the planet. At this point, many experts are still calling for stocks to fall by another 40, 50 or 60 percent from current levels. For example, the following comes from John Hussman…
From a long-term investment standpoint, the stock market remains obscenely overvalued, with the most historically-reliable measures we identify presently consistent with zero 10-12 year S&P 500 nominal total returns, and negative expected real returns on both horizons.
From a cyclical standpoint, I continue to expect that the completion of the current market cycle will likely take the S&P 500 down by about 40-55% from present levels; an outcome that would not be an outlier or worst-case scenario, but instead a rather run-of-the-mill cycle completion from present valuations. If you are a historically-informed investor who is optimistic enough to reject the idea that the financial markets are forever doomed to extreme valuations and dismal long-term returns, you should be rooting for this cycle to be completed. If you are a passive investor, you should at least align your current exposure with your investment horizon and your tolerance for cyclical risk, which we expect to be similar to what we anticipated in 2000-2002 and 2007-2009.
When the S&P 500 does fall that much eventually, the Federal Reserve will respond with emergency measures.
So yes, we may see “helicopter money” employed in Japan and in Europe first, but we will see it here someday too.
I know that a lot of people out there are feeling pretty good about things for the moment because U.S. stocks have rebounded quite a bit lately. But remember, the fundamental economic numbers just continue to get even worse. Just today we learned that existing home sales in the United States had fallen by the most in six years. That is definitely not a sign that things are “getting better”, and I keep trying to warn people that tumultuous times are dead ahead.
And if global central bankers did not agree with me, they would not be talking about the need for “helicopter money” and other emergency measures.
Central banking has truly taken over the entire planet. At this point, the only major nation on the globe that does not have a central bank is North Korea. Yes, there are some small island countries such as the Federated States of Micronesia that do not have a central bank, but even if you count them, more than 99.9% of the population of the world still lives in a country that has a central bank. So how has this happened? How have we gotten the entire planet to agree that central banking is the best system? Did the people of the world willingly choose this? Of course not. To my knowledge, there has never been a single vote where the people of a nation have willingly chosen to establish a central bank. Instead, what has happened is that central banks have been imposed on all of us. All over the world, people have been told that monetary issues are “too important” to be subject to politics, and that the only solution is to have a group of unelected, unaccountable bankers control those things for us.
So precisely what does a central bank do?
You would be surprised at how few people can actually answer that question accurately. The following is how Wikipedia describes what a central bank does…
A central bank, reserve bank, or monetary authority is an institution that manages a state’s currency, money supply, and interest rates. Central banks also usually oversee the commercial banking system of their respective countries. In contrast to a commercial bank, a central bank possesses a monopoly on increasing the monetary base in the state, and usually also prints the national currency, which usually serves as the state’s legal tender. Examples include the European Central Bank (ECB), the Bank of England, the Federal Reserve of the United States and the People’s Bank of China.
In the United States, we are told that we have a free market system. But in a true free market system, market forces would determine what interest rates are. We wouldn’t need anyone to “set interest rates” for us.
And why have we given a private banking cartel (the Federal Reserve) the authority to create and manage our money supply? The U.S. Constitution specifically delegates that authority to Congress.
It is not as if we actually need the Federal Reserve. In fact, the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history happened during the decades before the Federal Reserve was created.
Unfortunately, a little over 100 years ago our leaders decided that it would be best to turn over our financial future to a newly created private banking cartel that was designed by very powerful Wall Street interests. Since that time, the value of our currency has diminished by more than 96 percent and our national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger.
But despite all of the problems, the vast majority of Democrats and the vast majority of Republicans are not even willing to consider slightly curtailing the immense power of the Federal Reserve. And the idea of getting rid of the Fed altogether is tantamount to blasphemy to most of our politicians.
Of course the same thing is true all over the planet. Central banks are truly “the untouchables” of the modern world. Even though everybody can see what they are doing, there has not been a single successful political movement anywhere on the globe (that I know about) to shut a central bank down.
Instead, in recent years we have just seen the reach of central banking just continue to expand.
For example, just look at what has happened to some of the countries that were not considered to be “integrated” into the “global community”…
-In 2001, the United States invaded Afghanistan. In 2003, Da Afghanistan Bank (who picked that name?) was established by presidential decree. You can find the official website of the bank right here. Now Afghanistan has a modern central bank just like the rest of us.
-In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq. In early 2004, the Central Bank of Iraq was established to manage the Iraqi currency and integrate Iraq into the global financial system. The following comes from the official website of the Central Bank of Iraq…
Following the deposition of Saddam Hussein in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Iraqi Governing Council and the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance began printing more Saddam dinar notes as a stopgap measure to maintain the money supply until new currency could be introduced.
The Banking Law was issued September 19, 2003. The law brings Iraq’s legal framework for banking in line with international standards, and seeks to promote confidence in the banking system by establishing a safe, sound, competitive and accessible banking system.
Between October 15, 2003 and January 15, 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority issued new Iraqi dinar coins and notes, with the notes printed using modern anti-forgery techniques, to “create a single unified currency that is used throughout all of Iraq and will also make money more convenient to use in people’s everyday lives. Old banknotes were exchanged for new at a one-to-one rate, except for the Swiss dinars, which were exchanged at a rate of 150 new dinars for one Swiss dinar.
The Central Bank of Iraq (Arabic: البنك المركزي العراقي) was established as Iraq’s independent central bank by the Central Bank of Iraq Law of March 6, 2004
-In 2011, the United States bombed the living daylights out of Libya. Before Muammar Gaddafi was even overthrown, the U.S. helped the rebels establish a new Central Bank of Libya and form a new national oil company.
Central banks are specifically designed to trap nations in debt spirals from which they can never possibly escape. Today, the debt to GDP ratio for the entire planet is up to an all-time high record of 286 percent. Humanity is being enslaved by a perpetual debt machine, but most people are not even aware that it is happening.
It is time for an awakening. We need to educate as many people as possible about why we need to get rid of the central banks. For those living in the United States, my previous article entitled “On The 100th Anniversary Of The Federal Reserve Here Are 100 Reasons To Shut It Down Forever” is a good place to start. In other countries, we need people to write similar articles about their own central banks in their own languages.
The global elite dominate us because we allow them to dominate us. Their debt-based system greatly enriches them while it enslaves the remainder of the planet. We need to expose their evil system and the dark agenda behind it while we still have time.
Every great con game eventually comes to an end. For years, global central banks have been manipulating the financial marketplace with their monetary voodoo. Somehow, they have convinced investors around the world to invest tens of trillions of dollars into bonds that provide a return that is way under the real rate of inflation. For quite a long time I have been insisting that this is highly irrational. Why would any rational investor want to put money into investments that will make them poorer on a purchasing power basis in the long run? And when any central bank initiates a policy of “quantitative easing”, any rational investor should immediately start demanding a higher rate of return on the bonds of that nation. Creating money out of thin air and pumping into the financial system devalues all existing money and creates inflation. Therefore, rational investors should respond by driving interest rates up. Instead, central banks told everyone that interest rates would be forced down, and that is precisely what happened. But now things have shifted. Investors are starting to behave more rationally and the central banks are starting to lose control of the financial markets, and that is a very bad sign for the rest of 2015.
And of course it isn’t just bond yields that are out of control. No matter how hard they try, financial authorities in Europe can’t seem to fix the problems in Greece, and the problems in Italy, Spain, Portugal and France just continue to escalate as well. This week, Greece became the very first nation to miss a payment to the IMF since the 1980s. We’ll discuss that some more in a moment.
Over in Asia, stocks are fluctuating very wildly. The Shanghai Composite Index plunged by 5.4 percent on Thursday before regaining all of those losses and actually closing with a gain of 0.8 percent. When we see this kind of extreme volatility, it is a very bad sign. It is during times of extreme volatility that markets crash.
Remember, stocks generally tend to go up during calm markets, and they generally tend to go down during choppy markets. So most investors do not want to see lots of volatility. Unfortunately, that is precisely what we are witnessing all over the world right now. The following comes from the Wall Street Journal…
“Volatility over the last days has been breathtaking, especially in bond markets,” said Wouter Sturkenboom, senior investment strategist at Russell Investments. He said that it rippled through equity and currency markets, which overreacted.
The yield on the benchmark German 10-year bond touched 0.99%, its highest level since September, before erasing the day’s rise and falling back to 0.84%. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield, which hit a fresh 2015 high of 2.42% earlier Thursday, recently fell back to 2.33%. Yields rise as prices fall.
Sometimes when bond yields go up, it is because investors are taking money out of bonds and putting it into stocks because they are feeling really good about where the stock market is heading. This is not one of those times. As Peter Tchir has noted, the huge moves in the bond market that we are now seeing are the result of “sheer panic in the market”…
In a morning note before the open, Brean Capital’s Peter Tchir wrote: “It is time to reduce US equity holdings for the near term and look for a 3% to 5% move lower. The Treasury weakness is NOT a ‘risk on’ trade it is a ‘risk off’ trade, where low yields are viewed as a risk asset and not a safe haven.” And Tom di Galoma, head of fixed-income rates and credit at ED&F Man Capital Markets, told Bloomberg, “This is sheer panic in the market from the standpoint of what’s been happening in Europe … Most of Wall Street is guarded here as far as taking on new positions.”
But this wasn’t supposed to happen.
After watching the Federal Reserve be able to successfully use quantitative easing to drive down interest rates, the European Central Bank decided to try the same thing. Unfortunately for them, investors are starting to behave more rationally. The central banks are starting to lose control of the financial markets, and bond yields are soaring. I think that Peter Boockvar summarized where we are currently at very well when he stated the following…
I’ve said this before but I’m sorry, I need to say it again. What we are witnessing in global markets is the inherent contradiction writ large that is modern day monetary policy where dangerously ZIRP, NIRP and QE are considered conventional policies. The contradiction is simply this: the desire for higher inflation if fulfilled will result in higher interest rates that central banks are trying so hard and desperately to suppress.
Outside of the short end of the curve, markets will always win for better or worse and that is clearly evident now. The ECB is getting their first taste of the market talking back and in quite the violent way. In the US, the bond market is watching the Fed drag its feet (its never-ending) with wanting to raise interest rates and finally said enough is enough. The US Treasury market is tightening for them. Since mid April, the 5 yr note yield is higher by 40 bps, the 10 yr is up by 55 bps and the 30 yr yield is up by 65 bps.
And if global investors continue to move in a rational direction, this is just the beginning. Bond yields all over the planet should be much, much higher than they are right now. What that means is that bond prices potentially have a tremendous amount of room to go down.
One thing that could accelerate the global bond crash is the crisis in Greece. Negotiations between the Greeks and their creditors have been dragging on for four months, and no agreement has been reached. Now, Greece has missed the loan payment that was due to the IMF on June 5th, and it is asking the IMF to bundle all of the payments that are due this month into one giant payment at the end of June…
Greece has asked to bundle its four debt payments to the International Monetary Fund that fall due in June so that it can pay them in one batch at the end of the month, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported on Thursday.
The request is expected to be approved by the IMF, the newspaper said. That would mean Greece does not have to pay the first tranche of 300 million euros that falls due on Friday.
Greece faces a total bill of 1.5 billion euros owed to the IMF over four installments this month.
Of course that payment will not be made either if a deal does not happen by then. And with each passing day, a deal seems less and less likely. At this point, the package of “economic reforms” that the creditors are demanding from Greece is completely unacceptable to Syriza. The following comes from an article in the Guardian…
Fresh from talks in Brussels, Tsipras faced outrage on Thursday from highly skeptical members of his own Syriza party. A five-page ultimatum from creditors, presented by the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, was variously described as shocking, provocative, disgraceful and dishonourable.
“It will never pass,” said Greece’s deputy social security minister, Dimitris Stratoulis. “If they don’t back down, the country won’t be lost … there are alternatives that would cost less than our signing a disgraceful and dishonourable agreement.”
Ultimately, I don’t believe that we are going to see an agreement.
Well, I tend to agree with this bit of analysis from Andrew Lilico…
The Eurozone does not want to make any compromise with the current Greek government because (a) they don’t believe they need to because Greek threats to leave the euro are empty both because internal polling suggests Greeks don’t want to leave and because if they did leave that doesn’t really constitute any threat to the euro; (b) because they (particularly perhaps Angela Merkel) believe that under enough pressure the Greek government might collapse and be replaced by a more cooperative government, as has happened repeatedly before in the Eurozone crisis including in Italy and Greece itself; and (c) because any deal with Greece that is seen to involve or be presentable as any victory for the Greek government would threaten the political positions of governments in several Eurozone states including Spain, Portugal, Italy, Finland and perhaps even the Netherlands and Germany.
Furthermore, it’s not clear to me that the Eurozone creditors at this stage would have much interest in any deal based upon promises, regardless of how much the Greek had verbally surrendered. Things have gone too far now for mere words to work. They would need to see the Greeks deliver actions — tangible economic reforms and tangible, credible primary surplus targets and a sustainable change in the long-term political mood within Greece that meant other Eurozone states might eventually get their money back. That is almost certainly not doable at all with the current Greek government. The only deal possible would be with some replacement Greek government that had come in precisely on the basis that it did want to do a deal and did want to pay the creditors back.
On the Syriza side, I see no more appetite for a deal. They believe that austerity has been ruinous for the lives of Greeks and that decades more austerity would mean decades more Greek economic misery. From their point of view, default or even exit from the euro, even if economically painful in the short term, would be better than continuing with austerity now.
You can read the rest of his excellent article right here.
Without a deal, the value of the euro is going to absolutely plummet and bond yields over in Europe will go through the roof. I am fully convinced that this is the beginning of the end for the eurozone as it is currently constituted, and that we stand on the verge of a great European financial crisis.
And of course the financial crisis that is coming won’t just be in Europe. The global financial system is more interconnected than ever, and there are tens of trillions of dollars in derivatives that are tied to foreign exchange rates and 505 trillion dollars in derivatives that are tied to interest rates. When this giant house of cards collapses, the central banks won’t be able to stop it.
In the end, could we eventually see the entire central banking system itself totally collapse?
That is what Phoenix Capital Research believes is about to happen…
Last year (2014) will likely go down in history as the “beginning of the end” for the current global Central Banking system.
What will follow will be a gradual unfolding of the next crisis and very likely the collapse of the Central Banking system as we know it.
However, this process will not be fast by any means.
Central Banks and the political elite will fight tooth and nail to maintain the status quo, even if this means breaking the law (freezing bank accounts or funds to stop withdrawals) or closing down the markets (the Dow was closed for four and a half months during World War 1).
There will be Crashes and sharp drops in asset prices (20%-30%) here and there. However, history has shown us that when a financial system goes down, the overall process takes take several years, if not longer.
We stand at the precipice of the greatest economic transition that any of us have ever seen.
Even though things may seem very “normal” to most people right now, the truth is that the global financial system is fundamentally flawed, and cracks in the system are starting to appear all over the place.
When this system does collapse, it will take most people entirely by surprise.
But it shouldn’t.
All con games eventually fall apart in the end, and we are about to learn that lesson the hard way.
Central banks lie. That is what they do. Not too long ago, the Swiss National Bank promised that it would defend the euro/Swiss franc currency peg with the “utmost determination”. But on Thursday, the central bank shocked the financial world by abruptly abandoning it. More than three years ago, the Swiss National Bank announced that it would not allow the Swiss franc to fall below 1.20 to the euro, and it has spent a mountain of money defending that peg. But now that it looks like the EU is going to launch a very robust quantitative easing program, the Swiss National Bank has thrown in the towel. It was simply going to cost way too much to continue to defend the currency floor. So now there is panic all over Europe. On Thursday, the Swiss franc rose a staggering 30 percent against the euro, and the Swiss stock market plunged by 10 percent. And all over the world, investors, hedge funds and central banks either lost or made gigantic piles of money as currency rates shifted at an unprecedented rate. It is going to take months to really measure the damage that has been done. Meanwhile, the euro is in greater danger than ever. The euro has been declining for months, and now the number one buyer of euros (the Swiss National Bank) has been removed from the equation. As things in Europe continue to get even worse, expect the euro to go to all-time record lows. In addition, it is important to remember that the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s began when Thailand abandoned its currency peg. With this move by Switzerland set off a European financial crisis?
Of course this is hardly the first time that we have seen central banks lie. In the United States, the Federal Reserve does it all the time. The funny thing is that most people still seem to trust what central banks have to say. But at some point they are going to start to lose all credibility.
Financial markets like predictability. And gigantic amounts of money had been invested based on the repeated promises of the Swiss National Bank to use “unlimited amounts” of money to defend the currency floor. Needless to say, there are a lot of people in the financial world that feel totally betrayed by the Swiss National Bank today. The following comes from an analysis of the situation by Bruce Krasting…
Thomas Jordan, the head of the SNB has repeated said that the Franc peg would last forever, and that he would be willing to intervene in “Unlimited Amounts” in support of the peg. Jordan has folded on his promise like a cheap suit in the rain. When push came to shove, Jordan failed to deliver.
The Swiss economy will rapidly fall into recession as a result of the SNB move. The Swiss stock market has been blasted, the currency is now nearly 20% higher than it was a day before. Someone will have to fall on the sword, the arrows are pointing at Jordan.
The dust has not settled on this development as of this morning. I will stick my neck out and say that the failure to hold the minimum rate will result in a one time loss for the SNB of close to $100B. That’s a huge amount of money. It comes to 20% of the Swiss GDP!
Most experts are calling this an extremely bad move by the Swiss National Bank.
But in the end, they may have had little choice.
The euro is falling apart, and the Swiss did not want to be married to it any longer. Unfortunately, when any marriage ends the pain can be enormous. The following comes from CNBC…
How do you know you’re looking at a bad marriage?
Well if one or both of the spouses can’t wait to get out as soon as the smallest crack in the door opens, you have a pretty good clue.
Something like that just happened in Europe as we learned the real reason why so many traders were still invested in the euro: They had nowhere else to go.
As the Swiss National Bank unlocked the doors on its cap on trading euros for Swiss francs, the rush to exit the euro was faster than one of those French bullet trains.
But this move has not been bad for everyone. In fact, for many of those that live in Switzerland but work in neighboring countries what happened on Thursday was very fortuitous…
“I heard the news this morning. I’m so happy!” Vanessa, who refused to give her last name, told AFP outside of one of many mobbed exchange offices in Geneva.
She has reason to be extatic: she is one of some 280,000 people working in Switzerland but living and paying bills in eurozone countries France, Germany or Italy.
These so-called “frontaliers”, or border-crossers, are the biggest winners in Thursday’s Swiss franc surge, seeing their incomes jump 30 percent in the blink of an eye.
In normal times, things like this very rarely happen.
But in times of crisis, things can change very rapidly. We are moving into a time of great volatility in global financial markets, and great volatility is often a sign that a great crash is coming.
This move by the Swiss National Bank is just the beginning. Expect more desperate moves on the global economic chessboard in the days ahead. But in the end, none of those moves is going to prevent what is coming.
And one of these days, another extremely important currency peg is going to end. Right now, the Chinese have tied their currency very tightly to the U.S. dollar. This has helped to artificially inflate the value of the dollar. Unfortunately, as Robert Wenzel has noted, someday the Chinese could suddenly pull the rug out from under our currency, and that would be really bad news for us…
In other words, the SNB is no People’s Bank of China type patsy, where the PBOC has taken on massive amounts of dollar reserves to prop up the dollar.
Will the PBOC learn anything from SNB? If so, this will not be good for the US dollar.
So keep a close eye on what happens in Europe next.
It is going to be a preview of what is eventually coming to America.
Are the central banks of the world starting to lose control of the financial markets? Could we be facing a situation where the bond bubble is going to inevitably implode no matter what the central bankers do? For the past several years, the central bankers of the planet have been able to get markets to do exactly what they want them to do. Stock markets have soared to record highs, bond yields have plunged to record lows and investors have literally hung on every word uttered by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other prominent central bankers. In the United States, it has been remarkable what Bernanke has been able to accomplish. The U.S. government has been indulging in an unprecedented debt binge, the Fed has been wildly printing money, and the real rate of inflation has been hovering around 8 to 10 percent, and yet Bernanke has somehow convinced investors to lend gigantic piles of money to the U.S. government for next to nothing. But this irrational state of affairs is not going to last indefinitely. At some point, investors are going to wake up and start demanding higher returns. And we are already starting to see this happen in Japan. Wild money printing has actually caused bond yields to go up. What a concept! And that is what should happen – when central banks recklessly print money it should cause investors to demand a higher return. But if bond investors all over the globe start acting rationally, that is going to cause the largest bond bubble in the history of the planet to burst, and that will create utter devastation in the financial markets.
Central banks can manipulate the financial system in the short-term, but there is usually a tremendous price to pay for the distortions that are caused in the long-term.
In Bernanke’s case, all of this quantitative easing seemed to work well for a while. The first round gave the financial system a nice boost, and so the Fed decided to do another. The second round had less effect, but it still boosted stocks and caused bond yields to go down. The third round was supposed to be the biggest of all, but it had even less of an effect than the second round. If you doubt this, just check out the charts in this article.
Our financial system has become addicted to this financial “smack”. But like any addict, the amount needed to get the same “buzz” just keeps increasing. Unfortunately, the more money that the Fed prints, the more distorted our financial system becomes.
The only way that this is going to end is with a tremendous amount of pain. There is no free lunch, and there are already signs that investors are starting to wake up to this fact.
As investors wake up, they are going to realize that this bond bubble is irrational and entirely unsustainable. Once the race to the exits begins, it is not going to be pretty. In fact, the are indications that the race to the exits has already begun…
During the month of June, fixed income allocations fell to a four-year low, according to the American Association of Individual Investors, as major bond fund managers like Pimco experienced record withdrawals for the second quarter. That pullback sent places like emerging markets and high-yield bonds reeling—just as the Federal Reserve signaled plans to taper its easy-money policies within the coming years. Benchmark bond yields ticked up on that news, and in an unexpected twist, the stock market nosedived as well.
A lot of people out there have been floating the theory that the Fed will decide not to taper at all and that quantitative easing will continue at the same pace and therefore the markets will settle back down.
But what if they don’t settle back down?
Could the bond bubble implode even if there is no tapering?
That is what some are now suggesting. For example, Detlev Schlichter is pointing to what has been happening in Japan as an indication that the paradigm has changed…
My conclusion is this: if market weakness is the result of concerns over an end to policy accommodation, then I don’t think markets have that much to fear. However, the largest sell-offs occurred in Japan, and in Japan there is not only no risk of policy tightening, there policy-makers are just at the beginning of the largest, most loudly advertised money-printing operation in history. Japanese government bonds and Japanese stocks are hardly nose-diving because they fear an end to QE. Have those who deal in these assets finally realized that they are sitting on gigantic bubbles and are they trying to exit before everybody else does? Have central bankers there lost control over markets?
After all, money printing must lead to higher inflation at some point. The combination in Japan of a gigantic pile of accumulated debt, high running budget deficits, an old and aging population, near-zero interest rates and the prospect of rising inflation (indeed, that is the official goal of Abenomics!) are a toxic mix for the bond market. It is absurd to assume that you can destroy your currency and dispossess your bond investors and at the same time expect them to reward you with low market yields. Rising yields, however, will derail Abenomics and the whole economy, for that matter.
The financial situation in Japan is actually very similar to the financial situation in the United States. We both have “a gigantic pile of accumulated debt, high running budget deficits, an old and aging population, near-zero interest rates and the prospect of rising inflation”. In both cases, rational investors should demand higher returns when the central bank fires up the printing presses.
And if interest rates on U.S. Treasury bonds start to rise to rational levels, the U.S. government is going to have to pay more to borrow money, state and local governments are going to have to pay more to borrow money, junk bonds will crash, the market for home mortgages will shrivel up and economic activity in this country will slow down substantially.
Plus, as I am fond of reminding everyone, there is a 441 trillion dollar interest rate derivatives time bomb sitting out there that rapidly rising interest rates could set off.
So needless to say, the Federal Reserve is scared to death of what higher interest rates would mean.
But at this point, they may have lost control of the situation.
A new set of regulations that most people have never even heard of that was developed by an immensely powerful central banking organization that most people do not even know exists is going to have a dramatic effect on the global financial system over the next several years. The new set of regulations is known as “Basel III”, and it was developed by the Bank for International Settlements. The Bank for International Settlements has been called “the central bank for central banks”, and it is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. 58 major central banks (including the Federal Reserve) belong to the Bank for International Settlements, and the decisions made in Basel often have more of an impact on the direction of the global economy than anything the president of the United States or the U.S. Congress are doing. All you have to do is to look back at the last financial crisis to see an example of this. Basel II and Basel 2.5 played a major role in precipitating the subprime mortgage meltdown. Now a new set of regulations known as “Basel III” are being rolled out. The implementation of these new regulations is beginning this year, and they will be completely phased in by 2019. These new regulations dramatically increase capital requirements and significantly restrict the use of leverage. Those certainly sound like good goals, the problem is that the entire global financial system is based on credit at this point, and these new regulations are going to substantially reduce the flow of credit. The only way that the giant debt bubble that we are all living in can continue to persist is if it continues to expand. By restricting the flow of credit, these new regulations threaten to burst the debt bubble and bring down the entire global economy.
Not that the current global financial system is sustainable by any means. Anyone with half a brain can see that the global financial system is a pyramid scheme that is destined to collapse. But Basel III may cause it to collapse faster than it might otherwise have.
So precisely what is Basel III? The following is a definition from the official website of the Bank for International Settlements…
“Basel III” is a comprehensive set of reform measures, developed by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, to strengthen the regulation, supervision and risk management of the banking sector. These measures aim to:
- improve the banking sector’s ability to absorb shocks arising from financial and economic stress, whatever the source
- improve risk management and governance
- strengthen banks’ transparency and disclosures.
All of that looks good at first glance. But when you start looking into the details you start realizing what it is going to mean for the global financial system. Banks are going to be required to have higher reserve ratios and use less leverage. Banks are going to have to be more careful with their money, which is a good thing, but it is also going to mean that credit will not flow as freely. Unfortunately, the only way for a debt bubble to survive is if it keeps expanding. Anything that restricts the flow of easy money threatens to bring a debt bubble to an end.
These new regulations are going to be phased in between 2013 and 2019. You can see a chart which shows the implementation schedule for the Basel III regulations right here.
So why is bringing the debt bubble to an end a bad thing?
Well, because it will cause the false prosperity that we have been enjoying to disappear, and that will be an exceedingly painful adjustment.
Sadly, most people have no idea what is happening. Most people have never even heard of “Basel III” or “the Bank for International Settlements”. Most people just assume that the people they voted into office know what they are doing and have everything under control.
Unfortunately, that is not the case at all. The truth is that an unelected, unaccountable body of central bankers is making decisions which deeply affect us all, and there is not much that we can do about it.
This unelected, unaccountable body of central bankers played a major role in bringing about the last financial crisis. The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article posted on Before It’s News…
If you have any questions about the power of these Basel Banking Regulations you can also see the effects that Basel II and 2.5, mark to market accounting, had on the Housing Markets in the United States of America in 2008. There were many causes for that housing bubble, then housing crisis, but Basel II and 2.5 was most assuredly the pin that popped the housing bubble that led to the financial crisis of 2008-09.
But do most people know about this?
Of course not. Most people want to blame the Republicans or the Democrats or Bush or Obama, and they have no idea about the financial strings that are being pulled at the highest levels.
It is so important that we get people educated about how the global financial system actually works. The following is a summary of how the Bank for International Settlements works from one of my previous articles entitled “Who Controls The Money? An Unelected, Unaccountable Central Bank Of The World Secretly Does“…
An immensely powerful international organization that most people have never even heard of secretly controls the money supply of the entire globe. It is called the Bank for International Settlements, and it is the central bank of central banks. It is located in Basel, Switzerland, but it also has branches in Hong Kong and Mexico City. It is essentially an unelected, unaccountable central bank of the world that has complete immunity from taxation and from national laws. Even Wikipedia admits that “it is not accountable to any single national government.” The Bank for International Settlements was used to launder money for the Nazis during World War II, but these days the main purpose of the BIS is to guide and direct the centrally-planned global financial system. Today, 58 global central banks belong to the BIS, and it has far more power over how the U.S. economy (or any other economy for that matter) will perform over the course of the next year than any politician does. Every two months, the central bankers of the world gather in Basel for another “Global Economy Meeting”. During those meetings, decisions are made which affect every man, woman and child on the planet, and yet none of us have any say in what goes on. The Bank for International Settlements is an organization that was founded by the global elite and it operates for the benefit of the global elite, and it is intended to be one of the key cornerstones of the emerging one world economic system.
Even though most people have never even heard of the BIS, the truth is that the global elite have had big plans for it for a very long time. In another article I included a quote from a book that Georgetown University history professor Carroll Quigley wrote many years ago entitled “Tragedy & Hope”…
[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.
Today we have such a system, and most of the public does not even know that it exists.
And when the next great financial crisis strikes, there will probably be very little ever said about the Bank for International Settlements in the mainstream media.
But right now the BIS is helping set the stage for the great credit crunch that is coming.
Get prepared while you still can, because time is running out.
If the American people truly understood how the Federal Reserve system works and what it has done to us, they would be screaming for it to be abolished immediately. It is a system that was designed by international bankers for the benefit of international bankers, and it is systematically impoverishing the American people. The Federal Reserve system is the primary reason why our currency has declined in value by well over 95 percent and our national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger over the past 100 years. The Fed creates our “booms” and our “busts”, and they have done an absolutely miserable job of managing our economy. But why do we need a bunch of unelected private bankers to manage our economy and print our money for us in the first place? Wouldn’t our economy function much more efficiently if we allowed the free market to set interest rates? And according to Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Congress is the one that is supposed to have the authority to “coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures”. So why is the Federal Reserve doing it? Sadly, this is the way it works all over the globe today. In fact, all 187 nations that belong to the IMF have a central bank. But the truth is that there are much better alternatives. We just need to get people educated.
The following are 11 reasons why the Federal Reserve should be abolished…
#1 The Greatest Period Of Economic Growth In The History Of The United States Happened When There Was No Central Bank
Did you know that the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history was between the Civil War and 1913? And guess what? That was a period when there was no central bank in the United States at all. The following is from Wikipedia…
The Gilded Age saw the greatest period of economic growth in American history. After the short-lived panic of 1873, the economy recovered with the advent of hard money policies and industrialization. From 1869 to 1879, the US economy grew at a rate of 6.8% for real GDP and 4.5% for real GDP per capita, despite the panic of 1873. The economy repeated this period of growth in the 1880s, in which the wealth of the nation grew at an annual rate of 3.8%, while the GDP was also doubled.
So if our greatest period of economic prosperity was during a time when there was no Federal Reserve, then why shouldn’t we try such a system again?
#2 The Federal Reserve Is Systematically Destroying The Value Of The U.S. Dollar
The United States never had a persistent, ongoing problem with inflation until the Federal Reserve was created in 1913.
If you do not believe this, just check out the inflation chart in this article.
The Federal Reserve systematically penalizes those that try to save their money. Inflation is a tax, and the value of each one of our dollars goes down a little bit more every single day.
But over time, it really adds up. In fact, the value of the U.S. dollar has fallen by 83 percent since 1970.
Anyone that goes to the grocery store on a regular basis knows how painful inflation can be. The following is a list that shows how prices for many of the things that we buy on a regular basis absolutely skyrocketed between 2002 and 2012…
Peanut Butter: 40%
A Loaf Of White Bread: 39%
Spaghetti And Macaroni: 44%
Orange Juice: 46%
Red Delicious Apples: 43%
Ground Beef: 61%
Chocolate Chip Cookies: 39%
Even the price of water has absolutely soared in recent years. According to USA Today, water bills have actually tripled over the past 12 years in some areas of the country.
So how can the Federal Reserve get away with claiming that we are in a “low inflation” environment?
Well, what Ben Bernanke never tells you is that the way that the government calculates inflation has changed more than 20 times since 1978.
The truth is that the real rate of inflation is somewhere between five and ten percent right now, but you will never hear about this on the mainstream news.
#3 The Federal Reserve Is A Perpetual Debt Machine
The Federal Reserve system was designed to be a trap. The intent of the bankers was to trap the U.S. government in an endless debt spiral from which it could never possibly escape.
But most Americans don’t understand this. In fact, most Americans don’t even understand where money comes from.
If you don’t believe this, just go out on the street and ask regular people where money comes from. The responses will be something like this…
“Duh – I don’t know. I’ve got to get home to watch American Idol.”
This is why it is so important to get people educated. I think that most Americans would be horrified to learn that the creation of more money in our system also involves the creation of more debt.
The following is a summary of money creation that comes from one of my previous articles…
When the U.S. government decides that it wants to spend another billion dollars that it does not have, it does not print up a billion dollars.
Rather, the U.S. government creates a bunch of U.S. Treasury bonds (debt) and takes them over to the Federal Reserve.
The Federal Reserve creates a billion dollars out of thin air and exchanges them for the U.S. Treasury bonds.
So what does the Federal Reserve do with those Treasury bonds? I went on to explain what happens…
The U.S. Treasury bonds that the Federal Reserve receives in exchange for the money it has created out of nothing are auctioned off through the Federal Reserve system.
There is a problem.
Because the U.S. government must pay interest on the Treasury bonds, the amount of debt that has been created by this transaction is greater than the amount of money that has been created.
So where will the U.S. government get the money to pay that debt?
Well, the theory is that we can get money to circulate through the economy really, really fast and tax it at a high enough rate that the government will be able to collect enough taxes to pay the debt.
But that never actually happens, does it?
And the creators of the Federal Reserve understood this as well. They understood that the U.S. government would not have enough money to both run the government and service the national debt. They knew that the U.S. government would have to keep borrowing even more money in an attempt to keep up with the game.
Men like Thomas Edison and Henry Ford could not understand why we would adopt such a foolish system. For example, Thomas Edison was once quoted in the New York Times as saying the following…
That is to say, under the old way any time we wish to add to the national wealth we are compelled to add to the national debt.
Now, that is what Henry Ford wants to prevent. He thinks it is stupid, and so do I, that for the loan of $30,000,000 of their own money the people of the United States should be compelled to pay $66,000,000 — that is what it amounts to, with interest. People who will not turn a shovelful of dirt nor contribute a pound of material will collect more money from the United States than will the people who supply the material and do the work. That is the terrible thing about interest. In all our great bond issues the interest is always greater than the principal. All of the great public works cost more than twice the actual cost, on that account. Under the present system of doing business we simply add 120 to 150 per cent, to the stated cost.
But here is the point: If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good.
Unfortunately, today most Americans don’t even understand how the system works. They just assume that we have the best system in the entire world.
Sadly, the reality is that the system is working just as the international bankers that designed it had hoped. The United States has the largest national debt in the history of the world, and we are stealing more than 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day in a desperate attempt to keep the debt spiral going.
#4 The Federal Reserve Is A Centrally-Planned Financial System That Is The Antithesis Of What A Free Market System Should Be
Why do we need someone to centrally-plan our financial system?
Isn’t that the kind of thing they do in communist China?
Why do we need someone to tell us what interest rates are going to be?
Why do we need someone to determine what “the target rate of inflation” should be?
If we actually had a free market system, the free market would be the one “managing” our economy.
But instead, we have become so accustomed to central planning that any alternatives seem to be absolutely unthinkable.
For example, CNBC cannot possibly imagine a world where the Fed (or some similar institution) was not running things…
But suppose the law were taken off the books? The Fed’s job—in simple terms—is to manage the nation’s money supply and achieve the sometimes-conflicting tasks of full employment, stable prices while fighting inflation or deflation.
How would the U.S. economy then function? Something has to take its place, right?
Global markets would also need some sort of economic direction from the U.S. The Fed manages the dollar — and as the world’s leading currency, a void left by a Fed-less America could throw those markets into chaos with uncertainty about who’s managing U.S. interest rates and the American economy.
I’ve got an idea – let’s let the free market “manage” U.S. interest rates and the American economy.
I know, it’s a crazy idea, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it just might work beautifully.
#5 The Federal Reserve Creates Bubbles And Busts
Do you remember the Dotcom bubble?
Or what about the housing bubble?
By dramatically distorting interest rates and financial behavior, the Federal Reserve creates economic bubbles and the corresponding economic busts.
And guess what?
Now it is happening again.
When will the American people decide that they have had enough?
If you can believe it, there have been 10 different economic recessions since 1950. And of course the Federal Reserve even admits that it helped create the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Perhaps it is time to try something different.
#6 The Federal Reserve Is Privately Owned
It has been said that the Federal Reserve is about as “federal” as Federal Express is.
Most Americans still believe that the Federal Reserve is a “federal agency”, but that is simply not true. The following comes from factcheck.org…
The stockholders in the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks are the privately owned banks that fall under the Federal Reserve System. These include all national banks (chartered by the federal government) and those state-chartered banks that wish to join and meet certain requirements. About 38 percent of the nation’s more than 8,000 banks are members of the system, and thus own the Fed banks.
And even the Federal Reserve itself has argued that it is “not an agency” of the federal government in court.
So why is there still so much confusion about this?
We should not be allowing a private entity that is owned and dominated by the banks to make decisions that dramatically affect the daily lives of all the rest of us.
#7 The Federal Reserve Greatly Favors The “Too Big To Fail” Banks
Since the Federal Reserve is owned by the banks, should we be surprised that it serves the interests of the banks?
In particular, the Fed has been extremely good to the “too big to fail” banks.
Over the past several decades, those banks have grown tremendously in both size and power.
Back in 1970, the five largest U.S. banks held 17 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets.
Today, the five largest U.S. banks hold 52 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets.
#8 The Federal Reserve Gives Secret Bailouts To Their Friends
The Federal Reserve is the only institution in America that can print money out of thin air and loan it to their friends any time they want to.
For example, did you know that the Federal Reserve made 16 trillion dollars in secret loans to their friends during the last financial crisis?
The following list is taken directly from page 131 of a GAO audit report, and it shows which banks received secret loans from the Fed…
Citigroup – $2.513 trillion
Morgan Stanley – $2.041 trillion
Merrill Lynch – $1.949 trillion
Bank of America – $1.344 trillion
Barclays PLC – $868 billion
Bear Sterns – $853 billion
Goldman Sachs – $814 billion
Royal Bank of Scotland – $541 billion
JP Morgan Chase – $391 billion
Deutsche Bank – $354 billion
UBS – $287 billion
Credit Suisse – $262 billion
Lehman Brothers – $183 billion
Bank of Scotland – $181 billion
BNP Paribas – $175 billion
Wells Fargo – $159 billion
Dexia – $159 billion
Wachovia – $142 billion
Dresdner Bank – $135 billion
Societe Generale – $124 billion
“All Other Borrowers” – $2.639 trillion
If you will notice, a number of the banks listed above are foreign banks.
Why is the Fed allowed to print money out of thin air and lend it to foreign banks?
#9 The Federal Reserve Is Paying Banks Not To Lend Money
Did you know that the Federal Reserve is actually paying U.S. banks not to lend money?
That doesn’t make sense. Our economy is based on credit, and small businesses desperately need loans in order to operate.
But the Fed has decided to pay banks not to risk their money. Section 128 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 allows the Federal Reserve to pay interest on “excess reserves” that U.S. banks park at the Fed.
So the big banks can just send their cash to the Fed and watch the money come rolling in risk-free.
As the chart below demonstrates, the banks have taken great advantage of this tremendous deal…
#10 The Federal Reserve Has An Astounding Track Record Of Failure
Over the past ten years, the Federal Reserve has been an abysmal failure when it comes to running the economy.
But despite a track record of failure that would make the Chicago Cubs look like a roaring success, Barack Obama actually decided to nominate Ben Bernanke for a second term as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
What a mistake.
Just check out some of the things that Bernanke said prior to the last financial crisis. The following is an extended excerpt from an article that I published previously…
In 2005, Bernanke said that we shouldn’t worry because housing prices had never declined on a nationwide basis before and he said that he believed that the U.S. would continue to experience close to “full employment”….
“We’ve never had a decline in house prices on a nationwide basis. So, what I think what is more likely is that house prices will slow, maybe stabilize, might slow consumption spending a bit. I don’t think it’s gonna drive the economy too far from its full employment path, though.”
In 2005, Bernanke also said that he believed that derivatives were perfectly safe and posed no danger to financial markets….
“With respect to their safety, derivatives, for the most part, are traded among very sophisticated financial institutions and individuals who have considerable incentive to understand them and to use them properly.”
In 2006, Bernanke said that housing prices would probably keep rising….
“Housing markets are cooling a bit. Our expectation is that the decline in activity or the slowing in activity will be moderate, that house prices will probably continue to rise.”
In 2007, Bernanke insisted that there was not a problem with subprime mortgages….
“At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained. In particular, mortgages to prime borrowers and fixed-rate mortgages to all classes of borrowers continue to perform well, with low rates of delinquency.”
In 2008, Bernanke said that a recession was not coming….
“The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession.”
A few months before Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed, Bernanke insisted that they were totally secure….
“The GSEs are adequately capitalized. They are in no danger of failing.”
There are many, many more examples that could be listed, but hopefully you get the point.
And now it is happening again. Bernanke is telling the American people that everything is going to be just fine and that no major problems are ahead.
Do you believe him this time?
#11 The Federal Reserve Is Unaccountable To The American People
What is the most important political issue to most Americans?
Survey after survey has shown that the American people care about the economy more than anything else.
So why do we allow an unelected, unaccountable entity that is privately-owned to make our economic decisions for us?
The Federal Reserve has become so powerful that it has been called “the fourth branch of government”. Every four years, presidential candidates argue about who will be best at managing the economy, but the truth is that it is the Fed that manages our economy.
We are told that the “independence” of the Federal Reserve is absolutely critical, but don’t the American people deserve to have a say in the running of the economy?
Our system is broken. It is a system that will continue to create more bubbles and more debt until the entire thing finally collapses for good.
Thomas Jefferson once stated that if he could add just one more amendment to the U.S. Constitution it would be a ban on all government borrowing….
I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its Constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power of borrowing.
But instead of banning government borrowing, we have allowed ourselves to become enslaved to a system where government borrowing actually creates our money.
We do not need to have a central bank. There are much better alternatives. We just need to get people educated.
Please share this article with as many people as you possibly can. These are things that every American should know about the Fed, and we need to educate the American people about the Federal Reserve while there is still time.