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Who Is Behind The Oil War, And How Low Will The Price Of Crude Go In 2015?

War Peace Sign - Public DomainWho is to blame for the staggering collapse of the price of oil?  Is it the Saudis?  Is it the United States?  Are Saudi Arabia and the U.S. government working together to hurt Russia?  And if this oil war continues, how far will the price of oil end up falling in 2015?  As you will see below, some analysts believe that it could ultimately go below 20 dollars a barrel.  If we see anything even close to that, the U.S. economy could lose millions of good paying jobs, billions of dollars of energy bonds could default and we could see trillions of dollars of derivatives related to the energy industry implode.  The global financial system is already extremely vulnerable, and purposely causing the price of oil to crash is one of the most deflationary things that you could possibly do.  Whoever is behind this oil war is playing with fire, and by the end of this coming year the entire planet could be dealing with the consequences.

Ever since the price of oil started falling, people have been pointing fingers at the Saudis.  And without a doubt, the Saudis have manipulated the price of oil before in order to achieve geopolitical goals.  The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Andrew Topf

We don’t have to look too far back in history to see Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter and producer, using the oil price to achieve its foreign policy objectives. In 1973, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat convinced Saudi King Faisal to cut production and raise prices, then to go as far as embargoing oil exports, all with the goal of punishing the United States for supporting Israel against the Arab states. It worked. The “oil price shock” quadrupled prices.

It happened again in 1986, when Saudi Arabia-led OPEC allowed prices to drop precipitously, and then in 1990, when the Saudis sent prices plummeting as a way of taking out Russia, which was seen as a threat to their oil supremacy. In 1998, they succeeded. When the oil price was halved from $25 to $12, Russia defaulted on its debt.

The Saudis and other OPEC members have, of course, used the oil price for the obverse effect, that is, suppressing production to keep prices artificially high and member states swimming in “petrodollars”. In 2008, oil peaked at $147 a barrel.

Turning to the current price drop, the Saudis and OPEC have a vested interest in taking out higher-cost competitors, such as US shale oil producers, who will certainly be hurt by the lower price. Even before the price drop, the Saudis were selling their oil to China at a discount. OPEC’s refusal on Nov. 27 to cut production seemed like the baldest evidence yet that the oil price drop was really an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and the US.

If the Saudis wanted to stabilize the price of oil, they could do that immediately by announcing a production cutback.

The fact that they have chosen not to do this says volumes.

In addition to wanting to harm U.S. shale producers, some believe that the Saudis are determined to crush Iran.  This next excerpt comes from a recent Daily Mail article

Above all, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies see Iran — a bitter religious and political opponent — as their main regional adversary.

They know that Iran, dominated by the Shia Muslim sect, supports a resentful underclass of more than a million under-privileged and angry Shia people living in the gulf peninsula — a potential uprising waiting to happen against the Saudi regime.

The Saudis, who are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslims, also loathe the way Iran supports President Assad’s regime in Syria — with which the Iranians have a religious affiliation. They also know that Iran, its economy plagued by corruption and crippled by Western sanctions, desperately needs the oil price to rise. And they have no intention of helping out.

The fact is that the Saudis remain in a strong position because oil is cheap to produce there, and the country has such vast reserves. It can withstand a year — or three — of low oil prices.

There are others out there that are fully convinced that the Saudis and the U.S. are actually colluding to drive down the price of oil, and that their real goal is to destroy Russia.

In fact, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro openly promoted this theory during a recent speech on Venezuelan national television

“Did you know there’s an oil war? And the war has an objective: to destroy Russia,” he said in a speech to state businessmen carried live on state TV.

“It’s a strategically planned war … also aimed at Venezuela, to try and destroy our revolution and cause an economic collapse,” he added, accusing the United States of trying to flood the market with shale oil.

Venezuela and Russia, which both have fractious ties with Washington, are widely considered the nations hardest hit by the global oil price fall.

And as I discussed just the other day, Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to agree with this theory…

“We all see the lowering of oil prices. There’s lots of talk about what’s causing it. Could it be an agreement between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to punish Iran and affect the economies of Russia and Venezuela? It could.”

Without a doubt, Obama wants to “punish” Russia for what has been going on in Ukraine.  Going after oil is one of the best ways to do that.  And if the U.S. shale industry gets hurt in the process, that is a bonus for the radical environmentalists in Obama’s administration.

There are yet others that see this oil war as being even more complicated.

Marin Katusa believes that this is actually a three-way war between OPEC, Russia and the United States…

“It’s a three-way oil war between OPEC, Russia and North American shale,” says Marin Katusa, author of “The Colder War,” and chief energy investment strategist at Casey Research.

Katusa doesn’t see production slowing in 2015: “We know that OPEC will not be cutting back production. They’re going to increase it. Russia has increased production to all-time highs.” With Russia and OPEC refusing to give up market share how will the shale industry compete?

Katusa thinks the longevity and staying power of the shale industry will keep it viable and profitable. “The versatility and the survivability of a lot of these shale producers will surprise people. I don’t see that the shale sector is going to collapse over night,” he says. Shale sweet spots like North Dakota’s Bakken region and Texas’ Eagle Ford area will help keep production levels up and output steady.

Whatever the true motivation for this oil war is, it does not appear that it is going to end any time soon.

And so that means that the price of oil is going to go lower.

How much lower?

One analyst recently told CNN that we could see the price of oil dip into the $30s next year…

Few saw the energy meltdown coming. Now that it’s here, industry analysts warn another move lower is possible as the momentum remains firmly to the downside.

“If this doesn’t hold, we could go back to price levels in late 2008 and early 2009 — down in the $30s. There’s no reason why it couldn’t happen,” said Darin Newsom, senior analyst at Telvent DTN.

Others are even more pessimistic.  For instance, Jeremy Warner of the Sydney Morning Herald, who correctly predicted that the price of oil would fall below $80 this year, is now forecasting that the price of oil could fall all the way down to $20 next year…

Revisiting the past year’s predictions is, for most columnists a frequently humbling experience. The howlers tend to far outweigh the successes. Yet, for a change, I can genuinely claim to have got my main call for markets – that oil would sink to $US80 a barrel or less – spot on, and for the right reasons, too.

Just in case you think I’m making it up, this is what I said 12 months ago: “My big prediction is for $US80 oil, from which much of the rest of my outlook for the coming year flows. It’s hard to overstate the significance of a much lower oil price – Brent at, say, $US80 a barrel, or perhaps lower still – yet this is a surprisingly likely prospect, the implications of which have been largely missed by mainstream economic forecasters.”

If on to a good thing, you might as well stick with it; so for the coming year, I’m doubling up on this forecast. Far from bouncing back to the post crisis “normal” of something over $US100 a barrel, as many oil traders seem to expect, my view is that the oil price will remain low for a long time, sinking to perhaps as little as $US20 a barrel over the coming year before recovering a little.

But even Warner’s chilling prediction is not the most bearish.

A technical analyst named Abigail Doolittle recently told CNBC that under a worst case scenario the price of oil could fall as low as $14 a barrel…

No one really saw 2014’s dramatic plunge in oil price coming, so it’s probably fair to say that any predictions about where it’s going from here fall somewhere between educated guesses and picking a number out of a hat.

In that light, it’s less than shocking to see one analyst making a case—albeit in a pure outlier sense—for a drop all the way below $14 a barrel.

Abigail Doolittle, who does business under the name Peak Theories Research, posits that current chart trends point to the possibility that crude has three downside target areas where it could find support—$44, $35 and the nightmare scenario of, yes, $13.65.

But the truth is that none of those scenarios need to happen in order for this oil war to absolutely devastate the U.S. economy and the U.S. financial system.

There is a very strong correlation between the price of oil and the performance of energy stocks and energy bonds.  But over the past couple of weeks this correlation has been broken.  The following chart comes from Zero Hedge

Energy Stocks - Zero Hedge

It is inevitable that at some point we will see energy stocks and energy bonds come back into line with the price of crude oil.

And it isn’t just energy stocks and bonds that we need to be concerned about.  There is only one other time in all of history when the price of oil has crashed by more than 50 dollars in less than a year.  That was in 2008 – just before the great financial crisis that erupted in the fall of that year.  For much, much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “Guess What Happened The Last Time The Price Of Oil Crashed Like This?…

Whether the price of oil crashed or not, we were already on the verge of massive financial troubles.

But the fact that the price of oil has collapsed makes all of our potential problems much, much worse.

As we enter 2015, keep an eye on energy stocks, energy bonds and listen for any mention of problems with derivatives.  The next great financial crisis is right around the corner, but most people will never see it coming until they are blindsided by it.

The Federal Reserve Is Paying Banks NOT To Lend 1.8 Trillion Dollars To The American People

House Of Cards - Photo by ArealastDid you know that U.S. banks have more than 1.8 trillion dollars parked at the Federal Reserve and that the Fed is actually paying them not to lend that money to us?  We were always told that the goal of quantitative easing was to “help the economy”, but the truth is that the vast majority of the money that the Fed has created through quantitative easing has not even gotten into the system.  Instead, most of it is sitting at the Fed slowly earning interest for the bankers.  Back in October 2008, just as the last financial crisis was starting, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced that the Federal Reserve would start paying interest on the reserves that banks keep at the Fed.  This caused an absolute explosion in the size of these reserves.  Back in 2008, U.S. banks had less than 2 billion dollars of excess reserves parked at the Fed.  Today, they have more than 1.8 trillion.  In less than five years, the pile of excess reserves has gotten nearly 1,000 times larger.  This is utter insanity, and it will have very serious consequences down the road.

Posted below is a chart that shows the explosive growth of these excess reserves in recent years…

Excess Reserves

This explains why all of the crazy money printing that the Fed has been doing has not caused tremendous inflation yet.  Most of the money has not even gotten into the economy.  The Fed has been paying banks not to lend it out.

But now that big pile of money is sitting out there, and at some point it is going to come pouring in to the U.S. economy.  When that happens, we could very well see an absolutely massive tsunami of inflation.

Posted below is a chart that shows the growth of the M2 money supply over the past several decades.  It has been fairly steady, but imagine what would happen if you took the hockey stick from the chart above and suddenly added it to the top of this one…

M2 Money Supply

The longer that the Federal Reserve continues to engage in quantitative easing and continues to pay banks not to lend that money out to the rest of us, the larger that inflationary time bomb is going to become.

In a recent article for the Huffington Post, Professor Robert Auerbach of the University of Texas explained the nightmarish situation that we are facing…

One reason that the excess reserves grew to an extraordinary level is that in October 2008, one month after the financial crisis when Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, the Bernanke Fed began paying interest on bank reserves. Although it has been 1/4 of 1 percent interest, this risk free rate was not low compared to the Fed’s policy of keeping short-term market rates near zero. The interest banks received was and is an incentive to hold the excess reserves rather than lend to consumers and businesses in the risky environment of the major recession and the slow recovery.

The Bernanke Fed is now facing a $1.863 trillion time bomb, they helped to create, of excess reserves in the private banking system. If rates of interest on income earning assets (including bank loans to consumers and businesses) rise, the Fed will have to pay the banks more interest to hold their excess reserves.

If interest rates move up dramatically (and they are already starting to rise significantly), banks will have an incentive to take that money out of the Fed and start lending it out.  Professor Auerbach suggests that this could cause an “avalanche” of money pouring into the economy…

Eighty five billion a month will seem tiny compared to the avalanche of the $1.863 trillion excess reserves exploding rapidly into the economy. That would devalue the currency, cause more rapid inflation and worry investors about a coming collapse.

So the Fed has kind of painted itself into a corner.  If the Fed keeps printing money, they continue to grossly distort our financial system even more and the excess reserves time bomb just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

But even the suggestion that the Fed would begin to start “tapering” quantitative easing caused the financial markets to throw an epic temper tantrum in recent weeks.  Interest rates immediately began to skyrocket and Fed officials did their best to try to settle everyone down.

So where do we go from here?

Unfortunately, as Jim Rogers recently explained, this massive experiment in financial manipulation is ultimately going to end in disaster…

I’m afraid that in the end, we’re all going to suffer perhaps, worse than we ever have, with inflation, currency turmoil, and higher interest rates.

The Fed and other global central banks have created the largest bond bubble in the history of the planet.  If the Fed ends quantitative easing, the bond market is going to try to revert to normal.

That would be disastrous for the global financial system.  The following is what Jim Willie told Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog.com

Everything is dependent on Fed support. They know if they take it away, they’re going to create a black hole. The Treasury bond is the greatest asset bubble in history. It’s at least twice as large as the housing and mortgage bubble, maybe three or four times as large.

But even if the central banks keep printing money, they may not be able to maintain control over the bond market.  In fact, there are already signs that they are starting to lose control.  The following is what billionaire Eric Sprott told King World News the other day…

It’s total orchestration. And it’s orchestration because they might have lost control of the bond market. I find it such a juxtaposition that central banks on a daily basis buy more bonds today than they ever purchased, and interest rates are going up, which is almost perverted. I mean how can that happen?

They’ve lost control of the market in my mind, and that’s why they are so desperately trying to get us all to forget the word ‘taper.’ In fact, we probably won’t even hear the word ‘taper’ anymore because it has such a sickening reaction to people in the bond market, and perhaps even people in the stock market. They will probably do away with the word. But the system is totally out of control. And then we’ve got this quadrillion dollars of derivatives. It just blows blows my mind to think about what could really be going on behind the scenes.

Sprott made a really good point about derivatives.

The quadrillion dollar derivatives bubble could bring down the global financial system at any time.

And remember, interest rate derivatives make up the biggest chunk of that.  Today, there are 441 trillion dollars of interest rate derivatives sitting out there.  If interest rates begin skyrocketing at some point, that is going to create some absolutely massive losses in the system.  We could potentially be talking about an event that would make the failure of Lehman Brothers look like a Sunday picnic.

We are moving into a time of great financial instability.  People are going to be absolutely shocked by what happens.

Our financial system is a house of cards built on a foundation of risk, leverage and debt.  When it all comes tumbling down, it should not be a surprise to any of us.

Social Decay + Illegal Immigration + Poverty = Open War On The Streets Of America

Open War On The Streets Of America - Photo by Javier RamirezWhat did you think was going to happen?  Moral standards have been falling for decades, we have allowed massive hordes of criminals, gang members and drug dealers to enter this country illegally, and thanks to our declining economy our inner cities are being absolutely ravaged by poverty.  Was such a combination really going to produce peace and prosperity?  Should we be so shocked that we now have open war on the streets of America?  In the United States today, there are millions upon millions of young people that can’t find jobs, that are living in poverty, that have no hope for a better future, and that have been raised without any moral standards.  These young people are becoming increasingly desperate, and desperate people do desperate things.  As I wrote about the other day, for those under the age of 18 living in the city of Detroit the poverty rate is 60 percent.  Should we be surprised that Detroit police are now telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“.  At this point, the FBI says that there are approximately 1.4 million gang members living in our cities.  That number has risen by an astounding 40 percent just since 2009.  Did we somehow delude ourselves into thinking that there would not be severe consequences for allowing that to happen?  Today,  Mexican drug cartels are active in more than 1,000 U.S. cities.  Are they selling drugs and committing crimes in the area where you live?  Well, don’t be so shocked.  The federal government has left our border with Mexico wide open for decades even though the most violent drug war on the planet has been raging just across that border.  Stupid decisions produce stupid results.  Sadly, this is just the beginning.  When our economy fully crashes the open warfare on the streets of America is going to get much, much worse.

Let’s take a closer look at what is currently happening in a few of our largest cities…

Los Angeles

Did you know that Latino gangs are systematically pushing black families out of some areas of Los Angeles?

For example, once upon a time Compton was a predominantly African-American area.  But now it is 65 percent Latino, and there is a relentless campaign of intimidation against many of the African-American families that remain.

One of these incidents was recently profiled in the Los Angeles Times.  A black family moved into Compton near the end of December, and since that time they have been the victims of endless harassment by Latino gangs.  When a 19-year-old African-American friend came to visit the family one day, four thugs told him that blacks were barred from the neighborhood and they started beating him with metal pipes.  A story in the Los Angeles Times described what happened next…

The 19-year-old family friend managed to break free that first day and run into the house, where the children were the only ones at home.

The attackers left, but a half-hour later a crowd of as many as 20 people stood on the lawn yelling threats and epithets. A beer bottle crashed through the living room window as the youngsters watched in horror.

“They were scared if they called the sheriff they’d be killed,” Westin said. “So they called their mom, who called the Sheriff’s Department.”

The gang members were gone by the time deputies arrived, but they kept coming back, almost daily, driving by slowly until they got someone’s attention, then yelling racial insults and telling them to leave. The mother sent the children to live with relatives and is now packing up to leave herself.

As horrifying as that sounds, the truth is that it is not an isolated incident.

According to the Los Angeles Times, similar attacks “have taken place in Harbor Gateway, Highland Park, Pacoima, San Bernardino, Canoga Park and Wilmington, among other places.”

Oakland

Up the coast in Oakland, a horribly violent gang war has gotten so out of hand that city officials are holding press conferences about it.

Violent crime in the city of Oakland increased by 23 percent in 2012, and police say that gang members were responsible for most of the approximately 2,000 robberies and 65 homicides that took place in the second half of the year.

As the San Francisco Chronicle recently explained, the violence continues to escalate and city officials don’t know how to solve it…

Nearly all the violent crimes in Oakland in the last few months, including two killings over the weekend, have been committed as part of a “war” between rival groups that was sparked by the slaying of a girl last summer, Police Chief Howard Jordan said Monday.

Jordan said “about 90 percent” of the killings, robberies, shootings and other “senseless acts of violence” in the city since mid-2012 can be directly tied to the killing of a girlfriend of one of the combatants.

Over time, the warring factions have become increasingly violent and have grown in number, sometimes by merging with other groups, Jordan said at a news conference called in response to an outbreak of gunfire over the weekend.

Chicago

Savage murders happen so regularly in Chicago at this point that very few people are even shocked by the headlines any longer.  The murder rate in the city increased by about 17 percent in 2012, and 2013 has already started with quite a bang.

Just check out what happened on Saturday.  7 people were murdered and six others were left wounded.  The following is how the Chicago Tribune described one of the crime scenes…

On West Van Buren Street, a body could be seen lying in the roadway, near the curb and a bus stop.

A man who only identified himself as the teen victim’s uncle said the boy, whose family lived nearby, had simply gone to run an errand.

“He was just going to the store,” the man said. “They just killed him just like that.”

Later, the man paced back and forth on the sidewalk, shaking his head in disbelief.

So why has Chicago become such a violent city?

It is because of the gangs.

Today, approximately 80 percent of all murders that happen in the city of Chicago are gang-related.  And as I have written about previously, there are only about 200 police officers assigned to Chicago’s Gang Enforcement Unit to handle the estimated 100,000 gang members living in the city.

Perhaps Chicago could do more to handle all the crime if they had more money, but at this point they are flat broke and so is the entire state of Illinois.  In fact, the state of Illinois just had its credit rating downgraded once again.

I picked out three examples to discuss above, but similar things could really be said about hundreds of U.S. cities from coast to coast.

Once upon a time, gang activity was fairly limited to certain pockets of the country.  But now, it is more widespread than ever.

According to the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center,  Mexican drug cartels were actively operating in 50 different U.S. cities in 2006.

By 2010, that number had skyrocketed to 1,286.

Are you starting to get the picture?

So why doesn’t the federal government secure the border and make sure that everyone that is coming into this country is doing so legally?

That is a very good question.  For some reason, every single president that we have had in recent decades has chosen to leave the U.S. border with Mexico virtually wide open.

And so millions of criminals, gang members, drug dealers and welfare parasites continue to pour into the country.  The following is what one local police chief down in Texas is saying about what he is seeing along the border…

The problem is not going away.

“Most of them have people here or they’re just trying to make it over here so they can start making a better living for themselves,” La Joya Police Chief Julian Gutierrez told Action 4 News.

No matter how many miles of border fence is erected—it seems nothing will stop the thousands of immigrants, crossing our border illegally, from continuing their journey.

“A lot of times we talk to them and ask them why they’re coming here,” Gutierrez explained. “They say they’re coming for the ‘American Dream.’ I always tell them that they’re here illegally—how do they expect to find work? They always say it’s a lot better than their country.”

So what is the Obama administration doing about this?

They don’t consider it to be a problem.

In fact, one of our stations along the border with Mexico will no longer be manned with real people at all.  The following is from a recent ABC News report

Get ready for the very first “unmanned” border station on the U.S.-Mexico border. Slated to open at the end of this month, the Big Bend National Park in Texas will be staffed by, you guessed it, computers.

But what the Obama administration does seem to be concerned about is giving immigrants lots of “benefits” once they get here.

For example, did you know that the federal government actually has a website that teaches immigrants how to sign up for welfare programs once they arrive in the United States?

Meanwhile, we can’t even come close to taking care of our own citizens.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 146 million Americans that are considered to be either “poor” or “low income” at this point.

Poverty is absolutely exploding in this country, and the middle class gets smaller with each passing day.  When the next major economic downturn strikes, the unemployment numbers are going to start spiking again and millions of families are going to lose all hope that things will ever turn around for them.

Meanwhile, the very foundations of our society continue to rot and decay right in front of our eyes.  At this point, approximately one out of every three children in the U.S. lives in a home without a father.  The U.S. has the highest divorce rate in the world, the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the world, and there are 19 million new STD infections in the United States every single year.

Our nation is a complete and total mess, and many of our major cities are being transformed into gang-infested war zones that are on the verge of total meltdown.

Is it any wonder that millions of American families have chosen to become preppers?

Nothing is going to stop the societal meltdown that is coming.  That is especially true with Barack Obama running things.

Sadly, most Americans still have their heads in the sand and are pretending that everything will be okay somehow.

Sadly, most Americans still have a tremendous amount of faith in the system.

But anyone with a brain should be able to see the storm clouds that are coming.

So get prepared while you still can.

Time is running out.

1.4 Millions Gang Members And More Pour Into The United States Every Single Day

The Politicians We Have Chosen Reflect Who We Are As A Nation

The American people have spoken.  It is estimated that approximately 6 billion dollars was spent on political campaigns in 2012, and we ended up exactly in the same place that we were before.  Barack Obama is still in the White House, the Democrats still have solid control of the U.S. Senate and the Republicans still have solid control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Clearly, the American people want more of the same, and that is really bad news.  The path that we have been on will only lead to unprecedented disaster, and now it is abundantly clear that there are not going to be any solutions to our problems on the national level.  Not that things would be that much different if we reversed things and gave Republicans control of the White House and the Senate and we gave Democrats control of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Over the past several decades, nothing has really seemed to get any better no matter what faces we have sent to Washington.  But this time there is really a feeling of “finality” to things.  The American people have made their choices, and those choices are going to have consequences.  There is no turning back now.  The politicians that we have chosen reflect who we are as a nation.  It is not just our leaders that have turned their backs on the U.S. Constitution and on the principles that this country was founded upon – the truth is that the majority of the American people have rejected them.  We have willingly chosen our destiny, and there are no more excuses.

What Barack Obama has pulled off is absolutely mind blowing.  First of all, I must acknowledge that the Obama campaign had the best “ground game” in the history of American politics.  Their ability to deliver their voters to the polls was absolutely amazing.  Yes, the election was close, but I thought it would be much closer.  The Obama “ground game” made a significant difference.

Having said that, it says a lot about who we are as a nation that the American people would willingly send Barack Obama back to the White House for a second term.  You could almost excuse the American people for having the wool pulled over their eyes the first time, but at this point American voters have had four years to evaluate Barack Obama and learn what he is all about.

Barack Obama, like many of our politicians, is a con man.  He just doesn’t have a few skeletons in his closet – he has a whole army of them.  Over the course of two presidential campaigns he has refused to release his school records, there are very serious irregularities concerning his Social Security number, and he has managed to keep vast stretches of his past a total secret to the American people.  Anyone applying for a decent job or trying to get into a decent school would have been required to disclose more background information than Barack Obama has revealed to the American people.  What Obama has pulled off is completely and totally absurd.  I truly believe that Barack Obama will someday be regarded as one of the greatest con men of all time.

But even setting all of that aside, the outrageous things that Barack Obama has publicly said and done should be more than enough for every American that loves the U.S. Constitution to reject him.  The truth is that no American should have ever cast a single vote for him for any political office under any circumstances.

And yet now he is headed for a second term in the White House, and now he will feel absolutely no accountability to the voters since he will not be running in 2016.  He can do whatever he wants over the next four years, and nobody can do anything about it.

Not that Mitt Romney would have been much different.  Out of all of the Republican candidates, the Republicans selected the candidate that was most similar to Barack Obama.  During primary season, in many of my articles I pleaded with the Republicans not to choose Mitt Romney.  I warned that large numbers of very conservative voters would refuse to support him in the general election.  I was horrified by how Romney treated Ron Paul and his supporters during the primaries.  It turns out that Romney desperately could have used their help in swing states that Romney barely lost like Ohio, Virginia and Florida.

In the end, Mitt Romney ran one of the most inept campaigns in modern American political history.  Except for his one brief shining moment during the first debate, Romney just seemed to keep falling flat on his face over and over.  He seemed to have absolutely no idea how to attack Obama’s track record, and he kept shifting positions every five minutes.  To be honest, his campaign was an embarrassment to the Republican Party.

I know that a lot of Republicans are mourning today, but things would not have been much different under a Romney administration.  Romney was perhaps the most liberal candidate the Republicans have ever nominated for president, and Obama and Romney were perhaps the two most similar candidates that we have ever seen run against each other on the national stage.

The fact that the Republicans picked Mitt Romney says a whole lot about the Republican Party just like the fact that the Democrats picked Barack Obama says a whole lot about who they are.

But let us not overlook the other choices that the American people made yesterday either.

The U.S. Senate has been an abysmal failure for years, and yet the American people just keep voting for more of the same.

If you can believe it, the U.S. Senate has not passed a budget in over 1,200 days.

In fact, the last time the U.S. Senate passed a budget, there was no such thing as an iPad.

But not only did the American people allow Democrats to keep control of the U.S. Senate, the Democrats actually gained a couple of extra seats, and several of the newly elected Senators are extremely liberal.

And keep in mind that all of the new Senators that were elected yesterday will not be up for re-election until 2018.

That is very frightening to think about.

The funny thing is that the American people also gave the Republicans very firm control of the U.S. House of Representatives once again.  It is almost as if they were saying that they want things to remain exactly the same as they are right now.

So we can definitely expect more gridlock in Washington.  And perhaps that is a small piece of good news to come out of all this.

If we can get our politicians fighting with each other so much that they can’t get anything done, perhaps they will have less of a chance of messing this country up even worse than it already is.

This election season was the last, best chance that the American people had to bring about changes on the national level.  Unfortunately, the Republicans, the Democrats and the American people all failed miserably in this regard.

As far as the economy is concerned (after all, this is a column about economics), we will continue to steamroll toward collapse at record speed.  It is now glaringly obvious that there will be no political solutions to our problems on the national level.

So you better brace for impact, because a crash is coming.

And I think we just got a preview of coming attractions.  The Dow was down by more than 300 points on Wednesday.

I wish that I could be more optimistic, but the truth is that there is no hope on the horizon on the national level.  The American people have spoken, and they have made their choices.

Now we all get to pay the price.

Economic Collapse DVD
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