Thanks to the Federal Reserve, the middle class is slowly being suffocated by rising food prices. Every single dollar in your wallet is constantly becoming less valuable because of the inflation the Fed systematically creates. And if you try to build wealth by saving money and earning interest on it, you still lose because thanks to the Federal Reserve’s near zero interest rate policies banks pay next to nothing on savings accounts. The Federal Reserve wants you to either spend your money or to put it in the giant casino that we call the stock market. But when Americans spend their paychecks they are finding that they don’t stretch as far as they once did. The cost of living continues to rise at a much faster pace than wages are rising, and this is especially true when it comes to the price of food.
Someone that I know wrote to me today and let me know that she had to shut down the food pantry that she had been running for the poor for so many years. It isn’t that she didn’t want to help the poor anymore. It was that she just couldn’t deal with the rising food prices any longer. Now she is just doing the best that she can to survive herself.
Perhaps you have also noticed that food prices have gotten pretty crazy lately. In particular, meat prices have become absolutely obscene. For example, the average price of ground beef has risen to a new record high of over $4.09 a pound. Over the past twelve months, that works out to a whopping 17 percent increase…
The average price for a pound of ground beef climbed to another record high–$4.096 per pound–in the United States in September, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
In August, according to BLS, the average price for a pound of all types of ground beef topped $4 for the first time–hitting $4.013. In September, the average price jumped .083 cents, an increase of 2.1 percent in one month.
A year ago, in September 2013, the average price for a pound of ground beef was $3.502 per pound. Since then, it has climbed 59.4 cents–or about 17 percent in one year.
The “intellectuals” over at the Federal Reserve insist that “a little bit of inflation” is good for an economy, but the truth is that inflation slowly robs us of our buying power.
In a previous article, I shared a chart that showed how food inflation has risen dramatically since the year 2000. For this article, I wanted to show how food inflation has risen since the 1970s. As you can see, the rise in food prices has been absolutely relentless for more than 40 years…
If our paychecks were going up at the same rate or even faster that would be okay.
But they aren’t.
In fact, CNN is reporting that our paychecks have fallen back to 1995 levels…
Americans also don’t feel any better off. While more people may have jobs, they aren’t bringing home fatter paychecks. Wages and income have remained stagnant for years, making it tough for folks even though inflation is low. Median household income, which stood at $51,939 last year, is back to 1995 levels.
Consumers expect a median income boost of 1.1% over the next year, Curtin said. But that won’t keep up with their inflation expectations of 2.8%.
“American households, on average, are still struggling with their living standards slowly eroding,” he said.
The purchasing power of our dollars is continually diminishing.
And this could be just the beginning. Right now, severe drought is affecting some of the most important agricultural areas around the globe. Most people are aware of the nightmarish drought in California, but did you know that things in Brazil are even worse? Brazil is one of the most important food exporters in the world, and so they definitely need our prayers.
In addition, a “black swan event” such as a worldwide explosion of the Ebola pandemic could quickly drive food prices into the stratosphere.
Just this week, we learned that food prices in the Ebola-stricken regions of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have already risen by an average of 24 percent…
Infection rates in the food-producing zones of Kenema and Kailahun in Sierra Leone, Lofa and Bong County in Liberia and GuDeckDedou in Guinea are among the highest in the region. Hundreds of farmers have died.
The three governments quarantined districts and restricted movements to contain the virus’ spread. But those measures also disrupted markets and led to food scarcity and panic buying, further pushing up prices, WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organization have said.
“Prices have risen by an average of 24 percent,” said WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs, adding an assessment of major markets showed the price of basic commodities was rising in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and in neighboring Senegal.
If you have been storing up food, I think that you will be very happy with your decision in the long run.
Without a doubt, food prices are only going to be going up from here.
But the Federal Reserve continues to insist that inflation is under control.
One of the ways that they make the “official numbers” look good is by playing accounting games. They regularly change the way that inflation is calculated in order keep everyone calm.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Posted below is an excerpt from an article by Mike Bryan, a vice president and senior economist in the Atlanta Fed’s research department…
The Economistretells a conversation with Stephen Roach, who in the 1970s worked for the Federal Reserve under Chairman Arthur Burns. Roach remembers that when oil prices surged around 1973, Burns asked Federal Reserve Board economists to strip those prices out of the CPI “to get a less distorted measure. When food prices then rose sharply, they stripped those out too—followed by used cars, children’s toys, jewellery, housing and so on, until around half of the CPI basket was excluded because it was supposedly ‘distorted'” by forces outside the control of the central bank. The story goes on to say that, at least in part because of these actions, the Fed failed to spot the breadth of the inflationary threat of the 1970s.
I have a similar story. I remember a morning in 1991 at a meeting of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s board of directors. I was welcomed to the lectern with, “Now it’s time to see what Mike is going to throw out of the CPI this month.” It was an uncomfortable moment for me that had a lasting influence. It was my motivation for constructing the Cleveland Fed’s median CPI.
I am a reasonably skilled reader of a monthly CPI release. And since I approached each monthly report with a pretty clear idea of what the actual rate of inflation was, it was always pretty easy for me to look across the items in the CPI market basket and identify any offending—or “distorted”—price change. Stripping these items from the price statistic revealed the truth—and confirmed that I was right all along about the actual rate of inflation.
It is all a game to them.
It is all about getting to the “right number” to release to the public.
But anyone that goes to the grocery store knows what has been happening to food prices.
The next time you get to the checkout register and you feel tempted to ask the cashier what organ you should donate to pay for your groceries, please keep in mind that it is not the fault of the cashier.
Instead, there is one entity that you should blame.
Blame the Federal Reserve – their policies are slowly pushing the middle class into oblivion.
Have you heard the news? The stock market is absolutely soaring and according to the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve we are in the beginning stages of a robust economic recovery. Yippee! The S&P 500 is up 6.8 percent so far in 2011, and the stock market recently hit a two and a half year high. So shouldn’t we all be celebrating? Well, if stock market performance was an accurate measure of economic health, then Zimbabwe would have had one of the healthiest economies on the entire globe during the last decade. But just like Zimbabwe’s stock market was artificially pumped up with “funny money” that was rapidly being devalued, so is ours. All of the “quantitative easing” that the Federal Reserve has been doing is pumping plenty of money into the financial markets and is helping to inflate a false stock market bubble, but it is doing very little to alleviate the suffering of the U.S. middle class. In fact, when you take a closer look at the numbers you quickly find out that the suffering of the middle class is getting even worse.
According to Gallup, the unemployment rate is now over 10%. The number of Americans that have given up looking for work recently set a new all-time record. The number of mortgages in foreclosure tied a record high during the fourth quarter of 2010. Gas and food prices are rising rapidly. The number of Americans on food stamps continues to increase every single month.
Yes, right now the economic situation is not in free fall like it was a couple years ago. We should be thankful for that. Periods of relative stability such as we are enjoying now will be few and far between in the years ahead. This “bubble” of economic calm is a great opportunity that we should all be taking advantage of.
However, those that are hoping that this is an economic “turning point” and that things will soon be back to “normal” are going to be greatly disappointed. This is about as “normal” as things are going to be ever again.
Even during this time of relative economic stability, the U.S. middle class is still being ripped to shreds. If there are those among your family and friends that are somehow convinced that the U.S. economy is recovering nicely, you might want want to show them the following 18 very sobering facts….
#6 During the 4th quarter of 2010, 4.63 percent of all U.S. home loans were in foreclosure. That matched the all-time high, and it was up significantly from 4.39 percent in the 3rd quarter.
#7 It is estimated that there are about 5 million homeowners in the United States that are at least two months behind on their mortgages, and it is being projected that over a million American families will be booted out of their homes this year alone.
#8Almost 14 percent of all credit card accounts in the United States are currently 90 days or more delinquent.
You know things are bad when articles start popping up in the mainstream news instructing us how to interact socially with the hordes of unemployed Americans that are out there today. A recent USA Today article entitled “What not to say to someone who is unemployed” listed some of the things that you should not say to someone that does not have a job. The following are some of their suggestions on what NOT to say….
“Hey, have you found anything yet?”
“How’s the search going?”
“You just have to pound the pavement.”
“Something will turn up.”
“It’s tough out there.”
“Other people are going through the same thing.”
“Maybe you’re asking for too much money.”
“Maybe you should go back to school.”
“There are plenty of jobs out there.”
I am sure most of us have heard things like this at one time or another. It can be a soul-crushing thing to have others like at you in pity because you don’t have a job and you can’t pay the mortgage and feed your family.
Most unemployed Americans are not lazy. The vast majority of them desperately want jobs. But the U.S. economy is not producing nearly enough jobs today. As noted above, the U.S. economy currently has about 3 million job openings, but approximately 20 percent of the workforce wants to find a full-time job. The demand for jobs is far, far, far greater than the supply.
Unfortunately, this is the legacy of decades of bad economic decision-making. The U.S. economy should be able to provide work for every single person that wants it, but because of the choices that have been made that will never be the case again.
The middle class in America is being ripped to shreds right in front of our eyes and very little is being done to stop it. Desperation is rising across the nation. More Americans slip into poverty every single day. It is almost as if a cloud of gloom and despair has descended upon the U.S. economy and every single month the situation only seems to get darker.
So what about you? How has this economy affected you and your family? Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….
If the U.S. dollar is being devalued so rapidly, then why does it sometimes increase in value against other global currencies? Well, it is because everybody is recklessly printing money now. The 6 charts which you are about to see below prove this. The truth is that it is not just the U.S. Federal Reserve which has been printing money like there is no tomorrow. Out of control money printing has also been happening in the UK, in the EU, in Japan, in China and in India. There are times when one particular global currency will fall faster than the others, but the reality is that they are all being rapidly devalued. Unfortunately, this is a recipe for a global economic nightmare.
Right now you can almost smell the panic as it rises in global financial markets. Investors all over the world are racing to get out of paper and to get into hard assets. Just about anything that is “real” and “tangible” is hot right now. Gold hit a record high last year and it is on the rise again. In fact, it just hit a new five-week high. Demand for silver is becoming absolutely ridiculous right now. Oil is marching up towards $100 a barrel again. Agricultural commodities have exploded in price over the past year. Many investors are even gobbling up art and other collectibles.
Paper money is no longer considered to be safe. All over the globe investors are watching all of the reckless money printing that has been going on and they are becoming alarmed. An increasing number of investors and financial institutions are putting their wealth into hard assets that are real and tangible in an effort to preserve their wealth.
The other day, a reader of this column named James sent me some charts that he had put together. I thought they were so good that I asked him if I could include them in an article. These charts show how central banks all over the globe have been recklessly printing money. Over the last 30 years virtually the entire world has developed a great love affair with fiat currency….
Of course anyone with half a brain can see where all of this is ultimately headed. In the end, inflation is going to spiral out of control and we are going to witness financial implosion on a global scale.
So why don’t these nations just adopt sound money?
Well, it turns out that if you are a member of the IMF, you are specifically prohibited from having gold-backed currency.
Yes, you read that correctly.
In fact, U.S. Representative Ron Paul once sent an open letter to the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve asking about this and he received no response. The following is the content of that letter….
I am writing regarding Article 4, Section 2b of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Articles of Agreement. As you may be aware, this language prohibits countries who are members of the IMF from linking their currency to gold. Thus, the IMF is forbidding countries suffering from an erratic monetary policy from adopting the most effective means of stabilizing their currency. This policy could delay a country’s recovery from an economic crisis and retard economic growth, thus furthering economic and political instability.
I would greatly appreciate an explanation from both the Treasury and the Federal Reserve of the reasons the United States has continued to acquiesce in this misguided policy. Please contact Mr. Norman Singleton, my legislative director, if you require any further information regarding this request. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.
U.S. House of Representatives
Sadly, the truth is that the global elite don’t want nations to start adopting gold-backed currencies. They want countries to use fiat currencies that they can openly manipulate for their own benefit.
At this point, every nation on earth (to the best of my knowledge) uses a fiat currency. All of the major global currencies are being continually devalued. In fact, there are times when counties will purposely devalue their currencies even more rapidly in order to gain a competitive advantage in world trade.
This is why so many investors now have such an aversion to paper currency. It starts losing value the moment you take possession of it.
In some areas of the world, “gold fever” is absolutely exploding. For example, China imported five times as much gold in 2010 as it did in 2009. On the Shanghai Gold Exchange, trading volume soared 43 percent during the first 10 months of 2010.
Gold, silver and other precious metals are now seen as a great hedge against inflation worldwide. Investors all over the globe are demonstrating a strong preference for “real money” over “paper money”.
So what does all of this mean?
It means that some tremendous imbalances are being built up in the global financial system. The central banks of the world must continue to inflate these bubbles with constantly increasing amounts of paper money and debt in order to keep the game going. If at some point the reckless money printing comes to a screeching halt it is going to unleash hell on global financial markets.
But if all of this reckless money printing continues we are eventually going to see horrific inflation all over the planet. In fact, we are already seeing significant inflation happening in many areas of the globe. Almost every single day a new headline about inflation in China seems to pop up in the financial news. Rising food prices are sparking unrest in the Middle East and elsewhere. Even U.S. consumers are starting to see some uncomfortable price increases at the gas pump and in the supermarket.
So it is not just Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that is off his rocker. The whole world is going crazy with money printing.
Hopefully this whole thing is not going to end as badly as many of us fear that it will. But right now the central banks of the world are pumping unprecedented amounts of cash into the global financial system, and those in the global financial system are funneling a very large percentage of that cash into hard assets. Unless something changes, that is going to mean that prices for basic necessities such as food and gas are going to continue to rise.
What in the world are they thinking over at the Federal Reserve? The privately-owned central bank that runs the U.S. economy is now forcing local banks to remove every shred of Christian faith from their establishments. When Federal Reserve examiners recently visited a local bank in Perkins, Oklahoma they demanded that the bank take down a “Bible verse of the day” and crosses that were displayed on the teller’s counter. In addition, the agents from the Federal Reserve forced all bank personnel to remove buttons that said “Merry Christmas, God With Us”. The bank was also ordered to remove a “Bible verse of the day” from the bank’s website. According to Federal Reserve officials, all visible expressions of Christian faith by bank officials are now banned in all banks across the United States.
Now, before people start screaming “separation of church and state”, please keep in mind that the “state” is not involved here. The local bank in Perkins is a privately-owned financial institution. The owners of that bank should be able to express themselves however they want.
In addition, it is important to note that it was not an agency of the federal government or a federal court that ordered this private local bank to remove all traces of Christianity.
The truth is that the Federal Reserve is not part of the U.S. government. In fact, the Federal Reserve is about as “federal” as Federal Express is.
You doubt this?
Well, perhaps you will believe what the Federal Reserve is publicly saying about itself.
In defending itself against a Bloomberg request for information under the Freedom of Information Act, the Federal Reserve objected by declaring that it was “not an agency” of the U.S. government and therefore it was not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
In the video posted below, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan makes it very clear that the Federal Reserve is above the law and need not answer to anyone in the federal government….
So where in the world does the Federal Reserve get the idea that they have the authority to tell a private bank that they cannot display a Bible verse of the day and that their employees cannot wear Christmas buttons?
No matter what you think about the faith of the owners of the local bank in Perkins, the truth is that we should all be concerned about the kind of precedent that this sets for free speech.
According to Federal Reserve officials, any visible expression of Christianity by a private bank may cause someone from another religion to be offended and feel as though they may be discriminated against by that bank. Therefore any expression of Christianity is “an appearance of discrimination” and thus must be banned.
Okay, so if any expression of Christianity is “an appearance of discrimination”, will federal officials soon use all of the federal “anti-discrimination laws” already on the books to ban all expressions of Christianity in all private businesses throughout the United States?
Once again, it is absolutely crucial to note that the local bank in Perkins is not a government building. Federal Reserve agents are telling private business owners how they can express themselves as they run their privately-owned business on private property.
The following is a local news report about this very disturbing incident….
Does anyone still believe that we have “freedom of speech” in the United States?
It is almost as if all forms of Christian expression are now regarded as something horribly dirty by our public officials.
Even if you are an atheist, this should deeply concern you as well. When freedom of speech is taken from some of us, it is only a matter of time until it is taken from the rest of us as well.
And since when does the Federal Reserve have any authority to tell any private citizen what they can or cannot say?
This is just another example of how the Federal Reserve has gotten completely and totally out of control. The Fed has become an unaccountable monster that is just running around doing just about anything that it wants to do.
It is for some very good reasons that many members of Congress are starting to publicly speak out against the Federal Reserve. Just recently it came out that the Federal Reserve has been handing out gigantic piles of nearly interest-free cash to their friends at the largest banks, financial institutions and corporations all over the globe. The American people have completely lost control over the financial system, and as long as the Federal Reserve remains in control that is going to continue to be the case.
But now, not only is the Federal Reserve at the core of the rapidly developing financial nightmare that is enveloping this nation, they are also attempting to tell private bank owners what they can and cannot say inside their own private businesses.
No matter what your faith is or even if you have no faith, you should be objecting to this. If the Federal Reserve is allowed to get away with this, it will be just a matter of time before U.S. government agencies come along and start ordering all private businesses to remove all traces of Christianity because they are “discriminatory” and they might offend someone.
The freedoms and liberties that previous generations fought and died to defend are being stripped away from us. If you plan to say something about it before they are all gone, now would be a good time to start.
Is Ron Paul finally in position to really do something about the Federal Reserve? U.S. Representative Spencer Bachus, the chairman-elect of the House Financial Services Committee, has announced that Ron Paul will chair the domestic monetary policy subcommittee starting next month. This puts Ron Paul in tremendous position to be able to put significant pressure on the Federal Reserve. In previous years Ron Paul has introduced legislation to end the Federal Reserve but it never got any traction. During this most recent session of Congress an effort by Ron Paul to have a full audit of the Federal Reserve conducted gathered quite a bit of momentum for a while, but in the end it did not get passed. However, a very limited examination of Fed activities during the recent financial crisis was passed, and that examination has revealed some really shocking things. With so many Tea Party members entering Congress this upcoming session there may be more momentum than ever to hold the Federal Reserve more accountable. Ron Paul is already talking about how he is planning for a full slate of hearings on U.S. monetary policy and he has indicated that he plans to restart a push to have the Fed audited.
And why shouldn’t the Federal Reserve be fully audited? The Federal Reserve has more power over the U.S. economy than any other institution and yet it has not been subjected to a comprehensive audit since it was created back in 1913.
So what would an audit accomplish?
Well, it would hopefully expose what is going on inside the Federal Reserve.
A very, very limited examination of Fed transactions that occurred during the recent financial crisis forced the Federal Reserve to reveal the details of 21,000 transactions stretching from December 2007 to July 2010 that totaled more than 3 trillion dollars. It turns out that the Federal Reserve was just handing out gigantic piles of nearly interest-free cash to their friends at the largest banks, financial institutions and corporations all over the globe.
These revelations have many members of Congress wondering what else has been going on inside the Federal Reserve.
For example, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders was absolutely outraged by these “backdoor bailouts” by the Federal Reserve….
“The $700 billion Wall Street bailout turned out to be pocket change compared to trillions and trillions of dollars in near zero interest loans and other financial arrangements that the Federal Reserve doled out to every major financial institution.”
More members of Congress than at any other time in recent memory are openly wondering if it is now time “to pull back the curtain” at the Federal Reserve. For those who would like to see the power of the Federal Reserve greatly diminished, there should be one primary goal right now.
Expose the Federal Reserve.
The truth is that the more the American people learn about the Federal Reserve and about what it has been doing the more they disapprove.
During his farewell speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate this week, Senator Jim Bunning noted that as the American people become increasingly aware of what the Federal Reserve is doing the less they like it….
“Public awareness of what the Fed is doing is increasing while public opinion of the Fed is falling.”
Unfortunately, the views of Ron Paul and other anti-Federal Reserve members of the Tea Party movement are strongly opposed by many other members of the Republican Party.
“I do not believe that Ron Paul’s views on the Fed represent the views of most Republicans.”
However, there is evidence that the tide is turning with the American public.
According to a recent Bloomberg National Poll, the number of Americans that would like to see the Federal Reserve held more accountable or even completely abolished is increasing….
Asked if the central bank should be more accountable to Congress, left independent or abolished entirely, 39 percent said it should be held more accountable and 16 percent that it should be abolished. Only 37 percent favor the status quo.
Those are very exciting numbers. A majority of Americans now want the power of the Federal Reserve to be reduced or they want it shut down entirely.
If Ron Paul is able to get a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve passed, the revelations that would come out of that would certainly turn public opinion against the Fed even more.
So what is so bad about the Federal Reserve?
Well, think of it as a perpetual debt machine.
Did you know that the U.S. national debt is 5,000 times larger than it was a hundred years ago?
That’s right – back in 1910, prior to the passage of the Federal Reserve Act, the national debt was only about $2.6 billion.
Since that time, our debt has been endlessly skyrocketing.
Under the Federal Reserve system, the U.S. government cannot just go out and print money. It is actually the Federal Reserve that issues our currency.
The way our system works, whenever the U.S. government arranges for the Federal Reserve to issue more currency, more government debt is created at the same time. In fact, as I have written about previously, all of our money is now based on debt.
No debt, no money.
What we desperately need is for the current monetary system to be scrapped. The federal government should take back the power to issue currency and should implement a new system based on money that is debt-free.
The truth is that it is insane that any sovereign government should have to go into debt just to produce more of its own currency.
Instead, what we have under the Federal Reserve system is a money supply that will forever be expanding, a currency that will forever be deteriorating in value and a national debt that will continue to skyrocket until the entire system collapses.
Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, the U.S. dollar has lost over 95 percent of its purchasing power. This continual debasement of our currency is called “inflation” and it is a hidden tax on every man, woman and child in the United States.
It is absolutely guaranteed that every single dollar that you own will go down in value over the long-term.
But the American people have come to accept that a constantly expanding national debt and a currency that is constantly losing value is the most “rational” economic system that humanity has ever come up with.
So who benefits from all this?
Well, for fiscal year 2010 the U.S. government paid out over 413 billion dollars in interest on the national debt. In future years that number is projected to rapidly skyrocket even more.
Wouldn’t you like to be getting a nice chunk of that 413 billion dollars?
It turns out that loaning money to the U.S. government is very, very profitable.
That 413 billion dollars is money that was transferred from the American people to the U.S. government, and then transferred from the U.S. government to big financial institutions, foreign countries, and very wealthy bankers.
So what did we get in return for our 413 billion dollars?
Sadly, this is not just going on in the United States. This is going on literally in almost every nation on earth.
All over the world sovereign governments are drowning in debt and so they have to drain their citizens dry so that they can meet their obligations.
In the book of Proverbs, it tells us that “the rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Americans like to think that they live in “the land of the free”, but the truth is that we have become enslaved to debt.
But even worse, we have consigned our children and our grandchildren to a lifetime of debt. They will have to work all of their lives to pay trillions of dollars in interest on all of the debt that we have accumulated in this generation.
How would you like to be born into a world where the previous generation had racked up a $13 trillion debt that now you were expected to pay off?
There is a reason why people like Ron Paul are so obsessed with the Federal Reserve. It is not because they don’t have anything better to do. It is because the future of our country literally hangs in the balance.
Throughout American history, presidents, top members of Congress and leading business people have warned us about the dangers of having a central bank. In fact, even though our young people are no longer taught this, the debate over central banking was one of the most important themes in early American history.
But we didn’t listen to the warnings.
We were convinced that we knew better.
Well, now we have an economic system that is dying and a $13 trillion debt that we are passing along to our children and to our grandchildren.
Perhaps we were not as smart as we thought we were.
Did you see Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on 60 Minutes the other night? Bernanke portrayed the Federal Reserve as the great protector of the U.S. economy, he claimed that unemployment would be 15 percent higher if the Federal Reserve had sat back and done nothing during the financial crisis and he even started laying the groundwork for a third round of quantitative easing. Unfortunately, 60 Minutes did not ask Bernanke any hard questions and did not challenge him on his past record. It was almost as if they considered Bernanke to be above criticism. But someone in the mainstream media should be taking a closer look at this guy and his record. The truth is that the incompetence that Bernanke has displayed over the past few years makes the Cincinnati Bengals look like a model of excellence. Bernanke kept insisting that the housing market was stable even while it was falling apart, he had absolutely no idea the financial crisis was coming, he declared that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in no danger of failing just before they failed, his policies have created asset bubble after asset bubble and the world financial system is now inherently unstable. But even with such horrific job performance, Barack Obama and leaders of both political parties continue to publicly praise Bernanke at every opportunity. What in the world is going on here?
Not that Bernanke is solely responsible. His predecessor, Alan Greenspan, was responsible for many of the policies that have brought us to this point. In addition, most of the other presidents of the individual Federal Reserve banks across the United States seem just as clueless as Bernanke.
But you would think at some point someone in authority would be calling for Bernanke to resign. Accountability has to begin somewhere.
The Bernanke quotes that you will read below reveal a pattern of incompetence and mismanagement that is absolutely mind blowing. Looking back now, we can see that Bernanke was wrong about almost everything.
But the mainstream media and our top politicians keep insisting that Bernanke is the man to lead our economy into a bright future.
It is almost as if we have been transported into some bizarre episode of “The Twilight Zone” where the more incompetence someone exhibits the more they are to be praised.
The following are 30 Ben Bernanke quotes that are so stupid that you won’t know whether to laugh or cry….
#1 (October 20, 2005) “House prices have risen by nearly 25 percent over the past two years. Although speculative activity has increased in some areas, at a national level these price increases largely reflect strong economic fundamentals.”
#2 (On 60 Minutes in response to a question about what would have happened if the Federal Reserve had not “bailed out” the U.S. economy) “Unemployment would be much, much higher. It might be something like it was in the Depression. Twenty-five percent.”
#3 (February 15, 2006) “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.”
#4 (January 10, 2008) “The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession.”
#5 (When asked directly during a congressional hearing if the Federal Reserve would monetize U.S. government debt) “The Federal Reserve will not monetize the debt.”
#6 “One myth that’s out there is that what we’re doing is printing money. We’re not printing money.”
#7 “The money supply is not changing in any significant way. What we’re doing is lowering interest rates by buying Treasury securities.”
#8 (November 21, 2002) “The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at no cost.”
#9 (March 28, 2007) “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.”
#10 (July, 2005) “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.”
#11 “Although low inflation is generally good, inflation that is too low can pose risks to the economy – especially when the economy is struggling.”
#12 (February 15, 2007) “Despite the ongoing adjustments in the housing sector, overall economic prospects for households remain good. Household finances appear generally solid, and delinquency rates on most types of consumer loans and residential mortgages remain low.”
#13 (October 31, 2007) “It is not the responsibility of the Federal Reserve – nor would it be appropriate – to protect lenders and investors from the consequences of their financial decisions.”
#14 (On the possibility that the Fed might launch QE3) “Oh, it’s certainly possible. And again, it depends on the efficacy of the program. It depends on inflation. And finally it depends on how the economy looks.”
#15 (November 15, 2005) “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.”
#16 (January 18, 2008) “[The U.S. economy] has a strong labor force, excellent productivity and technology, and a deep and liquid financial market that is in the process of repairing itself.”
#17 “I wish I’d been omniscient and seen the crisis coming.”
#18 (May 17, 2007) “All that said, given the fundamental factors in place that should support the demand for housing, we believe the effect of the troubles in the subprime sector on the broader housing market will likely be limited, and we do not expect significant spillovers from the subprime market to the rest of the economy or to the financial system. The vast majority of mortgages, including even subprime mortgages, continue to perform well. Past gains in house prices have left most homeowners with significant amounts of home equity, and growth in jobs and incomes should help keep the financial obligations of most households manageable.”
#19 “The GSEs are adequately capitalized. They are in no danger of failing.”
#20 (Two months before Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed and were nationalized) “They will make it through the storm.”
#21 (September 23rd, 2008) “My interest is solely for the strength and recovery of the U.S. economy.”
#22 “Economics has many substantive areas of knowledge where there is agreement but also contains areas of controversy. That’s inescapable.”
#23 “I don’t think that Chinese ownership of U.S. assets is so large as to put our country at risk economically.”
#24 “We’ve been very, very clear that we will not allow inflation to rise above 2 percent.”
#25 “…inflation is running at rates that are too low relative to the levels that the Committee judges to be most consistent with the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate in the longer run.”
#26 (June 10, 2008) “The risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so.”
#28 “The financial crisis appears to be mostly behind us, and the economy seems to have stabilized and is expanding again.”
#29 “Similarly, the mandate-consistent inflation rate–the inflation rate that best promotes our dual objectives in the long run–is not necessarily zero; indeed, Committee participants have generally judged that a modestly positive inflation rate over the longer run is most consistent with the dual mandate.”
#30 (October 4, 2006) “If current trends continue, the typical U.S. worker will be considerably more productive several decades from now. Thus, one might argue that letting future generations bear the burden of population aging is appropriate, as they will likely be richer than we are even taking that burden into account.”
Today global wealth is more highly concentrated in the hands of the elite than it ever has been at any other point in modern history. Once upon a time, the vast majority of the people in the world knew how to grow their own food, raise their own animals and take care of themselves. There weren’t many that were fabulously wealthy, but there was a quiet dignity in having land you could call your own or in having a skill that you could turn into a business. Sadly, over the past several decades an increasingly growing percentage of agricultural land has been gobbled up by big corporations and by corrupt governments. Hundreds of millions of people have been pushed off their land and into highly concentrated urban areas. Meanwhile, it has become increasingly difficult to start a business of your own as monolithic global corporations have come to dominate nearly every sector of the world economy. So more people than ever around the world are forced to work for “the system” just to make a living. At the same time, those at the very top of the food chain (the elite) have spent decades rigging the system to ensure that increasing amounts of wealth will continue to flow into their pockets. So now in 2010 we have a global system where a few elitists at the top are insanely wealthy while about half the people living on earth are wretchedly poor.
There are very few nations around the world that have not been almost entirely plundered by the global elite. When the elite speak of “investing” in poor countries, what they really mean is taking control of the land, water, oil and other natural resources. In dozens of nations around the world today, big global corporations are stripping fabulous amounts of wealth out of the ground even as the vast majority of the citizens of those nations continue to live in abject poverty. Meanwhile, the top politicians in those nations are given huge bribes to go along with the plundering.
So what we have in 2010 is a world that is dominated by a very small handful of ultra-wealthy elitists that own an almost unbelievable amount of real assets, a larger group of “middle managers” that run the system for the global elite (and are rewarded very handsomely for doing so), hundreds of millions of people who actually do the work required by the system, and several billion “useless eaters” that the global elite don’t really need and that they don’t really have much use for.
The system was not ever designed to lift up the poor. Nor was it ever designed to promote “free enterprise” and “competition”. Rather, the elite intend to funnel all wealth to themselves and to have the rest of us enslaved either to debt or to poverty.
The following are 20 statistics that prove that the wealth of the world is increasingly being funneled into the hands of the global elite, leaving most of the rest of the world wretchedly poor and miserable….
#1 According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the number of “least developed countries” has doubled over the past 40 years.
#2 “Least developed countries” spent 9 billion dollars on food imports in 2002. By 2008, that number had risen to 23 billion dollars.
#3 Average income per person in the poorest countries on the continent of Africa has fallen by one-fourth over the past twenty years.
#4 Bill Gates has a net worth of somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 billion dollars. That means that there are approximately 140 different nations that have a yearly GDP which is smaller than the amount of money Bill Gates has.
#5 A study by the World Institute for Development Economics Research discovered that the bottom half of the world population owns approximately 1 percent of all global wealth.
#6 Approximately 1 billion people throughout the world go to bed hungry each night.
#7 The wealthiest 2 percent own more than half of all global household assets.
#8 It is estimated that over 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where the income gap between the rich and the poor is widening.
#14 CNN founder Ted Turner is the largest private landowner in the United States. Today, Turner owns approximately two million acres. That is an amount greater than the land masses of the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. Turner also advocates restricting U.S. couples to 2 or fewer children to control population growth.
#18 It is estimated that the entire continent of Africa owns approximately 1 percent of the total wealth of the world.
#19 In 2008, approximately 9 million children died before they reached their fifth birthdays. Approximately a third of all of these deaths was due either directly or indirectly to lack of food.
#20 The most famous banking family in the world, the Rothschilds, has accumulated mountains of wealth while much of the rest of the world has been trapped in poverty. The following is what Wikipedia has to say about Rothschild family wealth….
It has been argued that during the 19th century, the family possessed by far the largest private fortune in the world, and by far the largest fortune in modern history.
Nobody seems to know exactly how much the Rothschilds are worth today. They dominate the banking establishments of England, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and many other nations. It was estimated that they were worth billions back in the mid-1800s. What the total wealth of the family is today is surely an amount that is almost unimaginable, but nobody knows for sure.
Meanwhile, billions of people around the globe are wondering where their next meal is going to come from.
At this point, many readers will want to start arguing about how horrible capitalism is and about how wonderful socialism and communism are.
But capitalism is not the problem and as we have seen countless times over the past several decades, government ownership of business is not the solution to anything.
What we have in the world today is not capitalism. Rather, it more closely resembles “feudalism” than anything else. The elite are “monopoly men” who use their unbelievable wealth and power to dominate the rest of us. In fact, it was John D. Rockefeller who once said that “competition is sin”.
It would be great if we lived in a world where those living in poverty were encouraged to start owning land, to create businesses and to build better lives for themselves.
But instead, things are going the other way. Wealth is becoming more concentrated in the hands of the elite, and the middle class is starting to be wiped out even in prosperous nations such as the United States.
It turns out that the global elite have decided that they don’t really need so many expensive American “worker bees” after all and they have been moving thousands of factories and millions of jobs overseas. Meanwhile the American people are so distracted watching Dancing with the Stars, Lady Gaga and their favorite sports teams that they don’t even realize what is going on.
There is no guarantee that America will be prosperous forever. Today, a record number of Americans are already living in poverty. Today, a record number of Americans are on food stamps. The median household income went down last year and it went down the year before that too.
So wake up. America is being integrated into a world economic system that is dominated and controlled by the insanely wealthy elite. They don’t care that you have to pay the mortgage or that you intend to send your kids to college. Mostly what they care about is making as much money for themselves as they can.
Greed is running rampant around the globe, and the world is becoming a very cold place. Unfortunately, unless something really dramatic happens, the rich are just going to continue to get richer and the poor are just going to continue to get poorer.
Ben Bernanke and the rest of the folks over at the Federal Reserve did not just wake up one day and decide that they wanted to start printing hundreds of billions of dollars out of thin air. The truth is that the economic forces that have brought us to this point have taken decades to develop. In the post-World War 2 era, when the U.S. economy has fallen into a recession, either the Federal Reserve would lower interest rates or the U.S. government would indulge in even more deficit spending to stimulate the economy. But now, as you will see below, both of those alternatives have been exhausted. In addition, we are now rapidly reaching the point where there are simply not enough lenders out there to feed the U.S. government’s voracious appetite for debt. So now the Federal Reserve is openly printing hundreds of billions of dollars that will enable them to finance U.S. government borrowing, and (they hope) stimulate the U.S. economy at the same time. Unfortunately, the rest of the world is not amused. Nations such as China, Japan and many of the oil-exporting nations of the Middle East have accumulated a lot of U.S. dollars and a lot of U.S. Treasuries and they are not pleased that those investments are now being significantly devalued.
So how did we get to this point? Why is the Federal Reserve printing money out of thin air in a desperate attempt to stimulate the economy?
Well, the Federal Reserve has more or less exhausted all of the other tools that it has traditionally used to help the economy during an economic downturn. As you can see from the chart below, the Federal Reserve has lowered interest rates during past recessions. The goal of lowering interest rates is to make it less expensive to borrow money and thus spark more economic activity. Well, as you can see, the Federal Reserve has no place else to go with interest rates. Over the past 30 years, rates have consistently been pushed down, down, down and now they are kissing the floor….
Another way that the U.S. economy has been “stimulated” over the past 30 years is through increased government spending. The theory is that if the government spends more money, that will get more cash into the hands of the people and spark more economic activity. That was the whole idea behind the “economic stimulus packages” that were pushed through Congress. However, increased government spending always comes at a very high cost under our current system. Government debt is now totally out of control. As you can see below, the U.S. national debt has exploded from about one trillion dollars in 1980 to over 13 trillion dollars today. Currently, there is very little appetite in Congress for more government spending to stimulate the economy, especially after the results of the November election.
Most Americans don’t realize it, but much of our incredible “prosperity” over the last 30 years has been fueled by the mountains of debt that we have accumulated. Now U.S. government debt is exploding at an exponential rate….
Sadly, the U.S. government has absolutely no self-control when it comes to spending money. Our politicians are absolutely addicted to debt.
The truth is that the U.S. government just can’t seem to stop wasting money. One of the most comical news stories of the past few days involved the Recovery Independent Advisory Panel, which is a sub-committee of the larger Recovery Accountability and Transparency board. This panel will be holding a meeting on November 22nd to discuss how to prevent “fraud, waste, and abuse” of economic stimulus funds.
So where will this meeting be held?
It is going to be held at the ultra-luxurious Ritz Carlton Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona.
You just can’t make this stuff up.
So if the Federal Reserve cannot stimulate the economy through lower interest rates and the U.S. government cannot stimulate the economy by spending even more money, what does that leave us with?
Unfortunately, that leaves us with either doing nothing or with having the Federal Reserve print money out of thin air and shovel it into the economy.
Sadly, even after months of news headlines about quantitative easing, most Americans still do not understand what it is. The following is a short video that is very humorous but that also does a good job of simply explaining what quantitative easing is and why it is bad for the U.S. economy….
For much more on why quantitative easing is so destructive, please see an article that I previously authored entitled “9 Reasons Why Quantitative Easing Is Bad For The U.S. Economy“. The truth is that in an all-out effort to give the U.S. economy a short-term boost, the Federal Reserve is putting the entire world financial system in peril.
One group of prominent economists was so alarmed by this new round of quantitative easing that they recently wrote an open letter to Ben Bernanke warning of the dangers that flooding the economy with new money could create. The following is an excerpt from the text of that open letter which was also posted on the website of the Wall Street Journal…..
We believe the Federal Reserve’s large-scale asset purchase plan (so-called “quantitative easing”) should be reconsidered and discontinued. We do not believe such a plan is necessary or advisable under current circumstances. The planned asset purchases risk currency debasement and inflation, and we do not think they will achieve the Fed’s objective of promoting employment.
We subscribe to your statement in the Washington Post on November 4 that “the Federal Reserve cannot solve all the economy’s problems on its own.” In this case, we think improvements in tax, spending and regulatory policies must take precedence in a national growth program, not further monetary stimulus.
We disagree with the view that inflation needs to be pushed higher, and worry that another round of asset purchases, with interest rates still near zero over a year into the recovery, will distort financial markets and greatly complicate future Fed efforts to normalize monetary policy.
The Fed’s purchase program has also met broad opposition from other central banks and we share their concerns that quantitative easing by the Fed is neither warranted nor helpful in addressing either U.S. or global economic problems.
But it isn’t just a few prominent economists that are expressing disapproval for this new round of quantitative easing. The truth is that almost every major industrialized nation has spoken out against all of this money printing by the Fed. Meanwhile, Barack Obama continues to publicly defend Ben Bernanke and this new round of quantitative easing at every opportunity.
That is some “change you can believe in”, eh?
Unfortunately, the danger that quantitative easing poses to our financial system is much greater than most Americans realize.
In order for the world financial system to operate smoothly, the rest of the world much have a great deal of faith in the U.S. dollar and in U.S. Treasuries. Ben Bernanke had promised Congress (and the rest of the globe) that the Federal Reserve would not monetize U.S. government debt and that he was going to keep the U.S. dollar strong. But now Bernanke has broken his promises once again. At this point Bernanke has lost a ton of credibility. Unfortunately, Barack Obama and many of the key members of Congress continue to express unwavering support for him.
The rest of the world can see what is going on. They are not stupid. They are not going to keep pouring hundreds of billions into U.S. Treasuries if the Federal Reserve is going to “cheat” whenever economic conditions get a little tough.
If the day arrives when the rest of the globe completely loses faith in the U.S. dollar and in U.S. Treasuries, it is going to create a complete and total financial disaster – especially for the United States.
On June 3rd, 2009 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke promised the U.S. Congress that the Federal Reserve would not monetize the debt of the U.S. government. On November 3rd, 2010 the Federal Reserve announced a massive quantitative easing plan which will involve the purchase of 600 billion dollars of U.S. Treasury securities by the middle of 2011. Creating 600 billion dollars out of thin air and using them to buy up U.S. government securities is monetizing the debt. So Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has been caught in a lie. Will we ever be able to trust a single word that he says ever again?
Monetizing the debt is a desperate act. It is a signal that we are rapidly reaching the end of the game. Slamming interest rates all the way to the floor did not revive the U.S. economy. Hundreds of billions of dollars in extra government spending did not do the trick either. The U.S. economy is still dying and the U.S. government is now beginning to find it very difficult to locate buyers for all the debt that it is constantly issuing.
So the Fed apparently hopes that this new round of quantitative easing will be a way to finance the exploding U.S. government debt and spark an “economic recovery” at the same time.
But didn’t Bernanke promise that the Fed was not going to do this?
Didn’t he pledge to Congress that the Federal Reserve would not monetize the debt?
Yes, he did. The following is video footage of Bernanke from June 3rd, 2009 promising that the Federal Reserve would not monetize the debt….
So much for keeping his promises.
But what else can Bernanke do?
The truth is that we are reaching the end of the economic rope and the Federal Reserve has already played all of the other tricks that they have in their bag.
Buying up massive amounts of U.S. government debt and showering the U.S. economy with money is a desperate attempt to keep the shell game going for a few more rounds.
Once upon a time, the U.S. dollar was the strongest currency on the planet. The rest of the world loved to use it as a reserve currency and they were more than glad to buy up U.S. Treasuries.
But now the mood has changed dramatically. The rest of the world does not intend to keep lending us well over a trillion dollars each and every year. The market for dollar-denominated debt is not what it once was.
In fact, Peter Schiff, the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, believes that the primary reason for this new round of quantitative easing is that the U.S. government is having an increasingly difficult time financing its debts….
At the end of the day, all this deflation talk is a red herring. The true purpose of QE 2 is to disguise the decreasing ability of the Treasury to finance its debts. As global demand for dollar-denominated debt falls, the Fed is looking for an excuse to pick up the slack. By announcing QE 2, it can monetize government debt without the markets perceiving a funding problem.
But the markets are not populated by a bunch of idiots. They are going to see what is going on. The Federal Reserve is monetizing the debt. This is going to make U.S. government debt even less attractive to foreign investors as I wrote about yesterday….
As foreigners begin to balk at all of this nonsense, the U.S. government will either have to start paying higher interest rates on government debt in order to attract enough investors, or the Federal Reserve will just have to drop all pretense and permanently start buying up most of the debt. Either way, once faith has been lost in U.S. Treasuries the financial world will never, ever be the same.
If there comes a point when China and Japan realize that the game is up, they are going to start bailing out of U.S. Treasuries faster than you can say “panic”. That could create a crisis of unprecedented proportions. Of course the Federal Reserve could just keep whipping up increasingly large batches of dollars out of thin air to soak up all the excess debt flooding the market, but that kind of a Ponzi scheme would not work for long, and it would likely set off horrific inflation.
In order for the current world financial system to maintain stability, there must be faith in the U.S. dollar and in U.S. Treasuries. Once faith in those two pillars is gone, it is inevitable that the whole system will come crashing down.
Most Americans have no idea that the entire global financial system is hanging by a thread. They have no idea that their futures could be radically altered if things go badly.
We like to think that we live in such a “democratic” society, but the decisions on which our economic future rest are in the hands of a group of unelected, unaccountable central bankers.
The truth is that the Federal Reserve is about as “federal” as Federal Express is. The Fed is not part of the U.S. government. If you watch interviews with top Federal Reserve officials, they love to talk about how “independent” they are. In defending itself against a Bloomberg request for information under the Freedom of Information Act, the Federal Reserve objected by declaring that it was “not an agency” of the U.S. government and therefore it was not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
The institution that has the most power by far over the U.S. economy does not answer to the American people, and the American people are so “comfortably numb” that they don’t even realize it.
In fact, most Americans do not even know that the Federal Reserve, in association with their buddies on Wall Street, caused the first Great Depression.
But Ben Bernanke does.
At a November 8th, 2002 conference to honor Milton Friedman’s 90th birthday, Bernanke actually confessed that Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwartz were right when they wrote that the Federal Reserve caused the Great Depression….
Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative of the Federal Reserve. I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression. You’re right, we did it. We’re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won’t do it again.
So does that make you feel better?
Ben Bernanke says that the folks over at the Federal Reserve are very sorry that they caused the Great Depression of the 1930s and they promise not to do it again.
Of course we have already seen how much Ben Bernanke’s promises are worth.
With people like Bernanke in charge, there is not a lot of reason for optimism.