Paper Money Madness: Inflation-Fueled Economic Growth Does Not Indicate That An Economy Is Getting Stronger

If the U.S. economy “grows” by 4 percent in 2011, but by the end of the year we are paying $3.00 for a loaf of bread, $4.00 for a gallon of milk and $5.00 for a gallon of gasoline are the American people going to be better off economically or worse off?  The answer is obvious, but most “experts” in the mainstream media continue to insist that as long as U.S. GDP is increasing and as long as the stock market is going up that our economy is improving.  But that is just not the case.  If the amount of money in circulation was relatively constant, those measurements would be helpful, but unfortunately the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve are dramatically pumping up the money supply right now.  Just because larger amounts of paper money are changing hands does not mean that the economy is getting stronger.  Of course GDP is going to rise when there is much more money in the system.  But economic growth that is fueled by inflation is just an illusion and it is not an indicator of economic health at all.

A very basic example shows this very easily.  Imagine if suddenly everyone in the United States had the amount of money they owned instantly doubled.  Would the U.S. economy be twice as healthy?  Of course not.  Very quickly prices would rise to meet the new level of money.

Well, in the United States today our “authorities” are pumping massive amounts of new dollars into the system.  That is one reason why so many people are so upset about the Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing 2” program.  The Federal Reserve is creating money out of thin air and pumping it into the financial system.  The first people that get their hands on this new money are Wall Street banks and major financial institutions.  The idea is that eventually all of this new money will “trickle down” and will help average Americans, but that just does not seem to be happening.

In addition, when the U.S. government goes into more debt, this also creates more money.  The U.S. government has accumulated far more new debt during the last two years than it ever has in any other two year period. When the U.S. government spends all of this money that it borrows it introduces a massive amount of new money into the system.

There are many ways to measure the money supply, and one of the most basic (M1) is displayed below.  As you can see, thanks to the actions of the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government, the money supply is rising at an almost exponential rate at this point.  The money supply has grown rapidly at various points in the past, but what we are witnessing now is really unprecedented…..

So what happens when you have a lot more money chasing roughly the same number of goods and services?

Well, you have inflation of course.

Are our “leaders” alarmed by any of this?

No, in fact they plan to pump up the money supply even more.  The Federal Reserve seems content to continue their “quantitative easing” program and Barack Obama is proposing all kinds of new federal spending which will be funded by more debt.

So the truth is that we had better have some significant “economic growth” during 2011.  If this amount of money is pumped into our financial system and we don’t see any “economic growth” then that would be an indication of a major league economic breakdown.

But instead of looking at things rationally, many mainstream economists are hailing the fact that the U.S. economy may grow by a few percentage points in 2011 as a sign that happy days are here again.

According to a recent article in USA Today, economists are becoming increasingly optimistic about 2011, and the consensus seems to be that economic growth in the United States will fall somewhere between 3 and 4 percent….

Economists are more optimistic about the recovery than they were just a few months ago, significantly upgrading their forecasts for 2011 as consumers open their wallets.

Unfortunately, the irrational optimism is not limited to just the United States.  As global leaders prepare to descend on the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland many mainstream media outlets are declaring that the worldwide financial crisis is over and that we are now entering a glorious boom time for the global economy.  For example, the following is how one recent article from Bloomberg opened….

For only the third time since the Industrial Revolution, the world may be entering a long-term growth cycle that will lift all economies simultaneously, driving bond yields and commodity prices higher.

People don’t seem to realize that just because more money is changing hands and just because financial markets are going higher that it doesn’t mean that the economic situation is improving.

If a rising GDP and a soaring stock market truly were strong indicators of economic health, then Zimbabwe would have been one of the strongest economies on the planet over the last 10 years.

Inflation changes everything.

Unfortunately, official U.S. government inflation figures have become so manipulated that they are of basically no value at this point.  Whenever one particular category starts to experience significant inflation, the U.S. government simply removes that category from the inflation calculations.  Over the past 40 years the way that inflation is calculated has been changed way too many times.

If you really want to get a good idea of what is happening with inflation, a good thing to do is to look at the basic commodities that everyone uses around the world.

For example, according to the United Nations, the global price of food hit an all-time high in December.  Not only that, but almost every major agricultural commodity that you could possibly name experienced a double-digit percentage increase in price during 2010.

In addition, the price of oil is steamrolling towards $100 a barrel again.  In fact, many analysts are convinced that the price of oil will set a new all-time record in 2011.

A recent editorial in Newsweek was not optimistic that we will be able to stem this rising tide of inflation….

The final dam to stopping $150-a-barrel oil and $4-a-gallon gas is being breached, as financial regulation continues its daily erosion into worthlessness.

So what is the answer to these problems?

Well, according to many of the top “economic leaders” in the world, the solution is to create even more money and even more credit.

Between 2000 and 2009, the total amount of credit in the world grew from 57 trillion dollars to 109 trillion dollars.  Now the World Economic Forum says that we need to grow the total amount of credit by another 100 trillion dollars over the next ten years to “support” the anticipated amount of “economic growth” around the world that they expect to see.

Does that make any sense?

We have to double the amount of debt in the world so that the world economy can grow?

But this is what the world economic system has become at this point.  It is a never ending debt spiral that requires constantly increasing levels of debt and paper money.

That is a huge reason why precious metals such as gold and silver are becoming so popular.  Investors are becoming sick and tired of the constantly inflating paper currencies.  Gold and silver are both very much in demand right now.  For example, the Chinese are voraciously gobbling up gold right now.  Also, the Central Bank of Russia has announced plans to purchase 100 metric tons of gold per year in order “to replenish the country’s gold reserves”.

But what about average Americans?  What is going to happen to them in a world where prices are rising rapidly?

Well, the answer is very simple.  In an environment of rapidly rising prices, the standard of living for most Americans is going to go down.

In this economic environment, employers are simply not going to increase salaries fast enough to keep up with the rising price of food, gas and health care.

In addition, there are tens of millions of Americans that are on fixed incomes.  As prices rise, those fixed incomes will simply not go as far.

So the truth is that most Americans are going to find their finances stretched even thinner in the months and years to come.

Inflation is like a thief.  When prices rise it means that the purchasing power of all the dollars that we have accumulated goes down.

But for our politicians, inflation can be a helpful thing.  They can take inflation-fueled “economic growth” numbers and claim that their policies are working and that the economy is becoming healthier.

A year from now when these jokers trot out their “economic growth” numbers and yet the cost of nearly everything you buy has increased dramatically, don’t you believe their propaganda.

Yes, U.S. economic numbers are most likely going to experience a little bit of inflation-fueled “growth” in 2011.

But it will not mean that our economy is improving.

12 Economic Collapse Scenarios That We Could Potentially See In 2011

What could cause an economic collapse in 2011? Well, unfortunately there are quite a few “nightmare scenarios” that could plunge the entire globe into another massive financial crisis.  The United States, Japan and most of the nations in Europe are absolutely drowning in debt.  The Federal Reserve continues to play reckless games with the U.S. dollar.  The price of oil is skyrocketing and the global price of food just hit a new record high.  Food riots are already breaking out all over the world.  Meanwhile, the rampant fraud and corruption going on in world financial markets is starting to be exposed and the whole house of cards could come crashing down at any time.  Most Americans have no idea that a horrific economic collapse could happen at literally any time.  There is no way that all of this debt and all of this financial corruption is sustainable.  At some point we are going to reach a moment of “total system failure”.

So will it be soon?  Let’s hope not.  Let’s certainly hope that it does not happen in 2011.  Many of us need more time to prepare.  Most of our families and friends need more time to prepare.  Once this thing implodes there isn’t going to be an opportunity to have a “do over”.  We simply will not be able to put the toothpaste back into the tube again.

So we had all better be getting prepared for hard times.  The following are 12 economic collapse scenarios that we could potentially see in 2011….

#1 U.S. debt could become a massive crisis at any moment.  China is saying all of the right things at the moment, but many analysts are openly worried about what could happen if China suddenly decides to start dumping all of the U.S. debt that they have accumulated.  Right now about the only thing keeping U.S. government finances going is the ability to borrow gigantic amounts of money at extremely low interest rates.  If anything upsets that paradigm, it could potentially have enormous consequences for the entire world financial system.

#2 Speaking of threats to the global financial system, it turns out that “quantitative easing 2” has had the exact opposite effect that Ben Bernanke planned for it to have.  Bernanke insisted that the main goal of QE2 was to lower interest rates, but instead all it has done is cause interest rates to go up substantially.  If Bernanke this incompetent or is he trying to mess everything up on purpose?

#3 The debt bubble that the entire global economy is based on could burst at any time and throw the whole planet into chaos.  According to a new report from the World Economic Forum, the total amount of credit in the world increased from $57 trillion in 2000 to $109 trillion in 2009.  The WEF says that now the world is going to need another $100 trillion in credit to support projected “economic growth” over the next decade.  So is this how the new “global economy” works?  We just keep doubling the total amount of debt every decade?

#4 As the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve continue to pump massive amounts of new dollars into the system, the floor could fall out from underneath the U.S. dollar at any time.  The truth is that we are already starting to see inflation really accelerate and everyone pretty much acknowledges that official U.S. governments figures for inflation are an absolute joke.  According to one new study, the cost of college tuition has risen 286% over the last 20 years, and the cost of “hospital, nursing-home and adult-day-care services” rose 269% during those same two decades.  All of this happened during a period of supposedly “low” inflation.  So what are price increases going to look like when we actually have “high” inflation?

#5 One of the primary drivers of global inflation during 2011 could be the price of oil.  A large number of economists are now projecting that the price of oil could surge well past $100 dollars a barrel in 2011.  If that happens, it is going to put significant pressure on the price of almost everything else in the entire global economy.  In fact, as I have explained previously, the higher the price of oil goes, the faster the U.S. economy will decline.

#6 Food inflation is already so bad in some areas of the globe that it is setting off massive food riots in nations such as Tunisia and Algeria.  In fact, there have been reports of people setting themselves on fire all over the Middle East as a way to draw attention to how desperate they are.  So what is going to happen if global food prices go up another 10 or 20 percent and food riots spread literally all over the globe during 2011?

#7 There are persistent rumors that simply will not go away of massive physical gold and silver shortages.  Demand for precious metals has never been higher.  So what is going to happen when many investors begin to absolutely insist on physical delivery of their precious metals?  What is going to happen when the fact that far, far, far more “paper gold” and “paper silver” has been sold than has ever actually physically existed in the history of the planet starts to come out?  What would that do to the price of gold and silver?

#8 The U.S. housing industry could plunge the U.S. economy into another recession at any time.  The real estate market is absolutely flooded with homes and virtually nobody is buying.  This massive oversupply of homes means that the construction of new homes has fallen off a cliff.  In 2010, only 703,000 single family, multi-family and manufactured homes were completed.  This was a new record low, and it was down 17% from the previous all-time record which had just been set in 2009.

#9 A combination of extreme weather and disease could make this an absolutely brutal year for U.S. farmers.  This winter we have already seen thousands of new cold weather and snowfall records set across the United States.  Now there is some very disturbing news emerging out of Florida of an “incurable bacteria” that is ravaging citrus crops all over Florida.  Is there a reason why so many bad things are happening all of a sudden?

#10 The municipal bond crisis could go “supernova” at any time.  Already, investors are bailing out of bonds at a frightening pace.  State and local government debt is now sitting at an all-time high of 22 percent of U.S. GDP.  According to Meredith Whitney, the municipal bond crisis that we are facing is a gigantic threat to our financial system….

“It has tentacles as wide as anything I’ve seen. I think next to housing this is the single most important issue in the United States and certainly the largest threat to the U.S. economy.”

Former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan is convinced that things are so bad that literally 90% of our states and cities could go bankrupt over the next five years….

#11 Of course on top of everything else, the quadrillion dollar derivatives bubble could burst at any time.  Right now we are watching the greatest financial casino in the history of the globe spin around and around and around and everyone is hoping that at some point it doesn’t stop.  Today, most money on Wall Street is not made by investing in good business ideas.  Rather, most money on Wall Street is now made by making the best bets.  Unfortunately, at some point the casino is going to come crashing down and the game will be over.

#12 The biggest wildcard of all is war.  The Korean peninsula came closer to war in 2010 than it had in decades.  The Middle East could literally explode at any time.  We live in a world where a single weapon can take out an entire city in an instant.  All it would take is a mid-size war or a couple of weapons of mass destruction to throw the entire global economy into absolute turmoil.

Once again, let us hope that none of these economic collapse scenarios happens in 2011.

However, we have got to realize that we can’t keep dodging these bullets forever.

As bad as 2010 was, the truth is that it went about as good as any of us could have hoped.  Things are still pretty stable and times are still pretty good right now.

But instead of using these times to “party”, we should be using them to prepare.

A really, really vicious economic storm is coming and it is going to be a complete and total nightmare.  Get ready, hold on tight, and say your prayers.

Did The Price Of Oil Help Cause The Financial Crisis Of 2008? Will Surging Oil Prices Soon Spark Another Financial Crisis?

Oil prices are starting to spin out of control once again.  In London, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in February hit 91.89 dollars a barrel on Friday.  New York crude moved above 88 dollars a barrel on Friday.  Many analysts believe that 100 dollar oil is a virtual certainty now.  In fact, many economists are convinced that oil is going to start moving well beyond the 100 dollar mark.  So what happened the last time oil went well above 100 dollars a barrel?  Oh, that’s right, we had a major financial crisis.  Not that subprime mortgages, rampant corruption on Wall Street and out of control debt didn’t play major roles in precipitating the financial crisis as well, but the truth is that most economists have not given the price of oil the proper credit for the role that it played in almost crashing the world economy.  In July 2008, the price of oil hit a record high of over $147 a barrel.  A couple months later all hell broke loose on world financial markets.  The truth is that having the price of oil that high created horrific imbalances in the global economy.  Fortunately the price of oil took a huge nosedive after hitting that record high, and it can be argued that lower oil prices helped stabilize the world economy.  So now that oil prices are on a relentless march upward again, what can we expect this time?

Well, what we can expect is more economic trouble.  The truth is that oil is the “blood” of our economy.  Without oil nothing moves and virtually no economic activity would take place.  Our entire economic system is based on the ability to cheaply and efficiently move people and products.  An increase in the price of oil puts inflationary pressure on virtually everything else in our society.  Without cheap oil, the entire game changes.

The chart below shows what the price of oil has done since 1950 (although it doesn’t include the most recent data).  With the price of oil marching towards 100 dollars a barrel again, many people are wondering what this is going to mean for the U.S. economic “recovery”….


Just think about it.  What is it going to do to U.S. households when they have to start spending four, five or even six dollars on a gallon of gas?

What is it going to do to our trucking and shipping costs?

What is it going to do to the price of food?  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, food inflation in the United States was already 1 1/2 times higher than the overall rate of inflation during the past year.  But that is nothing compared to what is coming.

During 2010, the price of just about every major agricultural commodity has shot up dramatically.  These price increases are just starting to filter down to the consumer level.  So what is going to happen if oil shoots up to 100, 120 or even 150 dollars a barrel?

Demand for oil is only going to continue to increase.  Do you know who the number one consumer of energy on the globe is today?  For about a hundred years it was the United States, but now it is China.  Other emerging markets are starting to gobble up oil at a voracious pace as well.

Not that the price of oil isn’t highly manipulated.  Of course it is.  The truth is that the price of oil should not be nearly as high as it currently is.  Unfortunately, you and I have very little say on the matter.

If the price of oil keep going higher, it is really going to start having a dramatic impact on global economic activity at some point.  Meanwhile, oil producers and the big global oil companies will pull in record profits, and radical “environmentalists” will love it because people will be forced to start using less oil.

When it comes to oil, there are a lot of “agendas” out there, and unfortunately it looks like the pendulum is swinging back towards those who have “agendas” that favor a very high price for oil.

So what does that mean for all of us?

It is going to mean higher prices at the pump, higher prices at the supermarket and higher prices for almost everything else that we buy.

If the price of oil causes a significant slowdown in economic activity, it could also mean that a whole bunch of us may lose our jobs.

In an article that I published yesterday entitled “Tipping Point: 25 Signs That The Coming Financial Collapse Is Now Closer Than Ever“, I didn’t even mention that price of oil.  There are just so many danger signs in the world economy right now that it is easy to overlook some of them.

Yes, it is time to start ringing the alarms.

The ratio of corporate insider stock selling to corporate insider stock buying is at the highest it has been in nearly four years.  This is so similar to what happened just prior to the last financial crisis.  The corporate insiders are seeing the writing on the wall and they are flocking for the exits.

Many savvy investors are getting out of paper and are looking for hard assets to put their money in.  For example, China is buying gold like there is no tomorrow.  The Chinese seem to sense that something is coming.  But of course they are not alone.  All over the world top economists are warning that we are flirting with disaster.

On Friday, Moody’s slashed Ireland’s credit rating by five notches to Baa1, and is warning that even more downgrades may follow.

Just think about that for a moment.

Moody’s didn’t just downgrade Irish debt a little – what Moody’s basically did was take out a big wooden mallet and pummel it into oblivion.

Irish debt is now considered little more than garbage in world financial markets now.  Unfortunately, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium and a bunch of other European nations are also headed down the same road.

The truth is that the euro is much closer to a major collapse than most Americans would ever dream.

The world financial system is teetering on the brink of another major financial crisis, and rising oil prices certainly are not going to help that.

If the price of oil breaks the 100 dollar mark, it will be time to become seriously alarmed.

If the price of oil breaks the 150 dollar mark in 2011 it will be time to push the panic button.

Let’s hope that the price of oil stabilizes for a while, but unfortunately that is probably not going to happen.

The truth is that the economic outlook for 2011 is bleak at best, especially if the price of oil continues to skyrocket.

Tipping Point: 25 Signs That The Coming Financial Collapse Is Now Closer Than Ever

The financial collapse that so many of us have been anticipating is seemingly closer then ever.  Over the past several weeks, there have been a host of ominous signs for the U.S. economy.  Yields on U.S. Treasuries have moved up rapidly and Moody’s is publicly warning that it may have to cut the rating on U.S. government debt soon.  Mortgage rates are also moving up aggressively.  The euro and the U.S. dollar both look incredibly shaky.  Jobs continue to be shipped out of the United States at a blistering pace as our politicians stand by and do nothing.  Confidence in U.S. government debt around the globe continues to decline.  State and local governments that are drowning in debt across the United States are savagely cutting back on even essential social services and are coming up with increasingly “creative” ways of getting more money out of all of us.  Meanwhile, tremor after tremor continues to strike the world financial system.  So does this mean that we have almost reached a tipping point?  Is the world on the verge of a major financial collapse?

Let’s hope not, but with each passing week the financial news just seems to get eve worse.  Not only is U.S. government debt spinning wildly toward a breaking point, but many U.S. states (such as California) are in such horrific financial condition that they are beginning to resemble banana republics.

But it is not just the United States that is in trouble.  Nightmarish debt problems in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Belgium and several other European nations threaten to crash the euro at any time.  In fact, many economists are now openly debating which will collapse first – the euro or the U.S. dollar.

Sadly, this is the inevitable result of constructing a global financial system on debt.  All debt bubbles eventually collapse.  Currently we are living in the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world, and when this one bursts it is going to be a disaster of truly historic proportions.

So will we reach a tipping point soon?  Well, the following are 25 signs that the financial collapse is rapidly getting closer….

#1 The official U.S. unemployment rate has not been beneath 9 percent since April 2009.

#2 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are currently 6.3 million vacant homes in the United States that are either for sale or for rent.

#3 It is being projected that the U.S. trade deficit with China could hit 270 billion dollars for the entire year of 2010.

#4 Back in 2000, 7.2 percent of blue collar workers were either unemployed or underemployed.  Today that figure is up to 19.5 percent.

#5 The Chinese government has accumulated approximately $2.65 trillion in total foreign exchange reserves.  They have drained this wealth from the economies of other nations (such as the United States) and instead of reinvesting all of it they are just sitting on much of it.  This is creating tremendous imbalances in the global economy.

#6 Since the year 2000, we have lost 10% of our middle class jobs.  In the year 2000 there were approximately 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.

#7 The United States now employs about the same number of people in manufacturing as it did back in 1940.  Considering the fact that we had 132 million people living in this country in 1940 and that we have well over 300 million people living in this country today, that is a very sobering statistic.

#8 According to CoreLogic, U.S. housing prices have now declined for three months in a row.

#9 The average rate on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage soared 11 basis points just this past week.  As mortgage rates continue to push higher it is going to make it even more difficult for American families to afford homes.

#10 22.5 percent of all residential mortgages in the United States were in negative equity as of the end of the third quarter of 2010.

#11 The U.S. monetary base has more than doubled since the beginning of the most recent recession.

#12 U.S. Treasury yields have been rising steadily during the 4th quarter of 2010 and recently hit a six-month high.

#13 Incoming governor Jerry Brown is scrambling to find $29 billion more to cut from the California state budget.  The following quote from Brown about the desperate condition of California state finances is not going to do much to inspire confidence in California’s financial situation around the globe….

“We’ve been living in fantasy land. It is much worse than I thought. I’m shocked.”

#14 24.3 percent of the residents of El Centro, California are currently unemployed.

#15 The average home in Merced, California has declined in value by 63 percent over the past four years.

#16 Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has come up with a new way to save money.  He wants to cut 20 percent of Detroit off from essential social services such as road repairs, police patrols, functioning street lights and garbage collection.

#17 The second most dangerous city in the United States – Camden, New Jersey – is about to lay off about half its police in a desperate attempt to save money.

#18 In 2010, 55 percent of Americans between the ages of 60 and 64 were in the labor market.  Ten years ago, that number was just 47 percent.  More older Americans than ever find that they have to keep working just to survive.

#19 Back in 1998, the United States had 25 percent of the world’s high-tech export market and China had just 10 percent. Ten years later, the United States had less than 15 percent and China’s share had soared to 20 percent.

#20 The U.S. government budget deficit increased to a whopping $150.4 billion last month, which represented the biggest November budget deficit on record.

#21 The U.S. government is somehow going to have to roll over existing debt and finance new debt that is equivalent to 27.8 percent of GDP in 2011.

#22 The United States had been the leading consumer of energy on the globe for about 100 years, but this past summer China took over the number one spot.

#23 According to an absolutely stunning new poll, 40 percent of all U.S. doctors plan to bail out of the profession over the next three years.

#24 As 2007 began, there were just over 1 million Americans that had been unemployed for half a year or longer.  Today, there are over 6 million Americans that have been unemployed for half a year or longer.

#25 All over the United States, local governments have begun instituting “police response fees”.  For example, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has come up with a plan under which a fee of $365 would be charged if police are called to respond to an automobile accident where no injuries are involved.  If there are injuries as a result of the crash that is going to cost extra.

How Can We Have A Healthy Economy If Virtually Everything We Eat And Drink Is Constantly Making Us All Sick?

In the United States today, we are all being constantly bombarded by chemicals, poisons and toxins.  Virtually everything that we eat or drink makes us less healthy.  The vast majority of Americans gladly consume aspartame, fluoride, BPA, genetically-modified food, pesticides, high fructose corn syrup, pharmaceutical drugs and toxic vaccines without any concern that those substances may ruin their health.  But the truth is that we are getting sicker and sicker and sicker as a nation.  According to one recent report, the United States has dropped to 49th place in the world in overall life expectancy.  Diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes are absolutely exploding.  So how in the world are we supposed to have a healthy and vibrant economy when virtually everything that we eat and drink is constantly making us sick?

Recently, my wife (who has always been extremely healthy) developed some alarming breathing problems.  She did not appear to suffer from any known medical condition, so we were completely puzzled.

Finally, we started examining what we were eating and drinking.  It turns out that she was putting some cream in her coffee that contained something known as “Polysorbate 80”.  Polysorbate 80 is found in a vast array of dairy products and is even used in many vaccines.  According to Drugs.com, “difficulty breathing” is indeed one of the known side effects of Polysorbate 80.  Once my wife cut the Polysorbate 80 out of her diet, the breathing difficulties subsided.  The following is how she describes what she went through….

Prior to my recent problems, I had never been in a situation were I felt as though there was very limited air available.  When the breathing problems would flare up, I would take in deep breath after deep breath but I just couldn’t get any oxygen.  My body tried to cope by constantly yawning which forced air into my lungs.  Some days it wouldn’t be so bad, but on other days it was really frightening.  My breathing was extremely labored at times.  I constantly had to yawn throughout the day in order to catch a satisfying breath.  One day my breathing was really labored – I was constantly gasping for deep breaths, but I wasn’t getting enough oxygen.  I was about to cry.  I felt as though I had dived to the bottom of  a deep pool and I was almost out of air.  My body was in a constant state of panic.  I felt so tired and I was worried that I may collapse at any time.  We got into the car, and I was almost ready to pass out.  We had the windows rolled down to give me the feeling of lots of oxygen, but I felt like I couldn’t take any in.  Fortunately that episode eventually subsided, but there were many days when I was in agony.  You cannot imagine how horrible it is to gasp for breath and never seem to get enough.  Several incidents really scared me.  What was even more frightening was that I had no idea at the time what was causing all this.

Thankfully my wife is doing much better now, but there are thousands and thousands of others across the United States that are experiencing similar breathing problems and nobody has any answers for them.

So what are some of the other side effects of Polysorbate 80?

Well, Drugs.com says that the following are “common” side effects….

Constipation; cough; diarrhea; dizziness; headache; muscle, joint, back, or stomach pain; nausea or vomiting; pain, swelling, irritation, redness, or bruising at the injection site; unusual tiredness or weakness.

In addition, Drugs.com says that the following are severe side effects of Polysorbate 80 that an individual should seek immediate medical attention for….

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); blurred vision or vision changes; chest pain; confusion; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, sore throat); one-sided weakness; pale skin color; redness, tenderness, or swelling of the calf; seizures; severe diarrhea, dizziness, headache, stomach pain, or vomiting; severe or persistent tiredness or weakness; slurred speech; sudden pain or numbness of an arm or leg; sudden shortness of breath; sudden trouble walking or loss of balance; swelling of the arms or legs; vision or speech problems; weight gain.

Remember, this is in countless dairy products all across the United States. Most Americans are absolutely clueless that they are pouring Polysorbate 80 into their coffee or that it is in the ice cream that they are eating.

Another major threat to our health is something called bisphenol-A (BPA).  BPA is one of the most widely used  chemicals in the entire world.  If you eat canned food or you drink bottled water you most likely have BPA in your home and you don’t even know it.

According to Natural News, BPA is not only in virtually every American home, but it has also been linked to some very serious health problems….

It is used to harden plastic in everything from infant and water bottles to mobile phone and computer casings, and also to make linings for cans of food, beverages and infant formula. Yet a growing body of research has implicated the chemical as an endocrine (hormone) disruptor that can lead to cancer, birth defects, behavioral problems and other diseases.

Shouldn’t someone be doing something about this?

Of course.

But the truth is that the big corporations that are pushing these chemicals are much more powerful than those who are trying to watch out for our health.

In fact, authorities all over the United States are putting one very toxic chemical into our water on purpose.

It is called fluoride, and it is being put into our water supposedly because it is good for our teeth.  What Americans are not being told is that fluoride is actually a highly toxic sedative and is causing a whole host of very serious health problems.

So exactly how dangerous is fluoride?  Well, the Fluoride Dangers blog puts it this way….

Even small amounts of fluoride consumed from tap water can damage your bones, teeth, brain, disrupt your thyroid function, lower IQ and/or cause cancer, according to evidence revealed in a groundbreaking 2006 National Research Council (NRC) fluoride report produced by a panel of experts who reviewed hundreds of published fluoride studies.

The Natural Health and Longevity Resource Center has published a list of ten of the most significant health dangers that the scientific research has shown that fluoride causes…..

1. Fluoride exposure disrupts the synthesis of collagen and leads to the breakdown of collagen in bone, tendon, muscle, skin, cartilage, lungs, kidney and trachea.

2. Fluoride stimulates granule formation and oxygen consumption in white blood cells, but inhibits these processes when the white blood cell is challenged by a foreign agent in the blood.

3. Fluoride depletes the energy reserves and the ability of white blood cells to properly destroy foreign agents by the process of phagocytosis. As little as 0.2 ppm fluoride stimulates superoxide production in resting white blood cells, virtually abolishing phagocytosis. Even micro-molar amounts of fluoride, below 1 ppm, may seriously depress the ability of white blood cells to destroy pathogenic agents.

4. Fluoride confuses the immune system and causes it to attack the body’s own tissues, and increases the tumor growth rate in cancer prone individuals.

5. Fluoride inhibits antibody formation in the blood.

6. Fluoride depresses thyroid activity.

7. Fluorides have a disruptive effect on various tissues in the body.

8. Fluoride promotes development of bone cancer.

9. Fluorides cause premature aging of the human body.

10. Fluoride ingestion from mouth rinses and dentifrices in children is extremely hazardous to biological development, life span and general health.

But perhaps even more dangerous is the sweetener known as aspartame.  Today, aspartame is an ingredient in literally thousands of different food and drink products.  In fact, it is often marketed in “health products” such as diet sodas.

According to an article on Mercola.com, aspartame is one of the most toxic substances being added to our foods….

Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death.  A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include: Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain.

According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting of aspartame:  Brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, parkinson’s disease, alzheimer’s, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, and diabetes.

According to Dr. Janet Hull, the following are known side effects of ingesting aspartame….

Eye
blindness in one or both eyes
decreased vision and/or other eye problems such as: blurring, bright flashes, squiggly lines, tunnel vision, decreased night vision
pain in one or both eyes
decreased tears
trouble with contact lenses
bulging eyes

Ear
tinnitus – ringing or buzzing sound
severe intolerance of noise
marked hearing impairment

Neurologic
epileptic seizures
headaches, migraines and (some severe)
dizziness, unsteadiness, both
confusion, memory loss, both
severe drowsiness and sleepiness
paresthesia or numbness of the limbs
severe slurring of speech
severe hyperactivity and restless legs
atypical facial pain
severe tremors

Psychological/Psychiatric
severe depression
irritability
aggression
anxiety
personality changes
insomnia
phobias

Chest
palpitations, tachycardia
shortness of breath
recent high blood pressure

Gastrointestinal
nausea
diarrhea, sometimes with blood in stools
abdominal pain
pain when swallowing

Skin and Allergies
itching without a rash
lip and mouth reactions
hives
aggravated respiratory allergies such as asthma

Endocrine and Metabolic
loss of control of diabetes
menstrual changes
marked thinning or loss of hair
marked weight loss
gradual weight gain
aggravated low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
severe PMS

Other
frequency of voiding and burning during urination
excessive thirst, fluid retention, leg swelling, and bloating
increased susceptibility to infection

Additional Symptoms of Aspartame Toxicity include the most critical symptoms of all
death
irreversible brain damage
birth defects, including mental retardation
peptic ulcers
aspartame addiction and increased craving for sweets
hyperactivity in children
severe depression
aggressive behavior
suicidal tendencies

Aspartame may trigger, mimic, or cause the following illnesses:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Epstein-Barr
Post-Polio Syndrome
Lyme Disease
Grave’s Disease
Meniere’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Disease
ALS
Epilepsy
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
EMS
Hypothyroidism
Mercury sensitivity from Amalgam fillings
Fibromyalgia
Lupus
non-Hodgkins
Lymphoma
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Sadly, there are thousands more toxins and chemicals that are being put into what we eat and what we drink.  The next time you go to the supermarket, just pick up a few products and start reading the labels.  You may find yourself incredibly shocked by what you find.

Does it seem like people all around you are constantly getting sick?  Well, the truth is that we have created an incredibly toxic environment for ourselves.  Diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes have skyrocketed in recent years.  We like to think of ourselves as being so “advanced”, but the truth is that we are constantly becoming less healthy as a nation.

It is hard to imagine any prosperous economy that is full of sick and dying people.  But if we don’t stop constantly poisoning ourselves by what we eat and by what we drink our national health is going to continue to fall apart.

Just like in almost every other category, America is in a deep state of decline.  We like to think that we should be telling everyone else in the world how they should be doing things, but the truth is that our own nation is a complete and total mess.

If your own health is not what it should be, you might want to take another look at what you are eating and what you are drinking.  A small change can make a big difference.

Derivatives: The Quadrillion Dollar Financial Casino Completely Dominated By The Big International Banks

If you took an opinion poll and asked Americans what they considered the biggest threat to the world economy to be, how many of them do you think would give “derivatives” as an answer?  But the truth is that derivatives were at the heart of the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, and whenever the next financial crisis happens derivatives will undoubtedly play a huge role once again.  So exactly what are “derivatives”?  Well, derivatives are basically financial instruments whose value depends upon or is derived from the price of something else.  A derivative has no underlying value of its own.  It is essentially a side bet.  Today, the world financial system has been turned into a giant casino where bets are made on just about anything you can possibly imagine, and the major Wall Street banks make a ton of money from it.  The system is largely unregulated (the new “Wall Street reform” law will only change this slightly) and it is totally dominated by the big international banks.

Nobody knows for certain how large the worldwide derivatives market is, but most estimates usually put the notional value of the worldwide derivatives market somewhere over a quadrillion dollars.  If that is accurate, that means that the worldwide derivatives market is 20 times larger than the GDP of the entire world.  It is hard to even conceive of 1,000,000,000,000,000 dollars.

Counting at one dollar per second, it would take you 32 million years to count to one quadrillion.

So who controls this unbelievably gigantic financial casino?

Would it surprise you to learn that it is the big international banks that control it?

The New York Times has just published an article entitled “A Secretive Banking Elite Rules Trading in Derivatives“.  Shockingly, the most important newspaper in the United States has exposed the steel-fisted control that the big Wall Street banks exert over the trading of derivatives.  Just consider the following excerpt from the article….

On the third Wednesday of every month, the nine members of an elite Wall Street society gather in Midtown Manhattan.

The men share a common goal: to protect the interests of big banks in the vast market for derivatives, one of the most profitable — and controversial — fields in finance. They also share a common secret: The details of their meetings, even their identities, have been strictly confidential.

Does that sound shady or what?

In fact, it wouldn’t be stretching things to say that these meetings sound very much like a “conspiracy”.

The New York Times even named several of the Wall Street banks involved: JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Citigroup.

Why does it seem like all financial roads eventually lead back to these monolithic financial institutions?

The highly touted “Wall Street reform” law that was recently passed will implement some very small changes in how derivatives are traded, but these giant Wall Street banks are pushing back hard against even those very small changes as the article in The New York Times noted….

“The revenue these dealers make on derivatives is very large and so the incentive they have to protect those revenues is extremely large,” said Darrell Duffie, a professor at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, who studied the derivatives market earlier this year with Federal Reserve researchers. “It will be hard for the dealers to keep their market share if everybody who can prove their creditworthiness is allowed into the clearinghouses. So they are making arguments that others shouldn’t be allowed in.”

So why should we be so concerned about all of this?

Well, because the truth is that derivatives could end up crashing the entire global financial system.

In fact, the danger that we face from derivatives is so great that Warren Buffet once referred to them as “financial weapons of mass destruction”.

In a previous article, I described how derivatives played a central role in almost collapsing insurance giant AIG during the recent financial crisis….

Most Americans don’t realize it, but derivatives played a major role in the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008.

Do you remember how AIG was constantly in the news for a while there?

Well, they weren’t in financial trouble because they had written a bunch of bad insurance policies.

What had happened is that a subsidiary of AIG had lost more than $18 billion on Credit Default Swaps (derivatives) it had written, and additional losses from derivatives were on the way which could have caused the complete collapse of the insurance giant.

So the U.S. government stepped in and bailed them out – all at U.S. taxpayer expense of course.

As the recent debate over Wall Street reform demonstrated, the sad reality is that the U.S. Congress is never going to step in and seriously regulate derivatives.

That means that a quadrillion dollar derivatives bubble is going to perpetually hang over the U.S. economy until the day that it inevitably bursts.

Once it does, there will not be enough money in the entire world to fix it.

Meanwhile, the big international banks will continue to run the largest casino that the world has ever seen.  Trillions of dollars will continue to spin around at an increasingly dizzying pace until the day when a disruption to the global economy comes along that is serious enough to crash the entire thing.

The worldwide derivatives market is based primarily on credit and it is approximately ten times larger than it was back in the late 90s.  There has never been anything quite like it in the history of the world.

So what in the world is going to happen when this thing implodes?  Are U.S. taxpayers going to be expected to pick up the pieces once again?  Is the Federal Reserve just going to zap tens of trillions or hundreds of trillions of dollars into existence to bail everyone out?

If you want one sign to watch for that will indicate when an economic collapse is really starting to happen, then watch the derivatives market.  When derivatives implode it will be time to duck and cover.  A really bad derivatives crash would essentially be similar to dropping a nuke on the entire global financial system.  Let us hope that it does not happen any time soon, but let us also be ready for when it does.

Start A Business? In The United States? Are You Kidding Me?

Many of you have decided that you are going to attempt to start a business in the United States today.  Many of you are still convinced that this is “the land of opportunity” and that starting a business is fairly easy.  Are you sure about that?  Are you certain that you have considered all of the headaches involved?  Are you sure that you are ready to handle the thousands of regulations that apply to your business and the mountains of paperwork mandated by various levels of government?  Are you prepared to deal with entrenched unions, predatory lawyers and rabid environmentalists?  The truth is that the business environment has never been this toxic in all of U.S. history.  So even if you are able to start a viable business that can compete with the monolithic global corporations that dominate our economy, you still might not be able to make it.  In the end, thousands upon thousands of businesses across America have been doomed to failure by ridiculous regulations, mountains of paperwork, health insurance costs, predatory lawsuits or corrupt government officials.  So do you really think that you can beat the odds?

Historically, small businesses have been the driving force behind America’s economic growth.  But today, we have made the business environment so complicated that small business owners are being completely smothered by red tape.

The following are 10 areas that anyone wishing to start a small business had better think about before moving forward.  When you really stop and think about it, the fact that anyone out there is still attempting to start small businesses in America today is absolutely amazing.

#1 Regulations

If you plan to start a business in America today, you better get a hold of a good lawyer.  In fact, if you want to be safe, you better get a small army of lawyers.  You are going to need an expert on the federal regulations that apply to your business, you are going to need an expert on the state regulations that apply to your business and you are going to need an expert on the local regulations that apply to your business.

There are going to literally be thousands of regulations that apply to any business started inside the United States today.  There is no way that you will ever be able to learn them all.  Not only that, but the truth is that your lawyers will only be aware of a small fraction of them.

Do you know what the Federal Register is?  The Federal Register is the primary source of regulations for U.S. government agencies.  In 1936, the number of pages in the Federal Register was about 2,600.  Today, the Federal Register is over 80,000 pages long.  That is just one example of how bad things have gotten.

So what do you do?  Well, just do your best to try to learn about the major regulations that apply to your business and pray that you don’t end up violating some important regulation that you are not even aware of.

#2 Paperwork

Do you know what paperwork the federal government expects you to fill out?  Do you know what paperwork the state government expects you to fill out?  Do you know what paperwork the city or the county expect you to fill out?  Do you know what paperwork you will be required to fill out when hiring a new employee?

The truth is that the paperwork burden on small businesses has multiplied in recent years.  Many small business owners are so swamped with paperwork that they barely have time to conduct their actual businesses.

For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is projecting that the food service industry will have to spend an additional 14 million hours every single year just to comply with a new federal regulation that mandates that all vending machine operators and chain restaurants must label all products that they sell with a calorie count in a location visible to the consumer.

14 million hours just to comply with one ridiculous regulation?  Yes, that is how bizarre things have gotten in America in 2010.

#3 Fees And Fines

Many small business creators in America are absolutely horrified to learn of the fees and fines that they must pay before they can ever even open their doors.  Much of the time it is revenue-starved local governments that are the biggest culprits.

For example, a reader of this column named Gene recently shared his regulatory horror story with us….

Started a new business this year in AZ. Paid over $10,000 in fees for permitting, $10,000 in fee for elec hookup, $10,000 in fees for gas hook up and an extra $200 fee per month just for the “privilige” of having gas. Adding up all the fees to start our business, I don’t think we would do it again. We are now just getting to the point that we are making our bills each month, and so we are not taking a paycheck, and don’t anticipate one for at least another year. Our family has been in business for ourselves for decades,and we know what we are doing, but the rising fees caught us off guard. Cities, municipalities, counties and states are raising all fees at astronomical rates to help offset the slump in their real estate income (since banks apparently don’t have to pay real estate taxes)…I’m telling you every business person I know is on their last leg.

#4 Taxes

The United States has one of the most (if not the most) repressive business taxation scheme in the world.  As a small business owner, do you know what taxes you will be expected to pay?  It is not just federal income taxes and state income taxes that you will be paying.  In a previous article, I detailed the various forms of taxes that Americans pay each year and most of them apply to small businesses as well….

Accounts Receivable Taxes

Building Permit Taxes

Capital Gains Taxes

CDL license Taxes

Cigarette Taxes

Corporate Income Taxes

Court Fines (indirect taxes)

Dog License Taxes

Federal Income Taxes

Federal Unemployment Taxes (FUTA)

Fishing License Taxes

Food License Taxes

Fuel permit taxes

Gasoline Taxes

Gift Taxes

Hunting License Taxes

Inheritance Taxes

Inventory tax IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)

IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)

Liquor Taxes

Local Income Taxes

Luxury Taxes

Marriage License Taxes

Medicare Taxes

Payroll Taxes

Property Taxes

Real Estate Taxes

Recreational Vehicle Taxes

Road Toll Booth Taxes

Road Usage Taxes (Truckers)

Sales Taxes

Self-Employment Taxes

School Taxes

Septic Permit Taxes

Service Charge Taxes

Social Security Taxes

State Income Taxes

State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA)

Telephone federal excise taxes

Telephone federal universal service fee taxes

Telephone federal, state and local surcharge taxes

Telephone minimum usage surcharge taxes

Telephone recurring and non-recurring charges taxes

Telephone state and local taxes

Telephone usage charge taxes

Toll Bridge Taxes

Toll Tunnel Taxes

Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)

Trailer registration taxes

Utility Taxes

Vehicle License Registration Taxes

Vehicle Sales Taxes

Watercraft registration Taxes

Well Permit Taxes

Workers Compensation Taxes

#5 Health Insurance

Do you know if you will be required to provide health insurance for your new employees?  Have you familiarized yourself with the new 2,409 page health care law enough to be able to set up a health insurance program?

As a result of the new health care law, health insurance premiums for employees are shooting through the roof.  Are you going to be able to afford them?  Would it be better to have fewer employees and work each of them harder so that you won’t have to provide health coverage for as many people?

Will you be able to compete with the companies in your industry that have received waivers from having to comply with the new health care law?

In the United States, our system places the burden of providing health care on to the backs of employers.  So are you ready to handle that burden?

#6 Pensions

Will the employees of your new business need pensions?  Do you know how to set up a 401K program?  Do you know what defined benefit plans are?

You can literally sit through an entire law school course on pension law and still understand virtually nothing about the subject.  The truth is that if you plan to provide your employees with some kind of pension program you had better hire someone who can at least pretend that they know what they are talking about to set it up for you.

#7 Foreign Competition

Especially if you are creating a small business that does manufacturing, you are going to have to deal with foreign competition.

So are you going to be able to compete with the companies in your industry that pay their workers on the other side of the world less than a tenth of what you are paying to your American workers?

On the other side of the world, companies often don’t have to worry about unions, worker’s comp, health benefits, retirement benefits, nightmarish environmental regulations, crushing taxes or miles of paperwork and red tape.

Are you certain that you can compete against that?

#8 Lawsuits

The more successful you become, the more inviting of a target you are going to be for predatory lawsuits.  The truth is that the courtrooms of America are packed with thousands of them, and the lawyers that bring them are hardly ever held accountable.

All of your hard work can go down the drain in a single moment.  There are hordes of lawyers out there that make their living by filing lawsuits against small to mid-size businesses.

The truth is that if you are running a small business, you are probably doing something wrong.

Just hope and pray that a predatory lawyer does not find out.

#9 Environmentalists

Protecting the environment is a good thing.  Unfortunately, there are many radical “environmentalist” groups that consider it to be a bad thing that humans even breathe because it produces carbon dioxide.

When Audi ran their now famous “Green Police” commercial during the Super Bowl last year, most Americans laughed it off and thought that nothing like that could ever happen in America.  Well, it turns out that it is happening in America.

Not only are government environmental regulations totally nightmarish at this point, but there are a growing number of radical environmentalist groups that are running around the country filing lawsuits against whoever they feel like.

#10 The Federal Government

Are you prepared for a federal government that can literally change all the rules at any time?

Many businesses across America are frozen in their tracks at this point because they don’t know what Obama and the U.S. Congress are going to do next.

The truth is that things are getting really bizarre in this country.  For example, federal agents recently raided an Amish farm at 5 A.M. in the morning because they were selling “unauthorized” raw milk.

If federal agents will raid an Amish farmer at 5 AM in the morning over some raw milk, do you think that they are going to have any mercy on your small business when the time comes?

The America that once embraced “free enterprise” and the entrepreneurial spirit is dead and gone.

Now we are a country filled with bureaucrats and red tape from sea to shining sea.

Is it any wonder why we can’t compete with the rest of the world?

Is it any wonder why so many millions of Americans are unemployed and can’t find jobs?

In an attempt to “solve” our problems we just keep passing more “reform” which means even more rules and regulations for our businesses to follow.

Just as they are doing on an individual level, the government is attempting to watch, track and control everything that our businesses are doing.

Everywhere you look in American society today, the government is gradually tightening the steel-fisted grip that is has around everyone and everything.  Pretty soon you won’t even be able to sneeze without the government telling you how to do it correctly.

Is that really the kind of society that we all want to live in?

What a nightmare.

Do you have a horror story from starting a business in America that you would like to share?  If so, please feel free to post it in the comments section below….

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