Will Ron Paul Be Able To End The Fed?

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.

In a recent Bloomberg Television interview, Barney Frank noted this division within the ranks of the Republicans….

“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?

Nothing.

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.

America’s Message To The Rest Of The World: You Send Us Oil And Cheap Plastic Gadgets And We’ll Send You Our Wealth And Prosperity

Have you ever seen pictures of extravagant wealth from places such as Dubai or Abu Dhabi and wondered where in the world they got all that money from?  Have you ever read news stories that talk about China lending us hundreds of billions of dollars and wondered how they could possibly have so much wealth?  Well, it is actually quite simple.  They got much of it from us.  Every month, the United States buys much more from the rest of the world then they buy from us.  It is called a “trade deficit” and the United States has been running one for decades.  In essence, what is happening each month is that we are transferring somewhere between 40 to 50 billion dollars of our national wealth to the rest of the globe and they are sending us oil and cheap plastic gadgets that Americans greedily consume.  By the end of the year we have usually transferred somewhere around a half trillion dollars of our national wealth out of the country for good.

In order to maintain our standard of living, the U.S. government has been going to the countries we have been sending our wealth to and has been begging them to loan us massive amounts of their dollars.  At this point the U.S. government literally owes trillions of dollars to the rest of the world.

Scoffers say that it is just a bunch of “paper money” that we are sending them, but the truth is that it is hundreds of billions of dollars of “paper money” that is not in the hands of average Americans.  We have sent massive amounts of our wealth and prosperity overseas and it isn’t coming back unless we borrow it.

Today there are dozens and dozens of U.S. cities such as Detroit, Michigan and Camden, New Jersey that are turning into post-industrial hellholes while thousands of gleaming new modern factories are going up all over China.  42.9 million Americans are now on food stamps (a 16 percent increase in just one year) while the oil sheiks of the Middle East build opulent palaces that are extravagant beyond belief.

Most Americans do not realize how serious the U.S. addiction to foreign oil really is.  We are constantly being drained of our wealth by the oil powers of the Middle East.

So what are they doing with all of this money?  Well, let’s take a look at just a couple of examples.

Have you ever heard of the Emirates Palace? It is located in the United Arab Emirates and it cost approximately 3.8 billion dollars to build. The following is how one writer for a major UK newspaper described it after a visit….

The Emirates Palace has so many biggest and best boasts, it could have its own chapter in the Guinness Book of Records, but the atrium is the whistles and bells, the jaw-dropping big daddy of them all — 60 metres high, 42 metres wide and topped with the largest dome in the world. Staff need golf carts to negotiate their way around it. It is decorated with 13 colours of marble, ranging from sunrise yellow to sunset red (to reflect the many hues of the desert), and lots and lots and lots of gold: 6,040 square metres of gold leaf cover the largest gilded expanse ever created in one building. It’s even in the food. I ate gold leaf on my chocolate cake. Apparently, it aids digestion.

In Dubai, there is so much wealth that they pretty much build whatever they can dream up.  For example, in Dubai you will find the largest “indoor ski resort” in the world.  One travel site describes it this way….

When one thinks of Arabia, let alone Dubai, one likely pictures an arid desert of heat and sun. One does not think of snow skiing. Yet, that is what one can do at Ski Dubai, arguably the largest indoor ski resort in the world. The resort features 22,500 square meters of ski area. The heavily insulated building is kept at 30.2 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 21.2 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the night, which is when the snow is generated. The resort features five ski runs and is open year round.

But it is not just the Middle East that is getting incredibly wealthy off of the United States.  In a recent article entitled “China #1, United States #2? 25 Facts That Prove The Transition Is Really Happening” I detailed how China is in the process of surpassing the United States economically.

Over the past 25 years, the U.S. trade deficit with China has soared into the stratosphere.  In 1985, the U.S. trade deficit with China was 6 million dollars for the entire year.  In the month of August alone, the U.S. trade deficit with China was over 28 billion dollars.

For many Americans this can be difficult to comprehend.  For a moment, imagine a giant map of the world and that there is a gigantic pile of money in China and a gigantic pile of money in the United States.  Then start taking 20 billion dollars from the pile of the United States and give it to China every single month.

After a while, what is going to happen?

Well, the United States is going to be a lot poorer and China is going to be a lot wealthier.

As we have become poorer, it has been harder and harder to maintain our very high standard of living.

The U.S. government has been borrowing larger and larger sums of money from the rest of the world in order to “stimulate” our economy, but in the process we are piling up horrific amounts of debt.

The national debt of the United States is now 13 times larger than it was just 30 years ago.

If we did that again over the next 30 years, we would have a national debt of approximately $170 trillion by the year 2040.

Of course that will never happen.

Why?

Well, because the entire financial system would collapse and we would be forced into national bankruptcy long before we ever got into that much debt.

The truth is that we are already on the verge of total economic collapse.  In fact, CNS News is reporting that retiring U.S. Senator George Voinovich believes that the collapse could happen at any time now….

“I think we are on the edge of it right now. I really do,” said Voinovitch. “If we don’t do something about dealing with the debt and the budgets that aren’t being balanced for as far as your eye can see, we are over the cliff. We are on thin ice right now. And I don’t think that we can wait. We need to move forward. We need to move forward for our own benefit, but we also need to move forward because the world is watching us right now.”

Indeed, the world is watching us, and they are getting tired of financing our runaway debt.

Just this week there have been some very troubling signs.  For example, U.S. Treasuries just experienced their biggest two-day sell-off since the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

The rest of the world was deeply troubled when the Federal Reserve announced another round of quantitative easing.  Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke had promised that the Fed would not monetize U.S. government debt, but now that is exactly what is happening.  The rest of the world is less than thrilled by this.

In addition, many economists are warning that the tax cut deal that Barack Obama and the Republicans have agreed to will increase U.S. government debt even more.  In reaction to the deal, economist Nouriel Roubini recently posted the following message on his Twitter account….

“Obama-GOP tax deal costs $900 billion over two years. US kicking the can further down the road. Are bond vigilantes starting to wake up?”

A recent article on CNBC described what these “bond vigilantes” are….

Bond vigilantes – the term was coined by economist Ed Yardeni in the 1980s to describe major investors who demand higher yields to compensate for the perceived risks resulting from large deficits – could derail the country’s precarious recovery, some economists say.

The truth is that the U.S. government is not going to be able to borrow endless amounts of very cheap money forever.

At some point the U.S. is either going to face much higher interest rates on government debt or the Federal Reserve is going to have to step in and monetize the vast majority of all new government debt.

Either alternative will be absolutely disastrous.

Most Americans just assume that the wealth and prosperity that we have enjoyed for so many decades will always be with us.  But that is not the case.  We have been exporting our national wealth and our national prosperity so that we could fill up our shopping carts with cheap foreign-made plastic crap and so that we could fill up our cars with foreign oil.  It has been a fun ride while it lasted, but with each passing day a national financial implosion draws ever closer.

An economic nightmare is coming.

You better get ready.

Say What? 30 Ben Bernanke Quotes That Are So Stupid That You Won’t Know Whether To Laugh Or Cry

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.”

#27 “Not all information is beneficial.”

#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.”

Trillions In Secret Fed Bailouts For Global Corporations And Foreign Banks – Has The Federal Reserve Become A Completely Unaccountable Global Bailout Machine?

Has the Federal Reserve become the Central Bank of the World?  That is what some members of Congress are asking after the Federal Reserve revealed the details of 21,000 transactions stretching from December 2007 to July 2010 that totaled more than $3 trillion on Wednesday.  Most of these transactions involved giant loans that were nearly interest-free from the Federal Reserve to some of the largest banks, financial institutions and corporations all over the world.  In fact, it turns out that foreign banks and foreign corporations received a very large share of these bailouts.  So has the Federal Reserve now become a completely unaccountable global bailout machine?  Sadly, the truth is that we would have never learned the details of these bailouts if Congress had not forced this information out of the Fed.  So what other kinds of jaw-dropping details would be revealed by a full audit of the Federal Reserve?

It is important to try to understand exactly what went on here.  Banks and corporations from all over the globe were allowed to borrow gigantic piles of money essentially for free.  Yes, when you are getting interest rates such as 0.25 percent, the money is essentially free.  These loans were not available to everyone.  You or I could not have run over to the Federal Reserve and walked away with tens of billions of dollars in loans that were nearly interest-free.  Rather, it was only the megabanks and megacorporations that are friendly with the Federal Reserve that were able to take advantage of these bailouts.

In this way, the Federal Reserve is now essentially acting like some kind of financial god.  They decide who survives and who fails.  Dozens and dozens and dozens of small to mid-size U.S. banks are failing, but the Federal Reserve does not seem to have much compassion for them.  It is only when the “too big to fail” establishment banks are in trouble that the Federal Reserve starts handing out gigantic sacks of nearly interest-free cash.

Just think about it.  Which financial institution do you think is in a better competitive position – one that must survive on its own, or one that has a “safety net” of nearly unlimited free loans from the Federal Reserve?

Now that is oversimplifying the situation, certainly, but the truth is that the Federal Reserve had fundamentally altered the financial marketplace and is significantly influencing who wins and who loses.

But even more disturbing is what the Federal Reserve is turning into.  This is an institution that is “independent” of the U.S. government, that does not answer to the American people, that controls our money supply and that is just tossing tens of billions of dollars to foreign banks and to foreign corporations whenever it wants to.

In fact, if Congress had not forced the Fed to tell us what was going on with these bailouts we would have never even found out.

The truth is that the Fed is taking incredible risks with “our money” and yet they want to continue to exist in a cloak of almost total secrecy.

In a recent article in the Washington Post, Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher acknowledged that the Federal Reserve played fast and loose with trillions of dollars of our money….

“We took an enormous amount of risk with the people’s money.”

Are you deeply disturbed by that quote?

Well, if not, you should be.

The American people became so infuriated about the bailouts and stimulus packages passed by Congress, but it turns out that they were nothing compared to these Federal Reserve bailouts.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is one of the members of Congress that is now expressing extreme outrage about what the Federal Reserve has done….

“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.”

In fact, Senator Sanders was so disgusted by how much of the money went overseas that he was led to make the following remark….

“Has the Federal Reserve become the central bank of the world? I think that is a question that needs to be examined.”

Advocates for the Federal Reserve insist that if all of these foreign banks and foreign corporations were not bailed out the financial crisis would have been much worse.  In fact, they say we should be thankful that the Federal Reserve prevented a total financial collapse.

Well boo-hoo!

If our financial institutions are so fragile that a stiff wind will knock half of them over maybe they need to just fail.

You know what, life is tough.  Nobody is going to cry most of us a river of tears if we lose our jobs.  Most of us have learned to scratch and claw to survive with no safety net underneath us.

So maybe it is time for these big financial institutions to start playing by the same rules the rest of us are playing by.

No, when these “too big to fail” financial institutions get into a little trouble they start whining like a bunch of little babies.

“Give us some big sacks of cash!”

“Waaaaaaah!”

Well guess what?  Most of the rest of us are just not going to have too much sympathy for these big banks from now on.

The following is a list of just a few of the banks, financial institutions and global corporations that received nearly interest-free loans from the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis…..

Big U.S. Banks And Financial Institutions

Goldman Sachs
Citibank
JP Morgan Chase
Morgan Stanley
Merrill Lynch
Bank of America
Bear Stearns
Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO)

Big Global Corporations

General Electric
Caterpillar
Harley-Davidson
Verizon
McDonald’s
BMW
Toyota

Canadian Banks

Royal Bank of Canada
Toronto-Dominion Bank
Scotiabank

European And Asian Banks

Barclays Capital
Bank of Scotland
Deutsche Bank
Credit Suisse
BNP Paribas
Societe Generale
UBS
Dexia
Bayerische Landesbank
Dresdner Bank
Commerzbank
The Korean Development Bank (South Korea)

But those defending the Federal Reserve will insist that the financial world as we know it would have ended if the Fed had done nothing.

That may well be true.

The entire financial system might have gone down in flames.

But that just proves the main point that this column has been trying to make for months.

An economic collapse is coming.

The Federal Reserve can desperately try to keep all of the balls in the air for as long as it can, but eventually it is inevitable that this entire thing is going to come crashing down.

The fact that the Federal Reserve had to resort to such extreme measures to “save” the financial system just shows how desperate things really are.

We really have reached a “tipping point” for the world financial system.  There is going to be crisis after crisis after crisis and even bigger bailouts are going to be required in the future.

The world financial system is a house of cards built on a foundation of sand.  The Federal Reserve can keep throwing around gigantic sacks of “our money” as much as it wants, but in the end there is nothing that can be done to prevent the inevitable collapse that is coming.

9 Shocking Examples Of Black Friday Violence – Is This A Foretaste Of The Economic Riots We Can Expect When The Financial System Collapses?

It seems with each passing year the madness on Black Friday gets even worse.  This year, there were reports of fights and rioting from coast to coast.  It was estimated that over 180 million U.S. shoppers headed for the stores on Friday, and whenever you get that many people together there are going to be problems.  But just how crazed ordinary Americans are getting over saving a little bit of money is deeply disturbing when you really start thinking about it.  If people will go this wild just to save 40 percent on a television set, then what in the world are they going to do when they have been without food for a couple of days?  If Americans will act like psychotic animals just to save 50 bucks, then what in the world will they do when they have lost everything and are desperate to survive?

All of us had better hope and pray that an economic collapse does not happen any time soon, because it is becoming increasingly apparent that the American people are not morally equipped to be able to handle one.  Greed and selfishness have become so rampant in America that large segments of the population have totally forgotten how to be any other way.

If the United States ever experiences a really, really bad economic downturn, this nation could very quickly start looking like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina from coast to coast.  Most Americans would simply not know how to handle it.

The following are 9 shocking examples of Black Friday violence that should make all of us wonder what is happening to America….

#1 At a Target store in Buffalo, New York the crowds waiting impatiently outside suddenly became a chaotic mob once the doors opened at 4 AM on Friday morning.

One man that was lying on the ground remembers thinking “I don’t want to die here” while he was being trampled by crazed shoppers….

#2 Crowds were becoming so violent at a Wal-Mart in Sacramento, California that the police actually evacuated the store early Friday morning.

#3 Three women from West Palm Beach, Florida said that $1,000 in presents that they had just purchased at Best Buy were stolen from their vehicle on Friday morning within minutes of being purchased.

#4 One U.S. Marine reservist that was collecting toys for children was stabbed with a knife when he attempted to stop a shoplifter in eastern Georgia on Friday.

#5 Blogger Lynne Elder-Blau has posted about overhearing police officers describe a huge brawl that erupted this year at one well-known store on Black Friday….

Well, the girls and I were in a popular convenience store in Garden City last night while a store employee and a Garden City Police Department Officer were visiting. They were conversing about a large group of customers who got into a knock-down brawl at a nationally-known variety store in Garden City yesterday morning. Several police officers were brought in to break up the ball of adults who were pulling and tugging at products and actually punching other customers in their faces and stomach areas! We’re not just talking about a few people who were involved in this violent non-sense. The officer said that there was a large amount of people involved in this particular altercation. Ridiculous!!!

#6 A 21-year-old woman from Middleton, Wisconsin was arrested when she threatened to shoot other shoppers while waiting to get into a Toys R Us store for Black Friday.  The other shoppers had objected when she attempted to move to the front of the line.

#7 The following is video of customers literally tearing apart a store display at a Wal-Mart in Douglasville, Georgia as they pushed and shoved each other in an attempt to grab the best deals….

#8 The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department actually “locked down” a section of a Cerritos, California shopping mall after a wild fight broke out in the food court.  There were even reports that some people were  flinging chairs at other customers.

#9 At one Wal-Mart in Texas, a near-riot broke out right in the middle of the store as a huge crowd of customers pushed and shoved each other to get a handful of Black Friday deals that were being wheeled out to the floor….

If you want to see even more videos of Black Friday craziness, check out this and this.

Remember, the products that these Americans are fighting over are not free.  This is how crazy people are willing to go just to get a deep discount on an item.

So what is going to happen someday when people are desperate for food or shelter?

If this is how people act when the sun is shining, how are they going to behave once a really bad storm arrives?

In America today, fewer and fewer people are treating others the way that they would like to be treated themselves.

Instead of showing others kindness and respect, in 2010 most Americans would seemingly rather trample anyone who is in the way of getting what they want.

So what do you think?  Are Americans becoming more greedy and more selfish or are they basically “good” and “decent” people most of the time?  Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion….

Foreclosure-Gate

If you work in the mortgage industry or for a title insurer, you might not want to make any plans for the next six months.  Foreclosure-Gate is about to explode.  It is being alleged that many prominent mortgage lenders have been using materially flawed paperwork to evict homeowners.  Apparently officials at quite a few of these firms have been signing thousands upon thousands of foreclosure documents without even looking at them.  In addition, it is being alleged that much of the documentation for these mortgages that are being foreclosed upon is either “improper” or is actually “missing”.  As lawyers start to smell blood in the water, lawsuits challenging these foreclosures have already started springing up from coast to coast.  In fact, some are already calling Foreclosure-Gate the biggest fraud in the history of the capital markets.  JPMorgan Chase, Ally Bank’s GMAC Mortgage and PNC Financial have all suspended foreclosures in the 23 U.S. states where foreclosures must be approved by a judge.  Bank of America has actually suspended foreclosures in all 50 states.  Now, law enforcement authorities from coast to coast are calling for investigations into this controversy and it could be years before this thing gets unraveled.

This thing just seems to escalate with each passing day.  It is being reported that the attorneys general of up to 40 U.S. states will be working together on a joint investigation into this foreclosure crisis.  Lawmakers in both houses of the U.S. Congress, including Nancy Pelosi and Christopher Dodd, have called for an investigation to begin on the national level.  U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said last week that he is looking into the issue.  Things are certainly getting very serious out there.  Never before has there ever been such a national focus on foreclosure paperwork.

But apparently there are good reasons for such scrutiny….

*One GMAC Mortgage official admitted during a December 2009 deposition that his team of 13 people signed approximately 10,000 foreclosure documents a month without reading them.

*One Bank of America employee confessed during a Massachusetts bankruptcy case that she signed up to 8,000 foreclosure documents a month and typically did not look them over “because of the volume”.

But the “robo-signing” aspect of Foreclosure-Gate is just the tip of the iceberg.  Apparently there is a whole lot more going on than just a bunch of bad signatures. 

Peter J. Henning, a professor at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, was recently quoted by MSNBC as saying the following about Foreclosure-Gate….

“You’ve got so many potential avenues of liability. You don’t even know the parameters of this yet.”

The sad truth is that potentially millions of foreclosures across the United States could potentially be invalid because the securitization process has muddied the chain of ownership.  In fact, an increasing number of judges from coast to coast have been ruling that the “owners” of the mortgage have no right to foreclose on a property because they lack clear title.

At the core of this title controversy is MERS – Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems.  MERS is based in Reston, Virginia and it was created by the mortgage industry to enable that big financial firms to securitize and swap mortgages at high speed.  MERS allowed these big financial firms to largely avoid the hassle of filling out more forms and submitting new filing fees every time that a mortgage was traded.

But now MERS is facing some very serious legal challenges.  A recent article in Businessweek described the situation this way….

A lawsuit filed on September 28th in federal court in Louisville on behalf of all Kentucky homeowners claims that MERS was part of a conspiracy to create false promissory notes, affidavits, and mortgage assignments to be used in mortgage foreclosures. Similar class actions have been filed on behalf of homeowners in Florida and New York. Karmela Lejarde, a MERS spokeswoman, declined to comment on any pending litigation.

The reality is that as millions of U.S. mortgages have been bunched together and traded around the globe at lightning speed, it has become increasingly unclear who actually has title to them and who actually has the right to foreclose on these properties.

Title insurers have backed the titles of millions of these foreclosed properties and now potentially find themselves in a heap of trouble.  Some of the biggest title insurers have already begun circling the wagons in an attempt at damage control.  For example, one of the biggest title insurance companies in the United States, Old Republic National Title Insurance, has already declared that it will no longer write new policies for homes that have been foreclosed on by JPMorgan Chase and GMAC Mortgage.

So what happens if nearly all title insurers start avoiding foreclosed properties? 

Won’t that make it much more difficult for the banks to sell the massive backlog of foreclosed properties that they have accumulated?

In addition, Americans that have purchased foreclosed homes may now be facing some serious problems themselves.  Millions of Americans may now “own” homes that they do not have clear title for.  When it comes times to sell those homes, many Americans may find themselves unable to do so. 

Needless to say, this is a complete and total mess.

Already, U.S. banks have a record number of foreclosed properties that they need to clear out, and now all of this scrutiny on foreclosure paperwork and all of these lawsuits are going to grind the process of getting these homes sold off to a standstill.

In fact, the true legacy of Foreclosure-Gate may be the massive amount of bank failures that it causes.

It would be difficult to understate how much of a nightmare Foreclosure-Gate is going to be for U.S. mortgage lenders.  Having to go back through the paperwork of millions of old mortgages is going to be a complete and total disaster.  If banks end up being unable to foreclose on a large number of bad mortgages, it could potentially be enough to put many banks out of commission for good.  Not only that, but the legal fees that many of these banks will accumulate defending lawsuits related to Foreclosure-Gate will be astronomical.

The U.S. mortgage industry was already on the verge of death, and Foreclosure-Gate may just be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The reality is that U.S. banks are drowning in foreclosures and this current crisis is just going to make things a lot worse.  Back in 2005, there were approximately 100,000 home repossessions in the United States.  In 2009, there were approximately 1 million home repossessions in the U.S. and RealtyTrac is now projecting that there will be an all-time record of 1.2 million home repossessions in the United States this year.

For the U.S. mortgage industry, Foreclosure-Gate must feel like someone has dropped a bomb on them after they have already been beaten up and doused with gasoline.

Attorney Richard Kessler, who recently conducted a study that found serious errors in approximately three-fourths of court filings related to home repossessions, says that Foreclosure-Gate could haunt the U.S. mortgage industry for the next ten years….

“Defective documentation has created millions of blighted titles that will plague the nation for the next decade.”

While it may be easy to beat up U.S. mortgage lenders and say that they deserve all this, let us not forget that this is going to impact a whole lot of other people too.

It is going to become much harder to get a mortgage.  It is going to become much harder to buy a home.  It is going to become much harder to sell a home.  The U.S. housing industry is likely to suffer a significant downturn due to all of this.  There is even a good chance that the entire U.S. economy could be dragged down for an extended period of time.

So no, Foreclosure-Gate is not good news for anyone. 

Well, except maybe for lawyers. 

But for virtually everyone else this is really bad news.  Any hope that the U.S. housing industry would experience a quick recovery is completely and totally gone.

The Horrific Derivatives Bubble That Could One Day Destroy The Entire World Financial System

Today there is a horrific derivatives bubble that threatens to destroy not only the U.S. economy but the entire world financial system as well, but unfortunately the vast majority of people do not understand it.  When you say the word “derivatives” to most Americans, they have no idea what you are talking about.  In fact, even most members of the U.S. Congress don’t really seem to understand them.  But you don’t have to get into all the technicalities to understand the bigger picture.  Basically, derivatives are 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.  Originally, derivatives were mostly used to hedge risk and to offset the possibility of taking losses.  But today it has gone way, way beyond that.  Today the world financial system has become a gigantic casino where insanely large bets are made on anything and everything that you can possibly imagine. 

The derivatives market is almost entirely unregulated and in recent years it has ballooned to such enormous proportions that it is almost hard to believe.  Today, the worldwide derivatives market is approximately 20 times the size of the entire global economy.

Because derivatives are so unregulated, nobody knows for certain exactly what the total value of all the derivatives worldwide is, but low estimates put it around 600 trillion dollars and high estimates put it at around 1.5 quadrillion dollars. 

Do you know how large one quadrillion is?

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

If you want to attempt it, you might want to get started right now.

To put that in perspective, the gross domestic product of the United States is only about 14 trillion dollars.

In fact, the total market cap of all major global stock markets is only about 30 trillion dollars.

So when you are talking about 1.5 quadrillion dollars, you are talking about an amount of money that is almost inconceivable.

So what is going to happen when this insanely large derivatives bubble pops?

Well, the truth is that the danger that we face from derivatives is so great that Warren Buffet has called them “financial weapons of mass destruction”.

Unfortunately, he is not exaggerating.

It would be hard to understate the financial devastation that we could potentially be facing. 

A number of years back, French President Jacques Chirac referred to derivatives as “financial AIDS”.

The reality is that when this bubble pops there won’t be enough money in the entire world to fix it.

But ignorance is bliss, and most people simply do not understand these complex financial instruments enough to be worried about them.

Unfortunately, just because most of us do not understand the danger does not mean that the danger has been eliminated.

In a recent column, Dr. Jerome Corsi of WorldNetDaily noted that even many institutional investors have gotten sucked into investing in derivatives without even understanding the incredible risk they were facing….

A key problem with derivatives is that in the attempt to reduce costs or prevent losses, institutional investors typically accepted complex risks that carried little-understood liabilities widely disproportionate to any potential savings the derivatives contract may have initially obtained.

The hedge-fund and derivatives markets are so highly complex and technical that even many top economists and investment-banking professionals don’t fully understand them.

Moreover, both the hedge-fund and the derivatives markets are almost totally unregulated, either by the U.S. government or by any other government worldwide.

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.

But the AIG incident was actually quite small compared to what could be coming.  The derivatives market has become so monolithic that even a relatively minor imbalance in the global economy could set off a chain reaction that would have devastating consequences. 

In his recent article on derivatives, Webster Tarpley described the central role that derivatives now play in our financial system….

Far from being some arcane or marginal activity, financial derivatives have come to represent the principal business of the financier oligarchy in Wall Street, the City of London, Frankfurt, and other money centers. A concerted effort has been made by politicians and the news media to hide and camouflage the central role played by derivative speculation in the economic disasters of recent years. Journalists and public relations types have done everything possible to avoid even mentioning derivatives, coining phrases like “toxic assets,” “exotic instruments,” and – most notably – “troubled assets,” as in Troubled Assets Relief Program or TARP, aka the monstrous $800 billion bailout of Wall Street speculators which was enacted in October 2008 with the support of Bush, Henry Paulson, John McCain, Sarah Palin, and the Obama Democrats.

But wasn’t the financial reform law that Congress just passed supposed to fix all this?

Well, the truth is that you simply cannot “fix” a 1.5 quadrillion dollar problem, but yes, the financial reform law was supposed to put some new restrictions on derivatives.

And initially, there were some somewhat significant reforms contained in the bill.  But after the vast horde of Wall Street lobbyists in Washington got done doing their thing, the derivatives reforms were almost completely and totally neutered.

So the rampant casino gambling continues and everybody on Wall Street is happy.

For now.

One day some event will happen which will cause a sudden shift in world financial markets and trillions of dollars of losses in derivatives will create a tsunami that will bring the entire house of cards down.

All of the money in the world will not be enough to bail out the financial system when that day arrives.

The truth is that we should have never allowed world financial markets to become a giant casino. 

But we did.

Soon enough we will all pay the price, and when that disastrous day comes, most Americans will still not understand what is happening.

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