If everything is going to be “just fine”, why are so many big names in the financial community warning about an imminent meltdown? I don’t think that I have seen so many simultaneous warnings about a market crash since just before the great financial crisis of 2008. And at this point, you would have to be quite blind not to see that stocks are absurdly overvalued and that a correction is going to happen at some point. And when stocks do start crashing, lots of fingers are going to start pointing at President Trump, but it won’t be his fault. The Federal Reserve and other central banks are primarily responsible for creating this bubble, and they should definitely get the blame for what is about to happen to global financial markets.
My regular readers are quite familiar with my thoughts on where the market is headed, so today let me share some thoughts from five highly respected financial experts…
#1 When Altair Asset Management’s chief investment officer Philip Parker was asked if a market crash was coming to Australia, he said that he has “never been more certain of anything in my life”. In fact, he is so sure that the investments that his hedge fund is managing are going to crash that a decision was made to liquidate the fund “and return ‘hundreds of millions’ of dollars to its clients”…
While hardly a novel claim – in the past many have warned that Australia’s housing and stock market are massive asset bubbles (which local banks have been forced to deny as their fates are closely intertwined with asset prices even as the RBA is increasingly worried) – so far few if any have gone the distance of putting their money where their mouth was. That changed, when Australian asset manager Altair Asset Management made the extraordinary decision to liquidate its Australian shares funds and return “hundreds of millions” of dollars to its clients according to the Sydney Morning Herald, citing an impending property market “calamity” and the “overvalued and dangerous time in this cycle”.
“Giving up management and performance fees and handing back cash from investments managed by us is a seminal decision, however preserving client’s assets is what all fund managers should put before their own interests,” Philip Parker, who serves as Altair’s chairman and chief investment officer, said in a statement on Monday quoted by the SMH.
#2 Seth Klarman leads one of the biggest hedge funds in the United States, and he believes that U.S. investors are greatly underestimating the amount of risk in the market right now…
“When share prices are low, as they were in the fall of 2008 into early 2009, actual risk is usually quite muted while perception of risk is very high,” Klarman wrote. “By contrast, when securities prices are high, as they are today, the perception of risk is muted, but the risks to investors are quite elevated.”
Klarman oversees one of the US’s largest hedge fund firms, with some $30 billion under management. He has a huge following on Wall Street — investors named his book, “Margin of Safety,” their favorite investment book in a recent SumZero survey.
#3 Bill Blain is a strategist at Mint Partners, and he is actually specifically pointing to October 12th as the date when things will start to get “horribly interesting”…
But…. Catch a falling knife, why don’t you… I shall spend the summer wondering just how long the Stock Market games continue. When, not if.
At the moment, my prediction is October 12th. Around that day its going to get horribly interesting..
Why that particular day?
Gut feel and knowing how the Bowl of Petunias felt in Hitchhikers. (“Not again.”)
There are just too many contradictory currents out there. The unsustainability of burgeoning consumer debt, unfeasibly tight credit spreads, the sandcastle foundations of student loans, autos, housing and the CLO market, China, Trump, politics.. worries about what follows Brazil in the EM market, and whatever… The risks of a massive consumer sentiment dump..
#4 David Stockman has also been warning about what may happen this fall. According to Stockman, this current stock market bubble “is the greatest sucker’s rally we have ever seen”…
“The market is insanely valued right now. They were trying to tag, the robo machines and day traders, they were trying to tag 2,400 on the S&P 500. They ended up at 2,399, I think, but the point is that represents about 25 times trailing earnings for 2016. We are at a point in the so-called recovery that has already lasted 96 months. It’s almost the longest one in history. What the market is saying is we have reached the point of full employment forever. There will never be another recession or any kind of economic surprise or upset or dislocation. The market is pricing itself for perfection for all of eternity. This is crazy. . . . I think the market could easily drop to 1,600 or 1,300. It could drop by 40% or even more once the fantasy ends. When the government shows its true colors, that it’s headed for a fiscal bloodbath when this crazy notion that there is going to be some Trump fiscal stimulus is put to rest once and for all. I mean it’s not going to happen. They can’t pass a tax cut that big without a budget resolution that incorporated $10 trillion or $15 trillion in debt over the next decade. It’s just not going to pass Congress. . . . I think this is the greatest sucker’s rally we have ever seen.“
#5 Last but certainly not least, David Kranzler seems quite certain “that the stock market bubble is getting ready to pop”…
Anyone happen to notice that several market commentators have argued that is a bubble but the same stock “experts” look the other way as the U.S. stock market becomes more overvalued by the day vs. the deteriorating underlying fundamentals? Bitcoin going “parabolic” triggers alarm bells but it’s okay if the stock price of Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:) is hurtling toward parity with the price of one ounce of . Tesla (NASDAQ:) burns a billion per year in cash. It sold 76,000 cars last year vs. 10 million worldwide for General Motors (NYSE:). Yet Tesla’s market cap is $51.7 billion vs. $48.8 billion for GM.
This insanity is the surest sign that the stock market bubble is getting ready to pop. If you read between the lines of the the comments from certain Wall Street analysts, the only justification for current valuations is “Central Bank liquidity” and “Fed support of asset values.” This is the most dangerous stage of a market top because it draws in retail “mom & pop” investors who can’t stop themselves from missing out on the next “sure thing.” There will be millions of people who are permanently damaged financially when the Fed loses control of this market. Or, as legendary “vulture” investor Asher Edelman stated on CNBC, “I don’t want to be in the market because I don’t know when the plug is going to be pulled.”
Could all of these top experts be wrong?
It’s possible, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Every stock market bubble of this magnitude in U.S. history has ended in a spectacular crash, and this one will not be any different. We can certainly have some good arguments about the exact timing of the next crash, but what everyone should be able to agree on is that a crash is coming.
You only make money in the stock market if you get out at the right time. Many of those that timed things well have made a tremendous amount of money, but most investors will be entirely caught off guard by the market implosion that is rapidly approaching.
As I have explained to my readers repeatedly, markets tend to go down a whole lot faster than they go up, and in the not too distant future we are going to see trillions of dollars of investor wealth wiped out very, very quickly.
Let’s hope that the coming crisis will not be as bad as 2008, but I have a feeling that it is going to be much worse.
We didn’t learn our lessons the last time around, and so now we are going to pay a very high price for our stubbornness.
A stock market crash is coming, and the Democrats and the mainstream media are going to blame Donald Trump for it even though it won’t be his fault. The truth is that we were headed for a major financial crisis no matter who won the election. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up a staggering 230 percent since the lows of 2009, and no stock market rally in our history has ever reached the 10 year mark without at least a 20 percent downturn. At this point stocks are about as overvalued as they have ever been, and every other time we have seen a bubble of this magnitude a historic stock market crash has always followed. Those that are hoping that this time will somehow be different are simply being delusional.
Since November 7th, the Dow is up by about 3,000 points. That is an extremely impressive rally, and President Trump has been taking a great deal of credit for it.
But perhaps he should not have been so eager to take credit, because what goes up must come down. The following is an excerpt from a recent Vanity Fair article…
According to Douglas Ramsay, chief investment officer of the Leuthold Group, Trump administration officials will come to regret gloating about the market’s performance. That’s because Trump enters the White House during one of the most richly valued stock markets in U.S. history. The last president to come in at such valuations was George W. Bush, and the dot-com bubble burst soon afterward. Bill Clinton began his second term in a more overvalued stock market in 1997, and exited unscathed. But if his timing were different by just a year, he would have been blamed for the early-aughts market crash.
This stock market bubble was not primarily created by Barack Obama, Donald Trump or any other politician. Rather, the Federal Reserve was primarily responsible for creating it by pushing interest rates all the way to the floor during the Obama era and by flooding the financial system with hot money during several stages of quantitative easing.
But now the economy is slowing down. Economic growth on an annual basis was just 0.7 percent during the first quarter, and yet the Federal Reserve is talking about raising interest rates anyway.
The Federal Reserve also raised interest rates in a slowing economy in the late 1930s, and that had the effect of significantly extending the economic problems during that decade.
As I noted in my article entitled “The Federal Reserve Must Go”, there have been 18 recessions or depressions since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, and now we stand on the precipice of another one.
After this next crisis, hopefully Congress will finally understand that it is time to shut the Federal Reserve down for good, and I am going to do all that I can to make that happen.
Ron Paul is someone that I look up to greatly, and he also agrees that the blame for the coming crisis should be placed on the Federal Reserve instead of on Trump…
“There are some dire predictions that say in the next year, or 18 months, we have something arriving worse than 2008 and 2009, the downturn is much worse,” Paul said in a recent interview with liberty-minded anti-globalist radio host Alex Jones. “They’ll say, ah, it’s all Trump’s fault. No. It wasn’t. 08 and 09 wasn’t Obama’s fault. It was the fault of the Federal Reserve, it was the fault of the Keynesian economic model, the spending too much, the deficit. So, unfortunately, there’s nothing he can do — Trump can’t do it.”
Paul, a medical doctor who took a keen interest in economics throughout his celebrated career as a constitutionalist in Congress, said Trump could “help” the situation by pursuing good policies. “But you can’t avoid the correction, the correction is locked in place, because the deficits are there, the malinvestment, everybody agrees interest rates have been too low too long,” he said in the late January interview. “The only thing he can do is allow the recession to come, get it over with, liquidate the debt. Politically, nobody wants that, so you’re going to see runaway inflation before you see this country wake up.”
Over the past decade, the U.S. economy has grown at an average rate of just 1.33 percent, and there is no possible way to put a positive spin on that.
And now the economy appears to be entering a fresh slowdown. A couple of months ago, banking giant UBS warned about “a sudden slowdown in new credit”…
There’s been a sudden slowdown in new credit extended to businesses over the last year, one that strategists at UBS are calling “drastic” and “highly uncommon outside of economic downturns.”
And since that time, lending has tightened up even more. The following comes from Zero Hedge…
According to the latest Fed data , the all-important C&I loan growth contraction has not only continued, but over the past two months, another 50% has been chopped off, and what in early March was a 4.0% annual growth is now barely positive, down to just 2.0%, and set to turn negative in just a few weeks. This was the lowest growth rate since May 2011, right around the time the Fed was about to launch QE2.
At the same time, total loan growth has likewise continued to decline, and as of the second week of May was down to 3.8%, the weakest overall loan creation in three years.
This is exactly what we would expect to see if we were entering a new recession. Neil Howe, one of the authors of The Fourth Turning, recently warned that “winter is coming” and I have to admit that I agree with him.
So when the stock market finally crashes, how bad could it be?
Well, one analyst that spoke to CNBC said that other historic market crashes have averaged “about 42 percent”…
“If you look at the market historically, we have had, on average, a crash about every eight to 10 years, and essentially the average loss is about 42 percent,” said Kendrick Wakeman, CEO of financial technology and investment analytics firm FinMason.
And as I have explained many times in the past, stocks would have to fall about 40 to 50 percent from current levels just for the stock market to get back to “normal” again. The valuations that we are seeing today are absolutely insane, and there is no possible way that they are sustainable.
When the crash happens, many people will be pointing their fingers at Trump, but it won’t be his fault.
Instead, it will be the Federal Reserve that will be at fault, and hopefully this coming crisis will convince the American people that it is time to end this insidious debt-based central bank for good.
If you want to permanently fix America’s economy, there really is no other choice. Even before Ron Paul’s rallying cry of “End The Fed” shook America during the peak of the Tea Party movement, I was a huge advocate of shutting down the Federal Reserve. Because no matter how hard we try to patch it up otherwise, the truth is that our debt-based financial system has been fundamentally flawed from the very beginning, and the Federal Reserve is the very heart of that system. The following is a free preview of an upcoming book that I am working on about how to turn this country is a more positive direction…
As the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, there have been times when I have been criticized for focusing too much on our economic problems and not enough on the solutions. But I believe that in order to be willing to accept the solutions that are necessary, people need to have a full understanding of the true severity of our problems. It isn’t by accident that we ended up 20 trillion dollars in debt. In 1913, a bill was rushed through Congress right before Christmas that was based on a plan that had been secretly developed by very powerful Wall Street bankers. G. Edward Griffin did an amazing job of documenting the development of this plan in his groundbreaking book “The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve”. At that time, most Americans had no idea what a central bank does or what one would mean for the U.S. economy. Sadly, even though more than a century has passed since that time, most Americans still do not understand the Federal Reserve.
The Federal Reserve was designed to create debt, and of course the Wall Street bankers were very excited about such a system because it would make them even wealthier. Since the Fed was created in 1913, the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger and the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by about 98 percent. So the Federal Reserve is doing what it was originally designed to do. In fact, it has probably worked better than the original designers ever dreamed possible.
There is often a lot of confusion about the Federal Reserve, because a lot of people think that it is simply an agency of the federal government. But of course that is not true at all. In fact, as Ron Paul likes to say, the Federal Reserve is about as “federal” as Federal Express is.
The Fed is an independent central bank that has even argued in court that it is not an agency of the federal government. Yes, the president appoints the leadership of the Fed, but the Fed and other central banks around the world have always fiercely guarded their “independence”. On the official Fed website, it is admitted that the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks are organized “much like private corporations”, and they very much operate like private entities. They even issue shares of stock to the private banks that own them.
In case you were wondering, the federal government has zero shares.
The American people are constantly being told that Fed decisions must be “above politics” because they are “too important” to be politicized. So even though everything else in our society is up for political debate, somehow we have become convinced that the Federal Reserve should be off limits.
Today, the Federal Reserve has more power over the performance of the U.S. economy than anyone else does, and that includes the president. The Fed has become known as “the fourth branch of government”, and a single statement from the chairman of the Fed can send global financial markets soaring or tumbling.
So even though presidents tend to get most of the credit or most of the blame for how the U.S. economy is doing, the truth is that the Fed is actually the one pulling most of the strings. In conjunction with Congress, presidents can monkey around with regulations and tax rates, but at the end of the day their influence over the economy pales in comparison to what the Fed is able to do.
For those that have never encountered this material before, this can be difficult to grasp at first, so let’s start with something very simple.
Go to your wallet or purse and pull out a dollar bill.
At the very top, you will notice that it says “Federal Reserve Note” in big, bold letters.
If you ask 99 percent of the people in the United States where money comes from, they will not be able to tell you. Our money is actually created and issued by the Federal Reserve, but that is not what our founders intended. According to Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, Congress was expressly given the authority to “coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures”.
So why is the Federal Reserve doing it?
Many Americans are still operating under the assumption that the federal government has a “printing press” and that if we ever get into too much debt trouble the government could simply create and spend lots more money into circulation.
But that is not the way that our system currently operates.
Instead, it is the Federal Reserve that creates all new money. Once that new money is created, the federal government then borrows it and spends it into circulation.
Previously, I have written about how this works…
When the U.S. government decides that it wants to spend another billion dollars that it does not have, it does not print up a billion dollars.
Rather, the U.S. government creates a bunch of U.S. Treasury bonds (debt) and takes them over to the Federal Reserve.
The Federal Reserve creates a billion dollars out of thin air and exchanges them for the U.S. Treasury bonds.
This doesn’t seem to make any sense at all.
Why does the U.S. government have to borrow money that the Federal Reserve creates? Why can’t they just create the money themselves?
This is the big secret that nobody is supposed to know about.
Theoretically, the federal government doesn’t have to borrow a penny. Instead of borrowing money the Federal Reserve creates, it could just create money directly and spend it into circulation.
But then we wouldn’t be 20 trillion dollars in debt.
Once the Federal Reserve has received U.S. Treasury bonds in exchange for the “Federal Reserve Notes” that the federal government has requested, the Fed auctions off those bonds to the highest bidder. But as I have noted so many times before, this process always creates more debt than it does money…
The U.S. Treasury bonds that the Federal Reserve receives in exchange for the money it has created out of nothing are auctioned off through the Federal Reserve system.
There is a problem.
Because the U.S. government must pay interest on the Treasury bonds, the amount of debt that has been created by this transaction is greater than the amount of money that has been created.
So where will the U.S. government get the money to pay that debt?
Well, the theory is that we can get money to circulate through the economy really, really fast and tax it at a high enough rate that the government will be able to collect enough taxes to pay the debt.
But that never actually happens, does it?
And the creators of the Federal Reserve understood this as well. They understood that the U.S. government would not have enough money to both run the government and service the national debt. They knew that the U.S. government would have to keep borrowing even more money in an attempt to keep up with the game.
Beginning in 1913, this process has created an endless debt spiral that has resulted in the U.S. being 20 trillion dollars in debt. It is the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world, and it didn’t have to happen.
In fact, if we had been using debt-free money all this time we could theoretically be completely out of debt.
A lot of conservatives out there are still under the illusion that if we could just grow the economy fast enough that we could possibly pay back all of this debt someday, but as I have demonstrated in a previous article, this is mathematically impossible. (http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/it-is-mathematically-impossible-to-pay-off-all-of-our-debt)
All of this debt threatens to destroy the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have. It is absolutely immoral to pass such a large debt on to future generations, but we are doing it anyway.
Of course the United States is far from alone in this regard. Today, more than 99.9% of the population of the world lives in a country that has a central bank.
There is literally nothing else that the entire planet agrees upon almost unanimously, and yet somehow virtually the whole globe has chosen to adopt debt-based central banking.
Do you think that this is just a coincidence?
A handful of extremely small nations such as the Federated States of Micronesia still do not have a central bank, but the only large country not to have one is North Korea.
I don’t understand why more people are not talking about this. If we really want to reform how things are done economically, it should start with central banking.
The truth is that we do not need a central bank.
Let me say that again.
We do not need a central bank.
The greatest period of economic growth in all of U.S. history was when there was no income tax and no central bank. (http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/during-the-best-period-of-economic-growth-in-u-s-history-there-was-no-income-tax-and-no-federal-reserve)
Such a system would be unimaginable to many people today, but it is entirely possible.
Instead of a central bank creating debt-based currency for us, the federal government could create debt-free money directly.
And instead of socialist central planners setting our interest rates for us, we could allow the free market to set our interest rates.
We are supposed to be a free market nation with a free market economy, and so we don’t need Fed bureaucrats to run it for us.
The free market will always do a better job in the long run then bureaucrats will. As I noted earlier, the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history was right before the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, but since that time there have been 18 distinct recessions or depressions: 1918, 1920, 1923, 1926, 1929, 1937, 1945, 1949, 1953, 1958, 1960, 1969, 1973, 1980, 1981, 1990, 2001, 2008.
Now we stand poised on the brink of another major downturn, and people still aren’t getting it.
As long as the Federal Reserve exists, there will be “booms” and “busts” like this.
It is time for a change.
During the good times, criticism of the Fed tends to subside. And without a doubt, the bubble following the end of the last recession lasted much longer than a lot of people initially would have thought, but all Fed-created bubbles eventually end.
We desperately need to get free from this system, and a huge step in that direction would be a rejection of debt-based currency.
If you don’t think that this can happen, you should consider what happened in 1963. President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 11110 which authorized the U.S. Treasury to issue debt-free “United States Notes” which were directly created by the federal government.
Unfortunately, he was assassinated shortly after that executive order was signed.
You can still find debt-free “United States Notes” in circulation today, and they are often for sale on auction sites such as eBay because people like to collect them.
At any time, the White House could do something similar today.
All it takes is the willingness to do so.
The borrower is the servant of the lender, and the debt-based Federal Reserve system has turned all of us into debt slaves.
If we do not want future generations of Americans to be enslaved to debt, we need to shut down the Federal Reserve and start using debt-free currency. Any essential functions that the Fed is currently performing can ultimately be taken over by the U.S. Treasury, and of course we can make the transition gradual so that we don’t completely panic global financial markets.
The global elite are using central banking and debt-based currencies to dominate the planet. Today, the total amount of debt in the world has shot past 150 trillion dollars, and it will only continue to grow until humanity wakes up and realizes the insanity of using a debt-based financial system.
Here in the United States, we need people in government that understand these things and that are willing to do something about it.
The Federal Reserve must go, and I will never make any apologies for saying that.
Under Barack Obama, the U.S. national debt has risen from $10,626,877,048,913.08 on January 20th, 2009 to $18,795,033,928,275.59 on December 21st, 2015. That means that the debt that we are passing on to future generations has increased by 8.16 trillion dollars since Barack Obama was inaugurated. There is still a little more than a year to go in Obama’s presidency, and it is already guaranteed that Obama will add more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt during his presidency. In fact, when you do the math, we are stealing more than 100 million dollars from future generations of Americans every single hour of every single day. It is a crime of a magnitude that is almost unimaginable, and at this point it is mathematically impossible for the U.S. government to pay off all of this debt. To say that we are in trouble would be a massive understatement.
And of course not all of the blame goes to Obama. The Republicans have had control of the House of Representatives for all but two years while Obama has been in the White House, and they have gone along with all of this reckless spending. Without the approval of the House, Obama could not spend a single penny, but the Republicans have consistently chosen not to stand up to him. In fact, the Republicans in Congress just approved another massive 1.2 trillion dollar spending bill that essentially gave the Democrats every single thing that they wanted. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi even admitted that the Republicans “were willing to concede so much” during the negotiations.
So why do we even have a Republican Party? They always just go along with pretty much whatever the Democrats want anyway. Why shouldn’t we just disband the Republican Party and let the Democrats completely run things? How would Washington D.C. be any different if the Republicans didn’t even exist?
At this point, even Rush Limbaugh is completely disgusted with the Republican Party…
I have a headline here from the Washington Times: “White House Declares Total Victory Over GOP in Budget Battle.” That headline’s a misnomer. There was never a battle. None of this was opposed. The Republican Party didn’t stand up to any of it, and the die has been cast for a long time on this. I know many of you are dispirited, depressed, angry, combination of all of that. But, folks, there was no other way this could go. Because two years ago when the Republican Party declared they would never do anything that would shut down the government and they would not impeach Obama, there were no obstacles in Obama’s way and there were no obstacles in the way of the Democrat Party.
Do you remember when Republican politicians were running around promising that they would defund Obamacare?
That didn’t happen.
Do you remember when Republican politicians were running around promising that they would defund Planned Parenthood?
That didn’t happen.
Do you remember when Republican politicians were running around promising that they would defund Obama’s refugee program?
That didn’t happen.
In this new spending deal, the Republicans got nothing. It was a sham, a farce and a total insult to the American people. Here is more from Rush Limbaugh…
It fully funds Planned Parenthood. That, to me, is unforgivable, with everything now known about what goes on behind closed doors at Planned Parenthood, and that the federal government, led by a Republican Party, sees fit to pay for it. It is beyond comprehension, and it is a total squandering of moral authority to fully fund the butchery at Planned Parenthood. This spending bill fully pays for Obama’s refugee plans, fully. This spending bill, this budget bill quadruples the number of visas Obama wants for foreign workers. This is even a slap at American union workers. Not the leaders. The union leaders seem to be in favor of it, but blue-collar people, known as working people, have been sold down the river along with everybody else here.
This spending bill even fully pays for every dime asked for by Obama on all of this idiocy that’s tied up into climate change. Everything Obama wanted, everything he asked for, he got. You go down the list of things, it’s there.
Even after watching all of the undercover Planned Parenthood videos that came out over the past year, the Republicans in Congress still voted to fund the harvesting and sale of body parts from aborted babies.
And surveys have found that the American people support the continued funding of Planned Parenthood by about a 2 to 1 margin. After everything that we have seen, the vast majority of Americans still want to continue giving those butchers hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars a year.
No wonder so many people are comparing America to Nazi Germany these days. We truly have become an exceedingly wicked nation.
We like to think that we are an “example” for the rest of the planet, but in reality the only example that we are is a bad one. Our guilt has been put on display for all the world to see, and yet we just continue to race toward even more evil.
Not only did the Republicans not defund Planned Parenthood, the truth is that not a single pro-life amendment of any sort even got into the bill thanks to Paul Ryan. The following comes from lifesitenews.com…
“The bill failed to include a single major pro-life policy rider, despite the requests of over 120 members of Congress and the disturbing revelations about Planned Parenthood brought to light this year,” said Congresswoman Diane Black, R-TN, who voted against the bill.
The House Freedom Caucus offered a series of amendments to the bill defunding Planned Parenthood, strengthening conscience protections for pro-life physicians and organizations, and ending all U.S. funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The House Rules Committee rejected these riders earlier this week, as Speaker Paul Ryan said he did not want conservative amendments added to the bill that would drive away his Democratic colleagues.
The committee also rejected an amendment to increase vetting of refugees who enter the United States from the terrorist hotbeds of Syria and Iraq, which had previously passed the House, with 47 Democrats adding strong bipartisan support.
Like I said, the Republicans completely capitulated, just like they always do.
Now the U.S. national debt is nearly double the size that it was just before the last financial crisis struck, and our leaders continue to borrow and spend as if there is no tomorrow.
Perhaps they have convinced themselves that there will never be any consequences for acting so foolishly.
Perhaps they believe that in the end everything will turn out okay somehow.
Perhaps they are able to rationalize the theft of more than a hundred million dollars an hour from future generations of Americans.
But nothing can erase what they have done to us. The promising future that our children and our grandchildren should have had has been completely wiped out, and the leading edge of the greatest economic crisis that any of us has ever known is now upon us.
If we had done things differently, things wouldn’t have had to turn out this way. But now the die is cast, and we are all going to pay a very high price for the mistakes that have been made in Washington.
After all these years, the most famous investor in the world still believes that derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction. And you know what? He is exactly right. The next great global financial collapse that so many are warning about is nearly upon us, and when it arrives derivatives are going to play a starring role. When many people hear the word “derivatives”, they tend to tune out because it is a word that sounds very complicated. And without a doubt, derivatives can be enormously complex. But what I try to do is to take complex subjects and break them down into simple terms. At their core, derivatives represent nothing more than a legalized form of gambling. A derivative is essentially a bet that something either will or will not happen in the future. Ultimately, someone will win money and someone will lose money. There are hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of these bets floating around out there, and one of these days this gigantic time bomb is going to go off and absolutely cripple the entire global financial system.
Back in 2002, legendary investor Warren Buffett shared the following thoughts about derivatives with shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway…
The derivatives genie is now well out of the bottle, and these instruments will almost certainly multiply in variety and number until some event makes their toxicity clear. Central banks and governments have so
far found no effective way to control, or even monitor, the risks posed by these contracts. In my view, derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction, carrying dangers that, while now latent, are potentially lethal.
Those words turned out to be quite prophetic. Derivatives have definitely multiplied in variety and number since that time, and it has become abundantly clear how toxic they are. Derivatives played a substantial role in the financial meltdown of 2008, but we still haven’t learned our lessons. Today, the derivatives bubble is even larger than it was just before the last financial crisis, and it could absolutely devastate the global financial system at any time.
During one recent interview, Buffett was asked if he is still convinced that derivatives are “weapons of mass destruction”. He told the interviewer that he believes that they are, and that “at some point they are likely to cause big trouble”…
Thirteen years after describing derivatives as “weapons of mass destruction” Warren Buffett has reaffirmed his view that they pose a threat to the global economy and financial markets.
In an interview with Chanticleer this week, Buffett said that “at some point they are likely to cause big trouble“.
“Derivatives, lend themselves to huge amounts of speculation,” he said.
Most of the time, the big banks that do most of the trading in these derivatives do very well. They use extremely sophisticated computer algorithms that help them come out on the winning end of these bets most of the time.
But when there is some sort of unforeseen event that suddenly causes a massive shift in the marketplace, that can cause tremendous problems. This is something that Buffett discussed during his recent interview…
“The problem arises when there is a discontinuity in the market for some reason or another.
“When the markets closed like it was for a few days after 9/11 or in World War I the market was closed for four or five months – anything that disrupts the continuity of the market when you have trillions of dollars of nominal amounts outstanding and no ability to settle up and who knows what happens when the market reopens,” he said.
So if the markets behave fairly calmly and predictably, the derivatives bubble probably will not burst.
But no balancing act of this nature ever lasts forever. Just remember what happened in 2008. Lehman Brothers collapsed and then the financial system virtually froze up. According to Forbes, at that time almost everyone was afraid to deal with the big banks because nobody was quite sure how much exposure they had to these risky derivatives…
Fast forward to the financial meltdown of 2008 and what do we see? America again was celebrating. The economy was booming. Everyone seemed to be getting wealthier, even though the warning signs were everywhere: too much borrowing, foolish investments, greedy banks, regulators asleep at the wheel, politicians eager to promote home-ownership for those who couldn’t afford it, and distinguished analysts openly predicting this could only end badly. And then, when Lehman Bros fell, the financial system froze and world economy almost collapsed. Why?
The root cause wasn’t just the reckless lending and the excessive risk taking. The problem at the core was a lack of transparency. After Lehman’s collapse, no one could understand any particular bank’s risks from derivative trading and so no bank wanted to lend to or trade with any other bank. Because all the big banks’ had been involved to an unknown degree in risky derivative trading, no one could tell whether any particular financial institution might suddenly implode.
After the crisis, we were promised that something would be done about the “too big to fail” problem.
But instead, the problem of “too big to fail” is now larger than ever.
Since the last financial crisis, the four largest banks in the country have gotten approximately 40 percent larger. Today, the five largest banks account for approximately 42 percent of all loans in the United States, and the six largest banks account for approximately 67 percent of all assets in our financial system. Without those banks, we would not have much of an economy left at all.
Meanwhile, smaller banks have been going out of business or have been swallowed up by the big banks at a staggering rate. Incredibly, there are 1,400 fewer small banks in operation today than there were when the last financial crisis erupted.
So we cannot afford for these “too big to fail” banks to actually fail. Even the failure of a single one would cause a national financial nightmare. The “too big to fail” banks that I am talking about are JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo. When you total up the exposure to derivatives that all of them currently have, it comes to a grand total of more than 278 trillion dollars. But when you total up all of the assets of all six banks combined, it only comes to a grand total of about 9.8 trillion dollars. In other words, the “too big to fail” banks have exposure to derivatives that is more than 28 times the size of their total assets.
I have shared the following numbers with my readers before, but it is absolutely crucial that we all understand how exceedingly vulnerable our financial system really is. These numbers come directly from the OCC’s most recent quarterly report (see Table 2), and they reveal a recklessness that is almost beyond words…
Total Assets: $2,573,126,000,000 (about 2.6 trillion dollars)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $63,600,246,000,000 (more than 63 trillion dollars)
Total Assets: $1,842,530,000,000 (more than 1.8 trillion dollars)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $59,951,603,000,000 (more than 59 trillion dollars)
Total Assets: $856,301,000,000 (less than a trillion dollars)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $57,312,558,000,000 (more than 57 trillion dollars)
Bank Of America
Total Assets: $2,106,796,000,000 (a little bit more than 2.1 trillion dollars)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $54,224,084,000,000 (more than 54 trillion dollars)
Total Assets: $801,382,000,000 (less than a trillion dollars)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $38,546,879,000,000 (more than 38 trillion dollars)
Total Assets: $1,687,155,000,000 (about 1.7 trillion dollars)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $5,302,422,000,000 (more than 5 trillion dollars)
Since the United States was first established, the U.S. government has run up a total debt of a bit more than 18 trillion dollars. It is the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the planet, and it has grown so large that it is literally impossible for us to pay it off at this point.
But the top five banks in the list above each have exposure to derivatives that is more than twice the size of the national debt, and several of them have exposure to derivatives that is more than three times the size of the national debt.
That is why I keep saying that there will not be enough money in the entire world to bail everyone out when this derivatives bubble finally implodes.
Warren Buffett is entirely correct about derivatives – they truly are weapons of mass destruction that could destroy the entire global financial system at any time.
So as we move into the second half of this year and beyond, you will want to watch for terms like “derivatives crisis” or “derivatives crash” in news reports. When derivatives start making front page news, that will be a really, really bad sign.
Our financial system has been transformed into the largest casino in the history of the planet. For the moment, the roulette wheels are still spinning and everyone is happy. But sooner or later, a “black swan event” will happen that nobody expected, and then all hell will break loose.
Did you know that about one-fourth of the entire global prison population is in the United States? Did you know that Apple has more money than the U.S. Treasury? Did you know that if you have no debt and also have 10 dollars in your wallet that you are wealthier than 25 percent of all Americans? Did you know that by the time an American child reaches the age of 18, that child will have seen approximately 40,000 murders on television? There are some things that are great about the United States, and there are definitely some things that are not so great. Once upon a time we were the most loved and most respected nation on the entire planet, but those days are long gone. We have wrecked our economy, we have lost our values and we have fumbled away our future. But if you look close enough, you can still see many of the things that once made this country a shining beacon to the rest of the world. This article includes some weird facts, some fun facts, but also some very troubling facts. It has been said that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and hopefully as people enjoy reading the fun facts in this article they will also take note of the more serious facts. If we are ever going to change course as a nation, we need to come to grips with just how far we have fallen. The following are 33 strange facts about America that most Americans would be shocked to learn…
#1 The amount of cement that China used from 2011 to 2013 was greater than the total amount of cement that the United States used during the entire 20th century.
#2 In more than half of all U.S. states, the highest paid public employee in the state is a football coach.
#3 It costs the U.S. government 1.8 cents to mint a penny and 9.4 cents to mint a nickel.
#4 Almost half of all Americans (47 percent) do not put a single penny out of their paychecks into savings.
#5 In 2014, police in the United States killed 1,100 people. During that same year, police in Canada killed 14 people, police in China killed 12 people and police in Germany didn’t kill anyone at all.
#6 The state of Alaska is 429 times larger than the state of Rhode Island is. But Rhode Island has a significantly larger population than Alaska does.
#7 Alaska has a longer coastline than all of the other 49 U.S. states put together.
#8 The city of Juneau, Alaska is about 3,000 square miles in size. It is actually larger than the entire state of Delaware.
#9 When LBJ’s “War on Poverty” began, less than 10 percent of all U.S. children were growing up in single parent households. Today, that number has skyrocketed to 33 percent.
#10 In 1950, less than 5 percent of all babies in America were born to unmarried parents. Today, that number is over 40 percent.
#11 The poverty rate for households that are led by a married couple is 6.8 percent. For households that are led by a female single parent, the poverty rate is 37.1 percent.
#12 In 2013, women earned 60 percent of all bachelor’s degrees that were awarded that year in the United States.
#13 According to the CDC, 34.6 percent of all men in the U.S. are obese at this point.
#14 The average supermarket in the United States wastes about 3,000 pounds of food each year.
#15 Right now, more than 200 million people around the planet are officially considered to be unemployed. Meanwhile, approximately 20 percent of the garbage that goes into our landfills is food.
#16 There is a city in Bangladesh called Dhaka where workers are paid just one dollar for every 1,000 bricks that they carry. Meanwhile, the “inactivity rate” for men in their prime working years in the United States is hovering near record high levels.
#17 According to one recent survey, 81 percent of Russians now have a negative view of the United States. That is much higher than at the end of the Cold War era.
#18 Montana has three times as many cows as it does people.
#19 The grizzly bear is the official state animal of California. But no grizzly bears have been seen there since 1922.
#20 One recent survey discovered that “a steady job” is the number one thing that American women are looking for in a husband, and another survey discovered that 75 percent of women would have a serious problem dating an unemployed man.
#21 According to a study conducted by economist Carl Benedikt Frey and engineer Michael Osborne, 47 percent of the jobs in the United States could soon be lost to computers, robots and other forms of technology.
#22 The only place in the United States where coffee is grown commercially is in Hawaii.
#23 The original name of the city of Atlanta was “Terminus“.
#24 The state with the most millionaires per capita is Maryland.
#25 There are more than 4 million adult websites on the Internet, and they get more traffic than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.
#26 86 percent of men include “having children” in their definition of success. For women, that number is only 73 percent.
#27 One survey of 50-year-old men in the U.S. found that only 12 percent of them said that they were “very happy”.
#28 The United States has 845 motor vehicles for every 1,000 people. Japan only has 593 for every 1,000 people, and Germany only has 540 for every 1,000 people.
#29 The average American spends more than 10 hours a day using an electronic device.
#30 48 percent of all Americans do not have any emergency supplies in their homes whatsoever.
#31 There are three towns in the United States that have the name “Santa Claus“.
#32 There is actually a town in Michigan called “Hell“.
#33 There are 60,000 miles of blood vessels in your body. If they were stretched out in a single line, they could go around the planet more than twice.