The Beginning Of The End
The Beginning Of The End By Michael T. Snyder - Kindle Version

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This Is What It Feels Like To Have Your Life Savings Confiscated By The Global Elite

This Is What It Feels Like To Have Your Life Savings Confiscated By The Global Elite - Photo by Hannibal PoenaruWhat would you do if you woke up one day and discovered that the banksters had “legally” stolen about 80 percent of your life savings?  Most people seem to assume that most of the depositors that are getting ripped off in Cyprus are “Russian oligarchs” or “wealthy European tycoons”, but the truth is that they are only just part of the story.  As you will see below, there are small businesses and aging retirees that have been absolutely devastated by the wealth confiscation that has taken place in Cyprus.  Many businesses can no longer meet their payrolls or pay their bills because their funds have been frozen, and many retirees have seen retirement plans that they have been working toward for decades absolutely destroyed in a matter of days.  Sometimes it can be hard to identify with events that are happening on the other side of the globe, but I want you to try to put yourself into their shoes for a few minutes.  How would you feel if something like this happened to you?

For example, just consider the case of one 65-year-old retiree that has had his life savings totally wiped out by the “wealth tax” in Cyprus.  His very sad story was recently featured by the Sydney Morning Herald

”Very bad, very, very bad,” says 65-year-old John Demetriou, rubbing tears from his lined face with thick fingers. ”I lost all my money.”

John now lives in the picturesque fishing village of Liopetri on Cyprus’ south coast. But for 35 years he lived at Bondi Junction and worked days, nights and weekends in Sydney markets selling jewellery and imitation jewellery.

He had left Cyprus in the early 1970s at the height of its war with Turkey, taking his wife and young children to safety in Australia. He built a life from nothing and, gradually, a substantial nest egg. He retired to Cyprus in 2007 with about $1 million, his life savings.

He planned to spend it on his grandchildren – some of whom live in Cyprus – putting them through university and setting them up. There would be medical bills; he has a heart condition. The interest was paying for a comfortable retirement, and trips back to Australia. He also toyed with the idea of buying a boat.

He wanted to leave any big purchases a few years, to be sure this was where he would spend his retirement. There was no hurry. But now it is all gone.

”If I made the decision to stay, I was going to build a house,” John says. ”Unfortunately I didn’t make the decision yet.

”I went to sleep Friday as a rich man. I woke up a poor man.”

You can read the rest of the article right here.

How would you feel if you suddenly lost almost everything that you have been working for your entire life?

And many small and mid-size businesses have been ruined by the bank account confiscation that has taken place in Cyprus.

The following is a bank account statement that was originally posted on a Bitcoin forum that has gone absolutely viral all over the Internet.  One medium size IT business has lost a staggering amount of money because of the “bail-in” that is happening in Cyprus…

Cyprus Bank Account Confiscation

The following is what the poster of this screenshot had to say about what this is going to do to his business…

Over 700k of expropriated money will be used to repay country’s debt. Probably we will get back about 20% of this amount in 6-7 years.

I’m not Russian oligarch, but just European medium size IT business. Thousands of other companies around Cyprus have the same situation.

The business is definitely ruined, all Cypriot workers to be fired.
We are moving to small Caribbean country where authorities have more respect to people’s assets. Also we are thinking about using Bitcoin to pay wages and for payments between our partners.

Special thanks to:

– Jeroen Dijsselbloem
– Angela Merkel
– Manuel Barroso
– the rest of officials of “European Comission”

With each passing day, things just continue to get worse for those with deposits of over 100,000 euros in Cyprus.  A few hours ago, a Reuters story entitled “Big depositors in Cyprus to lose far more than feared” declared that the initial estimates of the losses by big depositors in Cyprus were much too low.

And of course the truth is that those that have had their deposits frozen will be very fortunate to ever see any of that money ever again.

But just a few weeks ago, the Central Bank of Cyprus was swearing that nothing like this could ever possibly happen.  Just check out the following memo from the Central Bank of Cyprus dated “11 February 2013″ that was recently posted on Zero Hedge

Central Bank of Cyprus Memo

Sadly, the truth is that the politicians will lie to you all the way up until the very day that they confiscate your money.

You can believe our “leaders” when they swear that nothing like this will ever happen in the United States, in Canada or in other European nations if you want.

But I don’t believe them.

In fact, as an outstanding article by Ellen Brown recently detailed, the concept of a “bail-in” for “systemically important financial institutions” has been in the works for a long time…

Confiscating the customer deposits in Cyprus banks, it seems, was not a one-off, desperate idea of a few Eurozone “troika” officials scrambling to salvage their balance sheets. A joint paper by the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Bank of England dated December 10, 2012, shows that these plans have been long in the making; that they originated with the G20 Financial Stability Board in Basel, Switzerland (discussed earlier here); and that the result will be to deliver clear title to the banks of depositor funds.

If you do not believe that what just happened in Cyprus could happen in the United States, you need to read the rest of her article.  The following is an extended excerpt from that article

*****

Although few depositors realize it, legally the bank owns the depositor’s funds as soon as they are put in the bank. Our money becomes the bank’s, and we become unsecured creditors holding IOUs or promises to pay. (See here and here.) But until now the bank has been obligated to pay the money back on demand in the form of cash. Under the FDIC-BOE plan, our IOUs will be converted into “bank equity.”  The bank will get the money and we will get stock in the bank. With any luck we may be able to sell the stock to someone else, but when and at what price? Most people keep a deposit account so they can have ready cash to pay the bills.

The 15-page FDIC-BOE document is called “Resolving Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions.”  It begins by explaining that the 2008 banking crisis has made it clear that some other way besides taxpayer bailouts is needed to maintain “financial stability.” Evidently anticipating that the next financial collapse will be on a grander scale than either the taxpayers or Congress is willing to underwrite, the authors state:

An efficient path for returning the sound operations of the G-SIFI to the private sector would be provided by exchanging or converting a sufficient amount of the unsecured debt from the original creditors of the failed company [meaning the depositors] into equity [or stock]. In the U.S., the new equity would become capital in one or more newly formed operating entities. In the U.K., the same approach could be used, or the equity could be used to recapitalize the failing financial company itself—thus, the highest layer of surviving bailed-in creditors would become the owners of the resolved firm. In either country, the new equity holders would take on the corresponding risk of being shareholders in a financial institution.

No exception is indicated for “insured deposits” in the U.S., meaning those under $250,000, the deposits we thought were protected by FDIC insurance. This can hardly be an oversight, since it is the FDIC that is issuing the directive. The FDIC is an insurance company funded by premiums paid by private banks.  The directive is called a “resolution process,” defined elsewhere as a plan that “would be triggered in the event of the failure of an insurer . . . .” The only  mention of “insured deposits” is in connection with existing UK legislation, which the FDIC-BOE directive goes on to say is inadequate, implying that it needs to be modified or overridden.

*****

You can find the rest of her excellent article right here.  I would encourage everyone to especially pay attention to what she has to say about derivatives.

Sadly, what is happening in Cyprus right now is just the continuation of a trend.  In recent years, governments all over the world have turned to the confiscation of private wealth in order to solve their financial problems.  The following examples are from a recent article posted on Deviant Investor

October 2008 – Argentina’s leftist government, facing a gigantic revenue shortfall, proposes to nationalize all private pensions so as to meet national debt payments and avoid its second default in the decade.

November 2010 – Headline – Hungary Gives Its Citizens an Ultimatum: Move Your Private Pension Fund Assets to the State or Permanently Lose Your Pension – This is an effective nationalization of all pensions.

November 2010 – Ireland elects to appropriate ten billion euros from its National Pension Reserve Fund to help fund an eighty-five billion euro rescue package for its besieged banks. Ireland also moves to consider a regulatory move that compels some private Irish pension funds to hold more Irish government debt, thereby providing the state with a captive investor base but hugely raising the risk for savers.

December 2010 – France agrees to transfer twenty billion euros worth of assets belonging to its Fonds de Reserve pour les Retraites (FRR), the funded portion of its retirement system, to help pay off recurring social benefits costs. No pensioners are consulted.

April 2012 – Argentina announces that its Economy Ministry has taken an emergency loan from the national pension fund in the amount of $4.3 billion. No pensioners were consulted.

June 2012 – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unilaterally appropriates $45 billion from US federal pension funds to help tide over US deficits for the remainder of fiscal year 2011.

January 2013 – Treasury Secretary Geithner again announces that the government has begun borrowing from the federal employees pension fund to keep operating without passing the approaching “fiscal cliff” debt limit. The move effectively creates $156 billion in borrowing authority from federal pension funds.

March 2013 – Open Bank Resolution finance minister, Bill English, is proposing a Cyprus style solution for potential New Zealand bank failures. The reserve bank is in the final stages of establishing a rescue scheme which will put all bank depositors on the hook for bailing out their banks. Depositors will overnight have their savings shaved by the amount needed to keep distressed banks afloat.

Can you see the pattern?

As I wrote about the other day, no bank account, no pension fund, no retirement account and no stock portfolio will be able to be considered 100% safe ever again.

And once the global derivatives casino melts down, there are going to be a lot of major banks that are going to need to be “bailed in”.

When that day arrives, they are going to try to come after your money.

So don’t leave your entire life savings sitting in a single bank – especially not one of the banks that has a tremendous amount of exposure to derivatives.

Hopefully we can get more people to wake up and realize what is happening.  We are moving into a time of great financial instability, and what worked in the past is not going to work in the future.

Be smart and get prepared while you still can.

Time is running out.

25 Signs That Middle Class Families Have Been Targeted For Extinction

The middle class in America is being systematically wiped out, and most people don’t even realize what is happening.  Every single year, millions more Americans fall out of the middle class and become dependent on the government.  The United States once had the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the world, but now the middle class is rapidly shrinking and government dependence is at an all-time high.  So why is this happening?  Well, America is becoming a poorer nation at the same time that wealth is becoming extremely concentrated at the very top.  At this point, our economic system is designed to funnel as much money and power to the federal government and to the big corporations as possible.  Individuals and small businesses have a really hard time thriving in this environment.  To most big corporations these days, workers are viewed as financial liabilities.  Most corporations want to reduce their payrolls as much as possible.  You see, the truth is that most corporations want to be just like Apple.  If you can believe it, Apple makes $400,000 in profit per employee.  Big corporations don’t care that you need to pay the mortgage and provide for your family.  Their goal is to make as much money as possible.  And most of the control freaks that run our bloated federal government don’t care much about middle class families either.  To many politicians and federal bureaucrats, middle class families are “useless eaters” that are constantly damaging the environment with their “excessive” lifestyles.  In this day and age, neither the federal government nor the big corporations really have much use for middle class Americans, and that is really, really bad news for the the future of the middle class family in America.

There are three key factors that are constantly chipping away at the middle class….

-Globalization

-Inflation

-Taxes

Labor has become a global commodity, and American workers are often 10 to 20 times as expensive as workers on the other side of the world are.  Middle class jobs (such as manufacturing, etc.) have been leaving this country at an astounding pace.  Competition for the jobs that remain has become extremely fierce, and this has driven wages down.  The following is from a recent article in the New York Times….

But in the last two decades, something more fundamental has changed, economists say. Midwage jobs started disappearing. Particularly among Americans without college degrees, today’s new jobs are disproportionately in service occupations — at restaurants or call centers, or as hospital attendants or temporary workers — that offer fewer opportunities for reaching the middle class.

As paychecks have stagnated, the cost of living has continued to escalate.  Middle class families are finding that their paychecks simply do not go nearly as far as they did before.  This is creating a tremendous amount of financial stress in households all over America.

Meanwhile, our politicians are taxing the middle class like crazy.  Most people only focus on federal and state income taxes, but that is only a small part of the story.  As I detailed the other day, our politicians are taxing us in literally dozens of different ways and it is almost always the middle class that ends up getting hit the hardest.

If America wants to be great again, it is going to need a thriving middle class.  But right now the federal government and the big corporations are gobbling up all of the power and all of the money and the middle class is shrinking rapidly.

If current trends continue, eventually there will not be much of a middle class left.

The following are 25 signs that middle class families have been targeted for extinction….

#1 Over the past several decades, millions upon millions of middle class Americans have been systematically turned into government dependents.  Back in 1960, social welfare benefits made up approximately 10 percent of all salaries and wages.  In the year 2000, social welfare benefits made up approximately 21 percent of all salaries and wages.  Today, social welfare benefits make up approximately 35 percent of all salaries and wages.

#2 Unemployment is at epidemic levels and the vast majority of the new jobs that have been “created” in recent years have been low paying jobs.  Of those Americans that do have a job at this point, one out of every four works a job that pays $10 an hour or less.

#3 The “working poor” is a group that is rapidly growing in this country.  If you can believe it, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.

#4 Over the past several decades, the percentage of low income jobs has steadily increased.  Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

#5 The way that our economic system is structured today, almost all of the economic rewards go to the very top of the food chain.  The following is how income gains in the United States were distributed during 2010….

-37 percent of all income gains went to the top 0.01 percent of all income earners

-56 percent of all income gains went to the rest of the top 1 percent

-7 percent of all income gains went to the bottom 99 percent

#6 Several decades ago, there was a much more even distribution of income in this country.  Back in the 1970s, the top 1 percent of all income earners brought in about 8 percent of all income.  Today, they bring in about 21 percent of all income.

#7 As the middle class shrinks, the number of “low income” and “poor” Americans is rapidly rising.  Today, approximately 48 percent of all Americans are currently either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty.

#8 Manufacturing jobs once enabled huge numbers of Americans to enjoy a middle class lifestyle.  Unfortunately, those jobs are leaving this country at a breathtaking pace.  Back in 1940, 23.4% of all American workers had manufacturing jobs.  Today, only 10.4% of all American workers have manufacturing jobs.

#9 In the old days, any man that was willing to work hard and wanted a job could get one.  Today, there are millions of American men sitting on their couches at home wondering why nobody will hire them.  Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.

#10 The middle class is shrinking at the same time that America is getting poorer as a nation.  In the middle of the last century, the United States was #1 in the world in GDP per capita.  Today, the United States is #13 in GDP per capita.

#11 Every year now, we see millions of Americans fall out of the middle class.  In 2010, 2.6 million more Americans descended into poverty.  That was the largest increase that we have seen since the U.S. government began keeping statistics on this back in 1959.

#12 The shrinking middle class is having a disproportionate impact on children.  At this point, approximately 22 percent of all American children are living in poverty.

#13 In the old days, most Americans grew up in middle class neighborhoods.  Sadly, this is no longer true.  In 1970, 65 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”.  By 2007, only 44 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”.

#14 The concentration of wealth at the very top of the food chain is astounding.  Right now, over 50 percent of all stocks and bonds are owned by just 1 percent of the U.S. population.

#15 When you concentrate too much power in the hands of the federal government and the big corporations, it is inevitable that massive amounts of wealth will become concentrated in just a few hands.  In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.

#16 There is nothing wrong with making money, but there is something wrong with a game where individuals and small businesses cannot compete fairly.  According to Forbes, the 400 wealthiest Americans now have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined.

#17 When the number of poor people rapidly expands in a society, that is a recipe for social unrest.  At this point, the poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

#18 The hidden tax of inflation is absolutely devastating middle class families all over America.  Since 1970, the U.S. dollar has lost more than 83 percent of its value.  Any dollars that middle class families try to save are constantly losing a little bit more value every single day.

#19 American workers that try to play by the rules find that they are constantly fighting a losing battle.  According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

#20 In recent years, many middle class families have seen their paychecks get smaller.  Median household income in the United States has fallen 7.8 percent since December 2007 after adjusting for inflation.

#21 In recent years, many middle class families have seen many of their basic expenses absolutely soar.  For example, health insurance costs have risen by 23 percent since Barack Obama became president.

#22 Just turning on the lights and heating their homes has become a major burden for many middle class families.  Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

#23 Just putting gas in the car has become a major financial ordeal for millions of hard working Americans.  The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States has increased by more than 100 percent since Barack Obama became president.

#24 Sadly, government dependence is now at an all-time high, and that is the way that many among the elite like it.  When Barack Obama took office, there were 32 million Americans on food stamps.  Now, there are more than 46 million Americans on food stamps.  In particular, an astounding number of children are on food stamps right now.  At this point, approximately one-fourth of all American children are enrolled in the food stamp program.

#25 Many middle class families will not be in the middle class for too much longer.  According to a shocking new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, 200,000 U.S. households will use the money from their tax refunds this year “to pay for bankruptcy filing and legal fees“.

Unless major changes are made on a national level, the middle class is going to continue to disappear.

If you are playing the game the way that the system tells you to play it and you expect to live a middle class lifestyle for many years to come there is a good chance that you will be deeply disappointed at some point.

Millions upon millions of Americans have done everything that the system told them to do and the system has still failed them.  They got good grades all the way through school, they went to college, they worked really hard, they stayed out of trouble and they gave everything they could to their employers.  In spite of all that, millions of hard working families have still lost their jobs and their homes in recent years.

Do not trust that the system will take care of you, and you should not trust that the government will take care of you either.

We don’t need the federal government to hand out more money to everyone.  Government handouts are already at record levels and the government is not even coming close to paying for all of this reckless spending.

More government spending is not going to solve any of our problems.

Instead, what we need is an environment where the size and power of the federal government is limited and the size and the power of the big corporations is limited.  We need an environment where individuals and small businesses can thrive and compete fairly.

Unfortunately, neither major political party is going to move us in that direction, so there is not much hope for solutions on the national level any time soon.

On an individual level, we can all learn how to prepare for the very difficult years that are coming.  It is imperative that we all work to become more independent of the system, because the system could fail at any time.

If you have blind faith that your job will always be there and that the federal government will rescue you if the economy crashes then you are likely to be bitterly disappointed at some point.

The truth is that our economy is slowly dying and the great American middle class is being systematically wiped out.

Many of the things that worked in the past are not going to work any longer.

You can choose to adapt or you can suffer the consequences.

Our world is rapidly changing, and we all need to prepare for what is coming.

I Can’t Take It Anymore! When Will The Government Quit Putting Out Fraudulent Employment Statistics?

On Friday, the entire financial world celebrated when it was announced that the unemployment rate in the United States had fallen to 8.3 percent. That is the lowest it has been since February 2009, and it came as an unexpected surprise for financial markets that are hungry for some good news.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payrolls jumped by 243,000 during the month of January.  You can read the full employment report right here.  Based on this news, pundits all over the world were declaring that the U.S. economy is back.  Stocks continued to rise on Friday and the Dow is hovering near a 4 year high.  So does this mean that our economic problems are over?  Of course not.  A closer look at the numbers reveals just how fraudulent these employment statistics really are.  Between December 2011 and January 2012, the number of Americans “not in the labor force” increased by a whopping 1.2 million.  That was the largest increase ever in that category for a single month.  That is how the federal government is getting the unemployment rate to go down.  The government is simply pretending that huge numbers of unemployed Americans don’t want to be part of the labor force anymore.  As you will see below, the employment situation in America is not improving.  Yet everyone in the mainstream media is dancing around as if the economic crisis has been cancelled.  I can’t take it anymore!  It is beyond ridiculous that so many intelligent people continue to buy in to such fraudulent numbers.

The truth is that the labor force participation rate declined dramatically in January.  For those unfamiliar with this statistic, the labor force participation rate is the percentage of working age Americans that are either employed or that are unemployed and considered to be looking for a job.

As you can see from the chart posted below, the labor force participation rate rose steadily between 1970 and 2000.  That happened because large numbers of women were entering the labor force for the first time.

The labor force participation rate peaked at a little more then 67 percent in the late 90s.  Between 2000 and the start of the recent recession, it declined slightly to about 66 percent.

Since then, it has been dropping like a rock.  The chart below does not even include the latest data.  In January, the labor force participation rate was only 63.7 percent.  That is the lowest that is has been since May 1983.  So keep that in mind as you view the chart.

In reality, the percentage of men and women in the United States that would like to have jobs is almost certainly about the same as it was back in 2007 or 2008.  There has been no major social change that would cause large numbers of men or women to want to give up their careers.  So there is something very, very fishy with this chart….

The federal government has been pretending that millions of unemployed Americans have decided that they simply do not want jobs anymore.

This does not make sense at all.

The truth is that unemployment is not really declining at all.  The percentage of Americans that are working is not increasing.  The civilian employment-population ratio dropped like a rock during 2008 and 2009 and it has held very steady since that time.

In January, the civilian employment-population ratio once again held steady at 58.5 percent.  This is about where it has been for most of the last two years….

Does that chart look like an “economic recovery” to you?

Of course not.

If the percentage of people that are employed is about the same as it was two years ago, does that represent an improvement?

Of course not.

If the employment situation in America was getting better, the civilian employment-population ratio would be bouncing back.

We should be thankful that our economy is not free falling like it was during 2008 and 2009, but we also need to understand why things have stabilized.

The federal government is spending money like there is no tomorrow.  During 2011, the Obama administration stole an average of about 150 million dollars an hour from our children and our grandchildren and pumped it into the economy.  Even though the Obama administration spent that money on a lot of frivolous things, it still got into the pockets of average Americans who in turn went out and spent it on food, gas, clothes and other things.

Without all of this reckless government spending, we would not be able to continue to live way above our means and our economic problems would be a lot worse.

But even with the federal government borrowing and spending unprecedented amount of money, and even with interest rates at record lows, our economy is still deeply struggling.  Just consider the following facts….

-New home sales in the United States hit a brand new all-time record low during 2011.

-The average duration of unemployment in America is close to an all-time record high.

-The percentage of Americans living in “extreme poverty” is at an all-time high.

-The number of Americans on food stamps recently hit a new all-time high.

-According to the Census Bureau, an all-time record 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that gets direct monetary benefits from the federal government.  Back in 1983, less than a third of all Americans lived in a home that received direct monetary benefits from the federal government.

So let’s not get too excited about the economy.

Yes, things have somewhat stabilized.  The percentage of Americans that have jobs is about the same as it was two years ago.  Considering how rapidly jobs are being shipped out of the United States, that is a good thing.

Enjoy this false bubble of hope while you can.  Things are about to get a lot worse.

Do you remember how rapidly things fell apart after the financial crisis of 2008?

Well, another major financial crisis is on the way.  This time it is going to be centered in Europe initially, but it is going to spread all around the globe just like the last one did.

As the charts above show, we have never even come close to recovering from the last recession, and another one is on the way.

So how bad are things going to get after the next wave of the financial crisis hits us?

That is something that we should all be thinking about.

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