The Beginning Of The End
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10 Signs That Confidence In U.S. Treasuries Is Dying And That Financial Armageddon May Be Approaching

Selling government debt is a gigantic confidence game.  For decades, investors all over the globe have gobbled up massive amounts of U.S. debt at incredibly low interest rates because they believed that it was a certainly that they would be paid back and be able to make a little bit of profit on top of it.  Unfortunately, things have changed.  Confidence is U.S. Treasuries is dying, and if confidence in U.S. government debt completely collapses at some point we could literally be looking at financial Armageddon.  Why is that so?  Well, when the world totally loses faith in U.S. Treasuries, interest rates on U.S. Treasuries will have to keep going up until enough investors are found to buy them.  But much higher interest rates will mean much higher interest on the national debt and thus much higher federal budget deficits.  That will erode confidence in U.S. Treasuries even further.  In the end, a vicious cycle of eroding confidence and higher interest rates could ultimately lead to hyperinflation as the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve flood the system with endless amounts of paper money to try to keep the system solvent.

Faith in U.S. Treasury bonds is absolutely critical if the world financial system is going to continue to operate in a stable manner.  In the post-World War 2 era, U.S. Treasuries have been largely viewed as the absolutely safest investment out there.  So if there comes a point when the market for U.S. Treasuries completely collapses, it is going to cause unprecedented financial chaos.  The worldwide derivatives market, which is already highly unstable, would almost certainly implode.  Credit markets all over the globe would seize up.  Global trade would quickly grind to a standstill.

This isn’t going to happen overnight (hopefully).  Rather, the loss of confidence in U.S. Treasuries is something that is likely to take months or even years to play out.  But once that confidence is gone, it is not something that will be able to be rebuilt easily.

Think of it this way – once you drive a car off a cliff, is it easy to reconstruct it?

Of course not.

Well, that is where we are headed with U.S. Treasuries.

The Federal Reserve is flooding the system with new dollars, Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress seem poised to pass a new tax deal which does not include corresponding spending cuts which will cause U.S. government budget deficits to become even more bloated, and there is a tremendous lack of faith both in U.S. political leaders and in the Federal Reserve at this point.

The rest of the world is losing faith that the U.S. government is going to be able to handle all of the debt that it has accumulated.  We may be approaching a “tipping point” soon.

The following are 10 signs that confidence in U.S. Treasuries is dying….

#1 The financial community is extremely concerned that the tax deal that Barack Obama is pushing is going to dramatically increase U.S. government budget deficits over the next two years.  On Monday, Moody’s warned that if Barack Obama’s tax deal with the Republicans becomes law, it will increase the likelihood that Moody’s could soon be forced to slash the rating of U.S. government debt.

#2 Already there are signs that some bond investors are looking for the exits.  Last week, U.S. Treasuries suffered their largest  two day sell-off since the collapse of Lehman Brothers back in September 2008.

#3 The yield on 10-year Treasury bonds set a six-month high on Monday before pulling back a bit.  Most analysts believe that Treasury yields are going to push significantly higher in coming weeks.

#4 This trend of rising yields has been going on for a while.  In fact, yields on 10-year Treasury bonds have been steadily rising since October 7th.

#5 Even before the recent tax deal was announced there were already troubling signs regarding the growth of U.S. government debt.  The U.S. government budget deficit rose to $150.4 billion in November, which was the largest November budget deficit ever recorded.

#6 It is not just the new tax deal that has investors around the globe spooked.  The truth is that the rest of the globe reacted very negatively to the new round of quantitative easing that the Federal Reserve announced back in November.  The Federal Reserve is flooding the system with liquidity and the rest of the world is not amused.

#7 The American people have less faith in the Federal Reserve and in the financial system than at any other point in recent memory.  For example, a new Bloomberg National Poll has found that a majority of Americans now want the Federal Reserve to either be held more accountable or to be abolished entirely.

#8 Investors all over the globe are starting to wake up and realize that America’s debt problem is unsolvable.  David Bloom, the currency chief at HSBC, raised eyebrows when he recently stated that “if yields are rising because people think America’s fiscal situation is unsustainable, then its Armaggedon.”

#9 There is also a growing feeling among investors that the Federal Reserve simply does not care about the danger of inflation, and this is making bondholders very nervous.  Stephen Lewis of Monument Securities recently put it this way….

“There is a feeling that the Fed doesn’t care about inflation – in fact, wants more of it – and that is certainly not in the interest of bondholders.

#10 Over the next 12 months, the U.S. government is going to be rolling over trillions of dollars in debt along with all of the new borrowing that it is going to be doing. In fact, the U.S. government is somehow going to have to find a way to finance debt that is equivalent to 27.8 percent of GDP in 2011.

For years our politicians have told us that “deficits don’t matter”, but the truth is that they do matter.  The national debt of the United States is now the biggest debt in the history of the world by far, and yet most Americans do not seem to grasp the absolute financial horror that we are facing as a nation.

In the end, debt is always painful.  It can be a lot of fun to run out and buy a beautiful new house, a couple of brand new cars and to run your credit cards up to the max, but eventually it catches up with you.  Well, the same thing is now happening to us on a national level.

We are getting to the point where eventually we are not even going to be able to service the debt that we have already piled up.  Once that happens we can either declare national bankruptcy or we can try to hyperinflate our way out of trouble.

Meanwhile, the once great U.S. economic machine is dying as well.  The only reason we have been able to survive with all of this debt as long as we have is because of how powerful our economy has been.

But over the past couple of decades, the big global corporations that now dominate our economy have shipped thousands of factories and millions of jobs overseas.

The mighty economic machine which is supposed to provide funds to pay off all of this debt is being dismantled right in front of our eyes.

There was no way in the world that U.S. government debt was going to be sustainable even if our economy remained vibrant and healthy.  The sad truth is that U.S. government debt is approximately 13 times larger than it was just 30 years ago.

But now that the “real economy” is dying a savage death there is simply no hope that this thing is ever going to turn around.  The only thing left to do is to take bets on when the implosion is going to happen.

All of this “great tax cut debate” nonsense going on in Washington D.C. right now is just a bunch of incompetent politicians running around rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.  Perhaps these tax cuts will provide enough of a short-term economic boost to get many of them re-elected in 2012.  Meanwhile, our long-term economic problems continue to get a lot worse.

It has become quite obvious that Barack Obama is completely clueless about the economy, and what is even sadder is that the “highly educated” Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, seems almost equally as clueless.

Unfortunately, Americans have become so dumbed-down that they don’t even realize that their leaders are incompetent.  In fact, as sad as it is to say, most Americans you will meet on the street probably cannot even tell you what U.S. Treasuries are.

Let us hope and pray that investors around the globe continue to have at least some confidence in U.S. Treasuries for at least a little while longer.  When “financial Armageddon” finally does happen, it isn’t going to be pleasant for any of us.

So enjoy these happy economic times while you still have them, because at some point things are going to get a whole lot worse.

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.”

Is The Federal Reserve Out Of Control? Markets Across The Globe Brace For Impact As The Federal Reserve Powers Up The Printing Presses

What in the world is going on over at the Federal Reserve?    Has it gotten to the point where the Federal Reserve is completely and totally out of control?  There is increasing speculation in the financial community that the Federal Reserve is on the verge of unleashing another round of quantitative easing.  In fact, at their September meeting, Federal Reserve officials hinted very strongly that quantitative easing is very much on their minds when they stated that the Federal Open Market Committee “is prepared to provide additional accommodation if needed to support the economic recovery and to return inflation, over time, to levels consistent with its mandate.”  You might want to reread that quote a couple of times just to let it sink in.  Do you see what the Fed is saying there?  The Fed is actually saying that it has a mandate to maintain a certain level of inflation.  Not that this is a secret to anyone that has seriously studied the Federal Reserve.  Since 1913, inflation has constantly gone up, U.S. government debt has increased exponentially and the U.S. dollar has lost over 96 percent of its value.  But for Federal Reserve officials to openly state that a certain amount of inflation is part of their mandate is absolutely stunning.

Even though the U.S. economy is still in pretty decent shape at this point (for the moment at least), the Federal Reserve still seems obsessed with trying to stimulate it.

In the past, the Federal Reserve would just cut interest rates whenever the economy needed a bit of a boost, but at this point the Fed has cut rates to nearly zero.  There just isn’t any more room to cut rates.

So what else can the Federal Reserve do?

Well, it can create money out of thin air and use it to buy U.S. Treasuries, mortgage-backed securities and other assets.  This is known as quantitative easing, and many analysts fear that it is quickly becoming more than just an emergency measure.

Back in March 2009, the Federal Reserve announced that it would purchase $1.7 trillion worth of U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities over the next 6 to 9 months.  That was the first round of quantitative easing and Fed officials believe that it helped the U.S. economy avoid an even worse downturn.

But now Federal Reserve officials are talking about making quantitative easing a regular thing.  An article in the Wall Street Journal recently described the current thinking inside the Fed…. 

Rather than announce massive bond purchases with a finite end, as they did in 2009 to shock the U.S. financial system back to life, Fed officials are weighing a more open-ended, smaller-scale program that they could adjust as the recovery unfolds.

Quantitative easing that is open-ended?

What kind of insanity is this?

Is quantitative easing going to become a permanent part of our financial system?

And what does “smaller-scale” actually mean?

Well, according to James Bullard, the president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, “small-scale” is actually pretty darn large.  According to the Wall Street Journal, a “small-scale” quantitative easing program would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 billion a month….

Under a small-scale approach, Mr. Bullard says, the Fed might announce some still-undecided target for bond buying—say $100 billion or less per month. It would then make a judgment at each meeting whether continued action was needed.

If the Fed injected $100 billion a month into the economy through quantitative easing, that would mean that by the end of the year over 1 trillion dollars would have been created.

That does not sound like “small-scale” to me.

In fact, if the Federal Reserve purchased $1 trillion in U.S. Treasuries next year that would be an amount nearly equal to the total amount of new debt that the U.S. government plans to issue during the year.

Can anyone say Ponzi scheme?

When we get to the point where the Federal Reserve is “buying” a large percentage of new U.S. debt with money that is created out of thin air there is simply no denying the fact that the Fed is running a massive Ponzi scheme. 

But the truth is that the U.S. government is in so much debt and the U.S. economy is in so much trouble that something must be done.  It is really tempting to “inflate away” the debt and to pump up GDP figures with a flood of paper money, and Helicopter Ben Bernanke has certainly shown that he is not shy about pulling the trigger.

Of course more debt, more paper money and more inflation will only make our long-term economic problems even worse.

But right now Federal Reserve officials appear to be absolutely obsessed with the short-term.

And without a doubt world financial markets are certainly expecting a new round of quantitative easing to begin soon.

CNBC recently polled 67 economists, strategists and fund managers about what they think is going to happen.  The following is a summary of what CNBC found…. 

The Federal Reserve will boost its balance sheet by about half a trillion dollars over a six-month period beginning in November and keep it inflated for up to a year, according to a survey of leading markets participants by CNBC.

But many analysts believe that the Fed will take even more substantial action than that.  According to the Wall Street Journal, economists at Goldman Sachs are projecting that the Federal Reserve will end up buying at least another $1 trillion in assets during this next round of quantitative easing.

Stephen Stanley of Pierpont Securities in convinced that it will be even worse than that.  Stanley believes that the Fed will add another $3 trillion to its balance sheet by next August.  The following is what he recently told CNBC….

“If the Fed pulls the trigger, they will go big.”

In an interview with the Economic Times of India, Marc Faber painted an even bleaker picture….

“I believe that if the S&P in the US drops 15-20% to around 900-950, the Fed would come out not with this quantitative easing No. 2, but with quantitative easing No. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 until the asset markets go up again. They are going to print and print and print.”

It seems like almost everyone is anticipating that the Federal Reserve is going to fire up the printing presses.

Now, even some of the Federal Reserve’s staunchest defenders are now abandoning them.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, perhaps the most respected financial columnist in the U.K., recently penned an article entitled “Shut Down the Fed (Part II)” in which he absolutely lambasted Bernanke and other Federal Reserve officials for considering another round of quantitative easing….

I apologise to readers around the world for having defended the emergency stimulus policies of the US Federal Reserve, and for arguing like an imbecile naif that the Fed would not succumb to drug addiction, political abuse, and mad intoxicated debauchery, once it began taking its first shots of quantitative easing.

In fact, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is now openly accusing the Federal Reserve of being out of control….

So all those hillsmen in Idaho, with their Colt 45s and boxes of krugerrands, who sent furious emails to the Telegraph accusing me of defending a hyperinflating establishment cabal were right all along. The Fed is indeed out of control.

On behalf of those who believe that the Federal Reserve is “a hyperinflating establishment cabal”, I accept Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s apology.

The truth is that the Federal Reserve is out of control.

The Federal Reserve system was designed to get the U.S. government into a perpetually expanding spiral of debt.  Wealth is slowly but surely transferred from the American people to the U.S. government (when we pay taxes) and ultimately into the hands of those who own U.S. government debt.

As long as the Federal Reserve system exists, U.S. government debt will keep going up, the value of the U.S. dollar will keep going down and wealth will be slowly transferred into the hands of the ultra-wealthy.

And why in the world would the American people allow an unelected, privately-owned central bank to run the U.S. economy, control the money supply, set interest rates and print all U.S. currency?

It simply does not make any sense.

The Federal Reserve has not been shy about declaring that it is “not an agency” of the U.S. government and not directly accountable to the American people.

So why do the American people put up with this kind of nonsense?

The truth is that the Federal Reserve has become far too powerful.  U.S. Representative Ron Paul recently told MSNBC that he believes that the Federal Reserve is actually more powerful than Congress…..

“The regulations should be on the Federal Reserve. We should have transparency of the Federal Reserve. They can create trillions of dollars to bail out their friends, and we don’t even have any transparency of this. They’re more powerful than the Congress.”

The truth is that the U.S. economy will never be fundamentally “fixed” simply by electing another “Bush” or another “Obama”.  Something needs to be done about the Federal Reserve system, but right now our politicians in Washington can’t even muster enough support to pass a bill to audit the Fed. 

So what do you think about the Federal Reserve?  Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts….

Will Quantitative Easing By The Federal Reserve Unleash Economic Hell?

Prior to the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, the Federal Reserve could always count on being able to stimulate the U.S. economy with a quick cut to interest rates.  But now with interest rates just barely above zero, the Federal Reserve is searching for other ways to pump life into a U.S. economy that is staggering about like a drunken college student.  One of the ways that the Federal Reserve can do this is through something called “quantitative easing”.  In essence, what happens is that the Federal Reserve creates money out of thin air and starts buying things like U.S. Treasuries, mortgage-backed securities and corporate debt.  But many economic analysts are now warning that further rounds of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve could end up setting off a series of events that could ultimately unleash economic hell.  In fact, there are quite a few high profile commentators who now believe that hyperinflation in the United States is absolutely inevitable.

For those not familiar with quantitative easing, Wikipedia has a pretty good definition….

The term quantitative easing (QE) describes a form of monetary policy used by central banks to increase the supply of money in an economy when the bank interest rate, discount rate and/or interbank interest rate are either at, or close to, zero.[citation needed] A central bank does this by first crediting its own account with money it has created ex nihilo (“out of nothing”).[1] It then purchases financial assets, including government bonds, mortgage-backed securities and corporate bonds, from banks and other financial institutions in a process referred to as open market operations.

But is it really a good idea for a privately-owned central bank to have the power to create money out of nothing and to do whatever it wants with it outside of U.S. government control?

Of course not, but we dealt with those issues in another article.

What we will concern ourselves with in this article are the negative effects that could be unleashed as the Federal Reserve further abuses this power.

Now keep in mind that disasters don’t usually happen overnight.  They usually build over time.  When the Federal Reserve begins new rounds of quantitative easing, it will take time for the effects to be felt.

And so far, the new quantitative easing measures that the Federal Reserve has implemented have been relatively mild….

*The Federal Reserve has announced that it will “continue to roll over the Federal Reserve’s holdings of Treasury securities as they mature”.

*The Federal Reserve has also announced that it has decided to reinvest principal payments on mortgage holdings into U.S. Treasury securities.

*The Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced on Wednesday that it will purchase $18 billion in U.S. Treasury securities between now and mid-September.

But most analysts are expecting quantitative easing by the Fed to accelerate – especially if the U.S. economy continues to flounder.

So is there a reason we should be concerned about all of this?

Well, yes there is.

Marc Faber, the author of “The Gloom, Boom and Doom Report”, recently warned CNBC that all of this intervention by the Federal Reserve is going to create a “final crisis” that will destroy the U.S. financial system….

“Investors should have listened to me already six months ago when I wrote that the Fed will continue to monetize … they will print and print and print until the final crisis wipes out the whole system.”

In a recent article, Bob Chapman of the International Forecaster described some of the financial gymnastics that our “financial authorities” go through just to keep the current shell game going….

But first, we ignore things like monthly hundred billion plus mathematical discrepancies between the amount of the government’s deficits and the amount of treasury bonds being sold.  Then we give the proceeds from the bogus excess treasury sales to foreign countries, foreign central banks and sovereign wealth funds as well as Cayman Island hedge funds so they can do what with it?  Why, so they can buy US treasury paper and agency paper, among other things.  Yep, we set up the straw men, fund them with counterfeit money illegally created out of thin air beyond what is needed to fund the ever-increasing deficit being created by the drunken sailors running the US government, and we then magically create categories of new mega-buyers in our financial reports to show everyone how our treasury paper is just as “beloved” as in the old days.  Why, even the totally bankrupt UK has magically created $180 billion for the express purpose of buying up those treasuries to keep the whole rip-off party going.

What a mess they have created.

Things have gotten so bad that even CNN is publishing articles that openly acknowledge the crisis.  In a recent article on CNN entitled “Is This Finally The Economic Collapse?”, Keith R. McCullough warned that the Federal Reserve openly buying large amounts of U.S. government debt is a very dangerous threshold to cross….

Now that the US can’t cut interest rates any lower, the only option left on the table is what the Fed just announced it would start doing — buying Treasury debt. And that could lead the country to the brink of collapse: According to economists Carmen Reinhart & Ken Rogoff, whose views we share, crossing the 90% debt/GDP threshold is the equivalent of crossing the proverbial Rubicon of economic growth. It’s a point from which it’s almost impossible to return.

And that is the crux of the problem – the U.S. government has a debt that is absolutely spiralling out of control.  This is a problem that has been building for decades and there simply is no quick fix for it. 

But the truth is that it was seen as far back as 1835.  In his article for CNN, Keith R. McCullough included a very appropriate quote by Alexis De Tocqueville, the author of Democracy in America….

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”

Today, approximately 57% of the U.S. government budget is spent on direct payments to American citizens or is money that is spent on behalf of individual American citizens. 

For decades, the “Congress critters” have been bribing the American people (and each other) with massive payouts and have been getting away with it.

But now we are starting to pay the price.

The truth is that the U.S. government has become an expert on wasting money.  Most of the folks populating Congress are so incompetent that they should not even be hired to mop the floors of a Dairy Queen, and yet they control how trillions of our tax dollars are spent. 

The end result is that we have a financial mess that is absolutely unprecedented.

The U.S. financial system is doomed.  The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve will probably end up trying to save it with a massive flood of paper money, and in the end that will likely result in the collapse of the U.S. dollar and hyperinflation.

But hopefully all of that is still a while away yet.  For now, the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve are trying to play a very delicate balancing act and are trying to keep this giant house of cards from collapsing.

As incompetent as they are, let’s hope that they can keep things together for at least a while longer, because when things really fall apart we are all going to be feeling the pain.

Has China Begun Dumping U.S. Treasuries?

Has China decided that now is the time to start dumping U.S. Treasuries?  The Treasury Department announced on Tuesday that foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury securities fell by $53 billion in December, which is an all-time record decline for one month.  China alone reduced its holdings by $34.2 billion.  So is this because the U.S. doesn’t need to borrow as much money anymore?  Of course not.  In fact, the Obama administration just released a new budget which calls for a record 1.56 trillion dollar budget deficit.  Obama has publicly stated that the U.S. will be running trillion dollar deficits for the foreseeable future.  No, China is not getting rid of U.S. Treasuries because the U.S. doesn’t need to borrow anymore.  The U.S. needs to borrow from China (and from everyone else) more than ever.

So what is going on?

The truth is that China recognizes that the long-term prognosis for U.S. Treasuries is really bad.  The U.S. government had piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world, and when the U.S. dollar eventually collapses (and it will) the Chinese could end up holding a trillion dollars of worthless paper.

So they are slowly starting to slide towards the door, hoping that everyone else does not suddenly catch on that the party is over.

The Chinese know that the great U.S. economy is slowly spiralling into the toilet.  Everyone is so focused on the financial disaster in Greece right now, but Michael Pento, a senior market strategist with Delta Global Advisors, says that the financial situation in the United States is “worse than Greece”.

The Chinese don’t want to be the ones left standing when this bizarre game of musical chairs is over.  In fact, it is just not U.S. Treasuries that the Chinese are getting rid of.  There are reports that the Chinese government has ordered its reserve managers to dump all “riskier securities” and to hold on to only U.S. Treasuries and U.S. agency debt that comes with an implicit or an explicit U.S. government guarantee.

But as we have seen, the Chinese government is also reducing the size of their U.S. Treasury holdings.

For years, there have been financial analysts that have been warning of this day.  They have been warning that when the Chinese and other foreign governments start dumping Treasuries it will send interest rates skyrocketing through the roof and it will crash the U.S. economy.

Well, China is starting to dump Treasuries and the U.S. government is borrowing more money than ever, but interest rates are staying somewhat stable.

So what is happening?

Well, as we have covered previously, the truth is that the Federal Reserve is soaking up the excess borrowing.  Some analysts refer to this as “printing money”, but it is more like “printing debt”.  In fact, the Fed “bought” the vast majority of new U.S. Treasuries issued in 2009.

So that is how the U.S. government can continue to borrow obscene amounts of money when the rest of the world won’t lend it to us.  But this can’t continue forever and it is obviously a recipe for hyperinflation in the long-term.

Meanwhile, the Chinese are trying to make a smooth move towards the “exit” sign.  Whether they will be able to successfully pull it off is another matter.

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