18 Signs That America Is Rotting Right In Front Of Our Eyes

Sometimes it isn’t necessary to quote facts and figures about government debt, unemployment and the trade deficit in order to convey how badly America is decaying.  The truth is that millions of Americans can watch America rotting right in front of their eyes by stepping out on their front porches.  Record numbers of homes have been foreclosed on and in some of the most run down cities as many as a third of all houses have been abandoned.  Unemployment remains at depressingly high levels and the number of Americans on food stamps continues to set new records month after month.  Due to severe budget cuts, class sizes are exploding and school programs are being eliminated.  In some areas of the U.S. schools are even going to four day weeks.  With little to no funding available, bridges are crumbling and street lights are being turned off in many communities.  In some areas, asphalt roads are actually being ground up and turned back into gravel roads because they are less expensive to maintain.  There aren’t even as many police available to patrol America’s decaying cities because budget problems have forced local communities across the U.S. to lay off tens of thousands of officers.

Once upon a time, the American people worked feverishly to construct beautiful, shining communities from coast to coast.  But now we get to watch those communities literally crumble and decay in slow motion.  Nothing lasts forever, but for those of us who truly love America it is an incredibly sad thing to witness what is now happening to the great nation that our forefathers built.

The following are 18 signs that America is rotting right in front of our eyes….

1 – Due to extreme budget cuts, school systems across the United States are requiring their students to bring more supplies with them than ever this year.  In Moody, Alabama elementary school students are being told to bring paper towels, garbage bags and liquid soap with them to school.  At Pauoa Elementary School in Honolulu, Hawaii all students are being required to show up with a four-pack of toilet paper.

2According to the American Association of School Administrators, 48 percent of all U.S. school districts are reporting budget cuts of 10 percent or less for the upcoming school year, and 30 percent of all U.S. school districts are reporting cuts of 11 to 25 percent.

3 – In Chicago, drastic budget cuts could result in an average class size of 37 students.

4 – The governor of Hawaii has completely shut down that state’s schools on Fridays – moving teachers and students to a four day week.

5 – According to the Federal Highway Administration, approximately a third of America’s major roadways are already in substandard condition.

6 – All over the United States, asphalt roads are being ground up and are being replaced with gravel because it is cheaper to maintain.  The state of South Dakota has transformed over 100 miles of asphalt road into gravel over the past year, and 38 out of the 83 counties in the state of Michigan have now turned some of their asphalt roads into gravel roads.

7 – According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 25 percent of America’s nearly 600,000 bridges need significant repairs or are burdened with more traffic than they were designed to carry.

8 – In a desperate attempt to save money, the city of Colorado Springs turned off a third of its streetlights and put its police helicopters up for auction.

9 – The state of Arizona has eliminated funding for full-day kindergarten and has shut down a number of state parks.

10 – Over the past year, approximately 100 of New York’s state parks and historic sites have had to cut services and reduce hours.

11 – In Georgia, the county of Clayton recently eliminated its entire public bus system in order to save 8 million dollars.

12 – Elsewhere in Georgia, 30,000 people recently turned out to pick up only 13,000 applications for government-subsidized housing.   A near-riot ensued and 62 people were left injured.  The amazing thing is that all of this commotion was just to get on a waiting list.  There are no aid vouchers even available at this time.

13– In the city of Philadelphia, rolling fire station “brown outs” recently cost a 12 year old autistic boy named Frank Marasco his life.

14– Oakland, California Police Chief Anthony Batts says that due to severe budget cuts there are a number of crimes that his department will simply not be able to respond to any longer.  The crimes that the Oakland police will no longer be responding to include grand theft, burglary, car wrecks, identity theft and vandalism.

15– The sheriff’s department in Ashtabula County, Ohio has been slashed from 112 to 49 deputies, and there is now just one vehicle remaining to patrol all 720 square miles of the county.

16 – Of 315 municipalities the New Jersey State Policemen’s union recently canvassed, more than half indicated that they were planning to lay off police officers.

17 – Not that the criminals are doing that much better.  Things have gotten so bad in Camden, New Jersey that not even the drug dealers are spending their money anymore.

18 – Almost everyone knows someone who has been severely impacted by this economic downturn.  A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey has found that 81 percent of American adults know someone who is out of work and looking for a job.

So can’t the states just step up and start spending more money and fix these things?

Well, no.  The truth is that the states are absolutely broke.  Quite a few of the states are actually on the verge of default, and there is no getting around the fact that budget cuts that are much more severe are going to be required in the years ahead.

So can’t the U.S. government step in and bail out the states?

Well, yes, but as we have detailed previously, the U.S. government is literally drowning in a sea of red ink.  The U.S. government is already spending an amount of money equivalent to approximately 25.4 percent of GDP this year.

How much more money can the U.S. government possibly spend?

To get an idea of just how bad things are already, the IMF says that in order to fix the U.S. government budget deficit, taxes need to be doubled on every single U.S. citizen.

Are you ready to pay double the taxes?

No matter how you slice it, the U.S. is in a massive amount of financial trouble and the American people are starting to realize this fact.  In fact, one new poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that the U.S. economy will get worse before it gets better.

But unfortunately things are not going to get “better” – at least in the long-term.  The decay and the rot that have already set in are only going to get worse.

These problems did not appear overnight and they are not going to be solved overnight.  Our leaders have been making very bad decisions for decades, and all of those bad decisions are starting to catch up with us.

But perhaps you disagree.  Feel free to tell us what you think in the comments section below….

The Trade Deficit Nightmare

When they hear the word deficit, most Americans immediately think of the U.S. government budget deficit which is rapidly spiralling out of control.  But that is not the only deficit which is ripping the U.S. economy to shreds.  In fact, many economists commonly speak of the “twin deficits” that are destroying the U.S. financial system.  So what is the “other deficit” that they are referring to?  It is the trade deficit.  Every single month, we buy much more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from us.  That means that every single month there is a massive outflow of wealth from the United States.  Every single day, America becomes just a little bit poorer as Americans continue to run out and fill up their shopping carts with cheap plastic crap from China and dozens of other emerging economies.  Not that trade is a bad thing.  Trade can actually be a very good thing.  But the gigantic trade imbalances that the United States has been running for years are absolutely bleeding us dry.  Unfortunately, our politicians have just stood idly by as each month we continue to transfer massive amounts of wealth out of the United States.

The U.S. Commerce Department recently announced that the U.S. trade deficit increased by 18.8 percent in June to $49.9 billion.  Most analysts had expected the figure to be somewhere around 41 to 43 billion dollars.

In the month of June, imports rose to approximately $200 billion while exports fell to about $150 billion.

So can we afford to have a net outflow of 50 billion dollars each and every month?

Of course not.

We had so much wealth as a nation that we could afford to do this for a while, but the reality is that if this keeps up the rest of the world will eventually drain us dry.

So just how dangerous is the trade deficit?  Well, world famous investor Warren Buffett once put it this way….

“The U.S trade deficit is a bigger threat to the domestic economy than either the federal budget deficit or consumer debt and could lead to political turmoil… Right now, the rest of the world owns $3 trillion more of us than we own of them.”

But very few Americans talk about the trade deficit.

Why?

Number one, it is because our education system has become so dumbed down that most Americans (especially among the younger generations) do not even know what the trade deficit is.

Number two, most Americans are so obsessed with frivolous things such as American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, Lady Gaga and their favorite sports teams that they couldn’t care less about thinking about real issues.

But they should be thinking about foreign trade, because it is literally destroying the nation.

What we have done is we have allowed the monolithic predator corporations that dominate our economy to slowly but surely move their operations to countries such as China and India where labor costs less than a tenth of what it does here.  In the process, executives at those predator corporations are earning huge “performance bonuses” while millions of hard working middle class Americans are losing their jobs.

It is time to wake up.  Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to find a decent job out there right now?  Well, there is a good reason.  The giant predator corporations have decided that they don’t really need us anymore.

Once upon a time, great American companies provided great American jobs for great American workers.  We created the biggest middle class in the history of the world and great industrial cities like Detroit, Michigan were the envy of the world.

But have you been to Detroit lately?

One of the greatest cities in the United States has become a hellhole.  The mayor says that nearly half the people there are out of work.

So what happened?

Did the giant corporations who used to make stuff in Detroit stop making stuff?

No, they are still making lots of stuff.

They just aren’t making their stuff in Detroit anymore.

Now, the truth is that it is really easy to jump on Detroit.  It is a city that has been mismanaged for decades.  But Detroit is far from alone.

All throughout the “rust belt” you can find other Detroits.

At this point many of you may be thinking that people living in places like that should just move.

That may be good advice, but the truth is that what has happened to Detroit is going to be happening everywhere.  It is going to come to your own neighborhood soon enough.  The giant predator corporations are going to continue to try to outsource and offshore every job they can.

Your job may be next.

Perhaps you should start learning about the trade deficit.

Perhaps you should start asking your representatives about it.

Just look at what all of this “free trade” and “globalism” did to our trade deficit between 1991 and 2005…..

Are you troubled by that chart?

You should be.

The U.S. economy is bleeding and the top politicians from both political parties act as if they could really care less.

What do you think is going to happen if tens of billions of dollars continue to pour out of the United States month after month after month?

The economic prosperity that we have all been enjoying is not guaranteed to last forever.

The system of world trade that has developed over the past few decades has provided us with gigantic mountains of cheap plastic crap, but it is not a good system for America or for middle class American workers.

Someday we will look back in horror at how incredibly stupid it was to ship our manufacturing base, our jobs and our prosperity to China.   

But the American people have made their choices.  They allowed the politicians to convince them that NAFTA, GATT and the WTO would be wonderful things for Americans.

They didn’t listen to the warnings about what would ultimately happen to our jobs and our economy.

They didn’t take the time to get educated about foreign trade and the exploding trade deficit.

So now we all get to pay the price.

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.

15 Economic Statistics That Just Keep Getting Worse

A little over a week ago, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner penned an article for the New York Times entitled “Welcome To The Recovery” in which he touted the great strides that the U.S. economy was making.  But with unemployment still dangerously high and with foreclosures and personal bankruptcies continuing to set all-time records, should we really be talking about a “recovery”?  The truth is that the numbers don’t lie, and statistic after statistic shows that the economic fundamentals continue to get progressively worse.  The U.S. government can continue to try to pump up with economy with more debt, but the reality is that there is not going to be a legitimate “recovery” until consumer spending rebounds.  Consumer spending makes up the vast majority of U.S. GDP.  But without good jobs, consumers are not going to be able to spend money.  Unfortunately, our jobs base continues to be erode as millions upon millions of middle class jobs are shipped over to China, India and dozens of third world nations by the global predator corporations that now dominate the world economy.

The U.S. government cannot create real wealth out of thin air.  It can borrow even more money and flood the economy with even more paper currency, but the short-term “buzz” that creates does absolutely nothing to solve our long-term economic problems.

It is the private sector that actually creates wealth.  But unfortunately, over the last several decades we have allowed that wealth to become highly concentrated.  Now the giant global predator corporations have decided that American workers aren’t really that desirable after all.  They are slowly taking away their factories and their offices and they are moving them to where people are willing to work for one-tenth the pay. 

So where does that leave middle class American “consumers”?

Well, it leaves us in a world of hurt.

The following are 15 key economic statistics that just keep getting worse and which reveal the horrific economic plight in which we now find ourselves…. 

1 – The number of Americans who are receiving food stamps rose to a new all-time record of 40.8 million in May.  The number of Americans receiving food stamps has set a new all-time record for 18 months in a row.  But there is every indication that things are going to get even worse.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that the number of Americans on food stamps will increase to 43 million in 2011. 

2 – The U.S. economy lost 131,000 more jobs during the month of July.  But the truth is that the U.S. economy has been bleeding jobs for a long time.  According to one analysis, the United States has lost 10.5 million jobs since 2007.  Meanwhile, immigrants (both legal and illegal) continue to pour into this nation in unprecedented numbers.

3 – Americans who are out of work are finding it incredibly difficult to get back into the workforce.  In the United States today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to an all-time record of 35.2 weeks.

4 – The U.S. government keeps trying to pump up the economy with debt, and in the process things are getting wildly out of control.  According to a U.S. Treasury Department report to Congress, the U.S. national debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015.

5 – The interest on all of this debt is becoming increasingly oppressive.  As of July 1st, the U.S. government had spent $355 billion so far in 2010 on interest payments to the holders of the national debt.  The total for 2010 should be somewhere in the neighborhood of $700 billion.  According to Erskine Bowles, one of the heads of Barack Obama’s national debt commission, the U.S. government will be spending $2 trillion just on interest on the national debt by 2020.  Keep in mind that the entire U.S. government budget is less than $4 trillion for the entire year of 2010.

6 – If the U.S. government was forced to use GAAP accounting principles (like all publicly-traded corporations must), the annual U.S. government budget deficit would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 trillion to $5 trillion.

7 – Social Security will pay out more in benefits in 2010 than it receives in payroll taxes.  This was not supposed to happen until at least 2015.  In the years ahead, these new “Social Security deficits” are projected to be absolutely catastrophic

8 – There are simply far too many retirees and not nearly enough workers to support them.  Back in 1950 each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 workers.  Today, each retiree’s Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 workers.  By 2025 it is projected that there will be approximately two workers for each retiree.

9 – Wealth continues to become highly concentrated at the top.  Since 1973, the average CEO’s salary has increased from 26 times the median income to over 300 times the median income.

10According to a poll taken in 2009, 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck.  That was up significantly from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.

11 – The Mortgage Bankers Association recently announced that more than 10% of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage had missed at least one mortgage payment during the January to March time period.  That was a new all-time record and represented an increase from 9.1 percent a year ago.

12 – A recent survey of last year’s college graduates found that 80 percent moved right back home with their parents after graduation.  That was up substantially from 63 percent in 2006.

13 – During the first quarter of 2010, the total number of loans that are at least three months past due in the United States increased for the 16th consecutive quarter.

14 – The total number of U.S. bank failures passed the 100 mark in July of this year.  In 2009, the total number of U.S. bank failures did not pass the century barrier until October.

15 – The U.S. dollar continues to rapidly decline in value.  An item that cost $20.00 in 1970 would cost you $112.35 today.  An item that cost $20.00 in 1913 would cost you $440.33 today.

Any rational observer (and clearly U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner does not qualify) can see that the foundations of the U.S. economy are coming apart.  The rapidly accumulating mountain of debt that has fueled our “prosperity” is impossible to repay and is going to progressively choke the life out of our economic system.  The good jobs that we have allowed to be shipped out of our country are never coming back.  Every single day, more wealth flows out of this country than flows into it.

Anyone who claims that things are getting “better” is either ignorant, completely deluded or is purposely lying. 

The U.S. economy is not getting “better”.

The U.S. economy is dying.

You should adjust your plans accordingly.

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

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

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

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

Do you know how large one quadrillion is?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unfortunately, he is not exaggerating.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For now.

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

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

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

But we did.

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

11 Reasons Why The Federal Reserve Is Bad

Millions of Americans are waking up to the fact that the Federal Reserve is bad, but very few of them can coherently explain why this is true.  For decades, an unelected, privately-owned central bank has controlled America’s currency, run our economy and has driven the U.S. government to the brink of bankruptcy.  It operates in great secrecy, it has never been subjected to a comprehensive audit and yet the actions it takes have an impact on every single American.  It is an institution designed to drain wealth from the U.S. government (and ultimately from the American people) and transfer it to the ultra-wealthy.  Have you ever wondered why a sovereign nation such as the United States has to borrow United States dollars from anyone?  Have you ever wondered why a sovereign nation such as the United States does not even issue its own currency?  Have you ever wondered why we allow a group of unelected private bankers to run our economy?

Those are some very important questions.  Hopefully what you are about to read will open the eyes of many.  The truth is that our financial system is centrally-controlled and centrally-managed by a group of banking oligarchs who have constructed an ever-expanding debt spiral which has been efficiently designed to slowly transfer all wealth into their hands.

The following are 11 reasons why the Federal Reserve is not good for the United States….

1 – The Federal Reserve was created as a way to enslave the U.S. government with debt.  The truth is that the U.S. government only goes into debt if it chooses to.  Theoretically, one day that U.S. government could simply decide to print as many U.S. dollars as it wants and pay off all government debts.  But under the current system that is not allowed.  You see, today the U.S. government does not issue any money.  The Federal Reserve issues all money.  That is why they are called “Federal Reserve notes”.

Under the current regime, whenever the U.S. government wants more currency to be created it has to go into more debt.

In a previous article entitled “It Is Now Mathematically Impossible To Pay Off The U.S. National Debt” I explained how this insidious system works….

If you will pull a dollar bill out and take a look at it, you will notice that it says “Federal Reserve Note” at the top.

It belongs to the Federal Reserve.

The U.S. government cannot simply go out and create new money whenever it wants under our current system.

Instead, it must get it from the Federal Reserve.

So, when the U.S. government needs to borrow more money (which happens a lot these days) it goes over to the Federal Reserve and asks them for some more green pieces of paper called Federal Reserve Notes.   

The Federal Reserve swaps these green pieces of paper for pink pieces of paper called U.S. Treasury bonds. The Federal Reserve either sells these U.S. Treasury bonds or they keep the bonds for themselves (which happens a lot these days).

So that is how the U.S. government gets more green pieces of paper called “U.S. dollars” to put into circulation. But by doing so, they get themselves into even more debt which they will owe even more interest on.

So every time the U.S. government does this, the national debt gets even bigger and the interest on that debt gets even bigger.

Now, apologists for the Federal Reserve system are quick to point out that the Federal Reserve does not make much of a profit.   Once a “statutory dividend” of 6% is paid to member banks and a capital account surplus is “maintained”, the rest of the profits of the Federal Reserve go back to the U.S. Treasury.

Problem solved, right?

Wrong.

The point is not how much of a profit the Federal Reserve makes or does not make.

The point is that the Federal Reserve is a tool for creating U.S. government debt which slowly drains our national wealth and which ends up greatly enriching the global elite.

As of July 1st, the U.S. government had spent $355 billion so far in 2010 on interest payments to the holders of the national debt.

Have you ever wondered who gets all that money?

The truth is that the wealthiest individuals around the globe have been getting very rich for a very long time off of government debt.

2 – The Federal Reserve creates money out of thin air.  In a previous article, I noted how this fact comes out in congressional hearings and yet the American people just don’t seem to get too upset about it….

During a recent Joint Economic Committee hearing on Capital Hill, U.S. Representative Ron Paul directly confronted Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke about this 1.3 trillion dollars.  As Ron Paul described how this 1.3 trillion was just created out of thin air, all Bernanke could do was nod his head.  Why?  Because it was the truth.

3– The huge predator megabanks that now dominate the U.S. banking system use the Federal Reserve as a tool to make money.  One of the ways they do this is called the U.S. Treasury carry trade.  What happens is that the Federal Reserve lends huge amounts of money to the megabanks for next to nothing, and then these megabanks use all that cash to buy U.S. government debt.  This little “trick” helped enable four of the biggest U.S. banks (Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup) to have a “perfect quarter” with zero days of trading losses during the first quarter of 2010.  Wouldn’t you like to have a perfect batting average?

4 – The Federal Reserve devalues our currency.  Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, the U.S. dollar has lost 96 percent of its purchasing power.  The truth is that just a two percent inflation rate will wipe out half of your purchasing power within a single generation.  In the chart below, you can clearly see that the beginning of the rapid rise of inflation in the United States coincided with the creation of the Federal Reserve….

5 – The Federal Reserve manipulates the U.S. economy by setting national interest rates.  By keeping rates high or low, the Federal Reserve has the power to create economic growth or to destroy it.  They have the power to inflate massive bubbles and to pop them.  Most Americans give way too much credit and blame to presidents like Bush or Obama for how the economy is doing.  The truth is that they really don’t have that much control over the economy compared to the Federal Reserve.

6 – The Federal Reserve also controls the  national money supply.  They can pump trillions into the economy or pull trillions out without being accountable to anyone.  This can have disastrous consequences.  For example, after the U.S. stock market crash of 1929, the Federal Reserve continued to contract the money supply.  Many analysts believe that this was one of the key things that precipitated the Great Depression.

7– The Federal Reserve is not part of the U.S. government.  The truth is that the Federal Reserve is about as “federal” as Federal Express is.  In defending itself against a Bloomberg request for information under the Freedom of Information Act, the Federal Reserve objected by declaring that it was “not an agency” of the U.S. government and therefore it was not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.  It is kind of funny how Fed officials are always talking about how important their “independence” is, but whenever anyone starts criticizing them for being private they start stressing their ties with the government.

8 – The Federal Reserve has become far, far too powerful.  The reality is that those running the Federal Reserve are not elected and yet have an enormous amount of control.  In fact, Ron Paul recently told MSNBC that he believes that the Federal Reserve is 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.”

9– The Federal Reserve is dominated by Wall Street and the New York banks.  The New York representative is the only permanent member of the Federal Open Market Committee, while other regional banks rotate in 2 and 3 year intervals.  The former head of the New York Fed, Timothy Geithner, is now U.S. Treasury Secretary.  The truth is that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has always been the most important of the regional Fed banks by far, and in turn the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has always been dominated by Wall Street and the major New York banks.

10– Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke wants to completely eliminate minimum reserve requirements for banks.  Fractional reserve banking has always been a way that the bankers have conned the public, but now Bernanke wants to get rid of the pretense of “reserves” altogether.

It is almost too bizarre to believe, but it is right there in black and white on the Federal Reserve’s own website….

The Federal Reserve believes it is possible that, ultimately, its operating framework will allow the elimination of minimum reserve requirements, which impose costs and distortions on the banking system.

11 – The Federal Reserve is not accountable to anyone.  The Federal Reserve has never undergone a true comprehensive audit since it was created back in 1913.  Ron Paul’s proposal to audit the Federal Reserve, which had previously been co-sponsored by 320 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, ultimately failed by a vote of 229-198.

But shouldn’t the American people be able to see what is going on inside the Federal Reserve?

Shouldn’t we have some way to keep them accountable?

After all, they have an incredible amount of power over us, shouldn’t we have at least a little bit of power over them?

Unfortunately, the truth is that they desperately do not want light to be shined on the elaborate “shell game” that they are running.

Have you ever wondered if it was just a coincidence that the personal income tax was implemented just about the same time that the Federal Reserve was created?

Why does the U.S. government have to tax us?

Why can’t the U.S. government just print up all the money that it needs?

Well, the way that our Congress spends money that would probably create horrific hyperinflation, but that is the subject for another article.

The point is that the U.S. government should not have to get U.S. dollars from someone else.

If you take a few minutes to stop and think about it, an America where there is no Federal Reserve, no personal income tax and no IRS is not that hard to imagine.

If the U.S. government functioned just fine without all of them at one time, then why couldn’t the U.S. government function just fine without all of them now?

The system we have now clearly is not working.  The Federal Reserve was supposed to guarantee that our financial system would be perfectly stable, but in reality our financial system has become much more unstable.

It is time for different thinking.  It is time for the U.S. government to take back control of our currency and of our economy.  It is time to start electing some people with common sense to represent us in Washington.

So what do you think of the Federal Reserve?  Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion….

Look What Surprises They Snuck Into The Financial Reform Bill

Even just a decade ago, major pieces of legislation in the U.S. Congress would be just a few dozen pages long.  But today, it seems like every time Congress passes an important bill it ends up being over a thousand pages long.  In fact, the final version of the new financial reform law was over 2,300 pages.  Overall, as we wrote about extensively in a previous article, this much-ballyhooed new law does a whole lot of nothing, but it turns out that lobbyists and special interests were able to insert a few nasty surprises that we are just now finding out about.  But it was the same thing with the health care reform law.  It was only after it was passed that most of us learned that it contained a provision that will force U.S. small businesses to collectively produce millions more 1099 tax forms each year.  Now small businesses from coast to coast are screaming bloody murder about that provision but it is too late – the law has already passed.  Unfortunately, there are some surprises in the recently passed financial reform law that are nearly just as bad.

So just what are those surprises?

Well, first let’s talk about what the financial reform law does not do.  The financial reform bill was supposed to “fix” Wall Street and the financial system, but it did not do much of anything….        

-It does nothing to address the problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

-It does not eliminate “too big to fail”.

-It does absolutely nothing to eliminate the horrific bubble in the derivatives market.

-It does nothing to reform the organization most responsible for the recent financial crisis – the Federal Reserve.  In fact, this new law actually gives the Federal Reserve even more power.

But it does create a ton of new paperwork and a bunch of new government organizations.

Oh goody!

But was there any major law that Congress has passed over the last several years that did not increase the size and scope of government?

That is a good question.

In any event, let’s get to some of the nasty surprises contained in the new financial reform law….

*Barack Obama has been running around touting how this new law will “increase transparency” in the financial world, but it turns out that a little-noticed provision of the new law exempts the Securities and Exchange Commission from virtually all requests for information by the public, including those filed under the Freedom of Information Act.

Not that the SEC was doing much good anyway.

But now the SEC’s incompetence and the nefarious actions of those they are investigating will be hidden from public view.

So what makes the SEC so special that they get to block the public from seeing their records while other government agencies still have to comply with FOIA?

Talk about ridiculous.

But there is actually another little surprise contained in the new law that is even more nasty….

*Another little-noticed section deeply embedded in the financial reform law actually gives the federal government the authority to terminate government contracts with any “financial firm” that fails to ensure the “fair inclusion” of women and minorities in its workforce.

This section of the law, written by U.S. Representative Maxine Waters, is 1,261 words long and it establishes “Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion” in the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission and more than a dozen other finance-related agencies.

The directors of these new departments are tasked with developing standards that “ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the fair inclusion and utilization of minorities, women, and minority-owned and women-owned businesses in all business and activities of the agency at all levels, including in procurement, insurance, and all types of contracts.”

The maximum extent possible?

That sounds pretty strong.

 So what kind of firms does this section apply to?

Well, according to Politico, this section is going to apply to just about anyone who has anything to do with the financial industry….

This applies to “services of any kind,” including investment firms, mortgage banking firms, asset management firms, brokers, dealers, underwriters, accountants, consultants and law firms, the legislation states. Every contractor and subcontractor must now certify that their workforces reflect a “fair inclusion” of women and minorities.

The truth is that this small section of the law represents a fundamental change in employment law in the United States.

And it is written so vaguely that firms are going to be tempted to go above and beyond in complying with it just so they are safe.  In fact, many analysts are already saying that it could lead to an unofficial quota system.

In any event, hundreds of new federal government bureaucrats will be watching to make certain that these vague new regulations are fully implemented.

*It also looks like the new financial reform law is going to end the era of free checking accounts.

Why?

Well, it turns out that the new law really limits the amount of fees that banks can charge and the way that they charge them.

So banks have got to make their money somewhere.  Wells Fargo and Bank of America have already announced new fees on checking accounts, and other banks are expected to follow their lead shortly.

What a mess.

Can’t Congress do anything right these days?

At this point Congress is so incompetent that if they would just sit there and do nothing that would be a vast improvement.

But that isn’t going to happen.

So what do you all think about this new financial reform law?  Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion below….

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