Four Reasons To Be Even Less Optimistic About The Global Financial System Than You Were Last Month

The cracks in the ice are getting bigger.  At this point it is really hard to have much confidence in the global financial system at all.  They told us that MF Global was an isolated incident.  Well, the horrific financial scandal over at PFGBest is essentially MF Global all over again.  They told us that we would not see a huge wave of municipal bankruptcies in the United States.  Well, three California cities have declared bankruptcy in less than a month.  They told us that we could have faith in the integrity of the global financial system.  Well, now we are finding out that global interest rates have been fixed by insiders for years.  They told us that Greece was an isolated problem and that none of the larger European nations would experience anything remotely similar.  Well, what is happening in Spain right now looks like an instant replay of exactly what happened in Greece.  So who are we supposed to believe?  Why does it seem like nearly everything that “the authorities” tell us turns out to be a lie?   What else haven’t they been telling us?

The following are four reasons to be even less optimistic about the global financial system than you were last month….

#1 PFGBest Is MF Global All Over Again

Do you remember that whole MF Global thing?

Do you remember how hundreds of millions of dollars of customer funds were “missing” due to “accounting irregularities”?

Well, it is happening again.

PFGBest is a brokerage firm in Cedar Falls, Iowa that mostly handles agricultural futures.

All hell broke loose when the National Futures Association discovered that a bank account that was supposed to be holding 225 million dollars of customer funds was only holding about 5 million dollars instead.

So where is the other 220 million dollars?

That is a very good question.

Of course it is not a promising sign that the head of PFGBest tried to commit suicide when this news came out.

A lot of PFGBest clients are going to be absolutely devastated by this scandal.  The following is from a recent Reuters article….

Farmers on Tuesday fumed at the prospect of financial losses, or at a minimum a lengthy wait for the return of frozen funds, due to alleged mismanagement at brokerage PFGBest, and some said they had been burned for the last time.

The U.S. futures industry reeled as regulators accused Iowa-based PFGBest of misappropriating more than $200 million in customer funds for more than two years, a new blow to trader trust just months after MF Global’s collapse.

Centered in the heart of farm belt, the firm handled agricultural futures accounts for a number of clients who grow corn, soybeans and cotton.

But it is not just PFGBest clients that are going to feel the pain of this scandal.

The truth is that this is going to deeply shake confidence in the entire global financial system.

Many dismissed what happened at MF Global as an “isolated incident”.

But now it is happening again.

Fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me twice, shame on me.

#2 A Third California City Goes Bankrupt In Less Than A Month

First it was Stockton.

Then it was Mammoth Lakes.

Now it is San Bernardino’s turn.

On Tuesday, the city council of San Bernardino, California voted to file for bankruptcy.

An article in the Los Angeles Times detailed the issues at the heart of San Bernardino’s financial problems….

The city’s fiscal crisis has been years in the making, compounded by the nation’s crushing recession and exacerbated by escalating pension costs, lucrative labor agreements, Sacramento’s raid on redevelopment funds and a city reserve that is tapped out, officials said.

While it would be easy to dump on the state of California (and that is something I have done quite often), the truth is that we are seeing municipal debt problems erupting all over the United States.

For example, the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania has such severe financial problems that the mayor of Scranton has ordered that all city employees be paid minimum wage until a solution to the crisis is found.

If this was television, Dwight Schrute would find a way to save the day for Scranton.

Unfortunately, this is real life and Dwight Schrute does not exist in real life.

#3 The Liborgate Scandal Keeps Getting Worse

We have been taught that we should all have faith in the integrity of the global financial system.

What a bunch of baloney that turned out to be.

It turns out that banksters have been colluding to fix global interest rates for years.

“Liborgate” is being called the biggest financial scandal in history.  Libor is important because it is one of the key benchmarks used to set prices for hundreds of trillions of dollars of loans, securities and derivatives.

British banking giant Barclays has already admitted that they were involved in manipulating Libor.

Barclays has already agreed to pay $453 million in fines to British and U.S. authorities.

But the truth is that it would have been totally impossible for Barclays to have manipulated Libor by themselves.

So who else was involved?

That was a question that was discussed in a recent article in The Economist….

Over the past week damning evidence has emerged, in documents detailing a settlement between Barclays and regulators in America and Britain, that employees at the bank and at several other unnamed banks tried to rig the number time and again over a period of at least five years. And worse is likely to emerge. Investigations by regulators in several countries, including Canada, America, Japan, the EU, Switzerland and Britain, are looking into allegations that LIBOR and similar rates were rigged by large numbers of banks. Corporations and lawyers, too, are examining whether they can sue Barclays or other banks for harm they have suffered. That could cost the banking industry tens of billions of dollars. “This is the banking industry’s tobacco moment,” says the chief executive of a multinational bank, referring to the lawsuits and settlements that cost America’s tobacco industry more than $200 billion in 1998. “It’s that big,” he says.

As many as 20 big banks have been named in various investigations or lawsuits alleging that LIBOR was rigged. The scandal also corrodes further what little remains of public trust in banks and those who run them.

So what does all of this mean?

The Wall Street Journal says that the credibility of the entire global financial system is at stake….

At stake is both the integrity of the world’s financial system and the credibility of the U.K. authorities to police it. Long before the current scandal, many European policy makers had concluded that London during the boom was the Wild West, whose loose standards are a threat to European financial stability. The Libor scandal suggests U.S. regulators have reached similar conclusions. The Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the U.S. regulatory body that first started investigating rate-fixing, left little doubt how seriously it regards the abuses it uncovered.

Once faith is shattered, it is incredibly difficult to rebuild.

And right now it is really hard to come up with a decent argument why anyone should trust their money to such a corrupt system.

#4 Spain Is Turning Into Greece

A central government drowning in debt?

Check.

A banking system on the verge of collapse?

Check.

Politicians pushing a forced austerity program that includes much higher taxes, much lower government spending and greatly reduced pay for government workers?

Check.

Wild rioting in the streets by protesters?

Check.

Let’s see….where have we seen this before?

Can anyone still possibly deny that Spain is going down the exact same road that Greece has gone?

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is proposing a huge slate of tough austerity measures including a 3 point increase in the Value Added Tax on goods and services.  If that 3 point hike is implemented, the Value Added Tax will rise to 21 percent.

Could you imagine going to the store and paying a 21 percent sales tax?

Ouch.

Rajoy is promising that these measures will get Spain back on the right track.

Of course we have already seen how well such austerity measures have worked in Greece.

The unemployment rate in Spain is already up to 24.4 percent, and now these austerity measures will slow the economy down even more.

No wonder there is rioting in the streets.  You can see high quality footage of the rioting that has been going on in Spain this week right here.  At one point police were seen firing rubber bullets at the protesters.

But of course the citizens of Spain could not live way above their means forever.  At some point every debt bubble ends, and when that happens the results are often incredibly painful.

This is a lesson that the United States has not learned either.  When we stop racking up more than a trillion dollars of additional government debt every year our “adjustment” will be exceedingly painful as well.

A little over a week ago, I wrote an article entitled “17 Reasons To Be EXTREMELY Concerned About The Second Half Of 2012“. I never imagined that things would get so much worse in just a week.

Everything seems to be accelerating these days.

That includes the decay that is happening in society.  A few days ago I made a list of 25 signs that society is falling apart, but then another story came along after I had finished my article that topped all of the examples in my list.  The following is how one man in West Virginia has been treating his wife….

During the conversation, according to the criminal complaint, Lizon’s wife told the woman that her husband had kept her chained up with metal padlocks and chains for about 10 years. The woman noticed scar tissue on the victim’s hands and ankles. Lizon’s wife told the woman that the scars were from the chains tearing into her skin.

Lizon’s wife told the woman that she and her husband were originally from Czechoslovakia, and that they live in Leroy, W.Va.

According to the complaint, the woman told investigators that the feet of Lizon’s wife were “mutilated and swollen,” one of which was missing a considerable amount of skin. Lizon’s wife told the woman that her husband smashed her foot with a bucket or scoop attachment of a farm tractor.

Lizon’s wife also told the woman Lizon called her his “slave,” and that whenever her husband entered the room she had to kneel down before him, according to the complaint.

Can you imagine anyone doing that?

Can you imagine any husband chaining his wife up for 10 years?

That is so sick that it is beyond words to describe it.

Unfortunately, that is not just one isolated incident of depravity in a world filled with goodness.

The truth is that the entire world system is saturated with depravity and corruption.

If anyone is willing to stand up for “the integrity of the global financial system”, I challenge you to leave a comment below explaining to the rest of us why we should still have blind faith in the system after everything that has happened.

I don’t imagine that too many people will even attempt to take me up on that challenge.

5 New Lies That The Federal Reserve Is Telling The American People

The Federal Reserve says that everything is going to be okay.  The Fed says that unemployment is going to go down, inflation is going to remain low and economic growth is going to steadily increase.  Do you believe them this time?  As you will see later in this article, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has been dead wrong about the economy over and over again.  But the mainstream media and many Americans still seem to have a lot of faith in the Federal Reserve.  It doesn’t seem to matter that Bernanke and other Fed officials have been telling the American people lies for years.  As I always say, most people believe what they want to believe, and many people seem to want to have blind faith in the Federal Reserve even when logic and reason would dictate otherwise.  The truth is that things are not going to be getting much better than they are right now.  When the next wave of the financial crisis hits, the U.S. economy is going to fall back into recession, financial markets are going to crash and unemployment is going to absolutely skyrocket.  But you will never hear any of that from the Federal Reserve.

The following are 5 new lies that the Federal Reserve is telling the American people.  After each lie I have posted what The Economic Collapse Blog thinks is actually going to happen….

#1 The Federal Reserve says that the labor market has improved and that unemployment is going to decline significantly over the next few years.

The following is a quote from the FOMC press release that was released on Wednesday….

Labor market conditions have improved in recent months; the unemployment rate has declined but remains elevated.

The Federal Reserve is projecting that the unemployment rate will fall within the range of 7.8 percent and 8.0 percent by the end of 2012.

The Federal Reserve is also projecting that the unemployment rate will fall within the range of 6.7 percent and 7.4 percent by the end of 2014.

The Economic Collapse Blog says that the labor market has not improved.  In March 2010, 58.5 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  Exactly two years later in March 2012, 58.5 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  If the labor market was improving, the percentage of working age Americans with a job should have gone up.

The Economic Collapse Blog also says that while there is a chance the official unemployment rate may go down slightly in the short-term, the truth is that it is going to go up into double digits once the next wave of the financial crisis hits us.

#2 The Federal Reserve says that that U.S. economy is going to experience solid GDP growth over the next couple of years.

In fact, the Federal Reserve is projecting that U.S. GDP will be rising at an annual rate that falls between 3.1 percent and 3.6 percent by the end of 2014.

The Economic Collapse Blog says that a great economic cataclysm is coming….

“When the European banking system crashes (and it will) it is going to reverberate around the globe.  The epicenter of the next great financial crisis is going to be in Europe, and it is getting closer with each passing day.”

#3 The Federal Reserve says that we can expect low inflation for an extended period of time.

The Federal Reserve is officially projecting that the annual rate of inflation will not be higher than 2.0 percent by the end of 2012.  Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reinforced this projection during his press conference on Wednesday….

“But we expect that to pass through the system, and assuming no new shocks in the oil sector, inflation ought to moderate to about 2 percent later this year.”

The Economic Collapse Blog says that the Fed is being tremendously dishonest and that if inflation was measured the exact same way that it was measured back in 1980, the annual rate of inflation would be more than 10 percent right now.

The truth is that most middle class families know that we do not have low inflation right now.  This is hammered home millions of times a day when average Americans visit the gas station or the grocery store.

At the beginning of the next recession inflation will likely subside, but that will only be because economic activity will be slowing down dramatically.

#4 The Federal Reserve says that it has built up a 30 year reputation for keeping inflation low.

Ben Bernanke actually had the gall to make the following claim during his press conference on Wednesday….

“We, the Federal Reserve, have spent 30 years building up credibility for low and stable inflation, which has proved extremely valuable in that we’ve been able to take strong accommodative actions in the last four, five years to support the economy.”

Oh really?

The Economic Collapse Blog says that the Federal Reserve has nearly a 100 year reputation for destroying the value of the U.S. dollar.  Even using the Fed’s doctored numbers, the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by more than 95 percent since 1913.

To get a really good idea of just how much the dollar has been destroyed by the Fed over the years, just check out this chart.

#5 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that we should trust him because the Federal Reserve stands ready to do whatever is necessary to support the U.S. economy.

“If appropriate… we remain entirely prepared to take additional action”

The Economic Collapse Blog says that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is doing a great disservice by not warning the American people about the tremendous crisis that is coming.  In a recent article I stated that this next crisis will blindside most Americans just like the last one did….

“Sadly, just like back in 2008, most people will never even see this next crisis coming.”

So who should you trust – the Federal Reserve or all of the half-crazed bloggers out there that are warning about the “serious doom” that is coming.

Well, come back to this article in a year or two and compare how accurate the predictions were.

In the end, time will tell who is telling lies and who is not.

If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.

For example, let’s take a quick look at Ben Bernanke’s track record over the past several years.

The following are statements that Bernanke actually made to the public….

#1 (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.”

#2 (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.”

#3 (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.”

#4 (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.”

#5 (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.”

#6 (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.”

#7 (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.”

#8 (January 10, 2008) “The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession.”

#9 (June 10, 2008) “The risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so.”

But don’t worry, Ben Bernanke insists that he knows exactly what is going on this time.

So do you believe him?

A lot of Americans don’t.  In fact, an “economic collapse” is the number one catastrophic event that Americans worry about according to one recent survey.

Perhaps that is one reason why so many Americans are preparing for doomsday these days.

The central planners over at the Federal Reserve are not going to solve our economic problems.

The truth is that the Fed is at the very heart of our economic problems.

We have been living in the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world and that debt bubble has been facilitated by the Fed.

Over the past three decades, the total amount of debt in America has increased by about 50 trillion dollars.  By stealing from future generations, we have been able to live like kings and queens, but there is going to be a great price to pay for our foolishness.

Ben Bernanke and the other folks running the Federal Reserve are just going to keep insisting that everything is going to be okay for as long as they possibly can.  They are going to tell you that they know exactly how to fix things and that the economy will be back on track very soon.

Don’t be stupid and believe them this time.

Mob Robbers And Rampant Looting: Is This The Future Of America?

Have you ever heard of mob robberies?  What happens is that dozens of young people storm a store at the same time, take whatever they want, and then storm out as powerless store clerks watch helplessly.  Most of the time these “mob robbers” end up getting caught, but unfortunately “group crime” is a trend that is rising.  Is it a sign of the times that large groups of people are starting to recklessly invade retail establishments?  Is this the future of America?  As I have written about so frequently, the U.S. middle class is being destroyed by this economy and large numbers of our young people are losing hope.  Frustration and anger are rising from coast to coast and millions of Americans are losing faith in the system.  The thin veneer of civilization which we all take for granted is already starting to disappear.  So what is going to happen when the economy collapses?  As our economic system fails, mob robberies and rampant looting are only going to become more common.  Let us hope that the economy can hold together for at least a couple more years, because once society falls apart things are going to get really, really ugly in our major cities.

Are you prepared for what America is going to look like during the next Great Depression?  It isn’t going to be pretty.  Over the past couple of decades we have gotten hints of what America is going to look like when society breaks down, and those hints have been very frightening.

This first video is a news report about the mob robberies that have taken place in Minnesota recently.  What would you do if you were a store clerk in this situation….

Unfortunately, these mob robberies are not just an anomaly.  The American people really do seem to be losing it.  Over the past couple of years, some almost unbelievable brawls have been breaking out in restaurants and in retail establishments all over the nation.

In addition, who could forget the wild mob scenes that erupted at stores all over America during the most recent Black Friday holiday sales?

Of course we all remember what happened during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  All along the Gulf Coast looting was rampant.  Sadly, people were even openly looting stores in front of television news cameras….

This third video contains a compilation of footage from all over the United States over the past few decades.  Is this what America is going to look like when the economy breaks down and people are going wild in the streets?….

But don’t think that Americans only act this way in the big cities.  The truth is that human decency is breaking down everywhere.  This was perfectly illustrated by a recently reported case of horrific child abuse in Oklahoma.

According to CNN, a 9-year-old girl, an 11-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy were actually forced to eat pet food and had suffered burns all over their bodies due to the nightmarish abuse that they had received from the couple that adopted them.

The 15-year-old boy in this case told authorities that at one point he was forced to live in a plastic dog carrier for two months and that all three of the children have had their tongues burned with a hot spoon by their “parents”.

The following is how CNN described some of the abuse that these children were subjected to….

Authorities said the Kluths are accused of burning the children with hot spoons, choking them and locking them “in the storm shelter behind the residence for long periods of time with only chairs to sit in and plastic buckets for bathroom use. It was also alleged that the Kluths deprived the children of meals for punishment and fed them cat food and dog food,” according to a statement from authorities.

Can you imagine?

As Americans, we like to think of ourselves as “good people”, but is that really true?

In the United States today, the percentage of the population that is in prison is more than ten times higher than it is in Japan.

Part of that is because the U.S. is rapidly becoming a “Big Brother” police state, but we also have to admit that the American people don’t seem to be made of the same “stuff” that they used to.

Something has gone dramatically wrong.

We have lost our way.

Is this country going to be able to handle another Great Depression?

Right now more than 43 million Americans are on food stamps.  This is helping keep the population under control.  But what is going to happen when the price of food goes up 50 percent and all of these millions of people can’t even feed themselves anymore?

That is a frightening thing to think about.

Most Americans have never known hard times.  Most Americans cannot even imagine what deep economic suffering is like.

When the U.S. economy does completely unravel, it is going to blindside most of the population.  Many Americans will go completely crazy when they finally realize that the “good times” are gone and are never coming back.

What we are seeing in Wisconsin right now is only a very small foretaste of the kinds of economic protests that we will see in the future.  There are tens of millions of Americans that are just not going to quietly accept that their affluence is gone permanently.

Unfortunately, the time to start saying something was years ago.  Our economy is being gutted right in front of our eyes and yet most Americans just keep on voting for the globalist politicians that continue to ship our factories, our jobs and our prosperity overseas.

Believe it or not, cities like Detroit, Michigan were once the envy of the world.

In 2011, the rest of the world laughs at Detroit.  It has become a global joke.

And you know what?

Hundreds of other communities across the United States are being slowly but surely transformed into new Detroits.

Today, there are many towns across the United States where you can almost reach out and feel the despair.  It is almost as if someone has sucked all of the hope right out of the atmosphere.

People are getting desperate.  As the economy crumbles crime is only going to increase.  In fact, many of our biggest cities have large areas where residents simply do not ever want to venture outside after the sun goes down.  Life is getting crazier in America with each passing year.

The America that so many of us so fondly remember is being rapidly destroyed.

So what do you all think?  Are mob robbers and rampant looting the future of America?  Are people going to go crazy when the economy collapses or are Americans going to be able to handle it fairly well?  Please feel free to leave a comment with your opinion below….

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