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.”

20 Statistics That Prove That Global Wealth Is Being Funneled Into The Hands Of The Elite – Leaving Most Of The Rest Of The World Wretchedly Poor

Today global wealth is more highly concentrated in the hands of the elite than it ever has been at any other point in modern history.  Once upon a time, the vast majority of the people in the world knew how to grow their own food, raise their own animals and take care of themselves.  There weren’t many that were fabulously wealthy, but there was a quiet dignity in having land you could call your own or in having a skill that you could turn into a business.  Sadly, over the past several decades an increasingly growing percentage of agricultural land has been gobbled up by big corporations and by corrupt governments.  Hundreds of millions of people have been pushed off their land and into highly concentrated urban areas.  Meanwhile, it has become increasingly difficult to start a business of your own as monolithic global corporations have come to dominate nearly every sector of the world economy.  So more people than ever around the world are forced to work for “the system” just to make a living.  At the same time, those at the very top of the food chain (the elite) have spent decades rigging the system to ensure that increasing amounts of wealth will continue to flow into their pockets.  So now in 2010 we have a global system where a few elitists at the top are insanely wealthy while about half the people living on earth are wretchedly poor.

There are very few nations around the world that have not been almost entirely plundered by the global elite.  When the elite speak of “investing” in poor countries, what they really mean is taking control of the land, water, oil and other natural resources.  In dozens of nations around the world today, big global corporations are stripping fabulous amounts of wealth out of the ground even as the vast majority of the citizens of those nations continue to live in abject poverty.  Meanwhile, the top politicians in those nations are given huge bribes to go along with the plundering.

So what we have in 2010 is a world that is dominated by a very small handful of ultra-wealthy elitists that own an almost unbelievable amount of real assets, a larger group of “middle managers” that run the system for the global elite (and are rewarded very handsomely for doing so), hundreds of millions of people who actually do the work required by the system, and several billion “useless eaters” that the global elite don’t really need and that they don’t really have much use for.

The system was not ever designed to lift up the poor.  Nor was it ever designed to promote “free enterprise” and “competition”.  Rather, the elite intend to funnel all wealth to themselves and to have the rest of us enslaved either to debt or to poverty.

The following are 20 statistics that prove that the wealth of the world is increasingly being funneled into the hands of the global elite, leaving most of the rest of the world wretchedly poor and miserable….

#1 According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the number of “least developed countries” has doubled over the past 40 years.

#2 “Least developed countries” spent 9 billion dollars on food imports in 2002.  By 2008, that number had risen to 23 billion dollars.

#3 Average income per person in the poorest countries on the continent of Africa has fallen by one-fourth over the past twenty years.

#4 Bill Gates has a net worth of somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 billion dollars.  That means that there are approximately 140 different nations that have a yearly GDP which is smaller than the amount of money Bill Gates has.

#5 A study by the World Institute for Development Economics Research discovered that the bottom half of the world population owns approximately 1 percent of all global wealth.

#6 Approximately 1 billion people throughout the world go to bed hungry each night.

#7 The wealthiest 2 percent own more than half of all global household assets.

#8 It is estimated that over 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where the income gap between the rich and the poor is widening.

#9 Every 3.6 seconds someone starves to death and three-quarters of them are children under the age of 5.

#10 According to Gallup, 33 percent of the people on the globe say that they do not have enough money for food.

#11 As you read this, there are 2.6 billion people around the world that lack basic sanitation.

#12 According to the most recent “Global Wealth Report” by Credit Suisse, the wealthiest 0.5% control over 35% of the wealth of the world.

#13 More than 3 billion people, close to half the world’s population, live on less than 2 dollar a day.

#14 CNN founder Ted Turner is the largest private landowner in the United States.  Today, Turner owns approximately two million acres.  That is an amount greater than the land masses of the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.  Turner also advocates restricting U.S. couples to 2 or fewer children to control population growth.

#15 There are 400 million children in the world today that have no access to safe water.

#16 Approximately 28 percent of all children in developing countries are considered to be underweight or have had their growth stunted as a result of malnutrition.

#17 It is estimated that the United States owns approximately 25 percent of the total wealth of the world.

#18 It is estimated that the entire continent of Africa owns approximately 1 percent of the total wealth of the world.

#19 In 2008, approximately 9 million children died before they reached their fifth birthdays.  Approximately a third of all of these deaths was due either directly or indirectly to lack of food.

#20 The most famous banking family in the world, the Rothschilds, has accumulated mountains of wealth while much of the rest of the world has been trapped in poverty.  The following is what Wikipedia has to say about Rothschild family wealth….

It has been argued that during the 19th century, the family possessed by far the largest private fortune in the world, and by far the largest fortune in modern history.

Nobody seems to know exactly how much the Rothschilds are worth today.  They dominate the banking establishments of England, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and many other nations.  It was estimated that they were worth billions back in the mid-1800s.  What the total wealth of the family is today is surely an amount that is almost unimaginable, but nobody knows for sure.

Meanwhile, billions of people around the globe are wondering where their next meal is going to come from.

At this point, many readers will want to start arguing about how horrible capitalism is and about how wonderful socialism and communism are.

But capitalism is not the problem and as we have seen countless times over the past several decades, government ownership of business is not the solution to anything.

What we have in the world today is not capitalism.  Rather, it more closely resembles “feudalism” than anything else.  The elite are “monopoly men” who use their unbelievable wealth and power to dominate the rest of us.  In fact, it was John D. Rockefeller who once said that “competition is sin”.

It would be great if we lived in a world where those living in poverty were encouraged to start owning land, to create businesses and to build better lives for themselves.

But instead, things are going the other way.  Wealth is becoming more concentrated in the hands of the elite, and the middle class is starting to be wiped out even in prosperous nations such as the United States.

It turns out that the global elite have decided that they don’t really need so many expensive American “worker bees” after all and they have been moving thousands of factories and millions of jobs overseas.  Meanwhile the American people are so distracted watching Dancing with the Stars, Lady Gaga and their favorite sports teams that they don’t even realize what is going on.

There is no guarantee that America will be prosperous forever.  Today, a record number of Americans are already living in poverty.  Today, a record number of Americans are on food stamps.  The median household income went down last year and it went down the year before that too.

So wake up.  America is being integrated into a world economic system that is dominated and controlled by the insanely wealthy elite.  They don’t care that you have to pay the mortgage or that you intend to send your kids to college.  Mostly what they care about is making as much money for themselves as they can.

Greed is running rampant around the globe, and the world is becoming a very cold place.  Unfortunately, unless something really dramatic happens, the rich are just going to continue to get richer and the poor are just going to continue to get poorer.

How In The World Did We Get To The Point Where The Federal Reserve Is Printing Money Out Of Thin Air Whenever It Wants?

Ben Bernanke and the rest of the folks over at the Federal Reserve did not just wake up one day and decide that they wanted to start printing hundreds of billions of dollars out of thin air.  The truth is that the economic forces that have brought us to this point have taken decades to develop.  In the post-World War 2 era, when the U.S. economy has fallen into a recession, either the Federal Reserve would lower interest rates or the U.S. government would indulge in even more deficit spending to stimulate the economy.  But now, as you will see below, both of those alternatives have been exhausted.  In addition, we are now rapidly reaching the point where there are simply not enough lenders out there to feed the U.S. government’s voracious appetite for debt.  So now the Federal Reserve is openly printing hundreds of billions of dollars that will enable them to finance U.S. government borrowing, and (they hope) stimulate the U.S. economy at the same time.  Unfortunately, the rest of the world is not amused.  Nations such as China, Japan and many of the oil-exporting nations of the Middle East have accumulated a lot of U.S. dollars and a lot of U.S. Treasuries and they are not pleased that those investments are now being significantly devalued.

So how did we get to this point?  Why is the Federal Reserve printing money out of thin air in a desperate attempt to stimulate the economy?

Well, the Federal Reserve has more or less exhausted all of the other tools that it has traditionally used to help the economy during an economic downturn.  As you can see from the chart below, the Federal Reserve has lowered interest rates during past recessions.  The goal of lowering interest rates is to make it less expensive to borrow money and thus spark more economic activity.  Well, as you can see, the Federal Reserve has no place else to go with interest rates.  Over the past 30 years, rates have consistently been pushed down, down, down and now they are kissing the floor….

Another way that the U.S. economy has been “stimulated” over the past 30 years is through increased government spending.  The theory is that if the government spends more money, that will get more cash into the hands of the people and spark more economic activity.  That was the whole idea behind the “economic stimulus packages” that were pushed through Congress.  However, increased government spending always comes at a very high cost under our current system.  Government debt is now totally out of control.  As you can see below, the U.S. national debt has exploded from about one trillion dollars in 1980 to over 13 trillion dollars today.  Currently, there is very little appetite in Congress for more government spending to stimulate the economy, especially after the results of the November election.

Most Americans don’t realize it, but much of our incredible “prosperity” over the last 30 years has been fueled by the mountains of debt that we have accumulated.  Now U.S. government debt is exploding at an exponential rate….

Sadly, the U.S. government has absolutely no self-control when it comes to spending money.  Our politicians are absolutely addicted to debt.

The truth is that the U.S. government just can’t seem to stop wasting money. One of the most comical news stories of the past few days involved the Recovery Independent Advisory Panel, which is a sub-committee of the larger Recovery Accountability and Transparency board.  This panel will be holding a meeting on November 22nd to discuss how to prevent “fraud, waste, and abuse” of economic stimulus funds.

So where will this meeting be held?

It is going to be held at the ultra-luxurious Ritz Carlton Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona.

Yes, seriously.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

So if the Federal Reserve cannot stimulate the economy through lower interest rates and the U.S. government cannot stimulate the economy by spending even more money, what does that leave us with?

Unfortunately, that leaves us with either doing nothing or with having the Federal Reserve print money out of thin air and shovel it into the economy.

Sadly, even after months of news headlines about quantitative easing, most Americans still do not understand what it is.  The following is a short video that is very humorous but that also does a good job of simply explaining what quantitative easing is and why it is bad for the U.S. economy….

Quantitative Easing Explained

For much more on why quantitative easing is so destructive, please see an article that I previously authored entitled “9 Reasons Why Quantitative Easing Is Bad For The U.S. Economy“.  The truth is that in an all-out effort to give the U.S. economy a short-term boost, the Federal Reserve is putting the entire world financial system in peril.

One group of prominent economists was so alarmed by this new round of quantitative easing that they recently wrote an open letter to Ben Bernanke warning of the dangers that flooding the economy with new money could create.  The following is an excerpt from the text of that open letter which was also posted on the website of the Wall Street Journal…..

We believe the Federal Reserve’s large-scale asset purchase plan (so-called “quantitative easing”) should be reconsidered and discontinued.  We do not believe such a plan is necessary or advisable under current circumstances.  The planned asset purchases risk currency debasement and inflation, and we do not think they will achieve the Fed’s objective of promoting employment.

We subscribe to your statement in the Washington Post on November 4 that “the Federal Reserve cannot solve all the economy’s problems on its own.”  In this case, we think improvements in tax, spending and regulatory policies must take precedence in a national growth program, not further monetary stimulus.

We disagree with the view that inflation needs to be pushed higher, and worry that another round of asset purchases, with interest rates still near zero over a year into the recovery, will distort financial markets and greatly complicate future Fed efforts to normalize monetary policy.

The Fed’s purchase program has also met broad opposition from other central banks and we share their concerns that quantitative easing by the Fed is neither warranted nor helpful in addressing either U.S. or global economic problems.

But it isn’t just a few prominent economists that are expressing disapproval for this new round of quantitative easing.  The truth is that almost every major industrialized nation has spoken out against all of this money printing by the Fed.  Meanwhile, Barack Obama continues to publicly defend Ben Bernanke and this new round of quantitative easing at every opportunity.

That is some “change you can believe in”, eh?

Unfortunately, the danger that quantitative easing poses to our financial system is much greater than most Americans realize.

In order for the world financial system to operate smoothly, the rest of the world much have a great deal of faith in the U.S. dollar and in U.S. Treasuries.  Ben Bernanke had promised Congress (and the rest of the globe) that the Federal Reserve would not monetize U.S. government debt and that he was going to keep the U.S. dollar strong.  But now Bernanke has broken his promises once again.  At this point Bernanke has lost a ton of credibility.  Unfortunately, Barack Obama and many of the key members of Congress continue to express unwavering support for him.

The rest of the world can see what is going on.  They are not stupid.  They are not going to keep pouring hundreds of billions into U.S. Treasuries if the Federal Reserve is going to “cheat” whenever economic conditions get a little tough.

If the day arrives when the rest of the globe completely loses faith in the U.S. dollar and in U.S. Treasuries, it is going to create a complete and total financial disaster – especially for the United States.

Caught In A Lie: Bernanke Promised Congress The Federal Reserve Would Not Monetize The Debt But Now That Is Exactly What Is Happening

On June 3rd, 2009 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke promised the U.S. Congress that the Federal Reserve would not monetize the debt of the U.S. government.  On November 3rd, 2010 the Federal Reserve announced a massive quantitative easing plan which will involve the purchase of 600 billion dollars of U.S. Treasury securities by the middle of 2011.  Creating 600 billion dollars out of thin air and using them to buy up U.S. government securities is monetizing the debt.  So Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has been caught in a lie.  Will we ever be able to trust a single word that he says ever again?

Monetizing the debt is a desperate act.  It is a signal that we are rapidly reaching the end of the game.  Slamming interest rates all the way to the floor did not revive the U.S. economy.  Hundreds of billions of dollars in extra government spending did not do the trick either.  The U.S. economy is still dying and the U.S. government is now beginning to find it very difficult to locate buyers for all the debt that it is constantly issuing.

So the Fed apparently hopes that this new round of quantitative easing will be a way to finance the exploding U.S. government debt and spark an “economic recovery” at the same time.

But didn’t Bernanke promise that the Fed was not going to do this?

Didn’t he pledge to Congress that the Federal Reserve would not monetize the debt?

Yes, he did.  The following is video footage of Bernanke from June 3rd, 2009 promising that the Federal Reserve would not monetize the debt….

So much for keeping his promises.

But what else can Bernanke do?

The truth is that we are reaching the end of the economic rope and the Federal Reserve has already played all of the other tricks that they have in their bag.

Buying up massive amounts of U.S. government debt and showering the U.S. economy with money is a desperate attempt to keep the shell game going for a few more rounds.

Once upon a time, the U.S. dollar was the strongest currency on the planet.  The rest of the world loved to use it as a reserve currency and they were more than glad to buy up U.S. Treasuries.

But now the mood has changed dramatically.  The rest of the world does not intend to keep lending us well over a trillion dollars each and every year.  The market for dollar-denominated debt is not what it once was.

In fact, Peter Schiff, the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, believes that the primary reason for this new round of quantitative easing is that the U.S. government is having an increasingly difficult time financing its debts….

At the end of the day, all this deflation talk is a red herring. The true purpose of QE 2 is to disguise the decreasing ability of the Treasury to finance its debts. As global demand for dollar-denominated debt falls, the Fed is looking for an excuse to pick up the slack. By announcing QE 2, it can monetize government debt without the markets perceiving a funding problem.

But the markets are not populated by a bunch of idiots.  They are going to see what is going on.  The Federal Reserve is monetizing the debt.  This is going to make U.S. government debt even less attractive to foreign investors as I wrote about yesterday….

As foreigners begin to balk at all of this nonsense, the U.S. government will either have to start paying higher interest rates on government debt in order to attract enough investors, or the Federal Reserve will just have to drop all pretense and permanently start buying up most of the debt.  Either way, once faith has been lost in U.S. Treasuries the financial world will never, ever be the same.

If there comes a point when China and Japan realize that the game is up, they are going to start bailing out of U.S. Treasuries faster than you can say “panic”.  That could create a crisis of unprecedented proportions.  Of course the Federal Reserve could just keep whipping up increasingly large batches of dollars out of thin air to soak up all the excess debt flooding the market, but that kind of a Ponzi scheme would not work for long, and it would likely set off horrific inflation.

In order for the current world financial system to maintain stability, there must be faith in the U.S. dollar and in U.S. Treasuries.  Once faith in those two pillars is gone, it is inevitable that the whole system will come crashing down.

Most Americans have no idea that the entire global financial system is hanging by a thread.  They have no idea that their futures could be radically altered if things go badly.

We like to think that we live in such a “democratic” society, but the decisions on which our economic future rest are in the hands of a group of unelected, unaccountable central bankers.

The truth is that the Federal Reserve is about as “federal” as Federal Express is.  The Fed is not part of the U.S. government.  If you watch interviews with top Federal Reserve officials, they love to talk about how “independent” they are.  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.

The institution that has the most power by far over the U.S. economy does not answer to the American people, and the American people are so “comfortably numb” that they don’t even realize it.

In fact, most Americans do not even know that the Federal Reserve, in association with their buddies on Wall Street, caused the first Great Depression.

But Ben Bernanke does.

At a November 8th, 2002 conference to honor Milton Friedman’s 90th birthday, Bernanke actually confessed that Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwartz were right when they wrote that the Federal Reserve caused the Great Depression….

Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative of the Federal Reserve. I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression. You’re right, we did it. We’re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won’t do it again.

So does that make you feel better?

Ben Bernanke says that the folks over at the Federal Reserve are very sorry that they caused the Great Depression of the 1930s and they promise not to do it again.

Of course we have already seen how much Ben Bernanke’s promises are worth.

With people like Bernanke in charge, there is not a lot of reason for optimism.

Meanwhile, Bernanke and his fellow central bankers are heading down to Jekyll Island this weekend for a grand celebration.

That’s right.

The Federal Reserve is holding a conference this weekend entitled “A Return to Jekyll Island: The Origins, History, and Future of the Federal Reserve” to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the infamous 1910 Jekyll Island meeting that spawned the draft legislation that would ultimately create the U.S. Federal Reserve.

They will surely be congratulating themselves on doing such a fine job of running the U.S. economy.

Yeah, they are doing a fine job of running it – right off a cliff and into oblivion.

9 Reasons Why Quantitative Easing Is Bad For The U.S. Economy

Buckle up and hold on – a new round of quantitative easing is here and things could start getting very ugly in the financial world over the coming months.  The truth is that many economists fear that an out of control Federal Reserve is “crossing the Rubicon” by announcing another wave of quantitative easing.  Have we now reached a point where the Federal Reserve is simply going to fire up the printing presses and shower massive wads of cash into the financial system whenever the U.S. economy is not growing fast enough?  If so, what does the mean for inflation, the stability of the world financial system and the future of the U.S. dollar?  The Fed says that the plan is to purchase $600 billion of U.S. Treasury securities by the middle of 2011.  In addition, the Federal Reserve has announced that it will be “reinvesting” an additional $250 billion to $300 billion from the proceeds of its mortgage portfolio in U.S. Treasury securities over the same time period.  So that is a total injection of about $900 billion.  Perhaps the Fed thought that number would sound a little less ominous than $1 trillion.  In any event, the Federal Reserve seems convinced that quantitative easing is going to work this time.  So should we believe the Federal Reserve?

The truth is that the Federal Reserve has tried this before.  In November 2008, the Federal Reserve announced a $600 billion quantitative easing program.  Four months later the Fed felt that even more cash was necessary, so they upped the total to $1.8 trillion.

So did quantitative easing work then?

No, not really.  It may have helped stabilize the economy in the short-term, but unemployment is still staggeringly high.  Monthly U.S. home sales continue to come in at close to record low levels.  Businesses are borrowing less money.  Individuals are borrowing less money.  Stores are closing left and right.

The Fed is desperate to crank the debt spiral that our economic system is now based upon back up again.  The Fed thinks that somehow if it can just pump enough nearly free liquidity into the banking system, the banks will turn around and lend it out at a markup and that this will get the debt spiral cranking again.

The sad truth is that the Federal Reserve is not trying to build an economic recovery on solid financial principles.  Rather, what the Federal Reserve envisions is an “economic recovery” based on new debt creation.

So will $900 billion be enough to get the debt spiral cranked up again?

No.

If 1.8 trillion dollars didn’t work before, why does the Federal Reserve think that 900 billion dollars is going to work now?  This new round of quantitative easing will create more inflation and will cause speculative asset bubbles, but it is not going to fix what is wrong with the economy.  The damage is just too vast as Charles Hugh Smith recently explained….

Anyone who believes a meager one or two trillion dollars in pump-priming can overcome $15-$20 trillion in overpriced assets and $10 trillion in uncollectible debt may well be disappointed.

In fact, economists over at Goldman Sachs estimate that it would take a staggering $4 trillion in quantitative easing to get the economy rolling again.

Of course that may eventually be what happens.  The Fed may be starting at $900 billion just to get the door open.  With these kinds of bureaucrats, once you give them an inch they usually end up taking a mile.

So why should we be concerned about quantitative easing?  The following are 9 reasons why quantitative easing is bad for the U.S. economy….

#1 Quantitative Easing Will Damage The Value Of The U.S. Dollar

Each time you add a new dollar to the system, it decreases the value of each existing dollar by just a little bit.  Now the Federal Reserve is pumping 900 billion dollars into the system and that is going to have a significant impact.  Bill Gross, the manager of the largest mutual fund in the entire world, said on Monday that he believes that more quantitative easing could result in a decline of the U.S. dollar of up to 20 percent….

“I think a 20 percent decline in the dollar is possible.”

#2 Inflation Is Going To Hit Already Struggling U.S. Consumers Really Hard

Already, investors have been fleeing from the U.S. dollar and other paper currencies and have been flocking to commodities, precious metals and oil.  That means that the price of food is going to go up.  The price of gasoline is also going to go up.  American families are going to find their budgets stretched even more in the months ahead.

#3 Once An Inflationary Spiral Gets Going It Is Really Hard To Stop

The Federal Reserve is playing a very dangerous game by flirting with inflation.  Once an inflationary spiral gets going, it is really difficult to stop.  Just ask anyone who lived through the Weimar Republic or anyone who lives in Zimbabwe today.  If the Federal Reserve is now going to be dumping hundreds of billions of fresh dollars into the system whenever the economy gets into trouble it is inevitable that we will see rampant inflation at some point. 

#4 Inflation Is A Hidden Tax On Every American

Tens of millions of Americans have worked incredibly hard to save up a little bit of money.  These Americans are counting on that money to pay for a home, or to pay for retirement or to pay for the education of their children.  Well, inflation is like a hidden tax on all of those savings.  In fact, inflation is a hidden tax on every single dollar that all of us own.  We have been taxed more than enough – we certainly don’t need the Federal Reserve imposing another hidden tax on all of us.

#5 The Solution To The Housing Bubble Is Not Another Housing Bubble

Today, approximately a third of all U.S. real estate is estimated to have negative equity.  The Federal Reserve apparently believes that by flooding the system with gigantic sacks of cash banks will start making home loans like crazy again and home prices will rise substantially once again – thus wiping out most of that negative equity.

But the solution to the housing bubble is not another housing bubble.  The kinds of crazy home loans that were made back in the middle of the decade should never be made again.  Market forces should be allowed to bring the housing market to a new equilibrium where ordinary Americans can actually afford to purchase homes.  But that is not how our system works anymore.  Today, everything has to be manipulated.

#6 More Quantitative Easing Threatens To Destabilize The Global Financial System

We have already entered a time of increasing global financial instability, and the Federal Reserve is not going to help things by introducing hundreds of billions of new dollars into the game.  Over the past two decades, bubble after bubble has caused tremendous economic problems, and now all of this new money could give rise to new bubbles.  Already, we see financial institutions and investors pumping up carry trade bubbles, engaging in currency speculation and driving up commodity prices to ridiculous levels.

#7 Quantitative Easing Is An Aggressive Move In A World Already On The Verge Of A Currency War

Quantitative easing will likely help U.S. exporters by causing the value of the U.S. dollar to sink.  However, this gain by U.S. exporters will come at the expense of foreigners.  It is essentially a “zero sum” game.  So all of those exporting countries that are already upset with us will become even more furious as the U.S. dollar declines.  Could we witness the first all-out “global currency war” in 2011?   

#8 Quantitative Easing Threatens The Status Of The Dollar As The World Reserve Currency

As the Federal Reserve continues to play games with the U.S. dollar, quite a few nations around the globe will start evaluating whether or not they want to continue to trade with the U.S. dollar and use it as a reserve currency.

In fact, a recent article on The Market Oracle website explained how this is already happening….

In September, China supported a Russian proposal to start direct trading using the yuan and the ruble rather than pricing their trade or taking payment in U.S. dollars or other foreign currencies. China then negotiated a similar deal with Brazil. And on the eve of the IMF meetings in Washington on Friday, Premier Wen stopped off in Istanbul to reach agreement with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to use their own currencies in a planned tripling Turkish-Chinese trade to $50 billion over the next five years, effectively excluding the dollar.

#9 It Is Going To Become More Expensive For The U.S. Government To Borrow Money

Right now, the U.S. government has been able to borrow money at ridiculously low interest rates.  But as the Federal Reserve keeps buying up hundreds of billions in U.S. Treasuries, the rest of the world is going to start refusing to participate in the ongoing Ponzi scheme.

Peter Schiff, the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, says that one of the big reasons for more quantitative easing is because the U.S. government is already starting to have difficulty finding enough people to borrow from….

At the end of the day, all this deflation talk is a red herring. The true purpose of QE 2 is to disguise the decreasing ability of the Treasury to finance its debts. As global demand for dollar-denominated debt falls, the Fed is looking for an excuse to pick up the slack. By announcing QE 2, it can monetize government debt without the markets perceiving a funding problem.

But the truth is that foreigners are not stupid.  They can see the shell game that is being played.  As Bill Gross noted on Monday, U.S. government debt will soon become a lot less attractive to foreign investors….

QEII not only produces more dollars but it also lowers the yield that investors earn on them and makes foreigners, which is the key link to the currencies, it makes foreigners less willing to hold dollars in current form or at current prices.

As foreigners begin to balk at all of this nonsense, the U.S. government will either have to start paying higher interest rates on government debt in order to attract enough investors, or the Federal Reserve will just have to drop all pretense and permanently start buying up most of the debt.  Either way, once faith has been lost in U.S. Treasuries the financial world will never, ever be the same.

Most Americans have absolutely no idea how fragile the world financial system is right now.  Once the rest of the world loses faith in the U.S. dollar and in U.S. Treasuries this entire thing could completely unravel very quickly.   

The Federal Reserve is playing a very dangerous game.  They are openly threatening the delicate balance of the world financial system. 

Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it is really hard to put it back in again.  Cross your fingers and hold on tight, because things are going to get really bumpy ahead.

The Federal Reserve Is Holding A Conference On Jekyll Island To Celebrate 100 Years Of Dominating America: “A Return to Jekyll Island: The Origins, History, and Future of the Federal Reserve”

The Federal Reserve is going back to Jekyll Island to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the infamous 1910 Jekyll Island meeting that spawned the draft legislation that would ultimately create the U.S. Federal Reserve.  The title of this conference is “A Return to Jekyll Island: The Origins, History, and Future of the Federal Reserve”, and it will be held on November 5th and 6th in the exact same building where the original 1910 meeting occurred.  In November 1910, the original gathering at Jekyll Island included U.S. Senator Nelson W. Aldrich, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Department A.P. Andrews and many representatives from the upper crust of the U.S. banking establishment.  That meeting was held in an environment of absolute and total secrecy.  100 years later, Federal Reserve bureaucrats will return to Jekyll Island once again to “celebrate” the history and the future of the Federal Reserve.

Sadly, most Americans have no idea how the Federal Reserve came into being.  Forbes magazine founder Bertie Charles Forbes was perhaps the first writer to describe the secretive nature of the original gathering on Jekyll Island in a national publication…. 

Picture a party of the nation’s greatest bankers stealing out of New York on a private railroad car under cover of darkness, stealthily riding hundred of miles South, embarking on a mysterious launch, sneaking onto an island deserted by all but a few servants, living there a full week under such rigid secrecy that the names of not one of them was once mentioned, lest the servants learn the identity and disclose to the world this strangest, most secret expedition in the history of American finance. I am not romancing; I am giving to the world, for the first time, the real story of how the famous Aldrich currency report, the foundation of our new currency system, was written… The utmost secrecy was enjoined upon all. The public must not glean a hint of what was to be done. Senator Aldrich notified each one to go quietly into a private car of which the railroad had received orders to draw up on an unfrequented platform. Off the party set. New York’s ubiquitous reporters had been foiled… Nelson (Aldrich) had confided to Henry, Frank, Paul and Piatt that he was to keep them locked up at Jekyll Island, out of the rest of the world, until they had evolved and compiled a scientific currency system for the United States, the real birth of the present Federal Reserve System, the plan done on Jekyll Island in the conference with Paul, Frank and Henry… Warburg is the link that binds the Aldrich system and the present system together. He more than any one man has made the system possible as a working reality.

It was a system that was designed by the bankers and for the bankers.  Now, the bureaucrats running the system are returning to Jekyll Island to congratulate themselves.  Those attending the conference on November 5th and 6th include Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, Goldman Sachs managing director E. Gerald Corrigan and the heads of the various regional Federal Reserve banks.  You can view the entire agenda of the conference right here.  It looks like that there will be plenty of hors d’oeuvres to go around, but should the Federal Reserve really be celebrating their accomplishments at a time when the U.S. economy is literally falling to pieces?

Today, 63 percent of Americans do not think that they will be able to maintain their current standard of living.  1.47 million Americans have been unemployed for more than 99 weeks.  We are facing a complete and total economic disaster.

Today, the Federal Reserve has more power over the economy than any other single institution in the United States.  It is the Fed that primarily determines if we will see high inflation or low inflation, whether the money supply with expand or contract and whether we will have high interest rates or low interest rates.  The President and the U.S. Congress have far less power to influence the economy than the Federal Reserve does.

As this election has demonstrated, the American people are absolutely furious about the state of the U.S. economy, but American voters have been mostly blaming our politicians.  They just don’t understand that it is actually the Federal Reserve that has the most control over the performance of the economy.

It would be hard to understate how powerful the U.S. Federal Reserve really is in 2010.  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.”

So how has the Federal Reserve performed over the years?

Well, since 1913 inflation has been on a relentless march upwards, U.S. government debt has increased exponentially and the U.S. dollar has lost over 96 percent of its value.

That is not a record to be celebrating.

The truth is that the Federal Reserve was created to enslave the United States government in an endlessly expanding spiral of debt from which it would never be able to escape.  As I wrote about yesterday, that is exactly what has happened.  The U.S. government debt is escalating at an exponential rate.  It is a trap from which the U.S. government will never be able to get out of under our current system.

Now many at the Federal Reserve are touting more “quantitative easing” as the solution to our economic problems.  But anyone with a brain should be able to see that creating a gigantic pile of paper money out of thin air and dumping it into the economy is only going to make our long-term problems even worse.

But the Federal Reserve system was never designed to benefit the American people.  It was designed to make massive amounts of money for the banking establishment.  As I wrote about in “11 Reasons Why The Federal Reserve Is Bad“, the Federal Reserve was created to transfer wealth from the American people to the U.S. government and from the U.S. government to the super wealthy.

The sad truth is that the Federal Reserve is at the very core of our economic and financial problems, and that is nothing to celebrate.

The Calm Before The Storm

An eerie calm has descended upon world financial markets as they await perhaps the two most important financial events of the year this week.  On Tuesday, investors will be eagerly awaiting the results of one of the most anticipated midterm elections in U.S. history.  On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is expected to end months of speculation by formally announcing the details of a new round of quantitative easing.  If either the election or the meeting of the Federal Reserve open market committee delivers a highly unexpected result, it could have a dramatic impact on world financial markets.  In fact, many are looking at this week as a potential turning point for the U.S. economy.  The decisions that are made or not made this week could set us down a road from which the U.S. economy may never recover.

At this point, it looks like the Republicans will take control of the U.S. House of Representatives and will pick up a number of U.S. Senate seats as well.

There are many in the financial world who already consider Barack Obama to be the most “anti-business” president in U.S. history, so a defeat for the Democrats on Tuesday would be greatly welcomed by many on Wall Street.  Barack Obama’s decline in popularity since he was elected has been absolutely stunning.  According to Gallup, Barack Obama had an average approval rating of just 44.7% during the seventh quarter of his presidency, which was a brand new low.  In fact, Obama’s average approval rating has fallen during every single quarter since he took office.  Things have gotten so bad for Obama that one new poll has found that 47% of Democrats now think that Barack Obama should be challenged for the 2012 Democratic presidential nomination. 

However, if the Democrats were able to do surprisingly well on Tuesday, it would not only shock the political pundits, but it would also likely put world financial markets in a very bad mood. 

If the Republicans do very well on Tuesday, it will likely mean that there will be no more extensions for those receiving long-term unemployment benefits.  Some state governments are already anticipating this and are making preparations.  For example, armed security guards are now being posted at all 36 full-service unemployment offices in the state of Indiana.  It is estimated that approximately 2 million Americans will lose their unemployment insurance benefits during this upcoming holiday season if  Congress does not authorize another emergency extension of benefits by the end of November.  If the Republicans do very well on Tuesday, it would make it much more likely that the extension will not happen.

But if millions of unemployed Americans suddenly find themselves without any unemployment checks, that is only going to cause the anger and frustration regarding this economy to grow.

Either way, the unfortunate truth is that this election is not going to change much.

Over the past five elections, incumbents have been re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives at an average rate of 96 percent.

This time will be a little different of course, but not that much different.  The sad truth is that we are still likely to see about 80 percent of the exact same faces going back to the U.S. Congress for the next session.

However, even if the American people could somehow vote out every single member of Congress, it would still not do much to fundamentally change our economic situation because the U.S. Congress does not run the economy and neither does the President.

Of course both of those institutions can influence the U.S. economy, but it is actually the Federal Reserve that runs the economy.

The Federal Reserve controls the money supply.  The Federal Reserve controls our interest rates.  If the U.S. government wants more money it has to go get it from the Federal Reserve.  It is the Federal Reserve that is tasked with the mandate of keeping unemployment low while also keeping inflation at a “reasonable” level.

But these days, Federal Reserve officials don’t really seem to be that concerned about the dangers of inflation.  In fact, several top Federal Reserve officials have come out in recent weeks and have made public statements not only advocating more quantitative easing, but also suggesting that inflation is not a danger because it is actually “too low” right now.

In fact, there have been some rumblings that many officials at the Fed would actually welcome more inflation because they think that it would somehow stimulate the economy.  In fact, a Federal Reserve paper that was released in September actually floated the idea that a spike in oil prices would be quite good for the U.S. economy.

And these are the people running our economy?

Are we all caught in an episode of The Twilight Zone?

Well, as far as rising oil prices are concerned, the Fed will almost surely get its wish.  As I have written about previously, the price of oil is almost certainly heading to 100 dollars a barrel.

But if the price of oil shoots up, isn’t that going to cause significant inflationary pressure on the prices of thousands of other goods and services?

Of course.

Unfortunately, very few of our leaders seem too concerned about inflation or about protecting the value of the U.S. dollar these days.

In fact, now even the IMF is publicly proclaiming that the U.S. dollar is “overvalued”.

What a mess.

But there is another aspect of a new round of “quantitative easing” that the American people really wouldn’t like if they could actually figure out what is going on.

You see, the truth is that “quantitative easing” is not only just a way to stimulate the economy, it is also a way to give backdoor bailouts to the big banks without having to go through the U.S. Congress.

In a previous article, I described how this works….

1) The big U.S. banks have massive quantities of junk mortgage-backed securities that are worth little to nothing that they desperately want to get rid of.

2) They convince the Federal Reserve (which the big banks are part-owners of) to buy up these “toxic assets” at significantly above market price.

3) The Federal Reserve creates massive amounts of money out of thin air to buy up all of these troubled assets.  The public is told that all of this “quantitative easing” is necessary to stimulate the U.S. economy.

4) The big banks are re-capitalized and have gotten massive amounts of bad mortgage securities off their hands, the Federal Reserve has found a way to pump hundreds of billions (if not trillions) of dollars into the economy, and most of the American people are none the wiser.

Now how do you think the American people would feel about “quantitative easing” if they really understood all this?

But unfortunately, most Americans will be watching the election results on Tuesday night without having even a basic understanding of how our economy is really run.

Already, there are a ton of signs that the U.S. economy is heading in a very bad direction, and dumping a handful of Congress critters out of office might feel good, but it isn’t going to do much to really change our economic problems.

The American people desperately need to be educated about how our financial system really works.  But unfortunately, most Americans will likely not wake up until the whole house of cards comes crashing down.

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