The Federal Reserve Is Systematically Destroying Social Security And The Retirement Plans Of Millions Of Americans

Last week the mainstream media hailed QE3 as the “quick fix” that the U.S. economy desperately needs, but the truth is that the policies that the Federal Reserve is pursuing are going to be absolutely devastating for our senior citizens.  By keeping interest rates at exceptionally low levels, the Federal Reserve is absolutely crushing savers and is systematically destroying Social Security.  Meanwhile, the inflation that QE3 will cause is going to be absolutely crippling for the millions upon millions of retired Americans that are on a fixed income.  Sadly, most elderly Americans have no idea what the Federal Reserve is doing to their financial futures.  Most Americans that are approaching retirement age have not adequately saved for retirement, and the Social Security system that they are depending on is going to completely and totally collapse in the coming years.  Right now, approximately 56 million Americans are collecting Social Security benefits.  By 2035, that number is projected to grow to a whopping 91 million.  By law, the Social Security trust fund must be invested in U.S. government securities.  But thanks to the low interest rate policies of the Federal Reserve, the average interest rate on those securities just keeps dropping and dropping.  The trustees of the Social Security system had projected that the Social Security trust fund would be completely gone by 2033, but because of the Fed policy of keeping interest rates exceptionally low for the foreseeable future it is now being projected by some analysts that Social Security will be bankrupt by 2023.  Overall, the Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The collapse of Social Security is inevitable, and the foolish policies of the Federal Reserve are going to make that collapse happen much more rapidly.

The only way that the Social Security system is going to be able to stay solvent is for the Social Security trust fund to earn a healthy level of interest.

By law, all money deposited in the Social Security trust fund must be invested in U.S. government securities.  The following is from the official website of the Social Security Administration….

By law, income to the trust funds must be invested, on a daily basis, in securities guaranteed as to both principal and interest by the Federal government. All securities held by the trust funds are “special issues” of the United States Treasury. Such securities are available only to the trust funds.

In the past, the trust funds have held marketable Treasury securities, which are available to the general public. Unlike marketable securities, special issues can be redeemed at any time at face value. Marketable securities are subject to the forces of the open market and may suffer a loss, or enjoy a gain, if sold before maturity. Investment in special issues gives the trust funds the same flexibility as holding cash.

So in order for the Social Security Ponzi scheme to work, those investments in government securities need to produce healthy returns.

Unfortunately, the ultra-low interest rate policy of the Federal Reserve is making this impossible.

The average rate of interest earned by the Social Security trust fund has declined from 6.1 percent in January 2003 to 3.9 percent today, and it is going to continue to go even lower as long as the Fed continues to keep interest rates super low.

A recent article by Bruce Krasting detailed how this works.  Just check out the following example….

$135 billion of old bonds matured this year. This money was rolled over into new bonds with a yield of only 1.375%. The average yield on the maturing securities was 5.64%. The drop in yield on the new securities lowers SSA’s income by $5.7B annually. Over the fifteen year term of the investments, that comes to a lumpy $86 billion.

So what happens when the Social Security trust fund runs dry?

As Bruce Krasting also noted, all Social Security payments would immediately be cut by 25 percent…..

Anyone who is 55 or older should be worried about this. Based on current law, all SS benefit payments must be cut by (approximately) 25% when the TF is exhausted. This will affect 72 million people. The economic consequences will be severe.

In other words, it would be a complete and total nightmare.

Sadly, the truth is that the Social Security trust fund might not even make it into the next decade.  Most Social Security trust fund projections assume that there will be no recessions and that there will be a very healthy rate of growth for the U.S. economy over the next decade.

So what happens if we have another major recession or worse?

And most Americans know that something is up with Social Security.  According to a Gallup survey, 67 percent of all Americans believe that there will be a Social Security crisis within 10 years.

Part of the problem is that there are way too many people retiring and not nearly enough workers to support them.

Back in 1950, each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 U.S. workers.  But now things are much different.  According to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are now only 1.75 full-time private sector workers for each person that is receiving Social Security benefits in the United States.

And remember, the number of Americans drawing on Social Security will increase by another 35 million by the year 2035.

Another factor that is rapidly becoming a major problem is the growth of the Social Security disability program.

Since 2008, 3.6 million more Americans have been added to the rolls of the Social Security disability insurance program.

Today, more than 8.7 million Americans are collecting Social Security disability payments.

So how does this compare to the past?

Back in August 1967, there were approximately 65 workers for each American that was collecting Social Security disability payments.

Today, there are only 16.2 workers for each American that is collecting Social Security disability payments.

The Social Security Ponzi scheme is rapidly approaching a crisis point.

Sadly, the Federal Reserve has made it incredibly difficult to save for your own retirement.

Millions upon millions of Baby Boomers that diligently saved money for retirement are finding that their savings accounts are paying out next to nothing thanks to the ultra-low interest rate policies of the Federal Reserve.

The following is one example of how the low interest rate policies of the Fed have completely devastated the retirement plans of many elderly Americans….

You can understand the impact of the invisible tax on the elderly by watching the decline of interest income from $50,000 invested in a five-year Treasury obligation. As recently as 2000, this would have yielded about 6.15 percent and an interest income of $3,075 a year. Now the same obligation is yielding 0.7 percent and an interest income of $350 a year. This is the lowest yield on this maturity of Treasury debt since the Federal Reserve started keeping an index of the yields in 1953.

But it’s more than a low interest rate. It’s an income decline of nearly 89 percent in just 12 years.

And after you account for inflation, those that put money into savings accounts today are actually losing money.

Of course most Americans have not saved up much money for retirement anyway.  According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 46 percent of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, and 29 percent of all American workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement.

Overall, a study conducted by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research discovered that American workers are $6.6 trillion short of what they need to retire comfortably.

So needless to say, we have a major problem.

Baby Boomers are just starting to retire and the Social Security system is still solvent at the moment, and yet the number of elderly Americans that are experiencing financial problems is already soaring.

For example, between 1991 and 2007 the number of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 that filed for bankruptcy rose by a staggering 178 percent.

Also, at this point one out of every six elderly Americans is already living below the federal poverty line.

So how bad are things going to be when Social Security collapses?

That is frightening to think about.

In the short-term, millions upon millions of retired Americans that are living on fixed incomes are going to be absolutely crushed by the inflation that QE3 is going to cause.

Just like we saw with QE1 and QE2, a lot of the money from QE3 is going to end up in agricultural commodities and oil.  That means that retirees (and all the rest of us) are going to end up paying more for food at the supermarket and gasoline at the pump.

But those on fixed incomes are not going to see a corresponding increase in their incomes.  That means that their standards of living will go down.

Things are tough for retirees right now, but they are going to get a lot tougher.

Right now, there are somewhere around 40 million senior citizens.  By 2050 that number is projected to increase to 89 million.

So how will our society cope with more than twice as many senior citizens?

Sadly, we will likely never get to find out.

The truth is that our system is almost certainly going to totally collapse long before then.

We are rapidly approaching a financial crisis unlike anything we have ever seen before in U.S. history, and the foolish policies of the Federal Reserve just keep making things even worse.

QE3: Helicopter Ben Bernanke Unleashes An All-Out Attack On The U.S. Dollar

You can’t accuse Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke of not living up to his nickname.  Back in 2002, Bernanke delivered a speech entitled “Deflation: Making Sure ‘It’ Doesn’t Happen Here” in which he referenced a statement by economist Milton Friedman about fighting deflation by dropping money from a helicopter.  Well, it might be time for a new nickname for Bernanke because what he did today was a lot more than drop money from a helicopter.  Today the Federal Reserve announced that QE3 will begin on Friday, but it is going to be much different from QE1 and QE2.  Both of those rounds of quantitative easing were of limited duration.  This time, the quantitative easing is going to be open-ended.  The Fed is going to buy 40 billion dollars worth of mortgage-backed securities per month until they have decided that the economy is in good enough shape to stop.  For those that get confused by terms like “quantitative easing” and “mortgage-backed securities”, what the Federal Reserve is essentially saying is this: “We’re going to print a bunch of money and buy stuff for as long as we feel it is necessary.”  In addition, the Federal Reserve has promised to keep interest rates at ultra-low levels all the way through mid-2015.  The course that the Federal Reserve has set us on is utter insanity.  Ben Bernanke can rain money down on us all he wants, but it is not going to do much at all to help the real economy.  However, it will definitely hasten the destruction of the U.S. dollar.

And the Federal Reserve is apparently very eager to get QE3 going.  Purchases of mortgage-backed securities are going to start on Friday.

In the coming months, hundreds of billions of dollars that the Federal Reserve has zapped into existence out of nothing will be injected into our financial system.

So what will happen to all of this new money?

If banks and financial institutions use that money to make loans then it could have somewhat of a positive impact on the economy in the short-term.

However, the truth is that it isn’t as if banks are hurting for cash to loan out.  In fact, right now banks are already sitting on $1.6 trillion in excess reserves.  Just like with the first two rounds of quantitative easing, a lot of the money from QE3 will likely end up being put on the shelf.

But the stock market loved the news because they know that the previous two rounds of quantitative easing have been great for the financial markets.  On Thursday, the stock market soared to levels not seen since December 2007.

There is much rejoicing on Wall Street right now.

And this stock market bounce is great for Bernanke’s good buddy Barack Obama.

Obama nominated Bernanke to a second term as Fed Chairman, and this might be Bernanke’s way of paying him back.

But of course the Fed is supposed to be “above politics” so that would never happen, right?

The Federal Reserve essentially “crossed the Rubicon” today.  No longer will quantitative easing be considered an “emergency measure”.  Rather, it will now be considered just another “tool” that the Fed uses in the normal course of business.

Considering how vulnerable the U.S. dollar already is, announcing an “open-ended” round of quantitative easing is utter foolishness.  According to the Fed, when you add the 40 billion dollars of new mortgage-backed security purchases per month to all of the other “easing” measures the Fed is continuing to do, the grand total is going to come to about 85 billion dollars a month.  The following is from the statement that the Fed released earlier today….

To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with its dual mandate, the Committee agreed today to increase policy accommodation by purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month. The Committee also will continue through the end of the year its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities as announced in June, and it is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities. These actions, which together will increase the Committee’s holdings of longer-term securities by about $85 billion each month through the end of the year, should put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative.

The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments in coming months. If the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially, the Committee will continue its purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities, undertake additional asset purchases, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate until such improvement is achieved in a context of price stability. In determining the size, pace, and composition of its asset purchases, the Committee will, as always, take appropriate account of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases.

So what does all of this mean?

I really like how one analyst put it when he described this announcement as a “I’m gonna ease till your eyes bleed kinda statement“.

The Fed also promised to keep interest rates at “exceptionally low levels” until mid-2015….

To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee expects that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the economic recovery strengthens. In particular, the Committee also decided today to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently anticipates that exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate are likely to be warranted at least through mid-2015.

It seems that whenever the U.S. economy gets into trouble, Bernanke and his friends at the Fed only have one prescription and it goes something like this….

“Print more money and promise to keep interest rates near zero even longer.”

Of course a lot of Republicans are quite disturbed that QE3 was announced with just a couple of months remaining in a very heated election battle.

Even big news organizations such as CNBC are commenting on this….

Though the Fed is ostensibly politically independent, the decision comes at a ticklish time with the presidential election less than two months away.

And without a doubt the mainstream media will be proclaiming this to be “good news” for the economy in the short-term.

But is QE3 really going to help the average person on the street?

Well, first let’s take a look at employment.  We are told that one of the primary reasons for QE3 is jobs.

But did QE1 and QE2 create jobs?

The answer is clearly no.

As you can see from the chart below, the percentage of working age Americans with a job fell dramatically during the last recession and has not bounced back since that time despite all of the quantitative easing that has been done already….

So why try the same thing again when it did not work the first two times?

But what more quantitative easing is likely to do is to pump up stock market values because a lot of the money from QE3 is going to end up being put into stocks and other investments.

This is going to help the wealthy get even wealthier, and it is going to make the “wealth gap” between the rich and the poor even larger in America.

QE3 is also probably going to cause commodity prices to rise just like QE1 and QE2 did.

That means that you will be paying more for gasoline, food and other basic necessities.

So there may not be more jobs, but at least you will get the privilege of paying more for things.

The inflation that QE3 will cause will be particularly cruel for those on fixed incomes such as retirees.

None of the extra money from QE3 is going to go into their pockets, but they will have to pay more to heat their homes and fill up their shopping carts.

And the “exceptionally low interest rate” policy of the Federal Reserve is absolutely devastating for those that have saved for retirement and that are relying on interest income for their living expenses.

In short, quantitative easing is very good for the wealthy and it is very bad for the average man and woman on the street.

But what else would you expect from the Federal Reserve?

It is imperative that we educate the American people about the Federal Reserve and about how they are destroying our economy.  For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “10 Things That Every American Should Know About The Federal Reserve“.

Perhaps the biggest danger from QE3 is that it could greatly hasten the day when the U.S. dollar ceases to be the reserve currency of the world.

The rest of the world is not stupid.  They see that the Federal Reserve is now firing up the printing presses whenever they feel like it.  They can see the games that we are playing with our currency.

Why should the rest of the world continue to use the U.S. dollar to trade with one another when the United States is constantly debasing it and playing games with its value?

As I wrote about the other day, China and Russia have been calling for a new reserve currency for the world for several years.  They have been leading the charge to conduct international trade in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, and I have documented many of the major international agreements to move away from the U.S. dollar that have been made in the last couple of years.

The status of the U.S. dollar in the world has already been steadily slipping, and now Helicopter Ben Bernanke pulls this kind of nonsense.

We are handing the rest of the world an excuse to abandon the U.S. dollar on a silver platter.

And when the rest of the globe rejects the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency, the dollar will crash, the cost of living will increase dramatically, our standard of living will go way down and we will never fully recover from it.

So if you think that things are “bad” now, just wait until that happens.

The U.S. dollar is one of the best things that the U.S. economy still has going for it, and Helicopter Ben Bernanke is doing his best to absolutely destroy that.

What is your opinion of QE3?  Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….

11 International Agreements That Are Nails In The Coffin Of The Petrodollar

Is the petrodollar dead?  Well, not yet, but the nails are being hammered into the coffin even as you read this.  For decades, most of the nations of the world have used the U.S. dollar to buy oil and to trade with each other.  In essence, the U.S. dollar has been acting as a true global currency.  Virtually every country on the face of the earth has needed big piles of U.S. dollars for international trade.  This has ensured a huge demand for U.S. dollars and U.S. government debt.  This demand for dollars has kept prices and interest rates low, and it has given the U.S. government an incredible amount of power and leverage around the globe.  Right now, U.S. dollars make up more than 60 percent of all foreign currency reserves in the world.  But times are changing.  Over the past couple of years there has been a whole bunch of international agreements that have made the U.S. dollar less important in international trade.  The mainstream media in the United States has been strangely quiet about all of these agreements, but the truth is that they are setting the stage for a fundamental shift in the way that trade is conducted around the globe.  When the petrodollar dies, it is going to have an absolutely devastating impact on the U.S. economy.  Sadly, most Americans are totally clueless regarding what is about to happen to the dollar.

One of the reasons the Federal Reserve has been able to get away with flooding the financial system with U.S. dollars is because the rest of the world has been soaking a lot of those dollars up.  The rest of the world has needed giant piles of dollars to trade with, but what is going to happen when they don’t need dollars anymore?

Could we see a tsunami of inflation as demand for the dollar plummets like a rock?

The power of the U.S. dollar has been one of the few things holding up our economy.  Once that leg gets kicked out from under us we are going to be in a whole lot of trouble.

The following are 11 international agreements that are nails in the coffin of the petrodollar….

#1 China And Russia

China and Russia have decided to start using their own currencies when trading with each other.  The following is from a China Daily article about this important agreement….

China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday.

Chinese experts said the move reflected closer relations between Beijing and Moscow and is not aimed at challenging the dollar, but to protect their domestic economies.

“About trade settlement, we have decided to use our own currencies,” Putin said at a joint news conference with Wen in St. Petersburg.

The two countries were accustomed to using other currencies, especially the dollar, for bilateral trade. Since the financial crisis, however, high-ranking officials on both sides began to explore other possibilities.

#2 China And Brazil

Did you know that Brazil conducts more trade with China than with anyone else?

The largest economy in South America has just agreed to a huge currency swap deal with the largest economy in Asia.  The following is from a recent BBC article….

China and Brazil have agreed a currency swap deal in a bid to safeguard against any global financial crisis and strengthen their trade ties.

It will allow their respective central banks to exchange local currencies worth up to 60bn reais or 190bn yuan ($30bn; £19bn).

The amount can be used to shore up reserves in times of crisis or put towards boosting bilateral trade.

#3 China And Australia

Did you know that Australia conducts more trade with China than with anyone else?

Australia also recently agreed to a huge currency swap deal with China.  The following is from a recent Financial Express article….

The central banks of China and Australia signed a A$30 billion ($31.2 billion) currency-swap agreement to ensure the availability of capital between the trading partners, the Reserve Bank of Australia said.

“The main purposes of the swap agreement are to support trade and investment between Australia and China, particularly in local-currency terms, and to strengthen bilateral financial cooperation,” the RBA said in a statement on its website. “The agreement reflects the increasing opportunities available to settle trade between the two countries in Chinese renminbi and to make RMB-denominated investments.”

China has been expanding currency-swap accords as it promotes the international use of the yuan, and the accord with Australia follows similar deals with nations including South Korea, Turkey and Kazakhstan. China is Australia’s biggest trading partner and accounts for about a quarter of the nation’s merchandise sales abroad.

#4 China And Japan

The second and third largest economies on the entire planet have decided that they should start moving toward using their own currencies when trading with each other.  This agreement was incredibly important but it was almost totally ignored by the U.S. media.

According to Bloomberg, it is anticipated that this agreement will strengthen ties between these two Asian giants….

Japan and China will promote direct trading of the yen and yuan without using dollars and will encourage the development of a market for companies involved in the exchanges, the Japanese government said.

Japan will also apply to buy Chinese bonds next year, allowing the investment of renminbi that leaves China during the transactions, the Japanese government said in a statement after a meeting between Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing yesterday. Encouraging direct yen- yuan settlement should reduce currency risks and trading costs, the Japanese and Chinese governments said.

China is Japan’s biggest trading partner with 26.5 trillion yen ($340 billion) in two-way transactions last year, from 9.2 trillion yen a decade earlier.

#5 India And Japan

It is not just China making these kinds of currency agreements.  According to Reuters, India and Japan have also agreed to a very large currency swap deal….

India and Japan have agreed to a $15 billion currency swap line, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said on Wednesday, in a positive move for the troubled Indian rupee, Asia’s worst-performing currency this year.

#6 “Junk For Oil”: How India And China Are Buying Oil From Iran

Iran is still selling lots of oil.  They just aren’t exchanging that oil for U.S. dollars as much these days.

So how is Iran selling their oil without using dollars?

A Bloomberg article recently detailed what countries such as China and India are exchanging for Iranian oil….

Iran and its leading oil buyers, China and India, are finding ways to skirt U.S. and European Union financial sanctions on the Islamic republic by agreeing to trade oil for local currencies and goods including wheat, soybean meal and consumer products.

India, the second-biggest importer of Iran’s oil, has set up a rupee account at a state-owned bank to settle as much as much as 45 percent of its bill, according to Indian officials. China, Iran’s largest oil customer, already settles some of its oil debts through barter, Mahmoud Bahmani, Iran’s central bank governor, said Feb. 28. Iran also has sought to trade oil for wheat from Pakistan and Russia, according to media reports from the two countries.

#7 Iran And Russia

According to Bloomberg, Iran and Russia have decided to discard the U.S. dollar and use their own currencies when trading with each other….

Iran and Russia replaced the U.S. dollar with their national currencies in bilateral trade, Iran’s state-run Fars news agency reported, citing Seyed Reza Sajjadi, the Iranian ambassador in Moscow.

The proposal to switch to the ruble and the rial was raised by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at a meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in Astana, Kazakhstan, of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the ambassador said.

#8 China And Chile

China and Chile recently signed a new agreement that will dramatically expand trade between the two nations and that is also likely to lead to significant currency swaps between the two countries….

The following is from a recent report that described this new agreement between China and Chile….

Wen called on the two nations to expand trade in goods, promote trade in services and mutual investment, and double bilateral trade in three years.

The Chinese leader also said the two countries should enhance cooperation in mining, expand farm product trade, and promote cooperation in farm product production and processing and agricultural technology.

China would like to be actively engaged in Chile’s infrastructure construction and work with Chile to promote the development of transportation networks in Latin America, said Wen.

Meanwhile, Wen suggested that the two sides launch currency swaps and expand settlement in China’s renminbi.

#9 China And The United Arab Emirates

According to CNN, China and the United Arab Emirates recently agreed to a very large currency swap deal….

In January, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited the United Arab Emirates and signed a $5.5 billion currency swap deal to boost trade and investments between the two countries.

#10 China And Africa

Did you know that China is now Africa’s biggest trading partner?

For many years the U.S. dollar was dominant in Africa, but now that is changing.  A report from Africa’s largest bank, Standard Bank, says the following….

“We expect at least $100 billion (about R768 billion) in Sino-African trade – more than the total bilateral trade between China and Africa in 2010 – to be settled in the renminbi by 2015.”

#11 Brazil, Russia, India, China And South Africa

The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) continue to become a larger factor in the global economy.

A recent agreement between those nations sets the stage for them to increasingly use their own national currencies when trading with each other rather than the U.S. dollar.  The following is from a news source in India….

The five major emerging economies of BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — are set to inject greater economic momentum into their grouping by signing two pacts for promoting intra-BRICS trade at the fourth summit of their leaders here Thursday.

The two agreements that will enable credit facility in local currency for businesses of BRICS countries will be signed in the presence of the leaders of the five countries, Sudhir Vyas, secretary (economic relations) in the external affairs ministry, told reporters here.

The pacts are expected to scale up intra-BRICS trade which has been growing at the rate of 28 percent over the last few years, but at $230 billion, remains much below the potential of the five economic powerhouses.

So what does all of this mean?

It means that the days of the U.S. dollar being the de facto reserve currency of the world are numbered.

So why is this important?

In a previous article, I quoted an outstanding article by Marin Katusa that detailed many of the important benefits that the petrodollar system has had for the U.S. economy….

The “petrodollar” system was a brilliant political and economic move. It forced the world’s oil money to flow through the US Federal Reserve, creating ever-growing international demand for both US dollars and US debt, while essentially letting the US pretty much own the world’s oil for free, since oil’s value is denominated in a currency that America controls and prints. The petrodollar system spread beyond oil: the majority of international trade is done in US dollars. That means that from Russia to China, Brazil to South Korea, every country aims to maximize the US-dollar surplus garnered from its export trade to buy oil.

The US has reaped many rewards. As oil usage increased in the 1980s, demand for the US dollar rose with it, lifting the US economy to new heights. But even without economic success at home the US dollar would have soared, because the petrodollar system created consistent international demand for US dollars, which in turn gained in value. A strong US dollar allowed Americans to buy imported goods at a massive discount – the petrodollar system essentially creating a subsidy for US consumers at the expense of the rest of the world. Here, finally, the US hit on a downside: The availability of cheap imports hit the US manufacturing industry hard, and the disappearance of manufacturing jobs remains one of the biggest challenges in resurrecting the US economy today.

So what happens when the petrodollar dies?

The following are some of the things we are likely to see….

-Oil will cost a lot more.

-Everything will cost a lot more.

-There will be a lot less foreign demand for U.S. government debt.

-Interest rates on U.S. government debt will rise.

-Interest rates on just about everything in the U.S. economy will rise.

And that is just for starters.

As I wrote about earlier today, the Federal Reserve is not going to save us.  Ben Bernanke is not somehow going to pull a rabbit out of a hat that will magically make everything okay.  Fundamental changes to the global financial system are happening right now that are impossible for Bernanke to stop.

We should have never gone into so much debt.  Up until now we have gotten away with it, but when demand for U.S. dollars and U.S. debt dries up we are going to experience a massive amount of pain.

Keep your eyes and ears open for more news stories like the ones referenced above.  The end of the petrodollar is going to be a very significant landmark on the road toward the total collapse of the U.S. economy.

So what do you think the fate of the U.S. dollar is going to be in the years ahead?

Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….

10 Things That Every American Should Know About The Federal Reserve

What would happen if the Federal Reserve was shut down permanently?  That is a question that CNBC asked recently, but unfortunately most Americans don’t really think about the Fed much. Most Americans are content with believing that the Federal Reserve is just another stuffy government agency that sets our interest rates and that is watching out for the best interests of the American people.  But that is not the case at all.  The truth is that the Federal Reserve is a private banking cartel that has been designed to systematically destroy the value of our currency, drain the wealth of the American public and enslave the federal government to perpetually expanding debt.  During this election year, the economy is the number one issue that voters are concerned about.  But instead of endlessly blaming both political parties, the truth is that most of the blame should be placed at the feet of the Federal Reserve.  The Federal Reserve has more power over the performance of the U.S. economy than anyone else does.  The Federal Reserve controls the money supply, the Federal Reserve sets the interest rates and the Federal Reserve hands out bailouts to the big banks that absolutely dwarf anything that Congress ever did.  If the American people are ever going to learn what is really going on with our economy, then it is absolutely imperative that they get educated about the Federal Reserve.

The following are 10 things that every American should know about the Federal Reserve….

#1 The Federal Reserve System Is A Privately Owned Banking Cartel

The Federal Reserve is not a government agency.

The truth is that it is a privately owned central bank.  It is owned by the banks that are members of the Federal Reserve system.  We do not know how much of the system each bank owns, because that has never been disclosed to the American people.

The Federal Reserve openly admits that it is privately owned.  When it was defending itself against a Bloomberg request for information under the Freedom of Information Act, the Federal Reserve stated unequivocally in court that it was “not an agency” of the federal government and therefore not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

In fact, if you want to find out that the Federal Reserve system is owned by the member banks, all you have to do is go to the Federal Reserve website….

The twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, which were established by Congress as the operating arms of the nation’s central banking system, are organized much like private corporations–possibly leading to some confusion about “ownership.” For example, the Reserve Banks issue shares of stock to member banks. However, owning Reserve Bank stock is quite different from owning stock in a private company. The Reserve Banks are not operated for profit, and ownership of a certain amount of stock is, by law, a condition of membership in the System. The stock may not be sold, traded, or pledged as security for a loan; dividends are, by law, 6 percent per year.

Foreign governments and foreign banks do own significant ownership interests in the member banks that own the Federal Reserve system.  So it would be accurate to say that the Federal Reserve is partially foreign-owned.

But until the exact ownership shares of the Federal Reserve are revealed, we will never know to what extent the Fed is foreign-owned.

#2 The Federal Reserve System Is A Perpetual Debt Machine

As long as the Federal Reserve System exists, U.S. government debt will continue to go up and up and up.

This runs contrary to the conventional wisdom that Democrats and Republicans would have us believe, but unfortunately it is true.

The way our system works, whenever more money is created more debt is created as well.

For example, whenever the U.S. government wants to spend more money than it takes in (which happens constantly), it has to go ask the Federal Reserve for it.  The federal government gives U.S. Treasury bonds to the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Reserve gives the U.S. government “Federal Reserve Notes” in return.  Usually this is just done electronically.

So where does the Federal Reserve get the Federal Reserve Notes?

It just creates them out of thin air.

Wouldn’t you like to be able to create money out of thin air?

Instead of issuing money directly, the U.S. government lets the Federal Reserve create it out of thin air and then the U.S. government borrows it.

Talk about stupid.

When this new debt is created, the amount of interest that the U.S. government will eventually pay on that debt is not also created.

So where will that money come from?

Well, eventually the U.S. government will have to go back to the Federal Reserve to get even more money to finance the ever expanding debt that it has gotten itself trapped into.

It is a debt spiral that is designed to go on perpetually.

You see, the reality is that the money supply is designed to constantly expand under the Federal Reserve system.  That is why we have all become accustomed to thinking of inflation as “normal”.

So what does the Federal Reserve do with the U.S. Treasury bonds that it gets from the U.S. government?

Well, it sells them off to others.  There are lots of people out there that have made a ton of money by holding U.S. government debt.

In fiscal 2011, the U.S. government paid out 454 billion dollars just in interest on the national debt.

That is 454 billion dollars that was taken out of our pockets and put into the pockets of wealthy individuals and foreign governments around the globe.

The truth is that our current debt-based monetary system was designed by greedy bankers that wanted to make enormous profits by using the Federal Reserve as a tool to create money out of thin air and lend it to the U.S. government at interest.

And that plan is working quite well.

Most Americans today don’t understand how any of this works, but many prominent Americans in the past did understand it.

For example, Thomas Edison was once quoted in the New York Times as saying the following….

That is to say, under the old way any time we wish to add to the national wealth we are compelled to add to the national debt.

Now, that is what Henry Ford wants to prevent. He thinks it is stupid, and so do I, that for the loan of $30,000,000 of their own money the people of the United States should be compelled to pay $66,000,000 — that is what it amounts to, with interest. People who will not turn a shovelful of dirt nor contribute a pound of material will collect more money from the United States than will the people who supply the material and do the work. That is the terrible thing about interest. In all our great bond issues the interest is always greater than the principal. All of the great public works cost more than twice the actual cost, on that account. Under the present system of doing business we simply add 120 to 150 per cent, to the stated cost.

But here is the point: If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good.

We should have listened to men like Edison and Ford.

But we didn’t.

And so we pay the price.

On July 1, 1914 (a few months after the Fed was created) the U.S. national debt was 2.9 billion dollars.

Today, it is more than more than 5000 times larger.

Yes, the perpetual debt machine is working quite well, and most Americans do not even realize what is happening.

#3 The Federal Reserve Has Destroyed More Than 96% Of The Value Of The U.S. Dollar

Did you know that the U.S. dollar has lost 96.2 percent of its value since 1900?  Of course almost all of that decline has happened since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913.

Because the money supply is designed to expand constantly, it is guaranteed that all of our dollars will constantly lose value.

Inflation is a “hidden tax” that continually robs us all of our wealth.  The Federal Reserve always says that it is “committed” to controlling inflation, but that never seems to work out so well.

And current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that it is actually a good thing to have a little bit of inflation.  He plans to try to keep the inflation rate at about 2 percent in the coming years.

So what is so bad about 2 percent?  That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

Well, just consider the following excerpt from a recent Forbes article….

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) has made it official:  After its latest two day meeting, it announced its goal to devalue the dollar by 33% over the next 20 years.  The debauch of the dollar will be even greater if the Fed exceeds its goal of a 2 percent per year increase in the price level.

#4 The Federal Reserve Can Bail Out Whoever It Wants To With No Accountability

The American people got so upset about the bailouts that Congress gave to the Wall Street banks and to the big automakers, but did you know that the biggest bailouts of all were given out by the Federal Reserve?

Thanks to a very limited audit of the Federal Reserve that Congress approved a while back, we learned that the Fed made trillions of dollars in secret bailout loans to the big Wall Street banks during the last financial crisis.  They even secretly loaned out hundreds of billions of dollars to foreign banks.

According to the results of the limited Fed audit mentioned above, a total of $16.1 trillion in secret loans were made by the Federal Reserve between December 1, 2007 and July 21, 2010.

The following is a list of loan recipients that was taken directly from page 131 of the audit report….

Citigroup – $2.513 trillion
Morgan Stanley – $2.041 trillion
Merrill Lynch – $1.949 trillion
Bank of America – $1.344 trillion
Barclays PLC – $868 billion
Bear Sterns – $853 billion
Goldman Sachs – $814 billion
Royal Bank of Scotland – $541 billion
JP Morgan Chase – $391 billion
Deutsche Bank – $354 billion
UBS – $287 billion
Credit Suisse – $262 billion
Lehman Brothers – $183 billion
Bank of Scotland – $181 billion
BNP Paribas – $175 billion
Wells Fargo – $159 billion
Dexia – $159 billion
Wachovia – $142 billion
Dresdner Bank – $135 billion
Societe Generale – $124 billion
“All Other Borrowers” – $2.639 trillion

So why haven’t we heard more about this?

This is scandalous.

In addition, it turns out that the Fed paid enormous sums of money to the big Wall Street banks to help “administer” these nearly interest-free loans….

Not only did the Federal Reserve give 16.1 trillion dollars in nearly interest-free loans to the “too big to fail” banks, the Fed also paid them over 600 million dollars to help run the emergency lending program.  According to the GAO, the Federal Reserve shelled out an astounding $659.4 million in “fees” to the very financial institutions which caused the financial crisis in the first place.

Does reading that make you angry?

It should.

#5 The Federal Reserve Is Paying Banks Not To Lend Money

Did you know that the Federal Reserve is actually paying banks not to make loans?

It is true.

Section 128 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 allows the Federal Reserve to pay interest on “excess reserves” that U.S. banks park at the Fed.

So the banks can just send their cash to the Fed and watch the money come rolling in risk-free.

So are many banks taking advantage of this?

You tell me.  Just check out the chart below.  The amount of “excess reserves” parked at the Fed has gone from nearly nothing to about 1.5 trillion dollars since 2008….

But shouldn’t the banks be lending the money to us so that we can start businesses and buy homes?

You would think that is how it is supposed to work.

Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve is not working for us.

The Federal Reserve is working for the big banks.

Sadly, most Americans have no idea what is going on.

Another example of this is the government debt carry trade.

Here is how it works.  The Federal Reserve lends gigantic piles of nearly interest-free cash to the big Wall Street banks, and in turn those banks use the money to buy up huge amounts of government debt.  Since the return on government debt is higher, the banks are able to make large profits very easily and with very little risk.

This scam was also explained in a recent article in the Guardian….

Consider this: we pretend that banks are private businesses that should be allowed to run their own affairs. But they are the biggest scroungers of public money of our time. Banks are lent vast sums of money by central banks at near-zero interest. They lend that money to us or back to the government at higher rates and rake in the difference by the billion. They don’t even have to make clever investments to make huge profits.

That is a pretty good little scam they have got going, wouldn’t you say?

#6 The Federal Reserve Creates Artificial Economic Bubbles That Are Extremely Damaging

By allowing a centralized authority such as the Federal Reserve to dictate interest rates, it creates an environment where financial bubbles can be created very easily.

Over the past several decades, we have seen bubble after bubble.  Most of these have been the result of the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates artificially low.  If the free market had been setting interest rates all this time, things would have never gotten so far out of hand.

For example, the housing crash would have never been so horrific if the Federal Reserve had not created such ideal conditions for a housing bubble in the first place.  But we allow the Fed to continue to make the same mistakes.

Right now, the Federal Reserve continues to set interest rates much, much lower than they should be.  This is causing a tremendous misallocation of economic resources, and there will be massive consequences for that down the line.

#7 The Federal Reserve System Is Dominated By The Big Wall Street Banks

Even since it was created, the Federal Reserve system has been dominated by the big Wall Street banks.

The following is from a previous article that I did about the Fed….

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.

#8 It Is Not An Accident That We Saw The Personal Income Tax And The Federal Reserve System Both Come Into Existence In 1913

On February 3rd, 1913 the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified.  Later that year, the United States Revenue Act of 1913 imposed a personal income tax on the American people and we have had one ever since.

Without a personal income tax, it is hard to have a central bank.  It takes a lot of money to finance all of the government debt that a central banking system creates.

It is no accident that the 16th Amendment was ratified in 1913 and the Federal Reserve system was also created in 1913.

They have a symbiotic relationship and they are designed to work together.

We could fill Congress with people that are committed to ending this oppressive system, but so far we have chosen not to do that.

So our children and our grandchildren will face a lifetime of debt slavery because of us.

I am sure they will be thankful for that.

#9 The Current Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, Has A Nightmarish Track Record Of Incompetence

The mainstream media portrays Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as a brilliant economist, but is that really the case?

Let’s go to the videotape.

The following is an extended excerpt from an article that I published previously….

———-

In 2005, Bernanke said that we shouldn’t worry because housing prices had never declined on a nationwide basis before and he said that he believed that the U.S. would continue to experience close to “full employment”….

“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.”

In 2005, Bernanke also said that he believed that derivatives were perfectly safe and posed no danger to financial markets….

“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.”

In 2006, Bernanke said that housing prices would probably keep rising….

“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.”

In 2007, Bernanke insisted that there was not a problem with subprime mortgages….

“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.”

In 2008, Bernanke said that a recession was not coming….

“The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession.”

A few months before Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed, Bernanke insisted that they were totally secure….

“The GSEs are adequately capitalized. They are in no danger of failing.”

For many more examples that demonstrate the absolutely nightmarish track record of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, please see the following articles….

*”Say What? 30 Ben Bernanke Quotes That Are So Stupid That You Won’t Know Whether To Laugh Or Cry

*”Is Ben Bernanke A Liar, A Lunatic Or Is He Just Completely And Totally Incompetent?

But after being wrong over and over and over, Barack Obama still nominated Ben Bernanke for another term as Chairman of the Fed.

———-

#10 The Federal Reserve Has Become Way Too Powerful

The Federal Reserve is the most undemocratic institution in America.

The Federal Reserve has become so powerful that it is now known as “the fourth branch of government”, but there are less checks and balances on the Fed than there are on the other three branches.

The Federal Reserve runs the U.S. economy but it is not accountable to the American people.  We can’t vote those that run the Fed out of office if we do not like what they do.

Yes, the president appoints those that run the Fed, but he also knows that if he does not tread lightly he won’t get the money from the big Wall Street banks that he needs for his next election.

Thankfully, there are a few members of Congress that are complaining about how much power the Fed has.  For example, Ron Paul once told MSNBC that he believes that the Federal Reserve is now 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.”

As members of Congress such as Ron Paul have started to shed some light on the activities of the Federal Reserve, that has caused many in the mainstream media to come to the defense of the Fed.

For example, a recent CNBC article entitled “If The Federal Reserve Is Abolished, What Then?” makes it sound like there is absolutely no other rational alternative to having the Federal Reserve run our economy.

But this is not what our founders intended.

The founders did not intend for a private banking cartel to issue our money and set our interest rates for us.

According to Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Congress has been given the responsibility to “coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures”.

So why is the Federal Reserve doing it?

But the CNBC article mentioned above makes it sound like the sky would fall if control of the currency was handed back over to the American people.

At one point, the article asks the following question….

“How would the U.S. economy then function? Something has to take its place, right?”

No, the truth is that we don’t need anyone to “manage” our economy.

The U.S. Treasury could be in charge of issuing our currency and the free market could set our interest rates.

We don’t need to have a centrally-planned economy.

We aren’t China.

And it goes against everything that our founders believed to be running up so much government debt.

For example, Thomas Jefferson once declared that if he could add just one more amendment to the U.S. Constitution it would be a ban on all government borrowing….

I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its Constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power of borrowing.

Oh, how things would have been different if we had only listened to Thomas Jefferson.

Please share this article with as many people as you can.  These are things that every American should know about the Federal Reserve, and we need to educate the American people about the Fed while there is still time.

Have You Heard About The 16 Trillion Dollar Bailout The Federal Reserve Handed To The Too Big To Fail Banks?

What you are about to read should absolutely astound you.  During the last financial crisis, the Federal Reserve secretly conducted the biggest bailout in the history of the world, and the Fed fought in court for several years to keep it a secret.  Do you remember the TARP bailout?  The American people were absolutely outraged that the federal government spent 700 billion dollars bailing out the “too big to fail” banks.  Well, that bailout was pocket change compared to what the Federal Reserve did.  As you will see documented below, the Federal Reserve actually handed more than 16 trillion dollars in nearly interest-free money to the “too big to fail” banks between 2007 and 2010.  So have you heard about this on the nightly news?  Probably not.  Lately Bloomberg has been reporting on some of this, but even they are not giving people the whole picture.  The American people need to be told about this 16 trillion dollar bailout, because it is a perfect example of why the Federal Reserve needs to be shut down.  The Federal Reserve has been actively picking “winners” and “losers” in the financial system, and it turns out that the “friends” of the Fed always get bailed out and always end up among the “winners”.  This is not how a free market system is supposed to work.

According to the limited GAO audit of the Federal Reserve that was mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the grand total of all the secret bailouts conducted by the Federal Reserve during the last financial crisis comes to a whopping $16.1 trillion.

That is an astonishing amount of money.

Keep in mind that the GDP of the United States for the entire year of 2010 was only 14.58 trillion dollars.

The total U.S. national debt is only a bit above 15 trillion dollars right now.

So 16 trillion dollars is an almost inconceivable amount of money.

But some other dollar figures have been thrown around lately regarding these secret Federal Reserve bailouts.  Let’s take a look at them and see what they mean.

$1.2 Trillion

A recent Bloomberg article made the following statement….

The $1.2 trillion peak on Dec. 5, 2008 — the combined outstanding balance under the seven programs tallied by Bloomberg — was almost three times the size of the U.S. federal budget deficit that year and more than the total earnings of all federally insured banks in the U.S. for the decade through 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The $1.2 trillion figure represents the peak outstanding balance on these loans, not the total amount of all the loans.  On December 5, 2008 the “too big to fail” banks owed this much money to the Federal Reserve.  Many of them could not pay these short-term loans back right away and had to keep rolling them over time after time.  Each time a short-term loan got rolled over that represented a new loan.

$7.7 Trillion

Bloomberg is reporting that the Federal Reserve had made a total of $7.77 trillion in financial commitments to the big banks by the end of March 2009….

Add up guarantees and lending limits, and the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the financial system, more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S. that year.

But as mentioned above, a one-time limited GAO audit of the Federal Reserve that was mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act covered an even broader time period and revealed even more bailout loans.

According to the GAO audit, $16.1 trillion in secret loans were made by the Federal Reserve between December 1, 2007 and July 21, 2010.  The following list of firms and the amount of money that they received was taken directly from page 131 of the GAO audit report….

Citigroup – $2.513 trillion
Morgan Stanley – $2.041 trillion
Merrill Lynch – $1.949 trillion
Bank of America – $1.344 trillion
Barclays PLC – $868 billion
Bear Sterns – $853 billion
Goldman Sachs – $814 billion
Royal Bank of Scotland – $541 billion
JP Morgan Chase – $391 billion
Deutsche Bank – $354 billion
UBS – $287 billion
Credit Suisse – $262 billion
Lehman Brothers – $183 billion
Bank of Scotland – $181 billion
BNP Paribas – $175 billion
Wells Fargo – $159 billion
Dexia – $159 billion
Wachovia – $142 billion
Dresdner Bank – $135 billion
Societe Generale – $124 billion
“All Other Borrowers” – $2.639 trillion

This report was made available to all the members of Congress, but most of them have been totally silent about it.  One of the only members of Congress that has said something has been U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.

The following is an excerpt from a statement about this audit that was taken from the official website of Senator Sanders….

“As a result of this audit, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world”

So where is everyone else?

Why aren’t leading Republicans and leading Democrats crying bloody murder over this report?

This scandal should have been front page news for months when it was revealed.

But it wasn’t.

And Guess what?

Not only did the Federal Reserve give 16.1 trillion dollars in nearly interest-free loans to the “too big to fail” banks, the Fed also paid them over 600 million dollars to help run the emergency lending program.  According to the GAO, the Federal Reserve shelled out an astounding $659.4 million in “fees” to the very financial institutions which caused the financial crisis in the first place.

In addition, it turns out that trillions of dollars of this bailout money actually went overseas.  According to the GAO audit, approximately $3.08 trillion went to foreign banks in Europe and in Asia.

So why were our dollars being used to bail out foreign banks while tens of millions of American families were deeply suffering?

That is a very good question.

Also, it is important to remember that many of these bailout loans were made at below market interest rates, and this enabled many of these financial institutions to rake in huge profits.

According to a recent Bloomberg article, the big banks brought in an estimated $13 billion by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates….

While the Fed’s last-resort lending programs generally charge above-market interest rates to deter routine borrowing, that practice sometimes flipped during the crisis. On Oct. 20, 2008, for example, the central bank agreed to make $113.3 billion of 28-day loans through its Term Auction Facility at a rate of 1.1 percent, according to a press release at the time.

The rate was less than a third of the 3.8 percent that banks were charging each other to make one-month loans on that day. Bank of America and Wachovia Corp. each got $15 billion of the 1.1 percent TAF loans, followed by Royal Bank of Scotland’s RBS Citizens NA unit with $10 billion, Fed data show.

So once the financial crisis was over, were adjustments made to the financial system to make sure that this type of thing would never happen again?

Of course not.

Today, the “too big to fail” banks are larger than ever.  The total assets of the six largest U.S. banks increased by 39 percent between September 30, 2006 and September 30, 2011.

So now they are more “too big to fail” than ever.

But this is what happens when we allow unelected central bank bureaucrats to run our financial system.

Most Americans do not realize this, but the truth is that the Federal Reserve is not part of the government.  In fact, it is about as “federal” as Federal Express is.  The Federal Reserve has admitted that they are a privately owned institution in court many times, and you can see video of a Federal Reserve employee admitting that the Federal Reserve is privately owned right here.

The Federal Reserve is an out of control monster that is throwing around trillions of dollars whenever it wants to.  Nobody should be allowed to do this.  Nobody should be allowed to give bailouts to banks and corporations without the express permission of the U.S. Congress and the president of the United States.

This is a point that I made in my article yesterday.  The Federal Reserve decided this week that it is going to provide “liquidity support” to Europe.  If the American people do not like this move, that is just too bad.  We do not get a say in the matter.

Are you starting to understand why I keep pushing the idea that it is time to shut down the Federal Reserve?

Please share this information about the secret 16 trillion dollar Federal Reserve bailout with your family and your friends.

If we can get enough people to wake up, perhaps there is still time to change the direction that this country is headed.

65 Ways That Everything That You Think That You Own Is Being Systematically Taken Away From You

Everything that you own is slowly being taken away from you.  It is being done purposely and it is being done by design.  Many Americans like to think of themselves as “well off”, but as will be demonstrated below, we don’t “own” nearly as much as we think that we do.  The truth is that most of us have to frantically run around accumulating wealth as rapidly as we can so that we can somehow stay ahead of the rate that wealth is being taken away from us.  The entire system is designed to take what you have away from you.  There are many ways that this is accomplished – taxation, inflation, debt, interest, fines, fees, tickets, government seizures and good old-fashioned corporate greed.  If you tried to just sit back and do nothing but hold on to the wealth that you already have you would find out that it would disappear rather quickly.  When you take the time to really analyze our system the conclusion is undeniable – everything that you think that you own is being systematically taken away from you.

There is a reason why the wealthiest one percent of all Americans control 40 percent of all the wealth in the United States.  The system is designed to funnel all of the wealth to them and to the government.  Average Americans are experiencing a declining standard of living and it is not by accident.

Just check out some of the ways that our wealth is being taken from us….

#1 Do you think that you own your house?  You might want to think again.  Most Americans that “own a home” are paying a mortgage.  If you stop paying that mortgage you will lose that home.  Over a million American families were kicked out of their homes last year.  This year a million more American families will get the boot.

But when those families get booted out onto the street they don’t get their down payments back.  They don’t get all the mortgage payments that they have made back.  The banks get to keep all of the money and all of the houses.

Perhaps you don’t have a mortgage.  Does that mean that you “own your home”?

No, not really.  Just refuse to pay your property taxes and watch what happens.  At best you can say that you have the right to rent your home from the government.

In any event, the reality is that the banks now own more of “our homes” than we do.  During the most recent recession, the total amount of U.S. home equity owned by the banks surpassed the total amount of U.S. home equity owned by the rest of us for the first time ever.

Things used to be far different in this country.  Once upon a time American families owned most of the houses and most of the land in this nation.

But now the banks own most of it.  Sadly, most American families that believe that they “own homes” are actually enslaved to 20 or 30 year debt contracts.

#2 Do you think that you own your car?  You don’t own it if you are still making payments on it.  If you stop making payments you will rapidly lose that car.

But even if your car is paid off, you can only operate that car if you do the following….

*You must pay the license fee

*You must pay the car registration fee

*You must pay the emissions inspection fee

*You must pay the property taxes on that car (if that applies in your area)

*You must pay the tire taxes

*You must pay the gas taxes

If you have paid all of those taxes, then you are permitted to drive only where the government allows you to drive and only under the rules that the government sets for you.

But at least you “own” your car, right?

#3 What about your possessions?  Do you own them?

Well, yes, you probably own some possessions.

But that doesn’t mean that they are not enslaving you.

After all, did you use a credit card to pay for any of them?

If so, you could end up paying much more for your possessions than you originally thought that they cost.

For example, if you only make the minimum payment on your credit card each month, a $6,000 credit card bill could end up costing you over $30,000 (depending on the interest rate).

#4 Do you own your education?  Well, it is undeniable that nobody can ever take it away from you.  But if you took out student loans that debt may end up enslaving you for decades.

The borrower is the servant of the lender and student loan debt is more of a financial drain on Americans than ever before.  Americans now owe more on student loans than they do on credit cards.  As hard as that is to believe, that is actually true.  Americans now owe more than $903 billion on student loans, which is a new all-time record.

#5 Will you protect your wealth if you put your money in the bank?

No, in fact your wealth will be systematically destroyed in the bank.

Inflation is a hidden tax on every single dollar that you own.  It destroys the value of all dollars in existence.  There are some Americans that have been saving money for decades, but those savings are being taxed into oblivion by inflation.  Many experts are now projecting that the average price of a gallon of gasoline will hit $5 by the end of the year.  So the next time you go to the gas pump just take a moment to think about how your wealth is being drained away by inflation.

#6 Insurance costs continue to soar.  After insuring everything in our lives many of us barely have any money left over to actually live our lives with.  In particular, health insurance premiums have become completely and totally ridiculous.  According to the Los Angeles Times, Blue Shield of California plans to raise rates an average of 30% to 35%, and some individual policy holders could see their health insurance premiums rise by a whopping 59 percent this year alone.  So how are American families supposed to survive if they keep on handing over bigger and bigger chunks of their income to the health care industry?

#7 State and local governments all over the nation have turned to ticket writing as a primary revenue source.  In fact, in some areas of the country traffic citations are soaring at a crazy rate.  For example, 110,000 more traffic citations were written in Los Angeles County last fiscal year than were written in the fiscal year immediately prior to the last recession.

The truth is that the police even realize what is going on.  Just consider the following quote from from Police Chief Michael Reaves of Utica, Michigan….

“When I first started in this job 30 years ago, police work was never about revenue enhancement, but if you’re a chief now, you have to look at whether your department produces revenues.”

#8 Some states have decided to simply confiscate wealth even if nothing has been done wrong.  For example, the state of California is aggressively seizing “unclaimed” safe deposit boxes.  If you have a safe deposit box that you have not checked on in a while you might want to make sure that it is still there.

#9 You might end up losing your valuables when you cross the border.  It is being reported that U.S. border agents are now regularly seizing laptops and other electronic devices as people cross the border.  In many cases those items are never returned.

#10 If you don’t pay your property taxes, you will lose your house and it will likely be a big Wall Street bank that will be taking it from you.  As I have written about previously, the big Wall Street banks are buying up thousands upon thousands of tax liens and are making a killing by socking distressed homeowners with predatory interest, outrageous penalties and almost unbelievable legal fees.

#11 Of course the biggest way that our wealth is being drained is through federal income taxes.  The reason that the Federal Reserve and the IRS were established back in 1913 was to redistribute wealth.  Wealth is transferred from the American people to the U.S. government and then ultimately to the elite and to the causes that the elite favor.

But federal taxes are only one of the taxes that we pay.  The truth is that the average American pays dozens of different taxes each year.  Just check out a few examples of the different taxes that drain our wealth….

#12 Accounts Receivable Taxes

#13 Building Permit Taxes

#14 Capital Gains Taxes

#15 CDL License Taxes

#16 Cigarette Taxes

#17 Corporate Income Taxes

#18 Court Fines (indirect taxes)

#19 Dog License Taxes

#20 Federal Unemployment Taxes (FUTA)

#21 Fishing License Taxes

#22 Food License Taxes

#23 Gasoline Taxes

#24 Gift Taxes

#25 Hunting License Taxes

#26 Inheritance Taxes

#27 Inventory Taxes

#28 IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)

#29 IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)

#30 Liquor Taxes

#31 Local Income Taxes

#32 Luxury Taxes

#33 Marriage License Taxes

#34 Medicare Taxes

#35 Payroll Taxes

#36 Property Taxes

#37 Real Estate Taxes

#38 Recreational Vehicle Taxes

#39 Road Toll Booth Taxes

#40 Road Usage Taxes (Truckers)

#41 Sales Taxes

#42 Self-Employment Taxes

#43 School Taxes

#44 Septic Permit Taxes

#45 Service Charge Taxes

#46 Social Security Taxes

#47 State Income Taxes

#48 State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA)

#49 Telephone federal excise taxes

#50 Telephone federal universal service fee taxes

#51 Telephone federal, state and local surcharge taxes

#52 Telephone minimum usage surcharge taxes

#53 Telephone recurring and non-recurring taxes

#54 Telephone state and local taxes

#55 Telephone usage charge taxes

#56 Toll Bridge Taxes

#57 Toll Tunnel Taxes

#58 Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)

#59 Trailer Registration Taxes

#60 Utility Taxes

#61 Vehicle License Registration Taxes

#62 Vehicle Sales Taxes

#63 Watercraft Registration Taxes

#64 Well Permit Taxes

#65 Workers Compensation Taxes

Even the future is being taken away from us.  The future is literally being stolen from our children and our grandchildren.  They will be inheriting the 14 trillion dollar (and still rising) national debt that we have accumulated.  What we have done to future generations is unthinkable, and yet we continue to endlessly borrow more money.  The Congressional Research Service estimates that the U.S. government will need to borrow $738 billion between April 1st and September 30th.  Faith in U.S. Treasuries is falling so rapidly that now the biggest bond fund in the world, PIMCO, is actually shorting U.S. Treasuries.

When you base an entire economy on debt, eventually you end up with money problems that never seem to end.  As a nation we are now enslaved to a vicious spiral of debt that is going to destroy everything that our forefathers worked so hard to build.

As the debt loads of our federal, state and local governments become even more burdensome, they are going to want even more money from us.  For decades we gave in to new tax after new tax thinking that it would finally satisfy them.  But it never seems to be enough.  They always want more.

It is the same thing with the banksters.  They are never satisfied either.  They always want more assets and they always want more Americans to be enslaved to debt.

Unfortunately, most Americans are so caught up in the “rat race” that they never take much time to think about who designed the race or why they are running it.

Hopefully more Americans will wake up and will realize that our entire economy and our entire financial system need to be reformed.  Our current system is inherently flawed and it will eventually impoverish the vast majority of us if we allow it to.

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