Spain And Italy Are Toast Unless Germany Allows The ECB To Print Trillions Of Euros

The financial chess game in Europe is still being played out, but in the end it is going to boil down to one very fundamental decision.  Is Germany going to allow the ECB to print up trillions of euros and use those euros to buy up the sovereign debt of troubled eurozone members such as Spain and Italy or not?  Nothing short of this is going to solve the problems in Europe.  You can forget the ESM and the EFSF.  Anyone that thinks they are going to solve the problems in Europe is someone that would also take a water pistol to fight a raging wildfire.  No, the only thing that is going to keep Spain and Italy from collapsing under the weight of a mountain of debt is a financial nuke.  The ECB needs to have the power to print up trillions of euros and use that money to buy up massive amounts of sovereign debt in order to guarantee that Spain and Italy will be able to borrow lots more money at very low interest rates.  In fact, this is probably what European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has in mind when he says that he is going to “do whatever it takes to preserve the euro”.  However, there is one giant problem.  The ECB is not going to be able to do this unless Germany allows them to.  And after enduring the horror of hyperinflation under the Weimar Republic, Germany is not too keen on introducing trillions upon trillions of new euros into the European economy.  If Germany allows the ECB to go down this path, Germany will end up experiencing tremendous inflation and the only benefit for Germany will be that the eurozone was kept together.  That doesn’t sound like a very good deal for Germany.

Right now, the yield on 10 year Spanish bonds is above 7 percent and the yield on 10 year Italian bonds is above 6 percent.

Those are unsustainable levels.

The only thing that is going to bring those bond yields down permanently to where they need to be is unlimited ECB intervention.

But that is not going to happen without German permission.

Meanwhile, the situation in Spain gets worse by the day.

An article in Der Spiegel recently described the slow motion bank run that is systematically ripping the Spanish banking system to shreds….

Capital outflows from Spain more than quadrupled in May to €41.3 billion ($50.7 billion) compared with May 2011, according to figures released on Tuesday by the Spanish central bank.

In the first five months of 2012, a total of €163 billion left the country, the figures indicate. During the same period a year earlier, Spain recorded a net inflow of €14.6 billion.

If those numbers sound really bad to you, that is because they are really bad.

At this point, authorities in Spain are starting to panic.  According to Graham Summers, Spain has imposed the following new capital restrictions during the last month alone….

  • A minimum fine of  €10,000 for taxpayers who do not report their foreign accounts.
  • Secondary fines of  €5,000 for each additional account
  • No cash transactions greater than €2,500
  • Cash transaction restrictions apply to individuals and businesses

How would you feel if the U.S. government permanently banned all cash transactions greater than $2,500?

That is how crazy things have already become in Spain.

We should see the government of Spain formally ask for a bailout pretty soon here.

Italy should follow fairly quickly thereafter.

But right now there is not enough money to completely bail either one of them out.

In the end, either the ECB is going to do it or it is not going to get done.

A moment of truth is rapidly approaching for Europe, and nobody is quite sure what is going to happen next.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the central banks of the world are on “red alert” at this point….

Ben Bernanke and Mario Draghi, with words but not yet actions, demonstrated this week that they are on red alert about the global economy.

Expectations are now high that Mr. Bernanke’s Federal Reserve and Mr. Draghi’s European Central Bank will act soon to address those worries. But both face immense tactical and political challenges and neither has a handbook to follow.

So what happens if Germany does not allow the ECB to print up trillions of new euros?

Financial journalist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard recently described what is at stake in all of this….

Failure to halt a full-blown debt debacle in Spain and Italy at this delicate juncture – with China, India and Brazil by now in the grip of a broken credit cycle and the US on the cusp of fresh recession even before the “fiscal cliff” hits – would tip the entire global system into a downward spin, triggering the sort of feedback loop that caused such havoc in late 2008.

As I have written about so frequently, time is running out for the global financial system.

Even Germany is starting to feel the pain.  This week we learned that unemployment in Germany has risen for four months in a row.

So what comes next?

There is actually a key date that is coming up in September.  The Federal Constitutional Court in Germany will rule on the legality of German participation in the European Stability Mechanism on September 12th.

If it is ruled that Germany cannot participate in the European Stability Mechanism then that is going to create all sorts of chaos.  At that point all future European bailouts would be called into question and many would start counting down the days to the break up of the entire eurozone.

If Germany did end up leaving the eurozone, the transition would not be as difficult as many may think.

For example, most Americans may not realize this but Deutsche Marks are currently accepted at many retail stores throughout Germany.  The following comes from a recent Wall Street Journal article….

Shopping for pain reliever here on a recent sunny morning, Ulrike Berger giddily counted her coins and approached the pharmacy counter. She had just enough to make the purchase: 31.09 deutsche marks.

“They just feel nice to hold again,” the 55-year-old preschool teacher marveled, cupping the grubby coins fished from the crevices of her castaway living room sofa. “And they’re still worth something.”

Behind the counter of Rolf-Dieter Schaetzle’s pharmacy in this southern German village lay a tray full of deutsche mark notes and coins—a month’s worth of sales.

I have a feeling that it would be much easier for Germany to leave the euro than it would be for most other eurozone members to.

The months ahead are certainly going to be very interesting, that is for sure.

Europe is heading for a date with destiny, and what transpires in Europe is going to shake the rest of the globe.

Sadly, most Americans still aren’t too concerned with what is going on in Europe right now.

Well, if you still don’t think that the problems in Europe are going to affect the United States, just check this news item from the Guardian….

General Motors’ profits fell 41% in the second quarter as troubles in Europe undercut strong sales in North America.

America’s largest automaker made $1.5bn in the second quarter of 2012, compared with $2.5bn for the same period last year. Revenue fell to $37.6bn from $39.4bn in the second quarter of 2011. The results exceeded analysts’ estimates, but further underlined Europe’s drag on the US economy.

Profits at General Motors are down 41 percent and Europe is being blamed.

The global economy is more tightly integrated than ever before, and there is no way that the financial system of Europe collapses without it taking down the United States as well.

And considering the fact that the U.S. economy has already been steadily collapsing, the last thing we need is for Europe to come along and take our legs out from underneath us.

So what do all of you think about the problems in Europe?

Do you see any possible solution?

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

27 Things That Every American Should Know About The National Debt

The U.S. government has stolen $15,876,457,645,132.66 from future generations of Americans, and we continue to add well over a hundred million dollars to that total every single day day.  The 15 trillion dollar binge that we have been on over the past 30 years has fueled the greatest standard of living the world has ever seen, but this wonderful prosperity that we have been enjoying has been a lie.  It isn’t real.  We have been living way above our means for so long that we do not have any idea of what “normal” actually is anymore.  But every debt addict hits “the wall” eventually, and the same thing is going to happen to us as a nation.  At some point the weight of our national debt is going to cause our financial system to implode, and every American will feel the pain of that collapse.  Under our current system, there is no mathematical way that this debt can ever be paid back.  The road that we are on will either lead to default or to hyperinflation.  We have piled up the biggest debt in the history of the world, and if there are future generations of Americans they will look back and curse us for what we did to them.  We like to think of ourselves as much wiser than previous generations of Americans, but the truth is that we have been so foolish that it is hard to put it into words.

Whenever I do an article about the national debt, Democrats leave comments blaming the Republicans and Republicans leave comments blaming the Democrats.

Well you know what?

Both parties are to blame.  Both of them get a failing grade.

If the Republicans really wanted to stop the federal government from running up all this debt they could have done it.

If the Democrats really wanted to stop the federal government from running up all this debt they could have done it.

So let’s not pretend that one of the political parties is “the hero” in this little drama.

The damage has been done, and both parties will go down in history as being grossly negligent on fiscal issues during this period of American history.

Sadly, neither party is showing any signs of changing their ways.

Neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney is promising to eliminate the federal budget deficit in 2013.  They both talk about how the budget will be balanced “someday”, but as we have seen so many times in the past, “someday” never comes.

I didn’t mean to get all political in this article, but the truth is that the national debt threatens to destroy everything that previous generations have built, and our politicians continue to give us nothing but excuses.

The following are 27 things that every American should know about the national debt….

#1 It took more than 200 years for the U.S. national debt to reach 1 trillion dollars.  In 1986, the U.S. national debt reached 2 trillion dollars.  In 1992, the U.S. national debt reached 4 trillion dollars.  In 2005, the U.S. national debt doubled again and reached 8 trillion dollars.  Now the U.S. national debt is about to cross the 16 trillion dollar mark.  How long can this kind of exponential growth go on?

#2 If the average interest rate on U.S. government debt rises to just 7 percent, the U.S. government will find itself spending more than a trillion dollars per year just on interest on the national debt.

#3 If right this moment you went out and started spending one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars.

#4 Since Barack Obama entered the White House, the U.S. national debt has increased by an average of more than $64,000 per taxpayer.

#5 Barack Obama will become the first president to run deficits of more than a trillion dollars during each of his first four years in office.

#6 If you were alive when Jesus Christ was born and you spent one million dollars every single day since that point, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.

#7 The U.S. national debt has increased by more than 1.6 trillion dollars since the Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives.  So far, this Congress has added more to the national debt than the first 97 Congresses combined.

#8 During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more new debt than it did from the time that George Washington became president to the time that Bill Clinton became president.

#9 If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for 15 days.

#10 As Bill Whittle has shown, you could take every single penny that every American earns above $250,000 and it would only fund about 38 percent of the federal budget.

#11 Today, the government debt to GDP ratio in the United States is well over 100 percent.

#12 A recently revised IMF policy paper entitled “An Analysis of U.S. Fiscal and Generational Imbalances: Who Will Pay and How?” projects that U.S. government debt will rise to about 400 percent of GDP by the year 2050.

#13 The United States already has more government debt per capita than Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or Spain does.

#14 At this point, the United States government is responsible for more than a third of all the government debt in the entire world.

#15 The amount of U.S. government debt held by foreigners is about 5 times larger than it was just a decade ago.

#16 The U.S. national debt is now more than 22 times larger than it was when Jimmy Carter became president.

#17 It is being projected that the U.S. national debt will surpass 23 trillion dollars in 2015.

#18 Mandatory federal spending surpassed total federal revenue for the first time ever in fiscal 2011.  That was not supposed to happen until 50 years from now.

#19 Between 2007 and 2010, U.S. GDP grew by only 4.26%, but the U.S. national debt soared by 61% during that same time period.

#20 The U.S. government has total assets of 2.7 trillion dollars and has total liabilities of 17.5 trillion dollars.  The liabilities do not even count 4.7 trillion dollars of intragovernmental debt that is currently outstanding.

#21 U.S. households are now actually receiving more money directly from the U.S. government than they are paying to the government in taxes.

#22 The U.S. government is wasting your money on some of the stupidest things imaginable.  For example, in 2011 the National Institutes of Health spent $592,527 on a study that sought to figure out once and for all why chimpanzees throw poop.

#23 If the federal government used GAAP accounting standards like publicly traded corporations do, the real federal budget deficit for last year would have been 5 trillion dollars instead of 1.3 trillion dollars.

#24 The Federal Reserve purchased approximately 61 percent of all government debt issued by the U.S. Treasury Department during 2011.

#25 At this point, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first created.

#26 If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 480,000 years to completely pay off the national debt.

#27 The official government debt figure does not even account for massive unfunded liabilities that the U.S. government will be hit with in the years ahead.  According to Professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff, the U.S. government is facing a future “fiscal gap” of more than 200 trillion dollars.

As the U.S. economy continues to crumble, even more Americans are going to become financially dependent on the federal government.

For example, spending on food stamps has doubled since 2008.  Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and have needed some assistance from the government.  Since Obama became president the number of Americans on food stamps has gone from 32 million to 46 million.

But the Obama administration believes that a lot more Americans should be enrolled in the food stamp program.  The Obama administration is now spending millions of dollars on ads that urge even more people to sign up for food stamps.  In fact, their efforts to get even more Americans to sign up for food stamps have become very creative….

The government has been targeting Spanish speakers with radio “novelas” promoting food stamp usage as part of a stated mission to increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.

Each novela, comprising a 10-part series called “PARQUE ALEGRIA,” or “HOPE PARK,” presents a semi-dramatic scenario involving characters convincing others to get on food stamps, or explaining how much healthier it is to be on food stamps.

I’m all for helping those that cannot feed themselves, but do we really need to run ads urging more people to become dependent on the government?

Of course Obamacare is going to cause our debt to balloon in size as well.  It is being projected that Obamacare will add more than 2.6 trillion dollars to the U.S. national debt over the first decade alone.

So where are we going to get all this money?

We can’t keep spending money that we do not have.  We have got to prioritize.  Every single category of government spending needs to be cut.

But instead we feel like we can keep ripping off future generations of Americans and that we will always be able to get away with it.

What we have done to our children and our grandchildren is beyond criminal.

The truth is that we should have listened to the warnings of our founding fathers about government debt.  For example, Thomas Jefferson once said that if he could add just one more amendment to the U.S. Constitution it would be a complete ban on all borrowing by the federal government….

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.

Where would we be today if we had taken the advice of Thomas Jefferson?

That is something to think about.

Tony Robbins, Ron Paul And Ben Bernanke All Agree: The National Debt Crisis Could Destroy America

Is there one thing that Tony Robbins, Ron Paul and Ben Bernanke can all agree on?  Yes, there actually is.  Recently they have all come forward with warnings that the national debt crisis could destroy America if something is not done.  Unfortunately, our politicians continue to spend us into oblivion as if there will never be any consequences.  When Barack Obama took office, the U.S. national debt was 10.6 trillion dollars.  Today, it is 15.6 trillion dollars and it is rising at the rate of about 150 million dollars an hour.  During the Obama administration so far, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from 1776 to 1995.  The United States now has a debt to GDP ratio of over 100 percent, and another credit rating agency downgraded U.S. debt earlier this month.  Any talk of a positive economic future is utter nonsense as long as we are bleeding red ink as a nation far faster than we ever have before.  It is absolutely immoral to wreck the financial future of our children and our grandchildren and to leave them with a bill for the greatest mountain of debt in the history of the world, but that is exactly what we are doing.  Unless our current debt-based financial system is thrown out, there are only two ways that this game is going to play out.  One would involve absolutely bitter austerity and deflation unlike anything ever seen before, and the other would involve nightmarish hyperinflation.  Either path would be hellish beyond what most Americans could possibly imagine.

Unfortunately, we are running out of time as a nation.  You know that things are late in the game when the head of the Federal Reserve starts using apocalyptic language to talk about the national debt.  The following is what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress recently….

Having a large and increasing level of government debt relative to national income runs the risk of serious economic consequences. Over the longer term, the current trajectory of federal debt threatens to crowd out private capital formation and thus reduce productivity growth. To the extent that increasing debt is financed by borrowing from abroad, a growing share of our future income would be devoted to interest payments on foreign-held federal debt. High levels of debt also impair the ability of policymakers to respond effectively to future economic shocks and other adverse events.

Even the prospect of unsustainable deficits has costs, including an increased possibility of a sudden fiscal crisis. As we have seen in a number of countries recently, interest rates can soar quickly if investors lose confidence in the ability of a government to manage its fiscal policy. Although historical experience and economic theory do not indicate the exact threshold at which the perceived risks associated with the U.S. public debt would increase markedly, we can be sure that, without corrective action, our fiscal trajectory will move the nation ever closer to that point.

The sick thing about this is that the Federal Reserve system is actually designed to generate government debt.  The U.S. national debt is now more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was created back in 1913.  So it is kind of ironic that the head of the organization that was designed to perpetually generate U.S. government debt is now warning that there is too much of it.

But Ben Bernanke is far from alone in warning about the danger of our exploding national debt.

For example, world famous motivational speaker Tony Robbins is also warning that the national debt crisis could destroy our future.

These days, most people throw around the phrase “a trillion dollars” without ever really grasping what it means.

In the video posted below, Tony Robbins uses a fun illustration to help put in perspective how large a “trillion dollars” really is.

If you had a million seconds to do something, would you consider that to be a long time?

Well, it turns out that a million seconds is only about 12 days.

What about a billion seconds?  Is that a long period of time?

Well, yes, a billion seconds is close to 32 years.  So that is definitely a lot longer than a million seconds.

What about a trillion seconds?

How long do you think that is?

Well, a trillion seconds is about 31,688 years.

So when we talk about how the U.S. government is stealing more than a trillion dollars from future generations every single year, we are talking about an absolutely massive amount of money.

The Tony Robbins video about the national debt crisis posted below has started to go viral all over the Internet.  If you have not seen it yet, I definitely recommend taking a few minutes to watch it….

So why are our politicians not doing anything about the U.S. debt crisis?

Well, it is because most of them value getting elected over and over again above doing what is right for future generations.

For the past four decades, the United States has been enjoying a 15 trillion dollar party.  All of this borrowed money has enabled us to live far, far beyond our means.

If our politicians voted to severely cut spending or to raise taxes dramatically at this point, our economy would suddenly readjust to a more realistic standard of living.  But that would be extremely painful and most Americans voters would be absolutely furious.  They would demand that someone “fix” the economy immediately.  But the truth is that what we have been enjoying all these years has not been real.  It has been bought with trillions of dollars stolen from future generations.  But most of our politicians just want to keep the party rolling as long as humanly possible so that they can keep getting voted back into office.

Fortunately, there are a few politicians that are willing to stand up and tell the truth about our national debt crisis.  For example, in the video posted below Ron Paul scolds the rest of Congress for continuing to vote for debt limit increase after debt limit increase….

Unfortunately, the American people seem to prefer politicians that endlessly lie to them about how bad things really are.

For example, back at the beginning of the Bush administration we were promised that we would be swimming in gigantic surpluses by now.

That didn’t exactly work out, now did it?

Barack Obama promised us that he would cut the size of the federal budget deficit in half by the end of his first term.

Well, guess what?

He lied too.

Things just continue to get worse and worse.

Since 1975, we have added more than 15 trillion dollars to the national debt.  In fact, the U.S. national debt is now more than 22 times larger than it was when Jimmy Carter became president.

A lot of talking heads on television continue to assure us that everything is going to be okay, but the truth is that we are about to experience some absolutely devastating consequences for decades of really bad decisions.

For example, the rest of the world is rapidly losing faith in our currency and the reign of the U.S. dollar as the primary world reserve currency is in serious danger of coming to an end.  When that happens, gasoline, food and just about everything else that you buy is going to be a lot more expensive.

Already, there are very ominous signs that the rest of the world is getting tired of financing our endless spending.  In 2011, the Federal Reserve bought approximately 61 percent of all new government debt issued by the U.S. Treasury Department.  This is not supposed to happen.  The Federal Reserve is not supposed to be monetizing our debt and this is something that Congress should be looking into.

Also, at this time of the year people love to complain about the outrageous amount of taxes that most hard working Americans have to pay, but the truth is that eventually it will likely get a whole lot worse.

Just look at Greece.  Taxes in Greece have been raised to suffocating levels, government spending has been slashed to the bone and yet they are still running up more debt.

That is going to happen in the United States at some point too, especially if our leaders choose the path of austerity and deflation.

You can’t hide from debt forever.

Have you ever run up debt on a credit card?

A lot of us did that when we were young and foolish, and it can be a lot of fun on the way up.

But eventually a day of reckoning comes and it is extremely painful to find yourself drowning in credit card debt.

Well, we are rapidly approaching our credit limit as a nation.

Some hard choices will have to be made, and there will be a lot of pain.

The false prosperity that we are enjoying now is going to disappear.

Now is the time to prepare for the massive economic shift that is coming.  In the coming economic environment, those that are currently living month to month and those that are 100% dependent on the system are going to be in a huge amount of trouble.

Instead of wildly spending money as if the good times will never end like most Americans are, now is the time to get out of debt, to become more self-sufficient and to set aside the money, resources and supplies you will need to weather the storm that is rapidly approaching.

Anyone with half a brain should be able to see that a gigantic economic collapse is coming.

Use the time that you still have left to prepare the best that you can.