“Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is on the way out the door, but the consequences of the bond bubble that he has helped to create will stay with us for a very, very long time. During Bernanke’s tenure, interest rates on U.S. Treasuries have fallen to record lows. This has enabled the U.S. government to pile up an extraordinary amount of debt. During his tenure we have also seen mortgage rates fall to record lows. All of this has helped to spur economic activity in the short-term, but what happens when interest rates start going back to normal? If the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt rises to just 6 percent, the U.S. government will suddenly be paying out a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt. And remember, there have been times in the past when the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt has been much higher than that. In addition, when the U.S. government starts having to pay more to borrow money so will everyone else. What will that do to home sales and car sales? And of course we all remember what happened to adjustable rate mortgages when interest rates started to rise just prior to the last recession. We have gotten ourselves into a position where the U.S. economy simply cannot afford for interest rates to go up. We have become addicted to the cheap money made available by a grossly distorted financial system, and we have Ben Bernanke to thank for that. The Federal Reserve is at the very heart of the economic problems that we are facing in America, and this time is certainly no exception.”
“This is no time to be complacent. Massive economic problems are erupting all over the globe, but most people seem to believe that everything is going to be just fine. In fact, a whole bunch of recent polls and surveys show that the American people are starting to feel much better about how the U.S. economy is performing. Unfortunately, the false prosperity that we are currently enjoying is not going to last much longer. Just look at what is happening in Europe. The eurozone is now in the midst of the longest recession that it has ever experienced. Just look at what is happening over in Asia. Economic growth in India is the lowest that it has been in a decade and the Japanese financial system is beginning to spin wildly out of control. One of the only places on the entire planet where serious economic problems have not already erupted is in the United States, and that is only because we have “kicked the can down the road” by recklessly printing money and by borrowing money at an unprecedented rate. Unfortunately, the “sugar high” produced by those foolish measures is starting to wear off. We are going to experience a massive amount of economic pain along with the rest of the world – it is just a matter of time.”
“Increasing housing prices and the stock market”s posting all-time highs haven’t helped the plight most Americans. The average U.S. household has recovered only 45 percent of the wealth they lost during the recession, according to a report released yesterday from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
This finding is a very different picture than one painted in a report earlier this year by the Fed that calculated Americans as a whole had regained 91 percent of their losses. The writers of the report released yesterday point out that the earlier number is based on aggregate household-net-worth data. However, this isn’t adjusted for inflation, population growth or the nature of the wealth. Further, they say much of recovery in net worth is because of the stock market, which means most of the improvement has been a boon only to wealthy families.”
Via CBS News
“I suppose the first question is; what does it mean that we have the “world’s reserve currency”? At the end of WWII the allies met at Bretton Woods and decided to use the US dollar as the official world currency and that it would be backed by gold. All worldwide trade would be priced in dollars and settled in dollars. Food, energy (oil), etc from around the world would be priced and paid for in USD. New York became the financial center for all world trade.
Fast-forward to President Nixon in 1971 and the USD was cut loose from the gold standard due to OPEC oil imports and a growing imbalance of trade that was causing gold to flow out of the US in large amounts.”
Via Alt Market
“Is the coming financial collapse going to be inflationary or deflationary? Are we headed for rampant inflation or crippling deflation? This is a subject that is hotly debated by economists all over the country. Some insist that the wild money printing that the Federal Reserve is doing combined with out of control government spending will eventually result in hyperinflation. Others point to all of the deflationary factors in our economy and argue that we will experience tremendous deflation when the bubble economy that we are currently living in bursts. So what is the truth? Well, for the reasons listed below, I believe that we will see both. The next major financial panic will cause a substantial deflationary wave first, and after that we will see unprecedented inflation as the central bankers and our politicians respond to the financial crisis. This will happen so quickly that many will get “financial whiplash” as they try to figure out what to do with their money. We are moving toward a time of extreme financial instability, and different strategies will be called for at different times.”
“Two years ago, Zero Hedge first made the observation that the bulk of Fed reserves (also known simply as “cash created out of thin air” because money is first and foremost fungible no matter what textbook theoreticians may claim, and the only cash allocation preference is the capital allocation IRR analysis) had been parked not with US banks, but with foreign banks with US-based operations. We followed that with more analyses, showing explicitly how the Fed was providing a constant cash injection to foreign banks courtesy of the rate on overnight reserves which is the amount Fed pays to banks that hold reserves with it, as the bulk of reserves continued to end up with foreign banks – a situation set to become a huge political storm some time in 2014-2015 when the IOER has to rise and the Fed is “found” to have injected tens of billions of “interest” not into US banks but in foreign banks operating in the US, and which then can upstream the “profits” to insolvent offshore domiciled holding companies.”
Via Zero Hedge
“The theory of Petrodollar Warfare can be attributed to US analyst and author William R Clarke, and his 2005 book of that title which interpreted the US-UK decision to invade Iraq in 2003. He called this an “oil currency war”, but the concept of the petrodollar system and petrodollar recyling dates back to the eve of the first Oil Shock in 1973-1974. The role of the petrodollar system as a driving force of US foreign policy is explained by analysts and historians as basic to maintaining the dollar’s status as the world’s dominant reserve currency – and the currency in which oil is priced.
The term “petrodollar warfare” as used by William R. Clark says that major international war, legal or not, was seen as justified to protect the petrodollar system. Over and above the loss of human life, the combined costs of the Afghan and Iraq wars for the US are controversial like the interpretation of these wars as “oil wars”, but analysts like Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes put the total combined war cost at above $4 trillion. This can be compared with – and totally dwarfs – the annual cost of US oil imports, which are now sharply declining on a year-in year-out basis as domestic shale oil output ramps up, and US oil demand stagnates.
Clarke’s theory, like the explanation of the role and power of the “petrodollar system” depends on two basic drivers. Most major developed countries rely on oil imports, which are purchased using dollars, so they are forced to hold large stockpiles of dollars in order to continue importing oil. In turn this also creates consistent demand for dollars, and prevents the dollar from losing its relative international monetary value, regardless of what happens to the US economy.”
Via Zero Hedge
“Were you to look at official government statistics that calculate our rate of price inflation for food, energy, clothing, and other consumer goods, you’d think that prices were as stable today as they were under the gold standard.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the CPI (Consumer Price Index) inflation rate remains well below the Federal Reserve’s 2.5% threshold. Insofar as the government is concerned America’s core inflation rate is just 1.7%, a testament to the economic prowess of our central bank and Chairman Ben Bernanke.
And because there is no significant price rise being realized in consumer goods based on the government’s calculations, the millions of Americans dependent on disbursements like social security, disability assistance and nutritional food support will see no adjustments to their monthly stipend. And why would they? Prices aren’t rising!”
Via SHTF Plan
“The almighty dollar is looking less mighty these days. By almost every measure, the purchasing power of the US dollar is in precipitous decline.”
Via Zero Hedge