“The Federal Reserve is creating hundreds of billions of dollars out of thin air and using that money to buy U.S. government debt and mortgage-backed securities and take them out of circulation. Since the middle of 2008, these purchases have caused the Fed’s balance sheet to balloon from under a trillion dollars to nearly four trillion dollars. This represents the greatest central bank intervention in the history of the planet, and Janet Yellen says that she does not anticipate that it will end any time soon because “the recovery is still fragile”. Of course, as I showed the other day, the truth is that quantitative easing has done essentially nothing for the average person on the street. But what QE has done is that it has sent stocks soaring to record highs. Unfortunately, this stock market bubble is completely and totally divorced from economic reality, and when the easy money is taken away the bubble will collapse. Just look at what happened a few months ago when Ben Bernanke suggested that the Fed may begin to “taper” the amount of quantitative easing that it was doing. The mere suggestion that the flow of easy money would start to slow down a little bit was enough to send the market into deep convulsions. This is why the Federal Reserve cannot stop monetizing debt. The moment the Fed stops, it could throw our financial markets into a crisis even worse than what we saw back in 2008.”
“We went on a bond-buying spree that was supposed to help Main Street. Instead, it was a feast for Wall Street.
I can only say: I’m sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed’s first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing. The central bank continues to spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street. But I’ve come to recognize the program for what it really is: the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time.
Five years ago this month, on Black Friday, the Fed launched an unprecedented shopping spree. By that point in the financial crisis, Congress had already passed legislation, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, to halt the U.S. banking system’s free fall. Beyond Wall Street, though, the economic pain was still soaring. In the last three months of 2008 alone, almost two million Americans would lose their jobs.
The Fed said it wanted to help—through a new program of massive bond purchases. There were secondary goals, but Chairman Ben Bernanke made clear that the Fed’s central motivation was to “affect credit conditions for households and businesses”: to drive down the cost of credit so that more Americans hurting from the tanking economy could use it to weather the downturn. For this reason, he originally called the initiative “credit easing.”
My part of the story began a few months later. Having been at the Fed for seven years, until early 2008, I was working on Wall Street in spring 2009 when I got an unexpected phone call. Would I come back to work on the Fed’s trading floor? The job: managing what was at the heart of QE’s bond-buying spree—a wild attempt to buy $1.25 trillion in mortgage bonds in 12 months. Incredibly, the Fed was calling to ask if I wanted to quarterback the largest economic stimulus in U.S. history.”
Via Zero Hedge
“Now that another annoying gut check moment is safely in the rearview mirror, we can all get back to the business of filling the punch bowl yet another time. Yep, once again, we’ve proven ourselves to be among the dimmest of bulbs and are going right back to the bag of tricks that isn’t working anymore, but nobody seems to be noticing that – at least not on a meaningful level. Yes, I’m referring to the umpteenth opening of the monetary spigots announced gleefully in the mainstream press this week. The whole world is awash in money, every one is rich, and the party is bound to go on for at least another hundred years if you listen to the misinformation misfit mafia.
Marc Faber recently shocked some folks with his prediction that we could soon see a trillion dollar per month monetization program here in the US. He’s probably right too. After all, it makes perfect sense when you consider the path we’ve taken over the past several years. If X won’t do it, then 2X must be the answer. Or maybe X2. This is the very nature of fiat-based monetary systems. The supply of money and credit expand, slowly at first, then exponentially into what Von Mises et al have dubbed the crack up boom. This very logical conclusion is based on simple economics, the laws of supply and demand, and the law of diminishing returns.”
Via Alt Market
“Deflation first — it clears the way for the complete loss of faith and hyperinflation that will follow. The next big wave down in the financial markets is the battering ram. The U.S. national debt is about faith, so is quantitative easing, and so is the very idea of magical coins that could ever be “worth” a trillion dollars. When this is faith breaks, in concert with loss of faith in perpetual growth and unlimited cheap energy, then things will move very, very quickly.
There is nothing any of us can do at this point, except navigate the rapids as well as possible, and to stay out of the way of a dying empire, which is still very dangerous in its death throes. We are actually very privileged to be alive and witnessing this next transition, to what we do not know just yet. But what an honor to live at this time, not in ignorance but with an existential resolve to come out of it alive and much the wiser.”
Via Deflation Land
“Expectations that the Federal Reserve will have to keep its easy-money policies in place for longer following the partial U.S. government shutdown pushed the dollar close to its lowest point of the year against the euro and U.S. Treasury debt prices to their highest point since July.
Yields on the 10-year Treasury note, which move inversely to prices, were down to 2.55%, while the dollar continued its slide against the euro, which rose to $1.3695 from $1.3675 late Thursday in New York, edging closer to this year’s high of $1.3711 reached on Feb. 1. The dollar fell further against the pound, which traded just above the $1.62 level for the first time in two weeks, and resumed its drop against the yen, fetching ¥97.65 from ¥97.93.
About three hours before the start of trading, U.S. futures pointed to a relatively subdued open on Wall Street, where stocks staged a late-session comeback Thursday that helped push the S&P 500 to a record close of 1733.15. The front-month contracts for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were both up 0.1%, at 15331.00 and 1729.80, respectively. Changes in futures don’t always accurately predict early market moves after the opening bell. ‘
“We use the term “reserve currency” when referring to the common use of the dollar by other countries when settling their international trade accounts. For example, if Canada buys goods from China, it may pay China in US dollars rather than Canadian dollars, and vice versa. However, the foundation from which the term originated no longer exists, and today the dollar is called a “reserve currency” simply because foreign countries hold it in great quantity to facilitate trade.
The first reserve currency was the British pound sterling. Because the pound was “good as gold,” many countries found it more convenient to hold pounds rather than gold itself during the age of the gold standard. The world’s great trading nations settled their trade in gold, but they might hold pounds rather than gold, with the confidence that the Bank of England would hand over the gold at a fixed exchange rate upon presentment. Toward the end of World War II the US dollar was given this status by international treaty following the Bretton Woods Agreement. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was formed with the express purpose of monitoring the Federal Reserve’s commitment to Bretton Woods by ensuring that the Fed did not inflate the dollar and stood ready to exchange dollars for gold at $35 per ounce. Thusly, countries had confidence that their dollars held for trading purposes were as “good as gold,” as had been the Pound Sterling at one time.
However, the Fed did not maintain its commitment to the Bretton Woods Agreement and the IMF did not attempt to force it to hold enough gold to honor all its outstanding currency in gold at $35 per ounce. The Fed was called to account in the late 1960s, first by France and then by others, until its gold reserves were so low that it had no choice but to revalue the dollar at some higher exchange rate or abrogate its responsibilities to honor dollars for gold entirely. To it everlasting shame, the US chose the latter and “went off the gold standard” in September 1971.
Nevertheless, the dollar was still held by the great trading nations, because it still performed the useful function of settling international trading accounts. There was no other currency that could match the dollar, despite the fact that it was “delinked” from gold.”
Via Zero Hedge
“There is a reason why every fiat currency in the history of the world has eventually failed. At some point, those issuing fiat currencies always find themselves giving in to the temptation to wildly print more money. Sometimes, the motivation for doing this is good. When an economy is really struggling, those that have been entrusted with the management of that economy can easily fall for the lie that things would be better if people just had “more money”. Today, the Federal Reserve finds itself faced with a scenario that is very similar to what the Weimar Republic was facing nearly 100 years ago. Like the Weimar Republic, the U.S. economy is also struggling and like the Weimar Republic, the U.S. government is absolutely drowning in debt. Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve has decided to adopt the same solution that the Weimar Republic chose. The Federal Reserve is recklessly printing money out of thin air, and in the short-term some positive things have come out of it. But quantitative easing worked for the Weimar Republic for a little while too. At first, more money caused economic activity to increase and unemployment was low. But all of that money printing destroyed faith in German currency and in the German financial system and ultimately Germany experienced an economic meltdown that the world is still talking about today. This is the path that the Federal Reserve is taking America down, but most Americans have absolutely no idea what is happening.”
“Are American workers paid enough? That is a topic that is endlessly debated all across this great land of ours. Unfortunately, what pretty much everyone can agree on is that American workers are not making as much as they used to after you account for inflation. Back in 1968, the minimum wage in the United States was $1.60 an hour. That sounds very small, but after you account for inflation a very different picture emerges. Using the inflation calculator that the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides, $1.60 in 1968 is equivalent to $10.74 today.
And of course the official government inflation numbers have been heavily manipulated to make inflation look much lower than it actually is, so the number for today should actually be substantially higher than $10.74, but for purposes of this article we will use $10.74. If you were to work a full-time job at $10.74 an hour for a full year (with two weeks off for vacation), you would make about $21,480 for the year. That isn’t a lot of money, but according to the Social Security Administration, 40.28% of all workers make less than $20,000 a year in America today. So that means that more than 40 percent of all U.S. workers actually make less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968. That is how far we have fallen.”
“Is the paper gold scam about to be brutally crushed by a crippling shortage of physical gold? If so, what will that do to global financial markets? According to the Reserve Bank of India, “the traded amount of ‘paper linked to gold’ exceeds by far the actual supply of physical gold: the volume on the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) OTC market and the major Futures and Options Exchanges was OVER 92 TIMES that of the underlying Physical Market.” In other words, there is a massive amount of paper out there, but very little actual physical gold to back it up. And right now, we are witnessing voracious hoarding of physical gold all over the globe. This is especially true in Asia. Just see this article and this article. All of this hoarding is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on those that have made all of these “paper promises”, because the truth is that there really isn’t all that much physical gold on the planet. In fact, Warren Buffett once estimated that if all of the gold in the entire world was brought into one place, it could be formed into a cube that would only be 69 feet long by 69 feet high by 69 feet wide.”
“In countering the relentless gold-bashing propaganda of the mainstream media; readers have listened to the many virtues of gold (and silver) recited again and again by the (legitimate) commentators within the sector. However what has been neglected somewhat is to focus on the worthlessness of the paper we are fleeing.
Indeed, commentators within the sector have actually undermined this thought process by continuing to produce “price targets” for gold and silver. What does it mean when a currency is recognized as being worthless? Hyperinflation.
What does hyperinflation represent? The prices for gold, silver and other valuable assets going to (literally) infinity. The only rational “price target” for gold and silver over the long term (or even the medium term) is infinity – as long as we continue to express these prices in worthless, fiat paper.”
Via Alt Market