Quantum Pranx

ECONOMICS AND ESOTERICA FOR A NEW PARADIGM

Archive for July 23rd, 2011

A Phony EU Crisis

leave a comment »

from The Daily Bell
Posted July 22, 2011

Europe’s leaders have grasped the nettle. Faced with a spiraling bond crisis in Italy and Spain and the greatest threat to the EU project for 50 years, they have ripped up their bail-out strategy and taken a large stride towards a “liability union.” – UK Telegraph

Dominant Social Theme:
Oh, it is the end of the world. The EU is dead. Oh, it is not the end. Long live the EU and the great men and women who saved it … History is being made … etc. … etc. …

Free-Market Analysis:
We have watched the unraveling of Europe for over a year now and can say with some shock and dismay, as the final act grows near, that what we have been treated to is probably nothing more than an elaborately scripted farce. Or call it a dominant social theme (the EU is in trouble and needs rescue by the great statesmen of Brussels).

Now a deal has been struck to “save” Greece (though it is the banks that are being saved yet again, not Greece). The Germans won’t like it as Merkel seems now to have committed them to guarantee, at least informally, hundreds of billions of euros in PIGS assets. But apparently whether the “little people” like something or not doesn’t matter now in this “new” world.

The only danger is over-reach. The crisis, long expected, may still spin out of control or prove insoluble. But there is no doubt the Eurocrats expected this crisis and planned for it. The idea was to use its chaos to create a closer European federation and that is just what they’re trying to do. Out of chaos, order …

The elites that stand behind the EU are trying to build a one-world order, and they will stop at nothing to get it. The same thing is going on in the US with the debt crisis. An orchestrated agenda. The Americans will eventually get European-style austerity. They simply don’t understand the ramifications yet.

These economic crises cannot be pure happenstance. We’ve suggested they can spin out of control, and perhaps they will; but they are all manmade events, the direct outcome of economic constructs and policies of enormous wealth and control. Somebody set up the 100 central banks around the world that report directly to the Bank for International Settlements in Switzerland. These are quasi-private entities, many of them. Are we supposed to believe that no one takes a profit on them? That there is no way they compensate their creators?

The money and power is unimaginable. The BIS controls the central banks that in turn control the big banks around the world. The stock exchanges with their endless mergers are controlled as well; and the bond markets, it seems. If the elites control the banking industry – and they do – then they must also control currency markets – at least to some extent. And we are supposed to believe that Greece, little Greece, caused such havoc with this financial system that Merkel and Sarkozy had to meet to save it in the nick of time?

Increasingly, we don’t believe it. The entire amount of the Greek default is in the low hundreds of billions. That’s pocket change for these trillionaire, globalist banking families and their corporate, religious and military enablers. It’s walking-around money. They can spend more than that in a day, an hour even.

The whole thing is a set up. It must be. A shadow play. A crisis created to build further global governance. The only question is whether they can control the resultant fallout in the long term, for the damage far exceeds Greece now.

The Internet has certainly made that more questionable, for it has informed Europeans of what’s really going on and helped organize them. Still, the EU grinds on. Dominant social themes of the elite are rarely if ever cancelled. They tend to continue until they meet immovable resistance, either from the marketplace or people.

Constitutions mean nothing. Promises are made to be broken. Treaties are talk for children, merely incremental markers trailing in the wake of global governance. By their actions ye shall know them. As with sharks, their momentum must be never stilled. Here’s more from the Telegraph article:

The three rescued countries of Greece, Ireland and Portugal have in turn been offered a lifeline out of crippling debt-deflation. The tetchy negotiations dragged on for hours, with an irascible Finland at one point demanding that Greece offer the Parthenon, the Acropolis and its islands as collateral for the second €110bn (£97bn) rescue package. France and its allies abandoned their long struggle to prevent a Greek default, opening the way for the first sovereign insolvency in Western Europe since the Second World War. Objections from the European Central Bank were swept aside. Germany has obtained its fig leaf concession: burden-sharing for bankers.

As a quid pro quo, Germany has dropped its vehement opposition to debt sharing and crossed the line in the sand towards fiscal federalism. It has agreed to turn the eurozone’s €440bn bail-out fund (EFSF) into what amounts to a European Monetary Fund, and arguably into an EU Treasury in embryo … Global markets surged as the details of the EU statement leaked. Credit default swaps measuring bond risk on Ireland and Portugal saw the biggest one-day fall on record. Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said politicians and markets had finally “come together” for the first time since the crisis began.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said the goal was to “go to the root of the problems”, but she may not find it easy to secure political assent for such sweeping concessions from her own parliament. The accord is a spectacular volte-face. Her mantra until now has always been that “collectivisation of risks” would be a grave error … EU officials hope that a debt rollover plan for Greece can be limited to a short technical default. The ECB has backed down on its threat to reject Greek bonds as collateral. The formula will not be extended to Portugal and Ireland. It is understood that rating agencies will hold fire for the sake of global stability.

How neat is this? Like watching a play where all the problems are resolved in the third act. We even learn that the markets rallied in relief (at least to begin with) after the deal was announced! Yes, the EU has moved one step further (a big one) toward federal consolidation. The question is only whether the Germans, in aggregate, will resist, and what will be the results if they do. The Zero Hedge website claims today that this new deal places Germany in the position of underwriting the whole of the failing PIGS universe. The Germans may wake up in open revolt.

It doesn’t seem bothersome, anymore, than Greek unrest. The shadow play continues. The ECB was immoveable in its rigor up until the last minute. But somehow the ECB backed down. The rating agencies that were so horrible have suddenly retreated. Everyone has “compromised.” Problems have magically evaporated. Frau Merkel had threatened not to attend the meeting, but somehow in a single evening she was able to come to yet another “historic” breakthrough with Nicolas Sarkozy.

Perhaps the Eurocrats are merely desperate. Or perhaps they are following a script. We’ve seen it before. US Congressional Democrats sacrificed their careers to pass the leveling health care Act. Now Merkel is sacrificing her career to prop up the EU. Maybe she has been promised something.

Will the Germans riot in the streets? There is already a German Tea Party movement. How about Greece and Spain? Summer is not over yet. And yet … perhaps not. Perhaps, somehow, the elites can impose a federation on nation-states that have been independent for 2,000 years or longer. We don’t see how, (the EU with its debts seems unworkable) but one thing we’re convinced of now is that the elites are arrogant enough to try. The whole mechanism reeks of arrogance.

There is no end to their mischief and scheming. We’ve been privileged to watch how history operates for the past several years and we’ve paid close attention. We’ve come to the conclusion, as Henry Ford once said, that history is bunk. It’s directed. This EU “grand compromise” has been in the works for months, for years – perhaps for decades.

What a farce! It began with the mysterious leaked argument between Sarkozy and Merkel – like the first shot of a war. The EU then was said to be on the edge of a breakup. Sarkozy had threatened to withdraw France. The union teetered – and the crisis was on! And on … and on … and on …

Endless meetings, constant market movements, the mainstream media bewailing every moment. The EU is on the brink. The euro is on the brink. The Greeks are rioting (that was real); the Spanish are protesting (that was real, too). But it was just an act. It’s all too neat, too well orchestrated.

And now we are starting to see the liniments of what is REALLY planned. “The communiqué called for a “Marshall Plan” to bring the Greek economy back to life. “To be credible, the EFSF needs to be proportional to the scale of contagion: we think €2 trillion is needed,” one top Eurocrat is quoted as saying.

The “transfer” that the Germans were assured would never happen is now starting to take place. Others will pay, too. But in Germany there is the constitutional question, as well. We are told German judges are to evaluate the legality. Yet what judge on earth would pull down the union at this point? If the German people want to stop what’s going on, they will have to do so themselves, non-violently if possible in the streets. Of course that hasn’t yet helped the Greeks.

Step by step, promotions are implemented and international structures are built. The politicians and generals in the modern era are literally actors on the stage. Some stand athwart history and others position themselves “progressively.” Miraculously, accommodations are reached in the nick of the time. Alternatively, war is declared. The narrative is provided. History is “written.”

Even in war, the elites apparently control both sides of the conflict. The goals are achieved via the Hegelian Dialectic that allows the powers-that-be to push the larger social conversation in whatever direction they choose. Of course, that’s always towards a greater global union these days.

Conclusion:
Thank goodness the extraordinary Brussels bureaucrats have once more performed a miracle, salvaging the EU yet again, at least for now. Was there ever any doubt?

Ron Paul appeals to America: “Default now, or suffer a more expensive crisis later”

leave a comment »

by Ron Paul, op-ed first posted in Bloomberg
Posted July 22, 2011

Default now, or suffer a more expensive crisis later

DEBATE OVER THE DEBT CEILING HAS REACHED A FEVER PITCH in recent weeks, with each side trying to outdo the other in a game of political chicken. If you believe some of the things that are being written, the world will come to an end if the U.S. defaults on even the tiniest portion of its debt.

In strict terms, the default being discussed will occur if the U.S. fails to meet its debt obligations, through failure to pay either interest or principal due a bondholder. Proponents of raising the debt ceiling claim that a default on Aug. 2 is unprecedented and will result in calamity (never mind that this is simply an arbitrary date, easily changed, marking a congressional recess). My expectations of such a scenario are more sanguine.

The U.S. government defaulted at least three times on its obligations during the 20th century:

• In 1934, the government banned ownership of gold and eliminated the right to exchange gold certificates for gold coins. It then immediately revalued gold from $20.67 per troy ounce to $35, thus devaluing the dollar holdings of all Americans by 40 percent.

• From 1934 to 1968, the federal government continued to issue and redeem silver certificates, notes that circulated as legal tender that could be redeemed for silver coins or silver bars. In 1968, Congress unilaterally reneged on this obligation, too.

• From 1934 to 1971, foreign governments were permitted by the U.S. government to exchange their dollars for gold through the gold window. In 1971, President Richard Nixon severed this final link between the dollar and gold by closing the gold window, thus in effect defaulting once again on a debt obligation of the U.S. government.

Unlimited spending

No longer constrained by any sort of commodity backing, the federal government was now free to engage in almost unlimited fiscal profligacy, the only check on its spending being the market’s appetite for Treasury debt. Despite the defaults in 1934, 1968 and 1971, world markets have been only too willing to purchase Treasury debt and thereby fund the government’s deficit spending. If these major defaults didn’t result in decreased investor appetite for U.S. obligations, I see no reason why defaulting on a small amount of debt this August would cause any major changes.

The national debt now stands at just over $14 trillion, while net total liabilities are estimated at over $200 trillion. The government is insolvent, as there is no way that this massive sum of liabilities can ever be paid off. Successive Congresses and administrations have shown absolutely no restraint when it comes to the budget process, and the idea that either of the two parties is serious about getting our fiscal house in order is laughable.

Boom and bust

The Austrian School’s theory of the business cycle describes how loose central bank monetary policy causes booms and busts: It drives down interest rates below the market rate, lowering the cost of borrowing; encourages malinvestment; and causes economic miscalculation as resources are diverted from the highest value use as reflected in true consumer preferences. Loose monetary policy caused the dot-com bubble and the housing bubble, and now is causing the government debt bubble.

For far too long, the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy and quantitative easing have kept interest rates artificially low, enabling the government to drastically increase its spending by funding its profligacy through new debt whose service costs were lower than they otherwise would have been.

Neither Republicans nor Democrats sought to end this gravy train, with one party prioritizing war spending and the other prioritizing welfare spending, and with both supporting both types of spending. But now, with the end of the second round of quantitative easing, the federal funds rate at the zero bound, and the debt limit maxed out, Congress finds itself in a real quandary.

Hard decisions

It isn’t too late to return to fiscal sanity. We could start by canceling out the debt held by the Federal Reserve, which would clear $1.6 trillion under the debt ceiling. Or we could cut trillions of dollars in spending by bringing our troops home from overseas, making gradual reforms to Social Security and Medicare, and bringing the federal government back within the limits envisioned by the Constitution. Yet no one is willing to step up to the plate and make the hard decisions that are necessary. Everyone wants to kick the can down the road and believe that deficit spending can continue unabated.

Unless major changes are made today, the U.S. will default on its debt sooner or later, and it is certainly preferable that it be sooner rather than later.

If the government defaults on its debt now, the consequences undoubtedly will be painful in the short term. The loss of its AAA rating will raise the cost of issuing new debt, but this is not altogether a bad thing. Higher borrowing costs will ensure that the government cannot continue the same old spending policies. Budgets will have to be brought into balance (as the cost of servicing debt will be so expensive as to preclude future debt financing of government operations), so hopefully, in the long term, the government will return to sound financial footing.

Raising the ceiling

The alternative to defaulting now is to keep increasing the debt ceiling, keep spending like a drunken sailor, and hope that the default comes after we die. A future default won’t take the form of a missed payment, but rather will come through hyperinflation. The already incestuous relationship between the Federal Reserve and the Treasury will grow even closer as the Fed begins to purchase debt directly from the Treasury and monetizes debt on a scale that makes QE2 look like a drop in the bucket. Imagine the societal breakdown of Weimar Germany, but in a country five times as large. That is what we face if we do not come to terms with our debt problem immediately.

Default will be painful, but it is all but inevitable for a country as heavily indebted as the U.S. Just as pumping money into the system to combat a recession only ensures an unsustainable economic boom and a future recession worse than the first, so too does continuously raising the debt ceiling only forestall the day of reckoning and ensure that, when it comes, it will be cataclysmic.

We have a choice: default now and take our medicine, or put it off as long as possible, when the effects will be much worse.