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Posts Tagged ‘Bernanke

The moral unraveling of the EU, bailouts and central banking

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by Anthony Wile
from The Daily Bell
Saturday, October 15, 2011

SLOVAKIA HAS NOW APPROVED THE EUROPEAN DEBT-CRISIS bailout fund, but the problems Europe is experiencing are similar to those faced by America in the grip of the Fed’s immense bailouts of the past two years. Increasingly, these are seen as morally repugnant by citizens throughout the West. And this has significant consequences that the mainstream press declines to report.

Dominant social themes work by omission as well as commission; in this column, I want to re-examine potential ramifications. I’ve done it before, but I think it’s worth repeating. Not enough commentators, even in the alternative media, point them out in my humble opinion.

Money continues to flood Western regimes and financial institutions with billions and billions that they don’t deserve and cannot properly apply. Perhaps there is no alternative but to “kick the can down the road.” On the other hand, perhaps the bailouts are part of a wider elite destabilization effort, one intended to generate chaos and misery that will pave the way for global governance and maybe a new world currency. This is the view of the more conspiratorially-minded among the alternative media.

For whatever reasons, the bailouts, against all logic, continue apace and are being increasingly resisted … not merely for their Draconian impacts but because people are using technology to become more informed. This bailout saga, therefore, has been unusual, not only for the incalculable wealth that’s been extended but also because it’s played out in front of millions.

The ramifications continue to be felt in my view. The push-back began in the US with TARP and then continued with revelation of US$16 trillion-plus (probably more) in short-term loans extended by the US Federal Reserve to financial institutions – not just in America but around the world.

Now US Congressman Ron Paul is conducting the Federal Reserve’s first “audit.” Ben Bernanke speaks, but his pronouncements have nowhere near the power or authority of his predecessor Alan Greenspan. Occupy Wall Street and alternative journo Alex Jones are both holding organized protests outside Fed buildings. In Southern Europe, protests and riots (Greece) rise wherever the EU and its bankers attempt to impose “austerity.”

The Internet has allowed people to see – finally – exactly what’s going on. Prior to the Internet, the controlled mainstream news would have explained in unison that the Fed “made massive adjustments to the global financial fabric to ensure that systemic collapse was mitigated …” or employed other nonsensical euphemisms. These sorts of non-explanations would have been repeated ad nauseum.

But in the era of the Internet, such gobbledygook has been effectively negated by literally millions of articles (and thousands of videos) explaining what central banking really is – monetary price fixing – and how central bankers “print money from nothing” to advantage their cronies at the expense of everyone else.

The system survived because it appeared so incomprehensible that it was beyond criticism. Not anymore. People around the world “get it” and the anger is breaching even the indolence of the political class. Eventually, if certain fundamental knowledge becomes widespread enough, the elites may have to take a “step back” as we have predicted they might. Resistance is spreading.

We can see this in Slovakia, where that Eastern European nation was the last holdout among euro-zone nations to approve the EU’s most recent sovereign bailout fund. On Tuesday, the parliament rejected the fund and brought down the government of Prime Minister Iveta Radicova. On Thursday, the parliament voted FOR it, but the point had been made.

Even parliamentary representatives, notoriously resistant to the public sentiment they are supposed to be accommodating, are now beginning to reflect the animosity of their constituents. The Telegraph‘s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard recently captured this sentiment in a column entitled, “EU bailout is racket for financial elites.”

Twenty years ago, no mainstream paper in the world would have run such an article – even given today’s extreme stress and provocation. But times have changed. The financial system has come in for criticism the likes of which has not been seen (or heard) for decades. Here’s an excerpt from Evans-Pritchard’s article:

What the Slovak debate has shown us yet again – as if the political storm in Germany over the past two months has not been enough – is that escalating bailouts are nearing their political limits. The traumatic affair almost brought down the German government. It has in fact brought down the Slovak government. You can’t keep doing this. Democracies are not to be toyed with …

Slovakia’s cry of defiance has not been entirely pointless. Richard Sulik – the speaker of parliament – has caught a mood of popular disgust that goes far beyond his own country. His objections are unanswerable.

How can there be any justification for a state of affairs where a poor but rule-abiding EMU state must bail out a serial violator with twice the per capita income, and triple the level of the pensions – a country which is in any case irretrievably bankrupt? How can it be that the no-bail clause of the Lisbon Treaty has been ripped up?

But he also touched on the most neuralgic issue, reminding everybody that the EFSF is ‘mainly for saving foreign banks’. These are French, German, British, Dutch, and Belgian banks, of course … ‘I’d rather be a pariah in Brussels than have to feel ashamed before my children,’ Sulik said … Bravo.

“Bravo,” writes Evans-Pritchard, summing up the New Age’s defiance to establishment ways. We began to write about this back in August of 2009 when The Market Oracle’s Stewart Dougherty – a financial consultant – sent us a column entitled “The Metastasis of Moral Hazard and its Effect on Gold.” He wanted us to see what he’d written. Here’s an excerpt:

The colossal miscalculation made by Washington and Wall Street is that they could control the moral hazard genie once they removed it from the bottle. They believed they could use the genie to enrich themselves with trillions of dollars’ worth of taxpayer money, and then replace it in the bottle before its magic spell of immorality metastasized throughout society at large. They assumed that the people would be too stupid to see what was going on. And that even if the people did figure things out, they would willingly wear the thick, choking chains of debt being welded to their necks by the financial elite and its Washington enablers.

Instead, thanks to the Internet and the democracy of information and insight it affords, the people were instantly wise to what was happening, and it stirred them. The concept of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” harkens to the Bible. And perhaps Shylock was speaking for all of humanity when he said, “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? If you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”

We thought then, and believe now, that Dougherty wrote one of the decade’s most profound columns, capturing the MORAL dimension of the fraud of “bailouts” and the impact of their fundamental – even obscene – unfairness. We wrote about his column (you can see it here: Have the Immoral Actions of Central Bankers Precipitated the Decline of the West?) and commented:

Dougherty has written a REAL article of REAL observations about the end of Western civilization. Sheesh, … Spengler’s Decline of the West in three darn pages … He’s right, he has gotten the morality right. It’s not just the culture of the West, or its promotions, or even its social organization that is finished.

You CANNOT, as a society, witness a couple of guys pull a trillion out of their back pockets without feeling, well … snookered. And after feeling snookered, something else begins to percolate. “Hey,” you say, “wait a minute. I sit here with my debts and my job and my house in foreclosure and this guy – THIS GUY – throws around trillions? Wait a minute. WHEN DO I GET MINE!”

Now the rage spreads.

The Internet Reformation is a process, not an episode.

Dear Ben, please print us more money

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by testosteronepit
Posted August 30, 2011 

DEAR BEN,
Please print us more money. We want you to prop up the stock market. Everybody knows it’s a Ponzi scheme that will collapse without your support. You don’t want us to end up like Bernie Madoff’s clients. No, Ben, we love Ponzi schemes. We get in early and get out before they collapse. That’s why we’re rich. The bad thing is that they sometimes collapse before we can get out. But you already bailed us out twice in the last couple of years through printing trillions of dollars. Why not a third time?

That will also keep the bond-market bubble inflated. We have to admit that you’ve done an excellent job there, hands down. Negative real yields all the way up the yield curve! Awesome. Now if you could just print a few trillions and buy up the sovereigns from the PIIGS. Euro crisis over. End of story. And we’d get richer because we’d sell them to you at face value though we bought them at fifty cents on the dollar.

And why not forever? Just keep printing. Because as soon as you stop, stock markets will crash again, and credit markets will seize, and then we’re back on this awful ride to hell.

Of course, it’ll cause inflation, which is good. You yourself said that. You stated many times that you want inflation. In fact, you said that one of the goals of the Fed, after propping up the markets, is to create inflation. So stick to it, Ben. Don’t slack off suddenly just because some cowboy threatened you.

Inflation, in conjunction with your near-zero yields, has all sorts of benefits. For example, it will eat up the Social Security trust fund, whose $2 trillion balance is invested in treasuries. Fixed-income investors, retirees, and everybody who has any savings will also be demolished. And homeowners. But don’t worry. They won’t figure it out. They don’t get a statement every month that shows how much inflation cost them. It’s a quiet way of stealing from them, and it’ll impoverish them over time, but it’ll make us, the recipients of the money you print, richer.

You see, Ben, we can charge higher prices for our goods and services. And even if we have to pay more for raw materials, we look good. Our inventories increase in value, and we can claim sales jumped 10% because we raised prices by 10%. Analysts dig that.

Recently, Ben, you’ve done a decent job on inflation. In July, we were running at an annual rate of 6%. Not bad. But you need to preempt any cooling off. So keep printing.

Now, we’re not talking about wage inflation. Oh no. We have to keep wages down. We need cheap labor, or else we’d have to send these jobs to China—which we’re doing anyway. And not just to assemble iPhones. Heck, our lawyers in India are doing the same work as our local lawyers for one-tenth the pay. So, if our local lawyers want to be competitive…. Just think how much more profit we could make if wages collapsed!

Real wages have been declining for ten years and fell another 1.7% since July 2010. But that’s not enough. So get with it, Ben. Print more. And don’t worry about the wusses out there who say that choking the middle class like that will put us into a permanent recession. Just get the banks to loan them lots of money so they can buy our stuff, and when the loans blow up, you buy them from the banks at face value. Full circle, Ben.

The trillions you’ve printed and handed to us, well, we put them to work, and we created jobs in China and Mexico and Germany, and we bought assets, and it inflated prices, and now we’re even richer. We’re proud of you, Ben. Think of the influence you have. And not just here. Around the world, Ben! Look at the Middle East and North Africa. See the food riots, rebellions, and civil wars it caused? Thousands of people died and entire governments were toppled…. Oh, wait. That’s a bad example.

And then there is Congress. We invested in them through campaign contributions and other mechanisms to get them to spend trillions of dollars every year on our products and services, and they even started a few wars, and it made us richer—without taxing our companies or us. It’s a wonderful system.

But the deficits have become so huge that they exceed what the Treasury can borrow. So we’re glad, Ben, that you stepped up to the plate and printed enough money to monetize the deficit. But Ben, you can’t just stop now! You’ve got to keep at it. Or else, the whole system will blow up. Well, it’ll blow up anyway, but we don’t want it to blow up now. So, Ben, you don’t have a choice. Otherwise, we’d lose a lot of money in our schemes, and nobody wants that.

DB Briefs: Danger of a deteriorating social mood / China’s shifting economic sands / Is bank recapitalization the answer?

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from The Daily Bell
Posted August 30, 2011

The deflationary hurricane of deteriorating social mood

Deteriorating social mood is like a very slow-building, very slow-moving hurricane: The longer it goes on, the stronger it gets. And while some policymakers may be praying like St. Augustine for chastity, and others for a book of dry matches, I’d be moving to higher ground to stand on. The path I am most worried about is not the long-term sustainable inflationary economic one, but the much nearer-term deflationary storm path that comes with deteriorating social mood. For the northeast, Irene may have now passed. But for all of America, there is another, much bigger storm that bears watching closely. – Minyanville.com

Dominant Social Theme: Everything is OK and don’t you worry. The elites know how to handle the economy, and you will retire rich, even if you don’t think so now.

Free-Market Analysis: The writer of this article, Peter Atwater, has hit upon a kind of anti-meme. He believes that “Everything we [in the West] need to do for long-term economic, if not societal, success and stability comes with very severe short-term consequences.” And thus it has not been done. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke‘s monetary stimuli are not the answer, he argues. More radical solutions are required. What is necessary is a severe reinforcement of economic “chastity.” Banks must be strengthened; nations must cease to spend; citizens must accept austerity.

Of course, this is a power elite theme of itself: that the larger world (and Western) economy is an irresponsible one and that the West’s leadership has proven inadequate to the task. Here at the DB, we disagree. The issue is not austerity or cost-cutting. Responsible leadership in our view is that which demands an end to the elite’s ruinous central banking economy and a return to some sort of competitive money, which would inevitably feature silver and gold.

Somehow, despite Atwater’s concerned gloom, we don’t sense he’s ready for the really radical reconfigurations necessary to build healthy economies. He apparently feels that reshuffling the proverbial deck chairs is a revolutionary act.

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China’s shifting economic sands

Is China’s economic miracle built on sand or cement? It won’t exactly make world headlines, but in the Chinese port city of Dalian there was another accident today in the city’s sprawling petrochemicals development zone. This time a fuel tank caught fire in an oil refinery belonging to state major PetroChina. This is the same city, you’ll remember, that was hit by serious protests a fortnight back after a paraxylene chemical plant was nearly breached by a storm surge caused by a passing typhoon. In that case, the local government caved in and agreed to shut down the plant. What’s amazing – and disconcerting for many living in Dalian – is that this is the FOURTH major safety alert in the petrochemicals complex in the last 12 months or so. – UK Telegraph

Dominant Social Theme: Don’t worry about China. This is one powerful and far-sighted country.

Free-Market Analysis: This article in the Telegraph about China is an interesting one because unlike many mainstream articles it dares to ask the question whether the “Chinese Miracle” is nothing but hype and the proverbial madness of crowds.

Every night when he goes home to his Beijing apartment, the author writes, he catalogues the way that the apartment is “quietly crumbling.” Look carefully, he writes, “and you’ll see the flagstones in the public areas are subsiding drunkenly, the access road to the rear is shot to pieces, the bathroom fittings are corroding and the façades are starting to peel. With an apartment that hardly matters, but when it comes to railways, bridges, petrochemical complexes, 40,000 dams (as my colleague Malcolm Moore reported this week) and even nuclear power stations, we’ll have to pray higher standards have been enforced.”

Actually, the article’s feedback comments are even more alarming, speculating that the same sort of sloppy construction may doom modern Chinese dams to catastrophic failure within the next ten years. As for domestic harmony, we find the article has generated the following feedback from Scott Jensen: “In 2005, China stopped publicly reporting how many riots occur each year in its country because the rate of increase was rapidly increasing year after year. Some now speculate there are at least 120,000 riots in China a year. That’s over 10,000 a month.”

We’ve been writing about the demise of the Chinese Miracle for several years now. And articles like this one only reinforce our conclusions. China’s old communist leaders simply don’t know what to do. They’ve thrust China into the modern era, but in a manipulative and controlled way (see Sino-Forest Corp.) that is merely storing up problems for the future. Eventually, the dam is likely going to break – metaphorically and in reality. The catastrophic results may shake the world.

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Is bank recapitalization the answer?

European banks set cash test by IMF chief … European banks face ordeal by fire this week after the International Monetary Fund called for “urgent” action to shore up their defences, if necessary with state money and under legal compulsion. Recovery is in danger if we don’t shore up defences, says Christine Lagarde – UK Telegraph

Dominant Social Theme: Strengthen the banks to strengthen the EU.

Free-Market Analysis: One of the problems with gaining Christine Lagarde as the IMF’s new chief, is that she seems to believe it is incumbent on her to be vocal about the Western economic system. Thus, she set off what the Telegraph calls “tremors” at a recent financial conference by warning that the global economic system was on “thin ice.”

“We are in a dangerous new phase. The stakes are clear: we risk seeing the fragile recovery derailed, so we must act now,” she said. “Banks need urgent recapitalisation. If it is not addressed we could easily see the further spread of economic weakness to core countries, even a debilitating liquidity crisis. The most efficient solution would be mandatory substantial recapitalisation,” she said.

Lagarde is a lawyer by training, so perhaps we should give her the benefit of the doubt. But such warnings are merely part and parcel of a larger elite charade in our view (and Lagarde now works directly for the elite). The “reserves” a bank holds in the modern era are nothing but paper certificates. It is difficult to see how holding more or fewer of them contributes to a bank’s solvency.

If she were to demand that banks hold gold or silver reserves, we would be more impressed. But that would be too sensible. Instead, she will no doubt continue to offer this sort of nonsensical rhetoric. In the age of central banking, a bank’s solvency is far more dependent on the largesse of central banks.

If Lagarde were truly sincere about bank recapitalization, she would examine the linkages between central bankers and their commercial banking brethren. Those with the strongest relationships would been seen as having the healthiest banking prospects. No doubt, this is an overly cynical recipe. But it is a realistic one.

Keynesian solutions: after total failure, try, try again

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by Jim Quinn
The Burning Platform
Posted August 23, 2011

“LENIN IS SAID TO HAVE DECLARED THAT THE BEST WAY TO DESTROY THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security, but at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth.” – John Maynard Keynes – The Economic Consequences of the Peace

While Barack Obama vacations on Martha’s Vineyard this week he’ll be thinking about his grand vision to save America – again. There is one thing you can say about Obama – he’s predictable. He promises to unveil his “new” plan for America in early September. The White House said Obama will give a speech after the September 5 Labor Day holiday to outline measures to boost hiring and find budget savings that surpass the $1.5 trillion goal of a new congressional deficit-cutting committee. It is heartening to see that Barack has turned into a cost cutter extraordinaire. He should be an inspiration to the Tea Party, except for one little problem. The plan he unveils in a few weeks will increase spending now and fret about spending cuts at some future unspecified date.

I can reveal his plan today because the White House has already leaked the major aspects of his plan. He will call for an extension of the Social Security payroll tax cut of 2% for all working Americans. This was supposed to give a dramatic boost to GDP in 2011. Maybe it will work next time. He will demand that extended unemployment benefits be renewed. Somehow providing 99 weeks of unemployment benefits is supposed to create jobs. It’s done wonders thus far. He will propose some semblance of an infrastructure bank or tax cuts to spur infrastructure spending. It will include a proposal for training and education to help unemployed people switch careers. He will attempt to steal the thunder from the SUPER COMMITTEE of twelve by coming up with $2 trillion of budget savings by insisting the Lear jet flying rich fork over an extra $500 billion.

You may have noticed that followers of Keynesian dogma like Paul Krugman, Larry Summers, Brad Delong, Richard Koo, John Galbraith, every Democrat in Congress, and every liberal pundit and columnist have been shrieking about the Tea Party terrorists and their ghastly budget cuts that are destroying our economy. They contend the stock market is tanking and the economy is heading into recession due to the brutal austerity measures being imposed by the extremists in the Republican Party. There is just one small issue with their argument. It is completely false. It is a bold faced lie. This is 2011. The economy has been in freefall since January 1. No spending cuts have occurred. Nada!!! As the CBO chart below reveals, the horrendous slashing of government will amount to $21 billion in 2012 and $42 billion in 2013. Of course, those aren’t even cuts in spending. They are reductions in the projected increases in spending. Politicians must be very secure in the knowledge that Americans are completely ignorant when it comes to anything other than the details of Kim Kardashian’s wedding and who Snooki is banging on Jersey Shore.

I’d like to remind the Harvard educated Keynesian economists that Federal government spending is currently chiming in at $3.8 trillion per year. Federal spending was $2.7 trillion in 2007 and $3.0 trillion in 2008. Keynesians believe government spending fills the gap when private companies are contracting. Obama has taken Keynesianism to a new level. Federal spending will total $10.8 trillion in Obama’s first three years, versus $8.4 trillion in the previous three years. Even a Harvard economist can figure out this is a 29% increase in Federal spending. What has it accomplished? We are back in recession, unemployment is rising, forty six million Americans are on food stamps, food and energy prices are soaring, and the middle class is being annihilated. The standard Keynesian response is we would have lost 3 million more jobs, we were saved from a 2nd Great Depression and the stimulus was too little. It would have worked if it had just been twice as large.

The 2nd Great Depression was not avoided, it was delayed. Our two decade long delusional credit boom could have been voluntarily abandoned in 2008. The banks at fault could have been liquidated in an orderly bankruptcy with stockholders and bondholders accepting the consequences of their foolishness. Unemployment would have soared to 12%, GDP would have collapsed, and the stock market would have fallen to 5,000. The bad debt would have been flushed from the system. Instead our Wall Street beholden leaders chose to save their banker friends, cover-up the bad debt, shift private debt to taxpayer debt, print trillions of new dollars in an effort to inflate away the debt, and implemented every wacky Keynesian stimulus idea Larry Summers could dream up.  These strokes of genius have failed miserably. Bernanke, Paulson, Geithner and Obama have set in motion a series of events that will ultimately lead to a catastrophic currency collapse. We have entered the second phase of the Greater Depression and there are no monetary or fiscal bullets left in the gun. Further expansion of debt will lead to a hyperinflationary collapse as the remaining confidence in the U.S. dollar is exhausted. We are one failed Treasury auction away from a currency crisis.

John Maynard Keynes argued the solution to the Great Depression was to stimulate the economy through some combination of two approaches: a reduction in interest rates and government investment in infrastructure. Investment by government injects income, which results in more spending in the general economy, which in turn stimulates more production and investment involving still more income and spending and so forth. The initial stimulation starts a cascade of events, whose total increase in economic activity is a multiple of the original investment.

It sounds so good in theory, but it didn’t work in the Depression and it hasn’t worked today. It is a doctrine taught in every business school in America with no actual results to support it. Who needs facts and actual results when a good story believed and perpetuated by non-thinking pundits will do? Every Keynesian play in the playbook has been used since 2008. The American people were told by Obama and his Keynesian trained advisors that if we implemented his $862 billion shovel ready stimulus package, unemployment would peak at 7.9% and would decline to 6.5% by today. The cascade of recovery was going to be jump started by a stimulus package that equaled 27% of the previous year’s entire spending. Obama’s complete package was implemented. The outcome was an eye opener.

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Central scam artists downgraded: Greenspan – Bernanke – Federal Reserve

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GoldSilver.com
Posted August 8, 2011

It seems Alan Greenspan, the Ex-Chairman of the US Federal Reserve and mentor of his protege in crime, current Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke, should get their fables straight before they appear on television.  Check out how brazenly dangerous Alan Greenspan conducted himself this past Sunday morning on NBC’s Meet The Press:

 The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money…
Alan GreenspanAugust 7, 2011


Wait a second, perhaps Alan should check with Ben on their story because according to Ben’s interview late last year on CBS’ 60 Minutes, the US is not printing money and the monetary base is not expanding all that much:

One myth that is out there is that what we are doing is printing money. We are not printing money… The money supply is not changing in any significant way. –Ben Bernanke, December 5, 2010


It looks like Alan and Ben need to get on the same page when it comes to money printing and what is officially happening to the monetary base of the US dollar:

Finally there is the instant classic of Ben Bernanke’s recent denial of historical facts, common sense, and basic economic laws. Check out Ben’s ridiculous retort when asked by Ron Paul on July 13, 2011 as to whether or not gold is money:


Central bankers and the lies they tell are the antithesis of gold. When they blurt moronic statements in large public forums like the aforementioned examples, gold, the true money of mankind tends to explode to the upside. The central scam artists can say whatever they want.  The fact is that the dollar, euro, yen, franc, pound, peso etc. are and will continue to bow to true free market monies, gold and silver.

For this reason we continue to convert our paper debt based cash and fiat currencies into physical gold and silver bullion long-term. With central bankers like these, it is making the inevitable wealth exchange happen at breath taking speed with a real possibility of the move going parabolic. Are you ready?

Zero percent interest rates lock in inflation

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by Greg Hunter
USAWatchdog.com 
Posted 17 August 2011

THE DECISION BY THE FED, LAST WEEK, TO KEEP A KEY INTEREST RATE at near zero percent for 2 years is historic because the Fed has never done this before.  This action will have profound negative effect on the U.S. dollar and its buying power. It also signals that even the Fed thinks the economy is not going to get better for at least 2 years.

This action will affect every American and telegraphs a policy of inflation by the government. In November of 2009, I predicted this very path in a post called The Fix is In. Back then, I said, “It appears the “fix” is in as far as the road plan for the U.S. dollar and economy. The government and the Fed appear to have chosen a path of inflation for America and the world. This is not an official announced plan but it might as well be.”   (Click here for the original post.)

Zero percent interest on a key Fed rate confirms my prediction right along with the rising inflation in just about everything except housing. In an extensive post about inflation this week, Theburningplatform.com said, “The storyline being sold to you by Bernanke, his Wall Street masters, and their captured puppets in Washington DC is that deflation is the great bogeyman they must slay. They make these statements from their ivory jewel encrusted towers as the real people in the real world deal with reality. The reality since Ben Bernanke announced his QE2 policy in August 2010 is:

 • Unleaded gas prices are up 45%.

 • Heating oil prices are up 46%.

 • Corn prices are up 71%.

 • Soybean prices are up 26%.

 • Rice prices are up 13%.

 • Pork prices are up 31%.

 • Beef prices are up 25%.

 • Coffee prices are up 38%.

 • Sugar prices are up 48%.

 • Cotton prices are up 13%.

 • Gold prices are up 42%.

 • Silver prices are up 115%.

 • Copper prices are up 23%.

The official inflation rate is 3.6%, but anybody with an IQ above 70 knows that’s a statistical lie. According to economist John Williams of Shadowstats.com, the true annual inflation rate is around 11% (if calculated the way Bureau of Labor Statistics did it in 1980). In his latest report, Williams warns the dollar is in serious trouble because the Fed is not interested in fighting inflation when it needs to continue propping up the banking system.

to continue reading, click here

On perpetual ZIRP

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by Bruce Krasting
Posted August 9, 2011

I HAD THIS TO SAY LAST WEEK:
The Fed could easily attempt to buy some market peace by issuing a statement that the policy of zero interest rates would be extended for a minimum period of one year. I consider this to be a “high probability” to happen in the next 30 days.

I got it right, but I got it completely wrong. I feared that the Fed could extend the ZIRP language for as long as a year. Not in my wildest dream did I think they could take the extremely risky move of guaranteeing that interest rates will remain at zero for another 24 months. Having been shocked, my thoughts:

• This action is indefensible on economic merits. This move is not motivated by sound monetary policy. It’s motivated by politics. This is a payback to Obama. Shame on the Fed for mixing politics with money.

• We will not go two years with this monetary policy without inflation (measured by core) exceeding the previously stated commitment by Bernanke that policy would not be allowed to rise above 2%. Bernanke and the dove members that signed onto this policy have lied to the American people. Bernanke has done it on 60 Minutes. He has done it to Congress. Shame on all of them.

• The Fed has taken away its ability to react to a situation that would require them to tighten. We are now on a one-way street. There is no way to turn around anymore. I believe the Fed has abdicated its responsibilities under the dual mandate. The have no ability to react if inflation should pop up in a year from now. Even worse, they have no policy options should there be a run on the dollar. The possibility of a run on the buck has gone up exponentially as a result. Should that happen, the Fed will have left us economically defenseless. Shame on the Fed for making us more vulnerable to a speculative attack.

• The stock market run up this afternoon is the Bernanke Put at work. Lets be clear on the consequences of Perpetual ZIRP. From this day onward every buy and hold investor who acquires Treasury debt with maturities of less than five-years is GUARANTEED TO LOSE MONEY. So if you accept that, then stocks have to look better. Shame on the Fed for debasing money and punishing savers.

• We have only one monetary policy. Juice stock multiples. This is the farthest thing from “Progressive” economics as you can get. We have a policy in place that is designed to make wealthy people wealthier. At some point there will be a social cost to this. The fires and riots in London were triggered by a shooting. Underneath is a rage between haves and have nots. Shame on the Fed for rigging the outcome for fat cats. Double shame on them for when our streets are filled with rage.

• Zero interest rates also means Zero risk. I think the change in Fed language will exacerbate recent short-term funding liquidity. I think we will see this appear (again) sooner versus later. I think Zero interest rates discourages leveraged investing. This policy will dry up liquidity in the asset backed market (Shadow banking system). I’m looking for evidence of this in the Euro Dollar funding markets. I am also looking for it to occur in the Term Commercial Paper market. Shame on the Fed for setting us up for this systemic risk.

• Brazil, Argentina, Korea, Indonesia are going to scream bloody murder over perpetual ZIRP. Russia is likely to get downright ugly with their rhetoric. I wouldn’t be surprised if they took this opportunity to vote with their feet and just abandon the dollar as a reserve holding. China will also make noise. They will make more calls for a new international currency to replace the dollar. The Central bankers in Japan and Switzerland are puking in the trashcan over this. Bernanke is exporting US deflation to them. Shame on the Fed for pursuing beggar my neighbor policies. They deserve all the global criticism they are about to get.

• Bernanke bills himself as a student of the Depression. He has said over and over that he would not make the mistakes that the Fed made in 1937 when a tightening of monetary policy triggered another wave of deflation. I think the history books will look at the Fed and August of 2011 and draw a similar conclusion. At a critical time in history the Fed has taken action. The mistake of 72 years ago DID cause a recession that lasted a few years. The mistakes of 2011 will mark a point in history where America turned a corner downward. One that will take a few decades to recover from. The history books will shame Ben.