February 17, 2013
As bad as the global economy is right now, it is unfortunately going to get far worse.
Many central banks around the world are now racing to devalue their currencies through the implementation of debt monetization programs and low interest rates.
The Bank of Japanís recent announcement of a massive bond purchase program is the latest episode in an already sorry state of affairs.
It is a historical fact that prosperity has never been obtained by devaluing a nationís money which makes it all the more insane that the central planners are actually trying to sell the general public on these policies. In fact if monetary devaluation resulted in economic growth, Zimbabwe which recently experienced a period of rampant hyperinflation would easily be the wealthiest nation in the world instead of one of the poorest.
Ancient Rome had a strong monetary unit when the nation rose to prominence but degenerated after the ruling powers decided to devalue its coinage.
In more recent times both the British Empire and the United States reached great heights when they maintained a sound money system. With this said, you really donít need to be an economics guru to figure out that the result of todayís monetary policies will eventually result in a complete disaster for the global economy.
Despite all of the absurd propaganda from the major news networks, there is no question that much of the world is in a depression.
The only reason there has not been a total collapse of the system is because of the fact that central banks have maintained artificially low interest rates and propped up sovereign bond markets by purchasing bonds with money that they created out of nothing.
Taxpayer bailouts, stimulus programs and other nonsense havenít helped matters either. These policies which were implemented following the crash of 2008 have simply set the world up for a much larger collapse in the future. There would have at least been an outside chance to fix the system had the central planners not intervened but now the situation is becoming increasingly hopeless.
Take for example what happened in Iceland immediately following the 2008 financial crisis. The Icelandic people voted against using taxpayer money to prop up failed Icelandic banks.
Even though there was a great deal of short term economic pain with foreign depositors and foreign bond holders losing billions, the country is now on the road to recovery.
On the other hand, Ireland which decided to bailout its banking system with taxpayer money is still dealing with the after effects of the crisis. In 2010, Ireland actually had to accept a bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund because the government could no longer afford the burden.
Just weeks ago thousands of people rightfully filled the streets of Irish cities protesting against the bank bailouts.
Before the bailouts, Ireland had one of the stronger economies in the European Union with one of the lowest debt-to-GDP ratios in Europe. After the bailouts, the Irish economy has struggled even being mentioned in the same breath as Spain and Greece.
Sadly even with all of these monetary stimulus programs, the United States economy is barely treading water. It was recently reported that the U.S. economy shrunk 0.1 percent in Q4 of 2012 according to official numbers from the U.S. Commerce Department.
Considering economic statistics from the government are questionable at best, it is quite possible that the real numbers are far worse. If the U.S. economy is actually shrinking with these types of monetary policies in place, it is painfully obvious that the Federal Reserve has no exit strategy from the status quo.
Any attempt to defend the value of the U.S. Dollar by suspending debt purchases and raising interest rates would send the economy into a tailspin.
Ben Bernanke the Federal Reserve Chairman once famously said that he would throw money out of a helicopter to keep the economy going so we should fully expect him to continue these activities.
In fact, we already know through the Federal Reserveís own policy statements that they will be continuing near zero interest rate policies well into the future.
At this point thatís really all they can do since it is politically infeasible for them to tighten the purse strings so they just continue to print more and more money out of nothing.
The Federal Reserveís bond purchasing programs have effectively fueled a rally in bonds pushing yields of various U.S. government debt instruments towards historical lows. This has fooled people into believing that U.S. government debt is a safe haven play which is astounding on so many levels. The rate of return on these debt instruments is actually negative when factoring in the real rate of inflation.
The government and establishment media love to tout the Consumer Price Index or CPI as the ultimate gauge of inflation. However, the CPI doesnít even include food and energy in its calculation thus making it a completely worthless indicator of true inflation.
Maybe if people didnít eat, didnít use oil to heat their homes and didnít fill their automobiles with gasoline the CPI might have some relevance.
In reality, thereís little question that that the CPI is a purposely manipulated figure designed to mislead people into believing that inflation is lower than it actually is. The CPI also provides the basis for cost of living adjustments that directly affects how much money Social Security recipients receive. This allows the government to get away with paying far less than if real inflation was used as the benchmark to calculate these adjustments.
The true measure of inflation calculated using the same statistical models used by the U.S. government during the 1970s has inflation closer to 10% on an annual basis.
Even if we were to assume that inflation is half of that figure, U.S. Treasury bond holders would still be getting a negative rate of return on their investment.
Cleary, this is a dangerous game that is being played by the world's central banks. Looking specifically at the Fed they announced late last year that they would be purchasing $85 billion worth of securities on a monthly basis for an indefinite period of time until unemployment is substantially reduced.
This adds up to roughly $1 trillion worth of bond purchases per year which is approximately what the federal governmentís annual budget deficit has been under the Obama regime. The Fed is essentially monetizing enough debt for the federal government to finance its $1 trillion annual budget deficit. In other words they are creating close to $1 trillion new dollars out of nothing and dumping it into the system.
The end result is that you have a larger supply of dollars chasing the same goods and services which ultimately means there will be higher prices because each dollar will be worth less.
This policy is essentially an invisible tax on the average person because it robs them of their purchasing power. Combine this with the fact that the Obama regime actually raised taxes on poor and middle class Americans as part of the recent fiscal cliff deal and the additional burden Obamaís universal healthcare plan has placed on businesses and it is no wonder why the economy is sputtering.
Not only is the currency being devalued but they are financially damaging the base from which they collect taxes.
Evidence of this economic reality can be seen from a leaked internal e-mail from a Wal-Mart Vice President who stated that sales were a total disaster and that February 2013 sales were off to its slowest start in the 7 years heís been with the company. Since average people now have less purchasing power to buy things with, it shouldnít be any surprise that we see reports like this.
One would think sanity would prevail and the Obama regime would at least end the costly foreign wars and make a few domestic spending cuts. Since we live in a world where insanity seems to be the prevailing thought process, we are not going to see this happen. At the recent State of the Union speech Obama actually proposed more spending programs including a ridiculous multi-billion dollar universal preschool initiative.
With a debt over $16 trillion, unfunded liabilities that some have argued approach $100 trillion or higher and $1 trillion annual budget deficits where do they think theyíll get the money to pay for these new programs?
Either this is pure stupidity of the most epic magnitude or they are intentionally trying to destroy whatís left of the economy. Regardless of what you believe, these policies are leading us towards disaster.
As a result of these crazy policies, huge bubbles are being created in the U.S. Treasury bond market, the U.S. stock market and most importantly in the U.S. Dollar itself. Since the Fed is buying an increasing amount of bonds it has artificially propped up the market causing investors to venture into the stock market for greater returns on investment which has resulted in the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting the 14,000 level.
Contrary to what the talking head clowns on CNBC say, this is not the sign of a healthy economy but instead an indicator of gross manipulations by the Fed which has forced investors to take on more risk to achieve any real rate of return.
At some point the market is going to reject these policies when fewer and fewer market participants are willing to purchase U.S. Treasury bonds at historically low yields while the U.S. Dollar is simultaneously devalued. This alone will cause the bond bubble to burst, yields to skyrocket and force the U.S. government to pay even more money to service the interest on the debt.
Considering that the U.S. government is already having a difficult time making payments to service the debt with historically low yields, any reversal would be extremely problematic.
It is comical that there are still ratings agencies that rate U.S. sovereign debt with a Triple-A status considering the train wreck we are witnessing. S&P which was the one ratings agency that actually downgraded U.S. sovereign debt is now being sued by the U.S. government over inaccurate securities ratings leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.
This is not an attempt to defend S&P by any means, but there are a number of questions as to why they are the only ratings agency being sued. All of the big ratings agencies were guilty of grossly exaggerating the quality of different types of securities in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crash.
The only thing that differentiates S&P from the other ratings agencies is that they had the nerve to downgrade U.S. sovereign debt. This lawsuit appears to be retaliation against them for that downgrade and nothing else. If this isnít the case, than why havenít lawsuits been filed against all of the major ratings agencies?
Clearly, each one of them was involved in some sort of chicanery leading up to the crash. With this said, there is no reason to trust what any of these major ratings firms are saying about U.S. sovereign debt. It is highly probable that their ratings of U.S. sovereign debt are being affected by the possibility that the U.S. government would threaten legal action against them if they fail to provide a favorable analysis.
It is also becoming more apparent that the central planners have been suppressing the gold and silver price as part of an effort to maintain the illusion that these debt based currencies still have value.
The German Bundesbank recently announced its intention to take delivery of over half of its gold reserves by 2020 from the Fed and other central banks.
The main question here is why would it take 7 years to complete this process? China has been buying huge sums of physical gold on the open market and so far have had no logistical problems receiving prompt delivery of their gold.
This gives additional credence to the accusations that central banks have been leasing out physical gold as part of a scam to suppress the price. In other words, the gold that Germany is requesting delivery of is no longer available which is why the gold cannot be immediately delivered.
In all likelihood, this is why an agreement was struck to deliver the gold over 7 years so the central banks could save face without having to transparently expose the gold manipulation fraud they are engaged in.
Either way, it is quite obvious that the gold and silver markets have both been manipulated for some time now.
If you study the daily charts of gold and silver there are often huge price disruptions to the down side that have no fundamental explanation. If other countries follow suit and request physical delivery of their gold, this could put an end to these suppression schemes resulting in a massive upswing in the price of gold.
It is often said that gold goes where wealth is being generated. If we use that as a measuring stick it is clear that wealth is being transferred from the west over to Asia. Specifically of interest is the fact that gold is being purchased in large sums by both the Chinese and Russian governments.
In fact gold demand has been so strong that India just raised taxes on gold imports to try to reduce demand.
Unfortunately for the west, these countries that are net buyers of gold are going to be in a very good financial position once the full effect of these debt monetization and low interest policies are felt. Gold is real money and stores value unlike the debt based garbage that these central banks are creating by typing digits into a computer.
There is very little question that the global financial system is at a point where it cannot be repaired.
The policies of unlimited money creation that are currently being implemented by the Fed and other central banks are unfortunately going to continue until the entire system collapses. It is now inevitable that there will be a huge crash in the U.S. stock market, the U.S. bond market and eventually the U.S. Dollar.
Gold, silver and other precious metals should perform very well as this scenario unfolds so there are safe havens available for people wishing to preserve their wealth.
It is unfortunate that the only question remaining now is not if this collapse is going to happen but when this collapse is going to happen.