When you print money [qualitative easing], the money does not flow evenly into the economic system. It stays essentially in the financial service industry and among people that have access to these funds, mostly well-to-do people. It does not go to the worker. I just mentioned that it doesn’t flow evenly into the system.
Now from time to time it will lift the NASDAQ like between 1997 and March 2000. Then it lifted home prices in the U.S. until 2007. Then it lifted the commodity prices in 2008 until July 2008 when the global economy was already in recession. More recently it has lifted selected emerging economies, stock markets in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, up four times from 2009 lows and now the U.S.
So we are creating bubbles and bubbles and bubbles. This bubble will come to an end. My concern is that we are going to have a systemic crisis where it is going to be very difficult to hide. Even in gold, it will be difficult to hide.
TRUTH: D. C. is about empire building.
Andrew’s Note: If you still have any doubt that influence peddling is alive and well in D.C. then look at which programs are being ‘sequestered’ and which aren’t. It’s almost as if the cuts (really decreases in the proposed spending increase) are meant to be as disruptive as possible without actually cutting any ‘fluff.’ Having read Stossel for many years I can tell you he’s not saying that everyone in the D.C. power elite is empire building but he is pointing out that empire building frequently overwhelms the work of the people.
We are spending money we don’t have… It’s not like your household. In your household, people are saying, ‘Oh, you can’t spend money you don’t have.’ That is true for your household because nobody is going to lend you an infinite amount of money. When it comes to the United States Federal government, people do seem willing to lend us an infinite amount of money. … Our debt is so big and so many people own it that it’s preposterous to think that they would stop selling us more. It’s the old story: If you owe the bank $50,000, you got a problem. If you owe the bank $50 million, they got a problem. And that’s a problem for the lenders. They can’t stop lending us more money.
Andrew’s Note: “Preposterous to think that they (our lenders) will stop selling us more (debt…loaning us money)”… unlimited debt…what could go wrong? Maybe when Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure is over at New York City Hall he can retake those economics classes he slept through at Johns Hopkins and Harvard. While he’s at it maybe some history classes on the tyranny of totalitarianism & socialism as well as some science classes will get him to stop messing with other people’s lives so much.
Andrew’s Note: Today we present a commentary and warning by Roger Reality that was inspired by a recent Fox News article on entitlement reform and the sideshow we call the ‘Sequester.’ Here’s Arbeit Macht Frei and the Permanent Sequester…
The Socialist Agenda is succeeding where Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and the Communists of the USSR, China, and elsewhere failed…that is in destroying the United States!! Loathsome self-interest by politicians and those they pander to has pushed us off the edge and there are diminishing hopes for a “miracle” to prevent the catastrophic financial implosion that is now just a few years away. The Socialists WILL NOT turn on those who put them into power and will keep them there… namely the sizable proportion of the population that survives off labors of others in the form of government handouts. Moderate “reforms” cannot prevent this, just as getting less drunk doesn’t cure an alcoholic!
Wake up your family! Wake up your friends! Wake up your neighbors! There will be nothing left to receive from the governments (federal, state and local) if we don’t reverse this course. There will be nothing left for either our parasitic fellow citizens nor our hardworking friends and neighbors that rely on true government provided essential services like national defense, a functioning judicial system, a transportation system, civil authority and police protection…not to mention that Social Security you’ve been contributing to your entire working life.
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama proposed raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour. That would be almost a 25 percent increase. Let’s look at the president’s proposal, but before doing so, let’s ask some other economic questions.
Are people responsive to changes in price? For example, if the price of cars rose by 25 percent, would people purchase as many cars? Supposing housing prices rose by 25 percent, what would happen to sales? Those are big-ticket items, but what about smaller-priced items? If a supermarket raised its prices by 25 percent, would people purchase as much? It’s not rocket science to conclude that when prices rise, people adjust their behavior by purchasing less.
It’s almost childish to do so, but I’m going to ask questions about 25 percent price changes in the other way. What responses would people have if the price of cars or housing fell by 25 percent? What would happen to supermarket sales if prices fell by 25 percent? Again, it doesn’t require deep thinking to guess that people would purchase more.
This behavior in economics is known as the first fundamental law of demand. It holds that the higher the price of something the less people will take and that the lower the price the more people will take. There are no known exceptions to the law of demand. Any economist who could prove a real-world exception would probably be a candidate for the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and other honors.
I attended a Papal Audience once…it didn’t cost anything…I’m certainly glad I didn’t have to pay as much as I would if I wanted an audience with the leader of the free world… Pay to play is alive and well in our Nation’s capital.
Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that donating $500,000 to the group Organizing for Action will get one quarterly meetings with President Barack Obama. “Giving or raising $500,000 or more puts donors on a national advisory board for Mr. Obama’s group and the privilege of attending quarterly meetings with the president, along with other meetings at the White House,” reported the Times.
Today, Jay Carney was unable to defend this arrangement at the White House press briefing, implausibly stating that the Obama group is somehow not related to Obama:
Pay to play is a Chicago tradition…I guess nothing changes when the Second City is in running the First World.
[President] Obama, who believes government spends money more constructively than do those who earn it, warns that the sequester’s budgetary nicks, amounting to one-half of 1 percent of gross domestic product, will derail the economy. A similar jeremiad was heard in 1943 when economist Paul Samuelson, whose Keynesian assumptions have trickled down to Obama, said postwar cuts in government would mean “the greatest period of unemployment and industrial dislocation which any economy has ever faced.”
Federal spending did indeed shrink an enormous 40 percent in one year. And the economy boomed.
Because crises are government’s excuse for growing, liberalism’s motto is: Never let a crisis go unfabricated. But its promiscuous production of crises has made them boring.
Remember when, in the 1980s, thousands died from cancers caused by insufficient regulation of the chemical Alar sprayed on apples? No, you don’t because this alarming prediction fizzled. Alar was not, after all, a risk.
Remember when “a major cooling of the climate” was “widely considered inevitable” (New York Times, May 21, 1975) with “extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation” (Science magazine, Dec. 10, 1976) which must “stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery” (International Wildlife, July 1975)? Remember reports that “the world’s climatologists are agreed” that we must “prepare for the next ice age” (Science Digest, February 1973)? Armadillos were leaving Nebraska, heading south, and heat-loving snails were scampering southward from European forests (Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 27, 1974). Newsweek (April 28, 1975) said meteorologists were “almost unanimous” that cooling would “reduce agricultural productivity.”
Today, while Obama prepares a governmental power grab to combat global warming, sensible Americans, tuckered out with apocalypse fatigue, are yawning through the catastrophe du jour, the sequester. They say: Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the hamsters of sequestration.
Misunderstanding, misstatements and all the classic contortions of partisan message management surround the sequester, the term for the $85 billion in ugly and largely irrational federal spending cuts set by law to begin Friday.
Andrew’s Note: Today we present a pair of dueling quotes on the Sequester. If it takes ‘irrational federal spending cuts’ then that’s better than no federal spending cuts. That said, keep in mind that there are going to be a number of folks hurt by our pending sequester including many friends of mine. We need to get back to the old days of having an actual budget…but it needs to be reasonable and we need to live within in.
Andrew’s Note: Today’s Quote is taken straight from the Social Security Trustees Report Summary. Here’s what Secretary Geithner, Secretary Sebelius and the other trustees think about the future of Social Security. Although I didn’t pull the whole report it’s still a little long…here’s how it starts (emphasis is mine).
Social Security’s expenditures exceeded non-interest income in 2010 and 2011, the first such occurrences since 1983, and the Trustees estimate that these expenditures will remain greater than non-interest income throughout the 75-year projection period. The deficit of non-interest income relative to expenditures was about $49 billion in 2010 and $45 billion in 2011, and the Trustees project that it will average about $66 billion between 2012 and 2018 before rising steeply as the economy slows after the recovery is complete and the number of beneficiaries continues to grow at a substantially faster rate than the number of covered workers. Redemption of trust fund assets from the General Fund of the Treasury will provide the resources needed to offset the annual cash-flow deficits. Since these redemptions will be less than interest earnings through 2020, nominal trust fund balances will continue to grow. The trust fund ratio, which indicates the number of years of program cost that could be financed solely with current trust fund reserves, peaked in 2008, declined through 2011, and is expected to decline further in future years. After 2020, Treasury will redeem trust fund assets in amounts that exceed interest earnings until exhaustion of trust fund reserves in 2033, three years earlier than projected last year. Thereafter, tax income would be sufficient to pay only about three-quarters of scheduled benefits through 2086. Continue reading
I recently came across Heritage.org’s 2013 Economic Freedom Heat Map. Below is a snapshot but you can click on the map to go to their interactive version and explore the data. Note that this only shows economic freedom and the U.S. falls into the ‘Mostly Free’ category with 76 out of a potential 100 points.
Andrew’s Note: I’ve been watching with interest the developments in Argentina where the Socialist government has imposed price controls in a futile attempt to control inflation created by social (or should I say Socialist) engineering masquerading as economic policy…President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s administration has now gone so far as to ban advertising. The arrogance of a government expecting private businesses and individuals (and farmers) to continue to produce when their goods cost more to produce than they are allowed to sell them for defies belief…but it wasn’t so long ago that we tried such schemes as well. During the Nixon administration we exercised price controls on a national level and some cities still cling to anachronistic rent control schemes. Luckily we no longer impose price controls on a national level…now we just legislate how much profit private industries can make…Lord save us from misguided but well intended politicians and Socialists…so what’s the more general outlook for Central and South America look like…let’s return to the JOE.
The JOE is our crystal ball…or at least the closest thing that the Department of Defense (DOD) has to it…namely the Joint Operating Environment (JOE) 2010. The JOE is the DOD’s keystone document used to project the world in which it will operate up to 25 years into the future. As I’ve mentioned previously, it’s a sobering read for the prepper and likely to turn the non-prepper into one. Read on to learn what the Department of Defense thinks about the outlook for Central and South America:
The number of [welfare] recipients began to exceed the number of contributors [taxpayers] by so much that, with farmers’ resources exhausted by the enormous size of the requisitions [taxes], fields became deserted and cultivated land was turned into forest.”
John Stossel is one of my favorite writers. He’s a journalist, commentator and author who looks beyond the surface of a story to uncover the entire story. His in depth reporting on the unintended consequences of well meaning legislation can be particularly eye opening. I caught this piece recently on how government bans decrease freedom and create shortages which create big profits when handed back to the politically connected. Here’s a taste and a link to the rest of what Stossel has to say about how Government Bans Hurt Most:
I like to bet on sports. Having a stake in the game, even if it’s just five bucks, makes it more exciting. I also like playing poker. “Unacceptable!” say politicians in much of America. “Gambling sometimes leads to ‘addiction,’ destitute families!”
…So politicians ban it. It’s why we no longer see a poker game in the back of bars. Half the states even ban poker between friends — though they rarely enforce that.
After banning things, politicians’ second favorite activity is granting special privileges to a few people who do those same things — so big casinos flourish, and most states run their own lotteries. Running lotteries is one of the more horrible things our governments do. The poor buy the most tickets, and states offer them terrible odds. The government entered the lottery business promising to end the “criminal numbers racket.” Now states do what the “criminals” did but offer much worse odds. Adding insult to their scam, politicians also spend our tax money promoting lotteries with disgusting commercials that trash hard work, implying that happiness comes from hedonism.
Just a few years ago, when George W. Bush was president, the Congressional Record shows that Senator Obama said this: “I rise, today, to talk about America’s debt problem. The fact that we are here to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure and our government’s reckless fiscal policies.”..
Sen. Obama went on: “Over the past five years, our federal debt has increased from $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion — and yes, I said trillion with a ‘T’!”
Andrew’s Note: The U.S. debt is currently over $16.4 Trillion.
In these days of fiscal crisis … I am especially cognizant of the fact that we can’t be strong in the world unless we’re strong at home… The first priority will be that America, at last, puts its fiscal house in order.
Senator and potential Secretary of State John Kerry via Kerry says tackling debt a must for sake of American influence abroad
Andrew’s Note: I’m not sure that ‘puts its fiscal house in order’ is politispeak for stop the spending madness and implement entitlement reform…but one can hope!