Is The U.S. Economy Being Tanked By Mistake or By Intent? by Bill Sardi

Is The U.S. Economy Being Tanked By Mistake or By Intent?

by Bill Sardi

Recently by Bill Sardi: Who Is Left Holding the Bag on US Debt?

The government wants Americans to believe the greatest economic collapse in history was the result of ineptness and mistakes yet still have confidence in their financial institutions.

Should American bankers be let off the hook because they self-declare, before an investigational panel, that the failure of their newly invented risk swaps and other highly leveraged investment schemes was simply due to “mistakes”? Not malfeasance – just every-day mistakes? Bankers just fell asleep at the helm at a critical juncture in American history. Is that what we are being led to believe?

Oh well, it’s just 18 million American homes that now lay empty in the wake of unprecedented foreclosures, and the bankers have collected obscene bonuses for reckless lending of their depositors’ money. It’s like the captain and crew of a ship saying, not to worry, twenty-percent of the passengers were lost overboard, but this was due to unavoidable mistakes, and then being rewarded with bonuses when they reach port.


FULL ARTICLE

YAHOO: Preparing for the Worst

by Robert Kiyosak

Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009, 12:00AM

“Is the crisis over?” is a question I am often asked. “Is the economy coming back?”
My reply is, “I don’t think so. I would prepare for the worst.”

Like most people, I wish for a better future for all of us. Life is better when people are working, happy, and spending money.

The stock market has been going up since March 9, 2009. Talk of “green shoots” fill the air. Yet, in spite of the more positive news, I continue to recommend that people prepare for the worst. The following are some of my reasons:

1. I believe the stock market is being manipulated. I suspect the government, banks, and Wall Street are doing everything they can to keep the market from crashing. Our leaders know that nothing makes the world feel better than a raging bull market.

Do I have any proof that the market is being manipulated? No. I just smell a rat, or a pack of rats. I believe greed, self-interest, arrogance, and fear control the financial markets. I suspect those in charge will do anything to keep us all from panicking… and I don’t blame them. A global panic would be ugly and dangerous.

2. In my view, this global crisis has been caused by the Federal Reserve Bank, the U.S. Treasury, Wall Street, and the central banks of the world. They caused the problem, profited excessively in doing so, and now profit by being asked to fix the problem.

Every time I hear a politician mention the word stimulus, my mind flashes back to high school biology class, when I touched battery wires to a dead frog to make it twitch. Today, you and I are the dead frogs. Pretty soon the dead frog will be fried frog.

In the 1980s, our government’s hot money stimulus was measured only in the millions of dollars. By the 1990s, the government had to ramp the stimulus voltage into the billions in order to get the frog to twitch. Today the frog has jumper cables with trillions in high-voltage hot money pouring through the lines.

While most us feel better when we have more high-voltage money in our hands, none of us feel good about higher taxes, increasing national debt, and rising inflation for the long term. Another old saying goes, “Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.” I say the government stimulus cure is killing us frogs.

3. Old frogs don’t hop. Another reason I am cautious about the future is that the Western world has a growing number of old frogs. Between 1970 and 2000, the economy responded to bailouts and stimulus packages because the baby boomers of the world were entering their greatest earning years — their purchasing power increased, and demand for homes, cars, refrigerators, computers, and TVs boosted the economy.

The stimulus plans seemed to work. But when a person turns 60, their spending habits change dramatically. They stop consuming and start conserving like a bear preparing for winter. The economy of the Western world is heading into winter. Hot wires and hot money will not get old frogs to hop. Old frogs will simply join the bears and stick that money in the bank as they prepare for the long, hard winter known as old age. The businesses that will do well in a winter economy are drug companies, hospitals, wheelchair manufacturers, and mortuaries.

4. The dying frog economy will lead us to the biggest Ponzi schemes of all: Social Security and Medicare. If we think this subprime financial crisis is big, it’s my opinion that this crisis will be dwarfed by the crisis brewing in Social Security and Medicare…Medicare being the biggest crisis of all. As old frogs head for the big lily pad in the sky, they will demand young frogs spend even more in tax dollars just to keep old frogs from croaking.

5. The 401(k)Ponzi scheme. A Ponzi scheme, like the scheme Madoff ran, depends upon young money to pay off old money. In other words, a Ponzi scheme needs tadpoles to finance old frogs. The same is true for the 401(k) and other retirement plans to work. If young money does not come into the stock market, the old money cannot retire. One reason so many people my age are worried, not only about Social Security and Medicare, is because they’re concerned about getting their money out of the stock market before the other old frogs decide to drain the swamp.

The facts are that the 401(k) plan has a trigger that requires old frogs to begin withdrawing their money at a certain age. In other words, as baby boomers grow older, more and more will be required, by law, to begin withdrawing their money from the market. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to know that it is hard for a market to keep going up when more and more people are getting out.

The reason the 401(k) has this law related to mandatory withdrawals is because the Federal government wants to collect the taxes that they deferred when the worker’s money went into the plan. In other words, the taxman wants their pound of flesh. Since they allowed the worker to invest without paying taxes, the government wants their tax dollars when the employee retires. That is why the laws require older workers to sell their shares ¬– and pay their pound of flesh.

Demographics show that we are entering a battle between young and old. I call it the “Age War.” The young want to hang onto their money to grow their families, businesses, and wealth. The old want the tax and investment dollars of the young to sustain their old age.

This war is not coming…it is upon us now. This is one of many reasons why I remain cautious and say, “The worst is yet to come.”

Goldman Sachs – THE WORLD’S BIGGEST PONZI SCHEME

Taken from a comment by “Calltoaccount”, which was taken from Institutional Risk Analytics, blogged by http://www.cjr.org

Res Ipsa Loquitor: Here’s the real story that’s been conveniently swept under the rug.

From Reuters: QUESTION: Did Goldman do any due diligence on AIG before buying credit default swaps (CDS) from it?

ANSWER: “We do extensive due diligence on all our counterparties.” –  posted 4/2/09 by Karl Denninger

(Credit Barry Ritholtz and Institutional Risk Analytics, the original source)

WHOAH!

In fact, our investigation suggests that by the time AIG had entered the CDS fray in a serious way more than five years ago, the firm was already doomed. No longer able to prop up its earnings using reinsurance because of growing scrutiny from state insurance regulators and federal law enforcement agencies, AIG’s foray into CDS was really the grand finale. AIG was a Ponzi scheme plain and simple, yet the Obama Administration still thinks of AIG as a real company that simply took excessive risks. No, to us what the fraud Bernard Madoff is to individual investors, AIG is to the global financial community.

As with the phony reinsurance contracts that AIG and other insurers wrote for decades, when AIG wrote hundreds of billions of dollars in CDS contracts, neither AIG nor the counterparties believed that the CDS would ever be paid. Indeed, one source with personal knowledge of the matter suggests that there may be emails and actual side letters between AIG and its counterparties that could prove conclusively that AIG never intended to pay out on any of its CDS contracts.

Read that folks.

Then read it again.

Then read it AGAIN.

More excerpts:

There are two basic problems with side letters. First, they are a criminal act, a fraud that usually carries the full weight of an “A” felony in many jurisdictions. Second, once the side letter is discovered by a persistent auditor or regulator examining the buyer of protection, the transaction becomes worthless. You paid $6 million to AIG to shift risk via the reinsurance, but the side letter makes clear that the transaction is a fraud and you lose any benefit that the apparent risk shifting might have provided.

And finally, the last nail in the coffin:

The key point is that neither the public, the Fed nor the Treasury seem to understand is that the CDS contracts written by AIG with these various non-insurers around the world were shams – with no correlation between “fees” paid and the risk assumed. These were not valid contracts as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Geithner and Economic policy guru Larry Summers claim, but rather acts of criminal fraud meant to manipulate the capital positions and earnings of financial companies around the world.

Indeed, our sources as well as press reports suggest that the CDS contracts written by AIG may have included side letters, often in the form of emails rather than formal letters, that essentially violated the ISDA agreements and show that the true, economic reality of these contracts was fraud plain and simple. Unfortunately, by not moving to seize AIG immediately last year when the scandal broke, the Fed and Treasury may have given the AIG managers time to destroy much of the evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

Only when we understand how AIG came to be involved in CDS and the fact that this seemingly illegal activity was simply an extension of the reinsurance/side letter shell game scam that AIG, Gen Re and others conducted for many years before will we understand what needs to be done with AIG, namely liquidation. Seen in this context, the payments made to AIG by the Fed and Treasury, which were then passed-through to dealers such as Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), can only be viewed as an illegal taking that must be reversed once the US Trustee for the Federal Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York is in control of AIG’s operations.

Thank you Timmy, thank you Ben Bernanke, thank you Henry Paulson, thank you George Bush and thank you President Obama.

If this is true every one of you needs to go to prison.

After those of you still in your positions are impeached.

Again, for the simple who need it in one sentence:

AIG was a Ponzi scheme plain and simple, yet the Obama Administration still thinks of AIG as a real company that simply took excessive risks. No, to us what the fraud Bernard Madoff is to individual investors, AIG is to the global financial community.

Distilled to one sentence: The bailout of AIG is equivalent to the US Taxpayer bailing out Madoff’s admitted (and now convicted) Ponzi Scheme.

PS: This isn’t MY analysis, this is the analysis of Institutional Risk Analytics. If you don’t understand who they are, you should – they’re one of the most-respected groups out there when it comes to banking system analysis. If they’re willing to print something this damning….

Posted by Calltoaccount on Sat 18 Jul 2009 at 09:40 AM

Federal Reserve Bank is financial system’s new “uber-regulator” – USATODAY

Excerpt from USATODAY.com

President Obama unveiled a stem-to-stern overhaul of financial industry regulation Wednesday, promising dramatic changes for banks, consumers, hedge funds and even the inner workings of the Federal Reserve. The ambitious proposal is designed to strengthen a ramshackle system of government oversight that failed to either prevent or mitigate the current financial crisis.

The new regulatory blueprint would “protect America’s consumers and our economy from the devastating breakdown that we’ve witnessed in recent years,” Obama said.

The sweeping proposal marks an emphatic end to an era during which top policymakers, notably including then-Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, celebrated the ability of market participants to largely police themselves.

FN- Did you read that double speak? They say bad government regulation caused the crisis. Now Greenspan is celebrating because they now “self-regulate”? We went from bad regulation to NO regulation? How does he pull this off?

Increased powers for Fed

Among the most controversial elements are expanded powers granted the Fed. The central bank, which controls the nation’s money supply and supervises the banks, would become the financial system’s uber-regulator. The Fed missed the housing and credit bubbles while they were inflating, badly underestimated their costs when they did pop and already has a full plate, critics say. With the Fed already engaged in numerous unconventional interventions in financial markets, some worry that adding a new role could backfire. (FN- You think?)

“I’d rather that the Fed stick to its knitting of conducting monetary policy and be the lender of last resort, as opposed to take on the role of supervision of individual institutions. … In this role, the Fed will be thrust into the center of controversy,” said Hal Scott, a professor at Harvard Law School and director of the influential Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, a private-sector body.

But administration officials say they carefully considered alternatives before opting to task the Fed. Countries that place key supervision authority outside the central bank don’t operate well in crisis situations, Geithner said.

“I do not believe there’s a plausible alternative that would create the necessary degree of confidence, accountability, responsibility and authority for protecting us against some of the risks we faced in this crisis,” he said. (FN- Giving ALL the power to the Fed to “protect us”, thanks Geithner)

A key target of the plan: financial institutions so large and interconnected, their failure could ricochet around the economy with catastrophic results. These “systemically important’ companies would be subject to more scrutiny and would need to hold more capital in reserve than under current standards. The government also would win new authority to handle “the orderly resolution” of them if they suffer fatal wounds.

“After this crisis, it’s clear that there are a number of financial institutions that are capable of being the domino that causes the rest of the financial system to fall over,” said Douglas Elliott, a former JPMorgan investment banker.

But some worry that investors will view any financial institution the government labels “systemically important” as effectively government-backed. (FN-Reread this line carefully)

That could enable such firms to borrow at lower interest rates, since they would seem better credit risks than smaller rivals not vital to the financial system, says the Brookings Institution’s Martin Baily, who chaired President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers.

FN- Spread the word, the Federal Reserve is becoming the all powerful all knowing body in the world. The US has NO CHECKS AND BALANCES left because the Federal Reserve has the final say in all monetary and financial matters. Mind you, the banks that back the Federal Reserve are SECRET. We have a SECRET group of people controlling the inner workings of our so-called “free market”. Give me a break. Support TX Rep. Ron Paul’s bill to AUDIT THE FED. It now has an astonishing 234 co-sponsors. Whether you support it or not, it is very likely to pass. The Federal Reserve’s inner workings will be exposed, this they say will “destroy the Fed”. Get involved and READ!!!

U.S. Dollar Only Down 2 Percent for the Year. Since the Crisis Started in August of 2007, the U.S. Dollar is Unchanged. Yet the Dollar is Down 33 Percent Since the Start of the Decade. The Currency Race to the Bottom.

May 27th 2009

From mybudget360.com

People have a hard time grasping that given the tumultuous market of 2009 and all the liquidity being funneled into the market by the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve, that the U.S. Dollar has only fallen 2 percent for the year.  What is even more surprising to many is the U.S. Dollar has remained unchanged since the crisis started in August of 2007.  How can that be you say?  The U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve have bailed out Wall Street and banks with commitments and direct credit injections to the tune of $13 trillion yet the dollar remains unchanged.  Let us first look at a graph to show this:

us dollar

In fact, at the market bottom in March of 2009, the dollar flirted with the 90 mark.  This would have been a 10 percent jump from the same point back in August of 2007.  How can the dollar remain strong with so much money being funneled into the economy and the U.S. lagging in a deep recession?  First, it is important to understand that at the bottom in March over $50 trillion in global wealth was destroyed.  That is simply a mind-numbing amount.  In the massive panic of the market lows, many people still had faith in the dollar and rushed into it.  It is still largely viewed as a safe haven.  Also, the major decoupling philosophy has been largely put to rest since this recession is global.  If you look at the chart above, in the spring and summer of 2008 the dollar was in the low 70s.  This occurred because a large number of investors believed that the world would largely remain healthy while the U.S. fell into a deep recession by itself.  That of course was not the case.

Yet over the longer term, the U.S. dollar has suffered and has suffered in big ways.  Let us look at a longer-term chart:

usdollar long term

Looking at this chart, we realize how much the dollar has really declined.  Since the start of the decade, the dollar has fallen a stunning 33 percent.  Keep in mind with currencies these kind of large fluctuations are not a sign of health.  Major market volatility is never the sign of a healthy market.  As I have stated before the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve are actively trying to crush the value of the dollar.  There weapon of choice is inflation.

Why would the central bankers aim for inflation?  For one, our country is a debtor nation to the ultimate degreeThere is simply no way we are ever going to pay back our obligations.  Inflation is an excellent way to make current debts less costly in the long run (at least in the view of the Federal Reserve).  Yet inflation is rarely an easy target to set especially when we are dealing with the prospect of deflation.  Deflation is kryptonite for debtors because the debt does not decrease over time.  Think of a home that has lost 50 percent of its value.  The home is now worth $200,000 while the mortgage stays at $400,000.  In a simple theoretical world, a weak dollar would make our products more desirable around the world thus boosting domestic production.  The only problem is we have outsourced a large part of our manufacturing base.  There is no amount of lowering that is going to compete with wages put out by China and India for example.

The dollar problem is compounded by the fact that globally, central banks have been cutting rates simultaneously.  It has been a race to the bottom.  Each economy facing their own internal pressures had to lower their fund rates to stay competitive.  That is why our zero bound Fed rate has largely left the market moving in the same place.  Other global bankers have also cut back like the ECB for example.

Yet the U.S. Treasury and Fed are trying to exercise this dollar destruction as quietly as possible.  What do you think the public would say if they realized that the central bank of our country is deliberately trying to dilute their respective currency?  People would be in an uproar. (FactsNews: but yet we sit and wallow in our misery, while the Bilderberg controlled media tells us everything is ok) Yet the fact of the matter is we now have some 25,000,000 unemployed or underemployed Americans that have taken a major hit to their purchasing power.  Why do Americans feel poorer?  Because since the start of the decade our U.S. dollar has lost 33 percent of its value.  Couple this with stagnant wages and you can understand why this recession has been so destructive.

The dollar has been declining for the entire time but what pushed it over the edge was our current recession.  Most Americans for the early part of the decade didn’t feel this drop because they made up for their lost purchasing power by borrowing more and more debt:

household debt

What we are now coming to terms with is the reality of our situation. (FactsNews: not so sure about that…)  A currency that is worth 33 percent less from the start of the decade and the revelation that a large part of the wealth created in the 2000s was largely based on pure debt.  Hard to envision a second half recovery.  Looks like we are heading more to a second half realization.

mybudget360.com

The System is designed to exert Total Control over the Lives of Individuals

Reposted from Infowars.com

Richard C. Cook
Global Research
May 17, 2009

What impresses me in the current financial crisis is the near-total failure of so-called progressives to appreciate the magnitude of what is going on or the level of intelligence behind it. How many will say, for instance, that the crash was deliberately engineered by the creation, then destruction, of the investment bubbles of the last decade?

featured stories   The System is designed to exert Total Control over the Lives of Individuals
Wilson
“The development of a sophisticated form of slavery may be an absolute prerequisite for social control.”

When the financial system creates bubbles it drives up the cost of assets far beyond their true value in producing or storing wealth. When the bubbles burst the value of the assets plummets. Those with ready cash then buy them up on the cheap. When the dust settles more wealth has been concentrated in fewer hands. The rich get richer, and ordinary people are left in a deeper condition of indebtedness, poverty, and pressure to perform to the liking of the financial masters.

Progressives think the system needs to be “reformed.” Maybe the banking system needs to be re-regulated or even nationalized. Maybe it should be possible for families facing loss of their homes to get a lower monthly payment from a bankruptcy court. Maybe the government instead of the private sector should administer student loans.

What we fail to acknowledge is that the system itself is totalitarian. This means that it is designed to exert total control over the lives of individuals. We are accustomed to use this label when thinking of anachronisms of history like communism or fascism. We do not understand that globalist finance capitalism and the government which protects, enables, or even regulates it are also totalitarian.

What has happened in the last year as the financial system has seemingly gone belly-up, and is coming back only through massive government bailouts, is part of a pattern that has been around for decades if not centuries. How the controllers work was laid out in 1967 when Dial Press published a leaked copy of The Report from Iron Mountain. This was a study put together by a team of academics and analysts who met at the underground facility in New York that was home to the Hudson Institute.

The report began by identifying war as the central organizing principle of society. It stated, “War itself is the basic social system, within which other secondary modes of social organization conflict or conspire. It is the system which has governed most human societies of record, as it is today.”

The report said that, “The basic authority of a modern state over its people resides in its war powers.” It said that any failure of will by the ruling class could lead to “actual disestablishment of military institutions.” The effect on the system would be, the report said, “catastrophic.”

The appearance of the report caused a sensation when it came out at the onset of the Vietnam War. Officials within the government had no comment, and the report faded into history. But certain of its sections fit the situation in 2009 precisely.

This is because the report outlined the ways the civilian population of a developed nation could be controlled even in the absence of a large-scale war that disrupted their daily lives. One of these ways was defined as follows: “A…possible surrogate for the control of potential enemies of society is the reintroduction, in some form consistent with modern technology and political process, of slavery….The development of a sophisticated form of slavery may be an absolute prerequisite for social control….” (Cited in Rule by Secrecy by Jim Marrs, 2000.)

We see the development of such a “sophisticated form of slavery” today. What else can a system be called that subjects the population to skyrocketing personal and household debt, a widening gap between the rich and everyone else, constant warfare justified as necessary to fight “terrorism,” erosion of personal freedoms, constantly expanding power allocated to the military and police, pervasive electronic eavesdropping, complete lack of accountability by politicians for their dishonesty and crimes, a mass media devoted solely to establishment propaganda, etc.

None of this seems to be diminishing under the Barack Obama administration. Even the economic recovery Obama is attempting to engineer through massive Keynesian deficit spending is expected by economists to be another “jobless” one like that of 2002-2005. Of course the unemployed or those who fear unemployment are easy to control. And the permanent series of Asian land wars George W. Bush instigated for control of resources and geopolitical leverage against Russia and China continue unabated.

None of this is accidental. As The Report from Iron Mountain made clear four decades ago, it’s what has been planned all along.

‘AUDIT THE FED’ BILL GATHERS STEAM

Reposted from http://www.americanfreepress.net

TWO MONTHS AFTER REP. RON PAUL (R-Texas) introduced the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009 (H.R. 1207), the bill, which mandates an official audit of the privately owned and controlled Federal Reserve System has already garnered 112 cosponsors. It is currently making the rounds in the House Committee on Financial Services.

Advocates are optimistic that the landmark measure will see the light of day in this Congress and could even come to the floor for a House vote soon.

“This piece of legislation is perhaps the most important of my career,” said Paul upon introducing the measure. “Americans from all over the political spectrum are demanding an audit of the Federal Reserve. And with good reason.”

The extent of the bipartisan support for the measure has even surprised some of its most ardent supporters, who are finding more and more people receptive to calls for transparency and accountability of the Fed.

The bill requires a full audit of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Reserve banks be completed before the end of 2010. Furthermore, a report on the audit results will have to be submitted by the head of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to Congress within 90 days of finishing the investigation of the bank. It would then be made available to public.
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