Why 2011 Could Be the Year of Economic Collapse

What could cause an economic collapse in 2011? Well, unfortunately there are quite a few “nightmare scenarios” that could plunge the entire globe into another massive financial crisis.  The United States, Japan and most of the nations in Europe are absolutely drowning in debt.  The Federal Reserve continues to play reckless games with the U.S. dollar.  The price of oil is skyrocketing and the global price of food just hit a new record high.  Food riots are already breaking out all over the world.  Meanwhile, the rampant fraud and corruption going on in world financial markets is starting to be exposed and the whole house of cards could come crashing down at any time.  Most Americans have no idea that a horrific economic collapse could happen at literally any time.  There is no way that all of this debt and all of this financial corruption is sustainable.  At some point we are going to reach a moment of “total system failure”.

The whole system is currently standing on one wobbly leg, China’s willingness to buy paper.  If we do not consider the lesson we were just exposed to of when is big too big, then we are doomed to repeat the lesson.  China has become too big of a financial partner.  Consider this:

Source: BBC

Two Chinese state controlled banks have lent more to developing countries than the World Bank, according to a report.

The China Development Bank and the China Export Import Bank offered loans of at least $110 bn (£69.2 bn) to governments and firms in developing countries in 2009 and 2010.  The research was undertaken by the Financial Times newspaper.  Between mid-2008 and mid-2010, the World Bank’s lending arm issued loans of just over $100bn (£63bn).

The two Chinese banks do not publish a detailed breakdown of their overseas loans, so this research is based on public announcements about specific deals from them, their borrowers or the Chinese government. That means the figure arrived at for the amount of Chinese lending is more likely an underestimate than an overestimate because some – more sensitive – loans will not have been made public.

The Chinese lenders are so-called policy banks – they have a mandate to further whatever Beijing sees as its national interest. One of China Development Bank’s specific tasks is to try to alleviate and, where possible, eliminate bottlenecks in supplies of raw materials or land for China’s economy.

It also tries to open up foreign markets for Chinese companies. The period looked at by the researchers included the worst of the global financial crisis. Chinese banks were offering loans to producers of raw materials at a time when it was hard for them to attract financing from elsewhere.

That helped secure long-term energy deals, including oil supplies from Russia, Venezuela and Brazil. The Chinese government, which is sitting on $2 trillion (£1.26 trillion) of foreign exchange reserves, has ample amounts of cash to fund loans which help promote its strategic objectives.

But what is interesting is that in the private sector, it is a different story.  Outward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by Chinese companies (not including banks) was around $50bn (£31.5bn) last year – around half the FDI that flowed from foreign companies into China.

As Niall Ferguson, MA, D.Phil., who is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and William Ziegler Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School warned us.  The collapse of an empire can come suddenly and is almost always related to financial crises that occur when debt service exceeds 50% of tax revenue.

Consider this report by  Emily Flitter of Reuters.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – When borrowing money it’s always good to have a Plan B in case a big creditor pulls the plug. That should be true whether the sum is a few thousand dollars or about a trillion, the size of the United States government’s debt to China.

China is officially the United States’ biggest foreign creditor, with roughly $900 billion in Treasury holdings — or over $1 trillion with Hong Kong’s holdings included.  That means it could do severe damage to U.S. debt markets if it suddenly started selling large amounts.

Most experts say if there were signs of this happening, the U.S. government would go for a combination of persuading Americans to buy more U.S. debt, the same way they did in World War II, and finding friendly foreign governments to make additional purchases.

Banks could be called on to increase their holdings of treasuries, and as a last resort, the Federal Reserve could also be called on to fill the gap, though this could risk turning any dollar weakness into a slump.

“The U.S. government should have and maybe still could call on the people of the U.S. to invest in U.S. debt,” said David Walker, a former U.S. comptroller general who heads an advocacy group calling on the government to curb the U.S. budget deficit and borrowings.

To be sure, the idea that China would suddenly sell its U.S. debt holdings is almost unimaginable to some.  After all, any weakening in the U.S. debt markets and the resulting global markets turmoil, including likely weakness in the dollar, would bounce back on China and could hurt its economy badly, especially as the United States is such a huge Chinese export market.

It likely would take something like a massive rise in tensions over an issue like Taiwan or oil exploration in disputed areas of the South China Sea, including possible military confrontation between the two nations. Such a confrontation would also make it easier for Washington to appeal to the American public to buy its debt for patriotic reasons.

But Beijing could also justify pulling back sharply from U.S. Treasuries if the dollar were to plunge, perhaps because of Washington’s failure to curb its budget deficit and debt. “I worry that we could be at a tipping point,” said Eswar Prasad, a Brookings Institution economist and former International Monetary Fund official with responsibility for China.

“If the Chinese say ‘We’re not buying any more Treasuries,’ this could act as a trigger around which nervous market sentiment coalesces,” he said. “People could start wondering how the U.S. is going to finance its deficit.”

So we had all better be getting prepared for hard times.  The following are 12 economic collapse scenarios that we could potentially see in 2011….

Source: The Economic Collapse

#1 U.S. debt could become a massive crisis at any moment.  China is saying all of the right things at the moment, but many analysts are openly worried about what could happen if China suddenly decides to start dumping all of the U.S. debt that they have accumulated.  Right now about the only thing keeping U.S. government finances going is the ability to borrow gigantic amounts of money at extremely low interest rates.  If anything upsets that paradigm, it could potentially have enormous consequences for the entire world financial system.

#2 Speaking of threats to the global financial system, it turns out that “quantitative easing 2″ has had the exact opposite effect that Ben Bernanke planned for it to have.  Bernanke insisted that the main goal of QE2 was to lower interest rates, but instead all it has done is cause interest rates to go up substantially.  Is Bernanke this incompetent or is he trying to mess everything up on purpose?

#3 The debt bubble that the entire global economy is based on could burst at any time and throw the whole planet into chaos.  According to a new report from the World Economic Forum, the total amount of credit in the world increased from $57 trillion in 2000 to $109 trillion in 2009.  The WEF says that now the world is going to need another $100 trillion in credit to support projected “economic growth” over the next decade.  So is this how the new “global economy” works?  We just keep doubling the total amount of debt every decade?

#4 As the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve continue to pump massive amounts of new dollars into the system, the floor could fall out from underneath the U.S. dollar at any time.  The truth is that we are already starting to see inflation really accelerate and everyone pretty much acknowledges that official U.S. governments figures for inflation are an absolute joke.  According to one new study, the cost of college tuition has risen 286% over the last 20 years, and the cost of “hospital, nursing-home and adult-day-care services” rose 269% during those same two decades.  All of this happened during a period of supposedly “low” inflation.  So what are price increases going to look like when we actually have “high” inflation?

#5 One of the primary drivers of global inflation during 2011 could be the price of oil.  A large number of economists are now projecting that the price of oil could surge well past $100 dollars a barrel in 2011.  If that happens, it is going to put significant pressure on the price of almost everything else in the entire global economy.  In fact, as I have explained previously, the higher the price of oil goes, the faster the U.S. economy will decline.

#6 Food inflation is already so bad in some areas of the globe that it is setting off massive food riots in nations such as Tunisia and Algeria.  In fact, there have been reports of people setting themselves on fire all over the Middle East as a way to draw attention to how desperate they are.  So what is going to happen if global food prices go up another 10 or 20 percent and food riots spread literally all over the globe during 2011?

#7 There are persistent rumors that simply will not go away of massive physical gold and silver shortages.  Demand for precious metals has never been higher.  So what is going to happen when many investors begin to absolutely insist on physical delivery of their precious metals?  What is going to happen when the fact that far, far, far more “paper gold” and “paper silver” has been sold than has ever actually physically existed in the history of the planet starts to come out?  What would that do to the price of gold and silver?

#8 The U.S. housing industry could plunge the U.S. economy into another recession at any time.  The real estate market is absolutely flooded with homes and virtually nobody is buying.  This massive oversupply of homes means that the construction of new homes has fallen off a cliff.  In 2010, only 703,000 single family, multi-family and manufactured homes were completed.  This was a new record low, and it was down 17% from the previous all-time record which had just been set in 2009.

#9 A combination of extreme weather and disease could make this an absolutely brutal year for U.S. farmers.  This winter we have already seen thousands of new cold weather and snowfall records set across the United States.  Now there is some very disturbing news emerging out of Florida of an “incurable bacteria” that is ravaging citrus crops all over Florida.  Is there a reason why so many bad things are happening all of a sudden?

#10 The municipal bond crisis could go “supernova” at any time.  Already, investors are bailing out of bonds at a frightening pace.  State and local government debt is now sitting at an all-time high of 22 percent of U.S. GDP.  According to Meredith Whitney, the municipal bond crisis that we are facing is a gigantic threat to our financial system….

“It has tentacles as wide as anything I’ve seen. I think next to housing this is the single most important issue in the United States and certainly the largest threat to the U.S. economy.”

Former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan is convinced that things are so bad that literally 90% of our states and cities could go bankrupt over the next five years.

So do not buy the “Happy Talk” that is flying around.  The financial facts and realities simply do not support it.  In fact, it already appears that 2011 is going to be much worse than 2010.  In the US I think this will primarily be set off by the financial crisis facing municipalities, counties, and states.  The reality is the collapse will be caused by some small event that creates a panic perception in the financial markets or the social condition.

I am not saying this is inevitable, in 2011, but I am suggesting you might want to go over those survival plans one more time to make sure everything is up to snuff.

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Chinese Yuan; A new world reserve currency? , China making its moves.

From the currency war front, we are watching the major assault on the dollar.  We have anticipated this move for several months now and it appears the major push by China has now been launched.  The first signals was China NOT buying all of the US T-Bills at the last few auctions. Then they shifted their paper buying to the Euro bills.   Now according to Graham Sharkey, only a mere twelve days into the New Year (2011) and China has already set the wheels in motion to use their most powerful weapon, the Yuan, in order to combat inflation. This may well be the first decision of many that will result in the Yuan being phased in as the new world reserve currency.

A stronger exchange rate will be the tool that China will use in order to tame their inflationary problems at present. The biggest increases being felt as a result of inflation at this time are; the Chinese housing market, which was most dramatically affected in the southern industrial hub of Guangzhou, where home prices soared by 38 percent in the past year.  Another sector heavily affected was Chinese groceries, with the cost of some foods increasing by 50 percent.

In an attempt to address the loose lending policies being adopted by Chinese banks, China’s government have ordered their banks to increase the amount of money that each bank holds in reserves with a reduction in the availability of lending.  The strengthening Yuan will essentially result in two ways; 1, their imports will become substantially cheaper. 2, their exports will be more expensive.

This is a move that the US have not wanted the Chinese to take as most of the consumer goods that are stocking up US stores are Chinese-made products and the longer the Chinese allowed their currency to be held at a relatively low-level (compared to its purchasing power potential) the longer the shopaholics’ in America could continue to buy their products at a price that they could afford (or a level that they could get credit for).  So, with the world outside China continually devaluing their currencies and China increasing theirs who is going to pick up the export market? And how do they intend to do this?

Before hand, the countries that were importing goods from China were benefiting from a manipulated Yuan price which gave the illusion of cheap imports. But now, that is not an option. The only way that I can see that will enable countries to bridge the export gap will be, further devaluation of their paper currency, which as any respecting economist knows is only an extremely short-term solution (if it can even be called that) and will only result in long-term high inflation for that economy.

This currency policy decision by the Chinese government will help to add to the increasing confidence in the Yuan as a world reserve currency contender to replace the failure that is, the US Dollar.  Aside from the measures taken to combat inflation in China, there have been many other recent events that all point to the strengthening of the Yuan and the growing popularity of the currency.

In the last two weeks, the World Bank issued their very first Yuan bonds; they will release the amount of 500 million Yuan, which is around $70 million in US Dollars. The bank has said that, these actions are an act of confidence in the Renminbi and will give investors around the globe the opportunity to diversify and help the exposure of the Yuan in global markets. The bonds were offered from January 14th, 2010 and will mature after two years in 2013.

In July of last year (2010) China began allowing cross-border exchange with the renminbi, however, there were caps on exactly how much currency was allowed to be exchanged. That was the closest China had come to allowing the renminbi to be a top currency on a global scale, until now.

Now marks the beginning of the renminbi being allowed to be traded in the U.S, China have identified that the global economy has become too reliant on the Dollar and wants to provide an opportunity to move away from that.  China have already implemented strategies that will allow for sustained appreciation for the Yuan against the US Dollar, a prediction in the rate of appreciation was projected at 6% in 2011 by Robert Minikin, who is a currency strategist at Standard Chartered based in Hong Kong.

The reason that there hasn’t been a replacement of the US Dollar as the world reserve currency as of yet is the fact that there was no currency that was ready to take on that mantle, however, given the performance of the Yuan in the last two years, it has shown its power and reliance as a solid currency, not only that, but China have also helped their cause by not relying on a paper, fiat currency but actually using the strengthening Yuan in which to buy up gold and other major assets, something that every single country in the so-called ‘advanced’ world has not done.  All of these factors are now helping to shape the Yuan into tomorrow’s new world reserve currency and once this transformation occurs, it really will spell the end for the down but not yet out, Dollar.

What to watch now is the so-called “summit meeting between President Obama and Hu Jintao of China this week.  In preparation for that meeting, President Hu Jintao said Sunday the international currency system was “a product of the past,” but it would be a long time before the yuan is accepted as an international currency.

Hu’s comments, which came ahead of a state visit to Washington on Wednesday, reflected the continuing tensions over the dollar’s role as the major reserve currency in the aftermath of the US financial crisis in 2008.

“The current international currency system is the product of the past,” Hu said in written answers to questions posed by The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.  Highlighting the dollar’s importance to global trade, Hu implicitly criticized the Federal Reserve’s recent decision to pump 600 billion dollars into the US economy, a move criticized as weakening the dollar at the expense of other countries’ exports.

“The monetary policy of the United States has a major impact on global liquidity and capital flows and therefore, the liquidity of the US dollar should be kept at a reasonable and stable level,” Hu said.

China’s own currency, the yuan or renminbi (RMB), is also expected to be a bone of contention in Hu’s talks with Obama, with the United States complaining that it is artificially overvalued to boost Chinese exports.  Asked about the view that appreciation of the yuan would curb inflation in China, Hu suggested that was too simplistic a formula.  “Changes in exchange rate are a result of multiple factors, including the balance of international payment and market supply and demand,” he said.  “In this sense, inflation can hardly be the main factor in determining the exchange rate policy,” he said.

At the same time, Hu signalled no imminent move away from the dollar as a reserve currency, saying it would be a long time before the yuan, or renminbi (RMB), is widely accepted as an international currency.  “China has made important contribution to the world economy in terms of total economic output and trade, and the RMB has played a role in the world economic development,” he said.  “But making the RMB an international currency will be a fairly long process.”

Nevertheless, Hu noted that China has launched pilot programs using the yuan, or renminbi, in settlements of international trade and investment transactions.  “They fit in well with market demand as evidenced by the rapidly expanding scale of these transactions,” he said.

As we have chronicled in this blog, these moves are demonstrating how short the fuse really is on the Dollar remaining the world’s transactional currency.  With the European Central Bank(ECB) denying the crisis of the Euro and the US simply printing more money to cover the mess in the financial markets in the US, it is just a matter of time before China drops the hammer and we will be living in a very new economic paradigm.  Watching the currency transaction markets, it seems it is a lot closer than anyone is admitting publically.

We Must Come Together and Act As One

As I watch the events unfolding now, it is apparent that the final assault by the ultra-rich and the banksters to herd us into indentured slavery has begun.  After doing this blog for nearly two years now, I am more convinced now than ever that is exactly what has been going on for the last 30 or 40 years.  I guess the slow motion manner in which it is occurring has lulled us into believing it is NOT happening, much like a tree snake does making its final assault on a bird.

However, any rational person can no longer deny the facts.  For those who don’t see it, well consider these facts.

#1. We are bleeding middle class jobs at a pace that is staggering.  Since the year 2000, the United States has lost 10% of its middle class jobs.  In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.

#2. In particular, the United States is absolutely hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs.  Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.

#3. The U.S. real estate market continues to stagnate.  During the third quarter of 2010, 67 percent of all mortgages in Nevada were “underwater”, 49 percent of all mortgages in Arizona were “underwater” and 46 percent of all mortgages in Florida were “underwater”.  So what happens if home prices go down even more?

#4. For millions upon millions of middle class families, their number one financial asset is their house.  Unfortunately, many analysts are now projecting that U.S. housing prices will fall much lower than they are now.  For example, Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital says that home prices in the United States are going to decline at least 20 percent and possibly even more.

#5. Most American families have found that their economic situations have significantly deteriorated over the last several years.  In fact, 55 percent of the U.S. labor force has “suffered a spell of unemployment, a cut in pay, a reduction in hours or have become involuntary part-time workers” since December 2007.

#6. As tens of millions of Americans barely scrape by, saving for retirement has become an afterthought.  Today, 36 percent of Americans say that they don’t contribute anything to retirement savings.

#7. If all of the above was not bad enough, now we are not even living as long.  According to one recent report, the United States has dropped to 49th place in the world in overall life expectancy.

#8. Our young people are supposed to be the hope of the future, but most of them are up to their eyeballs in student loan debt.  Americans now owe more than $875 billion on student loans, which is more than the total amount that Americans owe on their credit cards.

#9. Life is getting harder and harder for those on the low end of the income scale.  The bottom 40 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

#10. In the UK, living standards would have to fall by about 15 per cent in the weaker economies and Government spending slashed if the single currency was to survive.

#11. 35% of Americans already over the age of 65 rely almost entirely on Social Security payments alone.

#12 According to a recent AARP survey of Baby Boomers, 40 percent of them plan to work “until they drop”.

#13. As I have documented here several times, the last of the vestiges of our independence is our pension funds.  As we have seen, those are being systematically raided.  Most all of the sovereign retirement funds, state pension funds, and major multi-national corporations retirement funds are broke.  And now, the assault on PRIVATE pension funds has begun.  The most striking example is Hungary, where last month the government made the citizens an offer they could not refuse. They could either remit their individual retirement savings to the state, or lose the right to the basic state pension (but still have an obligation to pay contributions for it). In this extortionate way, the government wants to gain control over $14bn of individual retirement savings.

Folks, get over your normalcy bias or perish!  I am not a person who tends to be dramatic, but it is time to be alarmed.  We must begin to act or our children and grandchildren will be enslaved forever.  However, let’s be clear here. I am NOT calling for revolution.  That is exactly what the PTB are hoping for as it will speed up the final act.  Look around, I don’t think we have the resources to combat our militarized police and armies that are geared to civil and urban resistance.  We cannot fall into that trap.

What we can do is realize that it not too late to use what we have, our vote.  Last time I counted the “little guys” are favored in that arena.  So, what I am saying is:

1).  Get informed and let your representatives that enough is enough. Remind them of the realities of the voting headcount.

2).  Vote, vote, vote.  But most importantly, be sure you have cast an informed vote.

3).  Hold our politicians accountable on every vote every time.

4).  If that fails, we must collectively begin a passive resistance.  This would take the form of two initial actions.  First, go to bank and draw out your money.  Expose the naked king! Hell, we aren’t being paid any interest anyway.  Secondly, if you are lucky enough to have a job, insist you are paid in cash.  I believe these two simple actions would send shivers down the spines of a few nervous politicians and some very guilty banksters who know the crimes they have committed (assuming these spineless rogues at least have a nervous system).

This was a difficult piece to write, because I never thought we would allow these banksters and corrupt politicians to get this far, but they have and we must stop this criminality. This is a global issue and one which we as global citizens must respond to, as it is a danger to us all and certainly our children.  Let me know your thoughts.

So Where Did All of Our Money Go?

As I have reported in this blog and the issue has been featured in a number of articles from the New York Times, the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, trillions of dollars have been taken out of the global economy or it is sitting “on the sidelines”, in addition to the ludicrous profits taken by the banksters.  So where did our money go?

In two words, offshore banking. Offshore banking is an important part of the international financial system (read scheme here). Experts believe that as much as half the world’s capital flows through offshore centers. Tax havens have 1.2% of the world’s population and hold 26% of the world’s wealth, including 31% of the net profits of United States multinationals. According to Merrill Lynch and Gemini Consulting‘s “World Wealth Report” for 2000, one third of the wealth of the world’s “high net-worth individuals”—nearly $6 trillion out of $17.5 trillion—may now be held offshore. Some $3 trillion is in deposits in tax haven banks and the rest is in securities held by international business companies (IBCs) and trusts. These numbers have quadrupled since 2000.

The IMF has said that between $600 billion and $1.5 trillion of illicit money is laundered annually, equal to 2% to 5% of global economic output. Today, offshore is where most of the world’s drug money is allegedly laundered, estimated at up to $500 billion a year, more than the total income of the world’s poorest 20%. Add the proceeds of tax evasion and the figure skyrockets to $1 trillion. Another few hundred billion come from fraud and corruption. “These offshore centers awash in money are the hub of a colossal, underground network of crime, fraud, and corruption” commented Lucy Komisar quoting these statistics. Among offshore banks, Swiss banks hold an estimated 35% of the world’s private and institutional funds (or 3 trillion Swiss francs), and the Cayman Islands (1.9 trillion US dollars in deposits) are the fifth largest banking centre globally in terms of deposits. However, recent data by the Swiss National Bank show that the assets held by foreign persons in Swiss bank accounts declined by 28.1% between January 2008 and November 2009. This was a direct result of the US making demands that Swiss banks report US citizen deposits to the Fed.

Offshore financial centres include:

Antigua and Barbuda , Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands

Cayman Islands, Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm)

Cook Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, Ghana, Hong Kong, Isle of Man, Labuan, Malaysia

Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Macau, Mauritius, Monaco, Montserrat, Nauru

New Zealand, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, Singapore, Switzerland and the

Turks and Caicos Islands

While there are a number of independent banks serving the offshore banking needs, several of the major banks and financial institutions have offshore branches providing the same services.  HSBC, Bank of America, Lloyds, and Credit Suisse, just to name a few.  All offering “Offshore Wealth Management” services.

You and I live in a totally different world than the ultra-rich and the international banking elite do.  Many of them live in a world where they simply do not pay income taxes.  Today, it is estimated that a third of all the wealth in the world is held in offshore banks.  So why is so much of the wealth of the globe located in places such as Monaco, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Isle of Man?  It isn’t because those are fun places to visit.  It is to avoid taxes, period. The super wealthy and the international banking elite think that it is really funny that our paychecks are constantly being drained by taxes, and retirement deposits while they literally pay nothing at all.  These incredibly rich elitists make a ton of money doing business in wealthy western nations and then they transfer virtually all of their profits offshore where they don’t have to contribute any of it in taxes.  It works out really great for them, but it sucks for the rest of us.

According to an article in Forbes magazine, there is a total of approximately 15 trillion to 20 trillion dollars in offshore bank accounts, brokerage accounts and hedge fund portfolios. A recent article in the Guardian stated that a third of all the wealth on the entire globe is held in offshore banks and that the vast majority of international banking transactions take place in these tax havens….

On a conservative estimate, a third of the world’s wealth is held offshore, with 80% of international banking transactions taking place there. More than half the capital in the world’s stock exchanges is “parked” offshore at some point.

Nobody knows for sure how much money big governments around the globe are missing out on from all this tax avoidance, but everyone agrees the number is huge.  It is at least in the hundreds of billions of dollars every single year. When you compare this to the new money being printed as “bailout money, I think we would find the ledger in balance.  That is, new money printed and money stolen.

It is a shadow banking system that most Americans and Europeans don’t know anything about. Most folks don’t have the resources to be able to set up shell companies in half a dozen different countries so that they can “filter” their profits.  Most people don’t know a thing about complicated tax avoidance plans that tax lawyers use such as the “Double Irish” and the “Dutch Sandwich”.  Most common working middle class folks or honest businessmen and women would have no idea how to eventually have most of the money that they make end up in Bermuda so that it can avoid taxes.

If common folks even attempted such things, we would be swarmed by state investigators, IRS agents and tax agents of all kinds, and likely we would face criminal charges.  My question is two-fold.  First, why isn’t our governments pursuing and changing these loop-holes and two, why aren’t we insisting they do.  The answer is simple, like credit swaps and derivatives, these schemes are not understood, even by our legislators.  Let’s all get informed and then begin to insist on the appropriate actions.  We do not have to be lambs to the slaughter, well at least I won’t go willingly to financial slavedom.