The Holidays Are Not So Rosy in Europe

This is the final update from the currency war front for this year.  For my many readers in Europe, I am sad to say it will not be considered a good year by any stretch.  However, as we have been warning in this series of articles, 2011 looks more like the year the Euro was assassinated.   As we commented in previous articles, the banksters mode of operation now is to break sovereign funds and they are doing a great job at achieving those goals and they are doing it right out in the open in front of us all.  Here’s how it works.  First you force the sovereign to accept severe austerity programs, including raiding pension funds using the IMF and ECB, then you require them to accept “bailout money” and then you use the rating agencies(who you own and control) to downgrade the sovereign’s bonds.  Think I am wrong?  Then read the following with what I just said in mind.

Source: The Economic Collapse

What in the world is happening over in Europe?  Well, it is actually quite simple.  We are witnessing the slow motion collapse of the euro and of the European financial system.  At this point, many analysts are convinced that a full-blown financial implosion in Europe has become inevitable.  Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and Belgium are all drowning in an ocean of unsustainable debt.  Meanwhile, Germany and the few other “healthy” members of the EU continue to try to keep all of the balls in the air by bailing everyone out.  But can Germany keep bailing the rest of the EU out indefinitely?  Are the German people going to continue to be willing to hand out gigantic sacks of cash to fix the problems of other EU nations?  The Irish were just bailed out, but their problems are far from over.  There are rumors that Greece will soon need another bailout.  Spain, Portugal, Italy and France have all entered crisis territory.  At the same time, there are a whole host of nations in eastern Europe that are also on the verge of financial collapse.  So is there any hope that a major sovereign debt crisis can be averted at this point?

One would like to think that there is always hope, but each month things just seem to keep getting worse.  Confidence in European government debt continues to plummet.  The yield on 10-year Irish bonds is up to 8.97%.  The yield on 10-year Greek bonds is up to an astounding 12.01%.  The cost of insuring French debt hit a new record high on December 20th.

Bond ratings all over Europe are being slashed or are being threatened with being slashed.  For example, Moody’s Investors Service recently cut Ireland’s bond rating by five levels.  Now there is talk that Spain, Belgium and even France could soon all have their debt significantly downgraded as well. But if the borrowing costs for these troubled nations keep going up, that is just going to add to their financial problems and swell their budget deficits.  In turn, larger budget deficits will cause investors to lose even more confidence.

So how far are we away from a major crisis point? Professor Willem Buiter, the chief economist at Citibank, is warning that quite a few EU nations could financially collapse in the next few months if they are not quickly bailed out….

“The market is not going to wait until March for the EU authorities to get their act together. We could have several sovereign states and banks going under. They are being far too casual.”

Many analysts are even calling for some of these troubled nations to stop using the euro for a while so that they can recover.  In fact, Andrew Bosomworth, the head of portfolio management for Pimco in Europe says that Greece, Ireland and Portugal must all quit the euro at least for a little while if they expect to survive….

“Greece, Ireland and Portugal cannot get back on their feet without either their own currency or large transfer payments.”

Sadly, most Americans don’t realize just how bad the situation in Europe is becoming.  This is truly a historic crisis that is unfolding, just as we predicted it would and just in the manner we predicted it would.

However, since the euro seems at this point to be a “exploit accompli”, the next target is the US Dollar and not necessarily treasury bonds at first.  There are so many state and local governments on the verge of bankruptcy.  This makes the municipal bond market the next “soft” target.  Indeed, a bloodbath in the municipal bond market has already started.

The reason for delay the assault on treasury bonds is the effects that could happen that would careen out of the control of the banksters.  For example, if rates on U.S. government debt eventually hit 8 or 12 percent it will literally be financial Armageddon in this country.  The U.S. government has piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world, and if we continue piling up debt at the pace that we are, then it will only be a matter of time before the IMF is demanding that we implement our own “austerity measures”.

Many readers recently have commented that I may be over reacting and in fact there are positive things happening in both the economies of the US and Europe.  I do not deny these facts.  However, they are simply dwarfed in scale by these facts.  This blog simply aggregates the facts and from those FACTS draws conclusion as to what might happen next.  I do not gain any pleasure or profit for my efforts, I am simply reporting in detail and opining what may happen next.  I really don’t like what I see happening next.  I believe we may be very close to sound the alarm for general quarters, if you get my drift.

See you next year.

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How Bad Is It Really?

All the happy talk in the world, all of the manipulation of markets is a rouse.  When we examine the facts from all sectors, it is quite obvious that struggling sovereign governments, state governments, and local governments are simply out of options. Simply put they are broke and have no more wiggle room.  Between now and the fall through what I called in January of this year, “the Summer of Hell” is obviously beginning.  I have assembled some new reported facts for your consideration.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment insurance for the first time jumped last week, according to government data released last Thursday. There were 460,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended April 3, up 18,000 from an upwardly revised 442,000 the previous week, according to the Labor Department’s weekly report. Always backward looking economists surveyed by Briefing.com expected new claims to fall to 435,000 in the week. The number of new claims was just below the level reached in the Feb. 27 week, when initial claims totaled 466,000.

The Labor Department also tracks the 4-week moving average of initial claims, which “smoothes” out volatility in the measure. That number was 450,250 for the week, up 2,250 from the previous week’s downwardly revised average of 448,000. But who can believe any of the garbage they put out.  Talk about pure fantasy. “The data may have been clouded by factors that included the end of the first quarter and religious holidays, which made it difficult to get an accurate reading” according to a Labor Department official who asked not to be named. Can you believe the stuff they use for excuses?  Easter prevents them from generating good numbers!  What the Easter Bunny hid the data sheets? OMG!

The report also said that 4,550,000 people filed continuing claims in the week ended March 27, the most recent data available. That figure, the lowest level since Dec. 20, 2008, was down 131,000 from the preceding week’s 4,681,000 claims, and below the 4.63 million economists expected, according to Briefing.com.  The 4-week moving average for continuing claims was 4,648,250, a decrease of 36,000 from the preceding week’s revised average of 4,684,250.

Continuing claims data exclude people whose benefits expired or those who have moved to state or federal extensions. This is where the real hidden truth lies. It reflects those filing each week after their initial claim until the end of their standard benefits, which usually last 26 weeks.  So what is happening in the states?  Consider this:

33 states out of money to fund jobless benefits

By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporter April 9, 2010: 2:26 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — With unemployment still at a severe high, a majority of states have drained their jobless benefit funds, forcing them to borrow billions from the federal government to help out-of-work Americans.

A total of 33 states and the Virgin Islands have depleted their funds and borrowed more than $38.7 billion to provide a safety net, according to a report released Thursday by the National Employment Law Project. Four others are at the brink of insolvency.

How bad is the shortfall, well consider just this snapshot.

Wisconsin $1.34 billion , Virginia $317 million, Virgin Islands $13 million, Vermont $23 million, Texas $2.03 billion, South Dakota $23 million, South Carolina $851 million, Rhode Island $204 million, Pennsylvania $2.81 billion, Ohio $2.23 billion, North Carolina $2.14 billion,  New York $3.00 billion, New Jersey $1.55 billion, New Hampshire $23 million, Nevada $331 million, Missouri $687 million, Minnesota $638 million, Michigan $3.78 billion, Massachusetts $279 million, Maryland $104 million, Kentucky $760 million, Kansas $65 million, Indiana $1.81 billion, Illinois $2.06 billion, Idaho $181 million, Georgia $337 million, Florida $1.50 billion, Delaware $1 million, Connecticut $422 million, Colorado $186 million, California $8.40 billion , Arkansas $318 million, Arizona $22 million, Alabama $268 million.

Debt-challenged California has borrowed the most, totaling more than $8.4 billion, followed by Michigan and New York, which have loans worth more than $3 billion. Nine other states have borrowed at least $1 billion from the federal government.

“The nation’s financing system for jobless benefits is under unprecedented stress,” said Andrew Stettner, deputy director of the New York-based advocacy group for the unemployed. “While the recession has certainly made things worse, this funding crisis has been developing for years.”

At the onset of the recession, only 19 states met the recommended funding level, which is one year of reserves equal to the highest amount of unemployment insurance paid out during prior recessions.  Financing experts suggest that states build up their jobless benefit coffers during strong economic times so that they can draw from them during downturns.

Federal and state governments collect money for unemployment benefits by taxing employers on a small portion of their employee wages. While total wages and weekly jobless benefit levels have been rising, governments haven’t increased the taxable base wages at the same pace.

Instead, they adopted a “pay as you go” approach, keeping taxes and fund levels low during good times and raising taxes and cutting benefits when strapped for cash. That left many states with insufficient jobless funds to weather the recession.

It is just not unemployment benefits hitting the states, but cities are beginning to take some pretty bizarre actions as well.  Consider the following:

The big yellow school bus could soon be an icon of the past in Motor City.  Pounded by the auto industry’s collapse and facing a deficit of nearly $300 million, Detroit is so deep in the red that its schools will outsource busing services to private companies to save $49 million over the next five years.

Detroit metro area school district Royal Oaks is looking to trim next year’s budget by $5 million and can’t afford private contractors. The district already told parents that the yellow buses will not transport students to and from school beginning next fall. The move affects an estimated 17% of the district’s students, who use the service regularly, and only saves $500,000 annually. But the district’s superintendent, Thomas Moline, says it will help avoid teacher layoffs and class-size increases.  Parents will have to make arrangements to transport their children to and from school, but Moline said they have been accepting since the cut avoids reductions in the classroom. Getting rid of school buses will also affect more than a third of Royal Oak’s athletes, who use the school buses to travel to away games. Teams will have to individually fundraise to buy their own transportation. But Moline said he expects teams will cope by arranging carpools, which they have this year since the district does not provide return transportation from off-campus games.

Colorado Springs is also trying to shake cash out of its garbage piles. It removed nearly 400 trash cans from neighborhood parks last month, to save $65,000 annually in supplies and personnel costs. Where will the trash go now? The city hopes residents will pick up after themselves.

Cities around the nation are going green and are using the tactics to get their budgets out of the red. Colorado Springs, which is $25 million short on its 2010 budget, has deactivated the city’s least efficient street lights to save $1.2 million during the year.  The city targeted lights that used high-wattage vapor bulbs and ones in areas with bright ambient lighting, which added up to more than a third of Colorado Springs’ 24,500 street lights.

But the most worrisome numbers still relate to sovereign debt.  That is the debt owed by countries.  We have seen and I have presented exposes on just how governments are now under attack by the banksters.  If you have been complacent or thought that countries like Greece, Ireland, Spain, and Iceland just were poorly managed and probably got what was justly deserved, then you better think again.

In the G7 nations average debts will exceed 100pc of GDP by the end of next year. The level was briefly higher in the US and the UK after World War Two. Japan is currently able to raise money cheaply at even higher debt levels thanks to its captive savings pool. However, the BIS said it would be foolhardy to assume that debt markets will tolerate this for long. If you recall, I pointed out that the BIS is an arm of Rothschild bank dynasty that really is behind all this mess. BIS also predicted that the UK could reach debt levels of 300 pct of GDP within three years.

It is astounding to me that no one in MSM has mentioned the setup that created this mess. Debt based banking cartels have co-opted our governments, and are in charge of both the debt and our governments. They are criminal syndicates. They have confiscated our money, and most of the means of production. Arguing about Republicans or Democrats is useless. They are all of one cloth. We must end this useless banter and chatter about socialist versus conservative.  The party lines are both corrupted and compromised. There are precious few legislators, such as Ron Paul, Rep of Texas, speaking the truth.  But instead of supporting people like him, both parties attack and marginalize him and the truth he speaks.  We should be encouraging more people like him to run for office; people who are informed and have the integrity not to be bought.  If we really want change, we can do it at the ballot box starting this November.  The message is WE ARE AWAKE and we have had enough of this crap!