The Economy is Doing Well! Really?

We hear the politicians and pundits saying our economy is doing well. The economy is getting better each quarter. The facts simply do not support the statements. Here are just a few stats to support that the economy may be in its worst shape since the 2009-2010 collapse..

This past week the U.S. government announced the country’s economy rose in the January-March 2016 at a mere 0.5 percent annual growth rate. Since the U.S., unlike other countries, estimates its GDP based on annual rates, that means for the first quarter 2016 the U.S. economy grew by barely 0.1 percent over the previous quarter in late 2015. Growth this slow indicates the US economy may have “slipped into ‘stall speed’, that is, growth so weak that the economy loses enough momentum and slides into recession”, according to economists at JPMorgan Chase.

Last quarter’s 0.5 percent U.S. GDP may indicate the nation’s economy is even weaker than it appears. The economy of the United States’ recent 0.5 percent growth rate is the latest in a steady declining U.S. GDP growth trend over the past year. In the previous fourth quarter 2015, the US economy grew 1.4 percent, which was down from the preceding quarter’s growth of 2 percent and before that 3.9 percent. So the U.S. economy appears to be slowing rapidly over the past year.

Over an even longer period of more than eight years, since the previous peak growth in late 2007, the U.S. economy has grown by a cumulative total of only 10.1 percent. That’s a paltry annual growth of only 1.2 percent a year on average for the past 8+ years.

But even those figures are overestimated. In 2013, the U.S. redefined the way it estimated GDP, adding categories like R&D expenses and other intangibles that artificially boosted U.S. GDP estimates simply by redefining it. That “economic growth by redefinition” raised GDP by around 0.3 percent annually, and in dollar terms by roughly US$500 billion annually. So the real U.S. GDP may be actually growing by less than 1 percent on average per year since 2007; and during the most recent quarter, January-March 2016, the economy may not have grown at all, but may have stagnated, collapsed, and come to a halt.

Isn’t it strange that the “common folk” sense what is going on, but the so-called experts say everything is fine. Nothing to see here folks, move along. We feel it every day. We “know” our economy has never recovered from the great rip-off of 2008-2009. Here are some other supporting facts.

Redefining GDP to boost the appearance of growth is not just a problem in the US in recent years. For example, there are few independent research sources that think China is growing at its officially announced 6.8 percent GDP rate. To note but a couple, both Capital Economics and Lombard Street research estimate that China’s GDP is growing at only around 4-4.5 percent based on close examination of other indicators like electricity usage, power generation, local transport volumes, and so forth. In recent years India officially nearly doubled its GDP overnight by redefining it. Take the official government GDP rate and half it and that’s probably close to India’s actual GDP. In Europe, a number of economies, including Britain, which have been desperate to raise their GDP in recent years, now include drug smuggling and prostitution services in their estimates of GDP. How they come up with such estimates and the pricing of such services is, of course, interesting.

US industrial production (manufacturing, mining and utilities) declined at an annual rate of -2.2 percent this past quarter, after having declined -3.3 percent the preceding quarter. Industrial production has fallen six of the last seven months. US industrial capacity is now at its lowest point since 2010.

Business investment is another trouble spot. Investment in business structures fell by -10.7 percent and investment in new equipment by -8.6 percent, the latter the biggest drop since the 2007-09 recession. Business inventories rose barely, by the smallest amount in two years, continuing a slowing trend of the past nine months.

slave vote

And what about consumption, which constitutes about two thirds of the total US economy? US consumer spending has been growing at an average monthly rate of only 0.1 percent. Retail sales, the largest element of consumer spending, has fallen every month on average during the quarter. After having sustained retail sales in previous years, auto sales, a large component of retail sales, declined for the second consecutive quarter during the January-March period. The outlook for U.S. consumer spending recovery is also not too bright. A recent Gallup poll reported that 60 percent of those interviewed indicated the U.S. economy was “getting worse.” Reflecting the poor demand for consumer goods, U.S. consumer prices now hover on the brink of deflation, falling at an average monthly rate of -0.1 percent for the quarter.

Exports are declining, residential housing construction recently plummeted. In other words, not many of the economic indicators that comprise GDP show a promising picture. GDP should probably be even lower than the recently reported 0.5 percent annual and 0.1 percent quarter to quarter growth rates. The U.S. economy has obviously “stalled.” But it’s not the first time. In fact, it’s the fifth time it has since the official end of the last recession in June 2009.

The U.S. economy has experienced now five such single quarter relapses since the 2007-09 recession was officially declared over. The economy collapsed to 0.1 percent in early 2011, to 0.2 percent in late 2012, declined again by -2.2 percent in 2014 and collapsed to 0.2 percent in 2015.

Despite the facts, U.S. government politicians and Federal Reserve Bank officials continue to run around declaring that the U.S. economy is performing well. They like to cite the 200,000 jobs allegedly created in recent months. But a closer examination shows the jobs being created are part time, temp, contract, low paid, no benefit service jobs. Jobs that generate no overall wage increase for the economy and no real income gains for working people.

Young workers 30 years old or less are especially hard hit by this “‘well performing US economy.” A recent study by the Center for American Progress, for example, showed that 30 year old workers earn today the same pay, adjusted for inflation, that 30 year olds earned back in 1984.

Let that sink in a bit. All is NOT well and hasn’t been since the great rip-off of 2008-2009. The facts are the wealth of the American people and American businesses has been stolen and unless we get real serious about stripping monetary policy making from the Fed, break up the big banks, put the real criminals in jail where they belong, and returning the stolen wealth to the people and the country, we are well.. screwed.

This election year reminds us of the words of the Stealers Wheel song: “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am suck in the middle with you.” We really do need to wake up now.

Do You Really Understand What the FED Has Committed on Your Behalf?

When you look at the breakdown of the bailouts and QE programs as below, it becomes quite apparent how really insane this monetary policy really is.  What’s more frightening is that the EU’s policies are WORSE! The FED is printing money willy-nilly and the ECB is slowly sucking the economic viability out of the EU economy with nihilistic austerity programs, and even in the light of real evidence of the damage, they continue to enact these insane policies.

monetary policyrecap

To put in perspective the size of just the US money printing operation, consider that the “net” figure of $863 billion represents the total face value of Federal Reserve Notes in circulation, or, it represents nearly 50% of the GDP. To put it another way, you via congressional monetary policy delegated to the FED’s monetary policy has taken actions that put every man, woman, and child in this country in debt to the tune of $237,500! Translated to a family of four that’s a cool 950 LARGE!

While the FED speeds down the road to a hyperinflationary crash, and the EU is looking at a third round of recession and might even be looking at the “D” word, deflation, China is creating gold backed ETFs and is entering market places globally, the rise of the Red Dragon. The monetary policies of Russia, China, and most of the so called BRIC nations seem to be adapting more correctly to world markets and demands.

I don’t remember us being asked to comment or god-forbid assent to such policies. But hey, according to Jamie Dimon in Davos Switzerland  explaining why people don’t need to know what’s going on in the banking world. It’s too “complex.” Just know that their fee comes from managing this ball of financial confusion. And that’s all you need to know. Really? How about what I understand, that this is a house of cards game being played in an unregulated casino and that it will collapse without any question and therefore by definition is insane.  I know that’s complex but I’m just an ordinary guy.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday nominated Mary Jo White, a former U.S. attorney who built a reputation prosecuting white-collar criminals, terrorists and mobsters, to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The agency has a lead role in implementing changes on Wall Street.

White spent nearly a decade as the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, handling an array of white-collar crimes and complex securities and financial fraud cases. She brought down mobster John Gotti and won convictions in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

Obama said that experience makes White well-suited to implement legislation he championed to change the behavior on Wall Street. “I’d say that’s a pretty good run. You don’t want to mess with Mary Jo,” Obama said at the White House. “As one former SEC chairman said, Mary Jo does not intimidate easily, and that’s important because she has a big job ahead of her.

That’s the positive “spin”. The negative side of this is that White also represented JPMC, and others as defense attorney in SEC inquiries. So in a sense, White knows where the bones are buried.  The Wall Street Pit bulls aren’t barking so it is hard to read what is next.  Certainly, in spite of the magnitude of evidence of felonies being committed by the Wall Street Boys, no one has gone to jail. Is that about to change? Only time will tell.  Oh yeah and one other thing, you writing the new head of the SEC and after you have congratulated her on her significant appoint, urge her to begin immediately to vigorously prosecute those where the evidence is certain.

You know we do not need to understand what an ETF is or what a credit default swap is, because in the end it is just this simple.  These ego-maniacs have bet the farm and put up the family as collateral. It really is that real. So do you have anything to say about that?

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What Goes Up….! Where is the Down?

A lot of people lament the lack of upward mobility in the U.S. right now and I share those sentiments. However, equally important is downward mobility. What makes the concept of America unique is not merely the concept that the poor can become rich but that the rich can become poor. It is this second part that is the most dangerous to social cohesion when it disappears. Unfortunately, the system that we have today of an unholy alliance between Wall Street, Washington D.C. and the multi-national corporations (including the military industrial complex of course) stands there holding onto all the levers of power to serve as gatekeepers of their own empires.

Consider this when we think about how the game is “rigged” right now.  From Matthew Cardinale of the
Inter Press Service on  28 Aug 2011.

Atlanta, Georga: The first-ever audit of the U.S. Federal Reserve has revealed 16 trillion dollars in secret bank bailouts and has raised more questions about the quasi-private agency’s opaque operations.   “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else,” U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, said in a statement.   The majority of loans were issues by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY).

“From late 2007 through mid-2010, Reserve Banks provided more than a trillion dollars… in emergency loans to the financial sector to address strains in credit markets and to avert failures of individual institutions believed to be a threat to the stability of the financial system,” the audit report states.  “The scale and nature of this assistance amounted to an unprecedented expansion of the Federal Reserve System’s traditional role as lender-of-last-resort to depository institutions,” according to the report.   The report notes that all the short-term, emergency loans were repaid, or are expected to be repaid.

The emergency loans included eight broad-based programs, and also provided assistance for certain individual financial institutions. The Fed provided loans to JP Morgan Chase bank to acquire Bear Stearns, a failed investment firm; provided loans to keep American International Group (AIG), a multinational insurance corporation, afloat; extended lending commitments to Bank of America and Citigroup; and purchased risky mortgage-backed securities to get them off private banks’ books.

Overall, the greatest borrowing was done by a small number of institutions. Over the three years, Citigroup borrowed a total of 2.5 trillion dollars, Morgan Stanley borrowed two trillion; Merryll Lynch, which was acquired by Bank of America, borrowed 1.9 trillion; and Bank of America borrowed 1.3 trillion.  Banks based in counties other than the U.S. also received money from the Fed, including Barclays of the United Kingdom, the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (UK), Deutsche Bank (Germany), UBS (Switzerland), Credit Suisse Group (Switzerland), Bank of Scotland (UK), BNP Paribas (France), Dexia (Belgium), Dresdner Bank (Germany), and Societe General (France).

“No agency of the United States government should be allowed to bailout a foreign bank or corporation without the direct approval of Congress and the President,” Sanders wrote.   In recent days, Bloomberg News obtained 29,346 pages of documentation from the Federal Reserve about some of these secret loans, after months of fighting in court for access to the records under the Freedom of Information Act.  Some of the financial institutions secretly receiving loans were meanwhile claiming in their public reports to have ample cash reserves, Bloomberg noted.   The Federal Reserve has neither explained how they legally justified several of the emergency loans, nor how they decided to provide assistance to certain firms but not others.

“The main problem is the lack of Congressional oversight, and the way the Fed seemed to pick winners who would be protected at any cost,” Randall Wray, professor of economics at University of Missouri- Kansas City, told IPS.   “If such lending is not illegal, it should be. Our nation really did go through a liquidity crisis – a run on the short-term liabilities of financial institutions. There is only one way to stop a run: lend reserves without limit to all qualifying institutions. The Fed bumbled around before it finally sort of did that,” Wray said.

“But then it turned to phase two, which was to try to resolve problems of insolvency by increasing Uncle Sam’s stake in the banksters’ fiasco. That never should have been done. You close down fraudsters, period. The Fed and FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Commission) should have gone into the biggest banks immediately, replaced all top management, and should have started to resolve them,” Wray said.

For many years conventional wisdom has said that the whole world is controlled by the monied elite, or more recently by the huge multi-national corporations that seem to sometime control the very air we breathe. Now, new research by a team based in ETH-Zurich, Switzerland, has shown that what we’ve suspected all along, is apparently true. The team has uploaded their results onto the preprint server arXiv.

Using data obtained (circa 2007) from the Orbis database (a global database containing financial information on public and private companies) the team, in what is being heralded as the first of its kind, analyzed data from over 43,000 corporations, looking at both upstream and downstream connections between them all and found that when graphed, the data represented a bowtie of sorts, with the knot, or core representing just 147 entities who control nearly 40 percent of all of monetary value of transnational corporations (TNCs).

When we look to the East and watch our Arab brothers struggle against tyranny, I don’t think we connect their struggle to us.  However, I assure you that the roots of that struggle was economic slavery, not unlike we, both in the US and the EU, are rapidly marching (or is it being herded?) toward at this very minute.

As we awaken to these facts, it is apparent that the PTB, who wish to continue their “project”, are having more and more of a difficult time unfolding “their solutions” to our problems.  You know “solutions’ like raiding retirement and pension funds, eliminating worker’s unions, ending any “social programs” of any kind.

Probably the most important news story of September 7th won’t be reported by International MSM.  No, it won’t be Obama’s speech on Jobs, nor will it be the outcome of the first games in the NFL.  It will be this.

Seething discontent in Germany over Europe’s debt crisis has spread to all the key institutions.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel no longer has enough coalition votes in the Bundestag to secure backing for Europe’s revamped rescue machinery, threatening a constitutional crisis in Germany and a fresh eruption of the euro debt saga.

Mrs. Merkel has cancelled a high-profile trip to Russia on September 7, the crucial day when the package goes to the Bundestag and the country’s constitutional court rules on the legality of the EU’s bail-out machinery.   If the court rules that the €440bn rescue fund (EFSF) breaches Treaty law or undermines German fiscal sovereignty, it risks setting off an instant brushfire across monetary union.

The seething discontent in Germany over Europe’s debt crisis has spread to all the key institutions of the state. “Hysteria is sweeping Germany ” said Klaus Regling, the EFSF’s director.  German media reported that the latest tally of votes in the Bundestag shows that 23 members from Mrs Merkel’s own coalition plan to vote against the package, including twelve of the 44 members of Bavaria’s Social Christians (CSU). This may force the Chancellor to rely on opposition votes, risking a government collapse.

Christian Wulff, Germany’s president, stunned the country last week by accusing the European Central Bank of going “far beyond its mandate” with mass purchases of Spanish and Italian debt, and warning that the Europe’s headlong rush towards fiscal union strikes at the “very core” of democracy. “Decisions have to be made in parliament in a liberal democracy. That is where legitimacy lies,” he said.

A day earlier the Bundesbank had fired its own volley, condemning the ECB’s bond purchases and warning the EU is drifting towards debt union without “democratic legitimacy” or treaty backing.  Joahannes Singhammer, leader of the CSU’s Bundestag group, accused the ECB of acting “dangerously” by jumping the gun before parliaments had voted. The ECB is implicitly acting on behalf of the rescue fund until it is ratified.

Mrs. Merkel faces mutiny even within her own Christian Democrat (CDU) family. Wolfgang Bossbach, the spokesman for internal affairs, said he would oppose the package. “I can’t vote against my own conviction,” he said.   The Bundestag is expected to decide late next month on the package, which empowers the EFSF to buy bonds pre-emptively and recapitalize banks. While the bill is likely to pass, the furious debate leaves no doubt that Germany will resist moves to boost the EFSF’s firepower yet further. Most City banks say the fund needs €2 trillion to stop the crisis engulfing Spain and Italy.   Mrs. Merkel’s aides say she is facing “war on every front”. The next month will decide her future, Germany’s destiny, and the fate of monetary union.

I make all these points because we must think clearly and precisely now.  No politics, nor economic religion, just fix this now, and we can.  We start by taking some people DOWN.  Start to put some balance back into the equation.  I think the audit of the FED would be an excellent place to start that quest.

Secondly, we must be informed voters and place candidates that understand clearly the goals of restoring balance into our global economy through prudent but thorough regulatory changes.  That must, by its nature, start with the political process elements of our societies.   I cannot think of anything more important to you on a personal basis than this.

 

Some Points You May Want to Consider!

As we watch the current economic situation, there are several questions that surface.  Are we headed for another dip recession (I personally believe a double dip recession is crap, as we are in the second depression)? Is there going to be any improvement of the economic crisis or is it getting worse?  However, I think the most important question that most of us face is should I do something with my investments, especially 401Ks?

I am NOT a financial professional, although I do have degree in International Finance.  This is NOT to be considered in any way as financial advice, but I feel compelled to point out some activities that are currently afoot in the financial markets that you should 1). Watch closely and 2). You may want to consider taking some actions to protect what little investment you may still have.

If you watched the markets last week globally, you saw some real ugly volatility in the markets across the board.  Markets moving wildly up and down in the range of 2-5% daily!  That is NOT normal even in an uncertain market place and is indicative of some real anxiety among professional traders.

You and I do NOT spending our every waking hour to watch and act on our investments, so we are the sheep in this market.  So what should we do.  I don’t know about you, but I have become a real bear.  Most of us don’t make “short” plays nor does our 401Ks allow us to participate in some more of the sophisticated “hedging” strategies.  So what can we do?

The simple answer is above all else, don’t  watch the value of our portfolios get any worse.  I think any of us that have “skin” in the markets are teetering on a cliff.  Get out, park everything in money markets and let the dust settle.  Consider these “experts” thoughts of the few days.

Consider this excellent article by By Andrea Coombes, MarketWatch

More retirement advice
The 10 worst states for retirees
• Tax mistakes to avoid in your retirement plan
• Eight retirement resolutions
• Seven steps to a sound retirement
Investing in retirement
What to ask before buying an annuity
• Special Report: Retirement income for life
• Retirement products’ rising prices
• Four Medicare myths
• Hike your Social Security benefits
• Figuring your Social Security benefits
Social Security: What couples should know
Timing your Social Security benefits
Fix Social Security by hiking retirement age
Delaying benefits can pay off on Social Security

This doesn’t mean you must throw 70% of your retirement-plan assets into stocks. Your precise allocation will depend on how many years out you are from retirement, your ability to ignore the daily headlines and focus on the long term, and other factors. What’s most important is diversifying across a broad array of asset classes, rebalancing regularly and controlling your expenses.

Getting out while getting’s good

Maybe you’re envying your neighbor who moved all his money into cash in July or early August, before the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA +1.90%  fell a gut-wrenching 635 points on Monday, Aug. 8, then proceeded to seesaw, closing up 430 points on Tuesday, down 520 points Wednesday, and up 423 points on Thursday, closing out the week down just 1.5%.

Certainly, your neighbor was not alone. The U.S. debt-limit debacle, Europe’s debt crisis, ongoing fears of the dreaded double-dip recession and a general crisis of confidence prompted plenty of people to jump out of stocks in recent months.

Investors pulled a net $13 billion out of equity mutual funds in the week ending Aug. 3 (the most recent data available) — that’s the week before those four massive DJIA moves — up from the net $9.3 billion investors withdrew a week earlier and the less than $4 billion pulled out in each of the first two weeks of July, according to the Investment Company Institute, a mutual-fund company trade group. See the ICI mutual-fund outflow data.

Sure, your neighbor seems prescient. But does he know when to get back in? “Markets go up just as precipitously and as fast as they go down,” Evensky said. Read how the DJIA notched a gain of more than 7% in the three trading sessions through Monday, Aug. 15.

Retail investors like you and me are known for pulling out of the market — and then missing the rebound. From 1991 through 2010, the average annual return of the S&P 500 SPX +2.18%  was 9.1%, but the average equity investor return was a measly 3.8%, according to Dalbar, a financial-services market research firm.

Why? Because investors bought when stocks were on a tear, and sold when they fell in value. “It’s not because they owned the wrong investment,” said Scott Thoma, CFA, member of the investment policy committee at investment firm Edward Jones, in St. Louis, Mo. “It’s because they bought high, and they sold low.”

Focus on what you can control

Plenty of regular investors fear the system is rigged against them — that big-money investors with sophisticated trading software are stacking the deck against the little guy. But even the sophisticates fell hard “during the tech crash, during the last crash and probably during this one,” Evensky said.

Instead of worrying about them, Evensky said, focus on what you can control. For one, mutual-fund expenses.

David Swensen, chief investment officer at Yale University, said in a recent opinion piece in the New York Times that “even Morningstar concludes … that low costs do a better job of predicting superior performance than do the firm’s own five-star ratings.” Read Swensen’s piece on mutual funds.

While 401(k)s and other defined-contribution plans are far from perfect, most offer access to cheap index funds.

You also have some ability to diversify your holdings. In addition to U.S. stocks and bonds, consider emerging-market stocks and bonds, commodities, Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS) and real-estate investment trusts (REITs), among other options. Get ideas by looking at how the Lazy Portfolios are invested.

If you don’t have access to much variety in your 401(k), consider investing in that plan up to the full employer match, and then investing some money through an IRA to get access to more investment options.

You’re also in control of rebalancing. Once you’ve decided what percentage of your portfolio to invest in each asset class, revisit your portfolio quarterly. If necessary, sell investments that have grown beyond your target allocation, and buy more of those that have dropped below your target.

Understand risk

Investors tend to focus on market swoons, but that’s not the only risk you face. “In our definition, risk is not reaching your long-term goal,” Thoma said.

And don’t confuse certainty with safety. “Putting your money in CDs may feel very certain — you know you’ll get every penny back — but it’s very unlikely to be safe for most investors because there’s not going to be enough money to pay the bills after you factor in inflation,” Evensky said.

Another risk: Taxes. You’ll owe income tax on that 401(k) nest egg when you start pulling the money out. Read more: Higher tax rates loom for 401(k) savers.

And keep in mind, that “lost decade” wasn’t so for everyone. If you put $10,000 into the S&P 500 in 2000, you’d have about the same amount in 2010, Thoma said. But investors who put in $10,000 over time in regular monthly installments? “Their money would have grown to over $14,000 during that timeframe, if you were in a 65/35 portfolio,” Thoma said.

“It’s because you invested over time,” he said. “A lot of your money was invested lower and benefited from that recovery. That’s where people have to focus more often than not.”

So, the bottom line is pay attention, be sure you have the flexibility to move in and out of the stock market and mutual funds without penalty and fees.  Since we are now at point where we are at what is called a “Death Cross” in the markets (that is where the 50 day moving average is crossing over the 200 day moving average, it is a bear market). So it is a time to be a bear!   Your broker may say otherwise, but he or she has “skin” in your game either way!  It’s your money and you should call the shots!

A Warning to Those Who Have Been Investing in Gold and Silver

I have written several articles on how tightly held the REAL trading in gold and silver really is, and how the small investors don’t have a chance to “move” in the market.  I am sure a lot of my readers have been investing in gold and silver, and why not look where the market is going.  But Caveat Emptor!

If you do not have PHYSICAL possession of the gold and silver you think you have invested in, you may have already been screwed big time.  If you google “gold and silver oversubscription” today, you will get over 66,000 “hits”.  Almost every gold and silver commodities vessels are grossly oversold.  What that means in very simple terms, the “certificate” you are holding that says you own “X” amount of gold or silver may NOT be redeemable in physical gold and silver if you demand it.

When we hit the hyperinflation panic point, and that is say oh RIGHT NOW!, then everyone will scramble to get their gold and silver that is NOT there.  If you have been paying to “STORE” your gold and silver with the brokerage firm, you are still in that boat.  You guys are the real smucks to these slick trading firms because not only did you pay in advance for your “bullion”, you also paid “storage fees” for stuff that doesn’t really exist!

If you think I am kidding, try and get physical delivery of your gold or silver and see what happens next.  I want you to consider what some of the biggest Hedge Fund Investors are quietly doing behind your backs and how the MSM is complicit in keeping everything on the “QT”.  The following move was made today by The University of Texas Investment Management Co., the second-largest U.S. academic endowment.

They took delivery of almost $1 billion in gold bullion and is storing the bars in a New York vault, according to the fund’s board.  The fund, whose $19.9 billion in assets ranked it only behind Harvard University’s endowment as of August, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers, added about $500 million in gold investments to an existing stake last year, said Bruce Zimmerman, the endowment’s chief executive officer. The holdings are worth about $987 million, based on yesterday’s closing price of $1,486 an ounce for Comex futures.

The decision to turn the fund’s investment into gold bars was influenced by Kyle Bass, a Dallas hedge fund manager and member of the endowment’s board, Zimmerman said at its annual meeting on April 14. Bass made $500 million on the U.S. subprime-mortgage collapse.

“Central banks are printing more money than they ever have, so what’s the value of money in terms of purchases of goods and services,” Bass said yesterday in a telephone interview. “I look at gold as just another currency that they can’t print any more of.”

Also consider this: Belarus’ central bank has stopped selling gold to local retail customers for Belarussian roubles, it said on Friday, after demand for precious metals soared due to expectations of a currency devaluation.  The bank did not explain its decision.  Belarus is in talks with Russia on a $3 billion bailout package that Minsk hopes will help it avoid a painful devaluation of the rouble and offset the large current account deficit.

Belarussians bought 470 kilograms of gold from the central bank last month, up from 209 kilograms in January and February together, as they sought to protect their savings. Analysts say that Belarus will have to eventually devalue the rouble by about 20-30 percent even if it receives aid from Moscow. However, the central bank has said it would not make any such moves until late April.

What this means is we have reached the tipping point, I believe, that I have been warning everyone about for weeks now.  Because the central banks are trying to print their way out of the crisis we are in, currencies around the world are headed for huge devaluations and within, I think, a matter of days.  I am not talking about some small corrections in currency valuations, but more in the range of 20 or 30%!

So my good friends, I would advise( friendly advice, not investment advice, as I am not an investment professional) you to really pay attention and if you are exposed here, get your gold or silver in your own hands.  The value of these commodities could go up even higher, but if you don’t physically possess them you are a lamb ready for slaughter.  I also wouldn’t be surprised if governments globally don’t start trying to confiscate privately held gold and silver in the near future.  It has happened before and it can happen again.  As I said Caveat Emptor!

Finally A Step in the Right Direction

As a followup to my previous post calling out the fact that not one single bankster or Wall Street financial thug has been prosecuted for the giant fraud and ponzi schemes foisted on the world’s economy, it now appears that at least some in CONgress are beginning to fear the wrath of the people.  This is a start, but I suspect it will still be a long time before any of these crooks actually see jail time.  We all can help the process a bit by letting our Representatives and Senators that we demand justice.  They either do the right thing or we will do the right thing come next election.

This just released:

“They clearly misled their clients and they misled the Congress,”  Senator Levin added, announcing that he will recommend that his panel refer all of the Goldman executives who testified before the committee for criminal prosecution by the Justice Department and for sanctions by the SEC for violations of securities laws.

This is a fairly detailed and lengthy piece by Shahien Nasiripour.  It is worth reading in full at its source.  The only thing missing from Levin’s report is a perjury recommendation for Henry Paulson who lied before Congress repeatedly during various testimony given in 2007 and 2008 – see the right column of this website to watch his lies for yourself. Here’s the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/14/goldman-financial-crisis-prosecution_n_848994.html

Huff Po

WASHINGTON — Goldman Sachs executives deceived clients in order to profit off the brewing financial crisis and then misled Congress when asked to explain their actions, concluded a top lawmaker who led a two-year investigation into Wall Street’s role in the meltdown.

Carl Levin, chair of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, will recommend that Goldman executives who testified before his panel, including chairman and chief executive Lloyd Blankfein, be referred to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution, the Michigan Democrat announced Wednesday. Members of the subcommittee will now deliberate Levin’s proposal.

A Goldman spokesman said its executives were truthful in their testimony, adding that the firm disagreed with many of the panel’s conclusions.

Two and a half years after a historic crisis that has yielded not a single criminal conviction of anyone who played a leading role in causing it, the prosecution of such a high-profile Wall Street executive may satisfy the public’s desire to see culprits brought to justice. Last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission settled a lawsuit it had brought against Goldman.

But the firm was just one target of a sweeping, 639-page report by the Senate panel into the causes of the crisis. Hardly a fluke occurrence, the meltdown was the product of a deeply corrupt financial system, one fueled by profit-hungry banks that deceived their clients, and overseen by lax regulators who were complicit in the firms’ chronic abuse of the most fundamental rules of the game, the report concludes.

The investigation found a “financial snake pit rife with greed, conflicts of interest, and wrongdoing,” Levin said.

More than any other government report produced in the wake of the crisis, this account names names, blaming specific people and institutions: Goldman Sachs, Washington Mutual, Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s, the Office of Thrift Supervision and others. It targets four types of institutions, all of which it says played key roles in causing the crisis: mortgage lenders that offered prospective homeowners booby-trapped loans; regulators that were paid by the institutions they were regulating and cooperated in widespread deception; rating agencies that gave seals of approval to products they knew to be especially risky, all in the pursuit of market share; and Wall Street banks that duped investors into buying securities that only the insiders knew were destined to go bad.

“They clearly misled their clients and they misled the Congress,” he added, announcing that he will recommend that his panel refer all of the Goldman executives who testified before the committee for possible criminal prosecution by the Justice Department and for sanctions by the SEC for violations of securities laws.

This is a very rare time when YOU can really make a difference in the world.  Everybody call, write, email your Representatives and Senators and demand that they not only support the committee on this effort, but that they also continue hound the Justice Department to fully, completely, and swiftly investigate and prosecute these crooks.  These crooks have all but destroyed our future with their greed.  WE WANT OUR MONEY BACK!!!!

The Realities of the “Budget Crisis” Hidden by Both Sides

As the budget debate continues, the American people are being fed BS from both parties.  This is especially true when it comes to the facts about tax revenues, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.  In my last previous article, I presented some of the facts especially about Social Security.  Now it is time to reveal the truth about income taxes and corporate income taxes, and how they relate to job creation in America.  Keep in mind, I only try to present the facts and NOT opinion.

I trust that if the “Common Folk” can see the real balance sheets, they can read and understand it just like they understand their own checkbook or bank statement.  It just ain’t that difficult.  The problem we have is that those facts are hidden deep in some reports and disclosure statements by the IRS  and the Department of Labor that are not publically released, at least not in the Main Stream Media.  Also, Main Stream Media is controlled by the very corporations that benefit from us not knowing, so any hope of true journalistic work coming from them is a pipe dream.  Even if they have hired good honest journalist, they are quickly either gagged or if they have the courage to try and report anyway, their job security evaporates and they are out of the mainstream.  Just ask the likes of Keith Olbermann and those of such integrity.  Their access to us is diminished to a point they can not effectively reach the mass of audience to really effect change and inform the masses.

OK, lets talk taxes and who is paying what.  I warn you that the chart I am about to present will make you blood boil, and quite frankly, I hope it will.  This chart is just one month’s tax receipts (March 2011) but is reflective of what is really going all.  I think we all feel or have a sense that corporations are not paying their fair share, but this will reveal something quite beyond that.  The Republicans are arguing that raising taxes on corporations will kill jobs in the US.  Well, I will show you a second chart to reveal the reality of why corporations, with their sweetheart tax deals haven’t created a single job in the US since 2004!

Here’s the first chart, remeber this is ACTUAL IRS data For March 2011:

What this chart shows that we, the honest taxpayers paid in more than $91 billion in taxes, received almost $58 billion in refunds, with net receipts to the IRS of nearly $38 billion. Great, huh?  Now look at what our fat cat corporations paid.  They paid in $4.5 billion, got refunds of nearly $6 billion, and the IRS PAID THEM $1.3 billion!!! What this really shows is not only did corporations pay $0 in taxes, WE PAID them a bonus of $1.3 billion.  Are you catching on here?  I know, you want to pinch yourself and say this isn’t so, but facts are facts.

OK, now let’s address the argument that corporations shouldn’t pay any taxes because after all it is corporations that generate the jobs in America and if they were given free tax breaks , they would solve the economic crisis by creating full employment and job growth.  This is the talking points of donkeys and lackeys such as Mitch McConnel, Kantor, and Boner(misspelled on purpose).

OK, lets again look at the facts as presented by the Department of Labor.  Facts, just the facts, ma’am.  The following table show the total of jobs in the US by month.  OK?

So, adjust for population growth during that period, NOT A SINGLE JOB has been created since 2004!  Facts, just the facts, as presented by our own government that they hoped you would never see!

I will let you all reach your own conclusions.  I have my opinion that I have reached by just looking at facts and not paying attention at all to either side’s rhetoric.  It’s time to do a triple rinse in Washington and Wall Street and start all over again.  I hope this will help us all make some decisions that are really informed come next election.