Category Archives: the Federal Reserve

High stock prices are a danger to the US economy

How could high stock prices be a danger to the US economy? It just can’t be so, but it is. Paradox? Not really. How could persistently rising stock prices be bad for any economy? That is not possible, because people who own stocks feel wealthy. They will spend more, consumption goes up. Firms rev up production, hire more workers, wages rise, and the virtuous cycle is established; if only this were true!

Persistently rising stock prices suck the blood out of the economy and direct financial energy into the stock market. Corporations buy their own stock with cheap borrowed money, close plants, move operations overseas and leave US cities delapidated ghost towns. Tax revenues collapse, infrastructures collapse and the US slowly turns into a third world nation. This is the dark side of persistently rising stock prices.

In rising stock oriented society, wages do not grow.  In fact, the buying power of wages actually falls. Poverty, anxiety, chronic illnesses, obesity, and violence increase.

Economists, academics, decision makers, politicians sing the same ol’ song: “The US economy is resilient!”, and they point to the rising stock market. It is not!

Another component contributing to the rising stock market are persistently low interest rates, draining savers of their deserved interest income.

It would be better if the stock market was at 5000 and the economy was humming with rising wages, job growth, universal single payer health care system, affordable quality education, massive infrastructure renewal programs, quality affordable housing, etc. but this will never happen.

It will never happen as long as the rising stock market sucks the blood out of the economy, turning the country into an economic desert with areas of oases where the 2% ownership class lives with the 5% overseer class.

It will never happen as long the Federal Reserve and US Treasury’s economic policy is to support the stock market. The stock market will continue to suck the blood out of the economy until the final collapse.

No change will occur without the final collapse.

 

Is the US facing the same problems as Third Century Rome?

The world, but particularly the US, is entering a period of great uncertainty, as did Rome in the third century AD. There were external threats and internal instability. Inflation was destroying the internal fabric. The coinage was diluted of its precious metals, silver and gold. People lost faith in its institutions, its army and its emperors. Through such inflation, the people were getting poorer. The longevity of its emperors was very short after the assassination of the Emperor Alexander Severus in 235 AD  The Empire fragmented and was in danger of collapsing. Two external threats were ever present: the Tribes of Northern and Eastern Europe were pressing on the Empire and in the East, there were Persian threats. Three emperors lost wars with Persia, and one, Emperor Valerian, was even captured by the Persians in 260 AD through a ruse.

The 42nd Emperor Claudius Gothicus, (268-270), stabilized the frontiers by defeating the Alemani and the Goths, but unfortunately, died of some kind of infection.  The 51st Emperor Deocletian, (284-305), further strengthened the Empire by reducing inflation, further stabilizing the frontiers, and introducing tetrarchy to government. Tetrarchy is four person rule.  Deoclitian split the administration into a Western Empire centered in Rome, and an Eastern Empire centered in the future city of Constantinople to be founded by Emperor Constantine the Great in 330 AD. When the Western Empire fell in 476 AD, the Eastern Empire or Byzantine Empire lasted for almost one thousand years until Contantinople fell to the Turks in 1453.

Is the US in a similar situation? Possibly?  The US has been in decline since President Nixon defaulted on the gold obligation of 35 dollars for one ounce of gold. Nixon proclaimed it would be temporary, but almost 50 years later is still going. As a result inflation became rampant, Congress became generous and passed the law that allowed Americans to own gold again. President Roosevelt and Congress banned ownership of gold except in jewelry in 1933.

Economic conditions were deteriorating slowly. Inflation in the seventies, Reaganomics in the eighties, Clintonomics in the nineties, subprime mortgages and the tech bubble in the first decade of the new millennium and a severe bust in 2007-09 that nearly collapsed the entire system. Throughout this period, living standards for Americans were going down. The main culprits were debt, public and private, quality job losses, inflation, lack of affordable universal health care, expensive education, and foreign military interventions.

As I mentioned in my previous posts, the three pillars of paper, all based on debt, are keeping this system afloat, but just barely, and they are the dollar, the stock market, and the bond market. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury are keeping the system going by shunting new money into stocks and bonds creating conditions for a financial shock that is becoming inevitable. Zero interest rates and quantitative easing are propping up the system, but not curing it; it cannot be cured.

One could call the US economy a “mirage” because there has been no actual growth since the late 1960’s. The living standards of the people have been going down and down, but the lies and deceptions have been going up. One does not know whom to believe. In socio-economic terms, three economic classes have developed in the US: the owner class of 1%, the overseer class of 4-5%, and the Precariat class of around 95%. The Precariat Class is composed of all ethnic groups, religions, and races, but it is kept divided by the Ownership Class for its own interests. The Precariat is on the whole totally dispossessed, and they live from pay cheque to pay cheque, with the loan sharking firms eating them in between.

The present recovery after the almost system collapse 0f 2007-8, has been nothing but “a mirage”, a statistical “recovery” propped by a series of quantitative easings and zero interest rates. The ownership class and the overseer class are doing extremely well, but the precariat class is barely surviving.

In foreign policy, the US, a hegemonic power, has become a reactionary force in order to maintain its world wide empire based on dollar indebtedness and exploitation of the rest of the world. Through its policy in the Middle East, it has lost Iran and now may lose Turkey, two large countries dominating the key strategic areas of the Afro-Eurasia. It is true, the US has gained  eastern Europe through the European Union and NATO, but Europe itself has become unstable.

In the Middle East, some claim that the US and Israel have created ISIS and Al-Qaeda  to destroy Syria and Iraq in order to get to Iran, and take total control of the Middle East and its natural resources. If Turkey switches to Eurasia, and a compromise is reached between Syria and Turkey, the US will lose the Middle East. The next shoe to drop will be Saudi Arabia because of its disastrous war in Yemen, as well as internal dissension.

Never before in its history has the US faced such complex problems as a dying economy  reflected in dying cities, dilapidated infrastructure, poor but costly education and health care; city violence could be a precursor to a general revolt.

The world is waiting with bated breath the results of the US presidential elections, The precariat class is flocking to Mr. Trump for salvation and the ownership class is in a panic. How the elections will turn out nobody knows, but if there is a financial collapse Trump would win massively. In that case, it is quite likely that martial law would be proclaimed and the elections postponed. Only time will tell.

Negative Energy Flow

The essence of the Universe is energy. This essence is constant, contracting, or expanding, but nobody knows for sure. The essence of our solar system is the sun, and without  the sun there would be no life on the Earth. They say that the energy of the sun is slowly dissipating, but is still good for about several billion years before it dies. But this is just a hypothesis. In fact nobody knows for sure.

We know that economic systems develop, grow, and then go into a collapsing phase and die, but the remnants of the previous systems become key components of the new system. For instance, the chief components of capitalism are usury and a modern version of slavery which are the chief remnants of two previous systems, slavery and feudalism.

Without the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492, capitalism would most likely have not developed. In my earliest posts, I stated that Christopher Columbus is the Father of Capitalism. The center of capitalism became Western Europe and North America, especially, the United States.

The United States had positive energy flow when the first Dutch and English colonists stepped into North America. The land was abundantly rich and it needed  workers to exploit it. Slavery was introduced and for 250 years, slavery was the main source of wealth extraction and accumulation  for the ruling elite of the new country. The tobacco and cotton plantations needed slaves. The trade in slaves  was very prosperous as well. Many Americans were also involved in opium trade with China, which was the monopoly of the British East India Company. It was the first giant global company, a forerunner of modern American and European corporations. Adam Smith who wrote the capitalist bible,’ The Wealth of Nations’ was an officer of the Company. His view of the ‘Invisible Hand’ that runs the market is more to the fact that the British East India Company methods of conquest and control stayed invisible as to how they got control of all of  India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Burma. They also wanted to keep opium trade with China and the Afghani Wars for control of opium invisible.

Americans wanted to take part in the opium trade with China, and that is one of the main reasons why the Americans wanted independence from Britain. Forget about: ‘ No taxation without representation’; it was just a façade like ‘ the weapons of mass destruction’ in Iraq. British rule of its North American colonies was rather gentle. British taxes were barely one percent on tea. One third of American colonists moved to the Canadian Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Ontario. They were known as United Empire Loyalists. Benjamin Franklin’s son left for England.

After the Declaration of American Independence of 1776, the Slave Trade of the North Atlantic and Opium Trade with China boomed, even though Europeans were losing interest in slave trade on moral and ethical grounds. Remember, ‘Amazing Grace’ was composed by a former slave trader in 1805, but the abuse of Africa still continues.

After the Civil War and the emancipation of the slaves, the US economy exploded. By 1900,  the US was the number one manufacturing nation in the world, by quantity and not by quality.  Germany was number one in quality and second in quantity. Attempts were made to create a private Central Bank of the United States, but failed until December 23, 1913. Alexander Hamilton, the first US Treasury Secretary wanted a private central bank. In a duel with Aaron Burr, the Vice-president, Hamilton lost his life. President Andrew Jackson, the 7th President, aborted the second attempt at creating a private central bank. Abraham Lincoln, probably the greatest President of the US, stopped the third attempt. He used ‘ Green Backs’ to finance the war rather than borrow from private banks. He paid with his life in 1865. James Garfield, the 20th President paid with his life for stopping the private central bank. Finally, Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the US acquiesced on Dec. 23, 1913.

The Central Bank of the US would be called the Federal Reserve Bank of the US. It would be composed of 12 regional or district banks. The first amongst equals would be the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and it would act as a financial life line to Wall Street. The Federal Reserve was key in pushing the US into the First World War. Germany was winning the War. They sank the Lusitania on May 7th, claiming it was carrying weapons to Britain. True! Britain denied it. Lie! The US kept quiet until 1917. Britain panicked that Germany would win the war and Russia, an ally of Britain and France would conquer Constantinople. Britain then promised  Constantinople to Russia but had no intention of keeping it, hence Churchill’s disastrous Gallipoli Campaign to capture Constantinople.

The World Zionist Movement wanted to create a homeland for the Jews in what would be British occupied Palestine. And if the British agreed, it was agreed that the US would enter the war on the side of Britain and France. They would also eliminate Russia from the war and Constantinople would not fall to Russia. Also, Italy, an ally of Germany, would enter war on the side of Britain and France. The Balfour Declaration of Britain in 1916 allowed unrestricted Jewish settlements  of Palestine. As if by magic, the US enters the war under the cry, ‘Remember the Lusitania’, Trotsky leaves New York with 20 million in gold, Lenin leaves Switzerland in a sealed train for St. Petersburg to start a Bolshevik Revolution. Italy enters the war on the side of the Allies, and bank credits to Germany stop.

In 1917, the US enters the war, and the US tobacco industry wants to help ‘our boys’ fighting in the trenches by supplying them with free cigarettes, and tobacco addiction began. When women won the right to vote in 1920, they were supplied with free cigarettes to celebrate their independence. The boom of 1920 began, and the inventions of Nikola Tesla changed the US;  alternating current, fluorescent lighting, the invention of radio, wireless energy, etc. Marconi did not invent the radio, but sent the first radio signal from Liverpool, England to Gander, Newfoundland based on Tesla’s principles. The boom collapsed in 1929, but the US had positive energy flow. It had the most gold in the world, the strongest currency, positive balance of trade, and could interfere in Latin America with impunity. Hence, it had positive energy flow.

The Second World War enhanced this positive energy, and by 1944, it was able with the help of Great Britain to create the Bretton Woods Convention which crowned the dollar as the official currency of the world. The only opponent was the USSR which had won the war against Nazi Germany.

The US had positive energy flow until a gold run in 1968. The European countries wanted to exchange their trade surpluses for gold. By 1971, the US defaulted on its gold promise. By 1973, President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger created the petro dollar. The dollar debt finance of the US and the Third World became the Modus Operandi of the day. IMF and World Bank were loan sharking all over the world, including some Communist countries of Eastern Europe such as Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia.

Consumerism or lack thereof in the Soviet Union led to the dissolution of the Soviet State, even though the basic living standard of the Soviet citizen was higher than that of US citizens. The Soviet citizen enjoyed free education, free health care, public transportation, generous maternity leave and generous holidays. US citizens have none of this in 2016. And the irony is that the Soviet State dissolved and the US still stands. Barely. The people of the US are very angry, and they want change, either by evolution or revolution. The 95 percent of Americans which I call the Precariat Class have barely enough money to survive. The energy flow of the Precariat Class is extremely negative, and never in its entire history has the US faced such a situation.

No wonder Mr. Donald Trump is popular and the Ruling Elite and its overseer class is fearful. The US must restructure its economic system and enable the Precariat Class to have a chance. Change in the US is inevitable either by evolution or by revolution. If it is by revolution, fragmentation of the US is inevitable. Only time will tell.

 

Quo Vadis Gold?

Gold is a symbol of power and truth, and yet it is suppressed. The reason gold is in jail is so that the dollar is  free to be the official currency of the world. It is not only essential that gold stay in jail, but that the dollar be convertible into gold at the lowest price possible. The Modus Operandi to keep gold suppressed is  called “paper shorting” of gold. Capping the price of gold has enabled the Federal Reserve to reduce interest rates to near zero and to indulge in quantitative easing to prop up stock markets, bond markets and the economy without endangering the supremacy  of the dollar.

To keep gold suppressed is very expensive and limiting. Let me explain. Physical gold must be available at whatever price the paper shorts of gold set through their daily trades for those individuals, organizations, or countries who want physical gold. The cheaper the paper gold, the cheaper will be the physical price. So, countries like China, India, Russia, Iran, and others are accumulating gold at an incredibly cheap price. Gold is leaving the West and going to the rest of the world. Gold must be available for the dollar to be convertible. The point will be reached when gold will not be available at any given price and the dollar will lose its convertibility into gold; financial panic will ensue

Before gold availability is finally exhausted, the US policy is to destroy the economies of the rest of the world. Russia was first in the line of fire because of the Ukraine. The US engineered the collapse of the price of oil and the value of the ruble. They tried sanctions and that didn’t work because Russia is only getting stronger. They tried to destroy China by collapsing their stock market and so far the results have been inconclusive. However, they have been quite successful in destroying the economies of the Third World. By increasing the buying power of the dollar, they have increased the debt burden of the Third World, hence collapsing the price of all their commodities. The Third World has less money to buy manufactured goods from China and Europe, so China and Europe in turn slow down, which further collapses commodities. So the whole game becomes a vicious circle to the down side. Most Third World countries are in a depression. But gold availability to support the dollar is reaching the exhaustion point. In order to maintain dollar dominance, interest rates have to be increased.

The Federal Reserve has no choice to do this in order to be able to defend the dollar in the future, irrespective of what interest rate increases will do to stock or bond markets. The high yield bond market is already collapsing because liquidity is drying up. The official story is that the FED wants to normalize interest rates but in reality they want to create “Volcker Momentum*” and increase the interest rates to as high as they can go. Gold will rise because it will no longer be available at these low prices to support the dollar. Gold will go as high as it will go. To support the dollar, the interest rates will rise to as high they will have to go. These will be events that have no parallel in human history. Only time will tell.

 

*= Volcker momentum is my expression. Paul Volcker was a Fed Chairman from 1979 to 1987. He increased the interest rates to near 20%, so he could reduce the inflation rate to below 5% after the US went off the gold standard in 1971 under President Nixon. My thesis is that to support the dollar to be convertible to gold, gold price in dollars must be suppressed. Gold must be kept in jail. However, this is very costly, because Gold is leaving the West and going to the rest, China, India, etc. Soon, there will be no physical Gold at such cheap prices. Presently, Gold and Silver are very cheap, so the US must increase the interest rates to protect the dollar in the future. Hence, “Volcker Momentum”

How much is the dollar really worth?

The dollar is a fiat currency. It is created out of thin air through debt. A person goes to the bank and wants to borrow 10,000 dollars and if the borrower meets the criteria of paying back the sum plus interest agreed on, the bank issues a cheque of 10,000 dollars or direct deposits the amount to his account. Money has been created out of nothing to enslave that person for 10,000 dollars which he must now pay back at a certain interest rate for a specific period of time. In other words, he sells his labour, his life force, to pay the debt. He is exploited, he is a slave. This is the essence of capitalism, and the fiat currency is an instrument of enslavement.

Initially, the dollar was a gold backed currency as were other world currencies. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, early in his presidency devalued gold from 20.67 dollars an ounce to 35 dollars an ounce. Also, he made it illegal for Americans to own gold, unless it was in a jewelry form of 18 karats or less. The Bretton-Woods Convention made the dollar the Reserve Currency of the World. The US would keep the gold and the rest of the world would keep the dollars. Other central banks could exchange dollars for gold at 35 dollars an ounce. Gold, however, would be stored in the US and some would be stored in London. This arrangement was propped up by fear that “the Communists” would take over if the gold was not stored in the US. Publicity  made Fort Knox, Kentucky, infamous as the storage place  for the world’s non-communist gold. General Charles de Gaulle, President of France, was not fooled. He realized it was the perfect scam. He had never trusted the Anglo-Americans. He knew how perfidious they were during the Second World War II. The Anglo-Americans hated him, and of course, he reciprocated. He withdrew France from N.A.T.O. and sent French warships to retrieve French gold from the US. Other European countries followed. A run on gold followed…

The gold drain from the US followed. President Nixon closed the Gold window. This closure was permanent, contrary to the President’s statement that  it was temporary. The US was running trade deficits and the Vietnam War was draining the country of its real wealth, gold. The dollar paper drainage was no big deal, because it was only paper. The Arab oil embargo saved the dollar and the US. The US told the oil producers to increase the price of oil but just have it denominated in dollars. The excess dollars of the world poured into US treasuries and helped finance government operation. The decade of 1970’s showcased growth throughout the world but with inflation. Gold was allowed to reach its equilibrium value of 850 dollars an ounce. Silver, taken out of circulation in 1965, went to 50 dollars an ounce in 1979-80. Interest rates were high because demand for money was high. Demand for real money, gold and silver, was high. But the dollar was losing value. In 1969, one could get four Swiss Francs for one dollar, but in 1979-80 period, the Swiss Franc was on parity with the dollar.

President Carter appointed Paul Volcker Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank. The Prime Rate went to almost twenty percent. The price of precious metals collapsed and value of the dollar rose. Money from all over the world poured into the US. By 1992, the USSR and communism had disappeared in Europe. The end of history was proclaimed. The plunder of the ex-USSR and Eastern Europe, along with the rest of the world began with increasing tempo. A unipolar world of ten years duration was achieved. In Nature, when one extreme is reached, opposite forces start building momentum, and new forces started brewing on the horizon…

Vladimir Putin was appointed Prime Minister of Russia in 2000, and the economic decay started in the first decade of the New Millennium in the West. It is now worsening and encompassing the entire world. The central player in all this has been the dollar. It has no intrinsic value like gold, land or water, but is the instrument of US power. The US wants to maintain that power come hell or high water, and in order to maintain it, debt in dollar terms has to grow. The IMF and World Bank, along with other private organizations, are working overtime to trap more and more countries into unsustainable debt and milk them for all they are worth. This is the MODUS OPERANDI of capitalism…

But opposing forces are rising, and the de-dollarization of the world has began. The World is trying to dis-infect itself from the dollar. Very interesting and dangerous times are approaching. But the US will not willingly give up its instrument of power. It is negotiating trade deals with Europe, South America, and South East Asia to insure the dollar to be the supreme currency. It is confronting China in the South China Sea, but at the same time, it is enticing  it to join the IMF arrangement of Special Drawing Right Currency. The US wants the China to row the dollar-SDR boat, and the US would steer it. Whether China falls for it or not remains to be seen. China, Russia, Brazil, Iran, and other countries that have backbone are trading amongst themselves in their own currencies. The river of history is flowing and it cannot be reversed.

How much is the dollar really worth? Nothing. It is merely an instrument of power, intimidation, and war, like aircraft carriers. And history will be unkind to both. Only time will tell.

The bullshit of the Fed raising or not raising rates.

It is amazing how the whole world is awaiting the Fed decision. Economic decisions of great importance will be made in the economy of the world that will affect countries and millions of people. It is tragic that a group of individuals of average intelligence, who are unelected ,hold the fate of the world in their hands. Other “lesser” individuals study their every move. Economically speaking, the Fed is considered to be the “Fountain of Wisdom”; in actual fact it is a “Fountain of Nonsense”.

The “Great Recession” lasted from 2007 to 2009. The economic system was on the verge of collapse. Wall Street money centered banks were failing. A bazooka was used to save it. The Federal Reserve introduced a near zero interest policy and quantitative easing. Banks had to be saved and after all,that is the primary function of the Central Bank. That price stability and employment are primary functions of the Fed is nothing but a façade. The essence of finance capitalism is  banking, hence, the Federal Reserve is its guardian. It will do anything to save it, including financing wars and overthrowing governments. It must protect and protect the “Reserve Status of the dollar”.

No recovery occurred in 2009. Growth in the US is impossible because the energy entering the US economic system is decreasing, but the energy needed to maintain its internal and external obligation is increasing. This sitation is sustainable only because the dollar is the “Official Currency of the World”. The dollar position must be maintained at all costs, and that is the real function of the Federal Reserve.

There is no recovery in 2015. Third World countries are  or are entering hyperinflationary depression. Their currencies are collapsing vis a vis the dollar and gold. The prices of various commodities are in free fall. Their debt burden in dollars has become unbearable because the ever increasing export commodities are earning them less and less dollars. As a result, the export of manufactured goods is also in free fall. The world’s economy is in severe contraction, possibly entering a severe depression. The world’s stock markets are also in free fall. Interest rates cannot go up naturally or be raised by the central bank. The velocity of money is also in free fall. The only time interest rates will rise will be to protect the dollar. This will happen when the world starts to abandon the dollar in earnest. There has been no recovery and there will never be one until this economic system is radically altered or replaced by something totally new. Only time will tell.

 

The FED will defend the stock market to its’ last breath

The FED claims that it does not watch the market. It is concerned but not overly.This is further from the truth than one can imagine. The two things they are concerned with is debt and the stock market, because the essence of the economic system is debt and the stock market. Debt is the blood of the system and the stock market is the heart.The economy is a living organism. Let us compare it to a human body.The key components of the human body are the blood and the heart. The heart cannot do without the blood, and blood cannot do without the heart,and the whole body cannot exist without either of them. Massive heart attack and the patient dies. Massive blood loss,if a transfusion is not available, and the patient dies…

What happens when the stock trading opens and there are no bids? The market goes into free fall. The “Plunge Protection Team” moves in and artificial bids are created to stabilize the market. Most of the time the Plunge Protection Team is successful and they blame the situation on some “glitch”. But one day they will NOT be able to prevent the crash.The crash will occur,the stock market will be closed and the consequences will be catastrophic, equivalent to a massive heart attack in a human being: the FED will and must support the stock market.

What happens when the credit ceases? There will be no blood.The FED will try to infuse liquidity, but if credit infusion is insufficient or inappropriate, the system will collapse. The patient will die. So the FED will try to do everything to save the system but may not succeed. This will signal the death of the economic system and the beginning of the new age. It will be very, very interesting!