Ron Paul Embarrasses Ben Bernanke as he says Gold is not Money

Forbes
July 13, 2011

Chairman Ben Bernanke faced-off with Fed-hating Representative Ron Paul during his monetary policy report to Congress on Wednesday.  The head of the Fed was forced to respond to accusations of enriching already rich corporations while failing to help Main Street, while he was pushed on his views on gold.  “Gold isn’t money,” Bernanke said. (See video below).

While most of Bernanke’s reports to Congress serve politicians to pursue their own agendas by gearing the Chairman towards their issues, with Republican Rep. Bacchus talking of the unsustainability of Medicaid and Rep. Frank (D, Mass.) asking about the need to raise the debt limit without cutting spending, it was a stand-off between Bernanke and Ron Paul that took all the attention. (Read Apocalyptic Bernanke: Raise The Debt Ceiling Or Else).

Rep. Ron Paul, Republican for Texas, asked Bernanke why a capital injection of more than $5 trillion “hasn’t done much” to help the consumer, who makes up about two-thirds of GDP in the U.S., and prop up the economy, while it helped boost corporate profits.  “You could’ve given $17,000 to each citizen,” Ron Paul claimed.

Bernanke, clearly on the defensive, told Rep. Ron Paul that his institution hadn’t spent a single dollar, rather, the Fed has been a “profit center” according to the Chairman, returning profits to the federal government.  As Bernanke began to sermon Rep. Paul on the history of the Fed (“we are here to provide liquidity [in abnormal situations],” the Chairman said), he was interrupted.

“When you wake up in the morning, do you think about the price of gold,” Rep. Paul asked.  After pausing for a second, Bernanke responded, clearly uncomfortable. that he paid much attention to the price of gold, only to be interrupted once again.

“Gold’s at about $1,580 [an ounce] this morning, what do you think of the price of gold?” asked Rep. Paul.  A stern-faced Bernanke responded people bought it for protection and was once again cut-off, with Ron Paul once again on the offensive.

“Is gold money?” he asked.  Clearly bothered, Bernanke told the representative “no, gold is not money, it’s an asset.  Treasuries are an asset, people hold them, but I don’t think of them as money,” said Bernanke.

Rep. Ron Paul again jumped in, noting the long history of gold being used as money, and then asked Bernanke why people didn’t hold diamonds, clearly hinting at his fiat money criticism of the U.S. monetary system.  The Fed Chairman told Rep. Paul it was nothing more than tradition, and, as he was attempting to develop his argument, Rep. Ron Paul quickly asked the acting authority of the House of Representative’s Committee on Financial Services, Rep. Bacchus, to excuse him for exceeding his time, as he returned the floor to the Committee. (Read Bernanke To Rep. Paul Ryan: QE2 Created 600,000 Jobs).

The interesting exchange served as one of the few times Bernanke has been publicly pushed off his comfort zone by an elected official.  Rep. Ron Paul brought up the issues that he’s famous for, namely, a sort of allegiance between the Fed and the nation’s most powerful institutions, the illusion of fiat money, and the gold standard.  Bernanke, angered and bothered, had no option but to respond. (Read Bernanke’s Contradiction: Minutes Reveal QE3 Talk And Exit Strategy).

Dollar tumbles on Bernanke speech, euro rebounds

Reuters
July 13, 2011

The dollar fell against most major currencies on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank could resort to more monetary stimulus if a sluggish U.S. economy weakens further.

That pushed the euro above $1.41, moving it further from the prior session’s four-month low beneath $1.39 and on track for its best day since mid-April.

Surprisingly swift Chinese growth data also helped divert attention, at least temporarily, from a worsening euro zone debt crisis, as Fitch Ratings, which said an ambitious Italian deficit reduction plan would help stabilize its credit rating.

“The comments from Bernanke and Fitch amount to a double whammy for the dollar and a boost for the euro and riskier assets. It’s all positive for risk,” said Brian Dolan, chief strategist at Forex.com in Bedminster, New Jersey.

The Fed ended its most recent asset-purchase program in June. Traders said that another round of easing would flood the financial system with more money and encourage investors to reach for higher-yielding currencies and assets.

Major U.S. stock indexes rose more than 1 percent and gold hit a record high. The euro was last at $1.4142, up 1.2 percent. It also rose 1.7 percent against the yen.

The high-yielding, commodity-sensitive Australian and New Zealand dollars rose sharply.

Fitch’s remarks eased worries about Italy, which saw its borrowing costs soar this week for fear a default in Greece would hurt European banks and strain other countries’ finances.

Italy is considered especially vulnerable, as it has the euro zone’s second largest debt-to-output ratio, which would become harder to finance with higher borrowing costs.

Still, some analysts said markets remained anxious. European leaders, set to convene an emergency meeting on Friday, have yet to agree on a second Greek bailout.

“I’d call this a short-term respite,” said Firas Askari, head of FX trading at BMO Capital Markets. “If we don’t hear anything substantial from Europe by the weekend, people will be back to shorting the euro next week.”

In the options market, one-month risk reversals were elevated in favor of euro puts — options to sell the currency, with plenty of event risks ahead, including the results of stress tests on euro zone banks due out on Friday.

Reflecting that unease, the yen soared against the euro and hit its highest level against the dollar since Japan’s March earthquake as investors unwound risky trades funded with yen.

The dollar was last at 79.08 yen, not far from its 78.48 four-month low.

That brought warnings from top Japanese officials worried that a strengthening yen will hurt Japan’s fragile economy, raising the possibility that authorities could intervene to weaken the currency.

The dollar also fell to a fresh record trough of 0.8250 Swiss francs after Bernanke’s testimony, and Askari said markets were also on edge about a pending deadline to lift the U.S. debt ceiling.

“We still have not seen the political will in either Europe or the United States to resolve the key issues,” Askari said, which makes positioning for currency investors difficult.

“With currencies, it’s hard to be short everything. The Swiss franc is appreciated, but even Swiss banks won’t be immune from a meltdown in Europe,” he said.

Panic Alarms hit Italian Economy

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has called an emergency meeting of top officials dealing with the euro zone debt crisis.

Reuters
July 10, 2011

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet will attend the meeting along with Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the region’s finance ministers, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Olli Rehn, the economic and monetary affairs commissioner, three official sources told Reuters.

Van Rompuy’s spokesman Dirk De Backer said: “It’s a coordination, not a crisis meeting.” He added that Italy would not be on the agenda and declined to say what would be discussed.

However, two official sources told Reuters that the situation in Italy would be discussed. The talks were organized after a sharp sell-off in Italian assets on Friday, which has increased fears that Italy, with the highest sovereign debt ratio relative to its economy in the euro zone after Greece, could be next to suffer in the crisis. A second international bailout of Greece will also be discussed, the sources said.

The spread of the Italian 10-year government bond yield over benchmark German Bunds hit euro lifetime highs around 2.45 percentage points on Friday, raising the Italian yield to 5.28 percent, close to the 5.5-5.7 percent area which some bankers think could start putting heavy pressure on Italy’s finances.

Shares in Italy’s biggest bank, Unicredit Spa, fell 7.9 percent on Friday, partly because of worries about the results of stress tests of the health of European banks that will be released on July 15. The leading Italian stock index sank 3.5 percent.

The market pressure is due partly to Italy’s high sovereign debt and sluggish economy, but also to concern that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi may be trying to undermine and even push out Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti, who has promoted deep spending cuts to control the budget deficit.

“We can’t go on for many more days like Friday,” a senior ECB official said. “We’re very worried about Italy.”

Monday’s emergency meeting will precede a previously scheduled gathering of the euro zone’s 17 finance ministers to discuss how to secure a contribution of private sector investors to the second bailout of Greece, as well as the results of the stress tests of 91 European banks.

GREECE

Greece is already receiving 110 billion euros ($157 billion) of international loans under a rescue scheme launched in May last year but this has failed to change market expectations that it will eventually default on its debt.

Senior euro zone officials worry that progress toward a second Greek bailout, which would also total around 110 billion euros and aim to fund the country into late 2014, is not being made quickly enough and that the delay is poisoning investors’ confidence in weak economies around the region.

“We need to move on this in the next couple of weeks. It’s not a case of waiting until late August or early September as Germany is saying. That’s too late and markets will make us pay for it,” a top euro zone official told Reuters on Saturday.

German officials insist they too want to put together the second Greek bailout as quickly as possible, but the private sector’s contribution is proving to be a major sticking point.

Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Finland are determined that banks, insurers and other private holders of Greek government bonds should bear some of the costs of helping Athens. But more than two weeks of negotiations with bankers represented by the Institute of International Finance (IIF), a lobby group, have made next to no progress on agreeing a formula acceptable to all sides.

Initially talks focused on a complex French plan for private creditors to roll over up to 30 billion euros of Greek debt, buying new bonds as their existing ones matured. Around half of proceeds from Greek bonds maturing before the end of 2014 would be rolled over into very long-term debt while 20 percent would be put into a “guarantee fund” of AAA-rated securities.

But as that plan has floundered, Berlin has revived a proposal to swap Greek bonds for longer-dated debt that would extend maturities by seven years. Proposals to buy back Greek bonds and retire them have also been floated.

In a buy-back, the euro zone’s bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, might buy Greek bonds from the market, or the EFSF might lend Greece money to buy bonds. However, these schemes would require further changes to the EFSF’s rules and would therefore have to go through national parliaments, an official source said.

SQUARE ONE

A senior euro zone official told Reuters on Friday that rather than progress being made in the talks with the IIF, as IIF managing director Charles Dallara has said, all sides were close to being “back to square one.”

Dallara will attend the meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Brussels on Monday.

Since the euro zone’s debt crisis erupted last year, the region’s rich governments have aimed to limit it to Greece, Ireland and Portugal, which have so far signed up to bailouts totaling 273 billion euros — a sum that is small compared to the financial resources of the zone as a whole.

Spain, traditionally seen as the next potential domino in the crisis, has managed to retain its access to market funding through fiscal reforms. But because of the large sizes of the Spanish and Italian economies, pressure on the euro zone would increase dramatically if those countries eventually needed financial assistance.

Private analysts have estimated a three-year bailout of Spain, based on its projected gross issuance of medium- and long-term debt in 2011, might cost some 300 billion euros — excluding any additional money for cleaning up Spain’s banks. A three-year rescue of Italy could cost twice that.

German newspaper Die Welt quoted an unnamed ECB source as saying on Sunday that the EFSF, which has a nominal size of 440 billion euros, was not large enough to protect Italy because it had not been designed to do that.

In Italy on Sunday, politicians and government officials scrambled to present a united front and defend Tremonti. Umberto Bossi, the powerful leader of Berlusconi’s Northern League coalition allies, praised Tremonti for “listening to the markets.”

“From tomorrow, we have the job of showing we are united and blocking the effort of speculators,” said Paolo Bonaiuti, a government undersecretary and senior aide to Berlusconi.

“In the coming months we have 120-130 billion euros of bond issues to deal with, so we need cohesion and united intent; it’ll take effort to show that the markets are overdoing it.”

However, Berlusconi himself was silent over the weekend and canceled two appointments to speak, and it was not clear how long the appearance of consensus in the government over austerity plans would last.

One factor behind bond markets’ growing instability is a sense that the euro zone’s basic strategy for dealing with debt problems — keeping countries afloat with emergency loans in the hope they can grow their way out of their debts within a few years — is flawed. More radical action to cut the countries’ debts or boost economic growth may be needed.

In Germany on Sunday, President Christian Wulff said Greece would need a lot longer to resolve its debt problems than many people in Europe were now acknowledging.

Wulff, a former leader in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats and now Germany’s ceremonial head of state, told ZDF television there was a need for “an overall concept” for resolving Europe’s debt crisis.

“It can’t be something that will suffice for a three-month period but rather has to offer solutions to the problem that will cover the next 10 to 15 years,” Wulff said.

Reaping What Bretton Woods Has Sown

The International Forecaster
April 2, 2011

The seeds of today’s monetary problems were laid at Bretton Woods, NH in 1944, as a combination of socialists, communists and fascists laid the groundwork for the IMF, the World Bank and the eventual elimination of gold from the monetary world. The Federal Reserve’s role was to bring that about from behind the scenes.

In the intervening years in order to move toward those goals the banking system run by the privately run Federal Reserve, allowed banks, some of which were run by the owners of the Fed, such as JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, were allowed to run rough shod over the system, always knowing they would be bailed out by the public. These banks have had and continue to have a license to steal under the illegal Federal Reserve Act. Over and over again these banks, Wall Street, insurance companies and transnational corporations have been bailed out of their speculations under the aegis of too big to fail. The excuse has always been that it must be done to protect the public. These entities got to keep the gains and the public got to share in the losses. The public and 95% of those working on Wall Street and banking didn’t have a clue to what was really going on. The Fed and other major central banks were not only playing this Fed game domestically, but internationally as well. Over those years the Fed had been designated the lender of last resort. We saw them in action over the last 3-1/2 years during what was termed the credit crisis. The Fed’s job was to bail out not only the US banking system rent asunder by bank speculation in the mortgage market, but to also bail out the buyers of such mortgages, known as MBS and CDOs, sold to British and European banks and other financial entities, which had purchased 60% of the toxic waste. If you notice not one of these lenders or buyers ever filed a civil or criminal suit against these purveyors of what has become to be known as toxic waste. We can only speculate, but we believe the dumping ground for this mortgage garbage was preset and that some of the buyers if not all were guaranteed by the Fed that if problems arose they would be bailed out and one way or another made whole. The Fed attempted to hide what they were doing and a lawsuit has finally forced them to divulge, who received funds created by the Fed, some $13.8 trillion, why and what collateral was accepted for such loans and have such loans been repaid. Another program called TARP was set up by the Treasury to bail out Wall Street, banking and transnational conglomerates all involved in this tight little circle of anointed corporations. This bailout program was accomplished by Treasury Secretary Paulson. He told Congress if the funds were not forthcoming for the insiders to bail themselves out via speculation based on inside information, then he would see to it that the financial system was brought down and destroyed. The high-handed ruse or extortion worked and these miscreants received their funds from the public Treasury, as well as from the Fed.

Gold backing for the US dollar was part of the result of the conference at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods in that July of 1944. We have to interject here that in 1946 or 1947 I climbed Mt. Washington and once I reached the hotel it started snowing. Yes, snowing in August. The group of us from the camp quickly raced back down through the forest to better climes, which the snow failed to reach. Thus, 2 or 3 years after that historic meeting, I briefly visited that hotel, of course, not knowing what had taken place there.

 

George Soros, one of the world's strongest pushers for Global Financial and Economic consolidation.

This UN Monetary and Financial Conference, which included the International Bank for Reconstruction & Development, which became the World Bank, which was to make loans to the rubble that was to be Europe in 1945, and to which those economies, promote monetary cooperation and fix exchange rates, and eventually to eliminate the use of gold, as the backing and basis for international currency exchange, replacing gold with a fiat paper standard controlled by the Federal Reserve. The discipline of gold was to eventually be phased out of the system, so that the fed could create money out of thin air. This would be a perpetual tax on Americans as their currency dropped in value versus gold over the years. Currencies would no longer be exchanged in terms of their gold value. This was called a gold exchange standard. The public could not exchange US notes or Federal Reserve notes for gold, but nations could. The value of currencies versus one another, all of which were backed by gold was set by supply and demand. If a nation created too much currency the value of their currency would fall versus gold and other currencies. This method of monetary policy had previously been set into law by the passage of the Federal Reserve Act. The concept was to eventually have a world bank that would create a fiat currency for all nations that would supersede all other currencies. That, of course, is still underway today as elitists strive for a one-world currency and a new-world order. These concepts were promulgated and put in place by well-known Fabian socialist John Maynard Keynes, who as we reflect back was the author of an economic system that was corporatists fascist and the then Treasury Secretary, Harry Dexter White, who was a communist. It took 27 years, and on August 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon removed the US dollar from the gold exchange standard. That is how the fiat dollar was generally planned and that is why we have non-gold Federal Reserve notes today, instead of a gold backed currency.

 

The elitists’ corporatist fascist model is not working very well. The Fed, the Bank of England and Western banks have serious problems and throwing money at the problems is not working. Of course, do they want the solution to work? This depression they have deliberately created is not working the way they envisioned it would. In fact they are having trouble keeping it under control. We have just seen what is called a “black Swan” event. An earthquake, an untoward event, which ostensibly came from out of the blue. We’ll surmise that until we have empirical evidence that man did not create it. These are the kind of unplanned events that throw the elitist plans off kilter. It throws the direction of neo-liberal capitalism in several different directions. This is the system so prevalent in Europe, where profits are privatized and losses are socialized and become a debt that has to be paid by the people. This system, which we now have in America, keeps Wall Street and banking in power. This is accomplished by bailouts when the anointed corporations get themselves in trouble as we see in America today and in Europe as well. The state in our case by the privately owned Federal Reserve losses are monetized and appear in part in the form of higher inflation. It also comes in the form of public debt that has to be repaid by the taxpayer. Eventually the debt consumes the host.

As a result it is only a matter of time before the system unravels. The fractional banking system does not work and never has worked. The players who run the system know that. History is replete with instances of failure, which are well known to elitists. The collapse of the Lombard System in 1348, the year of the plague, and the collapse of the Hanseatic League in the early 1600s, are but two of scores of failures, most of which were deliberately planned. Fractional banking for those of you who do not know what it is, takes place when a lender lends more money than he can collateralize. The rule of thumb over the centuries has been to lend no more than eight times assets. Today that number is 40 times as assets. That is why most major western banks are broke. Any major untoward event could presently collapse the current system. In addition, some 10% of the basic assets of these banks are worthless. These banks are still in serious trouble in spite of receiving trillions of dollars in bailout funds of one kind or another. What happens when interest rates rise, which they must? The banks will be in trouble, as inflation rages. If that wasn’t bad enough contagion could also affect the banking system. That is when one bank borrows from another and then cannot get their funds back. That happened 3-1/2 years ago and the Fed stepped in and secretly guaranteed deposits. In this process of saving Wall Street and banking the public is put at enormous risk, which is a pattern used over and over again over the centuries.

These events naturally lead us to the dollar, which for months has had little sustainable strength either fundamental or technical. The run to 89 on the USDX ended in failure, and the recent strength at and near 75 was tepid at best. The recent intervention by the G-7 to weaken the yen, which has moved from 76 to 83, was really a backhanded attempt to stage a dollar rally, especially when you consider the absorption of Japanese Treasury sales, which is really what the exercise was all about. Needless to say, the NYC elitists needed the Japanese problem like they needed a hole in the head. The baggage the US dollar has is overwhelming. The government is being 70% to 80% financed by the Fed, which creates money and credit out of thin air. The federal deficit for the fiscal year will be $1.7 trillion. The US has two occupations and two ongoing wars costing billions of dollars a month. Municipalities and states are in dire financial straights and the economy would collapse without quantitative easing and stimulus. A rather sad state of affairs. Incidentally, we called the recent bottom on the dollar, but more importantly, we called the top at 89. Dollar and Treasury bond weakness will be exacerbated by the Middle East and North African revolutions and the ultimate result will be the demise of the petro dollar, which has always been the underlying strength to the dollar. The US, UK and France guaranteed safety for the oil producers, they denominated oil in US dollars, and they deposited their profits in NYC, London and Paris for management. The policy may well be at an end. If so that will be the end of regional purchases of US T-bonds. Thus, the loss of Chinese, Japanese and Gulf purchases will cancel out 70% of US Treasury purchases. These events could very well lead to the collapse of the Treasury bond market essentially leaving only the Fed as a buyer. As we predicted months ago the second half of 2011 will bring an implosion of US Federal debt, municipal and state debt, British debt and a collapse in EU debt and the beginning of the end for the euro. Along with 14% inflation gold and silver will rocket upwards.

The latest insult to American consciousness is a proposed cut in the budget deficit of $33 billion. That isn’t even cosmetic. In a budget with a $1.7 trillion deficit that isn’t even chump change. Can you imagine what the rest of the world is thinking? Try to sell treasuries under those conditions? The House is totally out of touch with reality. It takes its orders from Wall Street and banking. That has never been more obvious.

Hundreds of municipalities will fail in 2011 as well as some states. Austerity will continue for the average American citizen. That means GDP will fall from 70% by consumers to 68.5% with more bad news to come next year. All of these events have already, as displayed recently, begun to end the safe-haven status of the US dollar. Not only will the dollar be under pressure, but also so will the sale of Treasuries. It is possible the dollar could go to 65 on the USDX and the Treasury market could collapse. The plight of the dollar has not gone unnoticed. In 2001, the dollar’s share of official global foreign-reserves was 71.5%. At the end of 2010 it was 61.3%. Those moves do not instill confidence in the dollar.

We have contended for a year that a major meeting will be held with all countries attending to revalue and devalue currencies each against one another, there would be a multilateral default of some kind and a new devalued international world reserve currency backed by gold. That new currency could be the dollar. The status of old debt would be clear. How domestic debt would be handled remains to be seen. The collateralized gold backing would be today $6,000 and silver perhaps $300. The problem is that is now. The figures a year or two from now could be $8,000 and $400, who knows? All we know is the trend is clear.

The Big Tarp Lie: Banks haven’t Paid Back Loans

Dylan Ratigan