Central Bank Ruin: Origins

by Jim Willie CB
BeforeItsNews
December 27, 2011

Use the above link to subscribe to the paid research reports, which include coverage of critically important factors at work during the ongoing panicky attempt to sustain an unsustainable system burdened by numerous imbalances aggravated by global village forces. An historically unprecedented mess has been created by compromised central bankers and inept economic advisors, whose interference has irreversibly altered and damaged the world financial system, urgently pushed after the removed anchor of money to gold. Analysis features Gold, Crude Oil, USDollar, Treasury bonds, and inter-market dynamics with the US Economy and US Federal Reserve monetary policy.

Central banks are the current sovereign debt market. It is a vacated market. They are the majority bidders via debt monetization. The monetary inflation has become the New Normal and a travesty. In perverse fashion, the financial markets celebrate the monetized purchases, even calling for higher volume. In the process, bond and stock market integrity has been destroyed. Foreign creditors depart the USTreasury Bond market. Large European banks depart the Southern Europe sovereign debt market. Central banks step in to avert panic as the underlying structure to the global monetary system crumbles. When government bond yields rose quickly in Europe, it was not from abandonment by their central bank. The big Euro banks sell boatloads of bonds while the EuroCB buys only truckloads. The bond market integrity has been deteriorating very quickly. The dependence upon the debt monetization process is vividly clear. It is hyper monetary inflation to fill the void, thus providing the dominant bid. Ironically, the dullard stock market mavens celebrate the arrival of the central bank purchases without truly comprehending the destroyed integrity of the bond market. IQ levels are falling along with stock index levels.

NEXT GROUND ZERO IS ITALY

Upcoming budget impasses and bank failures will break the European Union wide open. A perceived temporary patchjob solution in Europe has been delineated. More of the same will accomplish nothing. A march toward a federation is apparent, despite the desire for decentralization. A motive to force a system failure is at work to create the federal structure. Recent appointments prove the point. Again Goldman Sachs knights arrive to the rescue in secret appointments. They earn the title technocrats, but crowds reject them as unelected leaders. Ignore the term Technocrat given both to Monti and the newly installed Mario Draghi at the Euro Central Bank. They are Syndicate loyalists.

Howard Davies is former director London School of Economics, and former deputy director at the Bank of England. He calls for 1) fiscal federation with a unified central bank, 2) broad purchases of sovereign bonds, and 3) unlimited liquidity provided by the Euro Central Bank. The prescription is stark and clear for hyper monetary inflation, the central bank serving as the entire government bond market, and the installation of a federation across Europe. The last 12 years have proved without a doubt that a unified Europe is a disaster in a bottle, whose cables and levers eventually break under the pressure of grand differences and the passage of time.

The raging crisis in Italy festers as it turns to a boil. Italy will serve as the agent of contagion, next to France and Spain. No solution is possible, as the summits are futile. Italy will expose the Euro Central Bank as both powerless and ruined. The focus has shifted away from Greece and squarely on Italy as the center of chaos in Southern Europe. Once more the meter for disorder is the benchmark 10-year Italian Govt Bond yield. It has surged toward the critical 7.0% mark as investors cast bond market votes against the policy in Rome and the upcoming austerity measures to be pushed through. Such level is regarded as unsustainable, given the massive Italian debts. Worker strikes have made vividly clear that Uber Leader Mario Monti will not succeed in large budget cuts without consequences. Striking Italian metal workers in Turin are shown in the photo. The biggest Italian unions (ports, highways, truckers, banks) went on strike. They oppose measures as painful hits pensioners and workers, leaving the wealthy untouched. Numerous big Italian banks are on the verge of failure. Neighboring France faces scrutiny of the bank asset feces. Markets brace for an expected debt downgrade to remove its coveted and undeserved AAA rating by Standard & Poors.

Syndicate appointed (not elected) Prime Minister Mario Monti believes Italy risks a Greek-style economic collapse without approval of the hotly debated austerity package. Italy stands as the third largest economy in the EuroZone, whose borrowing costs began to approach the levels that forced Ireland, Greece, and Portugal to seek an international bailouts. The controversial package has the support of the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD). It is designed by Monti to save Italy. The decree plans to raise more than 10 billion Euros (=US$13.4 bn) from a property tax, impose a new levy on luxury items like yachts, raise the Value Added Tax, crack down on tax evasion, and increase the pension age. Monti supports the French and German calls for tighter controls on national budgets. He said, “If Italy were not capable of reversing the negative spiral of growth in debt and restoring confidence to international markets, there would be dramatic consequences, which could go as far as putting the survival of the common currency at risk. Italy is ready to do what it has to do but Europe must not fail to do its part. Without this package, we think that Italy would have collapsed, that Italy would go into a situation similar to that of Greece. It would be perfectly understandable that the European Commission should have the same enforcement powers in the area of budgets that it has in the area of competition.” He describes loosely a federation, where Goldman Sachs sits in the thrones of Europe, in a quasi debt failure receivership role. Unfortunately, the pressure on the Euro Central Bank to purchase Italian, Spanish, and Greek Govt Bonds has put its balance sheet in total ruins. It is the buyer of last resort for fast falling toxic bonds. The only central bank more ruined is the US Federal Reserve.

Felix Zulauf, the former hedge fund manager and asset manager, has very strong European knowledge and experience, a very sharp eye. He expects a depression to hit Southern Europe, and for one nation to exit the Euro Monetary Union next year. The process has no rules. The day after exit, the nation will suffer ruin of their banking system, forcing a rapid nationalization in a reverted currency. The end result will be a sovereign debt default and pure chaos across the continent. The coming depression will lay waste to the USDollar, the British Pound, and probably the Yen too. All fiat currencies will endure a powerful stress test, but based in reality, not a charade. As soon as any group of big Euro banks enter a failure and bust, the cascade of contagion will act like a fast moving virus to destroy many Western banks. We will then see a repeat of history with 20 Lehmans in bank failures, if not sooner.

CENTRAL BANKS AVERTED BANK FAILURES

The Euro Central Bank averted 10 to 20 Lehmans with the extended Dollar Swap Facility provided by the USFed. Money is almost free. The volume of money grants is enormous, likely never repaid. Witness the effect of the central banks showing reluctance to enter into bond purchases. The system breaks down in powerful manner. The European Central Bank said demand for three-month US$-based loans surged after it announced a broader Dollar Swap Facility for European usage. The USFed cut the cost of the financing from an ultra-low 1.0% to an almost free 0.5% rate. The USFed discount window was made cheaper for foreign banks than US banks (who pay 75 basis points), an indication of the destruction. Rumors persist that a cool $1 trillion has been made available. Five other central banks participated in the coordinated move which included the Bank of Japan. The Frankfurt-based EuroCB immediately made loans for $50.7 billion to 34 big teetering Euro banks on December 1st, the terms for 84 days at a fixed rate of 0.59 percent. That compares with the $395 million lent in the last three-month offering on November 9th at a 1.09% rate. The EuroCB also lent five banks $1.6 billion in regular weekly dollar operation on a single day as December opened, up from $352 million the previous week. The borrowing done at the Discount Window catapulted by 127-fold, from a paltry $395 million to $50.7 billion in a sudden move.

The public will not be informed of which banks tapped the credit line, more like a slush fund. They claim they do not wish to put the bank at risk of unwarranted attack. My view is the attack would be to put the proper value on the bank, ZERO. My sources tell that one major French bank was on the verge of failure, probably Societe Generale. Another source of bank and gold information was very clear in telling that the USFed acted reluctantly and forcefully, in order to avert a major catastrophe. He described a situation where several big Euro banks (the usual suspects in France, Spain, and Italy) were on the verge of failure. The USFed was appealed to by the EuroCB so as to prevent an estimated 20 Lehmans from occurring overnight, as in multiple bank failures from a flash event. He went on to mention that a flash event is inevitable, which the central bankers are powerless to stop. It will come in time, with an unknown trigger event that lights a fuse. Each new $trillion credit line buys less time and covers fewer obligations.

The Wall Street banks filled a void in providing liquidity in USDollar denomination to the big European banks. In doing so, the New York banks have tied themselves with a lethal financial tether to Europe. The London banks had already been connected. The connection lies in the shadowy derivative market. It used to be kept in the shadows since the contracts provided the majority of bank profit, and even supported the artificial rates in the bond market to a great extent. Now the derivative market is kept in the shadows because the big banks are mutually destroyed by insurance awards after failures. A little publicized trend was put into effect in the middle months of 2011. The big Wall Street banks filled a void. The inter-bank lending in Europe came to a halt in response to the sovereign debt crisis, a euphemism for the Southern European Govt bond market collapse. The big US banks offered a lifeline in the form of leveraged liquidity based upon unregulated derivatives whose notional value is in the $trillions. In doing so, the Anglo banks created a mutual risk factor in the umbilical cord of shadowy structures. If a handful of big European banks go bust, the contagion will be felt instantly (as in overnight) in New York and London. To claim that the US is insulated from Europe is nonsense. To claim that the European distress makes the US more attractive is patently false. Fifty major financial firms are tied around the necks with a common thick rope, weighed down by insolvency, going down together. Matters are so bad in Europe, that most banks have shut down the inter-bank lending, thus isolating the weakest. Huge funds placed at the Euro Central Bank signal the failures. The big European banks are soon to fail. They distrust each other.

THE GREAT GOLD PRICE DIVERGENCE

The Gold market has gone into the Twilight Zone. The ruin of the European banking system, dragged down by toxic sovereign debt, has made the big Euro banks desperate. They are tapping into the virtually unlimited Dollar Swap Facility, using borrowed money to lease gold. The Powerz have made the lease rate negative in order to attract borrowers. The supply has come from both Libya and Greece. These corrupted bankers require more gold, thus more wars and more victim nations. The system has turned to extreme abuse in order to keep a lid on the gold price, or better yet, to avert a string of Lehman-type financial firm failures in Europe. In the process, a Jackass forecast has begun to come to pass. The paper gold price (dictated by the bizarre COMEX market) is diverging from the physical gold price (determined by actual large private purchases). In late November, a great reliable global gold trader source assured that despite a posted $1740 gold price, the true physical price paid for large gold bullion purchases in the private market was more like $1950 per ounce!! That is a $200 price divergence, or 12% higher. The COMEX has been drained of gold inventory. The MF Global event was motivated by the desire to avoid meeting delivery notices. Instead, JPMorgan stole the accounts demanding delivery, a neat trick fully permitted by the Syndicate that controls the USGovt, the US regulatory bodies, and the US law enforcement. The lawsuits will be full of drama and intrigue. The integrity of the US financial system has been exposed, this time in full glory that even financial news anchors cannot deny.

Here is the smoking gun. Days after the MF Global bankruptcy was filed, and a vast array of deliveries in silver were expunged. The silver vault inventory tells the story of the crime. JPMorgan simply converted what should have been MF Global client silver into JPM licensed vaults. Review the timeline. MF Global declared bankruptcy on October 31st. About a week later the CME began reporting that 1.4 million ounces of Registered silver was unaccounted for and unavailable for delivery, including 627,182 ounces from non-cartel banks. About 7 to 10 days afterwards, JPMorgan suddenly reported a deposit of 613,738 ounces into Eligible vaults. Exactly seven days later, JPMorgan adjusted this silver into Registered vaults. JPMorgan had not seen one significant silver deposit in months prior to this bountiful day. Great work on the part of the Silver Doctors to decipher the story. The charade continues before the USCongress. They are told of claims that investigators are searching avidly for the missing funds. They know where the funds are, in JPMorgan London accounts. They told us they were avidly looking for Madoff Funds too. They know where those funds are too, in the Land of Yodels. Reckoning is coming.

Big bank failures are coming. Unspeakable debt monetization is coming. Flash events are coming. More vanishing acts for private accounts are coming. Divergence in the gold price is coming that will shut down the COMEX altogether during a parade of lawsuits, but probably not prosecution. National debt defaults are coming. The new 2012 year will prove to be a tumultuous year, will chaos reigning and the global monetary system laid to waste. Gold will soar, probably not for the leverage addicts who choose to play in the rigged corrupted futures contract arena, the chronic victims of fraud. If lucky, their accounts will not vanish, possibly stolen. The wise who will survive and thrive will snag the physical gold offered at attractive artificially low price. Large purchases are not available at the current posted paper price.

DESPERATELY SEEKING BULLION

The Powerz need more Libyas and Greeces. They tapped into 144 metric tons captured in London from the Libyan accounts and 111 metric tons seized from the Greek accounts. It is the bankers New Gold, as reported by intrepid Jeff Neilson. In a fresh sign of bankster desperation, the lease rates for gold have been pushed down to net negative levels. Contrast to the extraordinarily high premiums paid on gold purchases. Big European banks on the brink of ruin, the next Lehmans, are leasing gold in order to raise cash and stave off failure. It is simple math. The great enablers are the central banks. Cases exist of multiple sellers of the same gold bullion bars, a common trick made famous by the GLD exchange traded fund, the SPDR Gold (dis)Trust. All leasing is done without regulation, like the derivative market. Neilson concludes, “Here is where we come upon a seeming paradox with respect to the recent explosion of gold leasing. We know that the banksters have virtually run out of their own bullion, as the evidence is absolutely conclusive. The same Western central banks which were openly selling 500 tons of gold per year onto the market every year have now all totally ceased their gold sales. They have no more gold, or at least they had no more gold.” The Washington Accord guided official gold sales, a completed process. The physical gold price is diverging from the false paper price directed by the COMEX and guardians like JPMorgan. If truth be known, over 40 thousand tons of gold bullion has been leased and sold that does not exist. In the coming years, reconciliation will assist in sending the gold price much higher, toward $5000 per ounce. As time passes, more criminal actions will be visible in the open, like MF Global.

POLITICAL LEADERS TURN IRRELEVANT

Pointless meaningless exercise in futility is seen in the big European summit meetings. They are wasting their efforts, biding time, deceiving the public, and supporting the bankers in last ditch attempts to salvage what cannot be saved. The sovereign bond market is loaded with rollover interactive explosive devices that will continue to explode without relief. The politicians offer no solutions, as Merkel and Sarkozy are the only members meeting in public eye, yet neither has any power left. They meet and sign deals only to be contradicted and countermanded later by the bankers with power and court judges reciting law. The German leaders at the summit meetings are all for public show, even financial market management. None has any power left. None is involved in the new alliance. The informed observer need not follow what they decide upon anymore, because in 2 to 3 weeks their pact will all vaporize into nothingness. Markets are impressed for minutes and no more. Witness their last several accords, none of which endured. The movie keeps repeating like Ground Hog’s Day. They cannot solve the ultimate entrenched problem of toxic sovereign bonds within the PIIGS nations of Southern Europe. They have no tools in their medicine chest, only phony money and more debt, even silly new Uber-Bonds. They actively avoid putting their decisions to a public referendum vote, since the people would vote down any further bank welfare in the form of more bond redemptions or bailouts. No evidence of democracy can be seen. Politicians debate, dispute, then make accords, but their communiques are common graffiti.

The dirtiest secret is that France has already been tossed into the PIIGS pen by Germany, no invitation given to join them in the next chapter. Nothing is decided anymore in Paris without Berlin approval. Germany owns over 90% of French Govt debt. Absolute desperation is seen with the string of absurd vacant meetings held by two powerless figures, Angela Merkel of Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy of France. Merkel has zero political base, yet insists on conducting more meetings that lack enduring substance. Sarkozy attends the meetings but has been stripped of his privilege to cleave with Germany, rejected. The French are going through a flailing stage beset by convulsions on the political stage without proper identification by any geopolitical doctor. Their crippled president actually claimed publicly that loss of AAA rating for government debt would not be insurmountable. Within days, the extreme pressure placed upon one US rating agency caused a delay of the debt downgrade.

The key to Europe is the chain of explosive devices linked to France, Italy, and Spain. No solution exists. Rollover of their debt will exacerbate the crisis. The leaders are like witchdoctors presiding over a bonfire. The OECD has thrown some water on the faces with a forecast of government debt in industrialized nations, set to rise from $10.4 trillion to $10.5 trillion in the coming year. The prospect to finance the debt is perilous.

WALL STREET SUBTERFUGE IN NEW WEAPONS

Wall Street is reported to be sabotaging the Euro currency. They are using a Japanese Yen position front. They also rely upon debt rating agencies to sling key attack arrows. The belief is that what hurts the Euro currency will help the USDollar. Such shallow strategy. It will result in mutual destruction with gathering momentum, along with an unstoppable collapse of big banks in Europe, London, and the United States. A sordid story was reported by Zero Hedge last month about how the Wall Street villains had created short trades directed against the Euro currency and even the big European banks. They had created a complex network of positions designed to conceal their nefarious intentions. At the center was a funding mechanism from the Japanese Yen currency. The belief was that further damage and destruction in the European financial structure could be helpful in lifting the USDollar, or at least buying some more time. This is the very essence of the Competing Currency War and its mutually destructive tactics, so much so that analysts adroitly describe it as a race to the bottom in the protection of the export trade.

Joining the subterfuge are the US-based debt rating agencies. They have been dutiful in delivering painful debt downgrade banners to fly over both government debt and corporate debt across mostly Southern Europe. Theirs are non-stop financial assaults. The very same corrupted agencies were bought off from 2000 to 2007 with rosy undeserved AAA ratings on toxic bond securities sold by their Wall Street masters. A pretty cream topping on a pile of cow manure does not make the paddy delectable to eat. The USGovt debt downgrade was followed by an endless skein of European downgrades for banks and sovereign debt, the motive being to even the wrecked playing field, and make the US not so alone, subject to intense scrutiny. The USDollar has performed well since the Greek Govt Bond disaster spread to Italy, even spreading the stench to France. Some European leaders have openly complained that the US-based debt rating agencies are doing damage with motive, ignoring the rot in US banks.

HYPER INFLATION & THE FAILURE OF 0%

Hyper monetary inflation is the advantage almost entirely for the banker class. It is being used to prepare for domination in the next chapter. By directing largesse to Wall Street, and obstructing it to the Main Street, the Powerz believe they are winning the battle over inflation. But they have presided over a wicked rot instead, in addition to causing a class war. The eventual cost will be lethal inflation and a thrust inevitably into the Third World. The theory is simple enough. Prevent the massive flow of monetary largesse from reaching the main channels of the USEconomy. Keep the labor wages down, even if costs are rising universally. Direct the enormous sums of money into the banking sector to cover toxic bonds, to redeem preferred stocks, and to replenish funds for executive bonuses. Then claim success over inflation after falsifying the official CPI data. Furthermore, use public disclosure with all the fanfare concerning big relief packages like the TARP Funds to distract attention away from the truly mindboggling multi-$trillion grants at 0% never to be repaid by central banks and major financial allies. The above scenario is an over-simplified account that glosses over further illegal activity in the form of forged home foreclosure documents. The end result is a profound resentment that has sparked the primary roots of a class war, and the Occupy Wall Street movement. The bitter fruits are many, such as lost market integrity from chronic interventions, lost moral fabric from moral hazard swallowed whole, and a nation that undergoes systemic failure without relief or compassion. Any actual steps toward a legitimate solution are nowhere seen, like big bank liquidation, like home loan modification, like the return of industry from Asia. When any reconstruction begins, the ultimate cost must be paid by the stern hand of Economic Mother Nature, the effect to include a dynamo of price inflation, a powerful currency decline from global rejection, if not isolation and punishment.

The 0% monetary policy should be interpreted as a monetary failure. It forces an economic failure. Worse, it is a badge to represent failure, not a remedy from failure. It is a road sign on a dead end in a grotesque liquidity trap if monetary growth is halted, and hyper-inflation if continued. The United States is repeating the Japanese lost decade policy, but doing a better job of lying about the results. The United States has learned nothing from their lost decade. The US is much worse off than Japan. The US has no broad industrial base. It has no trade surplus. It has no self-contained federal debt. It has no long school season. It has no sense of responsibility when grand crimes are revealed. Jim Rickards has made the point in the speaking circuit that despite knowledge and awareness, the United State bank leaders are repeated the exact same monetary errors that Japan made. Adding liquidity to an insolvent system does not accomplish anything, but the US will do it over and over again without success. In fact, after the ineffective policy is evident, the US will double the effort in a glaring example of futility. Worse, as the US repeats the errors, it boasts of being superior, even as the official statistics are grotesque lies worthy of derision. The US protects the grand larceny perpetrators, the big banks. See JPMorgan and the MF Global case.

The 0% marquee is actually a tombstone epitaph, since the US cannot exit from its clutches. It will force the ruin of entire fortresses of capital. The wrong price of money assures that capital destruction. The USGovt cannot permit a rise from 0% in capital cost, since it is running $1.5 trillion annual deficits. Normal cost of money would result in hundreds of $billions in higher debt service costs. The United States is trapped by 0%, not stimulated by it. As time passes, more capital will be retired, more speculation will be the norm, and healthy capital formation will become a mirage. The system will hurtle toward systemic failure.

The USGovt debt ratio is about to reach 100%. The once powerful beacon of freedom and juggernaut of financial prowess looks like yet another PIIGS nation. The debt monetization is orders of magnitude greater than admitted, part of the policy landscape, a QE To Infinity. More debt downgrades are coming. In early 2009 the US populace was told that the USGovt budget deficit would return under $1 billion. It did not. According to the Jackass forecast, it zoomed up to $1.5 trillion and stayed there for consecutive years. The deficits persist chronically without remedy in the $1500 billion range annually, a staggering 43% ratio of the total budget. The other debt ratio is the cumulative debt versus the USEconomic size as measured by the Gross Domestic Product. The United States Govt is soon to hit the 100% debt mark versus GDP. The pair of debt ratios is typical of PIIGS nations in deep trouble. The profound risk to the US financial system is masked by the USFed activity. They are monetizing 10 times as much as they admit, and the Quantitative Easing programs never were interrupted. The Operation Twist was a grand deception to conceal coverage of what foreign central banks wished to dump. Look for another debt downgrade of the USGovt in coming months, after the Q4 shows a ripe $1 trillion in added deficits.

Compare to Canada which has a mere 34.9% total debt burden versus its GDP, a much stronger financial situation. The nation in the Great White North could have been a powerhouse leader with a huge sovereign wealth fund like Norway, except they followed the Goldman Sachs path to the fields of corruption and fealty, selling almost all their gold in a grand Wall Street game that even Switzerland joined. Then Canada followed the Bush Doctrine of fascism, embracing the war footing, sending soldiers to support the narco war, and tightening the security vise. Next they will become a Chinese commercial colony, a better fate than the US to be sure.

THE HAT TRICK LETTER PROFITS IN THE CURRENT CRISIS.

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Jim Willie CB is a statistical analyst in marketing research and retail forecasting. He holds a PhD in Statistics. His career has stretched over 25 years. He aspires to thrive in the financial editor world, unencumbered by the limitations of economic credentials. Visit his free website to find articles from topflight authors at www.GoldenJackass.com . For personal questions about subscriptions, contact him at JimWillieCB@aol.com

The Fed Distorts The Economy With Inflation

by Bob Chapman
International Forecaster
March 5, 2011

The Federal Reserve tells us we need inflation to overcome the overhang created by debt and its inflationary aspects. The inflation does not create jobs – it just distorts prices upward. We are told by the head of the Fed, Mr. Bernanke, that he can end inflation when he thinks it is necessary. That is not true, because if inflation ends deflation takes command and the economy collapses. There is no finely honed instrument for turning these two opposite effects on and off; thus, inflationary instruments have to be blunt and overused. That means more often than not that inflation is over implemented. This is the opposite of the Fed’s mandate of promoting price stability, full employment and in fact is used to prop up the banking system. Over the past three plus years the Fed has been attempting to assist the banks in getting rid of bad assets and these efforts may last for another fifty years. These banks hold more bad assets then they have ever held before. These problem assets are the result of excessive lending and speculation between 2003 and 2008, and low interest rates that lasted far too long.

The quality and existence were recognized in the credit crisis that began in 2007. Most of these impaired assets are still on bank books, but the Bank of International Settlements, the FASB, the accounting agency and the government say it’s perfectly fine to keep two sets of books. If you did that in your business you’d end up in jail, but it is perfectly fine for the financial sector and transnational banks to do so. That is what QE1 was all about – bailing out the financial sector and other elitist corporations. These bad assets, that haven’t been sold to the Fed, are frozen on the balance sheets of these institutions, perhaps in perpetuity.

Fed created inflation raises the real value of assets artificially, so that these bad assets appear to be appreciating when in fact they are not. Toxic securities that are being held by banks, brokerage houses and others, that were worth $0.30 on the dollar, are now worth even less. All the inflation in the world won’t change the value of these assets. It may help interim earnings, but it won’t help in the long run. These policies won’t work long term. The interest on debt now and in the immediate future will be greater than revenues generated. At the same time $900 billion is a nonsense figure. When all is said and done the figure will be almost double that at $1.7 billion. QE1 will provide for 14% real inflation in 2011 and QE2 will provide 25% to 30% inflation in 2012. QE3 will give us hyperinflation. Monetization will be king.

The die has been cast and it is disturbing to see Mr. Bernanke lying to Congress. What will he tell them when he has to admit he created $1.7 trillion, which has been monetized into inflation and that he still holds official interest rates at just above zero, but real rates on the 10-year T-note went to 4-1/4 then 5-1/4? The American public is going to be stunned.

Again, the Fed and the US banking system are in a box and they cannot get out. If they were to officially raise interest rates it would lead to financial collapse. If they do not want to raise rates they could curtail QE2 and as a result the economy would collapse, just like Japan did so in 1992 and they have been in depression ever since. Either choice would send unemployment to a U6 level of 37.6% matching that of 1933. Worse yet, if the Fed’s commitments were marked to market you would find the Fed to be insolvent, a condition that has existed for some time. It is not surprising that the Fed and its banker owners don’t want the Fed audited and investigated. Any sale of bonds by the Fed would drive bonds lower and yields higher putting downward pressure on the economy. Much of what the Fed is holding is MBS and CDO’s from QE1, when they bailed out lenders and select transnational conglomerates and insurance companies.

Such actions would render the Fed officially insolvent, which in fact they are already. Just to show you how terse the situation is their capital is about $60 billion and they have about $3 trillion on the balance sheet. Now you can understand why real interest rates have to be held low. The stock and bond markets have to be held up artificially so that the Fed’s balance sheet won’t collapse. What many do not understand is that almost all of what is on the Fed balance sheet has been created out of thin air and monetized. Part of that hot money and credit has offset the deflationary undertow; part is exported in dollar foreign balances and the rest of the inflation pass into the economy. This is the beginning of out of control inflation and the Fed is well aware of it. They quite frankly are not concerned that people lose their life savings. They only care about saving the financial sector, which owns the Fed, the government and transnational conglomerates.

Inflation will not stimulate the economy. It will hinder it and not create jobs, which is already evident. It is all lies, smoke and mirrors and psywar.

QE1 and QE2 have spread across the world exporting part of US inflation. This inflation gets stronger daily enveloping the financial world. Food prices have gone ballistic and in countries where food makes up 75% of income the result has been the overthrow of one government after another. Even the price of your clothes is going to triple. The cause of these problems lies with central banks and banks that control them in Europe and the US. It is just one giant fraud like too big to fail. There will be no recovery only continual efforts to sustain the criminal enterprise.

As inflation climbs, unemployment will grow and wages will remain stagnant so that the anointed can continue to accumulate wealth. The beneficiaries will as usual be the elitist connected corporations, all those crooks who do not go to jail. Soon profits for smaller and medium sized companies will diminish as they are forced to absorb part of price inflation. Needless to say, there will be no hiring.

People worldwide see the dilemma of the US, UK and Europe and that in part is why you are seeing turmoil that has had its beginnings in North Africa and the Middle East, not that the US, UK and Europe were involved in the uprisings, but the catalyst had been in place as well. The reason for change is higher food prices. The world public is tired of tyrants and governments that refuse to answer the needs of the people. Again, part of the reason for change is the discovery that these dictators and those who control governments have to be dispensed with. You might say, as Saudi Arabia goes, so goes the Middle East and North Africa. If the so-called monarchy falls in Saudi Arabia the entire region is up for grabs. That would spell the end of the petro dollar, which would signal the demise of the dollar. That is something to be aware of and to contemplate.

As you know, historically when you have bad episodes such as those we are seeing in North Africa and the Middle East that the dollar has rallied strongly. Not this time. The dollar is falling not only against the six major currencies, but also versus gold and silver. We could be headed toward a test of 71.18 soon on the USDX. That makes US imports more expensive and exports cheaper, which would cause a balance of payments surplus. The downward dollar pressure would continue though, because the $1.6 trillion deficits would continue. We believe as history is evaluated Ben Bernanke as well as Alan Greenspan will be found to be totally incompetent. Today we have price and monetary inflation that are terrible. Eventually as the economy and coming hyperinflation becomes manifest we will then see a fall we have all been anticipating for years into deflationary depression.

After three attempts to rally past 82 the dollar in the USDX has faltered again, this time to 76.48. There is technical support at 76 and fundamental support at 74 and 71.18. Current weakness is systemic, but it is being aided by QE2 and stimulus 2.

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The Cycle of Debt Deflation

Before It’s News

One of the most famous quotations of Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises is that “There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency involved.” In fact, the US economy is in a downward spiral of debt deflation despite the bold actions of the federal government and of the US Federal Reserve taken in response to the financial crisis that began in 2008 and the associated recession. Although the vicious circle of debt deflation is not widely recognized, precisely what von Mises described is happening before our eyes.

A variety of positive economic data has been reported in recent months. Retail sales rose 0.4% in April 2010 as consumer spending rose and the US gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a rate of 3%.  In May 2010, home sales rose to a five-month high and consumer confidence rose 17% (from 57.7 to 63.3). Industrial production rose 0.8% and durable goods orders rose 2.9%, more than had been forecast. However, the modest gains reported represent the continuing adaptation of economic activity at dramatically lower levels compared to the pre-recession period and most of the reported gains have been substantially manufactured by massive government deficit spending.

Despite the widely reported green shoots, in May, the unemployment rate rose to 9.9% while paychecks in the private sector shrank to historic lows as a percentage of personal income, and personal bankruptcies rose. Roughly 14% of US mortgages are delinquent or in foreclosure, credit card defaults are rising and consumer spending hit 7 month lows. To make matters worse, the reported increase in consumer credit, in fact, points to a further deterioration because consumers appear to be borrowing to service existing debt. Outside of the federal government, which is borrowing at record levels and expanding as a percentage of GDP, and outside of the bailed out financial sector, debt deflation has continued unabated since 2008.

Money Supply vs. Debt Service

A contraction of the broad money supply is taking place because the influx of money into the US economy, i.e., lending to consumers and non financial businesses, has fallen below the rate at which money is flowing out of general circulation as a function of debt service (interest and principle payments on existing debt), thus a net drain of money from the broad US economy is taking place. As a result, additional borrowing, as consumer spending falls, appears to be servicing existing debt in a pattern that is clearly unsustainable and that signals a further rise in debt defaults in coming months.
M3
The estimate of the broad money supply (the Federal Reserve’s M3 monetary aggregate) is crashing and the Federal Reserve’s M1 Money Multiplier, a measure of how much new money is created through lending activity, fell off of a cliff in 2008, and remains practically flat-lined.
MULT
Chart courtesy of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
The contraction of the broad money supply points to a potential slowing of economic activity and indicates that consumers and non financial businesses will be less able to service existing debt. Despite easing somewhat in March 2010, credit card losses are expected to remain near 10% over the next year and mortgage delinquencies, are currently at a record highs, and these dismal predictions implicitly assume a stable or growing money supply.

A tsunami of eventual mortgage defaults seems to be building and loan modifications have been a failure thus far. There have been only a small number of permanent loan modifications (295,348) under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) in 2009, out of 3.3 million eligible (60 days delinquent) loans and more than half of modified loans default.

Mortgage Delinquencies and Foreclosures
Chart courtesy of Calculated Risk
Although it has been reported that American consumers are saving at a rate of 3.4%, the contraction of the broad money supply suggests savings liquidation. Given a contracting money supply, ongoing debt defaults and declining consumer spending, the increase in non-mortgage consumer loans indicates that consumers are borrowing where possible to consolidate debts, cover debt service, or borrowing to continue operating financially as their total debt grows, thus as they approach insolvency.
CONSUMER
Chart courtesy of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
The increase in non-mortgage consumer loans has not prevented an overall decline in total household debt attributed to ongoing deleveraging by consumers. While deleveraging (paying down debt) has been interpreted as caution on the part of consumers, or as low consumer confidence, the decline in outstanding credit reflects a reduced ability to borrow, i.e., to service additional debt. This suggests that the recovery of the US economy may be illusory and that the economy is likely to contract further in coming months.
CMDEBT
Chart courtesy of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Commercial borrowing has declined more sharply than household debt suggesting that the nominal return to growth estimated at 3% has not been matched by debt financed expansion in the private sector.
BUSLOANS
Chart courtesy of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
The broad US money supply is no longer being maintained or expanded by normal lending activity. If federal government deficit spending ($1.5 trillion annually), debt monetization and emergency actions by the Federal Reserve (totaling an estimated $1.5 trillion since 2008) to recapitalize banks are considered separately, there remains a net drain effect on the broad money supply. The scarcity of money hampers economic activity, i.e., money is less available for investment, and directly exacerbates debt defaults as consumers and businesses experience cash shortfalls, while at the same time being less able to borrow. Since unemployment is a key indicator of recession, then if the US economy were contracting, it would be evident in unemployment statistics.

Structural Unemployment

Unemployment and labor force data suggest that the US labor market is in a structural decline, i.e., millions of jobs have been and are being permanently eliminated, perhaps as a long term consequence of off-shoring, outsourcing to other countries and the ongoing de-industrialization of the United States. However, the immediate meaning of the term “structural” has to with the fact that jobs created or sustained during the unprecedented expansion of debt leading to the financial crisis that began in 2008, e.g., a substantial portion of service sector jobs created in the past two decades now appear not to be viable outside of a credit expansion.

Officially, the US unemployment rate rose to 9.9% in April 2010, which represents the percentage of workers claiming unemployment benefits. However, the total number of unemployed or underemployed persons, including so-called “discouraged workers” (Bureau of Labor Statistics U-6), rose to 17.1%Using the same methods that the BLS had used prior to the Clinton administration, U-6 would be approximately 22%, rather than the official 17.1% statistic.

U-6 Unemployment
With official U-6 unemployment of 17.1% and a workforce of 154.1 million there are roughly 26,197,000 people officially out of work. Using the pre-Clinton U-6 unemployment calculation of approximately 22%, there would be 33.9 million unemployed. If the average US household consists of 2.6 persons and if 33% of the unemployed are sole wage earners, then 55.5 million US citizens currently have no means of financial support (17.9% of the population).
Unemployment by Duration
Chart courtesy of Calculated Risk
While it has been reported that the labor force is shrinking, the characterization of workers permanently exiting the workforce by choice may be inaccurate. While a shrinking workforce could reflect demographic changes, the rate of change suggests that tens of millions of Americans are simply unemployed.
EMRATIO
Chart courtesy of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Setting aside the question of whether or not those “not in the workforce” are, in fact, permanently unemployed, the workforce, as a percentage of the total US population, is currently at 1970s levels. Since many more households today depend on two incomes to meet their obligations, compared to the 1970s, a marked drop in the percentage of the population in the workforce points to a decline in the labor market more significant than official unemployment statistics suggest. What is more important, however, is that structural unemployment suggests structural government deficits, e.g., unemployment benefits, welfare, food stamps, etc. Since more than 2/3 of US GDP (roughly 70%) consists of consumer spending, a sustainable recovery from recession seems improbable if unemployment is worsening or if the labor force is in a structural decline, since that would imply unsustainable government deficits, whether or not they are masked by nominal GDP gains thanks to economic stimulus measures.

Government and GDP Growth

The US federal government is a growing portion of GDP, thus reported GDP growth is largely a byproduct of government deficit spending and stimulus measures, i.e., reported GDP growth is unsustainable. Total government spending at the local, state and federal levels accounts for as much as 45% of GDP, thus nominal gains would be expected when government deficit spending increases. According to some measures, reported gains in GDP are a byproduct of relatively new statistical methods and, using earlier methods of calculation, GDP remains negative.
GDP
Government borrowing and spending may have offset declines in the private sector but only to a degree and only temporarily. The resulting growth in US public debt has an eventual mathematical limit: insolvency. Of course, the actual limit to US borrowing remains unknown. The continuing solvency of the US depends on the ability and willingness of governments, banks and investors around the world to lend to the US, which in turn depends on the tolerance of lenders for the US government’s profligacy and money printing by the Federal Reserve, e.g., quantitative easing and exchanging new cash for worthless bank assets. US Treasury bond auctions will fail if lenders conclude that a sufficiently large portion of their investment will be diluted into oblivion by proverbial money printing. In that event, the US dollar will surely plummet, despite deflationary pressures within the domestic US economy, and the cost of foreign goods, e.g., oil, will rise causing high inflation or triggering hyperinflation.
GFDEBTN
Chart courtesy of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
According to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the federal budget deficit increased from 3.1% of GDP in 2007 to 9.2% in 2010.  Rather than being the result of one-time expenses, such as temporary stimulus measures, much of the deficit represents permanent increases in government spending, e.g., due to the growing number of federal employees. If increased government spending is removed, GDP appears to be declining significantly.
GDP Minus Government Deficit Spending
Chart courtesy of Karl Denninger
Of course, sustainability has more to do with total debt than with deficit spending because a deficit assumes that there is an underlying capacity to service additional debt.

Unsustainable Debt

While asset prices have declined, e.g., real estate and equities, debt levels have remained high due to the federal government’s policy of preserving bank balance sheets, which had ballooned prior to the financial crisis to the point that overall debt in the US economy reached unsustainable levels.
Total Debt to GDP
Chart courtesy of Karl Denninger
The absolute debt to GDP ratio of the US economy peaked in 2007 when debt levels exceeded the ability of the economy to service debt from income based on production, even at low interest rates. Although US GDP began to decline prior to the advent of the global financial crisis, debt coverage had been in decline approximately since the 1970s, coincidentally, around the time that the US dollar was decoupled from gold.
Declining Debt Coverage from 1971 on
Chart courtesy of Karl Denninger
Government deficit spending cannot correct the situation because, for every dollar of new borrowing, the gain in GDP is negligible and some have argued that the US economy has passed the point of “debt saturation.”
Debt Saturation
Chart courtesy of Nathan A. Martin
In a growing economy, additional debt can result in a net gain in GDP because the money supply grows and economic activity is stimulated by transactions that flow through the economy as a result. The debt saturation hypothesis is that, as debt levels rise, additional debt has less impact on GDP until a point is reached where new debt causes GDP to decline, i.e., the capacity of the economy to service debt has been exceeded and, not only is it impossible for the economy to grow at a rate sufficient to service existing debt (since interest compounds), but economic activity actually declines further as a function of additional debt.

A Downward Spiral

The process of debt deflation is straightforward. New lending at levels that would maintain or expand the broad money supply is impossible for two reasons: (1) asset values and incomes have fallen and millions remain unemployed; and (2) debt levels remain excessive compared to GDP, i.e., real economic activity (outside of the government and financial services industry) cannot service additional debt. The inability to lend, actually the result of prior excess lending, results in a net drain of money from the economy. The drain effect, in turn, leads to further defaults as cash strapped consumers and businesses fail to service existing debt, and as debt defaults impact bank balance sheets, putting a damper on new lending and completing the cycle of debt deflation.

Keynesian economic policies, i.e., government deficit spending, are irrelevant vis-à-vis excessive debt levels in the economy and bailing out banks is not a solution since it cannot stop the deterioration of their balance sheets. The process is self-perpetuating and cannot be stopped by any government or monetary policy because it is not a matter of policy, but rather one of mathematics.

Since the presence of excess debt (beyond what can be supported by a stable GDP, or by sustainable GDP growth) impacts the broad money supply, efforts to preserve bank balance sheets, i.e., to keep otherwise bad loans on the books of banks at full value, will ultimately cause bank balance sheets to deteriorate more than they would have otherwise. The fact that US banks issued trillions in bad loans cannot be corrected by changing accounting rules, nor can the consequences be avoided by government deficit spending or by unlimited bailouts, and the problem cannot be papered over by dropping freshly printed money from helicopters flying over Wall Street. The major problems facing the US economy today—a tsunami or debt defaults, structural unemployment, massive government budget deficits, a contraction of the broad money supply outside of the federal government and the financial system, and a lack of sustainable growth—cannot be addressed as long as excess debt levels are maintained. As von Mises clearly understood, sound economic conditions cannot be restored unless and until the excess debt, which resulted from a boom brought about by credit expansion, is purged from the system. The alternative, and the current policy of the United States, is a downward spiral into a bottomless economic abyss.