How to Break Up with the Financial System

By DAISY LUTHER | ORGANIC PREPPER | MARCH 26, 2013

Breaking up is hard to do, especially when it is with a tracking service like a financial institution.

Sometimes you can make a clean break and other times you have to remain “just friends”.

The US government actually has a name for people who have no bank accounts – they call these folks “the unbanked”.  The FDIC defines the unbanked as “those without an account at a bank or other financial institution and are considered to be outside the mainstream for one reason or another.”  Another term is “the underbanked” – “people or businesses that have poor access to mainstream financial services normally offered by retail banks. The underbanked can be characterized by a strong reliance on non-traditional forms of finance and micro-finance often associated with disadvantaged and the poor, such as check cashers, loan sharks and pawnbrokers.

According to the government, the above scenarios are crisis situations which must be rectified for “your own good”.  There is legislation on the table in many states to set up banking facilities for the unbanked and underbanked.  The assumption is that most folks who do not deal with a bank are too poor to do so.  This could be true in many cases: high minimum balances, bad credit history, NSFs, and account fees can all preclude having a bank account for those in difficult financial straits.

However, the government has a couple more reasons to insist that everyone should have a bank account:

1.)   Ease of confiscation

We need only to look at the horrible situation in Cyprus to see how bank accounts are like all-you-can-steal-buffets for the powers that be.  A suggested theft TAX of up to 20% of the money in Cypriot bank accounts may be levied in order for the country to meet it’s staggering debts in the terms of the proposed EU bailout.  The banks of Cyprus are loaded with the money of residents and businesses of other countries that have used them as a tax haven.  The banks have been closed for several days and frantic customers are left to withdraw the maximum daily balances from ATM machines in an attempt to salvage what they can.  Many people fear the banks will never reopen their doors.

Think it can’t happen here?  I wonder if the people of Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Hungary, Argentina, Spain, and Portugal thought that too.

2.)  Surveillance

The second reason that “everyone should have access to banking services” is the digital trail that it leaves.  Every dime you receive and spend out of these accounts is part of an intricate system of surveillance.  When your money goes into a bank – any bank – Big Brother knows about it.  It’s a simple matter of compiling information via your social security number (or other federally- assigned number) to find out how much you make, how much you have, and where it comes from.  This can be used to prosecute you for tax purposes, to locate you through where your pay comes from, and to follow your personal money trail for a variety of different reasons.

It can also be used to track your spending – Big Brother can find out that you spent $2000 at a gun store, that you purchased online from a prepper supply website or that you bought some books with “questionable” content in order to paint you as a threat.

Unbanking

So, in this day and age, is it possible to get by completely without a bank account?

It’s tough.  Most work places prefer to pay through direct deposit.  Many landlords, mortgage companies and finance companies do business through direct debit.  You’re going to pay some steep fees if this is the route that you choose to go.  For some, it might be worth it, particularly if you only have a few transactions in a month.

Here are some places you can cash checks for a fee:

  • Check cashing depots
  • Some retailers like Walmart, 7-11, and some grocery stores (the number of these is dropping rapidly)
  • Pawn shops
  • The issuing bank will sometimes cash a check drawn from one of their accounts for a non-account holder
  • Some prepaid credit card accounts will accept a direct deposit (in my opinion, this is nearly as unsafe as having your money in a bank account)
  • Through a friend or family member’s account (also risky – for both you and the account holder)

Here are some ways you can pay bills without a bank account:

  • In person, with cash, cashier’s checks, or money orders
  • Through the mail, with cashier’s checks or money orders
  • Online, with prepaid credit cards
  • Through a kiosk using a prepaid credit card
  • At a check-cashing depot or retailer

Underbanking

Your next option is underbanking.  For some people this may be the most realistic way to break up with their bank – it’s the “just friends” version.  If you have a lot of transactions that go through your account every month, it isn’t necessarily practical to get rid of your account.  Keep in mind that all of the above methods of unbanking still have a component of financial tracking.  The checks and bills still have your personal information tied to them in most cases.

When you underbank, you still have an account.  Set this up with the lowest possible fee and the lowest possible required balance.  Shop around to find the best deal.  Consider a credit union or community bank instead of one of the big mega-banks.  They are slightly safer, emphasis on slightly.

Your paychecks from work can be directly deposited, which will make your employer happy.  Employers rarely want to do something outside the norm, and if everyone else gets their pay directly deposited, writing a check for you will make you stand out – the opposite of what you want to do.  As well, any other checks you receive, like refunds, tax returns, etc., can be processed through this account.

The goal here is to keep as little money as possible in this account.  Banks are no longer the safest place to keep your money, and the .00001% of interest you will accrue is just not worthwhile.

Immediately upon payday:

  • Pay all your bills online or through a kiosk out of this account – rent, utilities, credit card payments (hopefully you don’t have those)
  • Buy necessities like groceries if you need to reduce the amount in the account for withdrawal purposes
  • Calculate the amount of payments that will be coming out of your account between now and your next pay (rent/mortgage, car payment, insurance)
  • Remove all money except that required for impending debits and your minimum balance.  Get it in cash.

Avoid Financial Surveillance

The government wants everyone to have a bank account for another reason besides quick accessibility for the purpose of thievery.  Big Brother wants to know what you earn, what you spend, and where you spend it.  Every penny you spend could one day be used against you, as more and more things become illegal in the police state that is taking over the western world.

Use your bank account as little as possible if you’ve chosen to underbank:

  • Buy stuff with cash
  • Skip registering your belongings by serial number for warranty purposes
  • For heaven’s sakes, don’t get one of those “customer loyalty” cards that track every purchase you make and provide you with “rewards” or “points”
  • Buy from places that don’t track you, like yard sales, Craigslist, farmer’s markets, roadside stands, your brother’s friend’s sister’s boyfriend
  • Work for cash: this is another suggestion that won’t work for everybody, but if you can do some odd jobs for cash, even if you make slightly less money doing so, this is money that can’t be tracked.

Think about how your purchases tell a story about you that you might rather keep to yourself.  Are you buying lots of farm equipment, soil amendments and seeds?  Are you buying ammo every week?  Are you stocking away large quantities of food or medical supplies?  Have you recently purchased 2,347 books on different guerrilla warfare tactics?  OPSEC is more than just keeping your mouth shut about your prepperly ways.

Ditch the Dollar

Although you require some fiat currency to function in today’s society, as well as some in an emergency fund,  consider using other forms of currency whenever possible.  The following suggestions won’t work for everyone, but some folks may be able to ditch the dollar in the following ways:

  • Engage in the barter system: trade goods and services with like-minded people.
  • Keep precious metals like gold and silver in a fireproof safe for your “savings account”
  • Immediately convert  fiat currency into tangible goods: food, ammo, home defense items, tools, etc.
  • Work towards self-sufficiency – if you buy less, you can earn less: grow your food, repair your own home or vehicle, do things manually instead of using expensive equipment, lessen your dependency on the grid
  • Simplify – this goes hand in hand with self sufficiency: find your entertainment from library books and online resources, skip eating out, take a walk instead of joining a gym – the less you feel you need, the less money you will have to earn.

The decision to unbank or underbank is unique to every individual.  The further away you can get from “the system” the more privacy and security you will have.  The suggestions above are not meant to be comprehensive – they’re meant to get you thinking about how you can disengage.  As always, your suggestions in the comments can greatly benefit others!

American Corporate Executives Cash In as Austerity arrives for the Rest

By ANDRE DAMON | WSW | MARCH 22, 2013

As the US government prepares to furlough 1 million federal workers and slash hundreds of billions in social spending, corporate executives in the United States are receiving among the highest payouts in history. USA Today reported Thursday that at least ten CEOs took in $50 million apiece in 2012, largely as a result of cashing in stocks that have soared in value with the rising market. According to the newspaper, “Early 2013 proxy filings detailing 2012 compensation show a growing number of CEOs reaping $50 million or more, gains that could prove unmatched in breadth and size since the Internet IPO craze enriched tech company executives more than a decade ago.”

In its own analysis, the Wall Street Journal observed that executive pay has become ever more directly tied to stock values, noting that last year, more than half of compensation at major companies was tied to “stock or financial performance,” compared to 35 percent in 2009.

Among the top pay packages according to preliminary calculation is that of Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, which included stock options valued at $103.3 million this year, on top of $30 million in other compensation and stock, as well as $10.2 million in vested shares, according to USA Today.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally likewise took home $61 million by cashing in shares that vested last year, added to his compensation of $21 million. This payout was based on a sharp rise in the company’s profitability that has been made possible by downsizing and the slashing of wages for newly hired workers to $15 per hour. Mulally’s pay is more than 2,500 times that of a new auto worker.

Apple’s Tim Cook got $139.7 million from restricted shares that vested last year, while Oracle CEO Larry Ellison was granted $90 million in stock.

These payouts are only a sampling of the huge sums that the ruling class is handing itself. The stock market, inflated through $85 billion a month handed to the banks by the US Federal Reserve, is the central transmission belt for this enrichment.

The engorgement of the ruling class has been facilitated by the actions of the state, and in particular the Obama administration. After the financial collapse of 2008, facing widespread public outrage at executive compensation, the administration explicitly opposed any constraints on pay. “We don’t disparage wealth,” Obama said repeatedly. Proposals for CEO pay centered on encouraging companies to tie this pay more directly to “performance”—i.e., share values.

Even while the corporate CEOs and other members of the financial oligarchy rake in astronomical payouts, the constant refrain from the media and big business parties is that there is no money to pay for social spending, and that health care and retirement programs must be cut and workers’ incomes slashed.

Next month, as a result of $85 billion in “sequester” spending cuts, over 1 million federal government employees will begin scheduled furloughs, resulting in effective pay cuts of 20 to 35 percent. These furloughs come together with tens of billions in cuts to public education, anti-poverty programs, and unemployment insurance.

With both Democrats and Republicans acknowledging that the cuts will be permanent, the turn now is toward working out an agreement to slash hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The ultimate aim of the ruling elite is to dismantle everything that remains of the social safety net, plunging the working class into Dickensian poverty and social misery.

The argument that there is no money to pay for these programs is rendered absurd by the vast amounts of cash being handed out to executives or simply sitting around on corporate balance sheets. In 2012, the amount of cash held by US non-financial corporations rose by 10 percent, to $1.45 trillion, according to Moody’s. This figure is enough to pay for the sequester cuts 17 times over.

In fact, Apple, whose cash hoard rose to $137 billion, could itself pay for this year’s sequester cuts, with $50 billion to spare.

Loaded with cash and unwilling to invest, corporations have dramatically increased dividend payments to investors. The New York Times reported earlier this month that S&P 500 companies are expected to hand investors $300 billion in dividends this year, an increase over last year’s payout of $282 billion. American corporations bought back $117.8 billion in their own stock last month, the highest total on records going back to 1985.

The relationship of the American ruling class to the rest of society is a fundamentally parasitic one. Over the course of three decades, under conditions of economic decline, stock market speculation, rather than production, has become the central mechanism of wealth accumulation.

The 2008 crisis, far from reversing this process, has strengthened it. The ruling elite seized on the crisis to escalate the transfer of wealth. The soaring CEO pay and investor payouts on one hand, and vast social misery on the other, are in reality two sides of the same process.

The American ruling class proceeds with an almost shameless disregard for the consequences of its own actions. Amidst mass poverty and unemployment, as it dictates the most brutal austerity measures all around the world, the financial aristocracy engages in an uncontrollable orgy, propelled by its own social being.

Such actions, however, do not go unnoticed. They are producing within the United States an immense wellspring of social opposition that will take the form of working class struggle.

As Society Breaks Down, People Beg for Tyranny

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
August 11, 2011

It’s been at least 15 years since I heard calls for people to wake up because the greatest crisis in humanity’s existence was rapidly approaching. Today, as I watch video and photos from London, and previously from Syria, Egypt, the United States and Lybia, I cannot help but think that those who sought to warn us were simply and plainly correct. Perhaps the most surprising fact is that those truth tellers, who were often identified as conspiracy theorists, told us how it would happen and as the break point got closer and closer, they were even able to predict different aspects of the fall with outstanding precision.

Who would have believed 15 years ago that the world would crumble to its knees and would beg for the implementation of tyrannical policies and regimes in order to bring back law and order? I certainly didn’t. Before I began studying history and current events, I thought society would be able to take care of itself and avoid disaster. But the latest video feeds from London and everywhere else clearly show that society is lost in the foggy alternative reality they were born into 50 or more years ago. The social engineers played their hand well and now have most of the population consuming itself in a web of self-degradation, death and perversion fed to us as the sexiest fad for almost half a century.

In England, polls show that upwards of 65 percent of people are now calling for the use of rubber bullets, water canyons, police abuse and other tyrannical practices because they are too afraid to organize with their neighbors and take care of the looters that are destroying decades-old family businesses, homes, cars, shoe and clothing stores and other property to get their hands on the latest electronics, jewelry and various valuable products by breaking windows, smashing store front doors and pulling citizens from the their cars to smash their heads on the streets. Instead, British people are now calling for a government sponsored Police State.

Notice that most of the places that are being affected by riots and unrest are sections of the society whose members are unarmed and who cannot defend themselves because their government, which cannot protect them 24/7, implemented regulations to ban the people’s right to be armed and to defend their properties and their families. London shows signs of the most recent confrontation between members of the government-dependent underclass and the hard-working middle class, just as the social engineers planned it. As governments cut spending in a failed attempt to fix deficits and reduce their debt, it is exactly the underclass that feels the pinch first. But instead of attacking government policies and the entities responsible for the financial collapse, this uneducated underclass takes it upon themselves to beat the daylights out of middle class folks who suffer from the bank-sponsored self-inflicted financial crisis.

The financial and political apartheid taking place in the world -where governments steal the people’s pension funds to invest them in fictitious financial products, banks get bailed-out as they charge interest rates and / or fees for people to keep money in their accounts, the government cuts social security and medical care spending, people’s paychecks and pension buy less food- will continue to increase social volatility not only in London or Greece, but in the Americas, Asia, Africa and everywhere else. The Social Experiment failed horribly. But then again, it was meant to fail. The divisions meant to occur in order to monopolize, control and conquer arrived right on time.

The underclass as well as the dumbed down middle-class that for centuries sucked off the system through government established dependence programs only woke up after finding themselves with no jobs, no pension, no savings and no future. They woke up from their eternal state of slavery because the bribery scheme known as welfare that the government used to hook them up is suddenly crashing down, and they have not safety net to fall onto. What do I mean by bribery scheme? In 2007, the richest country in the planet had at least 52.6 percent of the people receiving government aid of some sort: pensions, social security and so on.. One in five Americans held a government job or a job that depended on government spending. Around 19 million used food stamps and 2 million got subsidized housing. If that is not government bribery, I don’t know what is it. The social engineers made sure from the start that only two classes existed: the productive class and the parasitical class. Both the government and the dependent classes are equally violent towards those who produce and who support them throughout their lives.

But perhaps one of the most abhorrent aspects of the current societal collapse is that the social engineers point to the underclass and the working class as those responsible for the crisis. That’s right. They accuse the so-called “useless eaters” for their greed and for living beyond their means and hold them responsible for the crisis we now experience. Both the underclass and a large part of the middle class are in part responsible for their greed and decadence. But weren’t they born and bathed into a system that promoted and facilitated their greed, decadence and dependence? Of course they were. Should the underclass and the middle class then be held responsible for the now developing crisis because they were greedy and dependent? Of course not. But that is what the bankers, the social engineers want the dumbed down majority to think, and that is why tonight racial divides grow bigger in London, the United States, Africa and Asia. The underclass believes that the middle class are the ones responsible for the crisis because they are successful business owners and were able to take care of themselves and their families. In the meantime, the bankers who are responsible for both classes’ misery run rampant ripping people off around the world.

The people are to blame, say the bankers, because they want more services but don’t want to pay more taxes. Due to the fact millions have not bought the propaganda, the government is now playing the collectivist card. “There is no need to look for anyone to blame because we must now come together to solve our problems”. Neither the government nor the banks want the taxpayers to fully understand that these two entities are solely responsible for the current state of affairs. Governments have bribed citizens openly for at least a century in order to control them, therefore it is insane to believe that someone will buy the government and bank sponsored propaganda.

While millions of people lose their jobs, homes and lives because they cannot afford them, a few decadent scum bags consume themselves in fake tribalism, racism, theft and violence while the cowardly ones wait for the state to do something and beg for Martial Law and a Police State. Those who accepted the American-created culture of death, sex, thuggery, drug use, suicide and gang oriented behaviours are now acting as what they always dreamed to be: a bunch of disaffected slaves with no jobs or future that look up at rappers, singers, sports figures, electronics, alcohol and drugs to fulfill their empty lives. The world went from praising explorers, scientists, fire fighters, inventors and community leaders to worship ‘bling’ and Madison Avenue-created delusion.

Those who took advantage of a corrupt debt-based system to get their holiday vacation, car and house loans were shocked after the banks that own their livelihoods cut off lines of credit three years ago to put an end to the fantasy reality they were accustomed to for so many years. Those who foolishly believed that paying into the public pension system would guarantee them some devalued change to live the rest of their lives, even though many had warned of its non-existence, were not only fools, but also irreparable willful ignorants. They trusted their government so much to give them everything, that no room was left to think that the same State could one day decided to take it all away; which is what is happening now. So now, the most dependent members of society are blaming other citizens and not the banks and the governments for their misery. Why? Because blame is the base of Statism and the State has shown people well to accept the blame game when it favours the State. They are now begging the social engineers to put an end to their misery. Events like the riots in London and the United States are just the beginning of what is turning out to be a long summer and a coming long winter. Street violence, crime and government opposition will be used by the controllers to take away more of our rights. Government will use armies and violence against peaceful protesters before bringing out austerity and a more visible Police State, to crush people’s right to speak and arm to themselves, track social media, email accounts, and any other sign of dissent.

Now, this is what a broken down society looks like in the developed world. Can you imagine what will it look like in socialist or inherently paternalistic poor countries when austerity, hunger and deep misery gets there?

Chile’s Private Social Security Prospering

by Bob Adelmann
The New American

As a quiet example of how privatizing Social Security works in the real world, Chile’s 30-year experiment is succeeding beyond expectations. Instead of running huge deficits to fund the old “PayGo” system, private savings now exceed50 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Prior to May 1, 1981, the Chilean system required contributions from workers and was clearly in grave financial trouble. Instead of nibbling around the edges to shore up the program for another few years, José Piñera, Secretary of Labor and Pensions under Augusto Pinochet, decided to do a major overhaul of the system:

We knew that cosmetic changes — increasing the retirement age, increasing taxes — would not be enough. We understood that the pay-as-you-go system had a fundamental flaw, one rooted in a false conception of how human beings behave. That flaw was lack of a link between what people put into their pension program and what they take out….

So we decided to go in the other direction, to link benefits to contributions. The money that a worker pays into the system goes into an account that is owned by the worker.

The system still required contributions of 10 percent of salary, but the money was deposited in any one of an array of private investment companies. Upon retirement, the worker had a number of options, including purchasing an annuity for life. Along the way he could track the performance of his account, and increase his contribution (up to 20 percent) if he wanted to retire earlier, or increase his payout at retirement.

How well has the system performed? John Tierney, a writer for the New York Times, went to visit Pablo Serra, a former classmate and friend in Santiago a few years ago, and they compared notes on how well their respective retirement programs were doing. Tierney brought along his latest statement from Social Security, while his friend brought up his retirement plan on his computer. It turned out that they both had been contributing about the same amount of money, so the comparison was apt, and startling, said Tierney:

Pablo could retire in 10 years, at age 62, with an annual pension of $55,000. That would be more than triple the $18,000 I can expect from Social Security at that age. OR

Pablo could retire at age 65 with an annual pension of $70,000. That would almost triple the $25,000 pension promised [to me] by Social Security starting a year later, at age 66. OR

Pablo could retire at age 65 with an annual pension of $53,000 and [in addition receive] a one-time cash payment of $223,000.

Tierney wrote that Pablo said “I’m very happy with my account.” Tierney suggested that, upon retirement, Pablo could not only retire nicely, but be able to buy himself a vacation home at the shore or in the country. Pablo laughed it off, and Tierney wrote: “I’m trying to look on the bright side. Maybe my Social Security check will cover the airfare to visit him.”

According to Investors Business Daily, the average annual rate of return for Chilean workers over the last 30 years has exceeded 9% annually, after inflation, whereas “U. S. Social Security pays a 1% to 2% (theoretical) rate of return, and even less for new workers.”

As expected, the capital accumulated in these privatized accounts have generated substantial growth in Chile’s economy. As noted by Wikipedia, “Chile is one of South America’s most stable and prosperous nations, leading Latin American nations in human development, competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, economic freedom, and low perception of corruption.” [Emphases added.]

High domestic savings and investment rates helped propel Chile’s economy to average growth rates of 8% during the 1990s. The privatized national pension plan (AFP) has encouraged domestic investment and contributed to an estimated total domestic savings rate of approximately 21% of GDP.

This was anticipated by Piñera when the plan was originally designed and implemented in 1981. In reviewing the success of the plan after just 15 years, Piñera said, “The Chilean worker is an owner, a capitalist. There is no more powerful way to stabilize a free-market economy and to get the support of the workers than to link them directly to the benefits of the market system. When Chile grows at 7 percent or when the stock market doubles … Chilean workers benefit directly, not only through high wages, not only through more employment, but through additional capital in their individual pension accounts.”

All of which should resonate with American workers who have been forced to contribute to a failing Social Security system for years. And yet when given the opportunity to support any sort of privatization, as during the Clinton and Bush administrations, the idea gained little traction. And now that Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Road Map” offers the chance for those same workers to contribute just one-third of their Social Security taxes to similar private accounts, the idea continues to fall on deaf ears.

However, according to Rasmussen Reports, that may be changing. Nearly half of those polled now correctly understand ‘that making major long-term cuts in government spending will require big changes” in Social Security, Medicare, and defense. That figure, adds Rasmussen, “suggests a growing awareness of budgetary realities among the American people.”

To privatize Social Security makes nothing but sense, as in dollars and cents. The ownership of private property has always propelled economic prosperity, higher wages and improved standards of living. Only those whose goals are to impoverish the American worker and reduce his ability to manage his own affairs and control his own future would resist such an attractive alternative. As noted by Piñera,

This is a brief story of a dream that has come true. The ultimate lesson is that the only revolutions that are successful are those that trust the individual, and the wonders that individuals can do when they are free.

Obama Plays Financial Terrorism, threatens Social Security

ABC
July 12, 2011

President Obama on Tuesday said he cannot guarantee that retirees will receive their Social Security checks August 3 if Democrats and Republicans in Washington do not reach an agreement on reducing the deficit in the coming weeks.

“I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven’t resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley, according to excerpts released by CBS News.

The Obama administration and many economists have warned of economic catastrophe if the United States does not raise the amount it is legally allowed to borrow by August 2.

Lawmakers from both parties want to use the threat of that deadline to work out a broader package on long-term deficit reduction, with Republicans looking to cut trillions of dollars in federal spending, while Democrats are pushing for a more “balanced approach,” which would include both spending cuts and increased revenue through taxes.

The Debt Limit fight: A primer

Democratic and Republican lawmakers are expected to hold another round of negotiations with Mr. Obama at the White House Tuesday afternoon on long-term deficit reduction, though talks have yielded little results to date.

Mr. Obama told Pelley “this is not just a matter of Social Security checks. These are veterans checks, these are folks on disability and their checks. There are about 70 million checks that go out.”

The interview will air Tuesday evening on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley.

Mr. Obama’s comments followed remarks from the Senate’s top Republican, who said Tuesday that he did not see a way for Republicans and Democrats to come to agreement on meaningful deficit reduction as long as Mr. Obama remains in office.

“After years of discussions and months of negotiations, I have little question that as long as this president is in the Oval Office, a real solution is probably unattainable,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in remarks on the Senate floor.

Still, McConnell said Republicans would “do the responsible thing” to avoid default, suggesting that a deal on the debt ceiling could be reached without a “real” deficit reduction package.

“The president has presented us with three choices: smoke and mirrors, tax hikes, or default. Republicans choose none of the above. I had hoped to do good, but I refuse to do harm. So Republicans will choose a path that actually reflects the will of the people, which is to do the responsible thing and ensure that the government doesn’t default on its obligations,” he said.

Mr. Obama has repeatedly said he wants a deal that would allow the U.S. to avoid confronting the issue again until after the 2012 elections and vowed on Monday that he would “not sign a 30-day or a 60-day or a 90-day extension.”

“This the United States of America and, you know, we don’t manage our affairs in three-month increments. You know, we don’t risk U.S. default on our obligations because we can’t put politics aside,” Mr. Obama told reporters at the White House yesterday.