As the Euro zone Drowns, Countries prepare for Deeper Depression

Even the best banker forecasts warn about an imminent economic Depression

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | AUGUST 15, 2012

The latest outlook issued by the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) provide a clear picture that shows how the euro area will fall into an economic depression. The question then is, how will the countries deal with the Depression and whether the banks will be more powerful or have collapsed too.

The risk of recession in the eurozone, after the economy of the region shrank by two tenths of a percent between April and June, threatens to slow the progression of the only growing component of the Spanish economy, that is the export of goods to the rest of the Euro nations. Today, more than half of Spain’s exports are sold in the Euro zone, but the threat of a deeper depression may affect what those nations buy from Spain in the coming months.

According to recent data published by the European statistical office (Eurostat), both the EU and the eurozone, whose member countries are major importers of goods manufactured by Spain, saw its economy falls 0.2% in the second quarter of the year.

The calculations of the European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicate that the recession will get worse in the euro area, as both agencies forecast a contraction of between 0.1% and 0.3 %, for the rest of 2012.

In the second quarter of 2012, the Spanish economy contracted 0.4%, according to the data advanced by the National Statistics Institute (INE), a fall that was not toned down by the positive contribution of the exports sector.

The latest data from the Spanish trade balance reflects an export growth of 3% until May, mainly by increased sales to emerging countries, although these markets still account for only a small part compared to Spanish business partners in Europe.

In fact, the primary client is still the European Union, which purchases 65% of Spanish exports, although sales to Spanish business partners remained stagnant in the first five months of the year. The euro zone receives more than half of Spanish goods, that is why the slow down of 1.1% in sales to these countries during the first five months of the year following the crisis have raised awareness about the difficult times ahead.

The economic developments in the euro countries has been mixed, with Germany so far resisting the crisis and, according to government numbers, growing by 0.3% in the second quarter, while France has not completely collapsed, but is experiencing a crippled economy. Both countries are major markets for Spain, with France buying some 17.4% of Spanish exports and Germany, the second most important partner getting 10.8%.

The best selling goods to these countries belong to sectors such as industrial technology and mechanical auxiliary industry and construction, chemicals, horticultural and fashion.

However, while the Germany has continued to increase the purchase of Spanish goods (6.5%), France has begun to cut its imports, which has resulted in a fall of 0.4% in sales to the neighboring country.

In the case of Germany it is important to mention the fact that the country is a major commercial creditor of Spain, although in the first five months the trade deficit has been shortened in half with Angela Merkel’s country. This has been the result of Spain not importing as many goods from Germany as it did previous to the crisis, for example.

The balance both the euro area and with the twenty seven EU countries is positive, since in both cases Spain sells more than it buys. However, the Spanish foreign balance with the rest of the world is in deficit, which is due to high energy costs arising from oil imports mainly, but also gas, coal and electricity.

The main creditors of Spain as far as energy is concerned are Russia and Nigeria, while the third is China, a country which buys mainly textiles from the Spanish manufacturing industry.

Meanwhile, Greece is trying to meet its commitments to investors. August 20 represented a key date, as it marked the date when the country had to pay off the  debt of 3,200 million euros in the hands of the European Central Bank. The mathematical impossibility to pay such debt, as it was explained in previous articles, obligated Greece to issue even more debt to finance the money owed to the ECB. With this, this country will continue the well known death cycle which in most cases concludes with the complete collapse of debtor nations.

Greece has now placed 4.063 million euros in treasury bills with maturities of three months at an interest rate of 4.43%, slightly above the 4.28% offered in July, as reported by the Greek Authority Management Public Debt (PDMA). The Greek government attempts to achieve a deferral of repayment of that debt or an advance of a new loan of 31,000 million from the second rescue package, which has been rejected by their European partners.

The disbursement of bailout money will be transferred only once the troika submits its report on the progress of the country and gives the approval for the new cuts for 2013 and 2014. Most buyers of the monthly auctions are Greek state banks themselves, which means that the entire financial system is in a downhill fall of self-financing in which the government issues securities to finance the maturities of bonds held by banks in the country, which, in turn, buy debt from the State to use it as proof of liquidity. Do you see the insanity here?

How Globalism Destroys Jobs, Businesses And Wealth

American Dream
July 14, 2011

As most Americans stand around waiting for the U.S. economy to return to “normal”, there is a never ending parade of jobs, businesses and wealth heading out of the United States.  The jobs and businesses that are leaving are gone for good and will not be coming back.  This is causing unemployment to soar and government debt to skyrocket but our politicians are doing nothing about it.  Instead, politicians from both parties keep insisting that they will solve all of our problems if we will just give them our votes.

Meanwhile, American families continue to fill up their shopping carts with cheap plastic crap made on the other side of the world.  Globalism is slowly destroying the greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen and most Americans don’t even realize it.  Today, the U.S. government has surrendered massive amounts of economic sovereignty to global organizations such as the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank.  The United States has also entered into a whole host of very damaging “free trade agreements” such as NAFTA that are costing our economy huge numbers of jobs.  Our politicians always promised us that globalism would bring us to a new level of prosperity, but instead that “giant sucking sound” that you hear is the sound of the U.S. economy being hollowed out.

Our politicians and the talking heads in the mainstream media always seem to be puzzled as to why there seems to be such a lack of jobs in this country.

But it really is no great mystery.

Jeffrey Pfeffer recently wrote an article for Fortune in which he stated the following….

The U.S. seems to be shocked that its economy isn’t creating many jobs, and each monthly report on the unemployment rate and the number of new jobs somehow stimulates more handwringing. I’m not an economist, labor or otherwise, but simple observation suggests one significant contributor to the nation’s job crisis — for a long time, maybe even decades, we have been waging war on jobs and those who hold them.

That is exactly what the policies of the U.S. government have been doing for decades – they have been waging war on jobs.

Both political parties have been eagerly pushing us into a globalized economy.  Both political parties have told us not to worry as thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars have left the country.

Well, so much damage has been done by this point that more Americans than ever are starting to wake up and realize that maybe globalism is not such a great thing after all.

Here is how globalism has destroyed our jobs, our businesses and our national wealth in 10 easy steps….

#1 Globalism has merged the U.S. economy with economies that allow slave labor wages.

The “minimum wage” became a whole lot less meaningful once we merged our economy with the economies of nations where it is legal to pay workers 50 cents an hour.

American workers have enjoyed all of the cheap products that have come flooding into our shores, but our politicians never told them that globalism would also mean that they would soon be directly competing for jobs with workers on the other side of the globe that are willing to work for 5 or 10 percent as much.

One big, global labor pool means that the standard of living of the hundreds of millions of workers on the other side of the world will come up slightly while the standard of living of American workers will come crashing down at a blinding pace.

Advocates of globalism never can seem to explain how U.S. workers are supposed to compete with teenage workers in Vietnam that often work seven days a week for as little as 6 cents an hour making promotional toys for big corporations.

#2 U.S. companies make bigger profits by sending jobs overseas.

If U.S. corporations can find a place where they can legally pay workers slave labor wages, what do you think they are going to do?

Corporations have a “duty to maximize shareholder wealth” and U.S. government policies actually have the effect of encouraging the offshoring of jobs.

This is even happening in industries that are on the cutting edge of new technology.

Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel, says that our advanced technology companies are creating far more jobs overseas than they are in the United States….

Some 250,000 Foxconn employees in southern China produce Apple’s products. Apple, meanwhile, has about 25,000 employees in the U.S. That means for every Apple worker in the U.S. there are 10 people in China working on iMacs, iPods, and iPhones. The same roughly 10-to-1 relationship holds for Dell, disk-drive maker Seagate Technology (STX), and other U.S. tech companies.

#3 Globalism has allowed foreign countries to dominate a whole host of industries that used to be dominated by the United States.

U.S. companies are having an incredibly difficult time competing against the low labor costs and the much less stringent business regulations found on the other side of the globe.

In May, the United States spent 50 billion dollars more on goods and services from the rest of the globe than they spent on goods and services from us.

This happens month after month after month.

Every month we get tens of billions of dollars poorer and the rest of the world gets tens of billions of dollars richer.

We are getting clobbered even in industries that we invented.

Do you remember when the United States was the dominant manufacturer of automobiles and trucks on the globe?  Well, in 2010 the U.S. ran a trade deficit in automobiles, trucks and parts of $110 billion.

In 2010, South Korea exported 12 times as many automobiles, trucks and parts to us as we exported to them.

How did this happen?

Well, there are a lot of reasons, but one big reason is that the business environment in the United States has become incredibly toxic.  Businesses in this country face a nightmarish web of rules and regulations and that is a big reason why so many businesses are choosing to leave this country.

In a recent article for Forbes, John Mariotti made a list of just a few of the bureaucracies that U.S. businesses must contend with on a daily basis….

#4 Jobs and manufacturing infrastructure are being lost at an astounding pace and they are not going to come back.

Jobs and manufacturing facilities are leaving this country at a blinding pace.  Nothing is being done to stop this from happening.  These jobs are not coming back and they are not being replaced.

Just consider the following statistics….

*The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

*Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.

*The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

*Since 2001, over 42,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been closed down.

So what are all of those workers doing today?

There are sitting at home trying to figure out what has happened to the once happy lives that they enjoyed.

Today, there are 6.3 million Americans that have been unemployed for more than 6 months.  That number has risen by more than 3.5 million in just the past two years.

Right now, it takes the average unemployed worker almost 40 weeks to find a new job.  There are not nearly enough jobs for everyone and the competition for the few job openings that are available is brutal.

Only 66.8% of American men had a job last year.  That was the lowest level that has ever been recorded in all of U.S. history.

We have millions upon millions of very hard working Americans that are sitting around hoping that someone will give them a job.

But labor costs about 10 percent as much on the other side of the world so that is where all the jobs are going.

#5 Workers without good jobs can’t buy houses or cars.

A huge factor in the housing crash has been the lack of good jobs.  There are now approximately 10 percent fewer middle class jobs than there were a decade ago.

As competition for jobs increases, wages are being depressed because employers know that they have all the power.

So working class American families are being squeezed like never before.

Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.  A nice home is becoming out of reach for a lot of Americans.

Meanwhile, the cost of food and the cost of gas continue to rise.

One recent survey found that 9 out of 10 U.S. workers do not expect their wages to keep up with soaring food prices and soaring gas prices over the next 12 months.

#6 If American workers don’t have jobs they aren’t paying taxes.

Most Americans have no idea how much our trade deficit contributes to our government debt problems.  When Americans are not working, they are not paying taxes to support our federal, state and local governments.

In the years since 1975, the United States had run a total trade deficit of 7.5 trillion dollars with the rest of the world.

That is money that could have gone to U.S. workers and U.S. businesses.  That is money that taxes could have been paid on.

Instead, our workers are sitting at home and our federal, state and local governments are starving for cash.

#7 Instead of receiving taxes, the government must pay out money to our unemployed workers instead.

We are going to support our unemployed workers one way or another.  Either we are going to give them good jobs or we are going to give them welfare payments.

During the recent economic downturn, millions of American workers have been receiving unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks.  It has become soul-crushingly difficult to find a job in America today, and we have developed a whole new class of people that have become totally dependent on the government because they simply cannot find work.

Everywhere you look, government anti-poverty programs are exploding in size.

As 2007 began, there were 26 million Americans on food stamps.  Today, there are more than 44 million Americans on food stamps, which is a new all-time record.

#8 As jobs and businesses leave our shores, many of our once great manufacturing cities have been transformed into hellholes.

In a recent article entitled “American Hellholes“, I talked about the economic decay that we are seeing all over the United States….

All over the nation many of our greatest cities are being slowly but surely transformed into post-apocalyptic wastelands.  All over the mid-Atlantic, all along the Gulf coast, all throughout the “rust belt” and all over the entire state of California cities that once had incredibly vibrant economies are being turned into rotting, post-industrial hellholes. In many U.S. cities, the “real” rate of unemployment is over 30 percent. There are some communities that will start depressing you almost the moment that you drive into them. It is almost as if all of the hope has been sucked right out of those communities.  If you live in one of those American hellholes you know what I am talking about.  Sadly, it is not just a few cities that are becoming hellholes.  This is happening in the east, in the west, in the north and in the south.  America is literally being transformed right in front of our eyes.

#9 The United States ends up borrowing back most of the money that it sends overseas every single month.

Every month tens of billions of dollars of our national wealth gets transferred to foreign countries.  In order to make ends meet, our federal, state and local governments end up borrowing gigantic amounts of money from the countries that we have sent our wealth to.

So now we have a national debt that is well over 14 trillion dollars and we owe massive amounts of money to countries like China and Saudi Arabia.

But when we borrow money from other countries that makes us even poorer in the long run.  Debt is never the answer to anything.

#10 Foreign countries are using up some of the wealth that we send them every month to buy up our infrastructure.

Most Americans don’t realize that our state and local governments are selling off our infrastructure piece by piece.  Foreign governments are literally buying pieces of America with the money that we keep sending to them.  In a recent article entitled “Our Politicians Are Selling Off Pieces Of America To Foreign Investors – And Goldman Sachs Is Helping Them Do It“, I talked about this phenomenon….

State and local governments across the country that are drowning in debt and that are desperate for cash are increasingly turning to the “privatization” of public assets as the solution to their problems.  Pieces of infrastructure that taxpayers have already paid for such as highways, water treatment plants, libraries, parking meters, airports and power plants are being auctioned off to the highest bidder.  Most of the time what happens is that the state or local government receives a huge lump sum of cash up front for a long-term lease (usually 75 years or longer) and the foreign investors come in and soak as much revenue out of the piece of infrastructure that they possibly can.  The losers in these deals are almost always the taxpayers.  Pieces of America are literally being auctioned off just to help state and local governments minimize their debt problems for a year or two, but the consequences of these deals will be felt for decades.

Sadly, neither political party seems concerned about the effects of globalism at all.

In fact, both parties continue to push for even more globalism.

But large numbers of ordinary Americans are waking up.

According to a recent Washington Post poll, only 36 percent of Americans consider “the increasing interconnection of the global economy” to be a positive thing.  Back in 2001, 60 percent of Americans believed that the globalization of the economy was a positive thing.

So maybe there is a glimmer of hope.

But until fundamental changes are actually made, globalism will continue to destroy our jobs, our businesses and our national wealth.

Globalism Pushing Middle Class Standard of Living Down…

…to Third World Levels

The Economic Collapse
February 28, 2011

From now on, whenever you hear the term “the global economy” you should immediately equate it with the destruction of the U.S. middle class.  Over the past several decades, the American economy has been slowly but surely merged into the emerging one world economic system.  Unfortunately for the middle class, much of the rest of the world does not have the same minimum wage laws and worker protections that we do.

Therefore, the massive global corporations that now dominate our economy are able to pay workers in other countries slave labor wages and import the products that they make into the United States to compete with products made by “expensive” American workers.  This has resulted in a mass exodus of manufacturing facilities and jobs from the United States.

But without good, high paying jobs the U.S. middle class cannot continue to be the U.S middle class.  The only thing that the vast majority of Americans have to offer in the economic marketplace is their labor.  Sadly, that labor has now been dramatically devalued.  American workers now must directly compete for jobs with millions upon millions of workers on the other side of the world that toil away for 15 hours a day at slave labor wages.  This is causing jobs to leave the United States at an almost unbelievable rate, and it is putting tremendous downward pressure on the wages of millions of jobs that are still in the United States.

So when you hear terms such as “globalization” and “the global economy”, it is important to keep in mind that those are code words for the emerging one world economic system that is systematically wiping out the U.S. middle class.

A one world labor pool means that the standard of living for the U.S. middle class will continue falling toward the standard of living in the third world.

We keep hearing about how the U.S. economy is being transformed from a “manufacturing economy” into a “service economy”.  But “service jobs” are generally much lower paying than “manufacturing jobs”.  The number of good paying “middle class jobs” in the United States is rapidly decreasing.  So how can the U.S. middle class survive in such an environment?

What makes things even worse for manufacturers in the United States is that other nations often impose a “value-added tax” of 20 percent or more on U.S. goods entering their shores and yet most of the time we do not reciprocate with similar taxes.

But whenever someone mentions how incredibly unfair and unbalanced our trade agreements with other nations are, they are immediately labeled as a “protectionist”.

Well, someone should be looking out for U.S. interests when it comes to trade, because the current state of the global economy is ripping the U.S. middle class to shreds.

Right now, the United States consumes far more wealth than it produces.  This nation buys much, much more from the rest of the world than they buy from us.  This is called a “trade deficit”, and it is one of the most important economic statistics.  The U.S. runs a massive trade deficit every single year, and it is wiping out our national wealth, it is destroying our surviving industries and it is absolutely shredding middle class America.

We cannot allow tens of thousands of factories to continue to leave the United States.  We cannot allow millions of jobs to continue to be “outsourced” and “offshored”.  We cannot allow tens of billions of dollars of our national wealth to continue to be transferred into foreign hands every single month.

The truth is that the global economy is bad for America.  The following are 23 facts which prove that globalism is pushing the standard of living of the middle class down to third world levels….

#1 From December 2000 to December 2010, the U.S. ran a total trade deficit of 6.1 trillion dollars.

#2 The U.S. trade deficit was about 33 percent larger in 2010 than it was in 2009.

#3 The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.

#4 The U.S. economy is rapidly trading high wage jobs for low wage jobs.  According to a new report from the National Employment Law Project, higher wage industries accounted for 40 percent of the job losses over the past 12 months but only 14 percent of the job growth.  Lower wage industries accounted for just 23 percent of the job losses over the past 12 months and a whopping 49 percent of the job growth.

#5 Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.

#6 In Germany, exports account for approximately 40 percent of GDP.  In China, exports account for approximately 30 percent of GDP.  In the United States, exports account for approximately 13 percent of GDP.

#7 Do you remember when the United States was the dominant manufacturer of automobiles and trucks on the globe?  Well, in 2010 the U.S. ran a trade deficit in automobiles, trucks and parts of $110 billion.

#8 In 2010, South Korea exported 12 times as many automobiles, trucks and parts to us as we exported to them.

#9 The U.S. economy now has 10 percent fewer “middle class jobs” than it did just ten years ago.

#10 The United States currently has 7.7 million fewer payroll jobs than it did back in December 2007.

#11 Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.

#12 In 2002, the United States had a trade deficit in “advanced technology products” of $16 billion with the rest of the world.  In 2010, that number skyrocketed to $82 billion.

#13 The United States now spends more than 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.

#14 In China, working conditions are so bad that large numbers of “employees” regularly try to commit suicide.  One major employer, Foxconn, has even gone so far as to install “anti-suicide nets” in an attempt to keep their employees from jumping off of their buildings.

#15 Wages for workers in China are incredibly low.  For example, one facility in the city of Longhua that makes iPods employs approximately 200,000 workers.  These workers put in endless 15-hour days but they only make about $50 per month.

#16 In Bangladesh, manufacturing workers toil in absolutely horrific conditions and make an average of about $38 per month.

#17 In Vietnam, teenage workers often work seven days a week for as little as 6 cents an hour making promotional Disney toys for McDonald’s.

#18 Since 2001, over 42,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been closed.

#19 Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

#20 In the United States today, 6.2 million Americans have been out of work for 6 months of longer.

#21 8.4 million Americans are currently working part-time jobs for “economic reasons”.  These jobs are mostly very low paying service jobs.

#22 When you adjust wages for inflation, middle class workers in the United States make less money today than they did back in 1971.

#23 According to Willem Buiter, the chief economist at Citigroup, China will be the largest economy in the world by the year 2020, and India will surpass China by the year 2050.

Those that promote “free trade” can never explain how the U.S. middle class is going to continue to have plenty of jobs in the new global economy.

By merging our labor pool with the rest of the world, we have also merged our standard of living with the rest of the world.  High unemployment is rapidly becoming “the new normal” in America, and wages are going to continue to decline in many, many industries.

Already, there are quite a few formerly great U.S. cities (such as Detroit) that are beginning to resemble third world hellholes.  If something is not done about our massive trade imbalance, even more cities are going to follow Detroit into oblivion.

Unfortunately, most of our politicians continue to insist that globalism is good for our society.  They continue to insist that we should not be worried that jobs formerly done by middle class American workers are now being done by slave laborers on the other side of the globe.  They continue to insist that having 43 million Americans on food stamps is a temporary thing and that soon our economy will be better than ever.

Well, it is time to stop listening to the politicians that are promoting “the global economy”.  They are lying to us.

Globalism is great for nations such as China and it is helping multinational corporations make huge profits, but for the U.S. middle class it is an economic death sentence.

If you want an America where there are less jobs, where more Americans are on food stamps and other anti-poverty programs and where our cities continue to be transformed into deindustrialized hellholes, then you should strongly support the emerging global economy.

But if you care about the standard of living of the U.S. middle class and you want for there to be some kind of viable economic future for your children and your grandchildren then you had better start caring about these issues and doing something about them.

Please wake up America.