As Europe edges toward mass anarchy and chaos, the Catholic Church is emerging as the key mediator between Europeans and their leaders.
Europe’s unemployment crisis is one everyone knows about, but no one is thinking seriously about. Continue reading
French president François Hollande may have finally found a way to tax the really rich: by making their companies pay.
In a televised interview on Thursday night, he said he wants companies that pay their employees more than €1m (£840,000) to pay 75% tax on those salaries. Continue reading
Key senators are exploring an immigration bill that would force every U.S. worker—citizen or not—to carry a high-tech identity card that could use fingerprints or other personal markers to prove a person’s legal eligibility to work. Continue reading
When coming from PIMCO, alarm bells should be going off.
Mr. Bernanke never provided additional clarity as to what he meant by “no cost.” Perhaps he was referring to zero-bound interest rates, although at the time in 2002, 10-year Treasuries were at 4%. Or perhaps he knew something that American citizens, their political representatives, and almost all investors still don’t know: that quantitative easing – the purchase of Treasury and Agency mortgage obligations from the private sector – IS essentially costless in a number of ways. That might strike almost all of us as rather incredible – writing checks for free – but that in effect is what a central bank does. Yet if ordinary citizens and corporations can’t overdraft their accounts without criminal liability, how can the Fed or the European Central Bank or any central bank get away with printing “electronic money” and distributing it via helicopter flyovers in the trillions and trillions of dollars?
Well, the answer is sort of complicated but then it’s sort of simple: They just make it up. When the Fed now writes $85 billion of checks to buy Treasuries and mortgages every month, they really have nothing in the “bank” to back them. Supposedly they own a few billion dollars of “gold certificates” that represent a fairy-tale claim on Ft. Knox’s secret stash, but there’s essentially nothing there but trust. When a primary dealer such as J.P. Morgan or Bank of America sells its Treasuries to the Fed, it gets a “credit” in its account with the Fed, known as “reserves.” It can spend those reserves for something else, but then another bank gets a credit for its reserves and so on and so on. The Fed has told its member banks “Trust me, we will always honor your reserves,” and so the banks do, and corporations and ordinary citizens trust the banks, and “the beat goes on,” as Sonny and Cher sang. $54 trillion of credit in the U.S. financial system based upon trusting a central bank with nothing in the vault to back it up. Amazing! Continue reading
How far has the nation gone downhill? This far:
DETROIT (WWJ) – The men and women of the Detroit Police Department believe the city is too dangerous to enter, and they want citizens to know it. Continue reading
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble questioned on Tuesday how the United States could deal with its high levels of government debt after November’s presidential election.
In a speech to the Bundestag lower house of parliament to open a debate on the 2013 German budget, Schaeuble said worries about U.S. debt were a burden for the global economy, hitting back at Washington which has criticized Europe for failing to get a grip on its own debt crisis.
In private, German officials often express concern about U.S. debt levels and the inability of politicians there to reach a consensus on how to reduce it, but Schaeuble’s public remarks underscore the extent of the worries in Germany.
Full article: Germany Says ‘Great Uncertainty’ About US Debt (CNBC)
A map has been generated at FreeMarketAmerica.org which tracks jobs lost on account of the Sierra Club’s war on coal. The data for the map comes from the National Mining Association, which says that over 1.2 million jobs have been lost in the coal industry. If mining stocks haven’t been doing well – whether we are talking coal or even gold – consider the environmental hits taken by the mining industry. Like the timber industry in the Pacific Northwest, coal mining has been specially targeted for reduction.
It’s true, of course. Last June Bloomberg ran a piece, “Displaced coal miners face slim job prospects.” All around the country, coal jobs are being lost. Coal is one of America’s key energy resources. It is an energy resource we don’t have to import. But the Obama Administration appears determined to crush the coal industry in order to save the planet from global warming. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believes global warming is caused by greenhouse gases produced by coal as well as oil. Therefore, a radical effort is underway to curtail the use of coal.
Only a few years ago more than half our electricity was generated from coal. In the first quarter of 2012 the generation of electricity from coal dropped 21 percent from 2011 levels. The immediate culprit is the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAP). You can read about it at the Web Site of the EPA where it states: “On July 6, 2011, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule that protects the health of millions of Americans by helping states reduce air pollution and attain clean air standards. This rule, known as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, requires states to significantly improve air quality by reducing power plant emissions that contribute to ozone and/or fine particle pollution in other states.” (In other words, coal is out.)
In the middle of the worst economic times since the Great Depression, when as many as 86 million are unemployed, how can the federal government purposely push for over 1.2 million in additional job losses? And yes, the job situation may be worse than official figures suggest. Readers should review CNN Money’s May 4 piece titled “The 86 million invisible unemployed” which stated that our work force has the “lowest force participation rate since 1981.”
As CNN Money explained, “Only people looking for work are considered officially unemployed.” So the situation is worse than the government represents. Yet the government would add to the number of those out of work by strangling the coal industry. When the price of oil remains high and a war in the Middle East could drive oil prices higher, wouldn’t it be wise to leave the coal industry alone? But then, we have to save the planet from global warming – or do we?
Full article: Coal Industry Under Attack (JR Nyquist | Financial Sense Online)
As the economic crisis worsens, people are increasingly becoming dependent on the hand-outs and work ethic consequently goes downhill in exchange for the enticement of easy money. As a result, the quality of life in families is being eroded as the traditional role of both males and females in the household is increasingly undermined.
What’s more, is that one generation influences the next and at the moment we’re mislead to believe that a cut in crucial military spending will solve a problem it never created. Lets also not forget, as the study points out, how the unborn will shoulder the burden with an insurmountable debt that just cannot be paid back for generations.
Whether by some sort of cynical design or pure ignorance, the family unit — the core of America’s pride and social fabric, is being ripped apart. History shows that once a nation’s pride is destroyed, so goes the nation.
America’s entitlement spending is destroying the economy. But political economist Nicholas Eberstadt isn’t worried about that. In an article published in the Wall Street Journal August 31, Eberstadt argued that the effect entitlement spending is having on the nation’s character is far more dangerous.
He outlines a shocking increase in entitlement spending: 727 percent in the last 50 years. And that’s after adjusting for inflation and the increase in population.
“Within living memory, the federal government has become an entitlements machine,” he wrote. “As a day-to-day operation, it devotes more attention and resources to the public transfer of money, goods and services to individual citizens than to any other objective, spending more than for all other ends combined.”
The shocking facts run against the popular historical narrative. For example, Eberstadt points out that America’s defense spending places a smaller burden on America’s economy now than almost any point in the Cold War. America spends 4.8 percent of its economy on defense. In 1961, when President Dwight Eisenhower warned of a “military-industrial complex,” 9.4 percent of America’s gdp was spent on the military.
In fact, since September 11, it hasn’t been out-of-control military spending inflating America’s debt bomb, but escalating entitlement spending.
Manhood was also directly attacked. “Before the age of entitlements, self-reliance and the work ethic were integral and indispensable elements of the ideal of manliness in America,” he wrote.
“Put simply the arrival of the entitlement society in America has coincided with a historically unprecedented exit from gainful work by adult men,” he continued. And once again, Eberstadt commands a battery of statistics. Most surprisingly, more able-bodied American men shirk work than in almost all of Europe, despite the Continent’s infamy for entitlement spending.
Eberstadt’s numbers also show that America is tolerating widespread cheating. In 1960, 455,000 people received government payments for disability. In 2011, it’s 8.6 million. Nearly half of all these payments go to people suffering “mood disorders” or sicknesses affecting “musculoskeletal system and the connective tissue,” like back pain. These two are almost impossible for doctors to diagnose.
The entitlement system draws millions of people into a lifestyle of lying and cheating. And Eberstadt doesn’t just blame the claimants of the disability pay. The doctors and health care workers that allow this are “collaborators,” as is the U.S. judicial system. American voters and politicians are “willing and often knowing enablers.”
Finally, Eberstadt shows that the system drafts society into the robbery of “a pool of citizens who can offer not resistance to such schemes: the unborn descendants of today’s entitlement-seeking population.”
Full article: Entitlement Spending Creates a ‘Nation of Takers’ (The Trumpet)
Regardless of who wins the election, America faces some tough decisions.
Challenge 1: Can you conceptualize $1 trillion?
Challenge 2: America’s massive debt
Challenge 3: America’s uncontrollable welfare dependency
Challenge 4: America’s banking system is shot.
Challenge 5: The jobs are gone forever.
Challenge 6: America’s education system is failing.
Challenge 7: The economic cost of America’s moral slide.
Regardless of who America chooses at the ballot box, its moral slide will not be turned. At best, it can be slowed. There are 230-plus years of U.S. history that prove it.
America’s debt, its welfare mentality, its crumbling education system and morals are all the product of America’s collective choices. We are now eating the fruit of those choices. Economic indicators suggest another economic downturn has already started. A greater economic depression is on the way, and there is little that can be done to mitigate it.
America is past the point of no return. America’s past prosperity will not return until the whole economic system has been wiped out. Tough times are coming on America, but once through, the country will be able to start anew.
Full article: 7 Reasons This Election Doesn’t Matter (The Trumpet)
As sure as the sky is blue, The United States of Europe — “Iron mixed with clay“ (Daniel 2:43), is coming soon.
Time is short’—the crises will force the EU to act quickly, says EU commissioner for financial services.
The European Union will have merged into a federal superstate by 2016, European commissioner for financial services, Michel Barnier, said in an interview published by the French newspaper Liberation August 2.
“The time is short: By 2016 the EU will have transformed into a federation of European nations in which their fates are merged without erasing their differences,” he said.
“A federation means economic governance, collective management of our budget guidelines, a banking union, industrial policy, and much stronger budget coordination,” he said.
Barnier explained that by becoming a federation, the EU is traveling in a direction forced upon it by the banking crisis. “Europe has done much in a short time to correct deficiencies accumulated over 10 years,” he said, adding: “Now it is moving toward a European federation, because the crisis has shown that we could not go it alone.”
Barnier said the plan to establish a European banking regulator by January 2012 was a step toward this federal union.
Barnier is right: The crisis is forcing Europe to become a federal union. His timescale is greatly accelerated compared to other EU officials who talk about these changes happening over the next 10 years.
But, as Barnier said, “The time is short.” The crisis will force Europe to change urgently.
Barnier is describing a huge change—a new superpower hitting the world scene very shortly. Watch this closely; it will change the world. A federal United States of Europe will be here in just a few years—if it even takes that long.
Full article: European Federation Will Form By 2016, Says Commissioner (The Trumpet)
If you want to understand the basis for freedom and the free market then you should listen to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s Oct. 5, 2011 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. According to Scalia, our freedom is secured by way of the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately, he says, we aren’t adequately passing along the secret of the Constitution to the next generation. Scalia frequently meets with students from the best law schools and asks them, “How many of you have read the Federalist Papers?” Never more than about 5 percent raise their hands. About this, Scalia says, “That is very sad…. Here is a document that says what the Framers thought they were doing. It is such a profound exposition of political science … yet we have raised a generation of Americans who are not familiar with it.”
Scalia goes on to ask why America is a free country and what sets it apart. According to Scalia, most people will say that the Bill of Rights is the basis of our freedom. Scalia shook his head, “If you think that a Bill of Rights is what sets us apart you’re crazy. Every banana republic in the world has a Bill of Rights. Every president-for-life has a Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights … of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics was much better than ours.” Scalia reminded his listeners that a Bill of Rights is merely “words on paper, what our Framers would have called a ‘parchment guarantee.’ And the reason is that the real Constitution [is a structure] … and a sound constitution has a sound structure…. The constitution of the Soviet Union did not prevent the concentration of power in one person or in one party. And when that happens the game is over….”
“The real key,” said Scalia, “is separation of powers.” The system was built for gridlock, and that’s a good thing. According to Scalia, America is not about democracy. In fact, the Framers didn’t like democracy. Checks and balances was what really mattered to them. Unchecked power could not be permitted. Such power tends toward corruption. This ancient principle was best stated by Lord Acton in 1887, who famously wrote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” He pointed to the murderous actions of English monarchs, and one might point to a larger history in which powerful men and women have killed and plundered without being held accountable.
Critics of the U.S. Constitution say it is an instrument of class oppression – made by the rich to the disadvantage of the poor. They deny the reality of separate powers under the Constitution. For them, the inequalities of the market economy must be corrected by government intervention. A century ago Le Bon wrote of the difficulties involved in “reconciling Democratic equalization with natural inequalities.” As Le Bon pointed out, “Nature does not know such a thing as equality. She distributes unevenly genius, beauty, health, vigor, intelligence, and all the qualities which confer on their possessors a superiority over their fellows.” When a politician pretends to oppose the inequalities of nature, he proves to be a special kind of usurper – personifying arrogance in search of boundless power.
Logically, the establishment of universal equality would first require the establishment of a universal tyranny (a.k.a., the dictatorship of the proletariat). A formula for doing all this was worked out in the nineteenth century, and was the program of Karl Marx. Le Bon warned that socialism might indeed “establish equality for a time by rigorously eliminating all superior individuals.” He also foresaw the decline of any nation that followed this path (i.e., see the Soviet Union). Such a society would aim at eliminating all risk, speculation and initiative. These stimulants of human activity being suppressed, no progress would be possible. According to Le Bon, “Men would merely have established that equality in poverty desired by the jealousy and envy of a host of mediocre minds.”
It is doubtful that many people today understand the basis for our economic freedom. Many students are not properly educated today, as Justice Scalia testified. Political forces are at work aiming at a fundamental re-interpretation of the Constitution, and these forces dominate education and the media. The time may not be far off when we entirely forget the secret of our prosperity along with the secret of liberty.
Full article: What Keeps the Free Market Free? (JR Nyquist)
The ranks of America’s poor are on track to climb to levels not seen in 50 years, reports the Associated Press. Essentially all improvements against poverty since the 1960s will be lost.
Poverty rates are calculated by the Census Bureau. The Census figures for 2011 will be released in the fall, just weeks before the November elections.
After surveying economists, think tanks and academics—both nonpartisan and those with either liberal or conservative outlooks—there was a broad consensus of opinion that the poverty rate will rise from the 2010 figure of 15.1 percent to 15.7 percent.
Alarmingly, poverty is spreading across many groups of Americans. Included in the number are underemployed workers, suburban families and, of course, the poorest poor. Yet there is a new poor—all those discouraged workers giving up on the job market and hoping their unemployment benefits don’t run out.
Suburban America is seeing increases in poverty. Three hard-hit areas are the political battleground states of Colorado, Florida and Nevada. Many voters in these states are now coping with the new norm of living hand to mouth.
The Associated Press recounted the history of one Jefferson County suburbanite. “I grew up going to Hawaii every summer. Now I am here, applying for assistance because it is hard to make ends meet. It’s very hard to adjust,” said Laura Fritz, 27, of Wheat Ridge, Colorado, describing her slide from rich to poor as she filled out aid forms at a county center.
Fritz grew up wealthy in the Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch, but her financial security faltered after her parents lost a significant amount of money in the housing crash. Left holding a half-million-dollar house, her parents began living on food stamps and Fritz’s college money disappeared. She tried joining the Army but was injured during basic training.
Now she’s living on disability, with an infant daughter and a boyfriend who can’t find work as a landscaper. They are struggling to pay their $650 a month rent with his unemployment checks. They don’t know how they would get by without aid as they hope for the job market to improve.
The specter of poverty is looming over millions like Laura Fritz who are likely to find themselves falling far short when government subsidies from unemployment insurance, Medicaid, welfare and food stamps diminishes.
The Times reported on July 14, “The economic storms of recent years have raised concerns about growing inequality and questions about a core national faith, that even Americans of humble backgrounds have a good chance of getting ahead. Most of the discussion has focused on labor market forces like falling blue–collar wages and ravish Wall Street pay.”
But notice what researchers are now saying is one of the primary causes of poverty. The New York Times reports that it is changes in marriage patterns—as opposed to changes in individual earnings—that accounts for as much as 40 percent of the growth in certain measures of financial hardship. It only makes sense that unmarried mothers with children have it a lot tougher financially.
Marriage shapes a nation’s economic reality more than people realize. While economic woes can speed marital decline—out-of-work men are not very marriageable—marital decline compounds economic woes, forcing the needy to go it alone.
Currently about 41 percent of births in the United States occur outside of marriage, which is an incredibly steep rise over the 17 percent of just three decades ago.
Across Middle America, single motherhood has moved from an anomaly to a norm with head-turning speed. Motherhood outside marriage is growing fastest in the lower reaches of the white middle class.
Full article: U.S. Poverty Level Expected to Reach New High (The Trumpet)