Quantitative Easing

Gallup: The Unemployment Rate is 10%

Gallup:  The Unemployment Rate is 10%

Jobs…jobs…jobs… I’m beginning to sound like a broken record but it’s true: This economy is going nowhere unless we start creating some jobs. As for the recent drop in the unemployment rate to 9.0%, I’m not buying it since it comes from Uncle Sam. The real figure is likely closer to what Gallup is reporting today… From by Dennis Jacobe entitled: Gallup Finds U.S. Unemployment Up to 10% in Mid-February “Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, hit 10.0% in mid-February — up from 9.8% at the end of January. Underemployment, in which Gallup combines part-time workers wanting full-time work with the U.S. unemployment rate, surged in mid-February to 19.6% — mostly as a result of the sharp increase in those working part time but wanting full-time work. Underemployment now stands at basically the same place as it did a year ago (19.8%). The unemployment rate in mid-February is 0.8 percentage points lower than it was at this time a year ago, compared with a 1.1-point improvement at the end of January. This suggests that jobs are less available now than they were in January. More troubling, however, is the surge in underemployment. On this broader basis, current job conditions are barely improved from what they were at this time last year. Essentially, what has happened over the past year is that some people who were unemployed got part-time jobs but are still looking for full-time work. This is not much to show for a year in which many macro-economic indicators showed improvement. This is likely why Gallup’s self-reported spending

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Out of Egypt: Protests are Headed for America

Filed in BP, Debt, frontline, Gold, Gold Market, inflation, Lear, o, Quantitative Easing by on February 12, 2011 0 Comments
Out of Egypt: Protests are Headed for America

Don’t think that what happened in Egypt can not possibly happen here. Because the truth is when a big swath of the population is no longer served by the festering status quo, they wake up one day and decide not play ball after all. And once that faith is lost, it is gone forever. I actually think we are much closer to that moment than most people would think. You see, I work all day in an office full of 20-somethings. They are a diverse bunch. They’re smart and they work hard. But the one thing they all have in common is they are stuck on a ladder with no where to go. Buried in debt from student loans and various other sources, they are trapped in time unable grab the next rung. Among them the most common refrain is: “I can’t” They would like to further their education…but they can’t. They would like to buy a house…..but they can’t. They would like to buy a car….but they can’t. They would like to have children….but they can’t. There’s more to the list…but you get the picture. Of course, when you look at their list of wants you realize that what they want is no different than what everyone else has wanted at one time or another. The difference is in their world it’s a lot harder to attain—if not impossible in some cases. The reason for this is pretty simple: The cost of their dreams can’t be met with their incomes and adding more debt for them is not much of an option . Everything single thing on their list and then some simply costs too much. As a result, they go without. One day I suspect they will take to the streets. By the way, here’s a great video I found this morning on zerohedge. It’s your life according to the government… The status quo cannot possibly be maintained. Related Articles: Government Run Amok: Unintended Consequences Trouble in Retail: Three Charts from the Frontlines How Uncle Sam Fiddles with the Figures Quantitative Easing For Dummies To learn more about Wealth Daily click here Advertisement Samurai Super Alloy It was the secret ingredient that turned an ordinary sword into the legendary Samurai Katana— the deadliest weapon before the arrival of modern rifles. Today, it’s crucial to the $987billion/year global steel industry… And the world’s supply is quickly running out. Find out how a tiny mining company sitting on one of the last untapped deposits of this metal could hand you 2682% — in the next 12 months! Out of Egypt: Protests are Headed for America originally appeared in Wealth Daily . Wealth Daily is a free daily newsletter featuring contrarian investment insights and commentary.

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A Self-Employed Carpenter’s Thoughts on the Future

The world is changing. Currently, as a nation, we have a large and well-trained section of our work force dedicated to residential construction. Unemployment within the construction industry now exceeds 20%. That number takes into account only workers getting unemployment compensation. There are also many self-employed individuals, ineligible for unemployment compensation, who have simply run out of customers and work. That is the bad news. Now the worse news: Not only are those jobs not coming back, but the construction industry will continue to diminish for the foreseeable future. The real estate glut is not on hold; it is over. Waiting for its return is similar to waiting for next the big surge in typewriters, 35mm cameras, and home phones. Why are the construction jobs not coming back? There are three main reasons, the first of which is inflation. Decades of credit expansion and the recent printing of money (quantitative easing) have increased the overall volume of our fiat currency: dollars. Therefore, the value of each dollar unit has been reduced, causing prices to rise. This results in increased costs in construction of new homes. Higher new construction costs make staying in and repairing older structures, or renting, more attractive. The second reason is fuel costs. Living rurally and working in urban areas is becoming very expensive. Reasons one and two will keep an increasing number of younger workers and couples living and renting closer to work. Why take the financial and mobility risks associated with homeownership? The third reason is we are broke. Who are “we”? Western civilization, comprised mainly of the U.S. and Europe. Consider this…there are gold and silver coins and bullion: actual wealth storage vehicles. There are paper dollars: temporary wealth storage vehicles. And there are also trillions of “dollars” represented as pixels on screens in accounting software programs. When I say that we are broke it is because I don’t believe those pixel dollars represent anything. All of the wealth supposedly held in those pixels does not exist. It is a classic Ponzi scheme. If you go today and convert your pixels to actual dollars, everything is just fine. But if 10% of us go today and try to convert our pixels into dollars, the banks will shut down…Why? Because the money doesn’t exist. There is no actual wealth stored in any of those pixels. Spain and Portugal may require financial bailouts in 2011. Part of the fallout from the Greek financial crisis last year was the creation of a eurozone bailout fund of $1.01 trillion. That fund could be used to assist Spain and Portugal if necessary. Where did that $1.01 trillion come from? Was it removed from another sector of Europe’s economy? Supplied in gold bullion to EU headquarters in The Hague? Removed from the savings accounts of earnest Europeans? No, none of those could supply …

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Recovery Chronicles: Tales From the Modern Food Line

Filed in BP, frontline, Gold, GOld juniors, inflation, Lear, o, Quantitative Easing by on February 4, 2011 0 Comments
Recovery Chronicles: Tales From the Modern Food Line

Here’s one from the recovery chronicles: food stamp usage is up 14% from last year. Today, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) serves about one in seven Americans. Of these, about half are children USDA officials say. From the Wall Street Journal by Sara Murray entitled: Some 43 Million Use Food Stamps “Nearly a year and a half into the economic recovery, some 43.6 million Americans continued to rely on food stamps in November. More than 14% of the population drew food stamps in November to purchase groceries as high unemployment and muted wage growth crimped budgets. The number of recipients was up 0.9% from October, according to the new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Compared to a year ago, the number of people receiving food stamps was up 14.2%. In both Washington, D.C. and Mississippi more than a fifth of residents received food stamps — the highest recipiency rates of any state. But demand has grown stronger in the past year in a handful of other states that recorded significant increases on a per capita basis. In New Mexico, 19.4% of the population tapped into food stamps. That’s up 3.2 percentage points from the same month a year ago, the largest increase for any state. Idaho reported a similar jump: 14% of residents received food stamps, up 3.1 points from a year ago. Washington, D.C., Florida, Delaware and Texas all experienced similar year over year increases.” For comparison sakes here’s how the food stamp roles have grown

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Anticipating a Budget Deficit

Filed in AIG, AT T, BP, Debt, o, Quantitative Easing, silver by on February 2, 2011 0 Comments

I am constantly amazed at the number of people who think that a budget deficit is the same thing as the total federal deficit, which it ain’t. Actually, I remember one time early in my career where I was so desperate to cover up the results of my own incompetence that I tried to exploit Anticipating a Budget Deficit originally appeared in the Daily Reckoning . Recent articles featured in The Daily Reckoning include the impact of quantitative easing and US debt .

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Answering Krugman on Austrian Economic Theory

Answering Krugman on Austrian Economic Theory

I still get the sense that Krugman truly doesn’t understand the Austrian position. For example, he asks, “Why is there overwhelming evidence that when central banks decide to slow the economy, the economy does indeed slow?” But because the Austrian theory says the bust occurs when the central bank backs off and allows interest rates to rise toward their “correct” level, this is hardly a problem. In fact, if central banks couldn’t slow the economy, as an Austrian economist I would be worried about my theory. Krugman also poses questions concerning (price) inflation rates and the connection between nominal and real GDP. But I think he is conflating the Austrian theory with a purely “real” business-cycle theory. Austrians understand that monetary influences can have real effects. To repeat, that is the very essence of the Mises-Hayek theory. Although most of Krugman’s objections are due to his unfamiliarity with the actual Austrian theory, I think one source of confusion came from the particular illustration I used in my article. First let’s set the context by quoting Krugman : “So what is the essence of this Austrian story? Basically, it says that what we call an economic boom is actually something like China’s disastrous Great Leap Forward, which led to a temporary surge in consumption but only at the expense of degradation of the country’s underlying productive capacity. And the unemployment that follows is a result of that degradation: there’s simply nothing useful for the unemployed workers to do. “I like this story, and there are probably other cases besides China 1958–1961 to which it applies. But what reason do we have to think that it has anything to do with the business cycles we actually see in market economies?” First, I should say I’m glad that Krugman at least concedes that (his understanding of) the Austrian explanation both is theoretically possible and actually happens in the real world — coming from the guy who referred to it in 1998 as equivalent to the “phlogiston theory of fire,” this is progress! However, Krugman still doesn’t have quite the right understanding of the Austrian view of the “capital consumption” that occurs during the unsustainable boom. As I said above, on this particular issue the fault lies with the necessarily simplistic “sushi model” I used in the article that Krugman read . In that article, in order to make sure the reader really saw why Krugman (and Tyler Cowen) were overlooking something basic, I had the villagers boost their daily sushi intake even while they developed a new technology to help augment their fishing. So during their “boom,” it would have seemed to a dull villager that both consumption and investment were rising. In my fable, this was physically possible because the villagers neglected the regular maintenance of their boats…

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How to Replace Austerity with Freedom, Independence and Prosperity

The Economic Collapse Blog has this list of examples of how European-style “austerity” is already hitting the U.S., including cities closing schools and fire stations, and states eliminating whole state agencies and raising taxes. That includes the state of Illinois whose legislature has passed a “temporary” 66% personal income tax hike that the Democrat governor will sign. Rest assured, this income tax hike will be as “temporary” as the one in Massachusetts , still in place since 1989. Such austerity measures may lead to the same kind of social unrest Europeans have been experiencing. The Economic Collapse Blog concludes, We are entering a time of extreme financial stress in America.  The federal government is broke.  Most of our state and local governments are broke.  Record numbers of Americans are going bankrupt.  Record numbers of Americans are being kicked out of their homes.  Record numbers of Americans are now living in poverty. The debt-fueled prosperity of the last several decades came at a cost.  We literally mortgaged the future.  Now nothing will ever be the same again. To say that “nothing will ever be the same again” is just pessimistic and unnecessary. We actually can return to the prosperity of the past, by replacing debt and austerity with freedom and independence. There is no need for Americans to suffer through what European countries are suffering, because nearly all the problems we face are caused by governmental intrusions into many aspects of our personal and economic lives — intrusions by federal, state and local governments. Regardless of the good intentions that the welfare and military socialism statists have in justifying their use of compulsory government powers, what America needs is to cut the shackles of State-imposed dependence, restrictions, regulations, taxation, all those policies of moral relativism that involve violations of the Rule of Law: theft, trespass, denial of Due Process, and other acts of State-initiated criminal aggression. Freeing Americans includes repealing all forms of intrusive presumption-of-guilt regulations and restrictions that are in place having nothing to do with whether any individual is suspected of any crimes against others. Regulations are before-the-fact demands by the government that presume the individual and one’s business guilty, in which one must submit one’s private personal or financial information to the government to prove one’s innocence. Government regulations and arbitrary restrictions are literally searches and seizures by the government of information that is none of anyone else’s business, and effect in the stifling of everyday citizens’ growth and prosperity. Ending all personal income taxes , corporate taxes, estate taxes, and capital gains taxes frees people who own or share in the ownership of businesses — i.e. employers and prospective employers — to invest in their own research and development and in the expansion of their businesses, which is the genuine force behind jobs creation, in both blue collar and white collar sectors. Ending all personal income taxes frees people to explore their own ideas and inventions, and to start their own businesses that will employ more people and advance society further. Also…

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The Great American Snooze Button

The Great American Snooze Button

I’ve been known to hit the snooze button on occasion. My long-suffering editor can attest to that. Just ten more minutes, then I’ll… Imagine if each press of the snooze button made the next BEEP-BEEP-BEEP happen a little bit sooner than the last. Eventually, you wouldn’t be able to sleep at all. Time to either wake up or smash the alarm clock. America has been hitting the fiscal snooze button for the last 30 years. The alarm is getting shriller these days, and it beeps more often than it used to. So, what’s the plan? In essence: smash that stupid alarm clock to bits and worry about consequences later. Social Security, and pensions, and Medicare, oh shit my! In 2011, Social Security will pay out $130 billion more in benefits than it collects in revenue. The program’s deficit this year would have been a paltry $45b, if not for Obama’s one-year deal lowering SS payroll deductions from 6.2% to 4.2%… The CBO admits the system will be completely drained by 2037. But even their own analysts don’t buy that, as reported by the Christian Science Monitor . By the way, did America really enact a tax break that lasts one year ? Yes, we did. The social security payroll tax cut is a 12-month deal— for now. Short-sightedness is at all-time highs in D.C. Now don’t get …

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Bob Janjuah Sees a 10% Correction.

Bob Janjuah Sees a 10% Correction.

Here’s great video from Bloomberg with Bob Janjuah. In it Bob discusses what we have known all along: Without the helping hand of the Fed, the market would have ended the year much lower. Start to finish, Janjuah pretty much nails it. Related Articles: Government Run Amok: Unintended Consequences Trouble in Retail: Three Charts from the Frontlines How Uncle Sam Fiddles with the Figures Quantitative Easing For Dummies To learn more about Wealth Daily click here Advertisement History is About to be Made… As one tiny Nevada-based mining exploration company rewrites the rules on gold mining. And as the global economy gears up for what may be the biggest gold rush in history… Their timing couldn’t be better. Turn $1,000 into $108,000 with this once-in-a-lifetime gold investment. Bob Janjuah Sees a 10% Correction. originally appeared in Wealth Daily . Wealth Daily is a free daily newsletter featuring contrarian investment insights and commentary.

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The $600 Billion Gamble

The $600 Billion Gamble

I’ve spilled so much ink on QE2 at this point that I must be beginning to sound like a broken record. So I’ll let this story speak for itself…. From Reuters by Jonathan Spicer entitled: Fed’s bond-buying could soon backfire: Plosser “ The U.S. Federal Reserve’s aggressive bond-buying plan could soon backfire unless the central bank gradually changes course to head off inflation, a top Fed official known for his hawkish stance said on Tuesday. Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Plosser said the $600-billion quantitative easing plan, known as QE2, would need to be reconsidered if the U.S. economy’s current “moderate recovery” picks up steam. The prospect of sustained price deflation — a worry for Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and other backers of the controversial QE2 plan — is highly unlikely in part because the Fed’s massive reserves will eventually flow out into the economy, Plosser added. “If the economy begins to grow more quickly and the sustainability of this recovery continues to gain traction, then the purchase program will need to be reconsidered along with other aspects of our very accommodative policy stance,” Plosser said in a speech to the Risk Management Association. “The aggressiveness of our accommodative policy may soon backfire on us if we don’t begin to gradually reverse course,” he said. It comes as recent data show the U.S. economy is slowly recovering, but also as Fed officials increasingly rally behind QE2, which in early November set the Fed to purchasing Treasury securities in an effort to rejuvenate that recovery. While some have credited QE2 for having already played a role in the rebound, Plosser said that argument likely “stretches things.” Nothing more than a $600 billion gamble…Don’t you just love the Fed? Related Articles: Hoenig: QE2 May Lead to “future instability” Hoenig: QE2 Won’t Work Hoenig: Let Troubled Banks Fail Jim Grant on the Fed’s “Mission Creep” Jim Grant: “The Fed is out of its lane” To learn more about Wealth Daily click here Advertisement Military’s Latest Energy Report Will Give You the Willies Inside, they confess a shocking truth… without any new developments, we only have 16 months of oil left! Before the media catches wind and panic drives the price of oil through the roof, I’ll show you how one group of companies solving the problem could make you filthy rich by Christmas. Click here to find out more. The $600 Billion Gamble originally appeared in Wealth Daily . Wealth Daily is a free daily newsletter featuring contrarian investment insights and commentary.

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Big Ben’s Stimulus Party: Only the Top 20% Received an Invite

Big Ben’s Stimulus Party: Only the Top 20% Received an Invite

What if they threw a recovery party and only the top 20% showed up? It looks like we are about to find out….. From the Telegraph by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard entitled: Deepening crisis traps America’s have nots “ The US is drifting from a financial crisis to a deeper and more insidious social crisis. Self-congratulation by the US authorities that they have this time avoided a repeat of the 1930s is premature. There is a telling detail in the US retail chain store data for December. Stephen Lewis from Monument Securities points out that luxury outlets saw an 8.1pc rise from a year ago, but discount stores catering to America’s poorer half rose just 1.2pc. Tiffany’s, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue are booming. Sales of Cadillac cars have jumped 35pc, while Porsche’s US sales are up 29pc. Cartier and Louis Vuitton have helped boost the luxury goods stock index by almost 50pc since October. Yet Best Buy, Target, and Walmart have languished. Such is the blighted fruit of Federal Reserve policy. The Fed no longer even denies that the purpose of its latest blast of bond purchases, or QE2, is to drive up Wall Street, perhaps because it has so signally failed to achieve its other purpose of driving down borrowing costs. Yet surely Ben Bernanke’s `trickle down’ strategy risks corroding America’s ethic of solidarity long before it does much to help America’s poor. The retail data can be quirky but…

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Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) on U.S. Dollar, Euro

Bank of America Corp.’s (NYSE:BAC) head of Americas G- 10 currency strategy at Bank of America Corp. in New York, Paresh Upadhyaya, commented on the relationship of the U.S. dollar and the euro after the U.S. payrolls report, which was considered disappointing. Upadhyaya said, “Overall, the tone for the dollar should be stronger as most of the data has been coming in on the stronger side and

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