Monday, February 28, 2011

Who owns the US?

'... While most of the country's $14 trillion debt is held by private banks in the U.S., the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Board estimate that, as of December, about $4.4 trillion of it was held by foreign governments that purchase our treasury securities much as an investor buys shares in a company and comes to own his or her little chunk of the organization.
1. Mainland China
Amount of U.S. debt: $891.6 billion
Share of total foreign debt: 20.4%
2. Japan
Amount of U.S. debt: $883.6 billion
Share of total foreign debt: 20.2%
3. United Kingdom
Amount of U.S. debt: $541.3 billion
Share of total foreign debt: 12.4%
4. Oil Exporters
Amount of U.S. debt: $218 billion
Share of total foreign debt: 5%
5. Brazil
Amount of U.S. debt: $180.8 billion
Share of total foreign debt: 4.1%
6. Caribbean Banking Centers
Amount of U.S. debt: $155.6 billion
Share of total foreign debt: 3.6%
7. Hong Kong
Amount of U.S. debt: $138.2 billion
Share of total foreign debt: 3.2%
8. Canada
Amount of U.S. debt: $134.6 billion
Share of total foreign debt: 3.1%
9. Taiwan
Amount of U.S. debt: $131.9 billion
Share of total foreign debt: 3.0%
10. Russia
Amount of U.S. debt: $106.2 billion
Share of total foreign debt: 2.4%
Source
Comment: Firstly, note that a large part of the UK position is actually money from other places and of dubious origin. You may well include Gadhafi or Mubarak as creditors along with other criminals and other dictators, which, secondly, is also the case with the Caribbean holders. Thirdly, to get the full sway that China holds, Hong Kong should be added to mainland China. Finally, one should mention that we have entered a phase where the debt accumulates in an exponential way on its own because of the interest effect.

Questions for Bernanke

Caroline Baum asks:
Question No. 1: Why $600 billion?
Question No. 2: About that global savings glut …
Question No. 3: What about the Fed’s tools?
Question No. 4: Those dueling mandates …
Question No. 5: Knowing when it’s time to say good-bye …
Read the details at Bloomberg
Comment: You're right, Caroline, your questions are better than those by most Congressmen and Senators. Yet you're wrong to assume that better questions would provoke better answers. I fear that the opposite is the case. Greenspan's answers at least were funny. Bernanke's answers are just a bore. I recommend to ignore him. Make Bernanke give his statement in an empty room.

How the West was lost

  • Dambisa Moyo is a young Zambian-born economist who made her money at Goldman Sachs and her name with Dead Aid, a provocative book about western aid which claimed that rich countries only make things worse for the poor. On this basis she was picked by Time magazine to be one of its 100 most influential people in the world in 2010. That was absurd, and should have been enough to end any promising career, but she has soldiered on and has now written a post-wreck treatise examining how the US economy has collapsed. In its favour, How the West Was Lost is more interesting, wider in scale and more important than Dead Aid. It sketches how, in under 50 years, successive administrations have not just lost America's way but have wilfully handed leadership to the rest of the world in a series of flawed economic policies. Moyo shows well how fundamental economic liberalisation espoused by what she calls the profligate, greedy, self-interested west has come back to bite it.
She clearly despises western free market capitalism, whose economies, she says, are based on ruthlessness, self-interest, and an ability to exploit resources and people from other countries, but her fawning admiration for the state-sponsored Chinese version of capitalism wears thin. Guardian

Comment:  There are better boosk out there. The unbeatable classics on the errors of development were written by Peter Bauer. When it comes to understanding US economic decline a straight-foward analysis is provied my Peter Schiff's recent book on how an economy grows and why it crashes. In order to understand how developments happens, Schumpeter is still one of the best. For a modern analysis of economic growth based on Austrian economics see Petri Kajander's book on Finland.

Inside Job wins Academy award

Inside Job Documentary about the 2008 Financial Market meltdown wins Hollywood's movie award.
Trailer on Youtube
Comment: Watch out when see this film! It is not the first time that Hollywood falsifies history and calls it "documentary". Half-truth are more dangerous than lies.
Better read Tom Woods.

Dictatorial powers of the US president

Paul Craig Roberts explains:
"... Congress permitted President George W. Bush to accumulate new powers in the executive, and these powers have passed to Obama. Bush succeeded in establishing that as a wartime commander-in-chief he had the “inherent power” to disobey the laws against torture, spying on Americans without obtaining warrants, and indefinite detention. In addition, Bush used signing statements in ways inconsistent with his oath and obligation to uphold the laws of the United States, and he took the U.S. to war based on lies, deception, and fabricated “evidence,” an offense that qualifies as treason.
With these precedents, it is a simple matter for President Obama to declare that, with the U.S. at war in a world of growing instability, he has the inherent power to ignore the debt limit and to continue financing the government with the creation of new money by the Federal Reserve...
Full text
Comment: Obama has been waiting now for quite some time for his "greatest hour" to come. It seems that this moment is approaching with the "government shutdown" in case the debt ceiling won't be raised. History moves by paradox.

The expert speaks

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff said in a magazine interview published Sunday that new regulatory reform enacted after the recent national financial crisis is laughable and that the federal government is a Ponzi scheme.
"The whole new regulatory reform is a joke," Madoff said during a telephone interview with New York magazine in which he discussed his disdain for the financial industry and for its regulators.
The interview was published on the magazine's website Sunday night.
Madoff did an earlier New York Times interview in which he accused banks and hedge funds of being "complicit" in his Ponzi scheme to fleece people out of billions of dollars. He said they failed to scrutinize the discrepancies between his regulatory filings and other information...
Full text
Comment: Austrian economists have known that for a long time. You cannot be honest in an inhonest system. Worse: the current fiat monetary system with national money is a constant invitation to cheat. This system provides an intimate link between the financial sector and government, and it is hard to tell which of these two is the bigger cheater. Nevertheless, there is a big collusion in place and savers and honest workingmen are its victim. This parasitic system is doomed to break down, yet, so we may fear, only until there is no-one left anymore to fleece. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Next in line: Saudi Arabia

CAIRO – More than 100 leading Saudi academics and activists urged King Abdullah to enact sweeping reforms, including setting up a constitutional monarchy, and he ordered Sunday that government sector workers with temporary contracts be given permanent jobs in order to pre-empt the unrest that has engulfed other Arab nations.
The activists' statement, seen on several Saudi websites Sunday, reflects the undercurrent of tension that has simmered for years in the world's largest oil producer. While Abdullah is seen as a reformer, the pace of those reforms has been slow as Saudi officials balance the need to push the country forward with the perennial pressure from hard-line clergy in the conservative nation.
"The current situation ... is full of reasons for concern," said the statement, which was signed by 119 academics, activists and businessmen. "We are seeing ... a receding of Saudi Arabia's prominent regional role for which our nation was known and the .... prevalence of corruption and nepotism, the exacerbation of factionalism and a widening in the gap between state and society." ...
Read more
Comment: It's too little, too late, dear Abdullah. Neither money nor guns will save you and your corrupt "kingdom". The more you pump, the earlier your wells be empty. The more you repress, the earlier rebellion will strike. Your kinddom is doomed. Soon the desert will rule again.  

Libya as a catalyst for the coming "hyperstagflation"

MADRID – Libya's oil industry is in chaos — and there's no telling when that will end.
Armed men loot equipment from oil field installations. British commandos execute secret raids in the Libyan desert to rescue stranded oil workers as security disintegrates rapidly in remote camps.
Libyan port workers, frightened of being caught up in Moammar Gadhafi's violent crackdown on protesters, fail to show up for work, leaving empty tankers floating around the Mediterranean Sea waiting to load crude.
And the European oil companies extracting Libya's black gold are operating in crisis mode, trying to get stranded expatriate workers out and safe amid conflicting information on how much oil is still being pumped and just where it all is.
That was just this week. The situation is not expected to get better in the near future...
Full text
Comment: Libya may well become the catalyst to trigger a new wave of price inflation. Next in line for turmoil are Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela. Given the immense monetary overhang, the coming oil shortage will lead to hyperinflation and the high cost of oil will produce recession. Gt used to a new vocabulary with expressions like hyperinflation, hyperstagnation, hyperstagflation, inflationary depression, hyerinflationary depression etc. -

Saturday, February 26, 2011

John Taylor's outlook

According to John Taylor, chief investment officer of FX Concepts, the world’s largest currency hedge fund, the global economy has historically been vulnerable to sharp rises in commodity prices....
"Although we have heard much from this group about spending cuts, the most important Republican for those of us in the financial world is Ron Paul, who heads the committee that oversees the Fed. His extremely restrictive view of permissible Fed activities will make it extremely unlikely that a QE3 or another innovative program will be in the wings when QE2 expires in June."
This, he says, means that  “if the US economy does slow in the second half of the year, the Fed is unlikely to come to the rescue – interest rates are almost at zero and expanded fiscal spending looks unlikely.  This will be the worst pre-recession position the US has ever experienced.  If a recession does start it will intensify unchecked as the authorities’ hands are tied." 
At the same time, he argues, escalating tensions in the Middle East pose an intolerable threat to the global economy.
“The world economy faces a problem of Gordian proportions, as it both cannot tolerate more US liquidity and it cannot live without it.
“The Middle East crises have accelerated the endgame as it has both pushed prices higher and caused a shift to risk aversion, which is basically a need for more dollar liquidity.”
As a result, he warns that  “markets could be starting their next major move lower at this time."
Read more 
Comment:  I feer that Taylor may be right. But this is speculation. He surely is right, analytically, by discarding the possibility of Q3. This by itself would be a marvelous achievement of Ron Paul in his new position. In the short run things may get worse, but the long-term outlook becomes brighter.

Friday, February 25, 2011

How big is the US debt?

A 1:18 minutes video lecture by Professor Antony Davies: 
http://www.learnliberty.org/node/47?utm_source=Faculty%20Email%202&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=LL%20Launch

Too bad

, On Friday February 25, 2011, 1:56 pm EST
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Social Security checks would still go out. Troops would remain at their posts. Furloughed federal workers probably would get paid, though not until later. And virtually every essential government agency, like the FBI, the Border Patrol and the Coast Guard, would remain open.
That's the little-known truth about a government shutdown. The government doesn't shut down....
Full text
Comment: The way to make government shut down is widespread disobience. Yet for this to happen we have to count out those who depend on the checks from government. Too bad. The change will happen when those on government payroll will recognize that they get paid with worthless money. Will it take long for this to happen? Maybe not.

Choose your number

Source










 Comment: Will it get better anytime soon? I do not think so. Too much malinvestment has been accumulated over the past decades. Fiscal and monetary stimuli were applied to prevent any correction, which, when applied in time, would have been rather harmless. Yet policymakers, fiscal and monetary, wanted to take the pride to make the economy grow without rest. What an illusion. What hubris. Now comes payback time. We Austrian economists screamed our lungs out in warnings, but as long as the boat was floating almost nobody wanted to know that the boat had a big hole.
Backgrounders:   
http://mises.org/daily/1873
http://mises.org/daily/1877

Out of control

A two minutes video feature about the relentless growth of US debt: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_vFjKTBqXY&feature=player_embedded
Comment: We knew that it would happen not years but decades ago. Yet almost nobody in responsible position seemed to care. Now it is too late. Don't worry because you can't help anymore.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's nice to be among the winners



http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110223/ts_yblog_thelookout/separate-but-unequal-charts-show-growing-rich-poor-gap
Comment: Statistics like that spread half-truths. That "the rich" get more of the cake is only a part of the whole story. Much more important is the question: how long do "the rich" stay rich? As Schumpeter once remarked, it is with the rich like a bus: there are always some people in it but rarely the same. Who cares when the people who are in the group of "the rich" changes every couple of years? Modern wealth is quite different from the old wealth. In the past, i.e. up to the 1960s, "the rich" formed a pretty closed shop. It was hard to get in and you had to pretty dumb to fall out. This has changed in recent times, most dramatically since the 1990s. Nowadays, it is relatively easy (compared to the past) to get into the club of "the rich", yet the risk to fall out has also increased. It is hardly conceivable today that huge wealth will be maintained over generations as it was the case in the past. Nowadays you may call yourself lucky (or exceptionally smart) if you manage to hold on  to your wealth until you hit the grave. As much as one can gain exceptional wealth positions one can also lose it in the modern economy. That's the main difference between today and the past. And this fact makes all of these statistics pretty useless particularly when they are presented with a moralistic undertone.

Get him up against the wall

"...Two air force pilots jumped from parachutes from their Russian-made Sukhoi fighter jet and let it crash, rather than carry out orders to bomb Libya's second largest city, Benghazi, which is now in opposition hands, the website Quryna reported, citing an unidentified officer in the air force control room..."
Full text
Comment: All it takes for government to fall is not to follow orders. Just stop doing what you're being told and the state will wither away and dictators will stand naked.

Too much money + too little oil = inflation

WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices

US diplomat convinced by Saudi expert that reserves of world's biggest oil exporter have been overstated by nearly 40%

The US fears that Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating, confidential cables from its embassy in Riyadh show.
Full text
Comment: Like 2 + 2 = 4, too much money + too little oil = inflation

We're bankrupt - all of us

Laurence Kotlikoff writes:
"Our country is bankrupt. It’s not bankrupt in 30 years or five years. It’s bankrupt today.
Want proof? Look at President Barack Obama’s 2010 budget. It showed a massive fiscal gap over the next 75 years, the closure of which requires immediate tax increases, spending cuts, or some combination totaling 8 percent of gross domestic product. To put 8 percent of GDP in perspective, this year’s employee and employer payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare will amount to just 5 percent of GDP.
Actually, the picture is much worse..."
Read more
Comment: The modern populist democracies are doomed for bankruptcy and hyperinflation. To get to these final stages is inevitable. The only difference between countries is that some move faster than others. Yet the final stage is the same. We cannot avoid bankruptcy and hyperinflation without getting rid of our current political system. Mankind has experimented for centuries with different "state forms". Each type has brought misery sooner or later upon us. It is time to think more radically. It is time to put into question the existence of the state itself.

Rebellion for prosperity

Besides the corrupt, repressive and anti-prosperity regimes in the Middle East, there are many other countries which suffer from the same malaise. The most prominent of these are Cuba, Venezuela, Argentina, and many other countries in Latin America, North Korea, China, almost all of Africa, large parts of Europe, and last but not least, the US of America itself. Yet before it will get better, it will get worse. Nevertheless, rebellion is in the air. Getting rid of evil leaders is only the first step. What comes next is the task to make liberty a reality. From there the rest follows by itself: it is liberty which will create prosperity.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Worse than the dollar

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The International Monetary Fund issued a report Thursday on a possible replacement for the dollar as the world's reserve currency. The IMF said Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs, could help stabilize the global financial system.
Full text
Comment: To replace the US dollar with Special Drawing Rights( SDR) as the international reserve currency is no solution at all. On the contrary: probably even more so than the US dollar, the use of SDRs would become a vehicle for global inflation. The evil spirit of inflationism is still very virulent at the IMF. To have national currencies is a curse and to have an international currency is even worse a curse. The right move is the opposite way: the denationalisation of money. What is needed are private monies that can be globally used as it is nowadays the case with the major credit cards.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The root's of Egypt decline and revolt

Nouh El Harmouzi
Roots of Egypt’s Revolt
Rent-seeking and autocracy.
Posted February 21, 2011
Egypt has been a pressure cooker for decades. Like others in the region, the Mubarak regime was been sitting atop a simmering political crisis, simultaneously attempting to contain rising Islamist violence and snuffing out pockets of political resistance. The country has been under a continuous state of emergency since the assassination of Mubarak’s predecessor, Anwar Sadat in 1981. That state of emergency has been the foundation of a policy of “stability through continuity,” which in fact has meant the monarchical exercise and transmission of power by a president backed by a military junta and with the support of the barons and apparatchiks of the hegemonic National Democratic Party. It’s now all crashed down, and Mubarak is gone. How did such a “stable” regime become destabilized so fast?
Read more
Comment: The surprise with regimes like these is not that they come falling apart, the curious fact is how long suppression, inefficiency, and corruption can be held up by the blockheads in power.

Watch the revolution live

http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

Backgrounders to current trends and events

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Dr. Antony Mueller: An Austrian Perspective on the Credit Crisis

 http://vimeo.com/12768273


Inflation and Deflation
http://www.newmedia.ufm.edu/gsm/index.php/Muellerinflationmacroeconomic




The most dangerous man on earth

Paul B. Farrell

Feb. 15, 2011, 12:01 a.m. EST
Fed dictator Bernanke needs to be toppled
Commentary: Forget Mubarak, it’s Fed reign of terror that must end
By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Fed boss Ben Bernanke is the most dangerous human on earth, far more dangerous than Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s 30-year dictator, ever was. Bernanke rules a monetary dictatorship that will trigger the coming third meltdown of the 21st century....
Read more 
Comment: The investment world is awaking from its slumber. The downfall of the Fed's monetary terror regime won't be cakewalk, though. Prepare for the worst. Get rid of paper assets and seek shelter in precisous metals, natural resources and agricultural land, also outside of the US.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Rebellion comes to China

BEIJING – Jittery Chinese authorities wary of any domestic dissent staged a concerted show of force Sunday to squelch a mysterious online call for a "Jasmine Revolution" apparently modeled after pro-democracy demonstrations sweeping the Middle East...
The campaign did not gain much traction among ordinary citizens and the chances of overthrowing the Communist government are slim, considering Beijing's tight controls over the media and Internet. A student-led, pro-democracy movement in 1989 was crushed by the military and hundreds, perhaps thousands, were killed...
Read more
Comment: You can't stop a revolution once it's time has come. Repression does not work in China just as it did not work in the Middle East.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Global asset allocation 2011

Quarterly Global Asset Allocation 
January - March 2011
Negative: US dollar bonds, Japanese government bonds
Neutral: Euro stocks, euro bonds, US stocks
Positive: Natural resources, agriculture, oil
Bullish: Gold, silver, oil, precious metal stocks, Russia
Bearish: Paper assets
Special Situation: Automobile industry, Germany, Japan
Possible Surprises: Strong US recovery, China bust
Major Risks: Social unrest
Uncertainties: China, Middle East, PIIGS
Low probability/high impact event: beware of the unknown unknowns

Source
For more information

Contact

Inflation warning: UK

Precious Metals Rise Immediately on Higher than Expected UK Inflation

Silver and particularly gold rose sharply on the release of the higher than expected UK inflation data. It showed that UK inflation quickened to 26 month highs at 4.0%. Currency debasement and higher food and energy prices are leading to an inflation surge in both developed and emerging markets. 

Inflation warning: China

"... China's public is struggling with a monthslong surge in food prices that has defied government efforts to combat inflation with interest rate hikes, price controls and a campaign to boost vegetable and grain output..."
Full text
Comment: China's economic miracle is partly built on sand and what is solid and what is not will be exposed when the central bank finally hits the brakes.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A (the?) major factor of economic decline

"Industrial productivity, the foundation of every nation’s economic growth, is eroded by the relentlessly predatory effects of the military economy. …Traditional economic competence of every sort is being eroded by the state capitalist directorate that elevates inefficiency into a national purpose, that disables the market system, that destroys the value of the currency, and that diminishes the decision power of all institutions other than its own."
Seymour Melman (1917–2004), professor of industrial engineering and operations research at Columbia University
Read more

Monday, February 7, 2011

No true lies

Arnold Schwarzenegger was sworn in as the governor of California at the end of 2003 amid a wave of optimism that his independent thinking and fresh ideas would revive a state stumbling after the recall of Gov. Gray Davis.
The good vibes are a distant memory: The Governator exited office last month with the state facing a crippling checklist of problems including massive budget deficits, high unemployment, plunging home prices, rampant crime and sky-high taxes. Schwarzenegger's approval ratings hit 22% last year, a record low for any sitting California governor.
California's troubles helped it land eight of the 20 spots on our annual list of America's Most Miserable Cities, with Stockton ranking first for the second time in three years.
Read more 

Precious metals still hot investment

After the worst January for precious metals in two decades, investors still have a $102 billion bet on higher prices, hoarding more gold than all but four central banks and more silver than the U.S. can mine in almost 12 years.
Full text
Comment: The boom for gold and silver won't be over as long as the central banks continue producing money like crazy. It is a grave error to call the price of gold absurd. What is in really insane is what central banks are doing. What happens to precious metals is a rational reaction to the irrationality of modern central banking.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The USSR and the US - then and now

Paul Craig Roberts explains:
"... The Soviet economy failed because it used more valuable inputs to produce less valuable outputs. The outputs would be measured as statistical product, but the values of the outputs were less than the values of the inputs. In other words, instead of producing value, the Soviet system was destroying value.
This was the result of ideological aversion to using prices and profits to allocate resources and investments. Instead of profit serving as a manager’s success indicator, managers were judged according to whether they fulfilled a plan measured in gross physical output, such as weight, number, square meters.
For example, the success indicator for the construction industry was the number of projects under construction. Consequently, Moscow was littered with unfinished projects because all activity was concentrated in starting new ones. The plan produced a housing shortage because the incentive was to start new constructions not to complete ones already underway.
If a shoe factory’s gross output indicator was a specified number of pairs of shoes, there would be plenty of baby shoes, but none for large feet, because the same amount of material could be used to produce one large pair or several small pairs.
If nails were specified in number, there would be small nails but no large ones. If specified in terms of weight, there would be assortments weighted heavily with large sizes. A famous Soviet cartoon shows the manager of a nail factory being awarded Hero of the Soviet Union for over-fulfilling his quota. In the factory yard are two giant cranes holding one giant nail.
If light fixtures were specified in number, they would be small. If in weight, they would be heavy. Nikita Khrushchev complained of chandeliers so heavy that “they pull the ceilings down on our heads.”
An abundance of natural resources with low extraction costs and the minimal allocation of resources to consumer needs permitted the Soviet economy to continue despite its enormous waste of resources in terms of consumer satisfaction and economic efficiency. But it couldn’t go on forever..."
Read about what has changed since then.

In contrast, the U.S. economy during the 1960s was efficient. Prices and profits were the signals that allocated resources and investments. As the goods and services produced by American firms for American consumers were made by American labor, the profits made by corporations were indications that the economy was serving consumer welfare. American real wages and living standards were rising with the productivity of the economy..."
Read more about what has changed since then

Happy birthday, Mr. President

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The obvious sold as new discovery

Four Years of College Isn't for Everyone, Harvard Study Says

The U.S. is focusing too much attention on helping students pursue four-year college degrees, when two-year and occupational programs may better prepare them for the job market, a Harvard University report said.
The “college for all” movement has produced only incremental gains as other nations leapfrog the United States, and the country is failing to prepare millions of young people to become employable adults, said the authors of the Pathways to Prosperity Project, based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Most of the 47 million jobs to be created by 2018 will require some postsecondary education, the report said. Educators should offer young people two-year degrees and apprenticeships to achieve career success, and do more to ensure that students who begin such programs complete them, said Robert Schwartz, academic dean at Harvard’s education school, who heads the Pathways project.
Full text
Comment: With the general demise of common sense that has been produced by the same colleges that now say what always has been clear, we have another example of the decline of higher education in the US, with Harvard in the lead. Who brought up the idea of "college for all"? It was the self-interest of the college business in the first place. By promoting such a silly idea they universities have not only ruined themselves in terms of quality but the college system has also wrought havoc for their students and the negative fallout on the economy will be felt for decades to come.

Bad advice

Stiglitz Says Europe Faces `Disastrous' Budget Austerity Drive

"... Many European countries are pursuing “excessive austerity,” risking a marked slowdown in economic growth, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said.
“There’s this disastrous policy that even in the countries that don’t need to have austerity,” such as the U.K., they “are going for much more excessive austerity than they need,” he said at an investor conference in Moscow today. “We are already seeing around Europe the consequences of this austerity. The clear implication is that growth will be slower.”
European governments are stepping up efforts to narrow budget deficits after the region’s sovereign-debt crisis threatened to trigger defaults and undermine the euro. Leaders are considering boosting the 750 billion-euro ($1 trillion) rescue fund and adopting more stringent deficit rules to avoid the future turmoil after rescues of Greece and Ireland...
Full text
Comment: Instead of hiding in shame as a representative of those who promoted the degeneration of economics, this preacher of evil goes around the world to spread his bad advice.

Foreign Policy magazine names the 100 top "global thinkers" for 2011

Comment by Bill Bonner:
"...let’s look at who Foreign Policy magazine thinks are the 100 Top Global Thinkers.
Uh oh. In the first and second place are Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. Hmmm… They’re smart guys. But what makes them “thinkers”? What have they been thinking about? And what are their thoughts on the subject?
FP says they are there, not for their contributions to the wealth of mankind, but for their philanthropic activities. Wait a minute. What’s philanthropy got to do with thinking?
Okay… We’re stumped on that one… So, who’s the number 3 thinker? Barack Obama! Hold on… This is getting silly. Have you ever heard Barack Obama come up with an original thought? Or any kind of thought worthy of the word? No. That’s not his thing. He’s a politician. Politicians are not thinkers. They may be doers…but they’re not thinkers. Obama gives us plenty of empty expressions and hollow words – “change you can believe in”…“hope”… “winning the future” – but real thoughts? Original ideas? Nope.

Generally, politicians are not thinkers. Occasionally, you get a politician who pretends to be a thinker – such as Princeton University chief Woodrow Wilson. But he almost invariably turns out to be a jackass and a fool.
There must be exceptions – Marcus Aurelius and Thomas Jefferson come to mind. But they seem ill-suited to the political profession and probably should have eschewed public office in the first place.
So let’s keep moving. There must be someone on this list who is a real thinker.
Let’s look back at last year…let’s see…who was FP’s top thinker?
Ben Bernanke!
Well, that does it for us. What’s the matter with these people? Can’t they tell the different between tired hacks with worn-out, crackpot ideas…and real thinkers? ..."
Read more
Comment: Couldn't have said it better than Bill. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

1.40 is a matter of days - after that we'll see

EURO 1.3831 +0.0138 +1.00%

Losing the future

President Barack Obama is seeking to balance supporting the mass movement for change in Egypt while avoiding an open repudiation of President Hosni Mubarak, as analysts say that a mass demonstration today could provide a “tipping point” in the week-long uprising.
Read more
Comment: Mubarak and his regime have no future. It is a bad policy of the US to hang on to the "pharao in the F├╝hrerbunker".

Back on the Road to 1.40

EURO 1.3733 +0.0039 +0.29%