Posts tagged federal reserve
Posts tagged federal reserve
By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com
1 FEBRUARY 2012
If you only got your news from the mainstream media (MSM), it’s easy to understand whyso many people think the economy is not all that bad. For example, yesterday, I heard the “R” word a lot. No, I am not talking about recession but “recovery.” This is preposterous when you consider the latest report from the Case-Shiller Home Price Index that was released yesterday. The spin from the MSM said home prices were down from October to November by 1.3%. Makes you think—ok, not too bad. The real story is home prices declined on average by nearly 4% year over year. A quote straight from the actual Case-Shiller press release said, “For a second consecutive month, 19 of the 20 cities covered by the indices also saw home prices decrease. The 10- and 20-City Composites posted annual returns of -3.6% and -3.7% versus November 2010, respectively. These are worse than the -3.2% and -3.4% respective rates reported for October.” (Click here for the complete Case-Shiller press release.)
Are you getting this? The real estate market is getting worse. The only city that saw an increase was the pork capital of the world—Washington D.C., and prices were only up by a paltry .5% year over year! All the folks I heard, yesterday, on the MSM talked as if the so-called “recovery” was alive and well, when the evidence shows unfolding disaster. Please keep in mind, home prices are falling despite the fact the Federal Reserve is suppressing interest rates. A 30-year mortgage is going for around 4%. What do you think will happen when rates rise to around 6.5% (a very good historical rate)? Don’t you think home prices will continue to slide?
Yesterday, I heard at least two different “experts” say the economy was “getting better.” The latest news about the Baltic Dry Index (BDI is mostly a measurement of global shipping rates) says just the opposite. Brandon Smith, from Alt-Market.com, says the BDI “is plummeting like a wingless 747 into the swampy mire of what I believe will soon be historical lows.” Smith says this is foretelling bad times, not good. (Click here to read his most excellent post.)
Another ominous sign was brought to us by the Federal Reserve last week. It announced it will hold a key interest rate to near 0% through 2014 instead of 2013. Why is the Fed urgently extending this rate now? Couldn’t the Fed have told us next year it was extending the 0% interest rate for another year? Why now? Because the economy sucks and they see it sucking for at least three more years. This is NOT a recovery, and the Fed basically admitted it.
by Gonzalo Lira
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2012
This is the problem Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve currently have—and it’s their own stupid fault: They have promised to maintain interest rates at effectively 0% until at least the end of 2014—they have in fact announced this zero interest-rate policy (ZIRP) as the hallmark of their strategy to reignite the economy—
—but then they’re surprised when businesses aren’t borrowing more. They’re surprised when lending is in fact contracting. They’re surprised when the American economy doesn’t start borrowing—and thus growing—like crazy.
So the American economy obviously doesn’t benefit from ZIRP. In fact, it stagnates because of ZIRP.
Leaving aside the deplorable notion that debt-fueled consumption is “growth”, businesses are not going to borrow to expand during the announced period of ZIRP, because business owners will say, “I’m really not sure if my market is growing—and since I can get a low-interest loan for at least the next three years, I think I’m going to hold off on any expansion of my business, hold off on hiring new workers, and instead wait and see if the economy really does pick up. If it doesn’t pick up, I won’t have more debt to service. And if it does pick up, I can always borrow and expand later.”
“I can always borrow and expand later”: That’s what every sensible business owner is saying today. Why eat free chocolate now—when I can eat it for free later? Why borrow for free now—when I can borrow for free later?
And of course, later becomes never.
So then, if businesses—and the wider economy—do not benefit from ZIRP, who does?
Why, the banks and the Federal government! (Yeah, I know:How am I not surprised … ?)
See, the banks get their 0% loan from the Federal Reserve—and promptly go out and buy U.S. Treasury bonds, yielding 2% or so. Sure, a 2% yield is nothing—but it’s a whole lot of something when it is risk-free, and adds massively to the banks’ bottom line. And ultimately to the banksters’ bonuses. After all, the Federal government isn’t borrowing twenty bucks for gas: It’s borrowing $1.6 trillion a year—every year.
Thus the Federal government, that glutton for debt, also benefits from ZIRP.
Worse still, ZIRP is a disincentive to reduce the deficit and the overall debt. Since Bernanke and the Federal Reserve are putting out 0% money over the next three years, the Federal government will be under zero-pressure to reduce the deficit and pay down the debt. In fact, ZIRP encourages fiscal irresponsibility. After all, it is the rising coupon payment which eventually leads to rising debt levels being choked off.
ZIRP doesn’t eliminate the Minsky Moment—that is, the Day of Debt Reckoning. Rather, ZIRP merely postpones it—while making it a whole lot bigger.
Thus the Federal Reserve’s zero interest-rate policy does not help businesses expand and thus hire more workers to restart the economy; it does not encourage banks to lend to economically productive sectors; and it does not get the Federal government to begin reducing the deficit, let alone the debt.
In fact, ZIRP makes all these problems worse.
Freddie Mac has invested billions of dollars betting that U.S. homeowners won’t be able to refinance their mortgages at today’s lower rates, according to an investigation by NPR and ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom.
by CHRIS ARNOLDJanuary 30, 2012
Freddie Mac, a taxpayer-owned mortgage company, is supposed to make homeownership easier. One thing that makes owning a home more affordable is getting a cheaper mortgage.
But Freddie Mac has invested billions of dollars betting that U.S. homeowners won’t be able to refinance their mortgages at today’s lower rates, according to an investigation by NPR and ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom.
These investments, while legal, raise concerns about a conflict of interest within Freddie Mac.
Art by Jeff Olsen
The Federal Reserve lent weight to economists’ warnings of a long and slow recovery on Wednesday when it announced plans to keep short-term interest rates near zero for at least the next three years. The idea is that low rates will encourage borrowing and investment in American businesses, helping resurrect the economy. —ARK
The New York Times:
The decision means that the Fed does not expect the economy to complete its recovery from the 2008 crisis over the next three years. By holding rates near zero, the Fed hopes to hasten that process somewhat by reducing the cost of borrowing.
“While indicators point to some further improvement in overall labor market conditions, the unemployment rate remains elevated,” the Fed said in a statement released after a two-day meeting of its policy-making committee. “Household spending has continued to advance, but growth in business fixed investment has slowed, and the housing sector remains depressed.”
by Gary North
I have posted a video of something I thought I would never see: all five of the Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate verbally demanding an audit of the Federal Reserve System. You can see it here.
Bernanke is facing what no Federal Reserve chairman has ever faced: public awareness of the Federal Reserve System. From late December 1913, when an almost deserted Senate voted for the Federal Reserve Act, until 2008, when the recession confirmed Ron Paul’s warning in late 2007, there was almost no public awareness or even a vague understanding of the Federal Reserve System. The genie is now out of the bottle, where it had been corked since 1913. Ron Paul has uncorked it.
From the November 1910 secret meeting at Georgia’s Jekyll Island until Ron Paul’s 2007 candidacy for the Republican nomination for President, The Federal Reserve had received a free ride from Congress. There had never been much oversight. That’s because FED regulation was an oversight. (The same word is used to convey opposite meanings.)
The Texas Leftist-populist Democrat Wright Patman had been a critic. He had been the chairman of the House Banking Committee until 1975, a year before Paul arrived in Congress. He was a Greenbacker: a believer in a zero-interest economy that achieves this Utopian goal through the use of fiat paper money. Patman was not able to generate much interest in the FED.
Patman did inflict one major wound on the FED. He and California Congressman Jerry Voorhis, another Greenbacker, in the early 1940s persuaded Congress to pass a bill, which Roosevelt signed, that forbids the Federal Reserve from keeping the interest payments from the government bonds it has counterfeited fiat money to purchase. Today, the FED must return to the Treasury all of this money beyond its operating expenses. For 2011, the FED will pay back $77 billion.
A full-scale audit of the FED, if it ever comes, must include an audit of the gold every year. The auditors must see if the gold is in the two vaults. The first vault, at Ft. Knox, is more famous. The more important vault is located at 33 Liberty Street, New York City: the privately owned Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This is the “Die Hard III” vault.
The auditors must do two things. First, they must determine whether there is the same amount of gold as is listed on the FED’s books at the fake price of $42.22 per ounce. Second, the auditors must follow the paper trail of ownership. They must make sure that the gold in the vaults is still legally in the possession of the FED.
There is a possibility that the FED has transferred ownership of this gold, through swaps, to European central banks, which have in turn leased – sold – their gold to private buyers. It is not enough to determine that the physical gold is in the two vaults. It is also mandatory to determine whether the FED has indirectly sold the government’s gold, which it has held in trust for the government since 1933.
Florida congressman Alan Grayson laughs in Ben Bernanke’s face!
I don’t really know who can believe this guy. I really like this Grayson guy, might look into him.
Honestly . . . would you consider even buying a used car from Ben Bernanke? Or as they say now, ‘a pre-owned vehicle?’ Everything gets whitewashed in our glorious New Age.