The Fed Is Not Independent and Never Has Been

BIS2

Source: TheDailyBell.com
February 16, 2017

Yellen defends independence of Federal Reserve … Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet L. Yellen defended the central bank’s independence Wednesday from Republican lawmakers pushing for major changes in how the Fed operates and how regulators oversee the nation’s banking system.

The Federal Reserve is not independent and never has been. It is part of the Bank for International Settlements for one thing. The BIS coordinates central banks around the world. That’s one of the reasons many central banks seem  to do the same things at the same time.

But that’s not the opinion of a House committee which seems to believe that Janet Yellen can do what she wants. GOP lawmakers “challenged Yellen’s handling of the economy and her leadership in implementing the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.”

“After eight years, there is zero evidence that zero interest rates and a bloated Fed balance sheet lead to a healthy economy,” House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) told Yellen.

Hensarling is going to try to bring legislation that will force Yellen to follow a specific formula requiring the bank to set interest rates in a certain way and then have those rates further scrutinized by the Government Accountability Office.

Yellen  is against this. She says the Fed would be badly crimped by the use of just one single formula.

But the larger issue is that for political reasons the House is wrong about Yellen. She is fully controlled, but the control comes out of England’s square mile city.

The BIS helps coordinate central bank actions around the world. It is for instance so many central banks are trying to keep rates down, even though Yellen may move up a few points.

Meanwhile, London’s city itself is run by the same central bankers and others who ultimately run the Fed. They helped set up central banking some 500 years ago. They still control central banking in the larger sense from what we can tell.

Conclusion: So rather than being free to do what she pleases, Yellen is constrained on all sides. She basically does what she’s told. The only trouble is that it’s not what the current administration wants her to do. But that’s a great deal different than doing what she wants.

Read More At: TheDailyBell.com

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Negative Rates and Cash Bans: The Chaos Continues at Jackson Hole

central-banking-dollars
Source: TheDailyBell.com
August 27, 2016

Negative rates should be integral part of central bank policy options … Central banks should make negative interest rates a fully integrated part of monetary policy in order to respond effectively to future recessions, according to an academic paper presented on Friday to some of the world’s top central bankers.  “It is only a matter of time before another cyclical downturn calls for aggressive negative nominal interest rate policy actions,” concludes Marvin Goodfriend, a professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University and a former policy adviser at the Richmond Federal Reserve bank.  – Reuters

The Federal Reserve meeting at Jackson Hole has been covered by the mainstream media in ways that gave the impression that policy discussions were a kind of theoretical exercise.

Papers were presented on such issues as negative interest rates (see excerpt above) that emphasized an academic context. The idea that comes across is that those involved were earnestly striving to combat US economic dysfunction and current unnaturally low interest rates.

The larger issue here is one that we didn’t find written about: the assumption of the inherent right of policymakers to do what is “necessary” to make the US economy “healthier.”

The debate is certainly cast in theoretical terms but the results will inevitably involve the use of force.

The assumption is that involved in the “monetary debate” will come to a reasoned conclusion that society as a whole will be impelled to adopt. Those who do not wish to adopt such a solution – and who actively resist – may be prosecuted or jailed.

A few days ago, in a lead-up to the conference, the Wall Street Journal published a longish editorial by Dr. Kenneth Rogoff, the Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University.

Rogoff was also the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund and the article was taken from an upcoming book, “The Curse of Cash,” to be published in September by Princeton University Press.

Here’s an excerpt:

Money fuels corruption, terrorism, tax evasion and illegal immigration—so the U.S. should get rid of the $100 bill and other large notes … When I tell people that I have been doing research on why the government should drastically scale back the circulation of cash—paper currency—the most common initial reaction is bewilderment. Why should anyone care about such a mundane topic?

But paper currency lies at the heart of some of today’s most intractable public-finance and monetary problems. Getting rid of most of it—that is, moving to a society where cash is used less frequently and mainly for small transactions—could be a big help.

There is little debate among law-enforcement agencies that paper currency, especially large notes such as the U.S. $100 bill, facilitates crime: racketeering, extortion, money laundering, drug and human trafficking, the corruption of public officials, not to mention terrorism

The necessity for this sort argument has to do with the inevitable results of the imposition of negative interest rates. Cash will have to become more difficult to obtain and use because people won’t want to pay banks for placing cash in savings accounts. They might instead wish to hold cash at home so they don’t have to pay a fee.

As stated, the larger issue here is one of compulsion – and its presentation within an academic context. The Wall Street Journal editorial, for instance, is part of a book that will shortly be issued. The discussion of negative interest rates in Jackson Hole was accompanied by a white paper produced by a professor of economics.

The underlying reality is that these astonishingly comprehensive solutions don’t provide a choice. Even negative interest can be seen not as a monetary/policy response but as a kind of tax. An article by Christopher J. Waller (here) characterizes low rates as nothing more than a disguised money grab:

Negative Interest Rates: A Tax in Sheep’s Clothing … A negative interest rate is just a tax on the banks’ reserves. The tax has to be borne by someone: The banks can choose not to pass it on and just have lower after-tax profits. This will depress the share price of banks and weaken their balance sheets by having lower equity values.

This is true – and is an outcome of the way the Fed works. Imposing rates via monopoly authority always constitutes a tax, though this is not something regularly discussed when it comes to Fed “policy.”

Generally speaking, mainstream media coverage wants to present monetary discussions in ways that emphasize its theoretical aspects. But the bottom line is that what’s being discussed is not going to end up as suggestions. Whatever is decided on will have the force of law.

And if we look beyond “theory” to reality, the outcome of these kinds of discussions is invariably bad. Central bank monetary mayhem is everywhere you look. The West – the world, really – is locked into a quasi-depression as a result of a century of failing policies and monetary manipulation.

In the US, Janet Yellen wants to pretend that a “recovery” is ongoing. But if so, it one that does without some 90 million potential workers who choose not to participate – either because they cannot or because they wish to participate outside of the formal economy.

We recently posted an article entitled “Is the Fed Being Torn Down in Order to Create a New, Powerful Global Entity?” (here). When one examines the behavior of the Fed, and of central banks generally, it’s hard to conclude that their real mission is the one presented to us.

Step back far enough to contemplate a century’s worth of results and the reality is clear: Central banks are supposed to destroy the economies they supposedly serve. Ironically, the destruction then provides the opportunity for them to expand.

Giving a small group of individuals the power to decide on the value and volume of money is a ludicrous concept from any standpoint. But he problem is abetted by the mainstream narrative that never discusses the underlying lack of logic.

And so we observe Jackson Hole, which is presented to us as a conclave of elite thinking but which is actually nothing more than high-brow propaganda for a system that has already failed and – as compensation for its failings – now contemplates even more radical “solutions” that will give rise to even worse problems.

Conclusion: The mechanism of central banking is purposeful ruin. The end-result of this ruin is global governance. In the short-term this goal is disguised by an academic patina. But the long-term goal, an increasingly apparent one, is a brutal restructuring of the lives of seven billion people to benefit a handful of elite controllers.

Read More At: TheDailyBell.com

You’re Kidding…ANOTHER Bearer Bond Scandal…In…

 YOU’RE KIDDING… ANOTHER BEARER BONDS SCANDAL… IN ...
Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell
August 28, 2016

Just when you thought we were done with all those bearer bonds scandals and  that they were a thing of the past, or at least, being carefully covered up, they surface again, this time in Florida, according to this article shared by Ms. P.H.:

Billion-dollar bond that man tried to cash in Broward was fake, feds say

Now, if you’re familiar with these bearer bond stories, you’ll have noted a number of departures from the standard “pattern”:

The bond, supposedly issued in 1934, appears to have been printed on an inkjet printer and seemed to contain a security thread – both technologies that did not exist until many years later, investigators said. The counterfeit bond also featured a photograph of Grover Cleveland, who was president in the 1880s and 1890s.

But perhaps the biggest clue was the eye-popping billion-dollar figure on the face of the bond. U.S. Secret Service Agent Charles Callahan told a judge Wednesday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale that the highest-valued bearer bond in that era was $10,000 and the highest-valued bond ever was a $1 million one issued in 1978.

Hugo Barrios Briceno, the 50-year-old Venezuelan man accused of trying to cash the counterfeit bond at a Fort Lauderdale financial business earlier this month, will remain locked up because he is a potential flight risk, U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick Hunt ruled Wednesday. Barrios Briceno was arrested Aug. 16.

Note what we have in terms of the “bearer bonds pattern” according to the above paragraphs:

1)  a bond “issued” in 1934: this does fit the pattern which has been seen before, with the so-called 1934 “Morgenthau” bonds, allegedly issued by the US Federal Reserve System(not the US Treasury) to elements of the Khoumintang government of Chiang Kai-Shek in return for the fed’s storage of Nationalist Chinese gold. Note what this means: for if these bonds ever surfaced, the US Treasury, since it did not issue them, can claim they are fake, and that it has no knowledge of them. Morgenthau was the then US Secretary of the Treasury under President Franklin Roosevelt. On the so-called 1934 “Morgenthau’s”, the signature of Secretary Morgenthau does appear to be the authentic signature such as it appeared on US currency at the time.

2) the “bond” was printed on an ink jet printer and contained a security thread: this both does and does not fit the pattern of previous bearer bond stories, for in some versions of other bearer bonds stories, the “bonds” appear to have been lithographed, and not printed with the intaglio method typical of official US currency and securities at that time. What is odd – genuinely odd – here is that the bond contained a “security thread,” which raises the important question of why the counterfeiters of this bond went to all the trouble to procure paper with this feature. It can be done, of course, but doing so would  be bound to raise suspicion from any legitimate vendor. Perhaps such features are typical of  US (or other nations’) bearer bonds and thus the counterfeiters had to reproduce it. There are other possibilities, of course, but we’ll get to those in our high octane speculation.

3) The “bond” was issued with a picture of Grover Cleveland: This does fit the pattern of the bearer bonds, for in almost all versions of their occurrence, actual US currency issues were used as the “donor document” to create the “counterfeit” bonds, and since Grover Cleveland appeared on the one thousand dollar US Gold certificate, it is no problem to add a few extra zeros and create an entirely new denominated currency or security. Indeed, some people have already transformed the Cleveland one thousand dollar bill into a one million dollar bill (see Cleveland one million dollar bills). Indeed, we’ve seen bearer bonds with the pictures of George Washington and Woodrow Wilson, both borrowed from the US Currency issues bearing their likeness. The only president on a bearer bond who has never appeared on an issue of US currency was John F. Kennedy.

4) The highest denomination of bearer bond ca. 1934 was $10,000 and the highest ever denomination was $1000,000: this is where we run into trouble, for if I recall correctly, during the Italian bearer bonds scandal that apprehended two Japanese men carrying $134,500,000,000 in allegedly counterfeit bills, during this scandal, the US government denied that bonds of one billion dollars had ever been issued, but left the problem of $500,000,000 bearer bonds unsettled. Again, it is important to note that, as far as the Treasury is concerned, this is entirely true, since most bearer bonds – and especially the 1934 “Morgenthaus” – were allegedly issued by the Federal Reserve.

So what might we be looking at here?

Indulge my high octane speculation once again, for I think we’re looking at something real, and perhaps even at a real bond. Note this unusual thing about the story:

Defense lawyer Alberto Quirantes said his client committed no crime and was tricked into repeatedly trying to cash the bond. He said Barrios Briceno believed the bond was genuine, based on advice from at least two people he thought were experts.

“Somebody duped him,” Quirantes told the judge. “This is a complete shock to this man.”

The prosecutor said the investigation began after a financial adviser in Fort Lauderdale reported Barrios Briceno, a Venezuelan resident who was visiting South Florida on a business visa, had contacted him about cashing the bond.

Barrios Briceno said the bond belonged to someone he knew in Bogota, Colombia, according to court records. He said he wanted to deposit $500 million from the bond into his bank account and open an investment account with the other $500 million from the bond, agents said.

The Secret Service arranged for an agent to pose undercover as a worker who would help the financial adviser to liquidate the bond at an Aug. 16 meeting, which was secretly audio- and video-recorded, authorities said.

Prosecutors said that the bond would have an equivalent value of 19 billion dollars in today’s currency. They also said that a simple Google search would have shown Barrios Briceno that billion-dollar bonds are not legitimate.

If convicted, he could face as much as 15 ½ to 19 ½ years in federal prison, based on the face value of the counterfeit bond, prosecutors said.

According to the Secret Service, Barrios Briceno said that his contact in Colombia gave a loan to someone who provided the bond as collateral but never repaid the debt. The lender then asked Barrios Briceno to try to cash the bond, which he said he picked up from the lender’s sister in late June at Miami International Airport.

Barrios Briceno told agents he had picked it up at the airport because he was concerned that customs officials would question him about it.

The defense said in court that Barrios Briceno went to Washington, D.C., in early August and met with someone who “verified” the bond was valid for a fee of about $30,000. Barrios Briceno also said he met separately with representatives from four major financial institutions and that one of them offered $180 million for the bond. The lawyer said nobody gave his client any reason to think the bond was counterfeit.
(emphasis added)

So what do we have? We have:

1) A South American, Columbian businessman;

2) in the USA on a business visa;

3) who paid $30,000 in fees to “validate” the bond. Pause for a moment and consider what this means: it means that there are so many such bearers bonds, that this story is so regularly occurring, even if not reported, that the story now has “experts” validating bonds!

4) Barrios Briceno, the “accused” Columbian businessman, states that he had received offers from “four major financial institutions”, one of which offered to buy the bond at a discount. If true (and I suspect it is), then why would any “major financial institution” buy a counterfeit bond that isn’t worth the paper and ink it took to make it? And finally…

Continue Reading At: GizaDeathStar.com
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Profile photo of Joseph P. Farrell
Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

New Gov. Analysis Shows Fed Policies Have Deepened Downturn for Many

moneybubble
Source: TheDailyBell.com
August 21, 2016

Wealthy Have Nearly Healed From Recession; the Poor Haven’t  … The Great Recession and the subsequent recovery from it have deepened the wedge between the very wealthy and everyone else in America, plunging the poor deeper into debt and wiping out two-fifths of the wealth held by families in the heart of the middle class. The wealthiest Americans, meanwhile, appear close to regaining all their losses over the same period, according to an analysis released last week by the Congressional Budget Office. – Washington Post

This analysis helps prove a point we’ve been making for years: Fed stimulation provided by too-low interest rates does NOT stimulate industry only finance and speculation.

The Congressional Report doesn’t seem to mention central banking, so in this article we will rectify the omission. The entire justification for central banking is that it helps policymakers produce prosperity. But it doesn’t.

We don’t need a government analysis to confirm this but it’s useful to have because it illustrates once more the truth of what’s occurring in terms of economic manipulation. The entire apparatus of monetary leadership, and its influence on the marketplace itself, does not deliver what it is supposed to.

The idea is that the Fed provides additional liquidity as necessary. But this is a form of price-fixing. In a  normal economy where the government itself was not involved in “adjusting¨ the value and volume of currency, the value would be provided by the market itself.

This is the way it has traditionally worked throughout history. The last century has been one enormous experiment. But the consequences are obvious.

Say an economy utilizes gold as money. When too much gold circulated in the marketplace, the value relative to what could be purchased would likely decline. As the value declined, less gold would be produced and circulated. Mines would close, etc.

When less gold was produced, demand would build. The competitive marketplace itself would define the value of “money” and thus the contraction or expansion of money stock.

This does not seem to be a complex point. It is generally admitted that the only way to set a valid price is to allow the market itself to produce the value.

But somehow, not when it comes to money.

Then it seems to be universally acknowledge by power brokers in the US and abroad that a monopoly facility (a central bank) is necessary to adjust the price.

It makes no sense. And furthermore it is an example of what we call an elite dominant social theme.

It is paradigm circulated throughout the world that is so prevalent and fundamental that the mainstream media simply doesn’t question it.

Global warming is such a theme (here). Vaccines are such a theme (here). These themes and many others constitute the propaganda launched by governments – and shadowy power brokers – to reinforce and justify authoritarianism.

Every dominant social theme has two parts. The first part is the problem. Fear is to be raised and deepened whenever possible. That’s why so many elite memes focus on scarcity. The world is running out of water, food, air, etc.

The solution is always to be found in government – the bigger the better. The idea is to justify and advance global government (via the UN) whenever possible.

This is one reason that we are suspicious of the “nuclear weapons” narrative that we have been concentrating on of late. It fits perfectly into the fear-based elite paradigm. Nuclear weapons exist and can destroy the world. Only government can stop their spread and usage.

The same paradigm can be spotted when it comes to central banking. The world is ever in danger of recessions and depressions. And only monopoly central banking – the control of the money supply by an elite, technocracy – can save us from poverty.

Questions do arise of course. But always they have to do with the “job” a given central bank is doing. They are policy questions pertaining to the competence of a monopoly money-printing facility.

But the basic functionality is almost never questioned in the Kabuki ritual that passes for establishment dialogue.

But it should be. Unfortunately, as with so many articles in the mainstream media and Washington Post in particular, when something substantive is presented, the analysis is lacking.

The article presents the information but then leaves it lying there like a dead thing. No fundamental explanation is offered.

Here:

The analysis shows the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans now hold three-quarters of the nation’s wealth, up from two-thirds in 1989, and a three percentage-point increase from the start of the recession.

Most Americans found themselves with less wealth in 2013 than Americans of a similar age had in 1989; the only age group doing better than its counterparts from a quarter-century ago was senior citizens.

The report was commissioned at the request of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who made inequality a central theme of his run for the Democratic presidential nomination this year.

In a statement, he said the analysis “makes clear that since the 1980s there has been an enormous transfer of wealth from the middle class and the poor to the wealthiest people in this country.”

Of course Sanders has the answer! He doubtless wants MORE government interference so that the problem government has created with its monetary price fixes can be cured by yet more meddling.

When central banks provide more money to the economy than necessary (and there is no way to prove how much IS necessary), the extra cash flows into the hands of the wealthy closest to the central bank money spigot.

Often this money is “invested” in securities exchanges and more money is made. This money doesn’t necessarily translate into industrial stimulation.

The wealthy make more money from central bank processes. But workers are left out of the process.

This is a simple and clear result of monopoly money printing. Price fixing never provides us with expected results. It always damages certain groups at the expense of others.

Over time, monopoly central banking has increasingly impoverished the people it supposedly seeks to help.

And gradually in this Internet era, workers are realizing it. The Fed, for instance, just launched a Facebook page (here). It is already bombarded with negative, nasty comments.

People, more and more of them, do understand the impossibility of improving the economy by giving a handful of people the power to expand or contract the money stock at will.

In simplest terms it is a ridiculous idea. It can’t work. It doesn’t work. And this analysis is further proof.

We’ve been reporting on the gradual decline of central bank – and Federal Reserve – credibility for about a decade now here at DB. Nothing that we have seen leads us to conclude that central banking is held in higher esteem than before.

In other words, the trend is down. And sooner or later the current system will not have the necessary popular support to survive.

While this will be a good development for the prosperity of many, we also know the corollary  difficulty that will emerge. At this point those who stand behind central banking have long-ago concluded the system is not viable.

But that doesn’t mean they will cooperate with removing it. What they will inevitably suggest is that because the current system doesn’t work, a larger, global system is necessary.

The groundwork is already being laid for this global  system. Just yesterday we pointed out that both the ruble and the yuan were being positioned to compete with the dollar. And yet the positioning elements – the IMF and World Bank – were being provided by the West!

The upcoming currency crisis is being manipulated by Western programmatic elements. The solution is to be some sort of increasingly globalized (world) government.

And as this conversation proceeds in the mainstream media, you will find little or no analyses of the price-fixing that inevitably accompanies monopoly central banking at any level.

It will be proposed that global price-fixing will somehow ameliorate the problems coming from regional price fixing of money.

Conclusion: But it won’t. The only path to prosperity is to privatize money and let the market itself calculate its value and volume. This should be done as soon as possible. The disease of central banking should be cured by the application of free-market solutions. We eagerly await this outcome and confidently expect its application within the better part of, hm-mm … a thousand years?

Read More At: TheDailyBell.com

As Central Banks Make Matters Worse, the Rational Choice Is Gold & Silver

goldchest

Source: TheDailyBell.com
August 11, 2016

Central banks are printing money as though the global economy is in freefall … Central banks around the world are now spending $200 billion a month on emergency economic stimulus measures, pumping this money into their economies by buying bonds. The current pace of purchases is higher than ever before, even during the depths of the financial crisis in 2009. –Quartz

From Quartz we learn that central banks are desperate to salvage the world economy.

This is a terrific dominant social theme – elite propaganda – and as such we have trouble with the entire narrative.

We’re supposed to believe after over a century of central banking that those “running the show” aren’t entirely sure of what to do and how to do it.

We are also supposed to believe they are trying very hard and doing their best.

In the case of chairmen like Ben Bernanke, we’re supposed to give them credit for being imaginative and creative.

Faced with the implosion of 2008, Bernanke did the only thing he could. He began printing with abandon.

Supposedly he sent trillions of dollars around the world, which is illegal because the Fed is responsible for US monetary operations and is not supposed to be funding financial institutions outside of the US.

But if Bernanke did do that – and it seems obvious he did – then we’re supposed to give him credit for his imagination and boldness.

When he decided to buy bonds directly in the marketplace to provide a semblance of demand, Bernanke was praised again.

We didn’t think any of it was especially praiseworthy and said so at the time.

But a theme was in operation. People were supposed to think well of central bankers because they were trying so hard.

That hasn’t changed. More:

 Alberto Gallo, a fund manager at Algebris Investments, says we are in a state of “QE infinity” with persistently low growth, low interest rates, and central bank policies that don’t fix things.

“They won’t ever say they’re out of ammunition, but central bankers are starting to look like naked emperors,” Gallo wrote in an article for the World Economic Forum.

The criticism central banks face for enacting these policies—that many argue increases inequality—is getting more heated.

Again the emphasis here is on central bank dysfunction rather than the probable reality, which is that current global depression is part of a necessary dialectic.

Those running the world want to globalize it. Of that, there’s no  doubt. And globalization necessarily demands what we can characterize as chaos.

And out of chaos a new order. A world order.

Continue Reading At: TheDailyBell.com

The USA Debt Time-Bomb Tocking,Ticking, Tock, Tick…

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Source: Journal-Neo.org
F. William Engdahl
July 28, 2016

Most of the world has an image of the United States as the one country of the advanced industrial world that took consequent action in the wake of the March 2007-September 2008 financial crisis. The result, we are carefully led to believe—via the politically ever-correct mainstream media like The New York Times or the CNBC financial network or Bloomberg—is that American banks and corporations today are back on their feet, healthy, robust. We are led to believe that eight years of Obama Administration economic genius have produced near-all-time low unemployment as the US leads the way among the G-7 to healthy growth. Only one thing wrong with this picture—it’s a complete, fabricated lie, fabricated by Washington with the collusion of the Wall Street banks and the Federal Reserve. The reality is pretty scary for those living in ignorance. The cracks now emerging in an unprecedented level of US corporate debt are flashing red alert on a new economic crisis, a very, very ugly one.

Nobel economics laureate Paul Krugman once made the stupid argument that “debt doesn’t matter.” Dick Cheney back during the 2002 Washington budget debates over the wisdom of making new tax cuts amid huge costs to finance the new Washington War on Terror, made the equally stupid comment, “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.” In the real world, where debts of private households, of governments like Greece or Portugal or Detroit City, or private corporations like Chesapeake Energy or General Motors, effect jobs, technology, entire communities or nations, debt certainly does matter.

Corporate Debt Time Bomb

Even more dangerous than the enormous rise in US National Debt since 2000, to levels today of over $19 trillion or 108% of GDP, is the alarming rise since 2007 in US debt of corporations, excluding banks. As of the second quarter of 2015 high-grade companies tracked by JPMorgan Chase paid $119 billion in interest expenses over the year, the most in debt service costs since 2000. Disturbing is that that was despite record low debt borrowing costs of 3%. US corporations took advantage of the Fed’s unprecedented near-zero interest rates to borrow up to the hilt. It made sense were the economy really improving. Now with a significant recession looming in the USA, the debt is suddenly a problem. i This is the true reason the Fed is unable to raise interest rates beyond the purely symbolic 0.25% last December. The US corporate debt pyramid would topple. Yet the zero interest rates are wreaking havoc for those investors or insurance companies invested in bonds for “security.”

Now signs are appearing that point to very serious developing corporate debt problems. Delinquencies–late debt repayments of 30 days or more–in the US corporate sector are rising significantly in recent months. In a genuine economic recovery, business debt delinquencies fall, as all ships are floated by a rising tide of recovery. Delinquencies are costly and avoided whenever possible. An early sign of a weakening economy on the other hand, is a rise in corporate debt delinquencies. Delinquencies lead to defaults lead to corporate bankruptcy of not reversed by an improving economic environment. And the real US economic environment is anything but improving.

A recent analysis by US economist Michael Synder compared business debt delinquencies in 2008 just before the Lehman Brothers collapse. Then, delinquencies were rising at a very frightening pace he notes, “and this was a very clear sign that big trouble was ahead. Unfortunately for us, in 2016 business debt delinquencies have already shot up above the level they were sitting at just before the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and every time debt delinquencies have ever gotten this high the US economy has always fallen into recession.”

According to another analysis by Wolf Richter, delinquencies of commercial and industrial loans at all US banks, after hitting a low point in end of 2014 of $11.7 billion, have begun to balloon. “Initially, this was due to the oil & gas fiasco, but increasingly it’s due to trouble in many other sectors, including retail. Between Q4 2014 and Q1 2016, delinquencies spiked 137% to $27.8 billion. They’re halfway toward to the all-time peak during the Financial Crisis in Q3 2009 of $53.7 billion. And they’re higher than they’d been in Q3 2008, just as Lehman Brothers had its moment.”

Richter also notes that the debt problems are spreading to US farms which today are very much a corporate business: “Slumping prices of agricultural commodities have done a job on farmers, many of whom are good-sized enterprises. Farmland is also owned by investors, including hedge funds, who’ve piled into it during the boom, powered by the meme that land prices would soar for all times because humans will always need food. Then they leased the land to growers.” But as Richter relates, “Now there are reports that farmland, in Illinois for example, goes through auctions at prices that are 20% or even 30% below where they’d been a year ago. Land prices are adjusting to lower farm incomes, which are lower because commodity prices have plunged.

Now delinquencies of farmland loans and agricultural loans are sending serious warning signals. These delinquencies don’t hit the megabanks. They hit smaller specialized farm lenders.” He notes that delinquencies of farmland loans jumped 37% from $1.19 billion in Q3 2015 to $1.64 billion in Q1 this year.

Zero rate bubble danger

Many think that the aim of the post-2008 Fed Zero Interest Rate Policy was to stimulate investment into the economy to avert a new economic depression. Far from it. Since the first onset of the US sub-prime real estate crisis in March 2007, total US corporate debt levels, according to Standard & Poor’s, has ballooned to an all-time high level of $6.6 trillion as of the beginning of this year. In the past five years since 2011 alone corporate debt, amid virtually free Fed-inspired interest rates after tax adjustments, has increased by an eye-popping $2.8 trillion, at least 40% more net and total debt than in 2007. In 2016 the rise in corporate debt, annualized, is running at an alarming $1.4 trillion annualized rate, nearly double the rate prior to the financial collapse of September 2008.

Had that rise in corporate debt been used, as was the prudent corporate norm until recently, to finance plant, new more modern equipment and other long-term productive assets, such debt would have generated an income flow that would suffice to repay the debt, usually with a nice surplus profit to boot. It would also have boosted job creation and real economic growth, not the faked US Government virtual GDP growth.

This corporate debt binge has gone to nothing so productive. Instead it’s fueling an out-of-control stock market bubble, as seen in the all-time highs on the S&P 500 stock index. Corporations are using their near-free debt to buy back their own stock shares, a dubious practice which benefits only the stock price of shareholders but adds not an ounce of net productive gain to the real economy. Or it has gone to finance corporate mergers and takeovers, which again do not add net gain to the real economy but rather the opposite—job cuts, plant closings and asset strips. Highly profitable for Wall Street and for financial operators, not for the real economy.

As a totality US corporations today have a far greater vulnerability in terms of levels of debt in relation to revenues or income than at the onset of the 2007-2008 financial tsunami.

The Federal Reserve, along with the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan have reverted over the past two years to the unprecedented and ludicrous policy of zero interest rates to keep their financial Ponzi bubble inflating, not bursting. The ECB and Bank of Japan recently have actually gone to negative interest rates meaning banks pay the ECB or BOJ to place reserves in the central bank. The Fed is considering such a negative rate policy shift. Today it has been calculated that more than $13 trillion worth of government bonds globally now have negative rates. That’s more than one-third of all government bonds. That means someone buying those bonds and holding until it matures, will actually lose money. Only because major pension funds and insurance companies are required by law, originally for reasons of safe and prudent long-term investment, to buy only high-rated government bonds can the negative rate bonds find buyers.

Now, for the same reason, high-rated corporate bonds are being offered paying negative interest rates. Bloomberg Business reports that $512 billion worth of corporate bonds now have negative rates, 11 times more corporate bonds with negative yields than there were six months ago. With so much of government bonds paying negative interest, and now an exploding share of the US corporate bonds, the solvency risks of US pension funds and insurance companies is growing alarmingly in a chain-reaction follow-on effect.

The alarming warning signal of trouble in the US corporate bond market with soaring rates of debt delinquencies, and the fact that since the collapse of the US shale oil industry Wall Street and other major bank creditors have been tightening criteria for extending more debt, say to me that the US economy is on the precipice of a new debt default implosion that will make 2008 appear a financial market hiccup by comparison. Maybe this reality is behind the utterly irrational Washington hysteria against Russia and now against China. If you run out of targets from whom to rob assets peacefully through stock market and bond manipulations, try the old method of gunpoint. Only this time the intended victims are not reacting at all as victims, but as defenders of their sovereignty. Something new and unexpected by Washington and their Wall Street patrons.

Read More At: Journal-Neo.org
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F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

The Real Reason Fed Stress Aren’t Credible

bank-stress-test
Source: TheDailyBell.com
June 23, 2016

Why the Fed’s Stress Tests Aren’t Credible … For the sixth year in a row, the U.S. Federal Reserve is conducting stress tests to see whether the country’s largest banks can withstand a severe crisis. If only the results, to be announced this week and next, were more useful.  -Bloomberg

Federal Reserve stress tests for banks are a fantasy.

They don’t address contagion, for one thing. Contagion makes everything much worse.

The Fed is now going to upgrade its stress test analysis.

Here:

More advanced network analysis, such as that used by the Bank of Canada, can do a better job of addressing contagion effects. And to its credit, the Fed plans to increase the amount of capital required for the largest banks to pass the tests.

To its credit? Not really.

It used to be that banks created solvency by acquiring gold and silver. These days banks are considered solvent depending on their fiat “reserves.”

But the reserves are just debt-based paper money printed by the Fed.

The Fed can print as much fiat as it wants. If you are a big commercial bank, the Fed provides you access to lots of fiat.

And if you are in any trouble, the Fed will print more.

During the crisis of 2008, Ben Bernanke supposedly printed $16 trillion and sent it around the world as short-term loans.

Most supposedly were not paid back. This is one of the reasons that the Fed does not want an audit.

The Fed can print as much money as it wants because the dollar is the world’s reserve currency. Countries are forced to hold dollars to buy oil.

So pretending that that banks can be endangered because they don’t have enough reserves is silly.

The Fed is engaged in propaganda here. It is promoting an elite dominant social theme.

Fed officials want you to take the idea of “money” seriously.

They want you to take the idea of a bank collapse seriously.

But the Fed can print as much money as it wants. It can avert almost any crisis (though price inflation may be a problem later on).

Anyway, they don’t want you to know this.

You need to believe that banking is a difficult business. But it’s not.

It’s a foolproof business so long as the Fed owns a monopoly printing press.

In fact, banking is not really a business anymore for the bigger, “commercial” banks. These banks are basically capital redistribution centers for the Fed.

Of course, those who are partial to central banking want you to believe that commercial banks hold most of the money creation power. But they don’t.

The Fed can choke off money at will by raising rates. The Fed is the hub at the center of the wheel.

The monetary system is based on propaganda not reality. But the Fed and the large banks don’t want you to know that.

They want you to continue to think that banking is a business and that banks need to be well run and aware of “risks.”

These stress tests are part of that determination to delude you.

Continue Reading At: TheDailyBell.com