Stefan Molyneux, host of Freedomain Radio – and winner of the 2012 Liberty Inspiration Award – breaks down the unspoken facts about the end of freedom, opportunity and trade in the modern United States.
Jan 14, 2013
Barack Obama has greatly expanded the powers of the presidency during his time in the White House, but there is one institution that he simply will not mess with. There is one organization that is considered to be so sacred in Washington D.C. that Obama will not dare utter a single negative word against it. That organization is the Federal Reserve. Even though he has shown that he is unafraid to pick a fight with just about everyone else in Washington, Obama flat out refuses to criticize the Fed and he even reappointed Ben Bernanke for another term as Fed Chairman even though Bernanke has a track record of failurethat would make the Chicago Cubs look good. Perhaps Obama is aware of what has happened to other presidents that have chosen to tangle with the Fed. In any event, it has become clear that Obama submits to anything that the Fed says without question, and the controversy over the “trillion dollar coin” is another perfect example of this. For weeks, there has been much speculation in the mainstream media about the possibility that the Obama administration may print up a one trillion dollar coin that it would use to keep paying the bills of the federal government if an agreement to raise the debt ceiling is not reached. But on Saturday the Federal Reserve killed that idea, and we shouldn’t be surprised by that because under no circumstances will the Fed ever accept a threat to their monopoly over money creation in the United States. If the Federal Reserve had allowed Obama to print up a debt-free trillion dollar coin, that would have set a very dangerous precedent for the Fed. The American people would have realized that the federal government can actually create debt-free money whenever it wants and that it does not actually have to borrow money from anyone. That is something that the Fed probably would have moved heaven and earth to keep from happening. But now we won’t ever know how far the Fed would really be willing to go to keep their monopoly over money creation, because Obama has no plans to challenge this latest ruling from “the real boss” of our financial system.
Sadly, most Americans don’t even realize that a private banking cartel has a monopoly over all money creation in this country. In recent years they have abused this power by wildly printing money (“quantitative easing“), and by making more than 16 trillion dollars in secret loans to their friends during the last financial crisis. Under our system, the private Federal Reserve creates money whenever they want, and nobody else gets to create money. It is an insane system, but very, very few of our politicians will ever dare to question it.
At this point, the U.S. Treasury Department is essentially just an arm of the Federal Reserve. That is why it was no surprise that the Fed and the Treasury Department issued a joint statement on Saturday. According to Treasury spokesman Anthony Coley, both the Treasury and the Fed have come to the conclusion that under no circumstances should a trillion dollar coin be printed up by the Obama administration…
“Neither the Treasury Department nor the Federal Reserve believes that the law can or should be used to facilitate the production of platinum coins for the purpose of avoiding an increase in the debt limit”
But of course it was actually the Federal Reserve which made this decision. The following is from a report posted by Zeke Miller of Buzzfeed.com…
The Federal Reserve was responsible for killing a controversial proposal to circumvent the debt limit, a senior administration official told BuzzFeed Sunday.
On Saturday the Treasury Department released a statement ruling out the only remaining alternative to Congress raising the nation’s borrowing limit, which would utilize a loophole in federal law to mint a $1 trillion coin to be deposited in the Federal Reserve and ensure the federal government could pay all bills and debt obligations.
According to that Buzzfeed article, the Federal Reserve would have actually refused to recognize the trillion dollar coin if the Obama administration had tried to deposit it with the Fed…
But it was the Federal Reserve that killed the proposal, the official told BuzzFeed, denying a purely political rationale for the announcement, saying the independent central bank would not have credited the Treasury’s accounts for the vast sum for depositing the coin.
So there you go.
The real boss has told Barack Obama how it is going to be, and Obama plans to meekly comply.
So why is the Federal Reserve so adamant about maintaining their monopoly over money creation?
Well, it is all about compound interest. Albert Einstein once made the following statement about compound interest…
“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.”
When the Federal Reserve system was initially created back in 1913, the bankers that created it intended for it to be a perpetual debt machine that would extract massive amounts of wealth from the U.S. government (and ultimately from all of us) through the mechanism of compound interest. Each year, hundreds of billions of dollars of interest are transferred into the pockets of the wealthy bankers and foreign nations that own our debt. This is one of the reasons why I preach about the evils of government debt until I am blue in the face. The debt-based Federal Reserve system is a way to systematically steal the wealth of the United States, and it is happening right in front of our eyes, but very few people actually understand it well enough to complain about it.
Unfortunately, we are rapidly getting to the point where we have accumulated so much debt that it is threatening to collapse our entire financial system. The following comes from a recent Zero Hedge article…
By now most are aware of the various metrics exposing the unsustainability of US debt (which at103% of GDP, it is well above the Reinhart-Rogoff “viability” threshold of 80%; and where a return to just 5% in blended interest means total debt/GDP would double in under a decade all else equal simply thanks to the “magic” of compounding), although there is one that captures perhaps best of all the sad predicament the US self-funding state (where debt is used to fund nearly half of total US spending) finds itself in. It comes from Zhang Monan, researcher at the China Macroeconomic Research Platform: “The US government is now trying to repay old debt by borrowing more; in 2010, average annual debt creation (including debt refinance) moved above $4 trillion, or almost one-quarter of GDP, compared to the pre-crisis average of 8.7% of GDP.”
This is a key statistic most forget when they discuss the stock and flow of US debt: because whereas the total US deficit, and thus net debt issuance, is about $1 trillion per year, one has to factor that there is between $3 and $4 trillion in maturities each year, which have to be offset by a matched amount of gross issuance just to keep the stock of debt flat (pre deficit funding). The assumption is that demand for this gross issuance will always exist as old maturities are rolled into new debt, however, this assumption is contingent on one very key variable: interest ratesnot rising.
Do you understand what is being said there?
Not only is our debt rising by more than a trillion dollars a year, we also need to roll over trillions of dollars of federal debt each year. If interest rates on that debt start rising, we are going to start feeling the pain very rapidly.
As I have mentioned previously, the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt was 6.638 percent back in 2000. If we returned to that level today, we would be paying more than a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.
The main thing keeping interest rates low right now is the fact that the U.S. dollar is the de facto reserve currency of the world. If that ends, interest rates on U.S. debt will skyrocket. The following is from a recent article by Chris Ferreira…
The US Dollar is the reserve currency of the world. You need it to buy oil, a vital component of any economy. Since other countries like China cannot print US dollars at their leisure, they have to get it from somewhere. They get it from trade with the US. The US buys products in Asia and the rest of the world with US dollars, and in turn these same dollar surpluses are used to buy oil and US bonds, creating a much needed artificial demand for US dollars.
This is also how the enormous US 558$ billion trade deficit in 2011 was financed. The US has been in a trade deficit since the 1980′s and it continues the grow as jobs and manufacturing are being lost to more competitive nations. The trade deficit also accounts for the national debt. The financing of the debt creates artificial demand for US bonds which helps lower the interest rate and coincidentally helps to raise the debt levels even higher.
Unfortunately, the rest of the world is starting to move away from the U.S. dollar. Over the past couple of years, a whole host of international currency agreements have been signed that are intended to start reducing the use of the U.S. dollar in international trade. For much more on this, please see the following article: “The Giant Currency Superstorm That Is Coming To The Shores Of America When The Dollar Dies“.
Most Americans have absolutely no idea how very close we are to financial catastrophe. The only way we can continue to service our enormous 16 trillion dollar debt is for interest rates on that debt to remain super low. But the only way those interest rates can remain low is for the U.S. dollar to remain absolutely dominant in international trade. Once the rest of the world rejects the U.S. dollar, the game is over.
We are headed for total system meltdown, but neither major political party is going to do a thing about it. They are both just going to continue to meekly comply with the dictates of the real boss of our financial system – the Federal Reserve.
It is imperative that we educate the American people about these things. Please share this article with as many people as you can, and the following is another great article for anyone that does not understand how the Federal Reserve is destroying our financial system: “10 Things That Every American Should Know About The Federal Reserve“.
WASHINGTON — President Obama on Monday slammed Republicans who are resisting an increase to the nation’s debt ceiling without further deficit reductions and vowed he won’t negotiate on the issue.
Obama called the GOP stance “irresponsible” and “absurd” and warned it would set off an economic crisis. He said the United States was not a “deadbeat nation” that fails to pay its bills.
“They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy,” Obama said during his final news conference of his first term in office. “The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip.”
He said Americans would hold all of Washington responsible for the fallout.
“It would be a self-inflicted wound on the economy,” Obama said. “It would slow down our growth and tip us into recession. To even entertain the idea of this happening is irresponsible. It’s absurd.”
Editor’s note: Frida Ghitis is a world affairs columnist for The Miami Herald and World Politics Review. A former CNN producer and correspondent, she is the author of “The End of Revolution: A Changing World in the Age of Live Television.” Follow her on Twitter: @FridaGColumns
(CNN) — We pay a lot of attention to revolutions when they emerge suddenly and violently, but when a transformation arrives gradually and peacefully it’s easy to miss.
Let’s stop for a moment and take a look at a slow-motion development changing the world as we know it: The United States is giving up its addiction to foreign oil.
For decades, we bemoaned the awful toll this addiction has taken. The need for oil and natural gas — much of it from Middle Eastern dictatorships — shaped the foundation of global geopolitics. It created morally questionable alliances and repeatedly placed Washington in a position to choose between its fundamental values and its economic interests. Now all that could change.
When President Obama started his first term, the country faced stiff economic headwinds. Now, as he prepares to start his second term, the country enjoys a rare and unexpected tailwind, propelling it in one of the most important areas, with a host of positive implications.
Clearly, the booming American oil and gas businesses are not problem-free, but the benefits — economic, geopolitical and environmental — of this impending energy independence far outweigh the drawbacks.
The days when Mideast oil-producing dictatorships and their friends at OPEC could so easily wave their power over a trembling, oil-thirsty West are on their way to becoming a relic of the past.
Published: Monday, 14 Jan 2013 | 3:37 PM ET
Brent crude oil edged up in choppy trading on Monday, seesawing with the U.S. dollar, as investors weighed a statement from Saudi Arabia disputing claims OPEC’s largest producer has altered its output policy.
Traders also eyed the start-up of a key pipeline expansion in the United States, which should help reduce the glut of crude oil that has depressed benchmark U.S. prices in the Midwest relative to international rivals.
Oil analysts said the dollar index drew pressure and crude received an early lift after Charles Evans, the Chicago Federal Reserve president, said in a speech that the Fed “will provide the monetary accommodation necessary” to help boost the economy.
Brent’s premium to U.S. crude expanded to nearly $18, having briefly narrowed to less than $17 a barrel on Friday for the first time since September, and narrowing to a fresh four-month low of $16.69 earlier on Monday before reversing.
The spread has narrowed following last week’s start-up of the expanded Seaway pipeline, expected to ease the glut of crude in the U.S. Midwest and especially at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery point for the U.S. futures contract.
January 13, 2013
To all Americans in their twenties, thirties, forties, or even fifties, naively looking forward to their retirement, we have two words: “good luck.”
One look at the flow chart below and we can’t help but wonder: just how many Americans actually follow the “plan” of what they should do to prepare for retirement. A million? Two? Less? And how soon before the government decides it knows what’s best for everyone in this particular touchy topic – because since the US welfare system is now hopelessly broken and unsustainable, then the retirement “option” for virtually everyone is a non-starter – and begins imposing behavioral mandates, not to mention taxes, to “steer” the population into the proper “avenues” and “channels”?
January 13, 2013
The middle class in the United States is being systematically destroyed, and nobody is doing much of anything to stop it. Our incomes are shrinking, our share of the income pie is at an all-time low, our jobs are being sent overseas, debt burdens have soared to unprecedented heights and millions of formerly middle class Americans have fallen into poverty. America once had the largest and most vibrant middle class that the world has ever seen, but now it is rapidly being shredded. Unfortunately, this is particularly true for younger Americans. Today, families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent. That is astounding. The truth is that there are not enough decent jobs for the hordes of young people that are entering the marketplace each year. Once upon a time, a college degree was just about a guaranteed ticket to the middle class, but in 2011 more than half of all college graduates under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed. Sadly, statistics tell us that the younger you are, the less likely you are to have a chance to live “the American Dream”. Nearly half the country already lives in a household that receives direct financial assistance from the federal government, and that percentage grows with each passing day. We are rapidly being transformed from a country of middle class citizens into a country of impoverished government dependents. If dramatic changes are not made, the middle class in America will continue to decline every single year. What would our society look like if the middle class disappeared entirely at some point?
The following are 60 facts that prove that the middle class in America is being wiped out…
#1 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.
#2 As the middle class shrinks, more Americans than ever have been forced to become dependent on the federal government. Federal spending on welfare programs has reached nearly a trillion dollars a year, and that does not even count Social Security or Medicare. Welfare spending is now 16 times larger than when the “war on poverty” began.
#3 Median household income in the U.S. has fallen for four consecutive years. Overall, it has declined by over $4000 during that time span.
#4 The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs for low paying jobs. 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.
#5 The number of Americans living in poverty has increased by more than 15 million since the turn of the century.
#7 Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.
#9 In the United States today, 35 percent of all households live on $35,000 or less each year.
#10 One recent survey discovered that 85 percent of all middle class Americans believe that it is harder to maintain a middle class standard of living today than it was 10 years ago.
#11 62 percent of all middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.
#12 According to one survey, 77 percent of all Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.
#14 Total U.S. household debt grew from just 1.4 trillion dollars in 1980 to a whopping 13.7 trillion dollars in 2007. This played a huge role in the financial crisis of 2008, and the problem has still not been solved.
#15 While debt loads for middle class families are going up, the net worth of those same families is going down. According to the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of families in the United States declined “from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010“.
#16 The percentage of working age Americans with a job has been below 59 percent for 40 months in a row.
#17 Today there are about 3.25 million Americans that say that they want a job but that have not searched for a job in more than a year because they believe that it is so hopeless.
#18 When you total up all working age Americans that do not have a job in America today, it comes to more than 100 million.
#20 The unemployment rate for Americans in the 18 to 29 year-old age bracket is 11.5 percent overall. For African-Americans in that age group, the unemployment rate is now up to 22.1 percent. Millions of young people believe that the system has totally failed them.
#21 Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.
#22 Last year, an astounding 53 percent of all U.S. college graduates under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed.
#23 Today, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents.
#24 According to the Tax Policy Center, the recent fiscal cliff deal will raise taxes more for those making between $30,000 and $200,000 a year than it will for those making between $200,000 and $500,000 a year.
#25 According to a Gallup survey, only 60 percent of all Americans say that they have enough money to live comfortably.
#26 One recent survey found that 63 percent of all Americans believe that the U.S. economic model is broken.
#27 Each year, the average American must work 107 days just to make enough money to pay local, state and federal taxes.
#28 Consumer debt in America has risen by a whopping 1700 percent since 1971.
#29 There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing. That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.
#31 According to USA Today, many Americans have actually seen their water bills triple over the past 12 years.
#32 Health insurance costs have risen by 23 percent since Barack Obama became president. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980. Today they account for approximately 16.3%.
#34 According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 46 percent of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, and 29 percentof all American workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement.
#35 The United States has lost an average of approximately 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
#36 The United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.
#37 According to the Economic Policy Institute, America is losing half a million jobs to China every single year.
#41 According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades if current trends continue.
#42 According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 declined by 27 percent after you account for inflation.
#43 At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less. If that sounds like a high figure, that is because it is. Today, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.
#44 According to the Pew Research Center, only 23 percent of all American workers believe that they have enough money to get them through retirement.
#45 According to the Economic Policy Institute, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans households on average have 288 times the amount of wealth that the average middle class American family does.
#46 In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.
#47 According to Forbes, the 400 wealthiest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined.
#48 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined.
#49 At this point, the poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.
#50 The United States now ranks 93rd in the world in income inequality.
#51 The average CEO now makes approximately 350 times as much as the average American worker makes.
#53 Today, 40 percent of all Americans have $500 or less in savings.
#54 One recent survey found that 28 percent of all Americans do not have a single penny saved for emergencies.
#55 Shockingly, at this point 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty.
#56 According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
#57 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an all-time record 49 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives financial assistance from the federal government. Back in 1983, that number was less than 30 percent.
#58 According to U.S. Census data, 57 percent of all American children live in a home that is either considered to be “poor” or “low income”.
#59 For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.
#60 According to a stunning new Gallup survey, 65 percent of all Americans believe that 2013 will be a year of “economic difficulty”.
Sunday, January 13, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Politicians spin, dodge and lie their way around “inconvenient truths,” so to speak, but it is hard to explain away cold, hard facts and raw numbers – though they still try.
No doubt more than a few of Washington’s elite will try to dance round this disturbing statistic: The total number of Americans receiving some form of government assistance has surpassed 128 million. That’s more than 1 in 3.
According to a recent in-depth study from the Heritage Foundation, “128,818,142 people are enrolled in at least one government program,” based on U.S. Census Bureau information, the bulk of which receive one or more benefits considered politically untouchable.
‘Publicly held federal debt will exceed 100 percent of GDP’
Not only are more people getting these benefits, Congress has greatly expanded them, meaning the amount recipients receive have grown exponentially.
“Between 1988 and 2011, the amount of the U.S. population that receives assistance from the federal government grew by 62 percent,” says an abstract of the study. “That means that more than 41 percent of the U.S. population is enrolled in at least one federal assistance program. To make matters worse, per capita expenditures on recipients are rising as well. In 2010, over 70 percent of all federal spending went to dependence-creating programs. That growth is unsustainable, as baby boomers are now retiring every day and their entitlements cost more each year.”
The think tank estimates that, using current numbers and trends, “publicly held federal debt will exceed 100 percent of GDP in 2024.”
And while the numbers are high now, they weren’t always that way, as a percentage of the population. Indeed, the ratio of takers-to-makers has increased most dramatically in just the past decade.
According to the Census Bureau, Heritage scholars noted, 94 million people were receiving government-(read taxpayer) funded benefits in 2000; by 2011, that figure had grown to more than 128 million.
“That means that 41.3 percent of the U.S. population is now on a federal government program,” said the study. “The 128 million is an estimate based on the recently released March 2011 U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey (CPS), which, due to the survey methodology, most likely undercounts the actual number.”
Here is a breakdown of government programs and numbers of recipients, as presented by Heritage researchers:
— 128,818,142 people are enrolled in at least one government program
— 48,580,105 people are on Medicaid
— 35,770,301 people receive their retirement income from Social Security
— 43,834,566 people are on Medicare
— 39,030,579 people are living in a household where at least one person accepts food stamps
— 6,984,783 people are living in subsidized rental housing
— 2,047,149 people are receiving a higher-education subsidy
“It is important to note that the above categories overlap; for example an individual may receive both subsidized rental housing and food stamps,” says the study. “The total number…on at least one government program does not double count individuals, however.”
The future is – no future
While there are a number of lawmakers and advocacy groups in Washington and elsewhere calling for reform of these programs, most seasoned politicos know that it will be virtually impossible to do, because there is no political will to do so.
Programs like Medicare and Social Security are untouchable because every lawmaker who’s been in D.C. longer than 10 minutes knows it is political suicide to even hint at reforming them. Anyone who does – think Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate, the most recent politician who actually put forth a plan – is ravaged in the press and public sector.
Nevertheless, something has to be done; any serious economist knows that the current ratio of takers-to-makers (which is only becoming more skewed against the makers) is unsustainable.
“In 2010, over 70 percent of all federal spending went to dependence-creating programs,” said the study. “The government today is borrowing from future taxpayers to pay the current government program enrollees. The game will soon be up as debt approaches 100 percent of GDP.”
January 13, 2013
Hopes for overhauling the federal tax system are fading in Washington, but in some state capitals, tax reform experiments – some far-reaching – are fast taking shape.
Across the U.S. South and Midwest, Republicans have consolidated control of state legislatures and governorships, giving them the power to test long-debated tax ideas.
Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, for instance, called on Thursday for ending the state’s income tax and corporate taxes, with sales taxes compensating for lost revenue.
A similar plan is being pushed by Republicans in North Carolina. Kansas, which cut its income tax significantly last year, may trim further. Oklahoma, which tried to cut income taxes last year, is expected to try again.