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The report from RealtyTrac last week proves beyond the shadow of a doubt the supposed housing market recovery is a complete and utter fraud. The corporate mainstream media did their usual spin job on the report by focusing on the fact foreclosure starts in 2013 were the lowest since 2007. Focusing on this meaningless fact (because the Too Big To Trust Wall Street Criminal Banks have delayed foreclosure starts as part of their conspiracy to keep prices rising) is supposed to convince the willfully ignorant masses the housing market is back to normal. It’s always the best time to buy!!!
The talking heads reading their teleprompter propaganda machines failed to mention that distressed sales (short sales & foreclosure sales) rose to a three year high of 16.2% of all U.S. residential sales, up from 14.5% in 2012. The economy has been supposedly advancing for over four years and sales of distressed homes are at 16.2% and rising. The bubble headed bimbos on CNBC don’t find it worthwhile to mention that prior to 2007 the normal percentage of distressed home sales was less than 3%. Yeah, we’re back to normal alright. We are five years into a supposed economic recovery and distressed home sales account for 1 out of 6 all home sales and is still 500% higher than normal.
The distressed sales aren’t even close to the biggest distortion of this housing market. The RealtyTrac report reveals that all-cash purchases accounted for 42% of all U.S. residential sales in December, up from 38% in November, and up from 18% in December 2012. Does that sound like a trend of normalization? There were five states where all-cash transactions accounted for more than 50% of sales in December – Florida (62.5%), Wisconsin (59.8%), Alabama (55.7%), South Carolina (51.3%), and Georgia (51.3%). In the pre-crisis days before 2008, all-cash sales NEVER accounted for more than 10% of all home sales. NEVER. This is all being driven by hot Wall Street money, aided and abetted by Bernanke, Yellen and the rest of the Fed fiat heroine dealers.
The fact that Wall Street is running this housing show is borne out by mortgage applications languishing at 1997 levels, down 65% from the 2005 highs. Real people in the real world need a mortgage to buy a house. If mortgage applications are near 16 year lows, how could home prices be ascending as if there is a frenzy of demand? Besides enriching the financial class, the contrived elevation of home prices and the QE induced mortgage rate increase has driven housing affordability into the ground. First time home buyers account for a record low percentage of 27%. In a normal non-manipulated market, first time home buyers account for 40% of home purchases.
Price increases that rival the peak insanity of 2005 have been manufactured by Wall Street shysters and the Federal Reserve commissars. Doctor Housing Bubble sums up the absurdity of this housing market quite well.
The all-cash segment of buyers has typically been a tiny portion of the overall sales pool. The fact that so many sales are occurring off the typical radar suggests that the Fed’s easy money eco-system has created a ravenous hunger with investors to buy up real estate. Why? The rentier class is chasing yields in every nook and cranny of the economy. This helps to explain why we have such a twisted system where home ownership is declining yet prices are soaring. What do we expect when nearly half of sales are going to investors? The all-cash locusts flood is still ravaging the housing market.
The Case-Shiller Index has shown price surges over the last two years that exceed the Fed induced bubble years of 2001 through 2006. Does that make sense, when new homes sales are at levels seen during recessions over the last 50 years, and down 70% from the 2005 highs? Even with this Fed/Wall Street induced levitation, existing home sales are at 1999 levels and down 30% from the 2005 highs. So how and why have national home prices skyrocketed by 14% in 2013 after a 9% rise in 2012? Why are the former bubble markets of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Phoenix seeing 17% to 27% one year price increases? How could the bankrupt paradise of Detroit see a 17.3% increase in prices in one year? In a normal free market where individuals buy houses from other individuals, this does not happen. Over the long term, home prices rise at the rate of inflation. According to the government drones at the BLS, inflation has risen by 3.6% over the last two years. Looks like we have a slight disconnect.
This entire contrived episode has been designed to lure dupes back into the market, artificially inflate the insolvent balance sheets of the Too Big To Trust banks, enrich the feudal overlords who have easy preferred access to the Federal Reserve easy money, and provide the propaganda peddling legacy media with a recovery storyline to flog to the willingly ignorant public. The masses desperately want a feel good story they can believe. The ruling class has a thorough understanding of Edward Bernays’ propaganda techniques.
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”
Ben Bernanke increased his balance sheet by $3.2 trillion (450%) since 2008, and it had to go somewhere. We know it didn’t trickle down to the 99%. It was placed in the firm clutches of the .1% billionaire club. Bernanke sold his QE schemes as methods to benefit Main Street Americans, when his true purpose was to benefit Wall Street crooks. 30 year mortgage rates were 4.25% before QE2. 30 year mortgage rates were 3.5% before QE3. Today they stand at 4.5%. QE has not benefited average Americans. They are getting 0% on their savings, mortgage rates are higher, and their real household income has fallen and continues to fall.
But you’ll be happy to know banking profits are at all-time highs, Blackrock and the rest of the Wall Street Fed front running crowd have made a killing in the buy and rent ruse, and record bonuses are being doled out to the men who have wrecked our financial system in their gluttonous plundering of the once prosperous nation. Their felonious machinations have added zero value to society, while impoverishing a wide swath of America. Bernanke, Yellen and their owners have used their control of the currency, interest rates, and regulatory agencies to create the widest wealth disparity between the haves and have-nots in world history. Their depraved actions on behalf of the .1% will mean blood.
Just as Greenspan’s easy money policies of the early 2000’s created a housing bubble, inspiring low IQ wannabes to play flip that house, Bernanke’s mal-investment inducing QEternity has lured the get rich quick crowd back into the flipping business. The re-propagation of Flip that House shows on cable is like a rerun of the pre-bubble bursting frenzy in 2005. RealtyTrac’s recent report details the disturbing lemming like trend among greedy institutions and dullard brother-in-laws across the land.
- 156,862 single family home flips — where a home is purchased and subsequently sold again within six months — in 2013, up 16% from 2012 and up 114% from 2011.
- Homes flipped in 2013 accounted for 4.6% of all U.S. single family home sales during the year, up from 4.2% in 2012 and up from 2.6% in 2011
The easy profits just keep flowing when the Fed provides the easy money. What could possibly go wrong? Home prices never fall. A brilliant Ivy League economist said so in 2005. The easy profits have been reaped by the early players. Wall Street hedge funds don’t really want to be landlords. Flippers need to make a quick buck or their creditors pull the plug. Home prices peaked in mid-2013. They have begun to fall. The 35% increase in mortgage rates has removed the punchbowl from the party. Anyone who claims housing will improve in 2014 is either talking their book, owns a boatload of vacant rental properties, teaches at Princeton, or gets paid to peddle the Wall Street propaganda on CNBC.
Reality will reassert itself in 2014, with lemmings, flippers, and hedgies getting slaughtered as the housing market comes back to earth with a thud. The continued tapering by the Fed will remove the marginal dollars used by Wall Street to fund this housing Ponzi. The Wall Street lemmings all follow the same MBA created financial models. They will all attempt to exit the market simultaneously when their models all say sell. If the economy improves, interest rates will rise and kill the housing market. If the economy tanks, the stock market will plunge, creating fear and killing the housing market. Once it becomes clear that prices have begun to fall, the flippers will panic and start dumping, exacerbating the price declines. This scenario never grows old.
Real household income continues to fall and nearly 25% of all households with a mortgage are still underwater. Young people are saddled with $1 trillion of government peddled student loan debt and will not be buying homes in the foreseeable future. Dodd-Frank rules will result in fewer people qualifying for mortgages. Mortgage insurance is increasing. Obamacare premium increases are sucking the life out of potential middle class home buyers. Retailers have begun firing thousands. The financial class had a good run. They were able to re-inflate the bubble for two years, but the third year won’t be a charm. In a normal housing market 85% of home sales would be between individuals using a mortgage, 10% would be all cash transactions, less than 5% of sales would be distressed, and 40% would be first time buyers. In this warped market only 40% of home sales are between individuals using a mortgage, 42% are all cash transactions, 16% are distressed sales, 5% are flipped, and only 27% are first time buyers. The return to normalcy will be painful for shysters, gamblers, believers, paid off economists, Larry Yun, and CNBC bimbos.
Nouriel Roubini, Davos Speakers, Kyle Bass, Larry Edelson, Charles Nenner, James Dines, Jim Rogers, Marc Faber, Jim Rickards and Martin Armstrong Warn of Wider War
Well-known economist Nouriel Roubini tweeted from the gathering of the rich and powerful at Davos:
Many speakers compare 2014 to 1914 when WWI broke out & no one expected it. A black swan in the form of a war between China & Japan?
Both Abe and an influential Chinese analyst don’t rule out a military confrontation between China and Japan. Memories of 1914?
Kyle Bass writes:
Trillions of dollars of debts will be restructured and millions of financially prudent savers will lose large percentages of their real purchasing power at exactly the wrong time in their lives. Again, the world will not end, but the social fabric of the profligate nations will be stretched and in some cases torn. Sadly, looking back through economic history, all too often war is the manifestation of simple economic entropy played to its logical conclusion. We believe that war is an inevitable consequence of the current global economic situation.
Larry Edelson wrote an email to subscribers entitled “What the “Cycles of War” are saying for 2013″, which states:
Since the 1980s, I’ve been studying the so-called “cycles of war” — the natural rhythms that predispose societies to descend into chaos, into hatred, into civil and even international war.
I’m certainly not the first person to examine these very distinctive patterns in history. There have been many before me, notably, Raymond Wheeler, who published the most authoritative chronicle of war ever, covering a period of 2,600 years of data.
However, there are very few people who are willing to even discuss the issue right now. And based on what I’m seeing, the implications could be absolutely huge in 2013.
Former Goldman Sachs technical analyst Charles Nenner – who has made some big accurate calls, and counts major hedge funds, banks, brokerage houses, and high net worth individuals as clients – saysthere will be “a major war starting at the end of 2012 to 2013”, which will drive the Dow to 5,000.
Veteran investor adviser James Dines forecast a war is epochal as World Wars I and II, starting in the Middle East.
Billionaire investor Jim Rogers notes:
A continuation of bailouts in Europe could ultimately spark another world war, says international investor Jim Rogers.
“Add debt, the situation gets worse, and eventually it just collapses. Then everybody is looking for scapegoats. Politicians blame foreigners, and we’re in World War II or World War whatever.”
Marc Faber says that the American government will start new wars in response to the economic crisis:
- “The next thing the government will do to distract the attention of the people on bad economic conditions is they’ll start a war somewhere.”
We’re in the middle of a global currency war – i.e. a situation where nations all compete to devalue their currencies the most in order to boost exports. And Brazilian president-elect Rousseff said in 2010:
The last time there was a series of competitive devaluations … it ended in world war two.
Jim Rickards agrees:
Currency wars lead to trade wars, which often lead to hot wars. In 2009, Rickards participated in the Pentagon’s first-ever “financial” war games. While expressing confidence in America’s ability to defeat any other nation-state in battle, Rickards says the U.S. could get dragged into “asymmetric warfare,” if currency wars lead to rising inflation and global economic uncertainty.
As does Jim Rogers:
Trade wars always lead to wars.
Martin Armstrong wrote in August:
Our greatest problem is the bureaucracy wants a war. This will distract everyone from the NSA and justify what they have been doing. They need a distraction for the economic decline that is coming.
Armstrong argued last month that war plans against Syria are really about debt and spending:
The Syrian mess seems to have people lining up on Capital Hill when sources there say the phone calls coming in are overwhelmingly against any action. The politicians are ignoring the people entirely. This suggests there is indeed a secret agenda to achieve a goal outside the discussion box. That is most like the debt problem and a war is necessary to relief the pressure to curtail spending.
In addition, historians say that the risk of world war is rising because the U.S. feels threatened by a rising China … and the U.S. government considers economic rivalry to be a basis for war
Moreover, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said that the Iraq war was really about oil, and former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill says that Bush planned the Iraq war before 9/11. And see this and this. If that war was for petroleum, other oil-rich countries might be invaded as well.
And the American policy of using the military to contain China’s growing economic influence – and of considering economic rivalry to be a basis for war – are creating a tinderbox.
Finally, multi-billionaire investor Hugo Salinas Price says:
What happened to [Libya’s] Mr. Gaddafi, many speculate the real reason he was ousted was that he was planning an all-African currency for conducting trade. The same thing happened to him that happened to Saddam because the US doesn’t want any solid competing currency out there vs the dollar. You know Gaddafi was talking about a golddinar.
Indeed, senior CNBC editor John Carney noted:
Is this the first time a revolutionary group has created a central bank while it is still in the midst of fighting the entrenched political power? It certainly seems to indicate how extraordinarily powerful central bankers have become in our era.
This suggests we have a bit more than a ragtag bunch of rebels running around and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences. “I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising,” Wenzel writes.
What would we do without Zero Hedge? Does anyone else notice the rapid deterioration of financial news media, especially in the US? OK, we are not naive, there are biases in the media, traders from big ibanks talking up their positions, and trading is all about information arbitrage. But financial news used to be really serious. Traders could turn on a TV to see what the markets were doing. Bloomberg being the last financial channel broadcast on TV to avoid the “CNBC Phenomenon” or more specifically the “Cramer Phenomenon.” But now, even Bloomberg TV has become a financial version of The View, with the occasional serious guest, and the occasional well researched article.
This is not meant to be a praise-all for ZH, but seriously, what other site has a continual flow of objective analysis, and breaking news that’s not visible elsewhere on the net? Ok, traders don’t really need news they just need data, so in today’s electronic market financial journalism may be less valuable for traders. But that doesn’t mean the quality of financial journalism should be allowed to deteriorate to an entertainment level. Trading is often compared to gambling, Wall St. being the ‘big casino’ – but most involved take it very seriously, and the markets can make or break families, companies, and countries. In most Vegas casinos, you will find all sorts of cheap tricks to overwhelm your visual cortex such as scantily clad ladies, loud bells and whistles, lots of flashing lights, free drinks and food spiked with salt and sugar, and well dressed managers waiting to be so polite and charming should they see you drop a load. See any similarities?
There is another interesting parallel with ZH, it was founded in 2009, before Wikileaks became popular, and before the NSA scandal. Starting with Wikileaks exposing Swiss banking activities, and other significant financial infos, traders and investors have started changing the way they obtain and process information on the internets. This was more solidified with the NSA scandal, although much infos released by Snowden are not of a financial nature. Many of the policies now being implemented by a global community of concerned internet users were running on ZH before all of this happened. Again, not an all-praise for ZH, but what value do many mainstream financial networks have, with all their biases, agreements with partners, and guests from large houses talking up their positions. It was a shocking for many to learn that all it takes to get on CNBC is $2,500 (probably policy changed now, but it used to be like this). Stock traders from the late 90’s remember the ‘Power Lunch Bump’ where it was almost guaranteed that the guest, whoever he was or whatever he said, was good for at least a few points of their stock to jump while talking. A new group of retail traders flush with cash from the 90’s boom were anxious to get in on the action but didn’t know anything other than to turn on the TV and watch CNBC. Professional traders took it with a grain of salt, but it sure was a great way to pay for lunch. What a different world we live in.
So what’s the new financial media all about? It’s outlined well in the ZH Manifesto:
- to widen the scope of financial, economic and political information available to the professional investing public.
- to skeptically examine and, where necessary, attack the flaccid institution that financial journalism has become.
- to liberate oppressed knowledge.
- to provide analysis uninhibited by political constraint.
- to facilitate information’s unending quest for freedom.
our method: pseudonymous speech…
anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. it thus exemplifies the purpose behind the bill of rights, and of the first amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation– and their ideas from suppression– at the hand of an intolerant society.
the right to remain anonymous may be abused when it shields fraudulent conduct. but political speech by its nature will sometimes have unpalatable consequences, and, in general, our society accords greater weight to the value of free speech than to the dangers of its misuse.
– mcintyre v. ohio elections commission 514 u.s. 334 (1995) justice stevens writing for the majority
What ZH represents most importantly, an anonymous network of financial professionals which is extremely diverse, some are from the mainstream, some from the fringes. It’s a bastion of internet freedom, representing free speech as it was intended. Of course that’s just the platform, it doesn’t guarantee high quality of information, but somehow, it is the only source where information is almost all quality.
Aside from retail investors, what’s to keep traditional financial media alive at all? In the case of something like Bloomberg, their public media is almost irrelevant. The BB team is supporting their clients for the terminal, and so having their own network of analysts, journalists, and other types of agents makes sense to support data provided through the terminal. But what about others?
There are other exceptions such as Reuters, not a unique financial media, but they are backed by the trading element of their business. But unless you are a customer of Reuters, such as the new product giving their clients a nanosecond edge “Ultra Low Latency Data” their reporting on general news and especially financial events is suspect.
Or maybe, the only thing keeping such mainstream institutions alive, are a secret group of corporate clients, that can use such outlets for their own information campaign purposes. In any event, as the markets evolve, and the internet evolves, the new paradigm in financial media is the “Bitcoin” model, not the USD model:
“The advantage for Chinese users to use Bitcoin is freedom, people can do something without any official authority,” said Patrick Lin, system administrator of Erights.net and owner of about 1,500 Bitcoins. Lin said he’s sticking to the currency itself, rather than IPOs, in part because of weak regulation. “The Bitcoin world is just like the Wild West — no law, but opportunity and risk,” he said.
ZH is a public site, but represents the gateway into the ‘dark’ internet, at least as it’s concerning financial media. Of course, there wasn’t technology 50 years ago to support such a network, so it was easy for certain powerful media companies to dominate the sphere. Now, anyone with a computer and internet access, can learn as much about the markets as you can at Wharton (if they learn anything there is questionable). With that knowledge, that person can open a blog, and become their own independent financial media agent. The standing argument that bloggers are unprofessional because they don’t have journalistic credentials, has been disproved in the last years, since it was sites like ZH that broke the flash trading scandal, and Wikileaks, that broke the story about Julius Baer.
The new paradigm of financial media is a decentralized, global network of well informed uber-agents, who proliferate their information privately through their own information portals, and through public networks, such as Zero Hedge (currently, ZH the only one).
The unelected central planners at the Federal Reserve have decided that the time has come to slightly taper the amount of quantitative easing that it has been doing. On Wednesday, the Fed announced that monthly purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds will be reduced from $45 billion to $40 billion, and monthly purchases of mortgage-backed securities will be reduced from $35 billion to $30 billion. When this news came out, it sent shockwaves through financial markets all over the planet. But the truth is that not that much has really changed. The Federal Reserve will still be recklessly creating gigantic mountains of new money out of thin air and massively intervening in the financial marketplace. It will just be slightly less than before. However, this very well could represent a very important psychological turning point for investors. It is a signal that “the party is starting to end” and that the great bull market of the past four years is drawing to a close. So what is all of this going to mean for average Americans? The following are 8 ways that “the taper” is going to affect you and your family…
1. Interest Rates Are Going To Go Up
Following the announcement on Wednesday, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries went up to 2.89% and even CNBC admitted that the taper is a “bad omen for bonds“. Thousands of other interest rates in our economy are directly affected by the 10 year rate, and so if that number climbs above 3 percent and stays there, that is going to be a sign that a significant slowdown of economic activity is ahead.
2. Home Sales Are Likely Going To Go Down
Mortgage rates are heavily influenced by the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries. Because the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries is now substantially higher than it was earlier this year, mortgage rates have also gone up. That is one of the reasons why the number of mortgage applications just hit a new 13 year low. And now if rates go even higher that is going to tighten things up even more. If your job is related to the housing industry in any way, you should be extremely concerned about what is coming in 2014.
3. Your Stocks Are Going To Go Down
Yes, I know that stocks skyrocketed today. The Dow closed at a new all-time record high, and I can’t really provide any rational explanation for why that happened. When the announcement was originally made, stocks initially sold off. But then they rebounded in a huge way and the Dow ended up close to 300 points.
A few months ago, when Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke just hinted that a taper might be coming soon, stocks fell like a rock. I have a feeling that the Fed orchestrated things this time around to make sure that the stock market would have a positive reaction to their news. But of course I absolutely cannot prove this at all. I hope someday we learn the truth about what actually happened on Wednesday afternoon. I have a feeling that there was some direct intervention in the markets shortly after the announcement was made and then the momentum algorithms took over from there.
Of course QE3 is not being ended, but this tapering sends a signal to investors that the days of “easy money” are over and that we have reached the peak of the market.
And if you are at the peak of the market, what is the logical thing to do?
Sell, sell, sell.
But in order to sell, you are going to need to have buyers.
And who is going to want to buy stocks when there is no upside left?
4. The Money In Your Bank Account Is Constantly Being Devalued
When a new dollar is created, the value of each existing dollar that you hold goes down. And thanks to the Federal Reserve, the pace of money creation in this country has gone exponential in recent years. Just check out what has been happening to M1. It has nearly doubled since the financial crisis of 2008…
The Federal Reserve has been behaving like the Weimar Republic, and this tapering does not change that very much. Even with this tapering, the Fed is still going to be creating money out of thin air at an absolutely insane rate.
And for those that insist that what the Federal Reserve is doing is “working”, it is important to remember that the crazy money printing that the Weimar Republic did worked for them for a little while toobefore ending in complete and utter disaster.
5. Quantitative Easing Has Been Causing The Cost Of Living To Rise
The Federal Reserve insists that we are in a time of “low inflation”, but anyone that goes to the grocery store or that pays bills on a regular basis knows what a lie that is. The truth is that if the inflation rate was still calculated the same way that it was back when Jimmy Carter was president, the official rate of inflation would be somewhere between 8 and 10 percent today.
Most of the new money created by quantitative easing has ended up in the hands of the very wealthy, and it is in the things that the very wealthy buy that we are seeing the most inflation. As one CNBC article recently stated, we are seeing absolutely rampant inflation in “stocks and bonds and art and Ferraris and farmland“.
6. Quantitative Easing Did Not Reduce Unemployment And Tapering Won’t Either
The Federal Reserve actually first began engaging in quantitative easing back in late 2008. As you can see from the chart below, the percentage of Americans that are actually working is lower today than it was back then…
The mainstream media continues to insist that quantitative easing was all about “stimulating the economy” and that it is now okay to cut back on quantitative easing because “unemployment has gone down”. Hopefully you can see that what the mainstream media has been telling you has been a massive lie. According to the government’s own numbers, the percentage of Americans with a job has stayed at a remarkably depressed level since the end of 2010. Anyone that tries to tell you that we have had an “employment recovery” is either very ignorant or is flat out lying to you.
7. The Rest Of The World Is Going To Continue To Lose Faith In Our Financial System
Everyone else around the world has been watching the Federal Reserve recklessly create hundreds of billions of dollars out of thin air and use itto monetize staggering amounts of government debt. They have been warning us to stop doing this, but the Fed has been slow to listen.
The greatest damage that quantitative easing has been causing to our economy does not involve the short-term effects that most people focus on. Rather, the greatest damage that quantitative easing has been causing to our economy is the fact that it is destroying worldwide faith in the U.S. dollar and in U.S. debt.
Right now, far more U.S. dollars are used outside the country than inside the country. The rest of the world uses U.S. dollars to trade with one another, and major exporting nations stockpile massive amounts of our dollars and our debt.
We desperately need the rest of the world to keep playing our game, because we have become very dependent on getting super cheap exports from them and we have become very dependent on them lending us trillions of our own dollars back to us.
If the rest of the world decides to move away from the U.S. dollar and U.S. debt because of the incredibly reckless behavior of the Federal Reserve, we are going to be in a massive amount of trouble. Our current economic prosperity greatly depends upon everyone else using our dollars as the reserve currency of the world and lending trillions of dollars back to us at ultra-low interest rates.
And there are signs that this is already starting to happen. In fact, China recently announced that they are going to quit stockpiling more U.S. dollars. This is one of the reasons why the Fed felt forced to do something on Wednesday.
But what the Fed did was not nearly enough. It is still going to be creating $75 billion out of thin air every single month, and the rest of the world is going to continue to lose more faith in our system the longer this continues.
8. The Economy As A Whole Is Going To Continue To Get Even Worse
Despite more than four years of unprecedented money printing by the Federal Reserve, the overall U.S. economy has continued to decline. If you doubt this, please see my previous article entitled “37 Reasons Why ‘The Economic Recovery Of 2013’ Is A Giant Lie“.
And no matter what the Fed does now, our decline will continue. The tragic downfall of small cities such as Salisbury, North Carolina are perfect examples of what is happening to our country as a whole…
During the three-year period ending in 2009, Salisbury’s poverty rate of 16% was about 3% higher than the national rate. In the following three-year period between 2010 and 2012, the city’s poverty rate was approaching 30%. Salisbury has traditionally relied heavily on the manufacturing sector, particularly textiles and fabrics. In recent decades, however, manufacturing activity has declined significantly and continues to do so. Between 2010 and 2012, manufacturing jobs in Salisbury — as a percent of the workforce — shrank from 15.5% to 8.3%.
But the truth is that you don’t have to travel far to see evidence of our economic demise for yourself. All you have to do is to go down to the local shopping mall. Sears has experienced sales declines for 27 quarters in a row, and at this point Sears is a dead man walking. The following is from a recent article by Wolf Richter…
The market share of Sears – including K-Mart – has dropped to 2% in 2013 from 2.9% in 2005. Sales have declined for years. The company lost money in fiscal 2012 and 2013. Unless a miracle happens, and they don’t happen very often in retail, it will lose a ton in fiscal 2014, ending in January: for the first three quarters, it’s $1 billion in the hole.
Despite that glorious track record, and no discernible turnaround, the junk-rated company has had no trouble hoodwinking lenders into handing it a $1 billion loan that matures in 2018, to pay off an older loan that would have matured two years earlier.
And J.C. Penney is suffering a similar fate. According to Richter, the company has lost a staggering 1.6 billion dollars over the course of the last year…
Then there’s J.C. Penney. Sales plunged 27% over the last three years. It lost over $1.6 billion over the last four quarters. It installed a revolving door for CEOs. It desperately needed to raise capital; it was bleeding cash, and its suppliers and landlords had already bitten their fingernails to the quick. So the latest new CEO, namely its former old CEO Myron Ullman, set out to extract more money from the system, borrowing $1.75 billion and raising $785 million in a stock sale at the end of September that became infamous the day he pulled it off.
So don’t believe the hype.
The economy is getting worse, not better.
Quantitative easing did not “rescue the economy”, but it sure has made our long-term problems a whole lot worse.
And this “tapering” is not a sign of better things to come. Rather, it is a sign that the bubble of false prosperity that we have been enjoying for the past few years is beginning to end.
“The Fed will never end QE for good…” blasts Marc Faber, “they may do some cosmetic adjustments, but within a few years, [Fed] asset purchases will be substantially higher than they are today.” There will be another weakening in the US economy, Faber warns, and “the Fed will argue it hasn’t done enough and will do more… they have been irresponsible for 20 years.”
Noting that investors should “not buy stocks but be in cash”, the stunned CNBC anchor exclaims “How could you sit in cash when th emarket is on fire and interest rates are so low?” to which Faber blasts, “The market is not on fire, look at IBM, Cisco, and Intel – all lower than 2011; it’s on fire if you are in Facebook or Twitter and not everyone owns them.”
Use rallies to reduce exposure, he warns, “we will go up until it is over; and when it is over the drop will be larger than 20%”
The MSM did their usual spin job on the consumer credit data released earlier this week. They reported a 5.4% increase in consumer debt outstanding to an ALL-TIME high of $3.051 trillion. In the Orwellian doublethink world we currently inhabit, the consumer taking on more debt is seen as a constructive sign. Consumer debt has grown by 5.8% over the first nine months of 2013, after growing by 6.1% in 2012 and 4.1% in 2011. The storyline being sold by the corporate MSM propaganda machine, serving the establishment, is that consumers’ taking on debt is a sure sign of economic recovery. They must be confident about the future and rolling in dough from their new part-time jobs as Pizza Hut delivery men. Plus, they are now eligible for free healthcare, compliments of Obama, once they can log-on.
Of course, buried at the bottom of the Federal Reserve press release and never mentioned on CNBC or the other dying legacy media outlets is the facts and details behind the all-time high in consumer credit. They count on the high probability the average math challenged American has no clue regarding the distinction between revolving and non-revolving credit or who controls the distribution of such credit. It is fascinating examining the historical data on the Federal Reserve website and realizing how far we’ve fallen as a society in the last 45 years.
Revolving credit is a fancy term for credit card debt. Imagine our society today without credit cards. That sounds outrageous to the debt addicted populace inhabiting our suburban wasteland and urban badlands. What is truly outrageous is the fact we have allowed ourselves to be duped into $846 billion of revolving credit card debt charging an average interest rate of 13% by Wall Street bankers who have used the American Dream of a better life as the bait to lure a dumbed down easily manipulated populace into believing that material possessions purchased with high interest debt represented advancement rather than servitude. Debt accumulation is seen as a badge of honor. Keeping up with the Joneses is all that matters. Our shallow culture has no notion about the concept of deferred gratification or saving to pay for your wants.
A shocking fact (to historically challenged government educated drones) revealed by the Federal Reserve data is that credit card debt did not exist prior to 1968. How could people live their lives without credit cards? It must have been a nightmare. You mean to tell me when people wanted new clothes, jewelry, a TV, or to eat out at a restaurant, they actually had to save up the cash to do so? What kind of barbaric system would make you live within your means? The Depression era adults had somehow survived for over two decades after WWII without buying cheap foreign crap they didn’t need with money they didn’t have using a piece of plastic with a Wall Street bank logo emblazoned on the front.
1968 marked a turning point for America. LBJ’s welfare/warfare state had begun the downward spiral of a once rational country. We chose guns and butter, with the bill being charged to the national credit card. It was fitting that Wall Street introduced the credit card in 1968.
- There were 200 million Americans in 1968 and $2 billion of credit card debt outstanding, or $10 per person.
- By 1980 there were 227 million Americans and $54 billion of credit card debt outstanding, or $238 per person.
- By 1990 there were 249 million Americans and $230 billion of credit card debt outstanding, or $924 per person.
- By 2000 there were 281 million Americans and $650 billion of credit card debt outstanding, $2,313 per person.
- By July of 2008 credit card debt outstanding peaked at $1.022 trillion and the population was 304 million, with credit card debt per person topping out at $3,361 per person.
Over the course of 40 years, the population of this country grew by 52%. Credit card debt grew by 51,000%. Credit card debt per person grew by 33,600%. This was a case of credit induced mass hysteria and it continues today. Have the American people benefitted from this enslavement in chains of debt? I’d venture to answer no. Who benefitted? The corporate fascist oligarchy of Wall Street banks, mega-corporations sourcing their crap from Chinese slave labor factories, and politicians in the back pockets of the bankers and corporate CEOs benefitted.
The evil oligarch scum grew too greedy and blew up the worldwide financial system in 2008. Since July 2008 credit card debt has declined by $175 billion, with the majority of the decrease from banks writing off bad debt and passing it along to the American taxpayer through their TARP bailout and 0% money from their puppet Bernanke. It bottomed out at $834 billion in April 2011 and has only grown by a miniscule $13 billion in the last 29 months, and only $1.7 billion in the last twelve months. The muppets have refused to cooperate by running up those credit cards. Not having jobs, paying 40% more for health insurance due to Obamacare, and real inflation exceeding 5% on the things they need to live, have caused some hesitation among the delusional masses. Even a government educated, math challenged, iGadget addicted moron realizes their credit card is the only thing standing between them and living in a cardboard box on a street corner.
Your owners have been forced to implement Plan B. The monster they have created is like a shark. The debt must keep growing or the monster will die. In 2008, the oligarchs were staring into the abyss. Their wealth, power and control were in grave jeopardy. Rather than accept the consequences of their actions like men and allowing the economy to return to normalcy, these weasels have doubled down by accelerating the debt production and dropping it from helicopters to subprime borrowers across the land, like unemployed construction workers named Gus getting a degree in liberal arts from the University of Phoenix while sitting in their basement in boxer shorts. The Federal Reserve Black Hawks are hovering over the inner cities dropping Bennie Bucks on the very same people they put in McMansions with no doc negative amortization subprime mortgages in 2005, so they can occupy Cadillac Escalades for a couple years before defaulting again. The appearance of normalcy is crucial to the evil oligarchs as they attempt to pillage the remaining loot in this country.
Before the credit card was rolled out in 1968, there was non-revolving debt strictly related to auto loans made by banks and credit unions. The Federal government was nowhere to be found in the mix as banks and consumers made economic decisions based upon risk and reward. There were $110 billion of loans outstanding to a population of 200 million, or $550 per person. The Federal government stuck their nose into the free market with the creation of Sallie Mae in the 1970′s. But they were still a miniscule portion of total consumer debt at $115 billion in 2008, or only 11% of total consumer debt outstanding. The chart below from Zero Hedge reveals what has happened since the oligarchs crashed the financial system with their vampire squid blood sucking tentacles syphoning the lifeblood from the American middle class. Non-revolving debt has increased from $1.65 trillion in July 2008 to $2.2 trillion today, solely due to Obama and his minions doling out subprime auto and student loan debt to anyone that can scratch an X on a loan document.
If middle class consumers were unwilling to borrow and spend, the oligarchs were going to use their control over the government to dole out billions to subprime borrowers in a final, ultimately futile, attempt to keep this Ponzi scheme going for a while longer. The subprime game worked wonders in the final phase of the housing bubble. And now the losses will fall solely on the 50% of Americans who actually pay taxes. It wasn’t a mistake the Federal government took complete control of the student loan market in 2009. It isn’t a mistake the only TARP recipient the Feds have not attempted to disengage from happens to be the largest issuer of subprime auto loans in the world – Ally Financial (aka GMAC, Ditech, ResCap).
In 2008 there was $730 billion of student loan debt outstanding, of which the Federal government was responsible for $120 billion. Five short years later there is $1.2 billion of student loan debt outstanding and the Federal government (aka YOU the taxpayer) is responsible for $716 billion. Using my top notch math skills, I’ve determined that student loan debt has risen by $470 billion, while Federal government issuance of student loan debt has expanded by $600 billion. The rational risk adverse lenders have reduced their exposure to the most subprime borrowers on earth, undergrads at the University of Phoenix and thousands of other “for profit” educational black holes across the country. Only an organization who didn’t care about getting repaid would lend billions to borrowers without a job, hope of a job, or intellectual ability to hold a job. A critical thinking person might wonder why student loan debt would rise by almost $500 billion in 5 years when college enrollment has grown by only 2 million. That comes to $250,000 per additional student.
The Federal government couldn’t possibly have distributed $500 billion to anyone with a pulse as a way to manipulate the national unemployment rate lower, because anyone in school is not considered unemployed. Do you think the $500 billion was spent on tuition and books? Or do you think those “students” used it to buy iGadgets, HDTVs, weed and Twitter stock? With default rates already at all-time highs and accelerating skyward and $146 billion of loans already in default, you don’t need a PhD from the University of Phoenix (where default rates exceed 30%) like Shaq to realize the American taxpayer is going to get it good and hard once again.
My personal observations during my daily trek through the slums of West Philly would befuddle someone who didn’t understand the oligarch scheme to create an artificial auto recovery by distributing auto loans to deadbeats, the SNAP army, and hip hop nitwits. As I maneuver quickly through the West Philly badlands in my four year old paid off compact car praying I don’t get caught in gang crossfire, I see an inordinate number of brand new BMWs, Mercedes, Lexus, Cadillacs, and Jaguars parked in front of $20,000 dilapidated fleapits that tend to collapse during heavy rain storms. The real unemployment rate in these garbage strewn, disintegrating neighborhoods exceeds 50%. The median household income is less than $20,000. Over 40% of the adult population hasn’t graduated high school and 63% of the population lives below the poverty level. These people put the ”sub” in subprime. How can anyone in this American version of third world Baghdad afford to drive a $40,000 vehicle? The answer is they can’t. But you the taxpayer, out of the goodness of your heart and without your knowledge, have loaned them the money so they can cruise around West Philly in Jay Z or Kanye style.
Bernanke’s ZIRP creates the environment for mal-investment and reckless lending. With the Federal government owned Ally Financial leading the charge, the miraculous auto sales recovery is nothing but a bad loan driven illusion. With the Federal government pushing subprime loans like a West Philly drug dealer, the Too Big To Trust Wall Street cabal have followed suit providing financing to deadbeats with FICO scores of 500, no job, but a nice smile. When you can borrow from the Fed at 0% and loan money to SNAP nation at 18%, with a Bernanke unspoken promise to bail them out when the inevitable defaults come as a complete shock, this is why you see thousands of luxury automobiles parked in the urban kill zones across America.
Zero Hedge documented the new subprime bubble in a story earlier this week. As auto dealers allow losers with sub-500 FICO scores to drive off their lots with new cars, ZH summarized the next taxpayer bailout:
“No Car, no FICO score, no problem. The NINJAs have once again taken over the subprime asylum.”
Someone with a 500 FICO score has defaulted on multiple debt obligations in the recent past. The issuance of hundreds of billions of subprime debt can give the appearance of economic growth for a short period of time, just like it did from 2004 through 2007. Then it all collapsed in a heap because the debt eventually must be repaid. Cash flow is required to service debt. Maybe the West Philly subprime Mercedes drivers can trade their SNAP cards for cash to make their car loan payments, since they don’t have jobs. Even the captured MSM is being forced to admit the truth.
While surging light-vehicle sales have been one of the bright spots in the U.S. economy, it’s increasingly being fueled by borrowers with imperfect credit. Such car buyers account for more than 27 percent of loans for new vehicles, the highest proportion since Experian Automotive started tracking the data in 2007. That compares with 25 percent last year and 18 percent in 2009, as lenders pulled back during the recession. Issuance of bonds linked to subprime auto loans soared to $17.2 billion this year, more than double the amount sold during the same period in 2010, according to Harris Trifon, a debt analyst at Deutsche Bank AG. The market for such debt, which peaked at about $20 billion in 2005, was dwarfed by the record $1.2 trillion in mortgage bonds sold that year.
When has packaging subprime loans, getting them rated AAA by a trustworthy ratings agency, and selling them to little old ladies and pension funds, ever caused a problem before? With subprime auto loan issuance accounting for 50% of all car loans and an average loan to value ratio of 114.5%, what could possibly go wrong? Think about that for one minute. The government and Wall Street banks are loaning deadbeats $33,000 of your money to buy a $30,000 car, despite the fact the high school dropout borrower doesn’t have a job and has a history of defaulting on their obligations.
Can you really blame the borrowers? For the second time in the last decade the rich folk have generously offered to let them experience the good life, with debt that is never expected to be repaid. The people in West Philly live in rat infested, rundown, leaky shacks waiting for the 1st of the month to get their EBT card recharged. They have nothing, so they have nothing to lose. When the MAN offered to loan them $300,000 in 2005 so they could buy their very own McMansion, what did they have to lose? They got to live in a fancy house for a few years until they were booted out by the bank and left in exactly the same spot they were before the MAN came along. These people don’t even know what a FICO score means.
Now the MAN has knocked on their hovel door again and offered to put them in a brand spanking new Cadillac Escalade with no money down, requiring no proof of employment, and no prospects of repaying the loan. Hallelujah, there is a God!!! They get to tool around West Philly for a year or two impressing their fellow SNAP recipients until the repo man shows up and absconds with their wheels. They will be left right where they were, hoofing it with their $200 Air Jordans. Anyone with an ounce of brains (eliminates Cramer & Bartiromo) can see this will end exactly as all easy money, Federal Reserve propagated, and government sanctioned scams end.
“Perhaps more than any other factor, easing credit has been the key to the U.S. auto recovery,” Adam Jonas, a New York-based analyst with Morgan Stanley, wrote in a note to investors last month. The rise of subprime lending back to record levels, the lengthening of loan terms and increasing credit losses are some of factors that lead Jonas to say there are “serious warning signs” for automaker’s ability to maintain pricing discipline.
In the last year 99% of all consumer debt issued was doled out by government drones, with no interest in getting repaid, to subprime deadbeats, with no interest in repaying. It’s a match made in subprime heaven with your tax dollars. As an Ivy League educated Wall Street banker CEO once said:
“When the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated. But as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance. We’re still dancing.”
Chuck “Doing the Boogie Woogie” Prince – FORMER CEO of Citicorp – July 2007
You see it is always about liquidity, also known as Bernanke Bucks or QEternity. Without Bernanke and his Federal Reserve sycophants printing $2.8 billion of new money every single day, shoveling it into the grubby hands of his Wall Street bank bosses and a corrupt fetid festering pustule of a government running trillion dollar deficits and showering your money on loafers and welfare queens, this subprime final solution would not be possible. This is an exact replay of the subprime mortgage debacle, except the oligarchs have cut out the middleman. Holding the American people hostage for the $700 billion TARP bailout proved to be messy, with 90% of Americans against the ”Save a Corrupt Criminal Banker” scheme. This time, there will not be a vote in Congress when the hundreds of billions in subprime student loans and subprime auto loans go bad and become the responsibility of the few remaining American taxpayers. What’s another few hundred billion among friends when our annual deficits soar past $1 trillion, our national debt approaches $20 trillion, and our unfunded entitlement liabilities exceed $200 trillion?
When the music stopped in 2008, Chuck Prince bopped away with a $40 million severance package and you were left to sweep the confetti off the floors, pick up the empty champagne bottles and caviar plates, scrub the vomitorium, and pay for all the damages that occurred during the sordid subprime orgy of greed, lust, gluttony, envy and sloth. Somehow the distracted, techno-narcissistic, easily duped zombies have been lured into the subprime web of deceit again. We have only ourselves to blame as the corporate fascist oligarchs implement their final solution for the American middle class and our once proud nation – a bullet to the back of the head.
ABOUT THAT SHALE OIL & GAS MIRACLE « The Burning Platform. (FUL ARTICLE)
Not a day goes by without a story in the MSM by some industry shill like Daniel Yergen about the imminent energy independence of the Great American Empire. Shale oil and gas will revolutionize the American energy prospects. We have hundreds of years of oil and gas under our feet. We will be a net exporter in the next few years. A glorious future awaits. Politicians tout the billions of barrels to be extracted from Bakken, Eagle Ford and the hundreds of untapped shale formations across the country. Wall Street puts out glowing investment analysis papers promoting the latest IPO. There’s just one little problem. It’s all hype.
Royal Dutch Shell is one of the biggest corporations in the world, with financial resources greater than 99% of all the organizations on earth. Their CEO probably knows a little bit more about oil exploration than the Wall Street systers and CNBC bimbos. His company has poured $24 billion into shale exploration in the U.S. It has been a huge failure. They have already written off $2.1 billion. They are trying to sell huge swaths of land in the Eagle Ford area. They are losing money in the shale oil and gas business. If Shell can’t make it profitable, who can?…
- Tight oil revolution may not be enough to secure energy security without Canadian crude (business.financialpost.com)
- Making money from the Eagle Ford Shale (peakoil.com)
- Shell Oil latest firm to quit Western Slope shale project (theoilandgasman.wordpress.com)
Video of the Day: Interview with Matt Taibbi About JP Morgan and the CNBC “Presstitutes” | A Lightning War for Liberty
The top definition of presstituteaccording to Urban Dictionary is:
A member of the media who will alter their story and reporting based on financial interests or other ties with usually partisan individuals or groups.
It has become abundantly clear in recent years that the mainstream media can not be identified as anything other that a collective of mediocre, corporate/government ass-kissing presstitutes. Differentmedia outlets cater to different special interests, but the end result is all the same. MSNBC for example is essentially a straight up PR outlet for the Democratic Party, while Fox News represents the neo-con arm of the Republican Party and the military-industrial complex generally. CNBC has a special position in the presstitute media hierarchy. They basically defend Wall Street at all costs. The station represents the most important media gatekeeper for the financial oligarch, crony class.The following video is an interview on the daily political talk showMajority Report, hosted by Sam Seder. In this episode, he discusses with Matt Taibbi the recent appearance of Salon’s Alex Pareene on CNBC in which Maria Bartiromo unabashedly presstitutes herself out for Jaime Dimon and JP Morgan in an utterly embarrassing manner.The clip is a little over 16 minutes, but well worth your time. Sam Seder is pretty hilarious and his rapport with Taibbi is excellent…
- Matt Taibbi On The CNBC “Presstitutes” (zerohedge.com)
- Matt Taibbi – Talking Jamie Dimon With Sam Seder of ‘The Majority Report’ – 3 October 2013 (lucas2012infos.wordpress.com)
- The JP Morgan apologists of CNBC (blogs.reuters.com)
- Poking Holes In CNBC and JP Morgan’s Cozy Little Bubble (crooksandliars.com)
“The American people are being bamboozled into believing that you have to keep spending for ever,” Ron Paul exclaims, as “neither side is truly looking for spending cuts.” As he explains they all know that increasing spending is all that can maintain the status quo. In this brief CNBC clip, Paul says playing the blame game is ignorant of the reality that both sides are “rigid with bad ideas,” dismissing Obama’s ‘faction’ comments. For a glimpse at the chaos underlying the status quo (that is being exposed this week), Paul blasts that“it is a philosophy of government that is to blame; Keynesianism, Militarism, and Interventionism, and the funny-money system that we use. All that has come together and the country is bankrupt and nobody wants to amid it.”
“Why in the world can’t the people have an option to opt-out?” is the middle ground possibility that Paul suggests…
- Ron Paul on CNBC: “The Country Is Bankrupt… The People Are Being Bamboozled” 10-2-13 (dailypaul.com)
- Ron Paul On Jay Leno (dailypaul.com)
- Meet Ron Paul (txwclp.org)