Category Archives: Finance

The looming foreclosure crisis: As the Fed runs out of bullets, local governments are stepping in

Former Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts wrote last month that real US GDP growth for the first quarter of 2014 was a negative 2.9%, off by 5.5% from the positive 2.6% predicted by economists. If the second quarter also shows a decline, the US will officially be in recession. That means not only fiscal policy (government deficit spending) but monetary policy (unprecedented quantitative easing) will have failed. The Federal Reserve is out of bullets. Continue reading

How DC’s political intelligence biz made fat cats fatter

Looking over the last few weeks of news, if you would seek a single headline that sums up the Hulk-like grip in which corporate America holds the US Congress, this might be it: “Eric Cantor’s Loss a Blow to Wall Street.” Continue reading

Interest rate puzzle

One of the biggest puzzles in the financial markets this year has been the considerable fall in interest rates, despite the Fed’s program of tapering or cutting back the Fed’s bond purchases known as Quantitative Easing. A year ago, when Fed Chairman Bernanke announced the possibility of tapering QE on May 22, 2013, the 10-year Treasury yield was 2.03%. The yield quickly moved up close to 3% after Bernanke’s taper comments, forcing the Fed to retract or “clarify” them. Since January 2014, however, when the Fed actually began tapering, the 10-year yield has steadily declined from over 3% to it’s current yield of just over 2.5%. Continue reading

Infrastructure sticker shock: Financing costs more than building it

Funding infrastructure through bonds doubles the price or worse. Costs can be cut in half by funding through the state’s own bank. Continue reading

Have you ever heard of the JOBS Act? Neither have many would-be entrepreneurs, especially women

The JOBS Act is a “game changer” that would allow “ordinary Americans . . . to go online and invest in entrepreneurs they believe in,” says President Obama. Continue reading

More on Belgium’s purchases of Fed Treasuries

In response to our account of the mysterious large rise in Belgium’s Treasury purchases, The Fed is the great deceiver, it was suggested that the transaction would show up on the Fed’s balance sheet. However, the Fed is under no obligation to show the transaction. Continue reading

The Federal Reserve is the great deceiver

Is the Fed “tapering”? Did the Fed really cut its bond purchases during the three-month period November 2013 through January 2014? Apparently not if foreign holders of Treasuries are unloading them. Continue reading

Wall Street greed: Not too big for a California jury

Sixteen of the world’s largest banks have been caught colluding to rig global interest rates. Why are we doing business with a corrupt global banking cartel? Continue reading

Israel bonds are a high risk investment

Inappropriate for US states and municipalities

One might argue against the sale of Development Corporation for Israel bonds, aka Israel bonds, to government entities in the USA because the proceeds fund Israeli violations of international law, particularly the colonization of the West Bank, and other activities which violate internationally accepted norms, to include maintaining Gaza as a vast open air prison. But although these policies are likely to have a negative impact on Israel’s credit rating in the future, it is the characteristics of the bonds themselves, chiefly their illiquidity, which should put them off limits for states and municipalities in the first place. Treasurers and pension fund managers who buy these toxic, illiquid obligations are putting taxpayers and retirees at risk. Continue reading

Usurious returns on phantom money: The credit card gravy train

The credit card business is now the banking industry’s biggest cash cow, and it’s largely due to lucrative hidden fees. Continue reading

Manipulations rule the markets

The Federal Reserve’s announcement on December 18 that beginning in January its monthly purchases of mortgage-backed financial instruments and US Treasury bonds would each be cut by $5 billion is puzzling, as is the financial press’s account of the market’s response. Continue reading

Hidden taxation

Inflation is, in fact, nothing more than taxation of everyone at a rate not announced by the government but estimated by its citizens. This inflationary process of printing money out of nothing and then using it to pay debts is camouflaged by calling it monetizing the debt. [1]. It is illegal for individuals to do it. Continue reading

Paying the toll on the economic highway

The political coma of the U.S. government induced by Congress and its failure to represent those who elect it can ultimately be traced to the unfair and complex system of income taxation. Better for the country and more equitable for its taxpayers would be a toll tax on the movement of all money along the nation’s economic highway. Continue reading

Ireland: Ground zero for the austerity-driven asset grab

The Irish have a long history of being tyrannized, exploited, and oppressed—from the forced conversion to Christianity in the Dark Ages, to slave trading of the natives in the 15th and 16th centuries, to the mid-nineteenth century “potato famine” that was really a holocaust. The British got Ireland’s food exports, while at least one million Irish died from starvation and related diseases, and another million or more emigrated. Continue reading

Debt and deficit as shock therapy

When Naomi Klein published her ground-breaking book The Shock Doctrine (2007), which compellingly demonstrated how neoliberal policy makers take advantage of overwhelming crisis times to privatize public property and carry out austerity programs, most economists and media pundits scoffed at her arguments as overstating her case. Real world economic developments have since strongly reinforced her views. Continue reading

Is Homeland Security preparing for the next Wall Street collapse?

Reports are that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is engaged in a massive, covert military buildup. An article in the Associated Press in February confirmed an open purchase order by DHS for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. According to an op-ed in Forbes, that’s enough to sustain an Iraq-sized war for over twenty years. DHS has also acquired heavily armored tanks, which have been seen roaming the streets. Evidently somebody in government is expecting some serious civil unrest. The question is, why? Continue reading

None so blind as we sail over the fiscal cliff

I am writing this to not only all the city council members throughout the towns of my county of Volusia, Florida, but to you, its citizens out there. Look around you. See that, since 2006, the fine and important library system of our county has had its budget cut by nearly 33%! All of the services: firefighting, policing, hospital care, education . . . everything we need more of is going down, not up! City and County governments think that the best, most viable solution is to privatize more and more. They think that this will help ease the pain of fiscal shortfalls. Oh yes, why not just sell the library system off to big corporations and our firefighting and policing, too? Why not just make this society into one big corporate fiefdom, like the great film Rollerball portrayed? Continue reading

The Detroit bail-in template: Fleecing pensioners to save the banks

The Detroit bankruptcy is looking suspiciously like the bail-in template originated by the G20’s Financial Stability Board in 2011, which exploded on the scene in Cyprus in 2013 and is now becoming the model globally. In Cyprus, the depositors were “bailed in” (stripped of a major portion of their deposits) to re-capitalize the banks. In Detroit, it is the municipal workers who are being bailed in, stripped of a major portion of their pensions to save the banks. Continue reading

SAC Capital indicted on grounds of ‘systematic insider trading’

NEW YORK—The federal government has launched a rare criminal prosecution of a major Wall Street firm: SAC Capital Advisors, a hedge-fund operator that investigators have long suspected of illegally trading on inside information, ironically reported by the L.A. Times. Continue reading

Collateral damage: QE3 and the shadow banking system

Ben Bernanke’s May 29 speech signaling the beginning of the end of QE3 provoked a “taper tantrum” that wiped about $3 trillion from global equity markets—this from the mere suggestion that the Fed would moderate its pace of asset purchases, and that if the economy continues to improve, it might stop QE3 altogether by mid-2014. The Fed is currently buying $85 billion in US Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities per month. Continue reading

Internet and sales’ taxes dialectic

Before you panic that your online purchases will be tagged with the added cost of state sales tax, rely on the complexity of reporting sales to all the jurisdictions as your prime safeguard from forking over a percentage on every purchase. The Senate bill, Summary: S.336 provides a succinct description of the requirements. For a comprehensive resource on all you want to know about Marketplace Fairness Act Information, check out the details. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte in the article, Online sales tax bill may be dead on arrival in House, identifies concern that the practical difficulties remain with implementation. “I do not believe legislation like the Marketplace Equity Act is sufficiently simplified yet. While it attempts to make tax collection simpler, it still has a long way to go.” Continue reading

Would it be fair to restore the tax rates of big business and the rich back to their 1980 levels?

This question is one of the most relevant questions that could be posed to US citizens and their elected representatives, which, if answered correctly, could possibly restore the fiscal health and happiness of the US. Continue reading

The economic religion of finance capital

The Virgin birth. The Chosen people. The Resurrection of the dead. The Free Market. Which of those is unsupported by material evidence but exists by virtue of practice based on fervent, coerced, or simply uncritical belief and is thus subject to failure at any moment when the belief is shaken to its roots by experienced reality? All of them. Continue reading

The incredible debt spider

The “Federal Reserve Bank” (Fed) is not part of the United States Government. The Fed is a private, for-profit corporation ultimately owned by eight elite banking families. Continue reading

Will Obama’s choice for Treasury secretary work for Wall Street or Main Street?

First of all, who is Jack Lew, nominated for Treasury secretary by Barack Obama? He’s a Citibank alumnus, a former White House budget director, under Clinton and Obama, then became Obama’s chief of staff. Continue reading

Political football over disaster relief: Another argument for public banking

In a shameless display of putting politics before human needs, Congress began 2013 still scrapping over a $60 billion Hurricane Sandy relief bill fully nine weeks after the disaster hit. And if the Katrina experience is any indication, the bill may not bring adequate relief to struggling and displaced homeowners even when it is finally passed. Continue reading

The fiscal cliff is a diversion: The derivatives tsunami and the dollar bubble

The “fiscal cliff” is another hoax designed to shift the attention of policymakers, the media, and the attentive public, if any, from huge problems to small ones. Continue reading

The myth that Japan is broke: The world’s largest ‘debtor’ is now the world’s largest creditor

Japan’s massive government debt conceals massive benefits for the Japanese people, with lessons for the U.S. debt ‘crisis.’

In an April 2012 article in Forbes, titled “If Japan Is Broke, How Is It Bailing Out Europe?,” Eamonn Fingleton pointed out the Japanese government was by far the largest single non-eurozone contributor to the latest Euro rescue effort. This, he said, is “the same government that has been going round pretending to be bankrupt (or at least offering no serious rebuttal when benighted American and British commentators portray Japanese public finances as a train wreck).” Continue reading

The economic religion of finance capital

The Virgin birth. The Chosen People. The resurrection of the dead. The free market. Continue reading

Fixing the mortgage mess: The game-changing implications of Bain v. MERS

Two landmark developments on August 16 give momentum to the growing interest of cities and counties in addressing the mortgage crisis using eminent domain. Continue reading

Banking on zeros

I was just on Press TV with Gabriel Talmain, professor of economics, and Shabbir Razvi, economist. Both men are based in London, a fact that explains a linguistic mishap I had that was baffling, infuriating, then finally amusing. We’ll get to it. Continue reading

Geithner and Bernanke demand mega-bailout of Europe

Shades of the 2008 Hank Paulson, three-page ransom note to the Treasury for a $700 billion bailout for banks or the world economy would collapse. This time the LaRouche Political Action Committee reports that “Capitol Hill sources confirmed that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke are demanding that Congress prepare emergency legislation for yet another hyperinflationary bailout of the hopelessly bankrupt trans-Atlantic financial system.” Continue reading