Ron Paul appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box yesterday morning, December 15, 2009, to provide an update on his Audit the Fed bill H.R. 1207: Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009, as well as debate opponents to his well backed legislation head on. Make no mistake, the fact that topics broached during this interview are now being entertained in such a mainstream and public domain is astonishing.
As usual, Ron Paul provides a historical context as well as simple and logical rationale for his economic wisdom. The videos can be seen here:
Oddly enough there was also this heated exchange between Rick Santelli & Steve Liesman during the hour Ron Paul was on:
As previously discussed on The Financial Panner, a clear line in the sand can be drawn between those that wish to preserve the sanctity of the existing system, and those that are willing to deal with reality now along with an opportunity for a chance at a more fair and honest system. Both scenarios bring the potential for economic turmoil.
Throughout history, nations have fought to free themselves from the raptures of a select few whom controlled the issuance of currency. This is the struggle of recent centuries and a pivotal fight for our time. Now more than ever, it is important to understand what is at stake, and consciously chose a side.
UPDATE: Audit the Federal Reserve
- H.R. 1207: Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009 now has 317 co-sponsors, flat from 317 last week.
- S. 604: Federal Reserve Sunshine Act of 2009 now has 30 co-sponsors, flat from 30 last week.
Ratigan: House bill reform? You’re lying! (12/15/09)
Ron Paul on ‘foolish’ troop surge, ‘Audit the Fed’ Bill & Competing Currencies (12/14/09)
Jimmy Rogers Bullish on US Dollars ?! (12/11/09)
Ron Paul on Glenn Beck (12.9.09)
U.S. National Debt Tops Debt Limit (12/16/09)
- The latest calculation of the National Debt as posted by the Treasury Department has – at least numerically – exceeded the statutory Debt Limit approved by Congress last February as part of the Recovery Act stimulus bill.
- The ceiling was set at $12.104 trillion dollars. The latest posting by Treasury shows the National Debt at nearly $12.135 trillion.
- A senior Treasury official told CBS News that the department has some “extraordinary accounting tools” it can use to give the government breathing room in the range of $150-billion when the Debt exceeds the Debt Ceiling.
- Were it not for those “tools,” the U.S. Government would not have the statutory authority to borrow any more money. It might block issuance of Social Security checks and require a shutdown of some parts of the federal government.
Gulf petro-powers to launch currency in latest threat to dollar hegemony (12/15/09)
The Arab states of the Gulf region have agreed to launch a single currency modelled on the euro, hoping to blaze a trail towards a pan-Arab monetary union swelling to the ancient borders of the Ummayad Caliphate.
- “The Gulf monetary union pact has come into effect,” said Kuwait’s finance minister, Mustafa al-Shamali, speaking at a Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) summit in Kuwait.
- The move will give the hyper-rich club of oil exporters a petro-currency of their own, greatly increasing their influence in the global exchange and capital markets and potentially displacing the US dollar as the pricing currency for oil contracts. Between them they amount to regional superpower with a GDP of $1.2 trillion (£739bn), some 40pc of the world’s proven oil reserves, and financial clout equal to that of China.
- Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar are to launch the first phase next year, creating a Gulf Monetary Council that will evolve quickly into a full-fledged central bank.
- The Gulf states remain divided over the wisdom of anchoring their economies to the US dollar. The Gulf currency – dubbed “Gulfo” – is likely to track a global exchange basket and may ultimately float as a regional reserve currency in its own right. “The US dollar has failed. We need to delink,” said Nahed Taher, chief executive of Bahrain’s Gulf One Investment Bank.
Fannie, Freddie Overseer May Seek More Treasury Aid (12/15/09)
- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s federal regulator is renegotiating the companies’ financing plan with the U.S. Treasury Department and may seek an increase to their $400 billion federal lifeline before the end of the year, according to people familiar with the talks.
- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the largest sources of mortgage money in the U.S., have used $111.6 billion of their $400 billion in backup financing in less than a year. The companies say their 10 percent annual dividend payment, which comes to about $5 billion each, costs more than either have earned in most years and adds to their draws on Treasury.
- “A larger line, safest to be executed before year end, would buy Washington the time necessary to address more pressing housing matters,” Jim Vogel, a debt analyst with FTN Financial in Memphis, Tennessee, said in a note to clients today. “The possible risk in the discussions is any investor disappointment that might follow no change in the existing agreements.”
FDIC Boosts 2010 Budget, Staff as Bank Failures Rise (12/15/09)
- The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., overseeing the dissolution of failed banks at the fastest pace in 17 years, today boosted its 2010 budget 56 percent to $4 billion to manage further shutdowns.
- The total budget will increase from $2.6 billion and the budget for handling bank failures doubles to $2.5 billion from $1.3 billion this year, according to a budget proposal the FDIC board approved in Washington. The agency staff will increase to 8,653 next year from 7,010 for this year.
- The budget “will ensure that we are prepared to handle an ever-larger number of bank failures next year, if that becomes necessary, and to provide regulatory oversight for an even larger number of troubled institutions,” FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said in a statement.
- Bank failures have climbed to 133 this year, the most since 1992, as soured commercial-real estate loans and mortgage defaults hobbled U.S. lenders. The agency has hired staff to handle the surge, which pushed the deposit insurance fund to an $8.2 billion deficit in the third quarter.
US needs plan to tame debt soon, experts say (12/14/09)
- The U.S. government must craft a plan next year to get its ballooning debt under control or face possible panic in financial markets, a bipartisan panel of budget experts said in a report on Monday.
- Though the government should hold off on immediate tax hikes and spending cuts to avoid harming the fragile economic recovery, it will need to make such painful changes by 2012 in order to keep debt at a manageable 60 percent of GDP by 2018, according to the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform.
- Without action, investors could lose confidence in the United States, driving down the dollar and forcing up interest rates, said the former lawmakers and budget officials who crafted the report. That could cause a sharp decrease in the country’s standard of living.
“It’s imperative that we take action before the financial markets force us to,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former Congressional Budget Office director who advised Republican John McCain’s presidential campaign last year.>
House approves sweeping financial reforms (12/11/09)
- The House of Representatives approved the biggest changes in financial regulation since the Great Depression on Friday, marking a win for the Obama administration and top Democrats in Congress.
- In a rebuke to the Federal Reserve, the bill would open up monetary policy decisions to audits by congressional watchdogs. The central bank fought the provision, arguing it could imply politics can sway Fed decisions and spook the markets.
Joyce warns of US ‘Armageddon’ (12/11/09)
- THE OPPOSITION finance spokesman, Barnaby Joyce, believes the United States government could default on its debt, triggering an “economic Armageddon” which will make the recent global financial crisis pale into insignificance.
- Senator Joyce told the Herald yesterday he did not mean to alarm the public but there needed to be a debate about Australia’s “contingency plan” for a sovereign debt default by the US or even by a local state government.
- Senator Joyce said the chances of a US debt default were distant but real and politicians were not doing the electorate a favour by refusing to acknowledge the risk.
Democrats to lift debt ceiling by $1.8 trillion, fear 2010 backlash (12/9/09)
- In a bold but risky year-end strategy, Democrats are preparing to raise the federal debt ceiling by as much as $1.8 trillion before New Year’s rather than have to face the issue again prior to the 2010 elections.
Former BOE Official Buiter Says Greece May Be First EU Default (12/9/09)
- Former Bank of England policy maker Willem Buiter said Greece may be the first major country in the European Union to default on its debts since the aftermath of World War II.
- “It’s five minutes to midnight for Greece,” Buiter, who will join Citigroup Inc. as its chief economist next month, said in a Bloomberg Television interview today. “We could see our first EU 15 sovereign default since Germany had it in 1948.”
- “Default is not unavoidable,” Buiter said. “But unless there are radical fiscal actions, lasting cuts in spending and tax increases of at least 7 percent of GDP, the writing is on the wall” for Greece.
U.S. Homeowners Lost $5.9 Trillion Since 2006 Peak (12/9/09)
- U.S. homeowners have lost about $5.9 trillion in value since the housing market’s peak in March 2006 as mounting foreclosures and the recession weighed on prices, according to Zillow.com.
- Almost half a trillion dollars was wiped out this year through November as housing headed for a third straight annual decline. New foreclosures and higher mortgage rates in 2010 may hinder a rebound, the property data service said today in a statement.
- Merced had the biggest percentage loss in house value from January through November with an estimated 37 percent decline, according to Zillow. Las Vegas was second at 25 percent. The loss was 21 percent in Fort Myers, Florida; 17 percent in Stockton, California; and 16 percent in Orlando, Florida.
Highlights from “The International Forecaster” newsletter (12/16/09)
Published and Edited by: Bob Chapman
- The past two years have seen the greatest outpouring of money and credit from central banks and governments in history. In most countries interest rates cannot fall much lower being presently under 1% or close to zero. You might call this an attempt at fiat money recovery. As a result of pump priming for the past six months or more investors have returned to the same gambling and risk taking they engaged in before, the losses of which caused the world economy to come to the edge of the financial abyss. All sectors of investment are again affected by a casino mentality.
- We see $12.7 trillion donated without their consent of the lender taxpayers to the top world economies, or about 20% of world GDP. These funds, a good part of which will never be retrieved, have been stuffed into the pockets of bankers, Wall Street, insurance companies and GM and AIG. 80% of the problems we have had to face were caused by these very same entities, which along with the Fed, propose to solve the problem they created. It is as if they are the only ones in the world who know best what is good for our system and for us. They as well continue to play in the giant casino as if nothing ever happened. While this transpires there are still trillions of dollars in bad debt and impaired assets on the books that have to be written off. The solution to that is to not truthfully report companies’ financial conditions. If you can believe this, the Chairman of the Board of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the FASB that sets American accounting standards has called for the “decoupling” of bank capital rules from normal accounting standards. His proposal would encourage bank regulators to make adjustments as they determine whether banks have adequate capital while still allowing investors to see the current fair value. In order words it is ok to have two sets of books and to mark assets to model, which is marking assets to fantasy. Telling investors the truth is secondary. For almost 20 years banks have had to use GAAP for the basis for capital rules. If banks had their way there would be no rules. The FASB has been compromised and resides in the back pocket of the bankers. There you have it. Bankers are more equal than others. Their balance sheets are worthless. This should not be allowed to happen in America.
- At first the G-20 nations wanted to remove monetary stimulus and now they say it is too early to do so. What they do not tell you is if they did remove trillions from their economies they would collapse. Europe, the UK and US have losses of $1.7 trillion they haven’t written off of yet. In addition, they have hundreds of billions in losses for foreclosed loans that are still flowing in, to further befoul their balance sheets. We have to laugh when central bankers talk about draining trillions from the system. If they pull liquidity the system collapses. Other than feeding money and credit into the system the bankers have no solution. Keeping them in charge is like giving a pyromaniac matches. Even if $500 billion more in stimulus is added to the system from TARP funds or from Congress, it is only going to keep growth in place until the end of next year. As a result inflation is going to soar. There is no real recovery. All we have seen is the Fed pouring trillions of dollars into the US and world economy.
- There are two basic schools of thought regarding the economy. One is buying bonds for safety and the other with virtually no interest money is gambling in the markets. As a result we have a bull market in bonds and a bear market rally in the stock market. These factors lead investors and the public to the perception that a recovery is underway when nothing could be further from the truth. If it was true someone has to explain to us why consumer spending is off 20% yoy, which makes up 69.3% Of GDP? It is no wonder households are not spending. They have just lost $13 trillion in home equity and the housing bubble still has 20% to go to the downside. Quantitative easing has been a failure. We are still in a prolonged period of credit contraction that has been subdued temporarily by massive does of liquidity. Those hardest hit are small businesses and homeowners. All that retirement money is gone, because the Fed created a housing bubble. In 2009, homes lost 40% of their value and they have 20% to go and who knows how long the housing market will bump along the bottom. Reducing debt and spending is the new mantra. This will certainly reduce demand and economic growth. Blatant market manipulation in the long run will not be successful. 2.8% GDP growth is non-existent. The stock market may be booming on zero interest Fed funds, but as we pointed out last February middle America is in depression. In order to keep this façade going and the bubble in tact, the Fed has no choice but to inflate. They want to withdraw funds, but they cannot. They are recalling TARP funds, which will be quickly gobbled up by a new stimulus program and a call from the Treasury to buy more Treasuries, Agencies and toxic waste. Bernanke has to be running around in circles as members of Congress grill him on poor performance and the House passes HR1207, the Bill to audit and investigate the Fed. In addition bank lending is off 16.2% yoy and there are no signs of any loosening. We are looking at object failure by the Fed, which we reflected almost three years ago. There is no normality and no recovery. You cannot spend your way into recovery. It just doesn’t work. Look at the 1930s. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now. Government guarantees challenge reality and reality always wins. As a result of fed policy we have corporatist fascism at its worst. Day by day we attract less foreign capital and that is because any semblance of free markets are gone. All the Fed has done is rescue its owners and other connected elitists and such a plan is doomed to failure.
- We started in the gold markets in 1960. We were the largest gold and silver stockbrokers of that time. We recommended stocks that ran from $0.25 to hundreds of dollars a share. It has been 29 years since June 1980 when we exited the market. Since then these markets have been difficult even though the last ten years have been very rewarding. Had it not been for the powers behind government manipulating the markets, it would have been far more rewarding. This is what happens when an uninterested public allows a criminal enterprise to run their lives. Most people born after 1960 know little about the gold and silver bull markets of the late 1970s. They are only told of the great bull market we have seen since 1983. Those in their 40s and younger are about to get an education in how real life works. Not the life created by Wall Street and the Fed, because that era is about to end and with it the fairy tale life they have been used too. Gold’s current price of over $1,000 an ounce is only the beginning. We spent ten years moving from $252 to $1,224. Now the advance is going to accelerate and could more than double in 2010. It should also be noted that during this past ten year period the dollar has lost 80% of its purchasing power, which shows gold is an excellent inflation hedge, as well as a deflation hedge. For the past 6-1/2 years all currencies have fallen versus gold and that is because they have had the same Keynesian monetary policies as the Fed. As a result gold has maintained its purchasing power.
- It had been fashionable for the past ten years to say gold does not pay interest. This is the argument Gordon Brown, now UK PM used in 1999, when he sold the British citizens’ gold at $275.00 and leased a large part of what England had left. That masterstroke cost British citizens close to $10 billion. He did this when he was Secretary of the Treasury. Which would you rather have had, 5% interest or a capital gain of more than 200%? This experience certainly destroys the pays no interest theory. Owning gold and silver related assets is not speculation; it is wealth preservation. The great gold and silver bull markets of the last 1970s should have been seminal events, but they were not. Only 15% of the public participated, the remainder were buried in the stock market. Over the past ten years it has been worse. Only 2% to 3% of investors have been involved. In a way that is good, because it leaves lots more potential buyers to assist in pushing gold and silver higher. This is why we believe gold and silver have a long way to go on the upside.
- There is no question that another bout of inflation is on the way and that the dollar will continue to fall in value. We do not believe gold and silver are today reflecting reflation. They are reflecting a flight to quality because professionals and a minority of other investors have lost faith and trust in the top 20 central banks. Thus, today we are witnessing a flight to quality and safety. Gold and silver are the only real way to protect against financial calamity and offer possibilities for profit simultaneously.
- If you add in the fact that the US government has been manipulating the gold and silver prices, you can see the power that they will have to the upside. Wall Street has known for years gold and silver prices have been suppressed, but that scheme is about to end. The power of the elitist forces behind government to rig these markets has been faltering over the past six months. They no longer have the bullion for sale and are forced to use futures and derivatives to manipulate prices. That lasts for several days, then it is over, and then prices rise again. If HR1207 and S604 are passed and the Fed is audited then several months from now we will know exactly what the “Working Group on Financial Markets” have been doing. Audit will show how the Fed and the Treasury have rigged these two markets for years. It will also show how all markets have been manipulated and it will be game over. Gold and silver will make up for lost time shooting up to their fair values, and even if Ron Paul’s bill is not passed the influx of investment funds into these metals will eventually overwhelm their markets. Real inflation since 1980 would see gold between $6,700 and $7,150 an ounce. Even official inflation would price gold at $2,400 an ounce. People are going to finally realize that as their purchasing power and investments have fallen in value gold and silver have risen. Two years ago we had real inflation at 14%. We could easily return to that level in 2010. That cuts a regular stock portfolio in half in five years.
- In the pipeline is $12.7 trillion created by our government and the Fed to keep our economy and financial system from collapsing. There is absolutely no way it can be withdrawn. The US Inspector General says we are on the hook for potential losses of $23.7 trillion. These kind of problems and the inflation they caused by the Fed adding more fuel to the fire will in and of itself force more investors into the arms of gold and silver. The only things keeping the economy from crashing is government spending and Fed monetization. We have begun the vicious cycle of inflation again along with a falling dollar. If you really want to protect your wealth you had best be in gold and silver related assets. They are the only protection you have.
- Revisiting the other side of the equation it should not be forgotten that the Fed has created out of thin air $1.75 trillion to purchase $300 billion in Treasuries and $1.45 trillion in toxic waste and Agency securities. All of that money has been monetized, fed into the system, except that held on deposit by banks at the Fed. Part of these funds and TARP funds were used to run the stock market up some 54% in six months. That has only happened six times in 100 years. It is no secret as to why the stock market rose, but at the same time unemployment rose 22.2%. The Dow is 2,000 points higher than it should be under the circumstances. This is a propaganda setting to give the illusion that all is well.
- We believe that the US dollar will be officially devalued in a year to 1-1/2 years from now to be replaced with an international trading unit. That will cause another flight to quality to gold and silver.
- One of our contacts in Aussieland has a close contact in Guangzhou, China, who he has known for a number of years. When our contract told his friend that the US could default on its debt and devalue a year or more from now. The friend in China said, a high level Chinese government official who attended a business meeting on December 7th said the following: 2010 inflation will kick in both in China and the US, that would make it very bad for business in China and that the Chinese currency would strengthen to 6 to the US dollar. As you can see America’s problems are going to affect the entire world.
- We continue to see the dollar hit lower lows. Yes, we currently are well aware of the dollar rally. Another government sponsored rally calculated to keep the rest of the world’s dollar holders happy and prove the US has a strong dollar policy. If you looked at the long positions of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup you will find that at the end of the third quarter they were very long the dollar, short gold and silver and the shares. This is another temporary dollar rally and a temporary gold and silver take down. Next the dollar will be allowed to hit lower lows, ostensibly to increase the US trade advantage, which is laughable. It could add ½% to GDP at 71.18 and 1% at 65 on the USDX, which is not a solution for the American economy. Always left out of the reporting is that a lower dollar means higher prices for commodities and goods imported into the US and considerably more inflation. It will not encourage more foreign investment, because investors do not know how low the dollar will fall and it will not appreciably increase job opportunities. Jobs are still moving offshore to bolster 3rd world economies and to make giant untaxed profits for transnational conglomerates. Free trade, globalization, offshoring and outsourcing were created to destroy the economies of the US, Europe and Canada and that is exactly what has happened and will continue to happen, because our purchased Congress won’t legislate the solution, which is tariffs on goods and services. We are well on our way to joining the third world and if you do not let Congress know you know what they are up too, then you will eventually live in a slum reminiscent of Calcutta, either that or in some US detention camp. The bottom line is a lower dollar is disastrous for the US economy. The US is being slowly strangled to death. Who wants to invest in a country that is on the edge of real trouble, plus all the environmental laws and onerous taxes? Readers, most people do not have a clue as to how bad it is.