As any long-time reader of this column knows, we routinely draw from historical lessons to highlight that this time is not different.
Throughout the 18th century, for example, France was the greatest superpower in Europe, if not the world.
But they became complacent, believing that they had some sort of ‘divine right’ to reign supreme, and that they could be as fiscally irresponsible as they liked.
The French government spent money like drunken sailors; they had substantial welfare programs, free hospitals, and grand monuments.
They held vast territories overseas, engaged in constant warfare, and even had their own intrusive intelligence service that spied on King and subject alike.
Of course, they couldn’t pay for any of this.
French budget deficits were out of control, and they resorted to going heavily into debt and rapidly debasing their currency.
Stop me when this sounds familiar.
The French economy ultimately failed, bringing with it a 26-year period of hyperinflation, civil war, military conquest, and genocide.
History is full of examples, from ancient Mesopotamia to the Soviet Union, which show that whenever societies reach unsustainable levels of resource consumption and allocation, they collapse.
I’ve been writing about this for years, and the idea is now hitting mainstream.
A recent research paper funded by NASA highlights this same premise. According to the authors:
“Collapses of even advanced civilizations have occurred many times in the past five thousand years, and they were frequently followed by centuries of population and cultural decline and economic regression.”
Last week I told you about “The Coming Curse of Zombie Foreclosures.”
I described how folks – who thought they were foreclosed on – are suddenly finding out they are actually still on the hook for mortgage payments, taxes, and all kinds of maintenance on abandoned homes.
What I didn’t tell you is that the nation’s largest mortgage-issuing bank – and the most profitable bank in 2013 – may have been bitten itself by the very zombie foreclosures it breeds.
The New York Post’s Catherine Curan dropped that bombshell last Wednesday when she was the first to report that bankruptcy attorney Linda Tirelli had unearthed a Wells Fargo “how-to” document that instructs bank attorneys essentially how to commit fraud.
Tirelli filed the 150-page manual in New York’s notoriously no-nonsense and hard-charging Southern District court on behalf of a homeowner in bankruptcy.
The “step-by-step procedure” document instructs Wells Fargo employees how to create (as in just make up out of thin air) an “endorsement” or an “allonge” to prove Wells Fargo is a homeowner’s creditor and therefore has a right to foreclose on the underlying property.
An endorsement is something a lender signs over to a new lender who is taking over the loan or mortgage. An allonge is a string of endorsements attached to a note (mortgage or loan) showing the actual chain of endorsements.
An increasing number of financial experts are saying the United States dollar is no longer a reliable and dependable currency – and that its downfall is inevitable. There are even some experts who think the dollar is so unstable that the Chinese Yuan will soon become the world’s reserve currency, or currency of choice.
“Our addictions to debt and cheap money have finally caused our major international creditors to call for an end to dollar hegemony and to push for a ‘de-Americanized’ world,” investment advisor and financial strategist Micheal Pento wrote in an op-ed piece for CNBC.
“In my view the dollar is about to become dethroned as the world’s defacto currency basically,” Canadian billionaire investor Ned Goodman said. “We’re headed to a period of stagflation, maybe serious inflation, and the United States will be losing the privilege of being able to print at its will the global reserve currency.”
Goodman believes the US already is in another recession. The unemployment numbers are understated and the “real” unemployment number likely is closer to 15 percent, he said.
Over half of 200 international institutional investors surveyed by the Economist think that the Yuan will eventually replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. The reserve currency is the money most commonly accepted for international trade.
Why Reserve Currencies Matter
Having money with a reserve currency status enables a nation to dominate and control the world’s financial markets, as their currency is used for international trade and transactions. The US has the ability to maintain a $17 trillion national debt largely because the dollar is the reserve currency.
A nation with a reserve currency can simply print money to pay its debts.
By Gerald Celente
March 17, 2014
The onset of the great depression of the 1930′s brought a spike in banker suicides, Will Rogers noted of the time, “When Wall Street took that tail spin, you had to stand in line to get a window to jump out of, and speculators were selling space for bodies in the East River.”
Winston Churchill – the day after Black Friday – observed, “Under my very window a gentleman cast himself down fifteen stories and was dashed to pieces, causing a wild commotion and the arrival of the fire brigade,”
Nearly Eighty-five years later the phenomenon of banker suicides appears to have returned.
The week of January 20th would be the last for Swiss Re AG communications director Tim Dickenson but wouldn’t be the last in a string of deaths and suicides for International bankers.
Just days after Dickenson’s death on January 26, police found former Deutsche Bank executive Bill Broeksmit in his South Kensington London home after he’d hung himself.
The next day on January 27, JP Morgan senior manager Gabriel Magee, jumped 500 feet to his death from JP Morgan’s central London Headquarters he was a 39-year-old
A few days later on January 29, Chief Economist for Seattle based Russel investments, Mike Dueker, was reported missing by friends, he was found later at the base of a 50 foot embankment. Police called it a suicide.
On February 4th, in a bizarre manner of death, the coroner ruled Suicide for Richard Talley, 57 who founded American Title Services in Centennial, Colorado. He had a total of eight wounds to his body and head – the method of death – a Nail Gun.
Last week on, February 17th, Dennis Li Junjie jumped to his death, shortly after lunch, from a the roof of the Asian headquarters for JP Morgan – he was only 33.
In the last eight months there have been at least 12 reported deaths of bankers perishing under questionable circumstances.
High stress banking careers are being blamed for the recent suicides. However, the answer may not be that simple.
You can’t get blood out of a rock. Traditionally the United States has had a consumer-driven economy, but now years of declining incomes and rising debts are really starting to catch up with us. In order to have an economy that is dependent on consumer spending, you need to have a large middle class. Unfortunately, the U.S. middle class issteadily shrinking, and unless that trend is reversed we are going to see massive economic changes in this country. For example, in poor neighborhoods all over America we are seeing bank branches, car dealerships and retail stores close down at an alarming rate. If you didn’t know better, you might be tempted to think that “Space Available” was the hottest new retailer in some areas of the nation. On the other hand, if you live in San Francisco, New York City or Washington D.C., things are pretty good for the moment. But as a whole, the condition of the U.S. consumer continues to decline. Incomes are going down, the cost of living is going up, and debts are skyrocketing. The following are 19 signs that the U.S. consumer is tapped out…
#1 Real disposable income per capita continues to fall. In the fourth quarter of 2012, it was sitting at$37,265. By the time that the fourth quarter of 2013 had come around, it had dropped to $36,941. That means that average Americans have less money to go shopping with than they did previously.
#2 In January, real disposable income in the U.S. experienced the largest year over year decline that we have seen since 1974.
#3 As disposable income decreases, major retailers are closing thousands of stores all over the country. Some are even calling this “a retail apocalypse“.
#4 From September 2013 to January 2014, the personal saving rate in the United States dropped by a staggering 16 percent.
By now, it must be completely obvious to anyone paying even the slightest bit of attention that the so-called “recovery” we have supposedly been witnessing for the past several years is nothing more than a wealth transfer to a handful of oligarchs and their political minions. While I am intimately familiar with the process in the U.S., it appears to be a global phenomenon as well.
Domestically, this process has been driven by the complete corruption and insanity of those calling the public policy shots in Washington D.C.
At the heart of that process, resides a group of un-elected economic Central Planners known as the Federal Reserve, or the lender of last resort for oligarchs and cronies who make bad business decisions.
By Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:
Before I get to the title of this post, I want to highlight a very important article published last week that demonstrates how college graduates are forcing their lesser educated peers out of the workforce by taking jobs that do not require secondary education. If you read this and still can’t be honest that this economy is a total distorted shitshow, I don’t know what to tell you.
Recent college graduates are ending up in more low-wage and part-time positions as it’s become harder to find education-level appropriate jobs, according to a January study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
The share of Americans ages 22 to 27 with at least a bachelor’s degree in jobs that don’t require that level of education was 44 percent in 2012, up from 34 percent in 2001, the study found.
The New York Fed researchers said it isn’t clear whether two decades of increasing underemployment for recent graduates “represent a structural change in the labor market, or if they are a consequence of the two recessions and jobless recoveries in the first decade of the 2000s.”
Two “jobless recoveries.” I’m still trying to figure our how you can have a “jobless recovery.” Perhaps they aren’t recoveries in the first place. Bear in mind that these are the unelected people running the economy.
The share of young adults 20 to 24 years old neither in school nor working climbed to 19.4 percent in 2010 from 17.2 percent in 2006. For those ages 25 to 29, it rose to 21.3 percent from 20 percent in that period, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of Boston report in December.
Thanks for the study Federal Reserve, now get back to funneling interest free loans to financial oligarchs. The Rest Of The Story Here
By Michael The Patriot Blogger (Reporter)
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20 Facts About The Great U.S. Retail Apocalypse That Will Blow Your Mind
Sunday, March 9, 2014 17:46
(Before It’s News)
Abandoned Mall – Photo by Justin CozartIf the U.S. economy is getting better, then why are major retail chains closing thousands of stores? If we truly are in an “economic recovery”, then why do sales figures continue to go down for large retailers all over the country? Without a doubt, the rise of Internet retailing giants such as Amazon.com have had a huge impact. Today, there are millions of Americans that actually prefer to shop online. Personally, when I published my novel I made it solely available on Amazon. But Internet shopping alone does not account for the great retail apocalypse that we are witnessing. In fact, some retail experts estimate that the Internet has accounted for only about 20 percent of the decline that we are seeing. Most of the rest of it can be accounted for by the slow, steady death of the middle class U.S. consumer. Median household income has declined for five years in a row, but all of our bills just keep going up. That means that the amount of disposable income that average Americans have continues to shrink, and that is really bad news for retailers.
And sadly, this is just the beginning. Retail experts are projecting that the pace of store closings will actually accelerate over the course of the next decade.
So as you read this list below, please take note that things will soon get even worse.
The following are 20 facts about the great U.S. retail apocalypse that will blow your mind…
#1 As you read this article, approximately a billion square feet of retail space is sitting vacant in the United States.
#2 Last week, Radio Shack announced that it was going to close more than a thousand stores.
#3 Last week, Staples announced that it was going to close 225 stores.
#4 Same-store sales at Office Depot have declined for 13 quarters in a row.
#5 J.C. Penney has been dying for years, and it recently announced plans to close 33 more stores.
#6 J.C. Penney lost 586 million dollars during the second quarter of 2013 alone.
#7 Sears has closed about 300 stores since 2010, and CNN is reporting that Sears is “expected to shutter another 500 Sears and Kmart locations soon”.
#8 Overall, sales numbers have declined at Sears for 27 quarters in a row.
#9 Target has announced that it is going to eliminate 475 jobs and not fill 700 positions that are currently empty.
#10 It is being projected that Aéropostale will close about 175 stores over the next couple of years.
By Ellen Brown.
In a nearly $13 billion settlement with the US Justice Department in November 2013, JPMorganChase admitted that it, along with every other large US bank, had engaged in mortgage fraud as a routine business practice, sowing the seeds of the mortgage meltdown. JPMorgan and other megabanks have now been caught in over a dozen major frauds, including LIBOR-rigging and bid-rigging; yet no prominent banker has gone to jail. Meanwhile, nearly a quarter of all mortgages nationally remain underwater (meaning the balance owed exceeds the current value of the home), sapping homeowners’ budgets, the housing market and the economy. Since the banks, the courts and the federal government have failed to give adequate relief to homeowners, some cities are taking matters into their own hands.
Gayle McLaughlin, the bold mayor of Richmond, California, has gone where no woman dared go before, threatening to take underwater mortgages by eminent domain from Wall Street banks and renegotiate them on behalf of beleaguered homeowners. A member of the Green Party, which takes no corporate campaign money, she proved her mettle standing up to Chevron, which dominates the Richmond landscape. But the banks have signaled that if Richmond or another city tries the eminent domain gambit, they will rush to court seeking an injunction. Their grounds: an unconstitutional taking of private property and breach of contract.
How to refute those charges? There is a way; but to understand it, you first need to grasp the massive fraud perpetrated on homeowners. It is how you were duped into paying more than your house was worth; why you should not just turn in your keys or short-sell your underwater property away; why you should urge Congress not to legalize the MERS scheme; and why you should insist that your local government help you acquire title to your home at a fair price if the banks won’t. That is exactly what Richmond and other city councils are attempting to do through the tool of eminent domain.The Rest Of The Story Here