Posts Tagged ‘Euro’

A Short World Tour

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, July 19th, 2012

This is article 741 of 1262 in the topic International

The news of the world is on any given day is usually quite awful. Some days are worse than others and that seems to be the case of late.

On Thursday a Rasmussen Reports poll said that 62% of likely U.S. voters believe that economic growth is far more important than Obama’s socialist blather about “fairness.” Typically, 30% favored the latter.

There’s been a steady trickle of bad news for Americans wondering if we will ever see an economic recovery. The nation can recover, but only if we change presidents in November. The U.S. is headed straight over the cliff on January 1, 2013 if Congress does not take action to avoid the implementation of billions in tax increases and, for that matter, the repeal of Obamacare.

An automatic sequestration of funding will particularly hit defense, leaving its budget some 30% smaller in ten years. As a Wall Street Journal editorial noted on Thursday, “The U.S. would be left with the smallest Navy since World War I, the smallest ground forces in 70 years, and at just over 2.5% of GDP, the smallest defense budget since Pearl Harbor.” That spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

Let’s look beyond our shores.

I suspect that Europe is a long way from solving its financial crisis. The European Union has held more than seventeen summits in recent times and not one of them has “solved” the problem inherent in the Euro or the natural tendency of sovereign nations to look out for their own interests at the expense of others. Expecting the EU to overcome centuries of warfare, distrust, and mutual disdain, is not likely to have a happy outcome.

Back in October 2011, I shared my doubts about the EU, citing a book by Dr. Johan Van Overtveldt, “The End of the Euro”, subtitled “The uneasy future of the European Union.”

Overtveldt identified the central weakness of the European Union. “History teaches us that, in particular, the lack of real political union is a major barrier to the durability of a monetary union and its single currency.” The problem of the EU and the euro “is the loss of an independent monetary policy” because what works for Germany does not necessarily work for France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and the other EU members.”

Why something as obvious as this did not occur or did not deter the creation of the EU is one of those mysteries that must be left to future historians. Suffice to say, Germany is the EU’s strongest economy and, after Europe’s central banks get tired of moving billions around between them, the Germans will want to return to the deutschmark even if it takes a short term hit.

The Middle East is providing the usual barbaric blood and gore these days in Syria. Every one of its neighbors is praying that Bashar al-Assad, the second generation dictator there, will be killed ala Libya’s late Moammar Gadhafi so Syrians can patch together a government.

Egypt has held elections and a Muslim Brotherhood candidate is now its president, but the real power there is still held by the military and Mohamed Tantawi, its commander in chief. What we’re watching is political drama, not political reality.

Iraq has been experiencing the return of horrific bombings which are the usual Sunni versus Shiite discord.

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Greece: DJIA Says, Your Number is 666

by Greg Hedgepath on Friday, May 25th, 2012

Market_Closes_at_666_The_day_before Greece_exist_The_EU

Omen or Coincidence?

Today following the notice that Grecce will with out a doubt have to exit the Euro the US Markets closed down 6.66 points.  Granted this is not a NOSE-DIVE, it is however a number that carries its own expressive albatross with it.  That bird is Biblically known as the MARK OF THE BEAST.  I am just pointing out what appears to be a Mark on the Markets.  Greece, it would seem your number is up!  I am sure the Facebook IPO scandal effected this closing number, as did everything else stock, but we all know Satan does have his agenda?


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Somebody at NATO Needs a Geography Lesson

by Doug Powers on Friday, May 4th, 2012

This is article 680 of 1262 in the topic International

One of the geography whizzes in the Obama administration must have had a hand in producing a new video from NATO promoting the upcoming summit in the host city, because Chicago is billed as the capital of Illinois:

“More than 60 heads of state and government will meet to discuss crucial matters of security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area,” a narrator’s voice says as the five-minute video plays panning shots of Chicago. “And so, the leaders of the member nations of the organization created by the 1949 Washington Treaty will meet in the capital of Illinois this time.”

Of all the capitals in all the 57 states, NATO had to pick the wrong one.

The NATO video was fraught with errors, but for my money this is by far the funniest part:

“Al Capone made the city notorious,” the narrator says near the end of the video, “but today, it is clear that the gangsters’ days are over, and Chicago is rich in resources thanks in particular to the trans-Atlantic links.

Hahahaha! Those NATO folks are hilarious.

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Obama gov’t to borrow more than half-trillion dollars for 2012’s first months

by Jim Kouri on Friday, February 3rd, 2012

This is article 339 of 529 in the topic Government Spending

President Obama and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in happier times. Credit: WH Press Office

The U.S. Treasury Department announced that the Obama Administration will borrow at least $644 billion from the market to fund government programs and operations during the first six months of 2012, according to a statement released on Tuesday.

In spite of President Barack Obama’s campaign putting a positive spin on conditions within the U.S. economy, this latest news is one more indication of a troubled country keeping its head above water, states economist George Leckster of Southwestern University.

“During the January-March 2012 quarter, Treasury expects to issue 444 billion dollars in net marketable debt, assuming an end- of-March cash balance of 30 billion dollars. This borrowing estimate is 97 billion dollars lower than announced in October 2011,” the Treasury said in a statement.

The Treasury forecasts that 200 billion dollars will be issued in net marketable debt during the April-June quarter this year, assuming an end-of-June cash balance of 90 billion dollars, noted the statement.

“Once again, the Obama White House and the U.S. Congress will be increasing Americans’ debt. And instead of cutting government agencies’ budgets, there are already signs of unplanned increases from such programs as Obamacare and the next round of ‘bailouts’ for homeowners unable to afford their homes,” said political strategist Mike Baker.

“This is almost like the ‘mother of all Ponzi schemes’,” Baker quipped.

U.S. federal budget deficit hit almost 1.3 trillion dollars in fiscal year 2011 ending in September 2011. The red ink of the federal government budget reached the historic high level of 1.41 trillion dollars in fiscal year 2009 to fight the financial crisis, according to the Treasury Department.

“During the October-December 2011 quarter, Treasury issued 310 billion dollars in net marketable debt, and ended the quarter with a cash balance of 86 billion dollars,” the statement indicated.

Because of the ongoing financial crisis and shrinking revenue, borrowings by the Obama government surged over the past three years and the trend is expected to continue this year, according to experts. While the Obama Administration and re-election campaign bombard the media with statements blaming the Bush Administration, the three year period in the Treasury Department’s statement were clearly during the Obama presidency.

Some experts believed the U.S. economy could outperform most advanced economies in the Euro area, but the unsustainable federal budgetary trajectory and still weak labor market caused uncertainties for business investment and household consumption.

The U.S. economy was facing a string of challenges, including the slowdown in growth overseas, particularly in Europe, and the threat of further fiscal contraction at all levels of the U.S. government, Janice Eberly, Assistant Treasury Secretary for Economic Policy, said in a separate statement released Monday.

“At this critical juncture, we need to remain consistent in our support for the recovery,” stressed Eberly.

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US not headed towards Euro-socialism…it’s far worse than that

by Sher Zieve on Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

This is article 163 of 472 in the topic Government Corruption

Are you as tired as am I about the talking heads — leftists, RINO and faux conservatives — advising us on an almost daily basis that “If we don’t stop it (presumably the government, Obama and maybe even Obama’s sycophant Congress) we’re heading for ‘European-style Socialism.'” Ahhh…as if that were the only thing about which we have to worry. Of course, the truth is that the [former] USA is not heading for Euro-Socialism. Instead, it is careening at full speed — with no discernable braking — into full-fledged Marxist Communo-Fascist elitist-ruled Islamo-Drug cartel Narco/Nazi State — replete with its own apparent and visible concentration camps. Said State has been meticulously planned over, at least, decades and is now being forcefully implemented against We-the-People who seem to have been replaced by “We-the-Sheeple.”

President Ronald Reagan said: “Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have.”

As we take a look at our present survival possibilities, let us pray to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that there are enough of We-the-People still remaining who have both the moral courage and strength of will to bring our country back from its destruction at the hands of our “elected” traitors.

Isn’t it almost Past Time to start actually telling the Truth?

First and foremost, it is incumbent upon me to, again, report on the FEMA camps and their relationship to the now-passed unconstitutional NDAA bill; a bill that was largely non-threatening prior to this year. This year, however, a great deal was added; not the least of which is the designation of the entire USA as essentially a battlefield and the authorization of the US military to arrest and detain US citizens without legal or other charge, the disallowance of legal counsel and the ability to hold said citizens indefinitely. These provisions contained within Sections 1031 and 1032 effectively nullify the Bill of Rights. The danger to our very existence — both as a nation and We-the-People individually — has taken an extremely dark turn, America. We are now decidedly living under tyranny.

Second, we are living under an apparent dictator-driven oligarchic government. Whether many are aware of it or not, the US Constitution officially ended with the passage of the “new and revised” NDAA and we are, also, officially no longer a Republic. Both had been on their last legs for years and now have come to an end under Usurper and Dictator-in-Chief Barack “the smiling Muslim” Hussein Obama.

Third, since establishing a hard-line rulership over the former United States of America, the Obama syndicate has methodically and with great and unprecedented alacrity gutted the US Treasury.

Who’s Really to Blame?

For those of you who still insist upon blaming Obama’s predecessor, the US economy was extremely sound, GNP was continuing to rise and unemployment was at 4.6% prior to 3 January 2007 (NOT 3 January 2009) when the Democrats took over both Houses of Congress. Unemployment rates before Democrats took over Congress went down every year of the G.W.

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Paper Money, Real Debt, and Spendthrift Nations

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, December 1st, 2011

This is article 8 of 62 in the topic Finance

As the citizens of the United States and the seventeen member-nations of the European Union look on, a great drama regarding the future of the EU and its currency, the Euro, is occurring.

The essential problem is that both the U.S. dollar and the Euro are just so much paper, despite the promises and guarantees that they will be honored as real money. The trick has been to keep everyone believing there are sufficient real assets to back up those promises.

Since the U.S. dollar is a kind of universal currency to which other nations peg the value of their currencies the problem for everyone is that the U.S. is broke. Its debt exceeds its annual capacity to generate income, otherwise known as its Gross Domestic Product. Every hour of every day it must borrow billions to meet its obligations. Forty cents of every dollar the U.S. spends is borrowed.

There is a reason why television these days is filled with commercials offering to sell gold. Gold has always retained its value though it does fluctuate. The U.S. Treasury’s gold hoard has a value of more than $400 billion these days, but that value is the flip side of the Federal Reserve’s demolition of the dollar which has lost 95% of its value since 1913, the same year the Fed was created.

Currently the Federal Reserve has been printing vast quantities of dollars—quantitative easing—that only serves to devalue it. The dollar is backed by the “full faith and credit” of the United States, but for the first time in our history our credit rating has been downgraded by agencies such as Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.

Not that the rating agencies haven’t also been part of the problem. They are famous for telling everyone that the bundled mortgage assets of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were okay right up to the day the 2008 financial crisis occurred and Lehman Brothers collapsed

When the 2008 financial crisis hit, the American taxpayer was tapped to bail out a number of banks, a huge insurance company, and even General Motors. This was followed by “stimulus” spending, all of which drove U.S. debt levels to historic highs. The vast matrix of Federal Reserve central banks, government agencies charged with oversight of financial institutions, and the ratings agencies all contributed to the crisis.

The U.S. went off the gold standard in 1931, in effect exporting deflation around the world. Other nations followed suit. At the time, Americans were experiencing high debt burdens, unemployment, and money hoarding. If that also sounds like 2011, you’re right.

The crisis of 2008 was brought about by the “bundling” of mortgage assets. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two Depression-era social justice inventions, currently own 50% of mortgages, many of which were the result of pressures on banks to make loans to people who clearly could not pay them back. What the banks considered “assets” were phantoms whose collateral could often not be traced.

Ben Bernanke, Fed Chair

Little noted is the role of the Federal Reserve. A government investigation into the causes of the 2008 financial crisis concluded that “The prime example is the Federal Reserve’s pivotal failure to stem the flow of toxic mortgages which it could have done by setting prudent mortgage-lending standards.

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Thank goodness that the regulators are there to protect people: “EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration”

by John C. Drew Ph.D. on Sunday, November 20th, 2011

At least the penalties are appropriate to the crime. From the UK Telegraph:

EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.
Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.
Last night, critics claimed the EU was at odds with both science and common sense. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said: “This is stupidity writ large.
“The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are: highly-paid, highly-pensioned officials worrying about the obvious qualities of water and trying to deny us the right to say what is patently true.
“If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project then this is it.” . . .

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Greenspan confuses Euro with EU

by John Lott on Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Greenspan says that northern Europe subsidizing southern Europe probably can’t last. Fine. But those transfers are done by the EU. A single currency doesn’t have anything to do with those wealth transfers. The US had a common currency from the beginning of the country, but our Federal government didn’t transfer much wealth. From CNBC:

“At the outset of the creation of the euro in 1999, it was expected that the southern eurozone economies would behave like those in the north; the Italians would behave like Germans. They didn’t,” Greenspan said. “Instead, northern Europe fell into subsidizing southern Europe’s excess consumption, that is, its current account deficits.”

Greenspan predicts that as the south’s fiscal crisis deepens, the flow of goods from the north will stop altogether and southern Europe’s standard of living will go down.

“The effect of the divergent cultures in the eurozone has been grossly underestimated,” he added. “The only way to have several currencies from divergent nations lumped together is if they are culturally close, such as Germany, the Netherlands and Austria. If they aren’t, it simply can’t continue to work. . . .

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A Week of Horrid Headlines

by Alan Caruba on Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

This is article 167 of 577 in the topic Media

Journalism is often called “History written in a hurry.” If so, last week’s headlines from the front page of The Wall Street Journal reflected a period of our current history that will likely have future historians wondering how we made it through these times without completely losing our minds.

If fear sells newspapers, drives television news ratings, gets bad laws passed, and is useful for selling all manner of other goods and services, than last week must have been very good for business.

The weekend edition, Saturday/Sunday, September 3-4, began with “Job Growth Grinds to a Halt.” The sub-headline was “Lack of Hiring in August Roils Financial Markets; Gloom Ratchets Up Pressure on Obama.” The President would have to wait until the following Thursday to roll out his “Jobs” bill and to tell a joint session of Congress, “Pass this bill now!”

Reluctant to admit its role in the housing mortgage crisis that broke in late 2008 during the political campaign and largely due to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—both of whom own 50% of U.S. mortgages—the next article on page one was “U.S. Sues Big Banks Over Home Mortgages.”

Monday was Labor Day so there was no WSJ edition, but on Tuesday, September 6, the lead headline was “Europe Signals Global Gloom” with a sub-headline, “World Markets Fall as Continent’s Debt Crisis Fuels Worries of Lengthy Slowdown.” It reminded me of the cliché that, when the U.S. sneezes, the rest of the world gets pneumonia.” Under the lead story was a headline, “Voter Discontent Deepens Ahead of Obama Jobs Plan.”

By Wednesday, September 7, the headline was “Euro Woes Stir Currency Fears” with a sub-headline, “Older Americans Held Hostage by Mortgages.”

On Thursday, September 8, the headline was “Fed Prepares to Act” with a sub-headline, “Officials Consider Unusual Steps to Avert an Economic Stall.” The nation has been stalled since 2008 when gobs of taxpayer money was used to bailout banks, an insurance company, and two major auto manufacturers. Meanwhile, an accompanying headline said, “U.S. Hits Builders with Pay Probe” about a Labor Department investigation “of the top companies in home building, hitting them with a broad demand for records that has led to complaints of regulatory overreach.” You think?

By Friday, following Obama’s speech, the lead headline was “Obama’s Bid to Spur Growth.” The sub-headline was “President Asks Congress for $447 Billion in Cuts, Spending; Tepid GOP Response.” With a $14 trillion national debt, I’d be tepid, too.

The proposed bill would be paid for with tax increases that would kick in after the next election in 2012. They are the same increases a Democrat-controlled Congress refused to authorize!

The Saturday weekend edition, led off with “Banker’s Exit Rattles Markets” and a sub-headline, “In Europe, Top ECB Economist Resigns, Seen as Policy Protest; Dow Industrials Fall 303.68 points.”

Obama speaks. The Dow tanks. Coincidence? I think not.

The other lead article headline was “Treasury Weighs New Tax Scheme.” It began “Treasury floats the notion of eliminating some, but not all taxes on overseas profits of U.S. multinational companies…”

Thus, the week’s WSJ headlines were a microcosm of the fears defining the economies of the U.S. and European nations whose socialist programs and massive over-spending had landed all of them in hot water.

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Aid is making the Euro debt crisis worse

by John Lott on Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Note this point in the WSJ today:

Germany and its Northern European allies believe only intense market pressure can force weak economies to cut spending and improve competitiveness. But Greece has learned that whenever the crisis in Europe’s periphery threatens to overwhelm the core, Europe will ignore previous broken promises and step up with a fresh bailout.

Italy now appears to be making the same calculation. The government insists it will fulfill its commitment to balance the budget by 2013, but ministers show no appreciation of the urgent need for structural reforms to address the chronic weakness of an economy that grew on average 0.3% between 2001 and 2010 and experienced a 25% increase in unit labor costs relative to Germany over the same period. Instead, they talk incessantly of euro-zone bonds as a solution to misfortunes they blame largely on external forces. . . .

But this is exactly what I wrote in June:

Greeks apparently believe that they have Europe and the world over a barrel, that they can make the rest of the world pay their bills by threatening to default. Greece’s default would be painful for everyone, but for Europe and the United States, indeed for the world, the alternative would be even worse. If politicians in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and other countries think that their bills will be picked up by taxpayers in other countries, they won’t control their spending and they won’t sell off assets to pay off these debts. Countries such as Greece have to be convinced that they will bear a real cost if they don’t fix their financial houses while they still have the assets to cover their debts. . . .

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