Welcome to the “new normal” under Obamanomics. Â In Europe, where Keynesian economics and Democratic Socialism has dominated for decades, unemployment rates are in the 20’s. Â For the younger generation, they’re even higher. Â Â Yet, instead of learning from their mistakes, Obama and the Democrats insist on repeating them. Â Â Millions of innocent people are being hurt in the process.
After a full year of fruitless job hunting, Natasha Baebler just gave up.
She’d already abandoned hope of getting work in her field, working with the disabled. But she couldn’t land anything else, either â€” not even a job interview at a telephone call center.
Until she feels confident enough to send out resumes again, she’ll get by on food stamps and disability checks from Social Security and live with her parents in St. Louis.
“I’m not proud of it,” says Baebler, who is in her mid-30s and is blind. “The only way I’m able to sustain any semblance of self-preservation is to rely on government programs that I have no desire to be on.”
Baebler’s frustrating experience has become all too common nearly four years after the Great Recession ended: Many Americans are still so discouraged that they’ve given up on the job market.
Older Americans have retired early. Younger ones have enrolled in school. Others have suspended their job hunt until the employment landscape brightens. Some, like Baebler, are collecting disability checks.
It isn’t supposed to be this way. After a recession, an improving economy is supposed to bring people back into the job market.
Sadly, until we get rid of Obamanomics, the jobs won’t be coming back. Â Business aren’t hiring because they never know when they’re going to be hit with a costly new regulation or tax. Â Â EntrepreneursÂ aren’t willing to take the risk to start a new business in such a hostile business climate.
President Obama heads into the third month of his second term, still unable to find a cure for a sluggish economy, weak employment numbers and his own slipping job approval scores.
Second terms are usually challenging for presidents who have won re-election without having the slightest idea about what they will do over the next four years. And thatâ€™s what we are witnessing now with Obama, whose biggest problem is the anemic, job-challenged economy.
[…] Â The depressing headlines of the past few days tell a sad tale of what the economy is like under his presidency:
â€“ â€œWeekly Jobless Claims Get Weaker as Outlook Dimsâ€ was the gloomy headline over a Reuters news wire story Thursday morning on the CNBC website.
â€œThe number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose to its highest level in four months last week, suggesting the labor market recovery lost some steam in March,â€ Reuters reported.
â€“ â€œHiring Is Weaker at Private Companies,â€ a Washington Post headline blared Thursday.
â€œCompanies hired at the weakest pace in five months in March as recent strong demand for construction jobs evaporated and growth in the vast services sector slowed, signs that the economic recovery could be hitting a soft patch,â€ the newspaper reported.
Thatâ€™s the conclusion of the ADP National Employment Report Wednesday, which showed â€œthat private employers added 158,000 jobs last month.â€ The ADP job survey said â€œthe gain was the smallest since October.â€
A separate report Wednesday on the services industry, the economyâ€™s largest job sector, showed that employment growth â€œpulled back in March.â€
You do not hear any of these reports on the nightly TV news because the networks cherry-pick reports that feed the White House line of a continuing economic recovery.
[…] Â Thankfully, there are economic reporters who resist touting the White House line that everything is rosier under Obamaâ€™s policies.
â€œWeâ€™re approaching the four-year anniversary of the economic recovery, and it still doesnâ€™t feel like much of one, what with the unemployment rate at 7.7 percent and wages stagnant over the past five years,â€ Neil Irwin, the Postâ€™s veteran economic analyst, recently reported.
Even as the Obama White House prepares for aÂ star-studded White House concertÂ featuring Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, and Justin Timberlake, figures from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that roughlyÂ 50 million Americansâ€”one in sixâ€”now live below the poverty line.
Additionally, one in five American children have fallen below the poverty line; the last time poverty levels were this high, Lyndon Baines Johnson was president.
“In the last three years, there’s been a great change in the kinds of people we are serving,â€ said Director of Community Services at Catholic Charities of Baltimore Mary Anne Oâ€™Donnell. â€œThere are increasing numbers of people who owned a home, lost their jobs, end up living in their car and are coming with children to our soup kitchen.â€
The U.S. government defines a family of four earning under $23,021 as living in poverty. Income used to compute poverty status doesÂ notÂ include non-cash benefits, such as food stamps and housing subsidies.
Welfare program enrollments have exploded under President Barack Obama. Americans on food stamps nowÂ outnumberÂ the combined populations of 24 U.S. states, costing taxpayers more than double the amount spent on food stamps five years ago. In January 2009, 31.9 million Americans received food stamps. Today, that figure is 47.79 million.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has struck a deal with the European Union and International Monetary Fund that will seize up toÂ 40%Â of uninsured funds from wealthier depositors with over 100,000 euros and will not siphon funds from those below that amount.
The 10 billion euros ($13 billion) bailout plan calls for the Cyprus Popular Bank to be dissolved and all its viable assets transferred to the countryâ€™s biggest bank, Bank of Cyprus.
Presently, Cypriot banks have imposed a 100 euros ATM withdraw limit, and Cyprus border officials at air and sea ports have been ordered toÂ confiscateÂ the funds of any traveler attempting to leave with over 10,000 euros.
How dare they try to keep the money they worked so hard for and saved AFTER taxes were already paid on it? Â Don’t they know that private property is an illusion under Socialism? Â That the government is free to spend as irresponsibly as it wants, and can steal your money at will to pay the tab? Â That’s what they’ve been voting for all this time, right? Â Or didn’t they realize it?
Understandably, Cypriots are desperately trying to get their money out, but it’s too late:
The president of Cyprus assured his people a bailout deal he struck with the European Union was in their best interests, but banks will remain closed until Thursday – and even then subject to capital controls to prevent a run on deposits.
The ruling class insists that stealing money out of their bank accounts is “in their best interests.” Â Doesn’t that make them feel better? Â They’ll be patriotic and happy to “share the sacrifice” for the greater good, right? Â Of course not!
Despite the closed banks and a lock for payments in the past week,Â more money flowed out of Cyprus than in previous weeks, Frankfurter experts report for payments.Â Prior to the escalation of the crisis in Cyprus accruing on the payment system Target liabilities of Cypriot central bank to the European Central Bank (ECB) had increased daily at approximately 100 to 200 million euros. In recent days was after Parliament the stabilization program initially had to fail,Â the daily has risen to more than double.Â Just in the last week so could cash assets have been withdrawn from Cyprus in the billions, although the Cypriot central bank has actually issued a lock.
How is it possible that cash is leaving the country even with a bank halt? It isn’t, unless of course, the banks aren’t really halted, and some outbound wire transfers, which are permitted, are more equal than other wire transfers which are stuck on the island. Of course, that would imply an “Europe Farm” type of arrangement, which in the bastion of fairness, equality and honesty which is Europe, would be absolutely impossible.
On the other hand, if indeed the drain of the Cypriot banking system has continued despite all the enacted halts during the past week, then it’s game over for Cyprus, which will soon have only the ECB to thank for providing liquidity, an arrangement that may not be the best long-term outcome for a nation whose economy has basically been gutted in the span of one week.
It also means game over for the bailout as envisioned, as the EUR17 billion is history, and much more cash will have to be injected to cover for the stealth outflows.
Savings accounts in Spain, Italy and other European countries will be raided if needed to preserve Europe’s single currency by propping up failing banks, a senior eurozone official has announced.
The new policy will alarm hundreds of thousands of British expatriates who live and have transferred their savings, proceeds from house sales and other assets to eurozone bank accounts in countries such as France, Spain and Italy.
The euro fell on global markets after Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch chairman of the eurozone, told theÂ FTÂ andÂ ReutersÂ that the heavy losses inflicted on depositors in Cyprus would be the template for future banking crises across Europe.
Translation: it now officially sucks to be an unsecured creditor in Europe. In other words:Â an uninsured depositor.
Why this ad hoc dramatic shift in the European approach to bank solvency, which if anything makes the link between bank and sovereign closer than ever, and crushes all that Draghi achieved in the summer of 2012?
Simple: because what Cyprus allowed was theÂ effective usurpation of democracyÂ – the only reason the Cypriot bailout “passed” (at least so far) is because it was structured as a bank restructuring, a financial system “resolution”, not a tax,and thus not in need of a parliamentary, democratic vote.Â Because as Cyprus also showed, votes to deprive depositors of cash, whether insured or uninsured, simply won’t fly.
Hence the shift.
However, there is a problem: it means that depositors are now fair game everywhere, and that the ESM or EFSF, with their unlimited scope but “democratic” impleention pathway, are on the backburner.
And now, the scramble to pull uninsured deposits out of banks everywhere begins. Thanks to the new Eurogroup head.
“You ask for miracles, Theo. I give you Diesel-BOOM”
And now, every European depositor is going to their local financial dictionary to look up the definition of General Unsecured Claims, only to see a picture of… themselves.
To anyone paying attention, reality is now painfully obvious. These bankrupt, insolvent governments have just about run out of fingers to plug the dikes. And history shows that, once this happens, governments fall back on a very limited playbook:
As Cyprus showed us, bankrupt governments are quite happy to plunder peopleâ€™s bank accounts, especially if itâ€™s a wealthy minority.
Aside from bank levies, though, this also includes things like seizing retirement accounts (Argentina), increases in civil asset forfeiture (United States), and gold criminalization.
Just another form of confiscation, taxation plunders the hard work and talent of the citizenry. But thanks to decades of brainwashing, itâ€™s more socially acceptable. Weâ€™ve come to regard taxes as a â€˜necessary evil,â€™ not realizing that the country existed for decades, even centuries, without an income tax.
Yet when bankrupt governments get desperate enough, they begin imposing new taxesâ€¦ primarily WEALTH taxes (Argentina) or windfall profits taxes (United States in the 1970s).
This is indirect confiscationâ€“ the slow, gradual plundering of peopleâ€™s savings. Again, governments have been quite successful at inculcating a belief that inflation is also a necessary evil. Theyâ€™re also adept at fooling people with phony inflation statistics.
Governments can, do, and will restrict the free-flow of capital across borders. Theyâ€™ll prevent you from moving your own money to a safer jurisdiction, forcing you to keep your hard earned savings at home where it can be plundered and devalued.
Weâ€™re seeing this everywhere in the developed worldâ€¦ from withdrawal limits in Europe to cash-sniffing dogs at border checkpoints. And it certainly doesnâ€™t help when everyone from the IMF to Nobel laureateÂ Paul Krugman argue in favor of Capital Controls.
Wage and Price controls
When even the lowest common denominator in society realizes that prices are getting higher, governments step in and â€˜fixâ€™ things by imposing price controls.
Occasionally this also includes wage controlsâ€¦ though wage increases tend to be vastly outpaced by price increases.
Of course, as any basic economics textbook can illustrate, price controls never work and typically lead to shortages and massive misallocations.
Wage and Price controlsâ€“ on STEROIDS
When the first round of price controls donâ€™t work, the next step is to impose severe penalties for not abiding by the terms.
In the days of Diocletianâ€™s Edict on Prices in the 4th century AD, any Roman caught violating the price controls was put to death.
In post-revolutionary France, shopkeepers who violated the â€œLaw of Maximumâ€ were fleeced of their private propertyâ€¦ and a national spy system was put into place to enforce the measures.
Despite being completely broke, governments will dramatically expand their ranks in a last desperate gasp to envelop the problem in sheer size.
In the early 1920s, for example, the number of bureaucratic officials in the Weimar Republic increased 242%, even though the country was flat broke from its Great War reparation payments and hyperinflation episode.
The increase in both regulations and government officials criminalizes and/or controls almost every aspect of our existenceâ€¦ from what we can/cannot put in our bodies to how we are allowed to raise our own children.
War and National Emergency
When all else fails, just invade another country. Pick a fight. Keep people distracted by work them into a frenzy over men in cavesâ€¦ or some completely irrelevant island.
An 11th-hour deal with the EU, which has saved the Cypriot economy from the brink, will see investors with more than â‚¬100,000 in the nationâ€™s largest banks forfeit a large chunk of their deposits.
The punishing deal â€“ which has been approved by the eurozone finance ministers â€“ will allow the country to receive the â‚¬10bn (Â£8.5bn) bailout it needed before the European Central Bank pulled funding and sent the island on the path to bankruptcy and a possible exit from the single currency.
Under the new agreement, all bank deposits under â‚¬100,000 will be secured and guaranteed by the state. The country’s second-biggest bank, The Popular Bank of Cyprus â€“ known as Laiki â€“ will be wound down whilst holders of deposits of more than â‚¬100,000 face big losses.
The Cyprus central bank decided to keep the banks closed until next Tuesday. The panic is building. This will build it even more.
The British media say the government is looking for Plan B. There is no Plan B.
There will be no tax on bank accounts, says the parliament.
Will there still be a bailout? The European Central Bank has saidÂ it will remove the life support tube on Monday. The head of the EuroGroup, which is a no-name committee of the eurozoneâ€™s finance ministers, said this: â€œIâ€™m not sure that this package is completely gone and failed, because I donâ€™t see many alternatives.â€ In short, â€œthe Parliament had better reconsider.â€ Or else.
Or else what? Default? Cyprusâ€™ departure from the eurozone? Do the Eurocrats want that? Do they want to risk a poster child for the PIIGS to imitate?
Meanwhile, panic builds. When the banks open their doors next week, they will face a true bank run. People now know: they cannot get their money. They never thought this could happen.
The central bank is playing kick the can. It is buying time. Maybe there will be a Plan B. Problem: if there is a Plan B, maybe the parliament will reject it. Then what?
A nation shuts down economically if its banks shut down. The banks can shut down in two ways: because of bank runs or by decree from the central bank. Today, the banking system has been shut down by decree.
The central bank cannot kick the can much longer. The economy will collapse without banks.
The British media are covering the story.
â€œWe donâ€™t have days or weeks, we have only hours to save our country,â€ Averof Neophytou, deputy leader of the ruling Democratic Rally party, told reporters as crisis talks in Nicosia dragged on into the evening.
The countryâ€™s two main banks â€“ Laiki and the Bank of Cyprus â€“ face potential failure if a bailout is not secured. One official told the Associated Press that Europe and the IMF were pressing for the two banks to be wound down. The Cypriot government was said to be considering the possibility of imposing capital controls amid fears that money would flood out of the country once its banks were reopened.
But if depositors cannot send their digital money out of the country, they can still demand currency. The effect is the same: bankrupt banks.
The central bank cannot print euros. It can bail out the system only if Cyprus pulls out of the eurozone. If it does, this will send a message to the PIIGS: â€œGet out. We did. Save yourselves. We did.â€
The people of Cyprus care more about their life savings than propping up financial institutions that lost billions on poor investments in socialist governmentsâ€™ debts. The idea that somehow they, and not the banks that made those decisions, should bear the brunt of those losses was always disconnected from reality.
Yet that is precisely the presumption the establishment has made â€” that rather than banks raising substantially more capital to address systemic risk, you and I should pay for bank bailouts â€” in response to the ongoing financial crisis that began in 2007, and has actually become the basis for such proposals considered all over the world, including the U.S.
In 2009, the G20 asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to come up with ways the financial sector might supposedly contribute to its own bailouts.
Interestingly, what the IMF came up with as a suggestion had already been implemented a few months earlier by the U.S. Congress in passing the Dodd-Frank so-called financial reform legislation.
Under Dodd-Frank, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is allowed to charge assessments to about 60 bank-holding and insurance companies with $50 billion or more in assets to fund what is called an â€œorderly liquidation fund.â€ Really, itâ€™s just a bailout fund allowing the government to take over systemically risky institutions, recapitalize them, and allow them to reenter the market under new management.
[…] Â At least in Cyprus the peopleâ€™s representatives there actually had an opportunity to vote against such a levy. Whereas here, those fees are and will continue to be imposed by the banks with the blessing of government agencies â€” all without any vote in Congress.
It may happen sooner than anyone realizes. U.S. financial institutions are said to have as much $641 billion of exposure to financial institutions in Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain (PIIGS)Â according to the Congressional Research Service.
Should the Eurozone really break apart, and U.S. banks are caught in the crossfire, with the American people suddenly paying exorbitant fees for the â€œprivilegeâ€ of conducting business electronically, they can decide for themselves whether this was a good idea.
That is, for Congress to outsource and give unlimited grant of its taxing authority to faceless bureaucrats acting in concert with an international banking cartel with the goal of bailing itself out of its own foolishness.
In 1913, the 16th Amendment gave the federal government the power to tax American’s earnings for the very first time. Â Originally a 1% tax to pay for the war, it has ballooned into a confiscatory predator which continually siphons away your hard-earned money to feed the appetite of a government spending addiction that is never satisfied.
Since the immoral premise that government has a right to confiscate your earnings has gone unchallenged for the last 100 years, they now claim the right to steal your assets as well – property that you’ve acquired and invested in with after-tax dollars, through your own hard work an initiative. Â Nowhere is this more apparent than the recently instituted 3.8% Obamacare tax on home sales.
Think what is happening in Cyprus can’t happen here? Â It already is.
Cypriot lawmakers on Tuesday rejected a critical draft bill that would have seized part of people’s bank deposits in order to qualify for a vital international bailout, with not a single vote in favor.
The rejection leaves Cyprus’s bailout in question. Without external funds, the country’s banks face collapse and the government could go bankrupt. Nicosia will now have to come up with an alternative plan to raise the money: the government could try to offer a compromise bill that would be more palatable to lawmakers.
The bill, which had been amended Tuesday morning to shield small deposit holders from the deposit tax, was rejected with 36 votes against and 19 abstentions. One deputy was absent.
Too late. Â The threat has already been made. Â They have officially declared that they believe that the hard-earned money in private citizens’ Â bank accounts are fair game for the taking, and property rights are easily dispensed with when governments overspend. Â I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them, and neither will most Cypriots!
The smart people will get their money out before they have another chance to try a scheme like this.
In Nigel Farage’s first TV appearance since the Cypriot wealth tax was announced, the Englishman pulls no punches. In all his years and all his experience of the desperation of the European Union’s leadership “never did [he] think they would resort to stealing money from people’s savings accounts.” The simple fact is that they know they cannot let any country leave, no matter how small, for “once one country goes, the whole deck of cards will come tumbling down.” There is nowÂ “clear irreconcilable differences” between the North and the South of EuropeÂ and now that they have done this in one country, “they are quite capable of doing it in Italy, Spain and anywhere.” The message that sends to people isÂ “get your money out while you can.”Â As far as his British constituents, he strongly recommends George Osborne (UK Chancellor) urge ex-pats to remove all their money and do monthly transfers from home.Â “Do Not Invest In The Euro-Zone,” he concludes,“you have to be mad to do soÂ – as it is now run by people who do not respect democracy, the rule of law, or the basic principles upon which Western civilization is based.”
“They are propping up a Eurozone that, in the end, will collapse in disastrous failure and they are prepared to do anything to do so.”
As a reminder, the United States government has been eying and researching how Americans use their 401k plans for quite some time now. Recently we saw the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suggest the government help “manage” retirement plans.
[…] Â Â In February, theÂ Washington TimesÂ went so far as to ask “is your 401k about to be nationalized?”
The $19.4 trillion sitting in personal retirement accounts like the 401K may be too tempting an apple for a government that is quite broke, both monetarily and morally.Â The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray recently mentioned these accounts in a recent interview, stating â€œThatâ€™s one of the things weâ€™ve been exploring and are interested in, in terms of whether and what authority we have.â€
This agency, created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank-Act, is very concerned about how safe your retirement savings are. They are apparently concerned that retiring baby boomers may become victims of financial scams.
If the government takes control of retirement accounts, it will not be called â€œnationalization.â€ There will most likely be an indecipherable document that provides an opt-out option (initially), but why would you want to do that? The US government only wants to ensure the safety of your retirement funds; they did after all create a new bureaucracy for that specific purpose.Â And what could be a safer investment than US bonds?
Karl Denninger…cites some reasons for being concerned that this express train intends to flatten the US in the coming years. HeÂ lays out whywe may need recourse to something like this.
In two years federal medical spending along with Social Security and interest will, on current paths, reach the total of all tax receipts. At the outside the market will realize that Congress will never address the underlying issue with medical care because they have steadfastly refused to do soâ€¦. There is about $20 trillion in US Retirement â€œassets.â€ A â€œsmallâ€ 10% â€œone timeâ€ tax levy on those assets would fund the US Deficit a couple of years from now, and I will go out on a limb now and predict that exactly that will be done. Of course the â€œone timeâ€ aspect will be a lie tooâ€¦
He goes on to explain how the test case for this has already been successful. And how the American People have already allowed the legal precedents to allow this to happen to be codified in case histories all the way up to the USSC.
the precedent has already been set, and you, the common American, sat for it.
You allowed the GM bailout to take place where the seniority of bondholders was ignored and they were screwed while the UAW was made whole. You allowed Obamacare to be passed with the Congress denoting it was a â€œfineâ€ rather than a Tax, because Congress knew that a direct, unapportioned tax was unconstitutional â€” and then you sat again when Judge Roberts of the USSC rewrote Obamacare to be that very same unconstitutional direct Tax.
Mark my words, Obamacare has very little to do with Health Insurance. This is why nobody in governmentÂ feels any particular concernÂ over the fact that itÂ screws health insurance upÂ so badly. If you are in government and you want the power to run things by fiat, this law just gave you the keys to a Barchetta with a full tank of petrol.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Not to worry Komerade Amerikan. There are apps for this as well.Â Kelo v. New LondonÂ is a landmark case that helps put the subjects in their proper place. As long as your bank account can be construed as conferring a public benefit through public use, this lovely piece of jurisprudence would justify its seizure down to the last penny.
Bottom line: The state can steal your property, your wealth and your sustinence at any time they get pissed off enough or desperate enough to do so. You have no recourse to the law against this. The law is pathetically bastardized. Remember how that Arch-Conservative Supreme Court was poised to heroically strike down The AACA? Forget it Jake, we are all Cypriots now.
People with bank accounts in Cyprus were shocked Saturday to learn that as part of an agreement reached with international creditors, the government has imposed a tax on all deposits to help bail out the nation and its banks.
While the island nation may be small, itâ€™s an international favorite for offshore bankingâ€“ particularly for wealthy Russians.Â The tax will range from 6.75% to 9.9%, depending on how much is in the account.
â€œThis is a clear-cut robbery,â€ Andreas Moyseos, a former electrician who is now a pensioner in Nicosia,Â told the New York Times. Iliana Andreadakis, a book critic, further added: â€œThis issue doesnâ€™t only affect the peopleâ€™s deposits, but also the prospect of the Cyprus economy. The E.U. has diminished its credibility.â€
And indeed, following the massive run on banks in Cyprus,Â many are concernedÂ that a minor panic could spread to the rest of the Eurozone.Â After all, it has just set a precedent for taxing private bank accounts atÂ exorbitant rates without warning.
The banks are closed until Tuesday, to prevent depositors from accessing their money. Â ATM’s have quickly run out of cash as desperate citizens line up to withdraw their money before it is confiscated:
In a move that could set off new fears of contagion across the eurozone, anxious depositors drained cash from ATMs in Cyprus on Saturday, hours after European officials in Brussels required that part of a new â‚¬10 billion ($12.6 billion) bailout must be paid for directly from the bank accounts of savers.
The move – a first in the three-year-old European financial crisis – raised questions over whether bank runs could be set off elsewhere.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the group of euro-area ministers, on Saturday declined to rule out taxes on depositors in countries beyond Cyprus, although he said such a measure was not currently being considered. Although banks placed withdrawal limits of â‚¬400 on ATMs, most of them had run out of cash by early evening. People around the country reacted with disbelief and anger.
Someone with â‚¬8,000 of life savings in the bank can ill afford to lose an arbitrary â‚¬540, but thatâ€™s exactly what is going to happen. The Cypriot parliament is probably not going to revolt this weekend, but any politician who votes for this bill is going to have a very, very hard time getting re-elected. This decision is important not only because of the precedent it sets with regard to bank depositors, but also because of the way in which it points up just how powerless all the Mediterranean countries (plus Ireland) have become. More than ever before, itâ€™s Germanyâ€™s Europe. Thatâ€™s bad for Cyprus â€” and itâ€™s not even particularly good for Germany.
It is difficult to describe the weekend bailout package to Cyprus in any other way. The confiscation of 6.75 percent of small depositors’ money and 9.9 percent of big depositors’ funds is without precedence that I can think of in a supposedly civilised and democratic society.Â But maybe the European Union (EU) is no longer a civilised democracy?
IÂ heard rumoursÂ about this when I visited Limassol last week, butÂ dismissed them as completely outlandish. And yet, here we are. The consequences are unpredictable, but we are clearly looking at a significant paradigm shift.
This is a breach of fundamental property rights, dictated to a small country by foreign powers and it must make every bank depositor in Europe shiver.Â Although the representatives at the bailout press conference tried to present this as a one-off, they were not willing to rule out similar measures elsewhere – not that it would have mattered much as the trust is gone anyway. It is now difficult to expect any kind of limitation to what measures the Troika and EU might take when the crisis really starts to bite.
If you can do this once, you can do it again.Â if you can confiscate 10 percent of a bank customer’s money, you can confiscate 25, 50 or even 100 percent. I now believe we will see worse as the panic increases, with politicians desperately trying to keep the EUR alive.
Depositors in other prospective bailout countries must be running scared – is it safe to keep money in an Italian, Spanish or Greek bank any more?Â I dont know, must be the answer. Is it prudent to take the risk? You decide. I fear this will lead to massive capital outflows from weak Eurozone countries, just about the last thing they need right now. Even from the EU as a whole, I suspect, as the banking union is in place in most countries already.
If initially Europe came out as utterly deranged in its Cyprus deposit-confiscation scheme, at least it was consistent. Now, it appears that Europe is desperate to appear not onlyÂ completely incompetentÂ but alsoÂ unable to even make a simple decision and stick with it,Â following news from both the WSJ and the FT that the original confiscation thresholds of 6.75% and 9.9% for deposits below and over â‚¬100,000 is about to be revised.
From the FT: “a revised deal being discussed in Nicosia,Â with the blessing of the European Commission,Â would shift more of the burden on to deposits larger than â‚¬100,000, according to officials involved in the talks. Under a controversial deal struck with international bailout lenders in the early hours on Saturday, a 6.75 per cent levy would be imposed on all deposits under â‚¬100,000 while accounts over that threshold would be hit with a 9.9 per cent levy. The depositor levy was demanded by a German-led group of creditor countries to bring down the bailoutâ€™s price tag from â‚¬17bn…. Officials involved in last nightâ€™s talks said the changes in the levyâ€™s rates were in flux, but they could see the higher rate increase to as much as 12.5 per cent while the smaller deposits could be about 3.5 per cent.”
Elsewhere, according to the WSJ, the deposit “tax” would be under 5% for deposits under â‚¬100K, under 10% for deposits between â‚¬100 and â‚¬500K, and over 13% for deposits greater than half a million.
While this idiotic last minute revision will only infuriate Russian oligarchs even more, it will achieveÂ absolutely nothingÂ to streamline the passage of the bill through Cyprus parliament where it appears to have hung without enough support: the damage has already been done, and it is a virtual guarantee that Cyprus banks will suffer a full blown bank run the second banks reopen, which may be Tuesday, Wednesday, or never, at the current pace.Â That line around the block at your local neighborhood Nicosia ATM: that is not, and will not, be for people seeking to make aÂ deposit, that much we can guarantee, no matter what the final confiscation percentage is.
What is worse, however, is the painful demonstration of the absolutely and completely arbitrary decision-making process out of Europe. Sure: the ECB and the European Commission may decide to fully unwind the deposit confiscation scheme before all is said and done, but the genie is now out of the bottle, and it is very clear that in the European Disunion, a few unelected oligarchs will now determine until such time as the Eurozone finally implodes, just whose wealth and deposits are ripe for the taking. That not even Germany can make a decision and stick with it is just icing on the cake of the European Titanic.
This is the end result of the “Utopia” known as Democratic Socialism: large, powerful bureaucracies, out-of-control spending, runaway debt, forced redistribution, no respect for private property, and eventual collapse.
Europeans thought they could enjoy the unsustainable promises of Marxism without going full-blown communist. Â They chose a deceptive “third way” alternative, but it turns out the new boss is equally as destructive as the old one.
This is the path that Obama insists we follow, even as Europe’s warning signs glaringly flash “turn back now!”
We’re headed down the road to Greece at a break-neck pace. It’s time for wise Americans to prepare to take care of their families, and for churches to be ready to care for the needy in their communities when it all hits the fan.
The beginning of the year has traditionally been a time of optimism when we all look forward to the exciting things that are going to happen over the next 12 months.Â Unfortunately, there are a whole bunch of things about 2013 that we already know are going to stink. Taxes are going to go up, good paying jobs will continue to leave the country, small businesses will continue to be destroyed, the number of Americans living in poverty will continue to soar, our infrastructure will continue to decay, global food supplies will likely continue to dwindle and the U.S. national debt will continue to explode.
Our politicians continue to pursue the same policies that got us into this mess, and yet they continue to expect things to magically turn around.Â But that is not the way that things work in the real world. Bad decisions lead to bad outcomes. Instead of realizing that what we are doing is not working, our â€œleadersâ€ continue to give us more of the same. As a result, there are going to be a lot of things about 2013 that will not be great.Â Sticking our heads in the sand and pretending that everything will be â€œokayâ€ somehow is not going to help anyone.Â Weâ€™ve got to make people understand exactly what is happening and why it is happening if we ever hope to see real changes.
The following are 16 things about 2013 that are really going to stink…
From the Leveson Inquiry in London to the attempted comeback of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, and from the salons of Paris to the committee rooms of Brussels, there are disturbing signs of a backlash against democracy, free speech and the will of the people â€” a counter-revolution that could sweep away many of the liberties we take for granted.
For more than half a century after World War II, most of us assumed that life in Europe would always get better. And when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, it seemed that the tide of freedom was irresistible.
But now, with Europe poised on the brink of a new dark age of austerity, corruption and censorship, I am beginning to wonder if we were wrong all along.
I am a successfulÂ small businessman and a patriot who loves America and always sees its greatness. I am also an optimistic, positive thinker who always sees the glass half full.
But not this time.
This time we are in such deep trouble, the only solution is a radical restructuring of the politicians, the economy, and the way we view personal responsibility versus government handouts. If those changes don’t come then we are facing a long decline and the eventual end of America.
This time the results are going to be dramatically worse than 1929. This time we are facing The Greatest DepressionÂ ever.
Why? Because The Great Depression had NONE of the structural, economic, and social problems, nor the massive obligations we are now facing. Read the facts:
In 1929, most of our states were not bankrupt, insolvent and dependent on federal government handouts to survive.Â One county (Cook County which includes Chicago, Illinois) now owes over $108 billion in debtÂ (the biggest part of it in unfunded government employee pensions).
[…] Â In 1929, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid didnâ€™t exist. The federal government had no such obligations threatening to consume the entire federal budget within a few years.
In 1929, there was no such thing as welfare, food stamps, aid to dependent children, or English as a second language programs. Americanâ€™s didnâ€™t consider it the responsibility of government to pay for breakfast and lunch for school students –Â let alone for illegal immigrants at school.
[…] Â In 1929 taxes were much lower. Forget the tax rates — they were meaningless. In those days we had a cash economy, so most businesses paid little or no taxes. Sales and FICA taxes didnâ€™t exist. Today the combined local, state, property, gas, sales, FICA and federal taxes are the highest burden in history.
Greece is today starting a three-day race against time to form a viable coalition government which could ultimately decide the fate of the euro.
The centre-right New Democracy party will try to ally itself with other parties backing the international bailout after a narrow election victory over the left eased fears of a sudden exit from the single currency.
The euro rose and European stocks opened higher after yesterday’s vote.
[…] Â New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras pledged to move swiftly to form a government, telling supporters: ‘There is no time to waste’.
The once-mighty Socialist PASOK party, now reduced to third place, indicated it would support Samaras but had not yet decided whether to join the government or just offer parliamentary backing.
‘The people spoke yesterday and gave a clear mandate to pro-European parties to co-operate and fight the battle to keep the country in the euro,’ the daily Kathimerini, Greece’s biggest daily newspaper, said today.
‘By tomorrow, the country needs to have a government of the widest possible acceptance with politicians and technocrats. PASOK must support such a government,’ it added.
In deep recession, crushed under its huge public debt and facing rising social tensions, Greece faces a daunting struggle to restore its battered economy and the new government may face a renewed wave of protests once it takes office.
The radical left SYRIZA bloc, which had promised to tear up the bailout deal signed in March with the European Union and International Monetary Fund, scored strongly in the election and promised to continue its opposition to the painful austerity measures demanded of Greece.
Welcome to the real-world consequences of the Socialist Welfare State: eventually, you run out of other people’s money and collapse under the weight of astronomical debt and unsustainable demands.
In Greece, there hasn’t been a run on the banks….yet. Â But Greek citizens who are still lucky enough to have money left have taken to withdrawing all their cash and either stashing it at home (where they’re at risk of being robbed) or in a safety deposit box (where a failed bank may shut down and refuse customers access).
Already one in 10 Greeks is dependent on shelters and soup kitchens. Â Millions more are dependent on friends, relatives, and the overburdened welfare state. Â Thousands of Greek children have been abandoned by parents who can no longer afford to feed them.
And this is all BEFORE the stuff REALLY hits the fan.
A day before the Greek D-Day, which was unexpectedly punctuated with a surprisingÂ last-minute Greek victory in Euro2012 over Russia, sending the country into the elimination rounds (a Greece vs Germany game would be quite interesting) which may have rekindled patriotic spirits just enough to boost Syriza’s chance that little bit more, the Greek bank trot, which was a jog some days ago, has surprisinglyÂ notÂ metastazied into a full blown sprint. And with an all too real possibility that Greece may leave the Eurozone in as little as 24 hours, this is somewhat unexpected: after all taking physical possession of electronic money is merely a free put on the return to the Drachma, and currency (and debt) devaluation. On Monday it may simply be too late. Surely, most locals have figured this out.
SpiegelÂ reports: “Joanna Stavropoulos is not proud of what she has done. “I had a guilty conscience when I withdrew my money from Greece,” says the 43-year-old. Of course she knew what would happen if everybody does the same: Greece’s banks would be threatened with collapse. But she says she had to think of her two-month-old daughter, Josephina, who is currently asleep on Joanna’s shoulder. Increasing numbers of Greeks are following Joanna Stavropoulos’ example and emptying their accounts. They are afraid that Greece may leave the euro zone and return to the drachma…. Stavropoulos is one of the few people who know very well what this scenario would look like in concrete terms.. She has also lived in Zimbabwe, where three-digit inflation destroyed the currency. Joanna is sure that Greece could face the same thing if it returns to the drachma. “My country is going downhill,” she says.” And yet instead of taking the cash and converting it into something of real value, what has happened is that the â‚¬50 billion now hidden in various homes has led to a surge in home burglaries. As a result, Greeks are forced to worry not only about their currency returning, but about being robbed. End result: take the cash, but park it back at your bank: “Many customers have left their money in the bank itself, Christiana says — but in a safe deposit box rather than in their accounts. “It’s currently impossible to find a free safe deposit box in a Greek bank,” she says.” We wonder what happens when these same people try to access their “safe deposit boxes” should the entire banking system collapse. Then again, nobody said a currency union disintegrating was a logical, rational and orderly process…
[…] Â In retrospect, the threat of robbery may pale in comparison with the consequences of a coordinated global bank holiday:
Even a cosmopolitan woman like Joanna Stavropoulous has been overwhelmed in her attempts to come up with the right strategy. In 2010, as the signs of Greece’s economic crash intensified,Â she moved her savings to a Spanish bank. Then Spain’s economy got into trouble. She moved her money back to Greece — until the next bout of bad news. She has paid more than â‚¬100 ($125) in bank fees alone, she says, due to the constant movement of her money.
When her daughter was born, Stavropoulos paid â‚¬12,000 for the birth, a sum that is not considered unusual in private Greek clinics. Now, she has barely any money left. She has now invested the last of her savings in foreign currency, hoping that they will hold their value if Greece returns to the drachma.
Yet the most ironic moment in the Greek denouement will come when fractional reserve lending collapses onto itself:
Stavropoulos and her friends have a new strategy to deal with their daily expenses. “We charge everything to our credit cards,” she says. If the Greek banks fail, they won’t be able to collect the outstanding debts, she argues.Â “If they want to mess me around, I will do the same to them.”
In other words, Greece is now America, where the vast majority of people also live on credit alone, and have taken up the following motto when dealing with banks: “you pretend to be solvent, we pretend to have money.”
At the end of the day, it is all just one big global monetary circle jerk, only this time in reverse, as the snake of fractional reserve banking has finally started to eat its own tail. With people spending money they don’t have, and in debt to their eyeballs to a banking system that itself is just as insolvent, is there any wonder that nobody really panics any more over daily threats the grand reset is finally coming?
Today’s European debate isn’t about governmental austerity, it’s about governmental reality. Ultimately, the argument is not whether governments can keep trying to stimulate their economies, but when their creditors will quit financing it. Somehow, Europe’s governments, teetering on tilting economies, have missed this point; we can only hope that Washington hasn’t.
We are witnessing a prolonged domino-effect among the world’s economically intrusive states. It began over two decades ago with the fall of the USSR and communism across Eastern Europe. Now the dominoes are falling into Western Europe — Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Italy, all are threatened withÂ economic collapse.
By now, the obvious should be axiom: A state cannot run an economy and a state-run economy cannot sustain its state. The more of its economy a government consumes, the less productive its economy becomes. And the more dependent its subpar economy then becomes on its government.
This vicious cycle creates a widening gap between what the government promises and what its economy can deliver. The government resorts to spending more, while its economy responds by producing increasingly less of the revenue needed to finance the government’s increasing spending.
The only reconciliation possible between the over-demanding government and its under-producing economy is borrowing. Once this pattern becomes firmly and deeply established, the conclusion becomes inevitable. Political oppression — as in both former and current communist countries — can temporarily extend the contradiction, but it cannot extinguish it.
What do Europe’s economic experiences portend for the U.S.?Â Obama will (hopefully) lose the 2012 election because of his incompetence and the state of the U.S. economy.Â Republicans will control government for the next two years.Â They will suffer the same fate as politicians who favor austerity in Europe if they try to enforce austerity, to cut spending here.
Politicians, even Republicans, are self-interested people, and will prefer to stay in office rather than be removed.Â So they, too, will choose to ignore economic reality.Â Especially when Democrats and their lapdogs, the MSM, loudly depict every austerity measure, every spending cut, as hard-hearted.Â Whatever enthusiasm exists when Republicans gain control will soon dissipate when polls show the unpopularity of austerity with voters.
But austerity will surely come.Â Economic reality must set in.Â Voters, given the choice between politicians who promise to reduce or eliminate benefits (such as Social Security) and politicians who promise to increase, or at least not reduce, benefits, will vote for increases. Â Eventually there will be no money (taxes, borrowing, or printing) left with which to produce and distribute benefits.Â Â Economic realityandÂ unsustainabilityÂ will do what politicians refuse to do.
Is our only hope what our Founding Fathers saw as a legislature doing what’s best for the country rather than themselves, and then going home?Â Does this mean that Tea Party-backed candidates, who don’t listen to Democrats or the MSM, and who recognize economic reality, should be the only ones we support?
European leaders are preparing to prevent the movement of people or money once Greece leaves the Euro – essentially declaring a lock down. Â Europeans are now faced with the very real threat of their money becoming worthless as they lose their freedom entirely.
This is where Socialist policies ALWAYS eventually lead – a totalitarian police state – and we are headed down the same road!
As the possibility of a Greek exit becomes more likely, leaders in the European Union are seeking legal advice from the European Commission on how to shift money and keep people within borders, the Associated Press reports.
â€œEuropean finance officials have discussed limiting the size of withdrawals from ATM machines, imposing border checks and introducing euro zone capital controls as a worst-case scenario should Athens decide to leave the euro,â€Â ReutersÂ reports.
E.U. spokesman Olivier Bailly said Tuesday that, legally, the EU can limit the movement of people and money across national borders â€œif itâ€™s necessary to protect public order or public security.â€
â€œThere is a possibility for member states to restrict movement of capital in specific cases relating to public order and public security,â€ Bailly told reporters.
Yes, you read that right. The EU can legally limit the movement of people and capital if it deems it a â€œsafety issue.â€
Bailly added that the EU cannot restrict the movement of people or money if itâ€™s for â€œeconomic reasons.â€ But who gets to define whatâ€™s a â€œsafety issueâ€ and whatâ€™s an economic issue? The same people who thought it was a good idea to let Greece into the eurzone?
As unsustainable welfare states begin collapsing across the globe, the inevitable consequences are heartbreaking. Â In Greece, it has gotten so bad that desperate parents are abandoning their children in record numbers. Â It’s time to take warning and prepare to take care of our families should we be faced with similar circumstances.
When the economy of a nation collapses, almost everything changes.Â Unfortunately, most people have never been through anything like that, so it can be difficult to know how to prepare.Â For those that are busy preparing for the coming global financial collapse, there is a lot to be learned from the economic depression that is happening right now in Greece.Â Essentially, what Greece is experiencing is a low level economic collapse.Â Unemployment is absolutely rampant and poverty is rapidly spreading, but the good news for Greece is that the global financial system is still operating somewhat normally and they are getting some financial assistance from the outside.Â Things in Greece could be a whole lot worse, and they will probably get a whole lot worse before it is all said and done.Â But already things have gotten bad enough in Greece that it gives us an idea of what a full-blown economic collapse in the 21st century may look like.Â There are reports of food and medicine shortages in Greece, crime and suicides are on the rise and people have been rapidly pulling their moneyÂ out of the banks.Â Hopefully this article will give you some ideas that you can use as you prepare for the economic chaos that will soon be unfolding all over the globe.
The following are 10 things that we can learn about shortages and preparation from the economic collapse in Greece….
#1 Food Shortages Can Actually Happen
Most people assume that they will always be able to run out to their local supermarket or to Wal-Mart and get all of the supplies they need.
Unfortunately, that is a false assumption.Â The truth is that our food distribution system isÂ extremely vulnerable.
In Greece, many people are starting to totally run out of food.Â Even some government institutions (such as prisons) are now reporting food shortages.Â The following wasÂ originally from a Greek news source….
The financing for many prisons has decreased to a minimum for some months now, resulting in hundreds of detainees being malnourished and surviving on the charity of local communities.
The latest example is the prison in Corinth where after the supply stoppage from the nearby military camp, the prisoners are at the mercy of God because, as reported by prison staff, not even one grain of rice has been left in their warehouses. When a few days earlier the commander of the camp announced to the prison management the transportation stoppage, citing lack of food supplies even for the soldiers, he shut down the last source of supply for 84 prisoners. The response of some Corinth citizens was immediate as they took it upon themselves to support the prisoners, since all protests to the Justice ministry were fruitless.
#2 Medicine Is One Of The First Things That Becomes Scarce During An Economic Collapse
If you are dependent on medicine in order to survive, you might want to figure out how you are going to get by if your supply of medicine is totally cut off someday.
In Greece, medicine shortages have become a massive problem.Â The following is from a recentÂ Bloomberg article….
Mina Mavrou, who runs a pharmacy in a middle-class Athens suburb, spends hours each day pleading with drugmakers, wholesalers and colleagues to hunt down medicines for clients. Life-saving drugs such as Sanofi (SAN)â€™s blood-thinner Clexane and GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK)â€™s asthma inhaler Flixotide often appear as lines of crimson data on pharmacistsâ€™ computer screens, meaning the products arenâ€™t in stock or that pharmacists canâ€™t order as many units as they need.
â€œWhen we see red, we want to cry,â€ Mavrou said. â€œThe situation is worsening day by day.â€
The 12,000 pharmacies that dot almost every street corner in Greek cities are the damaged capillaries of a complex system for getting treatment to patients. The Panhellenic Association of Pharmacists reports shortages of almost half the countryâ€™s 500 most-used medicines. Even when drugs are available, pharmacists often must foot the bill up front, or patients simply do without.
#3 When An Economy Collapses, So Might The Power Grid
Try this some time – turn off all power to your home for 24 hours and try to live normally.
Sadly, most people simply do not understand just how dependent we are on the power grid.Â Without power, all of our lives would change dramatically.
In Greece, authorities are warning of an impendingÂ “collapse”Â of the power grid.Â If it goes down for an extended period of time in Greece, the consequences would be catastrophic….
Greeceâ€™s power regulator RAE told Reuters on Friday it was calling an emergency meeting next week to avert a collapse of the debt-stricken countryâ€™s electricity and natural gas system.
â€œRAE is taking crisis initiatives throughout next week to avert the collapse of the natural gas and electricity system,â€ the regulatorâ€™s chief Nikos Vasilakos told Reuters.
RAE took the decision after receiving a letter from Greeceâ€™s natural gas company DEPA, which threatened to cut supplies to electricity producers if they failed to settle their arrears with the company.
#4 During An Economic Collapse You Cannot Even Take Water For Granted
If the power grid goes down, you will soon no longer have clean water coming out of your faucets.Â That is one of the reasons why it is absolutely imperative that the power grid stay operable in Greece.
Sadly, most people don’t understand just how vulnerable our water system is.Â In aÂ previous article, I quoted from a report that discussed how rapidly our water supply would be in jeopardy in the event of a major transportation disruption….
According to the American Water Works Association, Americans drink more than one billion glasses of tap water per day. For safety and security reasons, most water supply plants maintain a larger inventory of supplies than the typical business. However, the amount of chemical storage varies significantly and is site specific. According to the Chlorine Institute, most water treatment facilities receive chlorine in cylinders (150 pounds and one ton cylinders) that are delivered by motor carriers. On average, trucks deliver purification chemicals to water supply plants every seven to 14 days. Without these chemicals, water cannot be purified and made safe for drinking. Without truck deliveries of purification chemicals, water supply plants will run out of drinkable water in 14 to 28 days. Once the water supply is drained, water will be deemed safe for drinking only when boiled. Lack of clean drinking water will lead to increased gastrointestinal and other illnesses, further taxing an already weakened healthcare system.
What will you do when clean water stops coming out of your faucets?
You might want to start thinking about that.
#5 During An Economic Crisis Your Credit Cards And Debit Cards May Stop Working
Most people have become very accustomed to using either debit cards or credit cards for almost everything.
But what would happen if the financial system locked up for a period of time and you were not able to use them?
This is something that the citizens of Greece are potentially facing in the coming months, and this is something that all of us need to start thinking about.