The New Great Depression

CNBC’s European Squawk Box had an interesting interview session with author and economist, Richard Duncan.  Looking back over the last 40 prosperous years, ever since the last remaining link between the US dollar and gold was removed, the world has evolved into a form of financial creditism.  Duncan notes that the central banks of the world have been able to provide easy credit and the world has greatly benefited. However, there comes a point where borrowers are unable to take on more debt. If the government does not step in and provide QE or some other kind of spending programs, there will be another Great Depression. Duncan even goes on to say that, in fact, a depression is unavoidable and inevitable, but it can be delayed if the government decides to benefit society further by spending on 21st century technologies in the nano science and medical fields, for example.

Another interesting part of this segment that should be noted is where the panel brings up the comparison of the present situation with the past, where central banking policy was to raise interest rates rather abruptly in order to curb reckless borrowing. “When you throw money into the system ….. the good guys out there won’t borrow and spend because they’re too cautious. It’s the bad guys who come in and borrow and spend. … There’s lots of bad guys around, we can see them all over the place – we know they’re there!”    Touché.

Yet More Financial Fraud

The latest example of financial fraud comes from Barclays recent admission that they manipulated the Libor & Euribor benchmark interest rates. To avoid further legal action and bad publicity, the firm will pay $200 million dollars to the CFTC, $160 million to the US Department of Justice, and another $93 million to Britain’s Financial Services Authority.  But these fines are insignificant sums when compared to the array of financial instruments derived from just the Libor rate – an estimated $800 trillion of securities, loans and derivatives. The average “Joe” has been unknowingly affected through vehicles like adjustable rate mortgages, stocks and pension funds. Financial firms such as Barclays and others suspected to be involved in this latest scandal – Citigroup, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Lloyds, and Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi – have a tremendous motive to keep these benchmarks aligned favorably with their more profitable, proprietary derivatives trades.

Just how much more evidence is necessary to convince the public that the bankers of the world are  quickly losing control of the financial system?  Their legal box of tools are failing them and they must now resort to illegal means like the mobsters we read about in Dick Tracy strips.  It’s worse now, though, because the too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks have most of our politicians in their back pocket, which means their criminal activities won’t be considered criminal, but rather normal operating procedures.  Hence the minor slap on the wrist for public appeasement. Investors need to be aware of what’s happening and take actions to protect their wealth from being taken over by the mob.

Here’s Max Keiser and Michael Krieger discussing this latest scandal on RT.

Central Banks Buying Gold At Levels Not Seen Since 1965

Up until a few years ago, Central Banks of the world were selling their gold because they didn’t think they needed the ‘barbaric relic.’  But with all the money printing activities plunging the value of all fiat currencies around the world to their intrinsic value (=0), they’re now buying gold in substantial amounts.  Here’s Simon Constable of the Wall Street Journal further explaining why they’re expected to be the buyers of at least 10% of the available gold in the coming years.


Wall Street Journal - Simon Constable

Central Banks Manipulate the Gold Markets: Chris Powell

Here’s Chris Powell of GATA explaining the motivation for central banks to keep the gold price under control. Powell also notes that potential gold investors should only buy physical gold, which they can actually hold in their hands. He estimates that 70-80% of all the gold people think they own doesn’t really exist!  The paper forms of ‘investment gold’ such as ETFs or unallocated accounts likely do not have the physical gold supporting all the paper claims.  Through rehypothecation schemes, gold leasing and swaps arrangements, there is simply not enough physical metal to back all the paper claims.


Operation Twist II & Rent Seekers

Here’s Jim Rickards explaining the Fed’s intentions behind Operation Twist, expectations on future gold prices, and the logistics behind the Currency Wars of the economic world today. Also, with Jamie Dimon & JPMorgan filling the latest headlines, Rickards gives his take on the parasitic institution of Rent Seeking, which has invaded both parties – Republicans and Democrats. Rent Seekers have taken the form of:

  • On the Democratic side, Public Sector Unions, who are inflating their latter years’ pay in order to retire earlier with better benefits than those in the private sector.
  • On the Republican side, Wall Street Bankers like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs have been profiting from their proprietary trading and derivative schemes, while at the same time ensuring losses are covered by the taxpayers.
  • On both sides of the isle, though Rickards doesn’t specifically mention them, there are the Crony CapitalistsSolyndra, Enron, Halliburton to name but a few examples. As we slip into the future, the Rent Seekers are even able to manipulate the legal system, making it tougher to actually prosecute the cronies that are caught in the act (see MF Global).

Things are getting bad out there, folks. If you’ve worked hard all your life and have accumulated wealth, please see our Protect Your Assets series to learn how you can protect your wealth from being destroyed by this rigged economic casino.

US Government Allows JP Morgan to Manipulate Silver Market: Ted Butler

Finally, after years of analyzing the silver market and studying Commitment of Traders (COT) data, Ted Butler has concluded that the CFTC won’t prosecute JP Morgan for their silver market manipulation because the U.S. government is intentionally allowing the suppression of precious metals prices. (It’s about time! Glad to finally have you aboard, Mr. Butler!)

The Plunge Protection Team
Ben Bernanke - Chairman of the Federal Reserve Mary L. Schapiro - Chairman of the SEC Gary Gensler - Chairman of the CFTC Tim Geithner - Treasury Secretary
Ben Bernanke Mary Schapiro Gary Gensler Tim Geithner
Chairman of the Federal Reserve Chairman of the SEC Chairman of the CFTC Treasury Secretary

Specifically, the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets was created in 1988 by the Reagan administration in order to prevent another market crash like that seen in October of 1987.  This Working Group, sometimes referred to as the “Plunge Protection Team” consists of four members (today’s members pictured above): The Chairman of the Federal Reserve; The Chairman of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC); The Chairman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC); The Treasury Secretary.

Their mission is to intervene in the markets whenever they feel it is in the best interests of the banking powers.  Strong precious metals prices mean a weakened U.S. dollar. The paper futures markets are used to suppress the prices of gold and silver in order to maintain the illusion of a stronger dollar. As Chris Powell of GATA always says, “There are no markets anymore…only interventions.

Butler noted that even though Chairman Gensler of the CFTC likely understands that citizens are “being screwed” by the manipulation, he’s unable to do his duties and enforce existing commodity laws against JP Morgan because this powerful Working Group has alternate goals.

Find more information about precious metals price suppression here.

The End Game

We have around 6 months left of trading in Western markets to protect ourselves,” according to Raoul Pal, founder of Global Macro Investor and former Goldman Sachs hedge fund manager. “The problem is not Government debt per se. The real problem is that the $70 trillion in G10 debt is the collateral for $700 trillion in derivatives.”  See entire presentation below.

It’s now more important than ever to protect your hard-earned wealth from being destroyed by inflation or even outright theft by financial and government institutions. Please see our Protect Your Assets series to learn about ways to secure your wealth in the coming economic collapse.

The End Game

Gold Becoming Widely Recognized as a Collateral Asset

Gold may not “do anything but just sit there on the shelf” but it is becoming more recognized as a safe haven for investors and now, it seems, for bankers too!   There is so much outstanding debt in the global banking system that finding ‘good’ collateral to back it is becoming more difficult. Furthermore, as the debt increases, and maturing debt is rolled over into new debt, traditional asset-backing collateral becomes more scarce.  The Basel Committee for Bank Supervision (BCBS) is considering making gold a Tier-1 asset, which would escalate the desire for banks to hold more of it in their vaults to provide backing for all their debt activities.  Read more at SafeHaven.

John Exter's Inverted Pyramid

Is More QE Coming, Or Not?

With the Fed purchasing 61% of all the US debt, it’s somewhat confusing why potential precious metals investors want to see more QE before making their move. And as the following chart from the St. Louis Fed shows, the money supply is still at uncharted, nose-bleed levels and showing no signs of decreasing.

US Dollar Money Supply

Nevertheless, analyzing a derivative of the TIPS Spread to identify when the Fed might reintroduce even more easing is what the economists over at Agora Financial have been doing.  As the chart below shows, the Fed may be waiting for the “Breakeven Inflation Rate” to drop below 2.2% prior to accelerating those printing presses.

Five-Year Forward Break-Even Inflation Rate

JP Morgan’s $2 Billion Loss Possibly Indicative of Bigger Problems Behind the Scenes

Update May 16, 2012: In contrast with Jim Willie’s speculation below, a much more renowned Jim Rickards has a much more probable thesis on the JP Morgan loss. The trade was actually a bet on the spread between the bond index and the bonds themselves. Time ran out, resulting in the loss. Read about it at USNews.

Here’s an interview with Jim Willie (TheGoldenJackass) discussing his speculation on what’s really going on regarding JP Morgan’s $2 billion dollar ‘whale trader’ loss.  Jim speculates that JPM’s declaration that it involved European bond investments that have gone bad doesn’t make sense because in the last 6 weeks those bonds haven’t changed so much to warrant such huge losses. More likely, according to Jim, is that these losses are much larger and they reflect losses in the credit derivatives markets. Furthermore, eastern nations like China are likely causing the rout in precious metals because they’re forcing the western commercial banks to sell to cover these losses in the derivatives markets.

Eric Sprott on CNBC

Eric Sprott is interviewed on CNBC and gives some new perspectives on gold and silver investing for main-stream viewers.  He mentions how the central banks of the world do not like to see the price of gold go higher because that would be a sign of the true weakness in their fiat money as they continually print more to fight the contagion in their economies.  He also expects silver to out-perform gold and gives some interesting statistics for his reasoning.