Thursday, December 24, 2009

While You Were Sleeping… The Economy Collapsed


One of the most powerful forces in human psychology is the force of habit. Consistency, apathetic comfort, ties men to the ocean bottom to squeeze every ounce of oxygen from their last breath until it is gone, and we wake up at 50 or 60, only realizing then that we have done the same things and thought the same thoughts for decades without err. Repetition makes us easy to startle and easy to control. Any sudden break in daily routine can cause most people to freeze; animals gripped with terror at the very possibility of necessary individual action or adaptation.

This same repetition induces a type of “sleepwalk” in the average person, a zombie-like reanimation of brain functions that shriveled up and died years before, giving the impression of “life,” but in reality, it is merely a life on autopilot.

This is what makes catastrophes so catastrophic. It is not always the events themselves that reap such destruction, but people’s delayed reactions and dulled senses. The more ignorant the populace, the more magnified and painful such events become. Our lack of knowledge and reasonable action sets our own house ablaze, brings economies to ruin, and murders civilizations. Others may tip the problems into motion, but in the end, all of us, each and every individual, is responsible for the final result.

It is nearly Christmas, 2009, and the dangers of routine are never more blindingly obvious than they are at this time of year. A dangerous economic storm looms, its effects culminating most likely sometime in 2010. Many people know its there, they can feel it, but the chains of routine drag them back. “Our world will remain the same tomorrow as it was today…” they tell themselves, “…how could things possibly change?”

Mixed Signals Indicate Economic Disinformation

There are a number of half truths and financial fantasies floating around the U.S. today, which may explain why some have decided to throw caution to the wind, adopting a cult-like blind faith in the “unsinkable” American economy. I suspect that the consequences for this error in judgment will become quite clear to most by the end of next year, but until then, let’s examine our current situation, what the government has to say about it, and the reality they wish to gloss over.

Unemployment Thwarted By Bailouts?

Unfortunately, it depends on who you ask. If you ask the Labor Department, the U.S. lost only 11,000 jobs in November, far less than forecast, and unemployment evened out to 10% from 10.2%. Great news, right? It would be, if it were true…

Other data shows that the major revision in job losses may be an overenthusiastic calculation by the Labor Department.

First, the holiday season is notorious for generating thousands of temporary, low-paying part time jobs with an average of only 15-20 hours a week. The Labor Department counts people working these jobs as fully employed even though they do not make nearly enough money to support themselves and most will likely lose their positions once the Christmas season is over. Even with this influx of minimum wage holiday jobs to dilute unemployment numbers, it appears most retailers are only hiring about half of the number of temporary workers they did last year:

What this means is, unemployment will probably hit very hard in February and March when retailers begin cutting back once more, especially if Christmas profits fall short of target.

Second, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that the Labor Department is grossly and deliberately misreporting unemployment figures. Other groups which measure unemployment, including the ADP, have released national job loss reports that greatly differ from that of the Labor Department for November. In most cases, the Labor Department “adjusts” its numbers a month later to match ADP’s more accurate assessments. Very rarely do the ADP’s numbers completely overshoot actual job loss calculations. For November however, the Labor Department predicted only 11,000 jobs lost, while the ADP measured 169,000 jobs lost!

This is a major discrepancy! Either the ADP has somehow calculated way off the mark (which rarely if ever happens), or the Labor Department has rigged the numbers. Such a discrepancy by the Labor Department could not be made accidentally. It is hard to say which one is the case, but since the ADP is consistently accurate, and the Labor Department has more reason to flub the statistics, I will have to lean towards the ADP’s numbers as a realistic representation of November job losses.

What is more frightening is that eventually, the Labor Department will have to account for all the lost jobs they hid last month. When they make this adjustment, it will seem as though job loss has exploded after a short lull. This will send an abrasive shock through markets next year. In fact, markets recently took a hit as the government reported that the number of Americans filing for initial unemployment insurance at the beginning of December jumped much higher than analyst expectations:

One would think claims should begin to dissipate after the miracle jobless drop in November.

Adding a sharper edge to this realization is the fact that a record 37.2 million Americans now require food stamps in order to survive, while the media blathers on about imminent recovery. That is 1 out of every 8 people in this country:

It is these kinds of mixed signals that reveal misinformation and half-truths by MSM and government sources.

Waiting For The Return Of The Dollar? Don’t Hold Your Breath…

As we have predicted in the past, erratic market movements have begun to occur this holiday season, and the artificial Dow rally will probably not make it through the winter. With uncertainty in stocks comes a flight to “safe haven” investments. Historically, the U.S. Dollar has been considered a safe haven, and out of habit, some investors continue to dump their assets into dollars when expecting fickle market conditions.

Recent weakness in the Euro has also lifted the dollar. Not drastically by any means, but enough to give the impression that the Greenback may soon make its return. Great news, right? Again, not quite…

Many investors make the mistake of looking only at the relative weakness of other world currencies when assessing the Dollar’s strength, but there are many other factors to consider. The Greenback is unique in that it derives its strength not so much from the overall health of the U.S. economy, or any solid circulation fundamentals, but from the fact that it is the “world reserve currency”. When we examine the foundation of the Dollar, we find an extremely weak overprinted currency belonging to a country with a $9.2 Trillion projected deficit and totally reliant on foreign investment. However, as long as the Dollar retains its label as the world reserve currency, it will continue to have a psychological significance to investors.

It would not take massive inflation to collapse the Greenback (although this is occurring). Wholesale prices jumped 1.8 percent last month, more than double the gain analysts expected, and sparking fears that the Fed will soon be forced to raise interest rates:

Mainstream economists are attempting to downplay these numbers by claiming that the inflation will be temporary, but in reality, we are only seeing the beginning. This also throws a monkey wrench into the arguments made by some financial advisors that the dollar is safe, and we are more likely to see deflation than inflation. If this was truly a deflationary collapse like the Great Depression, then why have prices on goods increased instead of decreased? We should have seen substantial price cuts on commodities and base manufacturing materials if deflation was the threat, but this has not occurred.

A deflationary collapse would be far preferable to an inflationary collapse. With the dollar still intact, the economy could be rebuilt without help from outside agencies like the IMF. We know that the Elites are attempting to force the U.S. to answer to a centralized economic authority and accept a global currency in the form of Special Drawing Rights. They cannot accomplish this goal without collapsing the dollar. Period.

Setting the inflation threat aside, though, the only trigger necessary for a Dollar implosion would be for it to lose its reserve status in the eyes of the international financial community. Once this superfluous status is removed, the Dollar would no longer be considered a safe haven investment, and its value would plummet.

The signs that this event is about to occur are becoming more evident, most especially in Treasury Bond auctions and investment:

The “Treasury Yield Curve” is now the steepest it has been since at least 1980:

Foreign investment in U.S. debt has plummeted. Barack Obama is attempting to auction off $150 Billion in U.S. T-bills, but net foreign acquisition of long-term securities, taking into account adjustments, is estimated to have been only $8.3 billion. Even more disturbing, foreign holdings of dollar-denominated short-term U.S. securities, including Treasury bills, and other custody liabilities decreased $43.9 billion. Foreign holdings of Treasury bills decreased $38.3 billion. Meaning, not only are foreign investors NOT buying American debt, they are also beginning to get rid of the treasuries they already own! The biggest purchaser of U.S. Treasury debt is now the private Federal Reserve, printing money out of thin air and buying T-bills in order to prop up the value of its own currency! This cannot go on for much longer.

In order to permanently strengthen the basic value of the dollar, one of two things must happen; either the Fed must decrease the supply of dollars in the system (they are doing the opposite, printing up to $24 Trillion out of thin air in the span of a year), or, the Fed must somehow increase demand for all the dollars being created. As the dismal results of recent treasury auctions show, NO ONE wants dollars, especially not for the long term.

The consequences of this are obvious. Eventually, our incredible debt will become unserviceable, and the dollar will become completely undesirable. The Federal Reserve will be forced to raise interest rates and stop its endless printing, which will then pull the rug out from under the Dow and the T-bill market, making things even worse. Dollar proponents always seem to forget this very important detail; America is taking on more debt than it or any other country has in history. Without continued exponential investment from other countries, this debt will end the dollar, regardless of the weakness or strength of other national currencies, or the true rate of inflation.

For now, the Dollar will enjoy an increase in value due to weakness in Europe and uncertainty in stocks, sending more crisscrossed signals to the public as to the actual health of the economy. As far as the basics are concerned however, this increase will be short lived.

Credit Market Recovery? Not A Chance…

The stated purpose, the entire reason for the Banker Bailouts and the flood of printed money into our financial systems, was to “restore credit markets” so that banks could begin lending again.

First off, such a concept is astoundingly moronic. What caused the collapse of the housing market in the first place? Unhindered accumulation of debt by people who could not afford to pay it back! This debt was, of course, facilitated by the private Federal Reserve’s artificially low interest rates, which gave banks free reign to throw cheap money wherever they pleased. When people began to default on their loans en masse, the bubble burst, and triggered the landslide we are seeing today.

How exactly would the creation of more lending, and therefore more debt, fix a problem caused by too much debt? If the average American can’t afford to pay back their old debts, then why in the world would they want to take on new debt? The philosophy of forcing liquidity into the same debt mechanisms which caused the problem in the first place to save the economy could only be dreamed up by someone with the mind of a naive child, unless, that someone wanted to deliberately make the problem worse….

If that is the case, then they have succeeded admirably.

Banks received trillions of dollars in bailout money, but still have not returned to standard lending practices. In fact many have tightened their restrictions on lending even further:

The Treasury has reported that bank lending balances continued to drop nine consecutive months through October:

So the goal of the bailouts, the goal given as an excuse to assuage the anger of the American people, was never accomplished, and probably never will be.

If banks aren’t using the bailout money they were given to create new loans then what are they doing with it? Some are hoarding the cash, while others have been gambling with it in the stock market! If the bailout money is still sitting in the pockets of bankers, and it never went into credit markets, then how can the Fed claim that it stopped the collapse? The fact is, the bailouts have done absolutely nothing except prop up the Dow and give the illusion that things are improving. No amount of spin, though, can change the fundamentals.

Banks across the country continue to shut down at an alarming rate. The FDIC has closed 140 so far this year, and recently announced the closure of two banks in California with assets totaling in excess of $10 Billion!

Not only this, but the FDIC is in many cases unable to sell off these bankrupt assets to other banks, meaning, they are forced to absorb the entire debt instead of a small piece of it. Any depositors at the RockBridge Commercial Bank with savings of more than $250,000 in their accounts have essentially lost the remainder. Recovery of their savings could take months, and even then they may get only a portion of what they had in their accounts.

What does this mean? It means that the FDIC is having trouble guaranteeing your deposits. Why? Because the FDIC is broke. Before the announcement of the two California banks totaling $10 Billion, the FDIC was officially in the red for $8.2 Billion. The real amount of debt the FDIC has incurred is probably far more than reported.

I have heard it argued that 140 closed banks is not such a terrible number. During the Great Depression, over 3000 banks were shut down. This is another straw man debate point. Yes, thousands of banks were closed during the depression, but there were numerous small private banks and city banks in those days, and their total deposits were miniscule compared to modern corporate banks. It is not the number of banks closed that is important, it is the size of their assets and deposits which makes or breaks the FDIC.

How long can the Treasury go printing money to bailout the FDIC? I suspect not very long.

Housing Is Still In Trouble

The bottom line is, nothing has changed except how we are told to perceive the situation. Changing how one looks at a problem does not make the problem go away, as much as we would like it to. This fact goes for the housing issue as well.

We are told constantly by the MSM that the markets are improving, but if this is so, then why are large banks continuing to go bankrupt due to defaults on home loans? Why is it that mortgage delinquencies continue to rise to record levels every month?

Even families that received direct help from the U.S. government “foreclosure prevention plan” are behind on their payments!

A glut of foreclosed homes are now on the market, but banks are having trouble finding anyone to buy, even at discount price ranges:

In response, the Federal Reserve is executing a plan to pump $1.25 Trillion into mortgage backed securities in order to bring interest rates down to record lows. This is very similar to the policy which they used to cause the housing crash in the first place:

Again, what we are told by the MSM and the government, and what seems to be occurring at the foundations of the economy, are in total opposition. Someone somewhere is lying.

On The Other Side Of The World…

Terrible events can occur while the masses are psychologically unaware or “asleep”, but they can also occur while we are literally asleep too. In a world designed around the concept of Globalization, that which damages the economy of one country, can have drastic effects on another. This was made evident by the recent trouble in Dubai, however, there is much more happening on the other side of the world that we rarely hear about.

Both Greece and Spain are currently in dire straights with mounting and unserviceable debt:

But these are not the only European countries in danger of default. If one examines debt as a percentage of a country’s GDP, one can see which nations are on the edge of collapse.


Nations with a high debt to GDP ratio have a tendency to default, that is, to go bankrupt. Greece and Italy already have a national debt larger then their entire GDP, which means the revenue of each country for a whole year is not enough to pay off what they owe! This indicates the very real possibility of economic collapse in these countries. Spain, UK, and Germany are all on the edge of the abyss as well.

It is important to note here that America’s debt is now around 75% of our GDP, and is projected to increase to 100% of our GDP by the end of Obama’s first term:

Debt is the major driving force that will trigger collapse, and the U.S. is well on its way to accumulating epic amounts of it.

If any of these countries default on their debt (including the U.S.) the shockwave will send the rest of the globe into financial retreat.

Smoke And Mirrors

It’s nice to maintain a rosy outlook on the economic situation we face. It makes us feel safe. The fact is, though, that we are far from safe, and denying the problem will not make it go away. The MSM’s main drive, at least for now, is to promote a sense of well being. Some of them do it because they believe the markets are driven by psychology and that by creating a positive atmosphere, we can somehow make our troubles disappear through shear force of will. Of course, this is an absurd notion.

Others ignore the facts and spin ideas of recovery deliberately and with malicious intent, because they know comfortable people are not alert, and those that are not alert are easy to surprise, and surprised people are easy to control. The globalist George Soros for instance has lately been denying all signs of collapse, and making claims countries like Greece, Dubai, and the UK, have nothing to worry about:

Gee, I know that makes me feel a whole lot better.

What we are witnessing today is perhaps the greatest faux recovery in the history of the world. There is a reason why there is so much conflicting evidence. There is a reason why many economists are confused as to where the economy is going; because some of the evidence is based in fact, while the rest is designed to deceive. Learning and standing by economic fundamentals can help one in discerning what rings true and what does not. The fundamentals cannot be changed, they can only be hidden. Stick with the foundations of the system, ignore the fluff, the fog and shadows media game, and you will never be caught unaware when disaster strikes.

43 Responses to “While You Were Sleeping… The Economy Collapsed”


    Another absolutely great article!! Keep up the great work. You should throw in the other “tell-all” indicator for the level of mindless investing taking place. The P/E ratio. Last I checked the S&P was somewhere around 145, thats over 10 times its historical average! Yeah, these times will be lauhed at in our childrens Mandarin text books. Sad but true. Also, Giordano have you been following the salted tungston bars? Thanks again for the great journalism

  2. giordano says:

    Yes, we talked about the major discrepancy in the PE Ratio here:

    I am following the Tungsten fake gold bar issue closely, but I feel like we need more concrete data before committing to an article. I believe something will surface on this issue very soon.

    Thanks for visiting and I’m glad you liked the article. We try our best to do the deepest research possible.

  3. Gantoris says:


    Excellent piece! Exactly what I’ve been telling anyone who will listen (and some who won’t).

    Did this add to your article or just coincidence?

    There’s a lot of conflicting info out there on US debt vs. GDP. I find info ranging (EOY 2009) from 53% - 90%. Also look into Finland, Sweden, and Norway…their percentage is sky-high from what I’ve seen.

    It’s time to go against the grain and prudently prepare for the inevitable. It’s only a matter of time.

    Thanks for another great collection of info and thoughtful commentary. …will be sharing.


  4. happy11937 says:

    The year-end display of happily-inflated good news is designed to increase tax revenues for the IRS. Look to late January-February for more accurate economic figures, which will be bad, no doubt.

    For along time I’ve felt a recall of all elected officials and new General Elections is the only alternative to an actual revolution, which frightens me greatly since I can’t protect my children and grandchildren from the anarchy that would follow.

    Maybe a holiday from banks (much like FDR’s “bank holidays”), wherein we just stop paying everything except local merchants is a solution. Not a happy one, but we’re screwed either way.

    Maybe they’ll patch something together, but it could be too late.
    Based on what I see and hear in my community, this country is ready to blow, and Washington and Wall Street will suffer casualties. Sad that it’s come to this.

  5. tiny hope says:

    down with the nwo

  6. S Goldman says:

    This article was written with pure accuracy and alertness to what is taking place day by day. Sleeping, YES, even when we are paying attention we are still sleeping because, we have not hit the skids fully yet! 2010 will be catastrophic financially for global economies. False flags of recovery are pure quick sand and will take many to the bottom. We are moving rapidly from globalism to World Order with new fiat junk paper, the difference will be the price we pay with our souls. Keep your wits about you, don’t be deceived by the elect. Your article was refreshing because, the fluff was taken out to reveal the truth. The Truth is hard to come by these days. I encourage you to keep telling it like it truly is, and enjoyed reading every last word of it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Yer nuts

  8. Sheeple says:

    Excellent article. The bullsh** can last so long before the truth hits people between the eyes. The USS amerika is sinking and main street media would like you to believe otherwise. We are a nation of food, hospitals, banks, and government. All the idiots voted for change, they got a different name, but business as usual. The parties are both bought and paid for.

  9. Louis Romo says:

    agree with article completely: following is a warning message I sent hoping to wake up people:(e-mail addresses deleted)

    Subject: God’s 2009 Chanukah Miracle To The World

    God’s 2009 Chanukah Miracle To The World


    Louis A. Romo

    The timing of the rare snows in Copenhagen and blizzard conditions in Washington D. C. truly show Divine Intervention to humiliate the organizers and WARN Jews and Christians that just as the first Chanukah celebrated the end of a tyrannical period, THIS Chanukah is at the beginning of a new violent dictatorial era for all mankind and end of life as we have known. We have stepped into an era of trouble such as never seen since creation of man or ever will be again in future. Truly we have entered a time that all men and women must face a danger and decide whether in eternity they will shine as bright stars forever or live in shame or everlasting contempt.

    It will be some time before people look back to 2009 Chanukah as the year God warned the rulers of earth that He exists, is still alive, in control of human events, and will not tolerate too much longer human enslavement of mankind by a few families. The Global Warming Conference in Copenhagen was to use “global warming” as the disguise and excuse to bring the nations under a one world totalitarian government. Once again man wants to build his “Tower OF Babel” with all peoples forced to live under a new feudalistic system, struggling to survive with minimum food allowances and necessities; with majority of the fruits of their labor going to the rulers.

    The conference was doomed from the start when the e-mails were published for the whole world to see, showing the data used to scare people was all fabricated. - intended to collapse capitalism and transfer wealth from the productive countries, primarily the United States, seen as the primary target because Americans love too much their freedom and guns. The double edged sword of Forced Health govenment care and wealth distribution via “global warming will break America forever, just like humpty-dumpty..never to rise again.

    At the same time Americans are being attacked with the obama health care plan. What most people do not know is that there is a section: National Medical Device registry Sub Title C-11 Sec:2521 which discusses RFID tracking microchips. Supposedly, this part is written innocently enough, but can be changed later to FORCE ALL AMERICANS TO BE IMPLANTED WITH A MICROCHIP IF THEY WANT THEIR SOCIAL SECURITY CHECKS OR MEDICARE… YOU ARE ALL AWARE OF THE BIBLICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THAT.. I have not read the health care bill but have received numerous e-mails concerning that section.
    If you are the individuals i think you are, I know you will fight with all you power to defeat oBAMA’S HEALTH CARE BILL because when it passes it will guarantee the death of democracy and a fascist government forever with all pretense of supporting Israel dropped and America’s extreme left sinks their claws into our throats to destroy us.

    As if the threats of global warming and obama-care were not enough; there are now many religous “Christian” organizations that consider anyone who believes in the Hebrew Prophets and Book of Revelations are nothing but dangerous psychological misfits. They will not rest until they have a one-world religion, tolerant toward all and picking portions from each major religion so as not to offend anybody..The Ultimate “hellinization” of all humanity.
    In other words, think; DESTRUCTION OF Those Jews and Christians believing we are in the redemption period…((and if you are silent enough to listen to the Holy Spirit in Your Heart, you can hear the footsteps of Messiah.))

    I truly believe God has shown us a last generation Chanukah Miracle to prove HE IS STILL WITH US AND WILL BE STANDING BY EACH OF US AS WE DO OUR FINAL WALK AND NOT JUST TALK. As for myself i will keep transmitting news to any that will listen until I am silenced by the enemy ….Those were my final instructions in 1955 when I had finished a special course at our U.SAF. Security Service World Hqs, San Antonio, Texas, learning how I was to use the Russian Language I had been taught at the Defense Language Institute, Monterey, California(Old Army Language School). DO YOU BELIEVE GOD HAS GIVEN US AN INSPIRATIONAL CHANUKAH 2009 MIRACLE TO CARRY US ACROSS THE FINISH LINE INTO THE MILLENIUM REIGN OF OUR LORD??

  10. Freshman Democrat Congressman Parker Griffith From Alabama Announces That He Is Switching Parties And Becoming A Republican says:

    […] Is the U.S. economy on the verge of a total collapse? […]

  11. Harold says:

    The deregulation of the banknig and Saving loan industries during the 1970’s has now returned to haunt the industry. The banks now make their profits on service fees and not on their loan profolios and the loan profo requirements were changed in the 1970’s by the good old USA Government when they told the banks they had to change some of their loan requirements. I was in the industry at the time and have seen the liberal changes to loan requirements, which of course, made the economy grow. Grow - yes Grow along with high risk loans. In any case it has now caught up with itself and your article shows- again the irresponsibility of politicians running a country. Hyper inflation is on the way and to counter it will be a tightening of expenses. Look for the expense of war to end and the troops coming home. Are expenses comming down? No! Here we are again increasing expenses (health care) when we should closing down our wars and closing our military bases in foreign countries and balancing the budget. Please keep writing your articles as it willhelp people to prepare for harder time ahead.

  12. Joe says:

    Death to the new world order!

  13. Joe says:


  14. Johnnyboydakota says:

    Hey Giordano,
    Is there an e-mail to message you directly? I have a link to a great story, I’m sure your already looking into it. —- john

  15. Gantoris says:


    You can post it on the forum:

  16. Giordano says:


    You can email me in the forum section of this site, or, if you sign up on the forum, you can post your article and start a discussion thread.

    The food shortage issue is very important. I’ve been meaning to do a full article on the subject actually…

  17. While You Were Sleeping | A Flag Of Conviction says:

    […] Continues: While You Were Sleeping […]

  18. Commander N says:

    God Bless the Republic!
    All Freedom Minded….

  19. NightBlogger says:

    Great article. Keep them coming!

  20. rufus says:

    surely the end is near for the system we live in.only a revolution can save us now.we have been played like cheap violins by the powers to be.sad, but a lot of the country is in a coma! not merely sleeping

  21. wikity says:

    Another incredible article! Thanks for the great writing Gio. I look forward to reading your work like a 13 year old girl looks forward to watching American Idol.

  22. aginest the treason prty. says:

    its time to storm the white house take the constituition back…by force..!!!

  23. TimeTraveler says:

    Greetings Mr. Giordano,
    Your article sums up what the reality of this economic situation is, and is true that most of America is unaware of the dire consequenses that are about to befall not only them, but unfortunately the rest of the planet.

    I don’t disagree with any point you have made. I will add two very important points that you left out, that you and your readers I hope will take to heart.

    One, there are roughly $600 trillion in toxic derivatives sitting out there in every major bank in the world. It is the shadow gambling casino that Goldman Sachs and the Feds have let run rampant to fill the pockets of the very rich Wall Street gangsters.These derivatives are basically worthless.

    The day of reckoning is near. Dubai World is the canary lying at the bottom of its gilded gold cage in the mine,breathless. This is a warning for the rest of the world that this fake holographic economic absurdity the world calls an economic system, and that mankind is a slave to, is about to implode on itself.

    This system is based on the imagination of a few Elite people that think they are eventually going to control this planet and all that live on it. This system they conjured up was doomed to fail from the start, as they are also doomed. It is based on nothing but air. It’s not real!

    Secondly, humanity is unaware of the two things humans cannot survive without. That is food and water, both of which there are coming shortages of thru out this planet. Humans have polluted this planets waterways, oceans, land, and dessimated her forests. The time has come to end this chapter of destruction.

    The coming shortages will put the final nail in the coffin of humanity, and if that doesn’t, in all likellyhood there will be a major conflict in the world that will.

    This play is in the final act, and the curtain is about to fall, and there is nothing that any human at this point in time will be able to do to stop it. This planet is awakening with an energy that will put an end to all the suffering on this planet. Humans don’t seem to understand that we are all of the same star matter that makes up the whole universe.

    Everything is interconnected, and this planet has felt enough hurt. Its molten heart as is the human heart, is pure, and what gives us life. We have abused our privelage of living on her, and the time has come to put an end to this chapter. If only people would awaken to the fact that we are all the same.

    There is no need for fear. There is no safe place to hide. The Elite have underground bases. They will not be safe from what is about to occur! There is only one way to prepare, and that is to believe in the heart virtues, and with that, all it takes is 25% of the human consciousness to enter a new paradigm of existance.

    I hope you will post these comments, as I can only hope that if one reader understands this, its one more human that may be able to consciously help the transformation of humanity to the next journey that lies ahead.

    Its time to leave behind the greed and corruption, money, and politics. Its time to reach for the stars where we were meant to go and gain the knowledge and wisdom of the universe. Then we will join the civilizations of the multiverse, and maybe eons from now, we will meet our creator with open arms, the true source of where it all began. But its not the end of the journey that we should be looking forward to, but the journey itself that gets us there.

    May we all meet in a better place soon!

  24. The Prophetic View News! – Call To Prepare Edition « The Prophetic View News! says:

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  25. marcel says:

    While you’ve done an excellent Job covering the economic aspects of the sinking Titanic there is another more dangerous one brewing.
    Our enemies are not fooled by the MSM lies and spin and are preparing to make their move to kill off the dying beast.
    This is why Iran is so bold in telling the Empire running on empty to take a hike.They and their anti American axis have set a trap for the US navy in the Persian Gulf when the wimpy Obama decides to start looking like a leader and toughen sanctions by way of a US Naval Blockade.The surprise attack on our sitting duck Naval fleet and military bases surrounding Iran will make our economic troubles pale in comparision to the fallout from this apocalyptic event.

  26. UrbanSurvival » Blog Archive » Coping: While Your We Sleeping, 2 says:

    […] department this morning I’d draw your attention to an article by Giordano Bruno called “While You Were Sleeping…the Economy Collapsed.” Not only are the facts lined up much as we try to line them up around here every day, but […]

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    […] this day and age, the smoke and mirrors continue. As a citizen you do you a responsibility to do your best to ignore distractions, pay attention, […]

  28. Richmond Greens » Project Censored - Top 25 Censored Stories for 2009 says:

    […] this day and age, the smoke and mirrors continue. As a citizen you do you have a responsibility to do your best to ignore distractions, pay […]

  29. dreamerdick says:

    Great article, I joined!! Have you read current info by Christopher Story??

  30. allan (BFuniv) says:

    A decade or two ago, as the USA was just starting to jigger the numbers, I was asked by a Russian statesman how we managed to get people to ignore the obvious lies. He was most interested, as he knew their lies were always called out quickly.

    I told him, among other things, it was the efficiency of our education system; not in promoting learning — but in creating easily managed workers and citizens.

    Perhaps we are no longer asleep, but are entering a coma. Articles like this may provide a needed shot of adrenaline. What will happen if we wake up?

  31. Ur Name says:

    Actually those banks are not “gambling” in the stock market when they are part of the system that controls the news and rigs the stock market, shorting it on its way down. What I want to know is how much money has this sucked out of investors and what do they plan on doing with it.

  32. Lupus Yonderboy says:

    Amen brother. Thanks for a great read.

  33. nofear says:

    Excellent article.Personally I believe that the current financial crisis has been delberately engineered by those who seek total domination and control of humanity. People will be soon so desperate, and scared and hungry, that they will probaly accept a new global currency/power structure with open arms.

    Im waiting for the next big bait and switch. We have just had a monumental one with Copenhagen, thinly disguised as Climate talks, but which in reality was the signing of a treaty which will in effect give birth to a Global government. All nations signing this effectively hand over total control. see

    which quotes clauses of the actual treaty signed. Just like the federal reserve act in 1913 which was signed off on Dec 23rd when most of Congress had gone home for Xmas, the Copenhagen treaty was signed after many had left. It explains why Obomber didnt turn up until the end…the rest of the talks meant nothing and weren’t important.

    Climate problem?> solution global climate government, read ” one total global government”. (this why none of the carbon trading, C02, global warming science deos not add up. It doesn’t have to make sense! it is not and never was the reason for HopeInhagen.

    There seems to be a desperate race to get the NWO in place before 2012, and before we collectively wake up and fully realize our supreme power within us all to do away with all of his nonsense. The NWO cannot function without us, just as war cannot function without troops. Goverments cannot function without us. We have the power and the numbers…we just have to take responsibility and take it all back.

    i think 2012 will not be the end of the world, but rather the beginning of a new truth era. Im not into he bible but I think the theme will be “And the truth shall set ye free!” Once the truth surfaces for all to see, and the bandits that hijacked the USA and UK and other nations hell bent on world domination, are tried and put behind bars, liberty and comon sense will stand a chance of full recovery.
    The internet is one key step in exposing Truth and steering us toward the new cycle.. When we personally become truthful with ourseves, and all those with whom we deal, much of the current nonsense will vanish.

    The current challenge of course is that most of us prefer to be told lies rather than face the fact hat absolute power corrupts absolutely, and we have been too lazy to keep, those who are supposed to represent us, in check.

    You know things are evil when:

    1.oBomber wins the Nobel peace Prize

    1a A Kenyan gains USA presidency

    2.Burntbanke gets another term

    3.kissinger heads up the 9/11 investigation

    4. the investigation into B Liar is not actualy for the purpose of trialling him for war crimes

    5 Al whore has the gall and the support to speak at noHopeinhagen when he has been repeatedly exposed as a fraud and a liar.

    6 we are told that we are in a global warming period at the same time people are freezing to death across Europe, the trains stops for the first time and the USA is experiencing 10 dgree colder temps than previously recorded in some parts.

    Im sure you can easily cite plenty of other bizarre facts that should tell everyone that things are indeed upside down.

    WE do have the power to right it. Are you with us?

  34. says:

    While You Were Sleeping… The Economy Collapsed : Neithercorp Press

    One of the most powerful forces in human psychology is the force of habit. Consistency, apathetic comfort, ties men to the ocean bottom to squeeze every ounce of oxygen from their last breath until it is gone, and we wake up at 50 or 60, only realizing…

  35. steadysteve says:

    The USA has been an empire since WW1. The creation of the Federal Reserve and income tax to soak the populace were just tools to meet that end. Now, like all empires in history, we are getting our just comeuppance. The values of the Founders and their ideals no longer hold sway in society. The power elite keep the vast entitlement class quiet with a small amount of money (bread) and television (circus). They figure the few of us wise enough to see the truth can be controlled or silenced. If you understand this, get ready for what is coming!

  36. John says:

    What strikes me is the sickening arrogance of our leaders and the bloated fat cats on Wall Street. The President has dropped the populist rhetoric and signed the wealth of the American people over to Wall Street speculators and the military industrial complex. All promises of change are revealed as lies while the media directs the outrage of the people not against Wall Street and our fascist government, but to the “horror” of socialized medicine. Their is a huge propaganda war to subvert the rage of the population and it just might be working.

  37. nofear says:

    Dreamerdick has alerted us to a website that I have been following for awhile now. It reads like a script for a suspense/crime/thriller. The scary part is that it may actually be true, and if predictions/allegations are correct we may be witnessing a great unravelling that even MSM wont be able to ignore… I am left wondering how the MSM will spin the events however..

    Take the the Fort Hood shooting for example. Fort Hoodwink appears to be well and truly implicated in this Christopher Story story, as do other recent that MSM has covered, albeit with completely different spin. His Fort Hoodwink version makes more sense to me than the garbage I read in MSM re that incident.

  38. foolmeonce says:

    Explains the black lining of the green agenda.

  39. justiceforus says:

    Congress Budget
    Dept of Defense 57%
    Health & Human service 6%
    Transportation 6%
    State and other Int’l programs 4%
    Housing/Uban development 4%
    Other agencies 4%
    Homeland Security 3%
    Energy 2% Agriculture 2%
    Justice 2%
    Environment 1%
    NASA 1%
    Commerce 1%
    Larbor 1%
    Treasury 1%
    I would think this is enough evidence, that they do not have their hearts in the right place. The horror for the deniers are going to get ugly!!

    God Bless The Planet Earth

    May there be PEACE ON EARTH and let it begin with ME!

  40. Tom Dennen says:


    “In a dark time, the eye begins to see,” poet Theodore Roethke.

    “Apocalypse” is a Greek word meaning “the lifting of the veil between you and God,” (or Knowledge of Reality).

    The Internet is the vehicle through which the Apocalypse is now leaking knowledge, and the leaks are out of control

    By Tom Dennen, author of ‘Grand Theft, Planet or Heidi’s Free Bar & Grill’.)

    It’s becoming clear to many more people how the ‘matrix’ - the system - works, and how the Internet is the leaky bucket out of which the truth is flying.

    Since the early goldsmiths discovered fractional lending and made money out of thin air (predatory lending), they have been thrown out of every courntry they set up in, after which those countries returned to resource-based economies and went through several decades of economic recovery.

    Until the sixteenth century, in Holland.

    Then and there, when the goldsmiths were discovered creating usurious debt, the already wealthy government and merchant classes simply joined them in the first full “collusion among corporatocracy, authoritarian government, and controlled media and education.”

    Add bankers to that list and you have the recipe for the last three hundred years of fascist fiscal theft through market manipulation.

    Holland was the site of the first experiment in money market manipulation, today called ‘Tulip Mania’, also a generic phrase given to an ‘out-of-control’ Bull Market.

    ‘Tulip Mania’ is however, just the opposite - it’s a controlled boom situation; controlled by those who run the Great Wealth Shift every generation, starting with the South Sea Bubble crash in 1720.

    Every fifty years or so since then, the markets have peaked - and exactly nine years later, crashed - followed by a depression during which, bracketed by expensive wars, vast amounts of properties were foreclosed and the ‘masters’ transfered huge amounts of the wealth accumulated by the working class - “all wealth is created by work” (Adam Smith) - who were left to starve.

    Just like today.


    “All long-term credit cycles end with asset crashes in the markets of the leading economy. Measuring from crash to crash the dates of the modern credit cycles are as follows:”(starting with the South Sea Bubble)

    Span Duration

    1720 - 1772 52 years
    1772 - 1825 53 years
    1825 - 1873 48 years
    1873 - 1929 56 years
    1929 - 1990 61 years

    “The crashes and resulting depressions appear to be less intense and traumatic when the end of the cycle does not coincide with a shift in world economic predominance.” - The Great Reckoning, James Dale Davidson & William Rees-Mogg, 1993.

    Recent benchmarks:

    1907 Financial Panic

    1913 The Reserve System Created

    1929 Great Depression

    1933 Executive Order outlaws owning gold

    1934 Gold Reserve Act freezes gold at $35 per ounce

    1971 United States abandons gold standard

    1974 U.S. citizens allowed to own gold

    2009 Gold exceeds $1100 per ounce

    The depression following the 1990 crash is fully and globally upon us and, because we are in the middle of the biggest shift in world economic predominance, we will not see the end of it for a long while.


    Both Lincoln and Kennedy were assassinated after introducing sovereign currencies, which were quickly removed from circulation after the killings.

    What happened to Schwartzenegger’s IOUs? They were de facto sovereign currency paid back on maturity by the state at a 3.75% interest.

    (It took the entire western world including Russia, incidentally, to crush Hitler who had introduced sovereign money).

    The American Colonies, with their debt- and interest-free sovereign currency called Colonial Scrip were doing very prosperously in the 1700’s until the British Banking Act of 1775 forbade its use. Two years later the colonies were in a depression and declared independence from Great Britain’s financial oppression.

    The most significant leak in Ellen Brown’s book, ‘Web of Debt’ is coming from the Global Warming lies now out in the open.

    The Bilderbergs / governments / banks / merchants / landowners / fake scientists / Big Pharma and the rest are now too big to fail at keeping their secrets.

    Solution? This will set us free.

    Return to resource-based economies.

    Do not borrow unless it’s from a state, county, city or people-owned bank that does not charge interest.

    Gather together and itemize all the resources of your community and barter.

    Keep your wealth to yourselves.

    Above all, don’t listen to snake oil salesmen like Obummer and Al Bore who are just stealing while callously killing your children for money.

    (Required reading:

    Tacitus, “The Annals of Rome”, Book Six).


  41. nink says:

    Book of James Chapter 5
    Warning to Rich Oppressors.

    Your best bet is to get or renew your personal relationship with God through Christ.

    Obama, Bush Jr., Clinton, Bush Sr., Reagan, etc are all puppets groomed in the aristocracy run higher education centers of Harvard, Yale, Oxford, etc. They all do exactly what they are told to do. They frost the poop cake for their base with various liberal or conservative efforts.

    Recent example is Obama’s health care reform. No public option regardless of the fact that he campaigned and promised it. Apparently his Reverend Wright tried to warn when he said Obama will say anything to be elected.

    Book of Luke 23:24
    28Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30Then “‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’

    Revelation 6:12-17
    12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

    Accept the free gift for grace from Christ before you must make a choice of worshiping the beast or worshiping God. For as in the days of Noah, many will scoff and few will believe and then God will close the door that no man can open.

    Come back to Christ before else you will perish.

  42. Last Day Watchers » Blog Archive » While You Were Sleeping… The Economy Collapsed says:

    […] While You Were Sleeping… The Economy Collapsed […]

  43. nofear says:

    Religion is another major “truthout” that we will have to be frank about and confront head-on if we are to truly progress. It will be like accepting that there is no santa claus…not easy for some.

    All religions are prisons for the mind. They separate us, put us in various boxes,some encourage war, help us to forget who we really are, and encourage us to think that something outside of ourselves is running the show.

    These mostly fear-based long running franchises have to vanish. We forget too easily that we are all brothers and sisters.

    Believing in nonsensical fairy tales, fear based stories and fudged records is what helped to get us to where we are today, and what the powers that be still hrow at us..e.g global warming.

Another North American Jewish community rocked by Ponzi scheme

Members of Toronto's Jewish community have lost more than $27 million in a Ponzi scheme perpetrated by one of its own members, Canada's National Post newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The alleged fraud involving 76 high-profile investors came to light after a small printing plant in the Richmond Hill section went bankrupt.

The scheme was allegedly run by Tzvi Erez, 42, a prominent community member who owned the small print shop and claimed he was brokering large jobs for blue-chip clients, according to two of his alleged victims who spoke to the National Post.

The victims told the newspaper that Erez approached them through intermediaries for cash advances on orders and allegedly promised to return the original investment plus interest fees of 30% once he delivered the printed orders to his clients.

The report, however, quotes a court-appointed official as saying there were no large orders, and that between Jan. 25, 2007 and Feb. 17, 2009, $38.9-million went through eight different bank accounts in Canada that belonged to Erez or one of his companies.

Erez is a master pianist who launched his own label in memory of his brother, killed in 2000 during a heist at a jewelry store where he worked, the National Post reported.

Erez moved to Canada from Israel as a teenager and studied at the Community Hebrew Academy. He is married with two children, and, until recently, lived in a home worth more than $1.3-million in Toronto. The home was seized by authorities last summer.

According to the National Post, Erez's stepfather, Leo Erez, was approached by creditors - and a local rabbi - in a bid to settle the dispute before it hit the courts, according to a lawyer who handles several claimants.

A bankruptcy order has been issued against Erez personally and all of his companies.

Report says 225,000 Haiti children work as slaves

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Poverty has forced at least 225,000 children in Haiti's cities into slavery as unpaid household servants, far more than previously thought, a report said Tuesday.

The Pan American Development Foundation's report also said some of those children — mostly young girls — suffer sexual, psychological and physical abuse while toiling in extreme hardship.

The report recommends Haiti's government and international donors focus efforts on educating the poor and expanding social services such as shelters for girls, who make up an estimated two-thirds of the child servant population.

Young servants are known as "restavek" — Haitian Creole for "stays with" — and their plight is both widely known and a source of great shame in the Caribbean nation that was founded by a slave revolt more than 200 years ago.

Researchers said the practice is so common that almost half of 257 children interviewed in the sprawling Port-au-Prince shantytown of Cite Soleil were household slaves.

Most are sent by parents who cannot afford to care for them to families just slightly better off. Researchers found 11 percent of families that have a restavek have sent their own children into domestic servitude elsewhere.

Despite growing attention to the problem, researchers said their sources were unaware of any prosecutions of cases involving trafficking children or using them as unpaid servants in this deeply poor nation of more than 9 million people.

Glenn Smucker, one of the report's authors and a cultural anthropologist known for extensive work on Haiti, said he believes the number of restavek children is increasing proportionally with the population of Port-au-Prince as more migrants flee rural poverty to live in the capital.

The researchers surveyed more than 1,400 random households in five Haitian urban areas in late 2007 and early 2008, with funding help from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The most widely used previous number for restaveks came from a 2002 UNICEF survey, which estimated there were 172,000.

The new report used a broader counting system to include children related to household owners but still living in servitude, such as nieces or cousins, and as well as "boarders" living temporarily with another family but are still forced to provide labor.

"Most people working with restavek children ... think that these numbers, both ours and UNICEF's, are actually underestimating the problem," said Herve Razafimbahini, the Pan American Development Foundation's program director in Haiti.

He called for Haitian officials to conduct a national survey to analyze the full scope of the problem, including in rural areas.

Officials with the Ministry of Social Affairs could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Venezuela, China Sign Oil Deals

CARACAS -- Venezuela and China gave a new boost to their thriving economic ties Tuesday, signing a package of agreements that advances China strategy of locking in access to the South American country's vast oil reserves.

After two days of talks in Caracas, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation will help the government of President Hugo Chavez develop the Boyaca 3 oil block in the Orinoco-belt, a large heavy-crude basin in Eastern Venezuela.

The move is part of Venezuela's efforts to increase oil sales to China to 1 million barrels per day from the 400,000 barrels per day it says it currently supplies. Under Chavez, Venezuela has tried to curb oil exports to the U.S. and searched for new markets. Despite his efforts, the U.S. remains the main destination for Venezuela oil, with sales averaging around 1 million barrels per day.

The China National Petroleum Corporation also moved forward by securing access to another oil block in the Orinoco region that could eventually produce 400,000 barrels of oil per day.

The Chinese oil titan also agreed to build a refinery with Venezuela that will process crude from a joint oil venture between the two countries that operates the Junin 8 block.

CNPC also plans to bid alongside French firm Total in early 2010 in an upcoming oil auction known as Carabobo, which is considered the most important drilling project in Venezuela in more than a decade.

China and Venezuela have cemented a close economic bond during the last few years. Venezuela is eager to receive Chinese investment to develop its heavy-oil reserves, which require massive financing. Venezuela is a key objective for China as it pushes to secure oil and other natural resources for its economic expansion.

The two countries have developed a $12 billion development fund, with China depositing $8 billion in the fund in exchange for Venezuelan oil. The fund focuses on bankrolling infrastructure projects in Venezuela.

The economic ties between the two countries has spilled to other areas. Chinese companies launched a telecommunications satellite for Venezuela and are working on projects ranging from building a car factory to building a railway system.

Trade between China and Venezuela reached $10 billion in 2008, nearly three times the trade figure posted in 2003. China is now Venezuela's second largest trading partner, surpassed only by the U.S.

Small-business bankruptcies rise 81% in California

With credit tight and consumers still pinching their pennies, many business owners find they can't go on.

The Obama administration's new plan to give a boost to small businesses reflects continued trouble in that sector, which is facing new failures even as much of the nation's economy is stabilizing.

As credit lines have shrunk and consumers have cut back on spending, thousands of small businesses have closed their doors over the last year. The plight of struggling firms has been aggravated by the reluctance of banks to lend money, said Brian Headd, an economist at the Small Business Administration's office of advocacy.

"While bankruptcies are up, overall, small-business closures are up even more," Headd said.

California has been particularly hard hit. The latest data show small-business bankruptcies up 81% in the state for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, compared with the previous year. Filings nationwide were up 44%, according to the credit analysis firm Equifax Inc.

The actual number of small businesses in trouble is probably higher, experts said, because many owners file for personal bankruptcy rather than seek protection for the business.

Dennis McGoldrick, a bankruptcy lawyer in Torrance, said his clients are all stuck in similar situations -- capital is hard to come by, customers are tough to attract and debt is piling up.

"We can't keep up," McGoldrick said. "There's more people that want to come in every day than I can see."

Cecily McAlpine, who filed for bankruptcy protection for her Cold Stone Creamery franchise this spring, said the experience was humiliating but she had no choice.

Receipts at the fledgling Compton ice cream shop plunged dramatically during the recession, and by late 2008 she was paying her employees out of her pocket.

"When the refrigerator died, that was it; I'd just had it," McAlpine said. "That was the day I broke. I just started throwing stuff away."

McAlpine recently withdrew her bankruptcy filing after selling all the store equipment and paying off her creditors. She is slowly paying off some back-rent and utility debt, and will officially dissolve her business in the next couple of weeks, she said.

"I still feel scarred and like a loser," she said. "Even though I'm not in it anymore, it's still there."

Recognizing the problems of business owners like McAlpine, the Obama administration has proposed using federal stimulus money to help funnel more loans to small businesses. The White House has also asked Congress to eliminate capital gains taxes for one year on new investments in small-business stock, and called for a new tax incentive to encourage small businesses to hire more employees.

On Dec. 14, Obama called a meeting of executives of Wells Fargo & Co., Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp. and nine other large banks, and told them that they owed it to the nation to make more loans to small businesses and help rebuild the economy.

In California, the need is great.

Over the last year, the Los Angeles, Riverside/San Bernardino and Sacramento metropolitan areas have led the nation in small-business bankruptcy filings, said Tim Klein, a spokesman for Equifax.

About 19,000 small businesses filed for bankruptcy in California during the 12 months ended Sept. 2009, up from 10,500 the previous year.

During September alone, 2,229 small businesses filed for protection, up from 1,503 filings in September 2008, the firm reported.

Kathleen March, a bankruptcy lawyer in Los Angeles, said she often pushes her clients to file for personal bankruptcy instead of a business filing because it's easier.

Many people also close down their businesses thinking that will solve their problems, only to find their companies' debt lives on, March said.

"The norm is if you're running a small business, you will have to either cosign or personally guarantee the significant debts," she said. "The business itself can shut down, but the people cosigned all the debts. So, the individuals are then saddled with these huge debts."

A client who owned a surf shop was paying for business expenses from the client's own funds long before filing for personal bankruptcy, she said.

"In this economy, anything that isn't a necessity is a tough business to be in," March said. "And the majority of my clients have waited too long to file for bankruptcy and in the process made things worse on themselves financially as a result."


9/11 heroes in life-struggle as Obama signs multi-billion war bill

Click this link .......
















































































Who Really Saved The Global Economy?

According to this Observer article, it was the global drugs lords: their money laundering activities provided the required marginal capital to keep flowing in the interbank markets at the height of the crisis, when more legitimate players were glued to the sidelines, so that the whole shebang didn't go down. Thanks to Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism for the link:

Drug money saved banks in global crisis, claims UN advisor

Drugs and crime chief says $352bn in criminal proceeds was effectively laundered by financial institutions

Rajeev Syal
The Observer, Sunday 13 December 2009

Drugs money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis, the United Nations' drugs and crime tsar has told the Observer.

Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said he has seen evidence that the proceeds of organised crime were "the only liquid investment capital" available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352bn (216bn pounds) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result.

This will raise questions about crime's influence on the economic system at times of crisis. It will also prompt further examination of the banking sector as world leaders, including Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, call for new International Monetary Fund regulations. Speaking from his office in Vienna, Costa said evidence that illegal money was being absorbed into the financial system was first drawn to his attention by intelligence agencies and prosecutors around 18 months ago. "In many instances, the money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital. In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system's main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor," he said.

Some of the evidence put before his office indicated that gang money was used to save some banks from collapse when lending seized up, he said.

"Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade and other illegal activities...There were signs that some banks were rescued that way." Costa declined to identify countries or banks that may have received any drugs money, saying that would be inappropriate because his office is supposed to address the problem, not apportion blame. But he said the money is now a part of the official system and had been effectively laundered.

"That was the moment [last year] when the system was basically paralysed because of the unwillingness of banks to lend money to one another. The progressive liquidisation to the system and the progressive improvement by some banks of their share values [has meant that] the problem [of illegal money] has become much less serious than it was," he said.

The IMF estimated that large US and European banks lost more than $1tn on toxic assets and from bad loans from January 2007 to September 2009 and more than 200 mortgage lenders went bankrupt. Many major institutions either failed, were acquired under duress, or were subject to government takeover.

Gangs are now believed to make most of their profits from the drugs trade and are estimated to be worth 352bn pounds, the UN says. They have traditionally kept proceeds in cash or moved it offshore to hide it from the authorities. It is understood that evidence that drug money has flowed into banks came from officials in Britain, Switzerland, Italy and the US.

British bankers would want to see any evidence that Costa has to back his claims. A British Bankers' Association spokesman said: "We have not been party to any regulatory dialogue that would support a theory of this kind. There was clearly a lack of liquidity in the system and to a large degree this was filled by the intervention of central banks."

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State Budget Blues

Looking for Funds in All the Wrong Places

California’s fiscal woes may have grabbed the national headlines, but states across the nation are slashing budgets to close gaps that are averaging a jaw-dropping 24% this year. Even before the economy nose-dived in late 2008, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) was warning states to expect growing revenue shortfalls over the coming decade. The recession and the staggering increase in the federal debt have worsened the GAO’s predictions.

The GAO now estimates that, if programs are maintained at current levels, state and local revenues will fall short by an average of 7.6% annually over the coming decade.

To close the yawning gaps in their budgets, states are currently relying on stimulus funds and budget cuts. But fewer federal funds will be there to help as the country begins to pay down the huge national debt. Experts anticipate that federal dollars going to state programs will be scaled back, with funding levels increasing only in targeted areas such as health care and energy. So shortfalls in state budgets will continue for years to come unless states either enact more cuts or update their antiquated tax systems.

In fact, it is past time to overhaul current tax systems. Neither the federal government nor state and local governments are adequately capturing revenue from the high-income, high-growth segments of the economy. At the same time, lower- and middle-income families are unfairly burdened.

Trends in expenditures account for part of the problem. State and local spending on health care for Medicaid, employees, and retirees is projected to significantly outpace revenues. Federal grants-in-aid, which finance about 20% of state and local budget outlays, are dominated by grants to Medicaid. Half of federal grants-in-aid go to Medicaid and this proportion has been increasing with rising enrollment and the growing cost of health care. By 2012, 60% of grants-in-aid will be going to Medicaid, leaving fewer federal dollars for other programs.

Health care reform that succeeds in reducing the cost of medical services while expanding coverage could improve the states’ budgetary outlook, but the outlook for revenue collections would remain problematic. The major factor is the erosion of state tax bases, particularly of the sales tax, which accounts for about a third of state and local revenues.

The fiscal crisis in the states will have a long-term impact on our quality of life since state and local governments, with federal assistance, provide most of the public services we receive. They employ almost seven times as many people as does the federal government, and state and local expenditures on public services are greater than federal expenditures, if Medicare and military spending are excluded.

The growing demands on the states are not taken into account by the GAO study, by the way, which only considers the cost of maintaining current service levels. The future scenario for state budgets, then, is likely to be more dire than the GAO predicts. Even with health care reform and improvements in revenue collection and program efficiency, the states will need new revenue sources, better aligned with their income bases, to carry out their vital role in the economy.

Traditionally, states have turned to the sales tax when seeking additional funds. The sales tax is the largest single revenue source for state and local budgets, accounting for a third of tax receipts. Statewide sales tax rates range from a low of 0% in the five states with no general sales tax to 7.25% in California. Recent expansions of the sales tax include the increased taxation of services and of Internet sales.

This reliance on the sales tax is increasingly a liability, however, since the most rapidly expanding industries are in services that are often not subject to the sales tax, such as health care, education. and financial services (credit cards, loans, etc.). A few states are now taxing gross receipts of all businesses to capture service industries, but economists are generally appalled: firms with high input costs but low profit margins can be crippled by a tax on receipts rather than on income net of costs.

Personal and corporate incomes, other potential revenue sources, offer an expanding tax base, but increases in exemptions and deductions have cut into taxable income. (Personal income taxes accounted for about 24% of state and local tax receipts, corporate income taxes 5%, and property taxes 30%, in 2007.)

How states raise needed revenues can be as critical as how they are spent. Equity—basing taxes on the ability to pay—is a prime concern: equity aids both revenue collections and the economic well-being of families. It is especially urgent given recent income trends.

Since the 1980s, progress in raising living standards has been hindered both in the states and nationally by rising income inequality. Output per employee more than doubled in the United States from 1960 to 2005, but earnings did not. In fact, real hourly earnings in 2005 were lower than in 1967, after adjusting for inflation.

The picture is very different for those at the top of the corporate ladder. The typical S&P 500 CEO had an income about 42 times as high as that of the average worker in 1980, but now this CEO gets 344 times as much, according to the Institute for Policy Studies. The top 5% of families currently have incomes about 20 times as high as the bottom 20% at present, up from 11 times as high in 1979.

These figures help to explain why the poverty rate in 1988, 1998, and 2008 remained stubbornly at 13%, despite rising average incomes.

Taxes can increase inequality. Sales taxes, for example, absorb a greater percentage of the income of low-income families than of high-income families, and so increase inequality. Figures on federal corporate taxation are especially disturbing for this reason: 30% of U.S. corporations with gross receipts of $50 million or more paid no taxes over the 1998-2005 period, according to the GAO. If smaller corporations are included as well, 65% paid no U.S. corporate income tax.

Corporations also avoid state taxes. The Multistate Tax Commission found that large, multi-state corporations avoided about $7 billion in state corporate taxes, due to such tactics as shifting their reported profits from high-tax states to low-tax states.

To combat such problems, 20-plus states have banded together and use combined reporting. This requires a multi-state corporation to add together the profits of all its subsidiaries, regardless of their location, into one report. The report provides each state with information needed to levy the appropriate tax, based on individual state tax provisions.

Combined reporting also makes it more difficult for companies to avoid reporting income altogether: one study of 252 large corporations found that in 2003 those companies on average failed to include two-thirds of their actual U.S. pretax profits on their state tax returns. The study found, for example, that Wal-Mart reported $77 billion in pretax profits to its shareholders but paid state income taxes on about half that sum.

The National Association of State Budget Officers suggests another reform: monitoring tax breaks offered to corporations. It notes that some states impose a surcharge on tax breaks offered under business incentive programs if the return to the state from these tax breaks is not as great as expected.

Other reforms could improve the states’ revenue outlook. Currently, the personal income tax rate paid by those in the top bracket ranges from Vermont’s 9.5% to zero: there are nine states with no personal income tax. An increase in the number of brackets and in rates could boost revenues, while increasing basic exemptions at the same time would protect middle-income families. The tax break on capital gains should be examined.

There are nontraditional means of raising funds as well. For example, penalties and fines for fraud and violations of labor and environmental regulations can be imposed or increased. A carbon emissions tax could be a major revenue source.

Stable, equitable revenue sources are found when taxes are levied in line with the distribution of income and wealth in a state. Taxes like the sales tax that push low-income families further into poverty don’t make sense when alternative revenue sources are available that are both more lucrative and more equitable. It is time to look to these sources to close shortfalls in state and local budgets.

Marianne Hill, Ph.D., has published articles in the Journal of Human Development, Feminist Economics, and other economics journals. She also writes for the American Forum and the Mississippi Forum.

Sources: Center for Budget and Policy Priorities; Citizens for Tax Justice; Economic Policy Institute, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, State of Working America 2007; Economic Report of the President 2008; Federation of Tax Administrators; GAO documents GAO-09-210T, GAO-08-957 and GAO-07-1080SP.