Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Rich in America: Power, Control, Wealth and the Elite Upper Class in the United States

The Force Behind Bills To Lower Wages and Suppress Workers’ Rights? You Guessed It: ALEC

The Koch Brothers are worth over 50 BILLION dollars.  Guess a billion dollars just doesn’t go far these days.
According to a new analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), publishers of, at least 117 bills introduced in 2013 fuel a “race to the bottom” in wages, benefits and worker rights—and resemble “model” bills from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  
As working Americans speak out for higher wages, better benefits and respect in the workplace, a coordinated, nationwide campaign to silence them is mounting—and ALEC is at the heart of it. ALEC corporations, right-wing tink tanks, and monied interests like the Koch brothers are pushing legislation throughout the country designed to drive down wages; limit health care, pensions, and other benefits; and cripple working families’ participation in the political and legislative process.
Emboldened ALEC goes on the offense
ALEC’s mallet of choice for private-sector workers is so-called “Right to Work” legislation. These laws were utilitized in Southern states before and after WWII to suppress wages and keep out unions like the CIO, which supported an end to Jim Crow laws and racial segregation. In the decades that followed, they made little headway in northern states. In 2012, however, Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana rammed a “Right to Work” bill through the legislature. Next was the battle royale in Michigan. Governor Rick Snyder pushed “Right to Work” through a lame duck session in December 2012 right before a new, more worker-friendly legislature was sworn in. AsCMD reported, it contained verbatim language from the ALEC bill.
In every instance, ALEC and the Kochs were there to cheer the radical policies on. Koch Industries has long been an ALEC funder, serving on ALEC’s corporate “Private Enterprise” board, but the Kochs also exercise their power through Americans for Prosperity, a David Koch founded and funded political action group that spent millions on TV defending ALEC legislators and Scott Walker against recall and providing fake, astroturf support for the bills in Ohio and Michigan. It’s not the first time the Koch family has come to the aid of union-busting bills. The Institute for Southern Studies points out that in 1958, Kansas passed a right-to-work law “with the support of Texas-born energy businessman Fred Koch, who viewed unions as vessels for communism and [racial] integration.”
Other high-profile ALEC fights include battles over “paycheck protection” in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, and Missouri. In 2012, Californians battled an ALEC-style “paycheck protection” bill,disguised as campaign finance reform. Prop 32 was defeated at the polls in November 2012, but not until millions had been spent on both sides. Opponents were right to be worried. New numbers from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel show that Wisconsin’s Act 10, which crippled unions’ ability to negotiate for better pay and benefits, cut union membership in half and forced workers to pay thousands more in benefits.
While ALEC and its supporters frame their actions as fiscally responsible and pro-worker, it is clear that this is a deeply political agenda. An analysis by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows that, on the whole, these types of bills don’t create new rights for employees but “significantly tilt the political playing field by enabling unlimited corporate political spending while restricting political spending of organized workers.” Fox News reporter Shepard Smith put it even more bluntly. He noted that of the top 10 political donors in the United States, only three donated to Democrats—all unions. “Bust the unions, and it’s over” for the Democrats, he said.
ALEC’s attack on wages, benefits, and unions harms all workers
ALEC’s wage suppression agenda also targets non-union workers in the low-wage sectors that are forming the core of the U.S. economy. In an issue brief called “The Politics of Wage Suppression: Inside ALEC’s Legislative Campaign Against Low-Paid Workers,” the National Employment Law Project counted 67 bills sponsored or co-sponsored by ALEC politicians in 2011-12 that eroded wages and labor standards.
Gordon Lafer, a political economist at the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center and a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), told CMD, “ALEC’s efforts against the minimum wage, prevailing and living wage, paid sick leave, etc. are an across the board attempt both to worsen any kind of labor standard and also to undermine any institutional or legal basis through which workers exercise some control over the workplace in the labor market.”
As Lafer notes, the fate of union workers and non-union workers are inextricably linked: “Unions help raise standards for non-union workers. In places with unionized workers, that increases the pressure on employers of non-unionized workers to reach and meet similar standards.” To cite just one example, ALEC’s “Right to Work” law alone depresses wages for both union and non-union workers by an average of $1,500 a year, according to an EPI study.
But you won’t see these statistics at ALEC. In an annual propagandistic ritual, ALEC “scholars”rank states’ economic outlook based on how well states are following ALEC policy prescriptions. While Wisconsin under Scott Walker has consistently ranked amongst the worst in the countryin job growth and economic performance even by groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in ALEC’s world, Walker’s state is 15th in economic outlook.
Average Americans pay the price
Eleven states have introduced bills in 2013 to override or prevent local paid sick leave ordinances. At least eight of these were sponsored by ALEC members, and this is no accident. Although ALEC has not adopted such a bill as an official “model,” ALEC member the National Restaurant Association (NRA) brought a bill to override local paid sick leave ordinances to ALEC in 2011, as CMD has reported.
The commerce task force’s Labor and Business Regulation Subcommittee took up “paid family medical leave” as the sole topic of discussion at the ALEC 2011 Annual Meeting in Louisiana. Subcommittee meeting attendees were given complete copies of Wisconsin’s 2011 Senate Bill 23(now Wisconsin Act 16). They were also handed a target list and map of state and local paid sick leave policies prepared by the NRA. Since then, Louisiana enacted a similar law in 2012, and 2013 has seen the introduction of a spate of similar bills, with Mississippi, Kansas, Tennessee, and Florida signing the measures into law.
Wisconsin Act 16 overrode Milwaukee’s popular paid sick leave ordinance that was passed in November 2008 by referendum with nearly 70 percent of the popular vote. In 2011, while the Capitol was surrounded by protesters and Democratic Senators were out of state, the Wisconsin Legislature moved to override the measure.
Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, put it best when he told CMD, “The sole purpose of ALEC has been to develop the most anti-middle class, pro-corporation policies, legislation, and agenda in history. They’ve been waiting for just the right moment to reverse the progress of the American middle class and drive everyone to the bottom, to the lowest wages, the weakest benefits, no job security, and no retirement to speak of. We may not have the billions of dollars of the Koch brothers. But we have each other and we must stick together and fight ALEC’s cynical and un-American agenda.”
Excerpted with permission from the Center for Media and Democracy.


Mary Bottari and Rebekah Wilce work for the Center for Media and Democracy in Madison, Wis. Bottari is CMD’s Deputy Director and an experienced policy wonk and consumer advocate. She launched the website and publishes the only monthly tally of the Total Wall Street Bailout Cost. Prior to coming to CMD, Mary worked for ten years as senior analyst in Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch Division.
Wilce is a farmer with a degree in writing from the University of Arizona. She is the lead writer for CMD’s Food Rights Network.

Study: Record Number 21 Million Young Adults Living With Parents

CBS News
WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — A record number of young adults are living with their parents.
A new study from Pew Research finds that 36 percent of Millennials – young adults ages 18 to 31 – are living at their parents’ homes, the highest number in four decades. A record 21.6 million young adults were still living at home last year.  
“Most of my friends that have graduated end up living back home because even if they have a job they can’t afford to pay rent and pay back their loans at the same time,” Stephanie Levonne, a 20-year-old college student living at home, told CBS News. “I know a lot of people that took out almost half or more of their tuition in loans which is $50,000 so it’s impossible to pay rent and live in New York City while paying off your loan.”
The number rose from 32 percent at the beginning of the Great Recession in 2007 and 34 percent in 2009.
Declining employment led more young adults to stay with their parents. Sixty-three percent of Millennials had jobs in 2012, down from 70 percent in 2007.
The study also found that the number of 18- to 24-year-olds who were enrolled in college rose from 35 percent in March 2007 to 39 percent in March 2012 and that the number of Millennials dropped to 25 percent last year from 30 percent in 2007.
The Labor Department released its latest job report Friday, showing the economy added 162,000 jobs last month while the unemployment rate edged lower to 7.4 percent.

Bankrupting democracy in Detroit

After decades of deindustrialization compounded by state and federal neglect, Detroit has been placed on a crash course that could see it in bankruptcy before year™s end.
Yet instead of running away from this challenge, legislators, a former police chief and a former county prosecutor are all competing in an August 6 primary and a November 5 general election to choose a new mayor. The timing couldn™t be better for voters to weigh in on the city™s tough choices and set priorities-and to choose leaders to implement them. There is just one problem: the winner of the election will not have the authority to govern.
At a time when Detroiters should be charting the course for a city that still retains immense promise despite severe fiscal challenges, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has seized power from local elected officials and handed it to a corporate lawyer he has named as the city™s œemergency manager.” In July, Snyder announced plans to steer Detroit into a federal bankruptcy process that could see its services curtailed, public employee pensions cut and assets sold off.
This power grab bodes ill for other cities threatened by austerity schemes. A Republican governor who won just 5 percent of the city™s vote in 2010 is calling the shots.
œThe concept of an emergency manager is antithetical to democracy,” says Benny Napoleon, a front-runner in the mayoral race. œDetroit, just as any community, has a constitutional right to self-governance.”
Michigan voters agree. Last fall, they voted 53 to 47 percent statewide- 82 to 18 percent in Detroit-to scrap the emergency manager law, which Snyder had been using to take over smaller cities. Yet within weeks, Snyder signed a new version of the law-one that has been championed by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a think tank funded by Charles Koch™s foundation with ties to national conservative groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council. This spring, the governor used the law to seize control of Detroit, sparking a public outcry and legal battles.
Snyder is spinning a story that says inept local officials, public sector unions and pensioners have made a mess of things and must be shoved aside in order to set things straight. National Republicans are on board, with Senator Lindsey Graham declaring, œThere is no doubt Detroit has huge problems, but they are facing problems of their own making.” To be sure, Detroit has made some mistakes, just as it has elected some flawed leaders. But the city and its unions have shown flexibility over many years. Indeed, if austerity cuts really worked, Detroit would be a boomtown. œBetween 1990 and 2013,” notes Thomas Sugrue, author of The Origins of the Urban Crisis, a prizewinning book on the city, œDetroit reduced its municipal workforce by nearly half to help make ends meet.”
The real cause of the crisis is deindustrialization, which began many decades ago but accelerated dramatically with free-trade deals like NAFTA and the permanent normalization of trade relations with China. From 2000 to 2010, metro Detroit lost 52 percent of its manufacturing jobs. In 1950, factories employed one in ten city residents; now it™s one in fifty. And while auto companies got a massive federal bailout in 2009, that did nothing to stop the shuttering of factories or the offshoring of production. The Big Three automakers are posting headline-grabbing profits, but manufacturing employment in the industry is still down roughly 200,000 jobs from where it was a decade ago. Nearly a dozen major auto plants once operated in Detroit; now there™s just one operating wholly within the city limits.
It™s primarily Detroit™s size-and its place in the imagination of a country that won™t forget the Motor City-that makes it a national flash point. But other American cities have experienced equally devastating patterns of deindustrialization and state and federal neglect. In Michigan alone, six cities are under emergency management, and they are home to 49 percent of the state™s African-Americans. Michigan Congressman John Conyers has raised concerns about œa racial component of the application of this law” and warns that if bankruptcy proceedings gut union contracts and pensions, a serious blow will be dealt to what remains of the African-American middle class. He wants the House Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on municipal bankruptcies that target the pensions of retired public employees. That™s just one place where federal officials should intervene.
œFor too long, lawmakers and regulators have stood aside as cities grapple with budget deficits, unfunded pensions and crumbling infrastructure,” says Congressman Dan Kildee, a Michigan Democrat who is pressing the Federal Reserve to work with Congress to develop responses to œthe systemic failure of US cities.”
The Fed has mandates to seek maximum employment and to maintain moderate long-term interest rates as part of a broad charge to promote economic stability, which the congressman argues is sufficient to justify a critical examination of œhow to specifically support failing cities.”
“Our system of municipal finance is broken,” asserts Kildee, a former county treasurer. œStates and the federal government need to rethink the way they support cities and metropolitan areas.” In addition to fairer trade policies and infrastructure investments, Kildee talks about the need for a renewed commitment to community development block grants. Instead of cutting grants by more than 40 percent, as congressional Republicans propose, Kildee says, œIt™s time that we start thinking about the long-term sustainability and funding mechanism for cities and suburban areas that are the powerhouse engines of our economy.”
Kildee™s effort to bring the Federal Reserve into the mix is wise, since the current Congress is disinclined to provide cities with the sort of bailouts Wall Street got. Under the right leadership, the Fed has the authority and the influence to focus federal attention on the urban crisis. Wiser still is Kildee™s recognition that the problems facing American cities are œmuch bigger than a failure of management.” There are complex lines of responsibility that run from Washington and the nation™s statehouses into city halls. To place all the blame on Detroit, as Governor Snyder has done in his rush to disempower local elected officials, is fiscal fantasy. The denial of democracy is even more serious, for Detroit and for America. Addressing financial problems by shutting voters out of the economic decisions that affect their lives and futures is not just profoundly undemocratic. It is also a deeply wrongheaded approach that blames the victims rather than changing the policies.

Republished from: Press TV

KoolAid BUBBLE Mentality & UK, US members of HOUSING CULT climb SUICIDAL PROPERTY ladders

KoolAid BUBBLE Mentality & UK, US members of HOUSING CULT climb SUICIDAL PROPERTY ladders


Banks Replacing Enron in Energy – Despite All The Righteous Indignation In The Wake Of Enron’s Failure Did We Really Learn Or Change Anything?

Enron Redux – Have We Learned Anything?
Greed; corporate arrogance; lobbying influence; excessive leverage; accounting tricks to hide debt; lack of transparency; off balance sheet obligations; mark to market accounting; short-term focus on profit to drive compensation; failure of corporate governance; as well as auditors, analysts, rating agencies and regulators who were either lax, ignorant or complicit. This laundry list of causes has often been used to describe what went wrong in the credit crunch crisis of 2008- 2010. Actually these terms were equally used to describe what went wrong with Enron more than twenty years ago. Both crises resulted in what at the time was the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history — Enron in December 2001 and Lehman Brothers in September 2008.Naturally, this leads to the question that despite all the righteous indignation in the wake of Enron’s failure did we really learn or change anything? Taken together with recent revelations about Goldman Sachs gaming the aluminum storage market and fines on market manipulation levied against Barclays and JP Morgan for electricity trading, the answer appears to be a resounding “NO!”
Both Enron and U.S. financial institutions benefited greatly from deregulation of their respective industries. Enron started its corporate life as an owner of regulated natural gas pipelines. With the deregulation of first the natural markets and then the electricity industry, the company evolved into a massive energy trading firm. Deregulation essentially allowed the commodization of electricity and unintentionally created the conditions where corruption, greed and deception flourished. Similarly, in the U.S. financial industry, the seminal moment was the Gramm-Leach­Bliley Act which repealed the Glass-Steagall Act that prohibited mixing investment and commercial banking This allowed financial institutions to become financial supermarkets and also become Too Big Too Fail, requiring massive amounts of taxpayer dollars to be spent on rescuing them during the financial crisis. Another important piece of deregulation was the 2003 Federal Reserve determination that certain commodity activities are complementary to financial activities and thus permissible for bank holding companies owning trading assets like oil storage tanks or metals warehouses…..
Banks Replacing Enron in Energy Incite Congress as Abuses Abound
The U.S. government permitted Wall Street firms to expand in the energy industry a decade ago, when the collapse of Enron Corp. and its army of traders left a void in the market. The results aren’t pretty.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) settled Federal Energy Regulatory Commission claims this week that employees engaged in 12 bidding schemes to wrest tens of millions of dollars from power-grid operators. A Barclays Plc (BARC) trader stands accused of bragging he “totally fukked” with a Southwest energy market. Deutsche Bank AG workers, faced with losses on a contract, allegedly altered electricity flows to make it profitable instead.
The FERC’s investigations are fueling a debate among lawmakers and the Federal Reserve over whether to reverse more than a decade of policy decisions that let Wall Street banks keep or build units handling commodities and energy. Senators examining the firms’ roles have said they may call bankers and watchdogs to a September hearing amid concern traders are abusing their ability to buy and sell physical products while betting on related financial instruments.
Banks have been seen as “sources of capital investment and market liquidity,” said Marc Spitzer, a partner at law firm Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington and a former FERC commissioner. “But the tradition and culture of large banks is different than the conservative and risk-averse culture of regulated utilities.”
Rolling Blackouts

JPMorgan, the largest U.S. lender, announced last week that it’s considering ways to exit the physical commodities business, which includes energy trading. The New York-based company, led by Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, 57, will pay a $285 million fine and disgorge $125 million in gains to settle the FERC’s case without admitting or denying wrongdoing.
“We’re pleased to have this matter behind us,” Brian Marchiony, a spokesman for the firm, said as the accord was announced.
Enron Style Accounting Fraud and Congress’ Sequester Squad
Here’s what’s in your Prime Interest today:
Let’s talk jobs. Are we sounding like a broken record? Yes, the unemployment rate ticked down this morning from seven point six to seven point four percent. The number of payrolls — or jobs — added was one hundred sixty two thousand, a bit short of expectations. And, as usual, the largest contributing factors were part time and low quality jobs. So, Bernanke and Co. have complete freedom to do whatever they want come September. And according to financial experts, the September FOMC meeting is the big one — because that’s when our beloved Chairman gets to take soft-ball questions from such journalistic luminaries as Jon Hilsenrath — and defend the undefendable. That would be more bond buying and QE madness.
Also, The role of so-called “auditors” is oft-overstated in our modern capitalist markets. According to Crazy Eddie CFO, Sam Antar, the entire concept of an audit provides a false sense of security. Four big firms control most of the market. That would be Deloitte, Earnst and Young, PriceWaterHouseCoopers, KPMG. But they do much more than checking the ledgers of the fortune 500 companies they represent. They also consult with them and help resolve regulatory disputes. A conflict of interest? We leave that to you, the viewer to decide. Bob talks to Francine McKenna, Forbes columnist and editor of the blog, about the role of the big four auditors in perpetuating accounting fraud in the big banks and Fortune 500 companies.
Plus, since the implementation of the sequester, over 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed and numerous government agencies have been shuttered. With a budget battle looming in the fall and rhetoric on the hill heating up, there seems to be no end in sight for the mass budget cuts. Bob talks to Mark Levine, host of “The Inside Scoop.”
And are we witnessing LIBOR redux? LIBOR was the scandal that involved interest rate fixing. And Now the $300 trillion interest rate derivatives market is under scrutiny. The CFTC is investigating, but the lack of any substantive conclusion to silver market manipulation case does not set an encouraging precedent.
Speaking of swaps, is it LIBOR redux? Recorded telephone calls and e-mails show that traders at Wall Street banks instructed a firm to buy or sell as many interest-rate swaps as necessary to move the benchmark rate. By rigging the measure, the banks stood to profit on separate derivatives trades they had with their clients. We’re waiting with baited breath on the Fed’s response to this one.
Finally, a former Goldman Sachs trader was found liable for fraud. Note, this was not any of the top execs. No, the Department of Justice goes after mid-level employees so-as not to jeopardize the too-big-to-jail doctrine. We’re not even going to mention his name, because it simply does matter. They conveniently never include the top dogs. We talk about accounting fraud, sequester effects and the revolving door at the CFPB.
Royal Goldman Household & Goldman Sachs leeching money from American soul

Rotterdam heeft eigen munt

Ruben Munsterman - Van de Amsterdamse Makkie tot de Griekse Tems. Door de eurocrisis beginnen burgers steeds vaker een lokale muntsoort. Vanaf deze week heeft ook Rotterdam zijn eigen valuta. Deze heet de Dam, wat staat voor De alternatieve munt.
Hermann Matieschek is een van de initiatiefnemers van het nieuwe ruilmiddel Dam, dat sinds 1 augustus in omloop is. ‘Met een nieuwe lokale muntsoort, de Dam, willen wij middenstanders en kleine ondernemers meer financiële ruimte geven.’, vertelt de Rotterdammer tegen Follow te Money. ’Veel te veel mensen aan de onderkant van de samenleving hebben te weinig euro’s vanwege de crisis. De banken verstrekken nauwelijks kredieten.’

Het Zuiden

In de zuidelijke landen van Europa, waar ondernemers over nog minder fiduciair geld beschikken dan in Nederland, zijn lokale valuta al een goed gebruik.
Volgens Trouw kent bijvoorbeeld Spanje al meer dan dertig complementaire muntsoorten naast de euro en ongeveer zo’n driehonderd zogeheten tijdbanken. Bij tijdbanken krijgen rekeninghouders voor iedere uur werk een coupon, die dan weer gebruikt kan worden om dienst te betalen bij een andere ondernemer. De Indische Buurt in Amsterdam heeft sinds kort de Makkie.
Het Rotterdamse ruilmiddel Dam werkt, zoals de meeste lokale valuta, als een zogeheten mutual credit clearing, een systeem waarbij het aantal Dams in omloop altijd in evenwicht blijft. Een ondernemer mag 500 Dam in het rood staan.

Zero sum

Als bijvoorbeeld deelnemer A een betaling doet van 10 Dam aan deelnemer B dan komt deelnemer A 10 Dam in de min te staan en deelnemer B 10 Dam in de plus. De Dam ontstaat dus doordat de deelnemers elkaar als collectief krediet geven’, aldus de uitleg op de website.
‘We hebben de Dam opgezet voor het MKB maar ook consumenten mogen mee doen. Een particulier kan immers ook Dams verdienen door bijvoorbeeld een keer voor iemand te strijken.’, vertelt Matieschek.
‘Je bent niet arm als je geen geld hebt. Je bent arm als je niets te bieden hebt’
In Griekenland richtte Maria Choupis al eerder de Tems, een lokale Griekse munt, op. Choupis omschreef de werking van een alternatieve muntsoort treffend: ‘Je bent niet arm als je geen geld hebt. Je bent arm als je niets te bieden hebt.’


De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) heeft de Dam een goedkeuring van geen bezwaar gegeven. Volgens Matieschek ging dat vrij makkelijk. ‘De Dam is additioneel. Het is geen vervanging van de euro. Wij maken geen geld en bieden ook geen uitwisseling met de euro.’
En hoe zit dat met de belastingdienst? ‘De belastingdienst ging er ook moeiteloos mee akkoord. Ondernemers moeten bij de fiscus aangeven hoeveel Dams zij hebben verdiend. Alleen hoe dat dan later verrekend wordt, wisten ze bij de belastingdienst geloof ik ook nog niet helemaal’, zegt Matieschek lachend.

Elektronisch betalen

Er zijn geen biljetten of fysieke munten van de Dam in omloop. Betaling gebeurt elektronisch via de Cyclos software van het bedrijf Stro. ‘Via een app kunnen ondernemers ter plaatse een transactie doen. Of later thuis achter de computer via het internet.’ Matieschek verwacht niet dat mensen hier misbruik van gaan maken door – eenmaal thuis – de overboeking niet te doen. ‘De Dam wordt vooral lokaal in Noord-Rotterdam gebruikt. Iedereen kent elkaar.’
De stichting Rotter-Dam, die het initiatief in goede banen leidt, hoopt in 2014 minimaal 500 rekeninghouders te hebben. ‘Dat gaat volgens mij wel lukken. De eerste betalingen zijn trouwens al met succes voltooid.’ Hoeveel rekeninghouders er in dit prille stadium al zijn, houdt Matieschek liever nog even voor zichzelf.

IMF advises Spain to cut wages by 10 percent

Fund calls for major social pact to boost jobs and stimulate growth


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday called on Spain’s unions and employers to work together to find solutions - including cutting workers’ wages - to tackle unemployment and stimulate growth so that more jobs can be created.
In its latest report on Spain, the IMF said government reforms need to go further to increase companies’ “internal flexibility” and “enhance employment opportunities for the unemployed.”
While lauding the government’s labor reform, IMF officials said the government should consider reducing taxes on companies that focus on hiring certain groups, such as the young and low-skilled.
“A social agreement should be explored to bring forward the employment gains from structural reforms,” states the report. The accord could include a deal between employers, who would commit themselves to “significant employment increases,” and the unions, who would agree “to significant further wage moderation and some fiscal incentives.”
“The risks, however, are significant and any agreement should not stall the reform process,” the IMF said.
IMF technicians undertook a study to look at the effects of a 10-percent wage cut over two years accompanied by a reduction in social security contributions by one and two-thirds of a percent. It also examined broadening the base of the value-added tax (VAT) in two years, passing the now-reduced products, which have an 11-percent rate, into the general 21-percent category.
“The results, while subject to inherent limitations of the model, suggest the wage reduction, and associated fall in prices, would have a significant positive impact on economic growth and support the fiscal adjustment,” according to the study.
“The wage/price decline would result in a real depreciation of around five percent over three years, boosting exports and slowing imports. Importantly, a credible social agreement would also have a large positive impact on investment given the lower production costs and improved outlook.”
The IMF also called on Spanish banks to play their part by “promptly recognizing” losses and selling distressed assets quickly “to avoid tying up resources.”
The report goes on to state that financial institutions should continue to reinforce the quality and quantity of capital, remove supply constraints, and implement “rigorous and regular forward-looking scenario exercises on bank resilience to guide supervisory action.”
“The government has a large majority, no general elections until late 2015, and has faced only limited social unrest. But the economic context has reduced the popularity of the two main parties, which could make public support for new difficult reforms more challenging,” the report said. “There is a risk that regional-center tensions could also increase and political fragmentation yield inconclusive elections in the future.”

77% of new jobs created this year are part-time

When the payroll report was released last month, the world finally noticed what we had been saying for nearly three years: that the US was slowly being converted to a part-time worker society. This slow conversion accelerated drastically in the last few months, and especially in June, when part time jobs exploded higher by 360K while full time jobs dropped by 240K. In July we are sad to report that America's conversation to a part-time worker society is not "tapering": according to the Household Survey, of the 266K jobs created (note this number differs from the establishment survey), only 35% of jobs, or 92K, were full time. The rest were... not.

What is worse, however, is when one looks at job creation broken down by "quality" in all of 2013. The chart below does the bottom line some justice:

But what really shows what is going on in America at least in 2013, is the following summary: of the 953K jobs "created" so far in 2013, only 23%, or 222K, were full-time. Part-time jobs? 731K or 953K of total.

Source: Part-Time and Full-Time and BLS

Gold And Silver – Contrary To Popular Belief, Paper Is The Bellwether For Near-Term Precious Metals.

by Michael Noonan
For all of the disdain directed toward the paper futures markets in gold and silver from
the Precious Metals, [PM], community, those markets continue to set the tone for pricing.
Why is that?
People by the tens of thousands lining up to buy gold and silver, waiting for hours in lines;
record sales for gold and silver coins growing month by month; central banks have over-
leased their gold holdings, [add also the gold holdings of its customers, against their
knowledge]; banks no longer delivering physical gold; banks with allocated gold accounts
held by the uber-wealthy not able to make good in delivering gold to rightful holders;
German bank demanding gold back from New York and London, told “unable” for the next
seven years, not weeks, not months, years; India banning gold imports, and now Pakistan.
There are many rumors that COMEX /LMBA have little to no gold and silver available to
deliver.  The paper markets are garbage, worthless, a joke.
The list goes on and on.  So does the pricing viability of the paper markets.  You know, the
ones nobody believe in but almost all still follow.  Why is that?
The best answer?  Laws and rules do not apply to the New World Order, [NWO], nor to the
central banking arms of that shadow-ruling group.  They operate their Ponzi schemes with
impunity.  When is the last time you heard of any banker going to jail for the massive
fraud committed in the mortgage scandal, or the rampant bank scandals using derivatives
that dwarf their holdings but remain hidden, abetted by central bankers loaning out fiat
by the trillions to prop up every single existing bank, all underwater but not allowed to
Charles Keating was one, back in the late 1980s, but that was before the NWO began to
operate more openly in their undaunted zeal to rule the world, enslaving it financially with
fiat, with the Rothschild formula growing in influence like a tapeworm devouring its host.
The Rothschild’s understood money and loaning it out at interest.  Their formula was to
lend only to kings and countries, demanding repayment in gold and silver, or control over
a nation unable to repay.  Eventually, none are able to repay, and the NWO take over.  If
ever anyone could roll over in his gave, convulsing with laughter, it is Mayer Amschel of
the red shield sign.
The Rothschild’s also well understood that the surest way to destroy a nation is to debauch
its currency, a-la Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.  This is how the NWO finally took over the United
States when it was forced into bankruptcy back in 1933, via the bank “holiday” declared by
Socialist FDR so the Federal Reserve could take official control over the entire system.
[The privately owned Federal Reserve being the NWO financial tentacle.]
How does this relate to gold and silver and paper pricing?  The NWO is in full control of
the entire Western banking system, economy, and governments.  There is absolutely no
way that controlling group is about to walk away and cede control of its financial system,
developed over centuries, to anyone.  Not to China, not to Russia, and no other country
really matters.  Accommodations will develop between the rising ruling East and the fast
declining West, but the NWO will remain in control in the West.  Think Big Brother and
NSA, and you get the picture.
The Golden Rule: He Who Has The Gold Rules, may be undergoing a new test, if all of
the gold has been transferred to the East, as widely reported.  Almost all opinions are that
the West will somehow financially collapse, in this process, and it certainly seems to be
inescapable to some degree, but no one knows how or to what extent.
Everyone now knows how the NWO operates, or should.  Note Greece and the destruction
of that country.  Greece was told to take on unsustainable new debt, in order to deal with
all the debt it could already not sustain, and for those loans, “Greece, you must give up
your gold, and by the way, we now tell you how to run our country, for you are now
bankrupt, according to plan.”
Cyprus.  “Our poor banking system is in trouble,” cried the NWO.  “We cannot allow that.
Steal the money needed from the masses dumb enough to deposit [loan] into our greedy
hands.  Make them pay!” … a corrupted version of Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake.”
All according to NWO plan.
Is Edward Snowden a traitor?  Absolutely, according to the Obama Reich.  How does the
NWO’s political arm, USA, work?  Kill the messenger, and get the message buried.  Make
the people believe Snowden betrayed his country and do not focus on the FACTS that the
US is spying on all its citizens,  betraying them [and apparently citizens from around the
world], STASI-style.  There is no outrage from the public, at least none that will stop the
NWO from its mission of total submission.
When one is out of work, receiving minimum wage, working part-time, receiving welfare,
benefits, or food stamps, etc, that population is not going to question the hand that feeds
them, [all according to plan].
The point?  If you get the people to focus on the wrong questions, you never have to worry
about giving the right answers.  That is how the NWO functions, and these are examples of
how expectations for the collapse of gold and silver may be vastly misplaced, at least in
terms of timing.  We know for certain that all of our purchases of the physical over the past
two years  are underwater, [earlier purchases are not], but in the same way a homeowner
may be underwater.  It only matters if you have to sell while in that status.

This is the mainstay attitude of those PM buyers and holders smart enough to acquire both
gold and silver.  Fiats have an unbroken track record of failing throughout all of history.
Gold also has an unbroken track record of being a store of value for over 5,000 years.  Yes,
there have been hiccups along the way, and we are in one now.  It is what it is, but what it
is is also an incredible buying opportunity at “fire sale” prices.
No one knows how long it will take for a final bottom to occur in PMs.  The focus of this
article is on things other than gold and silver, yet closely related in important ways for
their ultimate impact.  When will fiat inflation come?  It is already here, just masked by an
ongoing series of more lies and deceptions by NWO governments, and that includes the
The bigger question everyone else so interested wants to know is when will PM price
“inflation” show up?  Actually, gold never has inflation problems.  Its counter-measure in
fiat currencies always does.  For us, the surest signs of problems will show up in those
NWO paper markets, aka COMEX and LMBA.  They are the bellwether to watch, for as
long as price is captured in these so-called markets, the price of physical gold and silver
remains captured within them, regardless of anyone’s opinion of the paper markets.
Why is that?
It should not be, but it is.
Looking at the “faux” paper markets, they are like any other chart of any other market,
they go up, down, and move sideways.  Like any market, it takes time to turn a trend.
From a down trend, a market usually goes sideways, allowing for smart money to cover
shorts and establish longs.  We will not pass on the merits of smart money already
accumulating positions, albeit in the physical market, not in paper, and that could create
an exception to a sideways move and lead to  a V-Bottom, where price explodes to the
In either event, a look at the charts of the paper-tracked PM market shows the following:
Around the mid-1980s, there was a commercial by Wendys featuring the little old lady,
Clara Peller.  Her catch-phrase line was, “Where’s the beef?”  Where is the substance of
anything?  It is why we listed several aspects for the unprecedented demand for gold in
the second opening paragraph, yet, the question remains, “Where’s the beef?”  We see
none in the charts.
Weekly trend remains down.  There was evidence of a potential upside breakout rally, two
weeks ago, but no follow-through.  It is possible last week was a supporting retest, but that
will have to be confirmed by higher prices in the week coming, or gold will continue to
languish in its paper malaise.
GCZ W 2 Aug 13
The daily shows what is needed, more clearly than the weekly.  We gave back profit gained
from the breakout rally, a few weeks ago, during Friday’s shakeout, which triggered a
protective stop just under 1300.  A re-entry at 1310 was taken because of the structure of a
strong close after a strong sell-off that failed.
If paper prices are to continue higher, there should be more evidence of absorption in the
coming week.  If not, this market remains weak.
GCZ D 2 Aug 13
This is a totally different market.  Unlike the labored retest in gold, note how labored the
rally effort has been since the week-ending 21 July wide-range decline.  It could be a
reflection of the manipulation of the paper market, which makes a degree of sense, for
the natural law of supply and demand has been missing during the JPMorgan take-down.
SIU W 3 Aug 13
Any argument for a silver recovery remains a fragile one until that market shows demand
in the form of strong rally bars on increased volume.  We also took a hit in silver on the
Friday shakeout, triggering a stop-loss, but re-entered again, near the close.
These positions are probes, expecting a rally to continue, and they require flexibility, for
as price swings show, anything can, and will happen.
Charts do not lie.  There may be lies and deceit within them, but the chart structure shows
the truth of whether or not those lies and deceits are working.  If you were to take all of the
PM pundits, along with the sky-high predictions of where the price of gold and silver are to
be, and stack them all against a few charts, based on results, who/which has been more
accurate?  All pundits have been way off, as to timing, and continue to be.  Why is that?
SIU D 3 Aug 13

GlassSteagall: Wall Street’s Permanent Bank Holiday (New LPAC VIDEO)

July 31, 2013 – Reenacting Glass-Steagall will mean orchestrating the largest market crash in human history. We present six detailed steps that will be taken by us in enforcing the Glass-Steagall law; how it will benefit the people, and ruin Wall Street.
Please redistribute this video as far and wide as possible. Tweet it, post it on facebook, email it to your Congressman, show it to your neighbor, post it on your blog!