Monday, March 7, 2016

Canada plans to experiment with giving people unconditional free money

Finland and the Netherlandshave already shown their interest in giving people a regular monthly allowance regardless of working status, and now Ontario, Canada is onboard.
Ontario's government announced in February that a pilot program will be coming to the Canadian province sometime later this year.
The premise: send people monthly checks to cover living expenses such as food, transportation, clothing, and utilities — no questions asked.
It's a radical idea, and one that has been around since the 1960s. It's called "basic income." In the decades since it was first proposed, various researchers and government officials have given basic income experiments a try, to mixed results.
Folks at the Basic Income Canada Network, the national organization promoting basic income, have high hopes.
"We need it rolled out across Canada, and Quebec, too, is in the game," said chair of BICN, Sheila Regehr, in a statement. "So there's no reason why people and governments in other parts of this country need sit on the sidelines – it's time for us all to get to work."
Ontario officials haven't decided when or where exactly it'll roll out the program, nor how much each person will receive. When it does, the money will come from a portion ofOntario's budget set aside for the experiment.
In Finland, a small social democratic country, people will receive an additional 800 euros per month, or just shy of $900. In various cities throughout the Netherlands, people receive an extra $1,000.
Ontario at least doesn't seem to be spinning its wheels. Canada's federal minister of families, children, and social development, Jean-Yves Duclos, formally endorsed the experiment early last month, saying that basic income merits a genuine discussion.
"There are many different types of guaranteed minimum income," Duclos told The Globe and Mail. "I'm personally pleased that people are interested in the idea."
In theory, basic income should work.
While one kneejerk reaction is to argue that free money creates a lazy working class, research suggests the opposite is true. Supported by the financial safety net, people in one 2013 study actually worked 17% longer hours and received 38% higher earnings when basic income was given a shot.

U.S. Investors Miss Iran Deals Worth Billions, Greylock Says

Daily Life In The Capital As Iran Expects Its Economic Growth To Accelerate
Visitors approach the Emamzade mosque in Tehran.
Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
  • Institutional managers' Iran return likely years away: Humes
  • Daimler, Airbus have made deals, while U.S. firms are stalled
U.S. investors are at risk of getting shut out of deals in Iran while their European competitors get a head start on billions of dollars in opportunities unlocked by the lifting of international sanctions, according to Greylock Capital Management.
“It seems like the U.S. might miss this opportunity because the Europeans are going to move regardless,” Hans Humes, Greylock’s chief executive officer and chairman who traveled to Iran in June, said in an interview in Mexico City. “It almost doesn’t matter what the U.S. does because once it starts opening up to Europe I think the economy in Iran will start to move.”
Hans Humes
Hans Humes
Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg
Foreign investors and multinationals are lining up to return to Iran after last year’s historic nuclear deal led to the lifting of international sanctions in January. Until then, firms were prevented from transferring money in and out of the Islamic Republic, whose $370 billion economy is projected to grow 5.8 percent this year.
While European companies like German automaker Daimler AG and France’s Airbus Group SE have already signed deals, American citizens and companies remain limited because the U.S. has kept some of its own restrictions tied to accusations of terrorism and human rights abuses.
Changing the Treasury Department’s Iran policy toward processing payments would “open things up,” said Humes. His New York-based hedge fund, which oversees about $1 billion, focuses on distressed and high-yielding emerging-market debt.
The U.S. severed ties with Iran a year after the 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled American ally Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and led to the U.S. embassy hostage crisis in Tehran. President Barack Obama initiated a detente in 2013, eventually sealing an international accord with Iran, despite Republican lawmakers’ opposition. Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have all pledged to either nullify or renegotiate the terms of the deal.

Energy, Infrastructure

Humes sees the biggest opportunities in Iran’s energy, infrastructure and corporate services. He said that the investment opportunities may be worth “multiple tens of billions” of dollars in the next five to 10 years, assuming political stability. Iran’s main stock gauge, the TEDPIX Index, advanced 27 percent in 2016 through Sunday to close near the highest level in about two years.
Europe is likely to get in first with banks there hopefully starting to ramp up transactions with Iranian lenders in the next year, Humes said. Meanwhile, the entrance of U.S. institutional investors still likely two to three years away, he added.
Iran needs $15 billion per year for infrastructure projects and the modernization of its transport sectors, Abbas Akhoundi, the minister for roads and urban development, said during a conference for foreign investors in Tehran this weekend.
“Everybody sees the opportunity in Iran,” Humes said. “It’s going to happen and the trigger for that will just be the payment system opening up.”

World’s Poorest President Urges Public To Kick The Wealthy Out Of Politics

The Uruguayan President Jose “Pepe” Mujica, known as the world’s poorest President, has urged members of the public worldwide to kick out rich people from politics. 

World's poorest President urges public to keep wealthy people out of politics

Mujica, often described as the “world’s most humble president”, retired from office in 2015 with an approval rating of 70 percent. In an interview with CNN en Español this week the former Uruguay leader criticised world leaders for not truly representing the people.
We invented this thing called representative democracy, where we say the majority is who decides,” Mujica told CNN. “So it seems to me that we [heads of state] should live like the majority and not like the minority.” reports:
Mujica reportedly donates 90 percent of his salary to charity. Mujica’s example offers a strong contrast to the United States, where in politics the median member of Congress is worth more than $1 millionand corporations have many of the same rights as individuals when it comes to donating to political campaigns.

These 2charts show why Moody’s has cut ratings of 4 countries & placed a further 12countries on review for downgrade

These 2charts show why Moody's has cut ratings of 4 countries & placed a further 12countries on review for downgrade

Legalizing Weed Has Done What 1 Trillion Dollars And A 40 Year War Couldn't

Submitted by Nick Bernabe via,
The Mexican drug cartels are finally meeting their match as a wave of cannabis legalization efforts drastically reshapes the drug trafficking landscape in the United States. It turns out that as states legalize cannabis use and cultivation, the volume of weed brought across the border by Mexican drug cartels dramatically decreases — and is putting a dent in their cash flow.
A newly-released statistical report from the U.S. Border Patrol shows a sharp drop-off in cannabis captured at the border between the United States and Mexico. The reduction in weed trafficking coincides with dozens of states embracing cannabis use for both medical and recreational purposes.
In fact, as the Washington Post reports, cannabis confiscations at the southern border have stumbled to the lowest point in over a decade — to only 1.5 million pounds. That’s down from a peak of four million pounds in 2009.
Speaking to Anti-Media, Amir Zendehnam, host of the popular cannabis show, “In the Clear with Amir” on, told us what he thinks of these new statistics:
“The economics of the cannabis industry show us that with healthy competition in the market, prices drop, quality rises, violence diminishes, and peaceful transactions increase. As constant new research emerges detailing the plant’s benefits, the negative stigma of using cannabis, both medicinally and recreationally, is diminishing, raising the demand for high quality product.

“Colorado, for example, is experiencing an economic boom that has never been seen in the state. The biggest issue in Colorado today is what to do with the huge amounts of revenue and economic success the state is gaining as a result of legalization. The Colorado model has proven that legalization reduces crime rates, cuts prices, pushes unfavorable competition out of the market, provides cleaner products with heightened transparency, and increases the standard of living for society as a whole.

“The only people hurt by continued societal acceptance and legalization of cannabis are the cartels and their friends, who have flourished for decades as a result of drug prohibition.

“As legalization spreads across the U.S. and the rest of the world like wildfire, I predict the industry will soon become one of the most dominant and beneficial industries humanity has ever seen.”
And the new competition from legal states has taken a big bite out of the entire illicit Mexican marijuana food chain. “Two or three years ago, a kilogram [2.2 pounds] of marijuana was worth $60 to $90,” a cannabis farmer in Mexico said in an interview with NPR. “But now they’re paying us $30 to $40 a kilo. It’s a big difference. If the U.S. continues to legalize pot, they’ll run us into the ground.”
Consumers are also starting to see the difference. Cheap low quality Mexican cannabis has become almost impossible to find in states that have legalized, while prices for high quality home-grown have steadily decreased.
This is good news for Mexico. A decreasing flow of cannabis trafficking throughout the country will likely lead to less cartel violence as revenues used to buy weapons dry up. Drug war-related violence in Mexico was responsible for an estimated 27,000 deaths in 2011 alone — outpacing the entire civilian death toll of the United States’ 15-year war in Afghanistan.
These developments reinforce criticism of the War on Drugs as a failed policy. Making substances like cannabis illegal simply drove the industry underground, helping make America the largest incarcerator in the world.
Legalizing cannabis will also save the United States a great deal of money. As Mint Press News reported:
“Since Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs in June 1971, the cost of that “war” had soared to over $1 trillion by 2010. Over $51 billion is spent annually to fight the drug war in the United States, according to Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting more humane drug policies.”
Early reports from Colorado’s cannabis tax scheme show that revenues that will ostensibly help schools and rehabilitation efforts by flooding the state with cash. In fact, Colorado became the first state to generate more tax revenue from cannabis than alcohol in one year — $70 million.
But why stop with cannabis legalization? As more and more drug propaganda is debunked thanks to the legal weed movement, it’s time to also advocate for drug legalization across the board. The drug war’s criminalization of substances has done nothing to stem their use, and has simply turned addicts into criminals, even though plenty of experts agree that addiction is a health issue, not a criminal one.

Obama Just Made A Huge Claim About His Plans That Will Have Many Americans Shaking Their Heads

President Obama said Friday that data showing the U.S. economy added 242,000 jobs in February shows that “plans we have put in place to grow the economy have worked.”
“America’s businesses are creating jobs at the fastest pace since the 1990s. America’s workforce is growing at the fastest pace since the year 2000. It is showing the kind of strength and durability that makes America’s economy right now the envy of the world,” he said.
“Right,” wrote John. S. Roberts on Young Conservatives. “Nothing says you care about your fellow Americans like implementing job killers like Obamacare.”

“How can he explain his choice of words to the 90 million-plus who are out of work?” Roberts wrote. “How can he explain his words to the most Americans on food stamps the nation has ever seen?”
Obama maintained that “the facts don’t lie.” However, there are other numbers not trumpeted by the White House that attracted the attention of Financial Times writer Shawn Donnan, who said the trends at work below the headlines show why the economy is a seething issue for average Americans.
Although the official national unemployment rate in January was 4.9 percent, the labor utilization rate — which counts individuals not officially registered as looking for work and those working part-time — is 9.9 percent.

Morgan Stanley Set To Pay $3.2 Billion For 2008 Financial Collapse, Only 2% Of What They Borrowed

freda_wall_streetBy Brianna Acuesta
Morgan Stanley’s settlement for $3.2 billion pales in comparison to what they borrowed.
While some may claim that the settlements made with big banks in recent years are better than nothing or are significant amounts, no matter how much that bank borrowed in 2008-2009, to say that these settlements are minuscule at best is an understatement. Last month, Morgan Stanley, one of the largest investment banks in the world and biggest borrowers in the 2008 financial crisis, agreed to pay $3.2 billion in a settlement with federal authorities.
Although $3.2 billion may seem like a lot of money, and it absolutely is for people not in the investment banking business, let’s compare this settlement to other settlements reached in relation to the crisis. JPMorgan reached a $13 billion settlement, Citigroup reached a $7 billion agreement, and Bank of America agreed to a “historic” settlement of $16.6 billion. Compared to these hefty settlements, $3.2 billion really doesn’t seem like much, especially considering Morgan Stanley borrowed more than almost any other bank during the crisis.
What role did the banks play in the collapse of the housing market and the financial crisis that ensued? They lied and were extremely irresponsible with the mortgage packages they were selling. They would give the loan a high rating of security when it actually had risky factors inside of it and handed them out like candy to people that weren’t likely to be able to pay them back. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the illegal and irresponsible practices Morgan Stanley was involved in, among many other banks, but these practices essentially caused the biggest financial crisis in America since the Great Depression. Why did the banks allow this to happen? Oscar-winning film The Big Short, which details the discovery of the impending economic collapse, suggests that the big banks knew that the government would have to bail them out to protect the country from an even bigger collapse. And bail them out, they did.
In 2008, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was founded as a group that would allocate funds to bail out the banks that were failing and essential to the economy. Rather than nationalize the banks in an effort to protect taxpayers, whose money was essentially buying out the banks, the corrupt Federal Reserve gave money to the banks so they could stay afloat and remain independent. The banks wound up receiving about $700 billion as reported by TARP, but this was only a fraction of how much the Federal Reserve spent, lent, or guaranteed, which was estimated to be $7.7 trillion. How big does the $3.2 settlement look now?

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morgan-2Credit: Robert Ariail
Morgan Stanley was reportedly given $107 billion in the bailout, more than most banks received. This means that the $3.2 billion they settled on is only 2% of what they borrowed from taxpayers during a financial collapse that they caused. The amount is so minuscule that Morgan Stanley had already saved this amount for the settlement, and this is reportedly half of the profits they had just last year.
These criminals should be forced to pay back what they borrowed, plus interest. It’s the American people that suffered the blows of this financial wrongdoing, with many losing their homes and jobs. To make matters worse, there is a lot of speculation about misallocation of these funds once they were transferred to the banks. Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York and then-president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said that Citigroup “paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to more than 1,038 of its employees after it had received its $45 billion TARP funds in late 2008.” This corporation and many others have not yet faced charges for their role in the collapse or this gross misuse of taxpayer bailout money.
Though $3.2 billion may seem like a significant amount for Morgan Stanley to pay as a settlement for the biggest modern financial collapse in America, it is such a small figure compared to what Morgan Stanley borrowed and what the monetary and person repercussions were for the American people. Yes, it’s better than nothing, but it certainly shows that the U.S. has not changed much when it comes to catering to these big institutions that hold so much of the country in the palm of their hands.
Top image credit: Anthony Freda Art
This article (Morgan Stanley Set To Pay $3.2 Billion For 2008 Financial Collapse, Only 2% What They Borrowed) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and

Behind the Facade: America, The Bankrupt Hegemon

Fantasy and fairy tales can go only so far when it comes to the true condition of anything or anyone. Sooner or later the truth must out. This is very much the case when looking at the true condition of the nation the Chinese call, The Hegemon, the not-anymore-so-United States of America. The official Obama Administration economic statistics have declared to the world for more than six years that the world’s largest paper economy was in a marvelous recovery and that unemployment was a mere 5%. Now, with the most severe collapse of oil prices in 13 years, the last remaining job-creating sector of the economy, the oil and gas industry, is rapidly becoming the domino that threatens to topple a mountain of dicey credits and threaten many banks. Only this time, unlike in 2009, the Federal Reserve is in a real pickle, and the Federal debt has doubled to $18 trillion since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2007.
Leading US economists, including Noble Economics Prize winning Paul Krugman, claim that debt in an economy, especially the world’s most debt-bloated economy, the United States “doesn’t matter.” Just keep the borrowing cycle growing and all will be fine. Krugman argued in his New York Times column, “…this is the point almost nobody seems to get — an over-borrowed family owes money to someone else; US debt is, to a large extent, money we owe to ourselves.”
Debt doesn’t matter?
Come again, my ever-so-learned professor? There is a sly rhetorical trick in your language and dishonesty in your argument: “We owe to ourselves?” Does that mean I and my creditor bank are just part of the same happy family? Is “ourselves” the Peoples’ Bank of China to whom “we” American taxpayers, through our government in Washington, owe trillions in debt? Or the Japanese Central Bank?
Are you telling me that it doesn’t matter if I run up so much credit card debt charging 25% annual interest to pay my monthly living costs as millions of Americans are forced to do? It doesn’t matter if I borrow $100,000 from my bank to finance a college education so I can get a job that doesn’t anymore exist in the USA because so many companies have out-sourced to Asia? It doesn’t matter if I incur mortgage debt on a home I bought in 2006 at the peak of the sub-prime real estate bubble? It doesn’t matter that I got the loan by lying to my local bank about my ability to pay the huge mortgage because he didn’t care so long as he could turn around and sell that worthless mortgage risk to Goldman Sachs or another Wall Street bank that “bundled” my high-risk home mortgage with hundreds of other mortgages around the country, creating what the bankers call collateralized mortgage obligations?
Debt implosion of 2007
In the summer of 2007, the more that $4 trillion debt pyramid in the US real estate mortgage-backed securities sector began to implode. That implosion triggered the largest collapse of credit in world history, a collapse which has left the economies of the USA and of the European Union in their worst condition since the creation of the dollar system at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire in 1944.
On July 29, 2007 the head of the German banking regulator, Bafin, and the German Minister of Finance, Peer Steinbrück, held a press conference to announce that the German State, together with leading private and public banks, was organizing an emergency rescue of Germany’s IKB Deutsche Industriebank. IKB was a bank originally set up in 1924 to facilitate payment of German industrial war reparations under the Dawes Plan.
That 2007 crisis marked the second time in its history that the IKB played an historic role in the context of unsound American banking practices. IKB had been convinced by Deutsche Bank head, Josef Ackermann, to buy new, exotic high-yielding securities issued by New York banks, securities known as sub-prime mortgage-backed securities. Sub-prime as in high-risk. Ackermann openly admitted he knew about the IKB problem because his own Deutsche Bank had unloaded the high-risk US bonds onto a naive, incompetent management at IKB. That event, the collapse of IKB, triggered a global financial Tsunami that weighs the world economy to the present.
What is debt or money?
Ultimately money, especially in a world where money is a pure paper commodity—fiat money so-called as it is not tied to gold or silver or other tangible values like land—is a question of “confidence.” The confidence in this case is ultimately in the “full faith and credit of the Government of the United States of America.” And that confidence has been backed always, ultimately, by military power, political power, power to buy or control the lawmakers and administrators—Presidents, Congressmen, judges.
Today, in the first months of 2016, the US is almost nine years into that debt implosion process with no end in sight. The Federal Reserve, the privately owned watchdog for the large Wall Street banks, timidly raised key US bank interest rates from zero by a mere 0.25% on December 15, 2015. They did so after months of cat-and-mouse games with financial markets, hinting that things were returning to “normal.” A month later, that same Fed indicated it had miscalculated. Today the US financial economy is going into a new downward spiral led by debt.
US Oil Junk Bond Crisis
The implosion of the US debt pyramid today is led by energy companies facing impossible conditions in a market where oil and gas prices are lowest in 13 years with no recovery in sight. On February 25, Bloomberg reported that the US oil bust could claim two of its biggest victims yet. Energy XXI Ltd. and SandRidge Energy Inc., oil and gas drillers with a combined $7.6 billion of debt, could not pay interest on their bond debts.
If we listen to Paul Krugman, that doesn’t matter because “we owe the debts to ourselves.” They have until the middle of next month to either pay the interest, work out a deal with their creditors or face a default that could tip them into bankruptcy.
The US shale oil companies over the past seven years became the new “saviors” of Wall Street banks desperate to find new areas of profit in a collapsing economy. They literally threw money at the booming US shale oil industry. Much of the debt the shale companies took on was what is known in Wall Street as “junk bonds.” The term is a reference to the fact that if the borrower company, say SandRidge Energy, goes bankrupt, the holders of their junk bonds are holding just that–junk.
The nearly four million barrels a day rise in USA oil production since 2009 came overwhelmingly from unconventional, high-cost shale oil ‘fracking.’ It has been held up until now by Wall Street bankers willing to keep adding new credit to the distressed companies, hoping against hope for a rise in oil prices. Since June, 2014, however, US oil prices have gone from $103 a barrel to around $30 today. Most shale companies need at least $60 a barrel to break even. Now the day of reckoning is fast approaching as the Wall Street banks, led by JP MorganChase, are deciding to cut credits, to stop throwing good money after bad as the saying goes.
Since the deal between the foolish US Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi King Abdullah in September, 2014 to flood the world with cheap Saudi oil to create a crisis in the Russian ruble amid US sanctions, the worst hit in the unfolding crisis has been the US oil and gas industry, mainly unconventional, costly shale oil and gas. They have sold off hundreds of oil fields, eliminated an estimated two hundred fifty thousand jobs and slashed billions of dollars from capital spending and stock dividends.
As more shale energy companies go bankrupt in coming weeks, there will be no new lending for unconventional oil for decades. Oil, a trade newsletter notes, “JP Morgan was first to finally get defensive and is ready to start serious oil credit redeterminations, without waiting for the traditional examination period in April. The banks are finally feeling the risks of unrestricted lending to the shale…The US shale industry is changing forever and there won’t be this kind of “free money.”
The collapse of the US energy junk bond market is spreading like a cancerous metastasis to the entire US junk bond market that includes borrowers like Toys R’ Us to high-tech IT borrowers. US companies have a total of $1.32 trillion in junk debt maturing between now and 2020, according to Standard & Poor’s. That includes $92.3 billion coming due this year, followed by $160.9 billion in 2017 and $272.5 billion in 2018, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal of February 21.
Consumers of debt…
A further indicator of the true state of the US debt-bloated economy is the fact that the world’s largest retail group, WalMart, just announced it will close 154 of its giant stores that sell everything from food to garden equipment to toys. Over the past two years hundreds of America’s giant shopping malls have been abandoned as store chains like J.C. Penney, Kmart, Radio Shack and Sears close thousands of outlets.
Indebted American consumers are the main reason. A recent study showed that in 2015 the average American household had $129,579 in debt — $15,355 of it on high-interest credit cards. Just because the Federal Reserve has a zero interest rate policy doesn’t mean Chase or other Visa card issuers charge zero. They still charge from 13% to 25% depending on the credit history.
Total consumer debt today is a staggering $11.91 trillion, almost 70% of GDP. It is even worse than the bare statistics. The American household is forced into debt increasingly because the rise in the cost of living has exceeded income growth over the past 12 years. Median household income has grown 26% since 2003, but household expenses have outpaced it significantly — with medical costs growing by 51% and food and beverage prices increasing by 37% in that same span. The average US household pays a total of $6,658 in interest cost on home, cars, credit card debt per year, 9% of the average household income of $75,591. That is being spent on interest alone, not on new shoes for the kids or dining out with the family. This is the real reason the Federal Reserve is in a gigantic pickle regarding raising interest rates to “normal”—it would blow up the near $12 trillion consumer pyramid of debt along with corporate debt.
‘Students of debt’
With jobs in the oil and gas sector vanishing, companies going bankrupt, households choking in debt, real unemployment not the mythical 5% declared by the US Labor Department but more like 23% according to John Williams’ Shadow Government Statistics, another source of debt is assuming alarming dimension. That is student debt, a new factor that 25 years ago was almost negligible. Today students must borrow to finance college.
Today total outstanding student loan debt in the US is $1.2 trillion. Only home mortgage debt is higher. About 40 million Americans hold student loans and about 70% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate with debt. Those who graduated in 2015 left college holding an average of $35,051 before earning their first paycheck to pay that debt off. One in four student loan borrowers are either in delinquency or default…
Are we still to believe that such debt doesn’t matter because “we owe it to ourselves” Professor Krugman. With such professors claiming to teach economics, it is no wonder that the American Hegemon is going bankrupt. Debt is a strategic factor in the existence of any national economy, and has historically been the factor that ruins nations, the United States included.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

“Freedom Always Dies Bit by Bit”: Bundesbank Takes Sides in War on Cash

Source: Don Quijones, Wolf Street

There are two sides in the global war against cash. On one side are many of the world’s governments, central banks, fintech firms, banks, credit card companies, telecommunication behemoths, financial institutions, large retailers, etc. According to them, the days of physical currency are numbered, so why not pull the plug already, beginning with the largest denomination bills such as the $100-note and particularly the €500-note?
On the other side are people who like to use cash – most of whom, according to the dominant official narrative, are either criminals or terrorists. After all, they must have something to hide; otherwise, why would they use a private, untraceable (not to mention archaic, dirty, dangerous and unhygienic) form of payment like cash?
The powers that want to kill off cash already have vital technological and generational trends firmly on their side, along with widespread public ignorance, apathy, and disinterest. But in recent weeks the unlikeliest of defenders of physical money has emerged: the national central bank of Europe’s biggest economy, the German Bundesbank.
“I have my doubts that introducing a cash limit or getting rid of bigger denominations can really prevent terrorists or criminals from engaging in illegal activities,” Carl-Ludwig Thiele, Bundesbank board member in charge of cash issues, said in a speech last week. “We also should ask ourselves: what sort of an understanding of government forms the basis of these proposals? Citizens should not be put under general suspicion.”
Thiele is not the first Bundesbank official to publicly defend cash. Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann warned in the Bundesbank’s annual report that killing off higher denomination banknotes, a policy supported by ECB President Mario Draghi, could have a debilitating effect on trust in cash in general and would be “disastrous” if people started to believe cash would be abolished — an oblique reference to the risk of negative interest rates and the escalating war on cash triggering a run on cash.
The Wall Street Journal accused Weidmann of simply talking his book:
The European Central Bank no longer produces figures on where high denomination banknotes are issued, but from the onset of the Eurozone in 1999 to the end of 2009, Germany issued almost half of all €200 and €500 bills over the decade.
When a central bank issues physical currency, it gains seigniorage income. It makes loans or buys securities that do bear interest while issuing euro banknotes that don’t, so it makes a profit over time… In the ECB, seigniorage is pooled, but as the largest in the bloc, the Bundesbank gets the biggest chunk of that income.
Whatever the Bundesbank’s motives, its opposition to euthanizing physical currency could end up proving to be a very sizable thorn in cash’s would-be assassins’ hide. Thiele, relentlessly in his speech:
“Quite prominent economists, such as the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, Kenneth Rogoff, have called to abolish cash for monetary policy purposes, so that banks could enforce negative interest across the board.”
“This would, in my view, be the wrong response to the monetary policy challenges at the zero lower bound. Instead of financial repression it would make much more sense to discuss how economies could achieve stronger growth again through higher interest rates.”
In its own study on the use of cash, prominently featured on its homepage today, the Bundesbank found that despite all the media hype over the demise of cash, physical currencies still remain king across many advanced economies.
In the study more than 18,500 consumers in Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States kept a written record of what payment methods they used. Turns out, consumers still frequently opt for cash at the point of sale, in some countries more so than others. The report included this chart:
In terms of volume, cash accounted for more than 50% of payment transactions in all of these countries, with the exception of the US. In Germany (DE) and Austria (AT) over 80% of cash transactions were made using cash. In both countries, cash payments also dominated in value. A separate study by the Association of German Banks found that even among millennials, two-thirds prefer paying in cash to electronic means.
What’s crucial isn’t so much the numbers but the very fact that the Bundesbank publishes this type of report so prominently, and in English so that everyone can read it. It’s an obvious part of its campaign to keep cash-in-fist alive as a choice. And in Germany and Austria, the EU’s plans to suppress cash have already provoked a backlash.
“We don’t want someone to be able to track digitally what we buy, eat and drink, what books we read and what movies we watch,” said Austrian Deputy Economy Minister Harald Mahreron on Oe1 radio. “We will fight everywhere against rules” including caps on cash purchases, he said.
Germany’s big tabloid The Bild published a scathing open letter titled, “Hands Off Our Cash,” while a broad spectrum of political parties condemned the proposed measures as an attack on data protection and privacy.
The fact that Europe’s most powerful national central bank is now firmly aligned with the defenders of physical cash could be a vital game changer in the war against cash.
The Bundesbank seems to see the war on cash as a war on personal freedom and choice, in the name of saving a financial system and its absurd negative interest rates:
“We want citizens to be able to pay in whatever form they desire. Especially in Germany, cash is part of that,” said Thiele. And he warned that “freedom always dies bit by bit.” Few countries know that better than Germany. By Don Quijones, Raging Bull-Shit.
Bundesbank President Weidmann had put it this way a couple of weeks ago: “It would be fatal if citizens got the impression that cash is gradually taken away from them.” Read… As War on Cash Escalates, Cash Lovers Fight Back.

John Perkins: The Shadow World Of The Economic Hitman

An exposé of the ugly global battle for control of resources

If you're hoping to have a 'feel good' day today, we're about to owe you an apology.
John Perkins, author of The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, is someone we've been trying to get on the program for some time. He tells a dark story of an elite cabal working in the shadows to subjugate governments as it pursues ever-greater control of the planet's resources.
What's most frightening about this story is how credible it is. Anybody paying attention to world developments will have a hard time dismissing Perkins' claims out-of-hand; and a harder time not being sickened at how on the mark his claims may likely prove to be:
Economic hitmen – I'm a former one, actually – created the world's first truly global empire. It's really a corporate empire, not an American empire although the U.S. government certainly supports it.
We work many different ways, but perhaps the most common is that we will identify a country that has resources that corporations want, like oil. We arrange huge loans of that country from the World Bank or one of its sisters. Yet, the money never actually goes to the country. It is primarily there to make the our companies -- that build the infrastructure projects like the power plants, and the industrial parks, highways, and ports -- very rich.
In addition, a few wealthy families make a lot of money off of these programs. They own the industries and commercial centers.
But the majority of the people do not benefit at all. They do not have enough money to buy much electricity. They cannot get jobs in industrial parks because the industrial parks do not hire many people. They lose out because a lot of money is diverted from healthcare, education, and other social services to try to pay the interest on the debt.
In the end, the principal is never paid down. We go back and say Since you cannot pay your debts, sell your resource real cheap to our corporations without any environmental restrictions or social regulations. Or privatize, and sell off your electric utilities;,your water and sewage systems, and your schools, your jails -- all of your public sector businesses -- to our corporations.
These leaders are very aware that if they do not accept these deals; if we economic hitmen fail to bring them around, the jackals are likely to show up. These are people that will either assassinate those leaders or overthrow their governments.
Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with John Perkins (41m:54s)
Chris Martenson: Welcome to this Peak Prosperity podcast. I am your host, Chris Martenson. The signs of global distress are piling up. Increasingly chaotic financial markets, refugee crises, the hottest year on record, ocean phytoplankton disappearing, unrest in the Middle East, and crashing emerging markets are among the many alarming changes we see around us. Disturbingly, the response from those in charge appears to stretch well past denial, possibly into something darker and more sinister even as they double down on failed policies.
Their answer to the obvious and grotesque predicaments read more

Property crash fears prompt banks to offload risk onto taxpayers

Banks and speculators are attempting to offload mortgage default risk onto unsuspecting taxpayers and pension funds amid fears of a looming property crash in London, ethical finance campaigners have warned.
Earlier this week, it emerged that the Greater London Authority (GLA) is seeking to use residential backed mortgage securities (RMBS) to diversify its investments. At present, there is little direct investment in RMBS by council treasurers. However, the GLA’s proposal looks set to change this trend.
Speaking at an event in central London earlier this week, GLA chief investment officer Luke Webster said the body will adopt the financial instruments if London Mayor Boris Johnson gives them the go-ahead.
“The GLA is certainly sold on the RMBS investment case. So, subject to the mayor’s approval, we will be investing in this asset class,” he said.
RMBS would be run by external managers following a procurement process. Credit specialist 24AM, which currently manages over £3 billion ($4.27bn) worth of asset backed securities, is one such contender.
Ethical finance researcher Joel Benjamin said residential mortgage backed securities played a significant role in the global financial crisis.
Amid growing concern over a looming crash in London’s luxury property market, he told RT that the timing of GLA’s announcement is significant.
Benjamin accused banks and speculators of unloading mortgage default risk onto the backs of taxpayers and pension holders. He said the GLA’s shady investment plans had been sparked by a desire to avoid financial turmoil in the face of a property crash.
Benjamin’s views were echoed by Brussels-based watchdog Finance Watch, which predicted a property crash could result in tax hikes and eroded pensions across the UK.
“People look desperately for yield and buy exotic assets at unsustainable risk premiums,” a spokesperson for the group said.
“Tomorrow their taxes increase, their pensions take a hit and they are accused of failing to predict the crash.”
Director at Institutional Investment Advisors Chris Gaskarth played down fears surrounding the securities, however.
He said problems in the US stemmed from the American RMBS market, whereas the European market has proved to be robust since the global financial crisis.
Via RT. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license.

Number of licensed payday lenders in Idaho drops

Read more here:

ALERT: Silver “The Most Undervalued Asset on Earth” Breaks Out

Holding Cash = “Nefarious Behavior”

While world emperors are forcing Keynesian economic policy and negative interest rates to the point of financial chaos, these government shenanigans are turning savvy folks into cash hoarders and it gets them branded as likely terrorists.
With economic growth an anemic 1%, many Swiss withdrew cash from the bank and stashed it at home or in safe-deposit boxes. High-denomination notes are naturally preferred for this purpose, so circulation of 1,000-franc notes (worth about $1,010) rose 17% last year. They now account for 60% of all bills in circulation and are worth almost as much as Serbia’s GDP.
Japan, where banks pay infinitesimally low interest on deposits, is a similar story. Demand for the highest-denomination 10,000-yen notes rose 6.2% last year, the largest jump since 2002. But 10,000-yen notes are worth only about $88, so hiding places fill up fast. That explains why Japanese went on a safe-buying spree last month after the Bank of Japan announced negative interest rates on some reserves. Stores reported that sales of safes rose as much as 250%, and shares of safe-maker Secom spiked 5.3% in one week.
Our draconian ex-Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has called for global elimination of bills over $50. To quote Summers:
“A moratorium on printing new high denomination notes would make the world a better place.
As always, this is for the sole purpose of “keeping us all safe” and halting “tax evasion and illegal activity.” Somehow, I am sure these measures to eliminate cash would also keep the children safe; rid the world of AIDS; provide free college; eliminate poverty; relieve gender confusion; provide safe spaces for Ivy League grads; lead to the disparagement of Confederate flags; drive the Dow to 25,000; enforce fair trade coffee the world over; and generally, fulfill the entire “American Dream.
Here is a short piece I recently wrote about the establishment masters screaming for the total elimination of cash:”Slavery and Digital Legal Tender.” Yes, we live in a world where editors at the Wall Street Journal feel compelled to publish an opinion piece that defends the use and savings of cash as “legal.” The satire site, The Onion, is quickly becoming irrelevant in a world that has crossed the line from reality to satire. I cannot help but quote H.L. Mencken because the relevance is so compelling. Follow me on Twitter @karendecoster.

Gold Comes to Life, Silver & Platinum Now WAY Undervalued

Steve Forbes Speaks on the Fed, Markets, and a Return of the Gold Standard

Audio Player

Don't want to listen? Read the podcast below!

Welcome to this week's Market Wrap Podcast, I'm Mike Gleason. Coming up we'll hear an encore presentation of my conversation with Steve Forbes. Mr. Forbes recently gave an explosive interview about the presidential election and why he believes the time is now for America to return to the gold standard. My interview with Steve Forbes, billionaire investor and CEO of Forbes, Inc., coming up after this week's market update.
The Street Market Report
News Anchor: Gold is back in a big way in 2016.
Market Analyst: You look into the first part of 2016, January, February, lots of volatility in the marketplace. People are starting to look to gold as the safe haven trade again.
Gold is indeed back in 2016, and in a big way. After powering ahead by 17% through the first two months of the year, the yellow metal is now off to a hot start in March.
It's no longer just the fear trade that's driving gold buying. The narrative from the mainstream financial media has been that gold is just benefiting from recession fears and a flight out of stocks, junk bonds, and other risk assets. But the gold market is now showing strength even on days when other financial assets gain.
Investors bid up stocks this week on the heels of a recovery in the energy sector and on hopes for an upbeat jobs report on Friday. The S&P 500 gained more than 2% through Thursday's close. Yet gold also finished Thursday with significant gains on the week. Gold prices hit fresh new highs for the year. As of this Friday recording, gold is rallying again today and trades at $1,276 an ounce, up 4.2% on the week.
Of course, the naysayers can point to the fact that other metals are failing to confirm gold's breakout. Silver, platinum, and palladium – not to mention copper, crude oil, and other commodities – have been underperforming in recent months. But in recent days, oil and base metal prices have popped.
And this week saw a HUGE pop from the streakiest precious metal: palladium. As of this recording, palladium shows a weekly gain of 14.0% to trade at $553 an ounce. Its sister metal platinum is also up, with prices advancing 5.7% this week to $968.
Platinum has severely underperformed gold since 2008, when the platinum to gold ratio peaked at 2.4 to 1. From being 2.4 times more expensive than gold, platinum has since gotten cheaper and cheaper relative to gold. Today, it's cheaper than gold on an absolute basis. Platinum prices are now historically low versus the yellow metal, with the ratio coming in at 0.75 to 1. At some point, platinum is likely to again trade higher per ounce than gold, in line with the historical norm.
Investors who want to add some platinum into their mix of precious metals bullion holdings have a few options, including 1-ounce Australian and Canadian coins as well as 1-ounce and tenth-ounce bars. A new and convenient way to accumulate platinum on a small scale is with the new PAMP Suisse 1-gram bars. They currently sell for less than $50 each at Money Metals Exchange. Meanwhile, we've also added a 1-gram PAMP Suisse palladium bar to our ever growing product lineup as well.
Value opportunities also exist in silver – which, like platinum, looks super cheap relative to gold. The silver to gold ratio now sits almost exactly at the 2008 crisis low, which itself was a multi-decade low. Silver prices are up sharply today coming in now at $15.70 an ounce, and are up 6.4% this week and the current ratio is 81.2 to 1.
Contrarian investors are snatching up silver coins in a big way. After last year's record-setting demand numbers for Silver Eagles, the U.S. Mint appears unable to keep up with the incredibly strong demand it has been hit with so far this year. The U.S. Mint's sales numbers for January and February show that it has already sold more Silver Eagles so far in 2016 than it did in any year prior to 2008!
But if demand remains this strong, you can expect the government-run mint to struggle mightily. Federal bureaucrats' habit when faced with dynamic market conditions that drive unexpectedly high demand is to put limits on sales. The rationing of Silver Eagles could cause premiums on the popular coins to rise once again, something we've seen happen many times over the last few years during periods of extreme buying activity. But for now, other government mints and private mints are keeping the retail bullion market supplied with plenty of lower-premium silver products.
You tend to get the most silver for your dollar with large 100-ounce bullion bars. But this isn't a very convenient way for most people to hold silver. Far more practical for hoarding, transporting, and bartering are 1-ounce bars and rounds produced by private mints. They can still be had for close to melt value – and at a significant savings to Silver Eagles and other government-minted coins.
Well now, without further delay, let's get right to this week's exclusive interview.

Mike Gleason, Director, Money Metals Exchange: It is my great privilege to welcome Steve Forbes, Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Magazine, CEO of Forbes, Inc. to our Money Metals Exchange podcast. Steve is also author of many fabulous books, including Flat Tax Revolution, How Capitalism Will Save Us, and his latest work, Reviving America: How Repealing Obamacare, Replacing the Tax Code and Reforming the Fed Will Restore Hope and Prosperity. He's also a two-time Presidential candidate, having run in the Republican primaries in both 1996 and 2000. It's a tremendous honor to have him with us today. Mr. Forbes, thank you so much for joining us and welcome.
Steve Forbes, CEO of Forbes, Inc.: Good to be with you, Mike. Thank you.
Mike Gleason: I want to start out by getting your take on the 2016 Presidential election cycle, especially given your first-hand experience in the whole process. We're seeing an anti-Washington voter revolt of sorts... it's the anti-establishment candidates that have been getting all the momentum. This is especially true on the Republican side, where we see an outsider like Donald Trump currently leading and guys like Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and others having garnered a lot of support. But also on the Democratic side we're seeing admitted Socialist Bernie Sanders starting to overtake Hillary Clinton with his outsider bid. What's driving this phenomenon, and is this a good thing or a bad thing?
Steve Forbes: What it demonstrates is the intense, deep voter dissatisfaction with where the country is and fears about the future. There's contempt for the political class for not being able to handle things. There's the feeling that those who are in charge either don't know what to do, or if they do they don't know how to do it, so people are looking for outsiders for a fresh perspective. Just as in business where incumbents get too comfortable, you always find the entrepreneurial outsiders to challenge the status quo and upend things, and you're seeing the same thing happening on the political side.
So who knows if Trump will go all the way, how far Bernie Sanders will go, but it's a way of (at least for now) voters expressing dissatisfaction, unhappiness, and saying we want positive change. You cannot continue doing what you're doing.
Mike Gleason: The issue of sound money has been getting more attention during the GOP debates than it has in several decades. It's quite encouraging to us at Money Metals Exchange, as proponents of precious metals ownership, to hear Cruz, Paul, Carson, and even Trump bring up issues related to sound money such as reigning in the Federal Reserve. returning to some sort of a gold standard, and adoption of other measures to get America's fiscal house back in order. I'm guessing you probably felt like a lone voice in the wilderness when you raised these subjects during your Presidential runs. So among the current candidates, who do you think best understands the problems created by our current monetary policy and might actually do something about it if elected President?
Steve Forbes: I think it's encouraging that a growing number are recognizing there is a problem. Even before you get to solutions you've got to recognize and acknowledge that the way things are being done is not working and that the Federal Reserve has been a huge factor in the sluggishness of the U.S. economy; very, very destructive actions they've taken. I was delighted that Ted Cruz in one of the debates brought up the idea of a gold standard. Rand Paul of course was suckled on the idea of safe and sound money. Ben Carson has made reference to it. Donald Trump has made noises about the Federal Reserve. I think that's a good sign.
One of the things that really most of the economics profession doesn't seem to get is that money is simply a means for us to buy and sell with each other. It's like a claim check. You go to a restaurant, check your coat, the claim check has no intrinsic value, but it's a claim on the coat. Money is a claim on products and services. It has no intrinsic value. What it does, it's like a claim check on products and services. It works best when it has a fixed value.
Money measures value the way scales measure weight or clocks measure time or rulers measure space and length, and it works best when it's stable. The best way to get stable money, as we explained in our book Reviving America, is precisely to link it to gold the way we did for a hundred and eighty years. It works. Gold is like a ruler. It has a stable value. When you see the price fluctuate, that means that it's the dollar's value that's fluctuating, people's feeling about it for the present and for the future. But gold is like Polaris. It's the North Star. It's fixed.
Mike Gleason: That leads me right into my next question here. About a year ago you and Elizabeth Ames co-wrote the book titled Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy and What We Can Do About It. You proposed a modified gold standard... and I'll quote here, and then I'd like to get your comments.
The twenty-first century gold standard would fix the dollar to gold at a particular price. The Federal Reserve would use its tools, primarily open market operations, to keep the value of the dollar tied at that rate of gold.
What would be the main benefits of such a reform? And also I'm curious why you stopped short of calling for an end to the Fed all together and a return to true free markets when it comes to gold and the rate of interest?
Steve Forbes: In terms of the role of the Federal Reserve, I think you've got to take one step at a time. One of the fears is that if you didn't have the Fed you get a panic, which happens for whatever reason every few years, the thing would spin out of control. I think the key thing now is to get the dollar fixed in value, which we propose in that book, whether it's a thousand dollars an ounce or eleven hundred dollars an ounce.
I think the best way to understand this is to imagine what would happen if the Federal Reserve was in charge of the time bureau, and the Fed decides to float the clock, sixty minutes to an hour one day, thirty-five minutes the day after, ninety minutes the day after that. Everyone would know that if you had a fluctuating clock, if your timepieces couldn't keep accurate time, life would be chaotic. The same is true of money when it has a floating value. If you had the floating clock, imagine baking a cake. It says bake the batter thirty minutes. Is that inflation adjusted minutes, nominal minutes, a New York minute, a Mexican minute?
Gold is the best way to fix that value. The only role for the Fed, at least for now, would be to keep that fixed value and then deal decisively with the occasional panic, just as the British showed us a hundred and fifty years ago. If you have a panic where banks need the temporary liquidity, they go to the Fed with their collateral, borrow the money at above market interest rate, and then, as the crisis recedes, they quickly pay it back and it's done. So the Fed's role could almost be done by summer interns if they knew what they were doing, so it would not be the monster that it is today where the Fed tries to dictate where credit goes, what happens to the economy, etc. It's really bizarre and destructive.
Mike Gleason: They certainly have a whole lot of control and a lot of people have a lot of interest in Fed policy, way too much for our liking, and I'm sure yours as well.
Steve Forbes:One other example on that is Janet Yellen, the head of the Federal Reserve, says that we should have two percent inflation, which in her mind is seeing the prices rising two percent a year. If you take a typical American family making fifty thousand bucks a year, that means their costs would go up a thousand dollars a year, two percent of fifty thousand. Who gave her the authority to raise the cost of living, which is an effective tax, a thousand dollars on a typical American family? Yet Congress, they just nod their heads. It's a travesty.
Mike Gleason: I've always wondered if two percent is good, isn't three percent better? What about four percent? It seems like it could just go on and on and get higher and higher.
Steve Forbes:Yep, which is what happens. An unstable dollar, whether it's weak or strong, is like a timepiece, a watch that is too slow or too fast. Neither one is going to help you.
Mike Gleason: The equity markets have been quite vulnerable here in the early part of 2016 and a lot of that seems to stem from these over-valuations we were starting to see. Do you believe the recent pullback is just a short-term market cleansing? Or do you expect a bigger, more dramatic event to occur with this just being the tip of the iceberg?
Steve Forbes: Well, when you get a big change in the stock market it's usually because of a surprise. People talk about oil, people talk about China, the pressure on earnings, those things are already known. It's the unknowns that hit you. I think one of the things that has hit the markets – and they can't be able to know the exact consequences – is precisely what's happening in our politics. The idea of Bernie Sanders winning is still remote, but now you can't rule out the possibility. What does Donald Trump want to do about trade? Well he's been all over the map, to be blunt about that. He says he'll negotiate it, but with that kind of uncertainty, people stay on the sidelines.
Mike Gleason: Looking at the current economic landscape and the debt-based dominated markets that we have now, the situation appears to have only worsened since the '08 financial crisis, how do you envision this playing out? Are we looking at some kind of economic collapse again or will the Fed and the central planners be able to keep the wheels on this thing?
Steve Forbes: Those words “central planners” get to the very problem with the Fed. The idea that the economy is a machine is a preposterous one. The economy is individuals. The idea that you can control people the way you can modulate an automobile is... that's how you get tyranny. That's why in the third part of our book, Reviving America, we talk about Soviet style behavior by the Federal Reserve and by economic policymakers. When you look at the great disasters of the past – like the Great Depression, the terrible inflation of the 1970s, what happened to us in the panic in 2008-2009 – all of those had at their roots disastrous government policy errors.
Mike Gleason: I want to talk to you about the role that gold, and to some extent silver, can play into all of this. In your book you've written about gold and its role in an investor's portfolio, but we shouldn't necessarily look at it as an "investment." Talk about that and then also whether you view gold ownership as more or less important now versus say ten, twenty, or thirty years ago.
Steve Forbes: In terms of gold, unless you're a jeweler, I see it as an insurance policy. It doesn't build new factories or things like that, new software. What it is is insurance that if things really go wrong you've got something that will balance your portfolio. So whether it's five percent, ten percent, it shouldn't be dominating your portfolio. But since you cannot trust this right now, what politicians do, what you have working out here is a situation where yes, the price of gold has come down since 2011 when it looked like the U.S. Government might default, but today in this kind of environment, is probably a good time. Not that you're going to make quick money on it, but it's like an insurance policy. You hope it doesn't have to be used, but if it does you've got it.
Mike Gleason: We talked about how anti-establishment forces are starting to get some momentum. Do you see any real change coming about in our monetary system without some kind of crisis event forcing it? Generally it seems like things don't change unless they're forced. What do you think, is now maybe the time in Washington for some of these politicians to seize on the fact that a lot of Americans are very frustrated and maybe there is the ability to get some traction with some of these radical reforms and getting us back to sound money?
Steve Forbes: Well, this is one of the reasons why we did the book. It was to lay out what needs to be done so, if the opportunity or the crisis arises, we have the tools to do it. We had this terrible crisis in 2008-2009, but because policymakers were still holding these obsolete theories and dangerous notions about money, which got us in the crisis in the first place, they not only made mistakes, they invented new mistakes such as Quantitative Easing or zero interest rates.
Zero interest rates sounds great, like price controls sound great. You're in an apartment, you only pay ten dollars a month, boy, that sounds great if you don't mind having no maintenance. But when you suppress prices you distort the marketplace, deform the marketplace, people don't invest, and you get stagnation. If the Federal Reserve announced that it was going to put price controls on Big Macs at McDonald's and what you pay for a rental car and things like that, people would say that's outrageous. And the Fed would say we want to suppress prices to stimulate the economy so you have more money to spend. We know it just wrecked the economy.
Yet when they do the same thing with interest rates, Congress hardly says boo! The Fed has distorted markets to the point where on zero interest rates, what the Fed in effect did was seize almost four trillion dollars of assets out of economy, made it very easy for those assets to go to the government and the large companies, and starved credit to small and new businesses.
Just one statistic, in the last five years the growth of credit to government has gone up thirty-seven percent, growth of credit to corporations thirty-two percent, growth of credit to small businesses and households only six percent. As you know, small and new enterprises are where the bulk of the jobs are created. So the Fed is in the business of credit allocation. That is profoundly wrong and must be changed.
Mike Gleason: We're talking here in advance of the January Fed meeting. By the time this interview will air that decision will be known. But just more generally speaking, where do you see Fed policy going here? Are they truly stuck between a rock and a hard place? What do you think their policies are going to be as we go throughout the year?
Steve Forbes: They'll be tempted to stop allowing the market interest rates in the name of saving the economy, which is like taking an anemic patient, a patient suffering from anemia, and bleeding them. With the Fed the “rock and a hard place” (idea) is only in their minds. What they should do is just step aside, let borrowers and lenders determine what interest rates should be, and let the markets function again instead of trying to control them like commissars in the old Soviet Union. Free markets always work when you let them, but the Fed has to be pushed on that.
Mike Gleason: As we begin to close here, what do you think it's going to take for gold and silver to become a mainstream asset class again? For example, will it be China or Russia backing its currency with precious metals because the devaluation has gone too far too fast? Something like that? What are your thoughts there as we wrap up?
Steve Forbes: Well I think if they see precious metals for what their historic role has been, we have gold-based, gold-backed money today. Remember, gold is a ruler. Because it's got that fixed value, it makes sure that the politicians don't muck around with the integrity of the U.S. dollar. We had a gold standard from the 1790s right through the 1970s, a hundred and eighty years, and it worked very well. We had the most phenomenal growth of any country in the history of the world.
Since then we've had more financial crises, more dangerous banking crises, lower economic growth, and we see the stagnation that we have today. So maybe the Russians will get it, maybe the Chinese will get it, but the reason we have this book Reviving America, is to help activist citizens have the tools they need to push and get integrity back to the U.S. dollar, get rid of this horrific tax code, and get patients in charge of healthcare again. We do those things and you'll see the American economy will roar off like a rocket. You should have your gold as that insurance policy and life will be good again.
Mike Gleason: Mr. Forbes, I can't thank you enough for your fantastic insights and for being so generous with your time. I very much enjoyed reading your latest book in advance of this interview. You give the reader a great explanation of the history behind all of this, and then also more importantly some practical things that they can do to protect themselves, and we certain urge everyone to check that out.
It was great speaking with you today and we wish you and your family and your team there at Forbes and all the best. Thank you so much, and thank you for your continued efforts to spread the ideals of free market and liberty. It's been a real pleasure to talk with you.
Steve Forbes: Great pleasure to talk with you. Don't lose faith. Markets are people, and people thrive most when they are free.
Mike Gleason: Excellent way to end. That'll do it for this week. Thanks again to Steve Forbes, CEO of Forbes, Inc, Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Magazine, and best-selling author, including his latest work, Reviving America: How Repealing Obamacare, Replacing the Tax Code and Reforming the Fed Will Restore Hope and Prosperity. You can obtain a copy of your own at, download it onto your Kindle or iPad, or purchase it at other places where books are sold.
And don't forget to check back here next Friday for our next Weekly Market Wrap Podcast. Until then, this has been Mike Gleason with Money Metals Exchange, thanks for listening and have a great weekend everybody.

Qatar-based beIN buys 100 percent of Miramax film studio

Associated Press
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - A Qatar-based media group that has already moved into international sports broadcasting has purchased a 100-percent stake in the film studio Miramax, part of its expansion into the entertainment business.
The beIN Media Group, which earlier spun off from Doha's Al-Jazeera network, bought the studio famous for "Pulp Fiction," ''No Country for Old Men" and "The English Patient" from investors including Colony Capital and the Qatar Investment Authority, the Gulf nation's sovereign wealth fund.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed in a statement announcing the purchase late Wednesday. The beIN network did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.
"Miramax is a successful film and television company, providing a strong and recognizable brand, a unique library and industry expertise that complement beIN Media Group's plans to grow across the entertainment industry and develop new content production," Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, beIN's chairman and CEO, said in the statement.
Producers Harvey and Bob Weinstein founded Miramax in 1979, naming it after their parents Miriam and Max. They built it into one of the most successful independents in the movie business, churning out many of the hits of 1990s independent cinema.
Walt Disney Co. acquired Miramax in 1993 for some $60 million. Disney sold the studio in 2010 to a group of investors for $660 million.
The move to purchase Miramax comes as beIN expands its presence across the world after purchasing rights to broadcast European football leagues and others sports. Qatar itself is spending tens of billions of dollars ahead of hosting the 2022 World Cup.
But the purchase also comes as Qatar faces pressure from low global oil and gas prices, which fuel its economy.

Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at .
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Do As You’re Told – Paranoid, Scared Elitist Are Terrified of a Rising Tide

by Rory, The Daily Coin
This past week the ruling class, in conjunction with the banking class, has revealed a good portion of their hand. The ace up their sleeve is in full view. You, yes you, are to do what you are told and vote who they tell you to vote for. Why else would Rubio, Cruz and Mitt Romney commence a full frontal attack on Donald Trump? Where’s Mitt Romney been the past four years? You did see the news clips from Romney’s 2012 Presidential bid where he said Trump was a great business man and had a great handle on the economy!! They have been playing everywhere, thank goodness.
Let’s not forget what a dirtbag Romney is and how he came into prominence in the first place – stealing from the citizens, stealing from anyone and everyone. Prostitutes at least work for their money.
Now, contrast the above videos with Romney today – what a bought and paid for “representative”, or should I say joke who has just completely exposed himself as nothing more than a mouthpiece for the elite establishment? Remind me again why the American people are turning to an outsider – anyone?
Let’s not forget what a dirtbag Romney is and how he came into prominence in the first place – stealing from the citizens, stealing from anyone and everyone. Prostitutes at least work for their money. - See more at:

Now, contrast the above videos with Romney today – what a bought and paid for “representative”, or should I say joke who has just completely exposed himself as nothing more than a mouthpiece for the elite establishment? Remind me again why the American people are turning to an outsider – anyone? - See more at:

The only problem is this: the more of their cards the masses see, the angrier the masses become. The lies and propaganda are wearing thin. Did it start with Brian Williams and the relentless lies about his tour in Iraq and claims the helicopter he was in was taking fire? Did that help to spark the “critical thought” brain cell that has been suppressed in the masses for the past 30+ years? Did it begin during the railroading of Dr. Ron Paul during the 2012 Presidential election cycle? It was in full view when Dr. Paul, a well respected Representative from Texas, was making major headway with the masses and drawing huge crowds during his rallies. If you remember how the media treated him, personally, and his campaign specifically, the mainstream media never mentioned Dr. Paul even though he led in most every poll the entire time his campaign was on the trail. The final straw was when he was NOT invited and actually locked out of the Republican Convention held in Florida. His campaign dissolved shortly after. Was that the original spark that has opened the door for Trump?
Here’s what happened in Florida at the RNC
Are the people rising up in defiance of these two prominent propaganda plays? Is Donald Trump merely a reflection of the anger that has been swelling, in silence, for the past 30+ years? Love him or hate him, it doesn’t matter to me. If you want to vote for him, go for it. If you think he is the best the country has to offer, then you and I have an issue.
The truly great thing about Donald Trump is his voice. He has a voice and he is single-handedly giving the masses their voice back. People are sick and tired of being told what to do, when to do and who to do it with. The images on TeeVee of propaganda and lies are wearing thin. The lies perpetrated by the mainstream media are old and used up. Just look at how the stock market responded to the jobs report released March 4, 2016.
The current ruling class is absolutely terrified of a Trump presidency. Will Trump be allowed to become President of the United States? I seriously doubt it.
Enter Clinton – hillary clinton. Treasonous, war criminal and alleged accessory to murder. Have you heard hillary had a private email server in her home that she was conducting government business on while Secretary of State? Well, that is an act of treason. Never mind what she was doing or who she was swapping emails with – the act of having an email server – not an email account, but an email server – in her home is an act of treason, period. Who was Secretary of State when Ambassador Stevens sent over 600 emails requesting more security for the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi? Oh yeah, hillary clinton. Those 600+ emails fell on deaf ears and Ambassador Stevens, along with his staff, were overrun by marauders and killed in the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi. Does anyone remember that? “It doesn’t matter.” said hillary clinton during a Congressional hearing on the details.
hillary clinton will be the next president of the united states. She will finish the job her husband started in 1990 – the complete dismantling and destruction of this once proud nation. How will the people respond when the poll numbers begin rolling in in October and early November 2016 that show Trump faltering and hillary surging in the polls?  On January 20, 2017 the world will know the United States is the largest banana republic in history. Will the people of this nation figure it before that date and actually come together and do something about it? Or will the oligarchs be able to placate the masses while they roll out another scheme? False flag anyone?
I pray that I am 100% wrong and Trump or someone outside of the establishment is elected President.