Former BIS chief economist warns that QE in Europe is doomed to failure and may draw the region into deeper difficulties
The economic prophet who foresaw the Lehman crisis with uncanny accuracy is even more worried about the world’s financial system going into 2015.
Beggar-thy-neighbour devaluations are spreading to every region. All the major central banks are stoking asset bubbles deliberately to put off the day of reckoning. This time emerging markets have been drawn into the quagmire as well, corrupted by the leakage from quantitative easing (QE) in the West.
“We are in a world that is dangerously unanchored,” said William White, the Swiss-based chairman of the OECD’s Review Committee. “We’re seeing true currency wars and everybody is doing it, and I have no idea where this is going to end.”
Mr White is a former chief economist to the Bank for International Settlements – the bank of central banks – and currently an advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
He said the global elastic has been stretched even further than it was in 2008 on the eve of the Great Recession. The excesses have reached almost every corner of the globe, and combined public/private debt is 20pc of GDP higher today. “We are holding a tiger by the tail,” he said.
“QE is not going to help at all. Europe has far greater reliance than the US on small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) and they get their money from banks, not from the bond market,” he said.
“Even after the stress tests the banks are still in ‘hunkering down mode’. They are not lending to small firms for a variety of reasons. The interest rate differential is still going up,” he said.
The warnings come just as the European Central Bank prepares a blitz of bond purchases at a crucial meeting on Thursday. Most ECB-watchers expect QE of around €500bn now that the eurozone is already in deflation. Even the Bundesbank is struggling to come with fresh reasons to oppose it.
The psychological potency of this largesse will depend on whether the ECB opts for shock-and-awe concentration or trickles out the stimulus slowly. It also depends on the exact mechanism used to conduct QE, a loose term at best.
ECB president Mario Draghi hopes that bond purchases will push money out into the broader economy through a “wealth effect”, but critics fear this will be worse than useless if it leads to an asset bubble without gaining traction on the real economy. Classic moneratists say the ECB may end up spinning its wheels should it merely try to expand the money base.
Mr White said QE is a disguised form of competitive devaluation. “The Japanese are now doing it as well but nobody can complain because the US started it,” he said.
“There is a significant risk that this is going to end badly because the Bank of Japan is funding 40pc of all government spending. This could end in high inflation, perhaps even hyperinflation.
“The emerging markets got on the bandwagon by resisting upward pressure on their currencies and building up enormous foreign exchange reserves. The wrinkle this time is that corporations in these countries – especially in Asia and Latin America – have borrowed $6 trillion in US dollars, often through offshore centres. That is going to create a huge currency mismatch problem as US rates rise and the dollar goes back up.”
Mr White’s warnings are ominous. He acquired great authority in his long years at the BIS arguing that global central banks were falling into a trap by holding real rates too low in the 1990s, effectively stealing growth from the future through “intertemporal” effects.
He argues that this created a treacherous dynamic. The authorities kept having to push rates lower with the trough of each cycle, building up ever greater imbalances, in an ineluctable descent to the “zero bound”, where monetary levers stop working properly.
Under his guidance, the BIS annual reports over the three years before the Lehman crisis were a rising crescendo of alarm calls at a time when other global watchdogs were asleep. His legendary report in June 2008 openly discussed whether the world was on the cusp of events that might prove as dangerous and intractable as the Great Depression, as it indeed it was.
Mr White said central banks have been put in an invidious position, compelled to respond to a deep economic disorder that is beyond their power. The latest victim is the Swiss National Bank, which was effectively crushed last week by greater global forces as it tried to repel safe-haven flows into the franc. The SNB was damned whatever it tried to do. “The only choice they had was to take a blow to the left cheek, or to the right cheek,” he said.
He deplores the rush to QE as an “unthinking fashion”. Those who argue that the US and the UK are growing faster than Europe because they carried out QE early are confusing “correlation with causality”. The Anglo-Saxon pioneers have yet to pay the price. “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings. There are serious side-effects building up and we don’t know what will happen when they try to reverse what they have done.”
The painful irony is that central banks may have brought about exactly what they most feared by trying to keep growth buoyant at all costs, he argues, and not allowing productivity gains to drive down prices gently as occurred in episodes of the 19th century. “They have created so much debt that they may have turned a good deflation into a bad deflation after all.”
(editorial Comment / Jack Blood) : We could add to this obviously…. But – just the fact that the MSM is coming with this… Means we have been successful. PS: The Federal Reserve is NOT FEDERAL – nor does it have “Reserves” . It is a private Cartel originated by JP Morgan, and John Rockefeller (JP Morgan Chase, Citi) etc…
Washington (Bilderberg) Post
The arc of the political universe is long, but it bends towards monetary policy.
That’s the boring truth that nobody wants to hear. Forget about the gaffes, the horserace, and even the personalities. Elections are about the economy, stupid, and the economy is mostly controlled by monetary policy. That’s why every big ideological turning point—1896, 1920, 1932, 1980, and maybe 2008—has come after a big monetary shock.
Think about it this way: Bad monetary policy means a bad economy, which gives power back to the party that didn’t have it before. And so long as the monetary problem gets fixed, the economy will too, and the new government’s policies will, whatever their merits, get the credit. That’s how ideology changes.
In 1896, for example, Republicans completed their transformation from being the anti-slavery party to the anti-inflation one. Back then, the U.S. was on the gold standard, but there wasn’t enough gold. Miners had found so little of it that overall prices were falling, which was particularly bad news for anyone who’d borrowed money. That’s because wages fall if prices do, so debts that don’t become harder to pay back. The result was two decades of slower-than-it-should-have-been growth where the economy was in recession more often than not.
Democrats, for their part, finally came up with a solution: stop crucifying mankind on a cross of gold, and use silver as money, too. They were four years too late, though. Gold discoveries in South Africa in 1896 and the Yukon in 1898 made the gold standard sustainable just in time for the Republicans, who had become the party of the financial elite that stood to lose a lot of money from inflation, to rally to its defense. Wall Street threw more money, as a percent of gross domestic product, into defeating the pro-silver Democrats than has been spent in any presidential election before or since. And it worked. Republicans won, the gold standard survived, and a new old era of conservative politics, of balanced budgets and low inflation, was ushered in.
Well, at least until World War I. That’s because Republicans agreed on fiscal and financial policy, but not on regulation. That split let Woodrow Wilson win a three-way race in 1912, and, despite getting reelected on the slogan that “he kept us out of war,” he didn’t in 1917. Now, gold had already been pouring into the U.S., fueling inflation, as people moved it out of Europe, but once we joined the Allies, we also partially suspended the gold standard by banning gold exports.
That left us with higher prices and a big pile of shiny rocks after the war ended. So, in 1920, the Fed raised rates so much that prices not only stopped rising, but actually started falling. A deep recession followed, right before the presidential election. That, together with general war weariness, was enough for an extreme mediocrity like Warren G. Harding to win the biggest popular vote victory, by percentage points, on record just on the strength of three word: return to normalcy. A year later, the Fed lowered rates, the Roaring Twenties were born, and the conservative orthodoxy of low taxes and low spending once again seemed to be vindicated.
It wouldn’t for long. Households, you see, went on a borrowing binge in the 1920s. They borrowed money to buy cars. They borrowed money to buy homes. And, yes, they borrowed money to buy stocks. So once the market crashed, this pyramid of debt did too. Even zero interest rates weren’t enough to stop the economy’s free fall. This only got worse when people panicked, sometimes justifiably so, that all these bad debts would make their banks go bust. That became a self-fulfilling prophecy as people rushed to pull their money out before everyone else, and the Fed, which was more concerned about propping up the gold standard than propping up the financial system, let everything collapse.
The craziest part was that the U.S., along with France, had so much gold that they could have created inflation and still stayed on the gold standard if they wanted to. But they didn’t. They were so pathologically afraid of anything even resembling inflation that they chose depressions that forced them off gold instead. Hoover tried to run balanced budgets in the face of 25 percent unemployment, and the Fed raised rates in the face of bank runs, all to try to maintain the gold standard that, to them, was synonymous with civilization. This wasn’t exactly popular. FDR came in and immediately did everything Hoover hadn’t been willing to: going off gold, stress testing the banks, and spending money even if it meant running deficits. Recovery followed, and, in the process, discredited laissez-faire government for more than a generation.
By the 1970s, though, the Fed had made the opposite mistake of the one it made in the 1930s. This time, instead of saying there was nothing it could do about falling prices, it said there was nothing it could do about rising prices. Part of it was because Richard Nixon pressured it not to raise rates before his reelection. Another part was that the oil shocks pulled it in opposite directions—higher oil prices hurt the economy, but also increased inflation—and it didn’t know what to do. And the final part was that widespread cost-of-living-adjustment contracts turned price shocks into wage shocks that then made the price shocks even worse. Now, even though this didn’t have anything to do with actual Keynesianism, which, remember, is when the government runs deficits to fight recessions, “Keynesianism” became the bête noire of stagflation.
It was more than enough to undo Jimmy Carter, who had the misfortune of appointing the right Fed Chair at the wrong time, at least for him. Paul Volcker, you see, tried raising rates in 1980, just enough to create a small recession, before really raising them in 1981 and whipping inflation for good at the cost of a much deeper recession. This was perfectly timed, though, for Ronald Reagan, who got to run against Carter during a slump, and then watch Volcker engineer an inflation-killing slump that ended just in time for his own reelection. You know the rest of the story: it looked like government really was the problem, not the solution, and now it was Morning in America, etc., etc.
Now, it’s worth pointing out that politics can change without ideology also changing. Richard Nixon’s Southern strategy, for example, created a new conservative coalition, but it didn’t create new conservative policies. Instead, Nixon tried to co-opt Democrats by using price controls to fight inflation, setting up the Environmental Protection Agency to fight pollution, and offering a healthcare reform bill to bring down the uninsured rate. Bill Clinton similarly showed Democrats how to win in the post-Reagan world, peeling off professionals and soccer moms, without really challenging the prevailing “era of big government is over,” deregulating ethos.
So will 2008 be an ideological inflection point? Well, like the French Revolution, it’s too early to say. Turning points come when the old policies aren’t working, and the old policies don’t work when there’s a big monetary shock. That doesn’t mean everything else is irrelevant—some policies are good ideas and others aren’t—but rather that politics is a status quo business, and as long as the Fed is keeping the economy growing, people tend to be reasonably happy with what they have.
But there’s something a little false about any “turning point.” It’s something we half-invent in retrospect. FDR’s New Deal took Hoover’s half-measures and made them full-measures. Reagan deregulated business like Carter had already started to. And Obama, well, he used the same healthcare plan as Mitt Romney. But if politics is the art of the possible, then these stories we tell matter because they change what we think is possible.
And that only changes when the Fed thinks something isn’t.
WASHINGTON — Christmas came early for Wall Street this year. The Federal Reserve on Thursday granted banks an extra year to comply with a key provision of the Volcker Rule, a move that gives financial lobbyists more time to kill the new regulation before it goes into effect.
The Volcker Rule is a key element of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law that bans banks from engaging in proprietary trading — speculative deals that are designed only to benefit the bank itself, rather than its clients. Thursday’s move by the Fed gives banks an additional year to unwind investments in private equity firms, hedge funds and specialty securities projects. The central bank also said it plans to extend the deadline by another 12 months next year, which would give Wall Street a two-year reprieve through the 2016 presidential election.
The Fed’s delay comes less than a week after Congress granted Wall Street a reprieve from another reform that had been mandated by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law. The measure, known as the swaps push-out rule had eliminated federal subsidies for trading in risky derivatives — the complex contracts at the heart of the 2008 banking meltdown. Bank watchdogs say the Volcker Rule delay adds insult to injury.
“Swaps push-out was a club,” said Marcus Stanley, policy director for Americans for Financial Reform. “This is a stiletto.”
Big banks including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have billions of dollars invested in private equity firms that they would have to sell at a loss based on current prices, according to a Bloomberg report from early December. Dodd-Frank gave banks four years to unwind their investments in speculative enterprises, setting a deadline of July 21, 2014. The Fed had previously extended that deadline by one year, and now plans to push it out to July 2017.
(For the rest of the story, click the link.)
Continue Reading on www.huffingtonpost.com
VOTE YES! (Story come from MSM whom are in the bag for the FED / IRS)
Tennessee is one of nine states that does not have an income tax.
Anti-tax advocates want to make sure it stays that way. Next week, Tennessee voters will be asked whether the state constitution should be amended to forever prohibit income and payroll taxes.
“Not having an income tax has already brought jobs to Tennessee, and voting ‘yes’ on [question] 3 will bring even more jobs,” said state Sen. Brian Kelsey, a Republican who sponsored the legislation leading to the amendment.
That’s the common argument made by income tax foes — economic growth more than makes up for the money a state loses in revenue from not having an income tax.
But is that true?
The picture is mixed when comparing states with no income taxes to those with the highest marginal rates.
Some statistics, particularly on job growth, back up tax opponents. And people in those states pay fewer taxes in general. But by other measures, such as household income, states with the highest taxes do better (CRAP).
Eight states in addition to Tennessee do not have an income tax: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.
Since 2000, those nine states posted stronger median employment growth than the nine states with the highest top marginal income tax rates (California, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Wisconsin), averaging 11.5 percent job growth compared to the latter group’s rate of 2.9 percent, according to the Census Bureau.
A low income tax encourages people and businesses to move to a state, said Jonathan Williams, director of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council’s Center for State Fiscal Reform.
“The way to increase tax revenue is not to increase the taxes but to increase the number of taxpayers,” Williams said.
States with no income tax have a lower overall tax burden. Residents of high-rate states fork out $4,773 in taxes, over $1,300 more than residents in states without an income tax.
And states with no income tax also tend to be more business-friendly, as five of them have no corporate tax rate. Only Alaska and New Hampshire have corporate tax rates that are comparable to the ones in the high-rate states, running between 7 and 12 percent.
The no-tax states have higher rates of economic growth, too. Their economies grew by 3.3 percent on average since 2005, compared with 2 percent for the high-tax states, according to an August report by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The averages are thrown off somewhat by sparsely populated Wyoming growing at 8.4 percent, but some high-population, no-tax states also enjoyed strong growth, such as Texas at 4.3 percent and Florida at 3.7 percent.
States with no income tax must get their revenue from somewhere, though. Sales taxes are one way: They average 4.5 percent, but residents of Tennessee and Nevada pay as much as 7 percent.
“It was 5 percent just a few years ago,” said Dick Williams, chairman of Tennesseans for Fair Taxation. That’s a bad deal for state residents, he argues, since sales taxes fall disproportionately on low-income consumers. “An income tax would grow more in line with people’s needs.”
But sales taxes in no-income-tax states are actually lower than in high-tax states, which charge an average 6 percent — 1.5 points higher.
And living in a state with a high income tax doesn’t mean that other taxes will be lower. In most cases, other tax rates are comparable to or even higher than the ones in states that lack an income tax:
• Gas taxes: People in no-income-tax states pay an average 43.4 cents for every gallon of gas they buy, while high-rate states charge 48.6 cents. The national average is 49 cents.
• Tobacco taxes: No-income-tax states charge $1.46 in taxes for every pack of cigarettes, while smokers pay an extra $2 in high-rate states. The national average is $1.54.
• Property taxes: Counties in no-tax states charge an average 1.1 percent of assessed value, while in high-rate states they charge 1 percent. Most counties nationwide charge between 0.5 percent and 1 percent.
“High income taxes do not necessarily translate into low sales taxes or even property taxes,” said Pete Sepp, president of the National Taxpayers Union, a conservative nonprofit group. “There is a strong correlation in the opposite way, in fact.”
Elizabeth McNichol, senior fellow at the liberal Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, notes that many of the no-income-tax states have special advantages that allow them to get by without one. Nearly a quarter of Nevada’s revenue comes from taxes on gambling, while Alaska earned a staggering 92 percent of its general fund revenue last year solely from taxes and royalties on oil drilling. The coffers overflow so much that the state sends annual royalty checks to residents. The latest checks, mailed earlier this month, were for $1,882.
“Other states [such as Wyoming] have mineral wealth. Texas has a lot of land and room for development,” McNichol said.
Tennessee and New Hampshire may not tax regular income, but they do tax dividend and interest income at 6 percent and 5 percent. The Granite State also has a 7 percent telecommunications tax.
Income taxes don’t seem to matter much in terms of the states’ budget health. “We really didn’t see a difference between the high and low income tax states” during the recession, McNichol said.
Part of the problem is that revenue from income taxes can be volatile, Sepp said, resulting in unexpected shortfalls.
Residents of states with high rates are generally doing better, though. They have an average annual income per capita of $45,480, almost $1,000 higher than residents of the no-income-tax states. Median household income is higher too, at $56,583, about $1,500 more.
“A lot of the high-tax states do have higher incomes but that is partly due to the fact that they have higher costs of living,” said ALEC’s Williams. “We think the gap is shrinking, though.”
The Internal Revenue Service has been seizing money from the bank accounts of individuals and businesses with no proof of any crimes nor any charges filed.
Now, the IRS claims that it will stop — but will it?
Using a law, the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000, that allows the feds to seize money from suspected gangsters, drug dealers and terrorists, the IRS has put innocent people into bankruptcy and massive debt and taken the money a military father saved from his paychecks to put his kids through college, solely by tracking the amounts that people put into their bank accounts.
When no criminal activity is charged, The New York Times reports, the IRS often negotiates to return only part of the seized money, leaving impoverished citizens with little option but to either accept the IRS’ offer or continue a lengthy and very expensive legal battle to try to get their legitimately earned money back.
The problem has been growing. The Institute for Justice estimates that from just 114 seizures in 2005, the IRS made 639 seizures in 2012, and in only 20 percent of the cases were any criminal charges ever pursued.
Under the Bank Secrecy Act, banks report transactions larger than $10,000 to federal authorities, but also report a pattern of regular, smaller deposits which appear designed to get around the act. This alone can be enough to trigger a seizure, the Times reports, and banks filed over 700,000 “suspicious” reports last year.
One involved a 27-year-old Long Island candy and cigarette distribution company, Bi-County Distributors, which made daily cash deposits, usually under $10,000. When the IRS seized $447,000 from the company, it refused to return it, despite the fact that there was no crime to prosecute, and instead offered a partial settlement.
The company is now $300,000 in debt and attorney Joseph Potashnik told the Times, “I don’t think they’re (the IRS) really interested in anything. They just want the money.”
Army Sgt. Jeff Cortazzo was saving up for his daughters’ college education when the IRS seized $66,000 of his money – it cost him $21,000 to get the remainder back.
Richard Weber, the chief of Criminal Investigation at the IRS, said in a written statement in response to the Times story, “After a thorough review of our structuring cases over the last year… IRS-CI will no longer pursue the seizure and forfeiture of funds associated solely with ‘legal source’ structuring cases unless there are exceptional circumstances justifying the seizure and forfeiture and the case has been approved at the director of field operations (D.F.O.) level.”
The Federal Reserve is NOT Federal and has no reserves! New Fed Chair Janet Yellen has already made statements about you putting your money into savings accounts…. They don’t want you to. They punish those who wont listen. – JB
Recently Janet Yellen expressed both concern and puzzlement over the rising wealth inequality in America.
I found her speech to be disingenuous and disturbing. Why? Because it is the Fed’s very own policies that are driving the expansion of the wealth gap. Read Yellen’s speech.
Either Yellen thinks we cannot be trusted with the truth (worrisome), or the Fed is clueless as to how its own policies operate (scarier).
The academic name for the Fed’s current policy is financial repression. But a more apt name would be “Throw granny under the bus,” because the program boils down to taking from savers and fixed-income recipients and transferring that purchasing power to other entities.
The cornerstone element of financial repression is negative real interest rates, of which the Federal Reserve is the prime architect and owner.
From the start of the Fed’s post-crisis intervention through 2013, the total cost of these negative real interest rates was over $750 billion just to savers alone. The loss of income to fixed-income investments (such as bonds held in pensions and money markets) was even larger.
It’s actually more appropriate to ask if the Federal Reserve is compatible with values rooted in our nation’s history.
But here’s the rub. That loss of income and purchasing power didn’t just vanish. It was transferred from pocket A to pocket B.
It magically appeared again in record Wall Street banking bonuses, in shrinking government deficits (due to lower than normal interest rates), in rising corporate profits (mainly benefiting the already rich), in record stock buybacks (ditto), and in rising wealth inequality.
More directly, when the Fed buys financial assets with printed money and — by definition — drives up the price of those assets, it cannot then act mystified why the main owners of financial assets have grown wealthier. Doing so simply insults our intelligence.
With that as background, I found myself struggling to remain calm as I read Yellen’s recent remarks.
Yellen has created the wealth gap by printing money
Why Fed Chair Janet Yellen is “greatly” concerned about growing inequality
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Friday expressed deep concern over widening economic inequality in the country and called for tackling issues such as early childhood education and encouraging entrepreneurship to help narrow the gap.
Comment: Did she really just deflect the consequences of the Fed’s policy of financial repression towards early childhood education? That’s like a burglar lecturing homeowners that they need to support better metallurgical research as the means of preventing their doors from being kicked in so easily in the future.
In a speech at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Yellen said steady growth in inequality over the past several decades represents the most sustained rise since the 19th century. Living standards for most Americans have been “stagnant,” while those at the very top have enjoyed significant wealth and income gains, she said.
Comment: Glad the Fed finally noticed that those at the very top have been making out like bandits! This was something I said explicitly would happen as a consequence of future Fed printing back in 2008, before any QE had even started. How is it that I predicted that this would happen back in 2008 and the Fed is just now noticing? Is my one-man research department more capable than the entirety of the Fed’s? In fact this is a very well known and easy to understand process. That the Fed is feigning ignorance speaks volumes about how ignorant they believe we all are. This is a sure sign that we are trapped in a dysfunctional relationship with an abusive partner.
“I think it is appropriate to ask whether this trend is compatible with values rooted in our nation’s history, among them the high value Americans have traditionally placed on equality of opportunity,” Yellen said.
Comment: Once we accept that the Fed is openly and specifically creating the wealth gap as a matter of active and ongoing policy, which it is, then it’s actually more appropriate to ask if the Federal Reserve is compatible with values rooted in our nation’s history. The answer, if you believe in a level economic playing field, is “no.”
Yellen listed four factors that can influence economic opportunity: investing in education for young children, making college more affordable, encouraging entrepreneurship and building inheritance.
Comment: OMG. She just blamed the victims. According to Yellen, if people are finding themselves getting poorer what they need to do is stop scrimping on their kids, become an entrepreneur and go back in time and have rich parents somehow. This statement of hers calls for pitchforks and torches. Without a shred of decency, she has shifted all blame from the Fed to the victims. How corrupt or morally adrift does someone have to be to blame the victim? In a criminal case this would be used as evidence of sociopathic if not psychopathic behavior and be used by a prosecutor to call for a maximum sentence.
Yellen did not address in her prepared text whether the Fed has contributed to inequality.
Comment: No surprise there. Those who blame victims always avoid looking in the mirror.
At this point, based on Yellen’s testimony, I think it’s time to say what everybody is already thinking: if the Fed were an individual, we’d call its behavior pathological. Psychopaths blame their victims.
In a more evolved society than ours, Yellen would have been immediately booted from the stage, and the president would already be asking for her resignation. Sadly, she remains safely in charge, and utterly tone deaf.
We don’t need more lectures from her on our perceived failures to spend enough on our kids, have enough entrepreneurial talent, or have rich parents. What we need is a return to the level playing field that originally made this country great.
This is likely the news you are to be distracted from hearing…
YES we know that MR Thiel is a Bilderberger etc…
CNBC (GE / Comcast)
Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel told CNBC on Monday that we are in a “government bubble of massive size,” and that the bond market is the most distorted of all the markets. (see metals too..)
In a wide-ranging interview on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” Thiel also spoke about tech investing, the PayPal-eBay split, Alibaba, cybersecurity and Elon Musk.
“I think the thing that is most distorted is the bond market and fixed income, and perhaps less on the equity side, but we certainly are back on a government bubble of massive size,” he said.
Tech stocks are quite a different story, he added.
Read MoreCNBC NEXT List: Peter Thiel
“They’re somewhat overvalued but that’s not the core of the insanity,” he said. “Tech investors always overrate growth and always underrate durability. You can measure growth but you can’t measure durability.”
He said he thinks Airbnb is undervalued.
A new report of “economic freedom” around the world finds the US ranked 12th among 152 countries, tied with the United Kingdom, and lower than neighbor Canada or Australia. The index, published by the Cato Institute and Canada’s Fraser Institute, has been published since 1996. As recently as 2000, the US ranked 2nd in the world, in terms of boasting a free economy. The US’s declining ranking will lower future economic growth.
The index, built on decades of research by Nobel laureates and dozens of leading scholars, measures 5 broad factors that impact the economy: 1. Size of government; 2. Legal structure and security of property rights; 3. Access to sound money; 4. Freedom to trade internationally and; 5. Regulation of Credit, Labor and Business. Countries where citizens are freer to engage in business and trade and property and legal rights are protected by the rule of law will score higher on the index. According to economic research, though, these countries will also do better economically and create and generate more wealth.
The 10 freest economies in the world are: Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Mauritius, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Australia, Jordan, and Chile and Finland tied for 10th.
America’s descent down the ladder of economic freedom is unsettling, in itself. More troubling, however, is the chief factor behind the US decline. The biggest drop in US economic freedom has been in the country’s legal structure. The report notes that, “increased use of eminent domain to transfer property to powerful political interests, the ramifications of the wars on terrorism and drugs, and the violation of the property rights of bondholders in the auto-bailout case have weakened the tradition of strong adherence to the rule of law in United States.”
The rule of law has long been the foundation of America’s economic prosperity and liberty. The US ranking in this area has plummeted to a terrible 36th place in the world. This, combined with increased regulation is stifling US economic growth. The report observes, “[t]o a large degree, the United States has experienced a significant move away from rule of law and toward a highly regulated, politicized, and heavily policed state.”
The report estimates the cost of the decline of economic freedom in the US. On current trends, future economic growth will be half the historic average of a 3% yearly gain. The past few years have schooled us on the impact low growth has on the labor market and economic outlook.
This latest report is a sobering look at the scale of challenges facing the US. Curtailing government’s leviathan isn’t simply solving a math problem, i.e. getting revenue and spending figures for government to balance. A far larger threat is the accumulation of thousands of rules and regulations that not only stifle innovation but also undermine our personal and property rights.
A balanced federal budget is insignificant and meaningless if the rule of law has been subverted. No single election or administration can repair that damage. That is a task that must be tackled by a generation.
Slap in the face? Maybe… However we still believe that “tax credits” are a joke of extortion, and a Protection racket extending straight to the Federal Reserve. How many major corporations will get to keep their “Pre-funds” while the rest are chased and potentially jailed?
Actual Solutions for US healthcare NEVER get considered without paying off Corps O’merica their cuts!
A significant benefit of the Affordable Care Act is the opportunity to receive money-saving tax credits up front to cut the overall cost of health insurance, but now hundreds of thousands of consumers could owe back some of that money next April.
Those affected took advance payments of the premium tax credit for health insurance. Some married couples could owe $600 or $1,500 or $2,500 or even more. It might feel like a raw deal for some who are already suffocating under the escalating costs of health insurance.
“Health insurance is confusing enough, and now they’re adding the complexities of the Tax Code,” said Lorena Bencsik, a member of the Michigan Association of CPAs and owner of Prime Numbers in Ferndale.
When you file that 2014 tax return next year, the Internal Revenue Service will compare your actual income for the year with the amount you estimated when applying for exchange-based health insurance under the health insurance law.
The next open enrollment period begins Nov. 15. But notices were sent this week to some consumers whose incomes don’t match up to such things as 2012 tax return information.
On Monday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said at least 279,000 households reported incomes that still don’t match what the government has on record. Supporting documents are needed by Sept. 30.
What can you do to avoid tax-time problems?
Experts say people need to realize early on that they should report changes in income and other changes in one’s life, such as a marriage, throughout the year. See HealthCare.gov to report “income and life changes.”
Of course, many people may have no idea that they’d need to report changes.
The IRS put out some more details on the issue mid-month.
What should you report? A move, an increase or decrease in income, a marriage or divorce, the birth or adoption of a child, whether you started a job that offers health insurance and whether you gained or lost eligibility for other health care coverage.
Best spots for information: HealthCare.gov and IRS.gov/aca.
Karen Pollitz, senior fellow with the Kaiser Family Foundation, said many people who qualify for these tax credits aren’t working 9-to-5 jobs with regular salaries. So guesstimating one’s income for the coming year can be very tough.
“It’s people in transition. Maybe they’re in and out of work,” she said. Or maybe they’re self-employed.
People who lose a job would want to report that change during the year, as well, because that change can lead to a higher advance payment for the credit.
“Life changes can drive tax changes,” said Mark Steber, chief tax officer for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.
Steber stressed that people need to make sure to update information via HealthCare.gov or their state insurance exchanges.
The Kaiser Family Foundation site has a calculator to help figure out potential tax credits, based on one’s situation.
Premium tax credits are available to individuals and families with incomes between 100% of the federal poverty line ($23,550 for a family of four this year) and 400% of the federal poverty line ($94,200 for a family of four) who purchase coverage in the health insurance marketplace in their state.
The tax credits are paid directly to the insurer, if taken in advance. People are not required to take the entire credit in advance. Realistically, if you cannot afford insurance, you’d need some credit in advance.
To be sure, there are some caps on the amount filers must pay back and the cap is based on household income. The cap ranges from $300 to $1,250 for some single taxpayers and $600 to $2,500 for married taxpayers, again based on income.
But if the income is 400% or more above the poverty line, there is no cap and the taxpayer must pay back the full amount.
Rules exist for qualifying for the premium tax credit: You must buy health insurance through the marketplace; you’re not eligible for coverage through an employer or government plan; your income must be within certain limits; you do not file a married-filing-separately federal tax return (unless you meet certain exceptions, such as victims of domestic abuse and spousal abandonment) and you cannot be claimed as a dependent by another person.
The actual credit would vary based on how close your are to the federal poverty level, your age, the size of your family and where you live.
Sadly, it’s fair to say some people will see some unexpected, unpleasant surprises on their tax returns next year.
Here is just another piece of evidence showing who owns the country–the Elite “Global Money Paradigm”.
From the local Aspen Daily News out of Colorado we read,
Vice President Joe Biden is in town through this evening for an event sponsored by the private equity firm Forstmann Little & Co. (see below)
The invite-only gathering is an annual autumn affair in Aspen, and typically attracts big names from the worlds of politics, business and entertainment for off-the-record discussions. A sitting vice president would be one of the bigger gets in recent memory.
Biden’s 40-car motorcade sped to Aspen after landing at the Eagle County Regional Airport, arriving in town around 8:30 p.m. Law enforcement personnel escorting the motorcade blocked every intersection as the caravan passed along the 70-mile route using Interstate 70 and Highway 82. The operation, which a Pitkin County sheriff’s deputy said went smoothly, will be repeated in reverse this evening when Biden leaves town.
“I’ve never got here that fast from Vail before,” said a local who was hired to drive one of the cars and asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the press.
The area around the St. Regis hotel was crawling with Secret Service agents, local cops and private security shortly after the vice president’s arrival. Around 9:45 p.m., a second motorcade left the St. Regis for the Hotel Jerome.
Biden is said to be participating in a discussion with noted interviewer Charlie Rose today.
In case you are thinking that we need a few “sunshine laws” to put these “off the record” discussions on the record, here’s an indication that “the most transparent Administration in history” would rather keep things in the dark.
According to Biden’s public schedule at the www.whitehouse.gov website, Biden held a roundtable discussion on domestic violence in Denver at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. His schedule listed no public events through the rest of the weekend.
Well, I guess, since this is a private group with private access to a Vice-President it is none of the public’s business.
That’s quite a government we’ve got.
Forstmann, Little & Company is a private equity firm, specializing in leveraged buyouts (LBOs). At its peak in the late 1990s, Forstmann Little was among the largest private equity firms globally
Ted Forstmann (Yale University) was a golfing partner of Derald Ruttenberg at the Deepdale Country Club on Long Island. He arranged for Ruttenberg to meet Henry Kravis and Jerry Kohlberg of the start-up Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Kravis and Kohlberg proposed what they called a leveraged buyout. After the two had left, Ruttenberg suggested that Forstmann could do the same himself.
Successful acquisitions include Gulfstream Aerospace, Topps Playing Cards, Dr Pepper, Stanadyne Inc., and General Instrument. The company has usually been successful in making a profit on such purchases, selling Gulfstream to General Dynamics, and General Instrument to Motorola.
One prominent episode in the life of the company was the 1988 bidding war for RJR Nabisco. Forstmann Little offered to acquire RJR Nabisco, but the management (chiefly F. Ross Johnson) instead chose Shearson Lehman Hutton. In the end, the board of directors chose Forstmann Little’s arch-rival, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.. The episode was popularized in the book Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco.
Other headline transactions the firm participated in include Revlon (1985), which resulted in the so-called Revlon Duty, and Citadel Broadcasting, of which Forstmann Little owns 27%, following a merger with ABC Radio in 2006. In 2004, Forstmann Little acquired IMG in a $750 million deal, and in 2005 bought 24 Hour Fitness for $1.6 billion.
In December 2006, newspaper reports on the inquiry into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales alleged that U.S. intelligence agencies had bugged Forstmann’s phone or plane and monitored his relationship with Diana. She and her sons were said to have planned to visit him in summer 1997, but British security reportedly blocked the visit over security concerns related to the bugging.
All of the founder have recently died (cancer) and it appears that KKR is running FL and co as a shell corp.
Read more at Political Outcast
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