Breakfast inflation

One of the least discussed and at the same time most important aspects of this economic crisis is the discrepancy between official inflation measures used by the FED, the Consumer Price Index( CPI) and, specially, Personal Consumer Expenditures (PCE), and the real inflation experienced by real people. One example of this last real inflation is the cost of a breakfast as measured by the Breakfast Beverage Index, that is at its highest level in 2 years. If you want to learn more about how inflation is mismeasured and misrepresented in the USA, visit Shadowstats.

Source: Bloomberg

TYReads “One hundred years is long enough. End the Fed”

On the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Federal Reserve (FED), designed in secrecy by a group of Wall Street bankers and voted into existence by the American Congress on december 23 1913, Ron Paul publishes this article arguing that its creators have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, and that the FED has taken total control of the american economy, and not for the good.

To illustrate Ron Paul’s message we include 2 charts. In the first one we can see the loss in purchasing power of the US Dollar from around 1900 until today. In the second one we can see the percentage silver content in the Roman Denarius from around 180 AD to 280 AD, after the government of the Antonines, when Rome went into rapid decline.

devaluation_dollar1

devaluation_denarius

The article:

After 100 Years Of Failure, It’s Time To End The Fed!

A week from now, the Federal Reserve System will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding. Resulting from secret negotiations between bankers and politicians at Jekyll Island, the Fed’s creation established a banking cartel and a board of government overseers that has grown ever stronger through the years. One would think this anniversary would elicit some sort of public recognition of the Fed’s growth from a quasi-agent of the Treasury Department intended to provide an elastic currency, to a de facto independent institution that has taken complete control of the economy through its central monetary planning. But just like the Fed’s creation, its 100th anniversary may come and go with only a few passing mentions.

Like many other horrible and unconstitutional pieces of legislation, the bill which created the Fed, the Federal Reserve Act, was passed under great pressure on December 23, 1913, in the waning moments before Congress recessed for Christmas with many Members already absent from those final votes. This underhanded method of pressuring Congress with such a deadline to pass the Federal Reserve Act would provide a foreshadowing of the Fed’s insidious effects on the US economy—with actions performed without transparency.

Ostensibly formed with the goal of preventing financial crises such as the Panic of 1907, the Fed has become increasingly powerful over the years. Rather than preventing financial crises, however, the Fed has constantly caused new ones. Barely a few years after its inception, the Fed’s inflationary monetary policy to help fund World War I led to the Depression of 1920. After the economy bounced back from that episode, a further injection of easy money and credit by the Fed led to the Roaring Twenties and to the Great Depression, the worst economic crisis in American history.

But even though the Fed continued to make the same mistakes over and over again, no one in Washington ever questioned the wisdom of having a central bank. Instead, after each episode the Fed was given more and more power over the economy. Even though the Fed had brought about the stagflation of the 1970s, Congress decided to formally task the Federal Reserve in 1978 with maintaining full employment and stable prices, combined with constantly adding horrendously harmful regulations. Talk about putting the inmates in charge of the asylum!

Now we are reaping the noxious effects of a century of loose monetary policy, as our economy remains mired in mediocrity and utterly dependent on a stream of easy money from the central bank. A century ago, politicians failed to understand that the financial panics of the 19th century were caused by collusion between government and the banking sector. The government’s growing monopoly on money creation, high barriers to entry into banking to protect politically favored incumbents, and favored treatment for government debt combined to create a rickety, panic-prone banking system. Had legislators known then what we know now, we could hope that they never would have established the Federal Reserve System.

Today, however, we do know better. We know that the Federal Reserve continues to strengthen the collusion between banks and politicians. We know that the Fed’s inflationary monetary policy continues to reap profits for Wall Street while impoverishing Main Street. And we know that the current monetary regime is teetering on a precipice. One hundred years is long enough. End the Fed.

TYR reads: Bitcoins Go Parabolic

Zerohedge reports about the parabolic rise in the price of the Bitcoin in the last 48 hours and its 1400% rise since the start of the year. The article rethorically asks…”which line item on the Fed’s Balance Sheet is ‘Virtual Currency Transactions’… what better way to destroy an up and coming currency competitor than to blow a bubble in it and explode it?”

We wrote about Bitcoin a couple of weeks ago in Bitcoin a virtual currency that defies the NWO. It is a brilliantly designed currency, but it can blow up…or be made to blow up. If you plan to use it, study it first and go slow.

Bitcoin a virtual currency that defies the NWO

Bitcoin the emerging monetary phenomenon created by a pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009 is no longer a joke, but a potential real threat to the neofeudal NWO whose visible components are the western Central Banks, from the Federal Reserve (FED) , to the European Central Bank (ECB), to the Bank of Japan (BoJ), to the Bank of England (BoE), to others.

Bitcoin poses a direct challenge to fiat based Central Bank created currencies that are continually being debased in order to maintain a “dual” economic system in which the banking industry is continually being subsidized (thru access to cheap money via the Central Bank, thru continuous bailouts paid by taxing the rest of the economy, thru covert inflation achieved by distorting the inflation measures).

It is likely that if the threat posed by Bitcoin materializes, Central Banks will fight it (they have already started), but whatever the outcome, Bitcoin is the most brilliant and lethal tool devised so far to fight a social order described decades ago, in “1984”. Forget, “Occupy Wall Street”, forget “indignados”, Bitcoin might be “it”.

It should thus not be a surprise that, as Zerohedge reported today, “US Begins Regulating BitCoin, Will Apply “Money Laundering” Rules To Virtual Transactions”.

So…What is Bitcoin?

According to Wikipedia, “Bitcoin (sign: BTC) is a decentralized digital currency based on an open-source, peer-to-peer internet protocol. It was introduced by a pseudonymous developer named Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009.”

“Internationally, bitcoins can be exchanged by personal computer directly through a wallet file or a website without an intermediate financial institution. In trade, one bitcoin is subdivided into 100-million smaller units called satoshis, defined by eight decimal places.”

According to Erik Voorhess, that provides an excellent introduction to Bitcoin in his blog, “Bitcoin is two things: it is a digital currency unit and it is the global payment network with which one sends and receives those currency units. Both the currency unit and the payment network share the same name: Bitcoin.”

“As a currency unit, consider Bitcoin like other currencies. The world has euros, dollars, yen, gold and silver ounces, and now it has Bitcoin as well. The properties of the Bitcoin currency unit are as follows:”

  • There will never be more than 21 million in existence, and they are released over time at a declining rate (at the time of writing, about 8.5 million Bitcoins exist).
  • As new coins are released on the set schedule, they are given at random to those who contribute computing power to securing the network. This is called “Bitcoin Mining” but it should more accurately be called “Bitcoin Auditing.” Those who contribute more computing power to this work have better odds of receiving the new coins, but the rate of new coin creation never increases (in fact it diminishes over time until all 21 million coins exist). Inflation is thus pre-determined and ever-decreasing toward zero. The below graph shows the release schedule and inflation rate:

  • Each Bitcoin is divisible by one hundred million. You can thus possess 0.00000001 Bitcoins.
  • Bitcoins are perfectly fungible, they are divided and combined seamlessly in your account.
  • It is theoretically impossible to make a fake Bitcoin (to fully understand why this is true, one needs to study cryptography and fairly advanced mathematics).
  • As a currency existing in a perfectly free market, Bitcoins always have a market price. At the time of this writing, this price is about $4.80 each. Because Bitcoin is global, there are also market prices for Bitcoin in every major national currency from yen to Brazilian reals.
  • Bitcoins are traded like other currencies on exchange websites, and this is how the market price is established. The most prominent exchange is MtGox.com

“So those are the details of Bitcoin as a currency unit, but Bitcoin is also a payment network. As a payment network, Bitcoin replaces the function of banks (especially the Federal Reserve as money creation is not at the whim of any person nor group), inter-bank funding networks (like SWIFT and SEPA), payment processors (like PayPal) and remitters (such as Western Union). The entirety of these massive industries as they relate to the creation, storage, accounting, and transfer of money has been usurped by Bitcoin. If Bitcoin succeeds, it is likely that PayPal and Western Union would be removed from the marketplace. The Federal Reserve (and every central bank) would be made redundant. “Disruptive technology” is thus an understatement.”

Is Bitcoin “money”? Does it have the characteristics that define that elusive concept called “money”. According to the traditional definion, “money” should be a store of value, a medium of exchange and a unit of account. Let’s see:

  • Is it a store of value?. Yes. Why?. Because it cannot be counterfeited and because it is scarce. Only 21 million Bitcoins will ever be issued by 2140. Being a store of value is based on being scarce, and Bitcoin is scarce.
  • Is it medium of exchange?. Yes. Why?. It is used to purchase and sell products and services.
  • Is it a unit of account? Yes. Why?. It is fungible, divisible and can be used to accumulate wealth.

Bitcoin is an experiment, and it could fail. Its success depends on its creators fulfilling the pledge never to issue more than 21 million units, on keeping it scarce. But so far it is succeeding. Check the price of the Bitcoin in USD in this chart provided by Blockchain: It went from 10 USD in July 2012 to 70 USD this last week. Check also the market capitalization of the Bitcoin market in this chart also provided by Blockchain: It went from 100 million USD in July 2012 to about 800 million USD this last week.

Its success also depend on it being widely accepted. This condition has the characteristics of a self-reinforcing loop: The more it is accepted, the higher the chances of it succeeding as a medium of exchange. So far the prospects are good. Transactions mediated by Bitcoin are growing fast.

As Bitcoin is decentralized, it can be hard to find all the resources one might want. Below is a list of some of the most useful websites and tools for learning about and engaging the Bitcoin economy (compiled by Erik Voorhees)

Paytunia.com – Very nice online ewallet service with Android app. Store your coins here.

BitSpend.net – Enables you to buy ANYTHING online by paying with Bitcoin. Very cool.

Bitcoin.org – Official site of the Bitcoin project, download the wallet software here.

MtGox.com – The leading Bitcoin exchange. Buy and sell Bitcoins here.

BitcoinTalk.org – The official discussion forum, and large enthusiast community.

Wiki.Bitcoin.it – Encyclopedia of most aggregated Bitcoin knowledge, very extensive.

Bitcoin.it/wiki/trade – Partial list of companies that accept Bitcoin as payment.

Blockchain.info – Tool for viewing accounts, payments, and numerous economic statistics.

BitcoinCharts.com – Shows current market prices and economic statistics.

Preev.com – Super easy Bitcoin<->fiat calculator, multiple currencies supported.

BitcoinMonitor.com – Live view of transactions as they happen on the Bitcoin network.

Paysius.com – Enables businesses to automatically accept Bitcoin payments on their website.

Bit-Pay.com – Another excellent merchant solution for businesses that wish to accept Bitcoin payments.

Coinabul.com – Leading gold and silver bullion seller for Bitcoin

Coinapult.com – Send Bitcoin via Email or SMS

WorkForBitcoin.com – Bitcoin job board – freelance projects which pay in Bitcoin.

Bernanke & Hockey Stick Inflation

Yesterday, in his biannual testimony to the USA Congress, the president of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, asserted that inflation under his and Mr. Greenspan’s mandate was no more than 2% a year. While this might be “true” using Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, please check ShadowStats for a true picture of inflation in the USA. Even using BLS data, it is very informative to check a chart of inflation of the USA from 1775 until 2012. Please note 2 dates: the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913 and the decoupling of the US Dollar from gold under the Nixon administration in 1971.

Inflation under 2% per year? Look again

InflationChart

TYR 4 December 2012 reads

Still Not Spreading the Wealth Around @ Azizonomics This article compares the evolution of the percentages of GDP that both wages and corporate profits have had in the USA from the 1940s until 2012. Data shows that corporate profits have never been higher, around 11% of GDP, and wages have never been lower, around 43.5% of GDP. This trend has accelerated since 2008, because of the extreme and biased policies of the FED and the Federal Government, bailing out banks and corporations and, at the same time, forcing inflation and lower wages to the population. The article ends: “And the growing gap between the rich and the poor is steadily beginning to resemble neofeudalism.

Lighthouse Investment On The ‘N’-Word In Monetary Policy @ Zerohedge Zerohedge publishes and comments a report from Lighthouse Investment on the likely next inflationary tool from the FED: Nominal GDP Targeting (NGDPT). The report, titled “Monetary Policy: the N-Word”, clearly explains how potential GDP (PGDP) is calculated and how the FED will use this concept to “sell” to the public the “reasonableness” of NGDPT. The trick lies in assuming that PGDP is invariant thru time (false assumption) and that, if real GDP (RGDP) is lower than PGDP, then it is reasonable, warranted, to “stimulate” the economy until NGDP = PGDP, conveniently forgetting that NGDP includes an inflation component (NGDP = RGDP + Inflation). How is that achieved? Through printing money, of course. The endgame of such a policy is hyperinflation and the replacement of the currency. This replacement, Lighthouse Investment assumes, would be Gold.

TYR 15 November 2012 reads

The Bernanke-Obama-Keynes Toxic Triangle Dead End @ Zerohedge In this article originally published in Forbes Mark Spitznagel explores Frédéric Bastiat’s observation: “The bad economist pursues a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, while the true economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil.”

The Unabridged Ron Paul Guide To Being A Libertarian @ Zerohedge Ron Paul bids farewell to Congress. The libertarian, honest and constant enemy of the monetary debasement policies of the FED, honest and constant enemy of the imperial foreign policy of the USA government, constant advocate for a small government, sound currency and free markets, in his farewell speech summarizes the  greatest dangers that the American people face today and impede the goal of a free society. They are five:

1. The continuous attack on our civil liberties which threatens the rule of law and our ability to resist the onrush of tyranny.

2. Violent anti-Americanism that has engulfed the world. Because the phenomenon of “blow-back” is not understood or denied, our foreign policy is destined to keep us involved in many wars that we have no business being in. National bankruptcy and a greater threat to our national security will result.

3. The ease in which we go to war, without a declaration by Congress, but accepting international authority from the UN or NATO even for preemptive wars, otherwise known as aggression.

4. A financial political crisis as a consequence of excessive debt, unfunded liabilities, spending, bailouts, and gross discrepancy in wealth distribution going from the middle class to the rich. The danger of central economic planning, by the Federal Reserve must be understood.

5. World government taking over  local and US sovereignty by getting involved in the issues of war, welfare, trade, banking,  a world currency, taxes, property ownership, and private ownership of guns.

TYR 26 October 2012 reads

The SAME Unaccountable Government Agency Which Spies on ALL Americans Also Decides Who Gets ASSASSINATED by Drones @ Washington’s Blog The world that is coming…or perhaps is already here.

David Einhorn Explains How Ben Bernanke Is Destroying America @ Zerohedge explaining how the Fed’s policies are not only not helping the economy, they are now actively destroying this country.

The Dark Age of Money @ Counterpunch “Beginning sometime around 1970 the U.S. and most of the ‘free world’ have diverged from traditional “free market capitalism” to something different.  Today the U.S. and much of the world’s economies are operating under what I call Monetary Fascism: a system where financial interests control the State for the advancement of the financial class.  This is markedly different from traditional Fascism: a system where State and industry work together for the advancement of the State.”

TYR 22 October 2012 reads

Lessons In Fiat Reality: “Why I Learned To Trade Less And Love The Farm” @ Zerohedge Hedge fund manager Stephen Diggle argues for farmland as the best risk-adjusted invesment for the next decade. Central bank generated inflation, a slowdown in agricultural productivity, a still growing global population and a global trend towards meat consumption in human diet underpin his thesis. The thesis looks solid.

IMF’s epic plan to conjure away debt and dethrone bankers @ The Telegraph Ambrose Evans-Pritchard comments a controversial and revolutionary paper published by the IMF this last august, in which Jaromir Benes and Michael Kumhof defend that: At the height of the Great Depression a number of leading U.S. economists advanced a proposal for monetary reform that became known as the Chicago Plan. It envisaged the separation of the monetary and credit functions of the banking system, by requiring 100% reserve backing for deposits. Irving Fisher (1936) claimed the following advantages for this plan: (1) Much better control of a major source of business cycle fluctuations, sudden increases and contractions of bank credit and of the supply of bank-created money. (2) Complete elimination of bank runs. (3) Dramatic reduction of the (net) public debt. (4) Dramatic reduction of private debt, as money creation no longer requires simultaneous debt creation. We study these claims by embedding a comprehensive and carefully calibrated model of the banking system in a DSGE model of the U.S. economy. We find support for all four of Fisher’s claims. Furthermore, output gains approach 10 percent, and steady state inflation can drop to zero without posing problems for the conduct of monetary policy. Can not get much more controversial than that.

“… the ongoing assurances of central bank liquidity seem to ensure an eventual crisis beyond the liquidity capacity of central banks”

Doug Noland, one of the few financial analysts that foresaw the 2008 crisis before it happened, this week, in his weekly Credit Bubble Bulletin, “celebrates” the 25th anniversary of the October 1987 crash. The complete article here, some excerpts here:

“Portfolio insurance played an important role in the precipitate sell orders that overwhelmed and helped crash the market.”

“The “twin deficits” were a major concern.”… “Our Current Account deficit jumped to $39bn in 1983, $94bn in 1984, $118bn in 1985, and $147bn in 1986.  By 1987, the U.S. was running quarterly Current Account shortfalls the size of its annual deficit from only four years earlier.”

“I’ve often contemplated where I might “officially” pinpoint the beginning of the prolonged U.S. and global Credit Bubble.  … I’ll instead propose October 20, 2012 as the 25 Year Anniversary of the Great Credit Bubble.   It was, after all, 25 years ago, on the Tuesday following “Black Monday,” that a statement changed history:  “The Federal Reserve, consistent with its responsibilities as the Nation’s central bank, affirmed today its readiness to serve as a source of liquidity to support the economic and financial system.””

“Federal Reserve largess ensured that fledgling areas of excess throughout the system actually gathered critical momentum.  These included the Drexel Burnham junk bond scheme, the Wall Street “Gordon Gekko” M&A boom, and real estate lending excesses, especially on both coasts. ”

“When that Bubble phase eventually burst in the early nineties, eighties period excesses were referred to as “the decade of greed.”  In the name of fighting the scourge of deflation and depression, the Greenspan Fed responded even more aggressively.  The Fed went from guaranteeing marketplace liquidity to ensuring a steep yield curve (short-term rates pegged significantly below market bond yields).”

“Furthermore, the Fed’s activist policies spurred rampant growth in non-bank Credit, including MBS, ABS, GSE balance sheets, “repos” and Wall Street finance more generally.”

“The Greenspan Fed’s 1987 promise of market liquidity was the precursor for today’s zero rates, the Fed’s almost $3 TN balance sheet, and recent promises of “open-ended” quantitative easing (QE).”

“Especially after the ’87 Crash, the Federal Reserve and other regulators should have moved decisively to nip the derivatives boom in the bud, especially in the area of the dynamic hedging of myriad market risks…  Instead of the Crash destroying this market fallacy, the Fed’s day-after statement validated the view that derivative contracts could be written and risk-strategies pursued on the belief that policymakers would be there to counterbalance market illiquidity and neutralize “tail risks” and system shocks.  This fundamentally changed finance, the pricing and trading of risk instruments, and risk-taking more generally.  The unprecedented proliferation of market risk insurance took the world by storm and played a pivotal role in runaway Credit excesses and associated global imbalances and economic distortions.”

“The Fed’s statement on October 20, 1987 commenced 25 years of serial (and escalating) booms and busts around the world.  We’re nowadays in the midst of “melt-up” Credit debasement, a “blow-off” top in global speculative excess, and complete policy capitulation in hope of holding the downside of the global Credit cycle at bay.  For a few years now, I’ve referred to the “global government finance Bubble” as the granddaddy of them all.  What started as excesses at the fringes of U.S. bank and junk bond finance back in the late-eighties eventually made its way to terminally infect Treasury and related debt at the core of our entire monetary system.  Global excesses, having fueled precarious Bubbles in Japan, SE Asia, Europe and the emerging economies over the years, afflicted China with its estimated population of 1.3 billion.   Today’s historic Bubble phase risks the loss of market trust in sovereign debt.  The current global “inflationist” policy regime risks being completely discredited.  And the historic Chinese Bubble risks a precarious post-Bubble day of reckoning. ”

“Unlike the 80’s and 90’s, there’s no longer any attempt at a coordinated strategy to deal with global excesses and imbalances.  Policymakers have thrown in the towel – and these days have no strategy beyond reflation and Bubble perpetuation.  U.S. policymakers pay little more than lip service to incredible federal deficits.  This, however, is actually more than is paid to the massive Current Account Deficits that have been the root cause of now deep structural global imbalances and economic impairment.  More than 25 years later, our nation’s policy prescription for unmatched global imbalances is even looser monetary policy and added stimulus for all nations, everywhere, all-the-time.”

“And the way I see it, the Fed, ECB and global central bankers today fight a losing battle.  The mountain of global debt, securities, and derivatives, along with this destabilizing global pool of speculative finance, just inflate larger by the year – and after each policy response.  And the more outrageous the policy measures implemented to try to resolve each crisis, the more these desperate measures further inflate the global Bubble.  Ironically, the ongoing assurances of central bank liquidity seem to ensure an eventual crisis beyond the liquidity capacity of central banks.  Happy 25th Anniversary..”