Archive for January 29th, 2012
(Reuters) – Germany is pushing for Greece to relinquish control over its budget policy to European institutions as part of discussions over a second rescue package, a European source told Reuters on Friday.
“There are internal discussions within the Euro group and proposals, one of which comes from Germany, on how to constructively treat country aid programs that are continuously off track, whether this can simply be ignored or whether we say that’s enough,” the source said.
That’s not going to work out very well.
There are many reports that Greece is “close” to a debt deal on the swap and release of the next tranche of funds from the IMF, but if it includes this provision I bet it blows up. There are already rumblings that it has, with the BBC reporting:
Greek officials have reacted angrily to a leaked German proposal for an EU budget commissioner with veto powers over Greek taxes and spending.
The Greek government said it must remain in control of its own budget.
The European Commission says it wants to reinforce its monitoring of Greek finances, but Greece should retain sovereign control.
Meanwhile, Greece and its private investors are close to a deal which will pave the way for a second bailout.
Negotiators say a tentative agreement could be finalised next week.
Uh huh. The two are linked folks, and Greece is not going to give up budget sovereignty.
The only solution is for Greece’s government to quit spending more than they take in via taxes — that is, stop deficit spending. This is the same problem around the world.
What is not understood among most people is that bankruptcies (defaults) among borrowers and thus recessions are necessary any time capital can be lent out at interest.
This is simply due to the fact that two exponential (compound) functions, such as growth of output and growth of debt, must always over time run away from one another. If debt grows faster than output it will always eventually lead to insolvency.
That is a mathematical fact and there is nothing that can be done to prevent it.
Therefore, governments should not, in the main, borrow at all and if they do then lenders must accept the risk that such borrowing is unsecured and from time to time will lead to defaults and losses.
Until this recognition occurs and the price of lent capital reflects this fact — that is, “sovereign debt” stops being considered a preferred investment (preferably by ceasing to exist!) we will not find a solution to the problems that face the world economy.
16 Statistics Which Show That The Number Of Americans Dependent On The Government Is At An All-Time High
A higher percentage of the American population is receiving government benefits than ever before. Yes, there have always been poor people that have needed our assistance, but what does it say about our economy that the number of Americans dependent on the government is at an all-time high? Every night on the evening news we are told that the economy is improving, and Barack Obama is endlessly giving speeches about the “economic recovery” that is supposedly underway. But that is not the reality on the ground for those on the bottom rungs of the income ladder in America. People are really hurting out there, and the number of Americans that are turning to the government for financial assistance just continues to increase. Yes, we should always have a “safety net”, but right now our “safety net” is becoming massively overloaded as millions more Americans jump on to it every single year. What all of these impoverished Americans really need are jobs, but the U.S. Congress and the past several administrations have been systematically killing job growth in America. So unfortunately the number of poor Americans is going to continue to rise, and that is really bad news for a nation that is already drowning in debt.
Some people out there want to blame the poor for the statistics that you are about to read, but that is a mistake. Yes, there are a lot of people out there that are abusing the system, and that needs to be stopped.
But many Americans that are dependent on the government are in that situation because there simply are not enough jobs in this country.
And unfortunately, the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress continue to pursue the same job-killing policies that have gotten us into this mess in the first place. So millions of Americans that have learned to survive as government dependents are not being given the opportunity to break out of that cycle. When there is a shortage of decent jobs, it is easy to give up. Many tend to become more and more comfortable being dependent on the government as time goes by.
Once you become addicted to getting a government check in the mail, it can be very difficult to give that up. There are some that get trapped in a life of government dependence for years or even decades.
The following are 16 statistics which show that the number of Americans dependent on the government is at an all-time high….
#1 According to the Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that gets direct monetary benefits from the federal government. Back in 1983, less than a third of all Americans lived in a home that received direct monetary benefits from the federal government.
#2 The amount of money that the federal government gives directly to Americans has increased by 32 percent since Barack Obama entered the White House.
#3 The number of Americans receiving Social Security disability benefits has increased by 10 percent since Barack Obama first took office.
#5 The number of Americans on food stamps recently hit a new all-time high. It has increased by 3 million since this time last year and by more than 14 million since Barack Obama first entered the White House.
#6 Today, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps. This is unprecedented in American history.
#7 In 2010, 42 percent of all single mothers in the United States were on food stamps.
#8 Back in 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income. In 2010, government transfer payments accounted for 18.4% of all income, which was a new all-time high.
#9 By the end of 2011, approximately 55 million Americans received a total of approximately 727 billion dollars in Social Security benefits. As the retirement crisis becomes much worse, that dollar figure is projected to absolutely skyrocket.
#10 According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security system paid out more in benefits than it received in payroll taxes in 2010. That was not supposed to happen until at least 2016.
#11 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse. It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
#12 The U.S. government now says that the Medicare trust fund will run out five years faster than previously anticipated.
#13 The total cost of just three federal government programs – the Department of Defense, Social Security and Medicare – exceeded the total amount of taxes brought in during fiscal 2010 by 10 billion dollars.
#14 It is being projected that entitlement spending by the federal government will nearly double by the year 2050.
#15 Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24 percent of GDP. Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18 percent.
#16 When you total it all up, American households are now receiving more money directly from the federal government than they are paying to the government in taxes.
Once again, I am not blaming the poor. Almost all of us know of someone that is on government assistance. Most of them are not dependent on the government because they are lazy or because they want to cheat the system. Most of them have just had their dreams crushed by this horrible economy and need a helping hand.
It is incredible how anyone can run around claiming that the U.S. economy is heading in the right direction with all of this going on.
Yes, things are going fairly well for the boys and girls down on Wall Street, but for the vast majority of Americans things are looking quite bleak.
For example, things have gotten so bad that the state of Florida is actually considering using ballparks and sports stadiums as shelters for the homeless.
But when it comes to so many people being financially dependent on the federal government, there is a major problem.
The problem is that the federal government is absolutely drowning in debt.
So why don’t our politicians just explain to the American people that we need to start cutting back and reducing the size of some of these programs?
Well, if any of our politicians try to do that they won’t get elected next time around.
The truth is that the American people are deeply addicted to government money.
Any politician that proposes significant cuts to Social Security or Medicare is a goner.
Every poll or survey that is done on this subject shows that the American people are overwhelmingly against cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare.
So politicians will just keep spending money like there is no tomorrow, and the American people will just keep sending them back to Washington.
But just like we saw in Greece, a day of reckoning comes eventually.
There will come a time when the federal government will not be able to steal 150 million dollars an hour from our children and our grandchildren.
There will come a time when there will not be enough money for all of these growing social programs.
So once the government checks stop rolling in, what is going to happen then?
This Sunday Funnies cartoon is courtesy of Merle Hazard who says “We Can’t Go On Together with Suspicious Minds, Because Were Leveraged too Much Baby”
Here is a list of Songs and videos by Merle Hazard, not to be confused with Merle Haggard.
Inflation or Deflation?
Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 (that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 1.8 percent.
Sounds like improvement, right?
Well, not quite so fast….
First, this report has a habit of overstating the truth as it’s the “advance” estimate. But the real problem is that a huge part of this came from inventory:
The change in real private inventories added 1.94 percentage points to the fourth-quarter change in real GDP after subtracting 1.35 percentage points from the third-quarter change.
This is a problem because it’s transient; to get the real GDP change you have to back it out. Last quarter it hurt, but this quarter it helped. So we have a net-net slowdown, which isn’t so good. In other words, last quarter it was 1.8% + 1.35 = 3.15% annualized, this quarter was 2.8% – 1.94 = 0.86%.
At this rate we will print negative next quarter on a net-adjusted basis by about 2%.
The issue appears to be in services, which had a precipitous slowdown being up only 0.2%. With the majority of the economy being services….
Federal government spending was down 7%, all national defense — non-defense spending was up 4.2%. State and local spending decreases accelerated from 1.6% to 2.6% (they’re broke folks.)
The trade deficit was up from last quarter, now 582 billion on an annualized basis, with exports increasing only slightly but imports going up more. Thank Chinese labor and environment exploitation for that (again.)
The personal “savings” rate (income minus spend) was down again, and it appears we’re back to trying to finance our living rather than decreasing spending.
This is the same pattern we saw in 2008 as the economy started to roll over.