LOSING HIS MARBLES OVER GLOBAL WARMING

24 comments

Posted on 6th January 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, ,

At one time Paul Farrell’s articles made sense. In the last year I think dementia has set in or someone at the Wall Street Journal told him what he was supposed to say from now on. He has been urging people to buy stocks at the all time high. Then he blathers about Wall Street being crooked.

He blames capitalism for all the woes in the world, when we don’t have anything resembling capitalism in the world. He is a global warming disciple on par with the grand poobah – Al Gore. His rhetoric is off the charts nutjob. The guy lives in San Luis Obisbo where the temperature never falls below 70 degrees. Send the fucker to my house. The wind chill tomorrow morning in Philadelphia will be 20 DEGREES BELOW ZERO. It will be the coldest day in over 20 years. Global warming my fat ass.

Farrell is an idiot in my humble opinion.

New ‘War of Worlds’: Capitalism vs. Planet Earth

Opinion: Global-warming rate today has impact of 400,000 daily A-bombs

By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — There’s a new “War of the Worlds” raging, and this one is for real. Forget the pre–World War II radio hoax by Orson Welles. Flash forward to 2005 and the Steven Spielberg–Tom Cruise version ? No, flash a little further. New technologies making Marshall McLuhan’s “medium is the message” dominate: new media, Twitter news, Google Glass, Big Data, Raymond Kurzweil’s “ Singularity .” Hot news. Staccato. Immediate. Now.

But how can we tell what’s fiction and fact? What is reality in this Big Money world?

In today’s bizarre reality of artificial intelligence and drones, there are only six really true facts you need to know about this new “War of the Worlds,” the final war between the old conspiracies of Big Money and Big Oil and Big Government and the Big TV Networks vs. an emerging but ragtag conspiracy of eco-activists and climate-change scientists and global-warming billionaires. This is all you need to know about your future and the fate of our world:

Fact 1: Wall Street’s fictional record highs

Like the Orson Welles hoax, the stock-market benchmark’s all-time highs are a fantasy. But, for now, they control the medium. Yes, the majority, the global “collective unconscious” actually believes that what it’s hearing in the media is factual. And most believe it when they hear from the news anchors that 2013 was the best year since the dot-com rally of the late 1990s.


New York Times

 

New York Times story on the effect of Orson Welles’s hoax on listeners.

But imagine a “War of the Worlds”–style cut-in: “We interrupt this program …” An alien invasion of Planet Earth, it says. Mushroom clouds. Panic ensues. And global retweeting. Once upon a time, in 1938 , we believed the cut-in. And maybe we still would. Except that today’s “alien invasion” is capitalism, attacking, dominating, depleting world resources.

So imagine that cut-in, today, with the message that Wall Street is winning. Big Money is winning again. And you, Main Street investor, are the loser.

 

 

 

 

On an inflation-adjusted basis, in today’s bizarrely zero-sum economy, Wall Street actually lost trillions in retirement funds for Main Street America’s 95 million investors, while inflating the inequality gaps. Yes, from 2000 to 2013, Wall Street was actually underwater.

Still, most of us believe what the Big Money–Wall Street conspiracy broadcasts. It owns the medium and, thus, the message.

Fact 2: Global warming is as deadly as 400,000 A-bombs — every day

Next, imagine alerts rapidly streaming across your monitor. Big headline flashing: “Earth’s rate of global warming is 400,000 Hiroshima bombs a day.” Suddenly, fade to black. An eerie silence. You wonder: Is this our new reality? We’re in the dark.

Facts really are stranger than fiction. No matter what new broadcast technologies deliver our news — TV, LinkedIn, Hulu, Google Glass, “Star Trek” mind melding, Kurzweil’s “Singularity”— the fact is this: Global warming is running at a rate of 400,000 A-bombs hitting Planet Earth daily, dangerously overheating our world, day after day after day.

Big Oil is fighting to keep that info off Big TV News. But the fact remains that the 400,000-daily-A-bombs headline is real. It was first posted on ThinkProgress.com and voiced by one of the world’s leading climate scientists, James Hansen, the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies from 1981 to 2013, in a 2012 TED Talk . But since Big Money rules today’s reality, even if the conspiracy loses a round, its perpetrators will invest heavily a comeback. They can’t afford to lose the “War of the Worlds.”

Fact 3: Just 90 companies trigger 63% of all global-warming pollution

This, from the Guardian , is a show stopper: “Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions: Chevron, Exxon and BP among companies most responsible for climate change since dawn of industrial age.” The opener hits harder: “We know who’s profiting from emissions—let’s bill them. Shell, BP, ExxonMobil and Chevron are some of the 90 entities discovered in a recently published research that contribute to most of the world’s emissions.”

Get it? Big Oil really is Big Polluter. “There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world,” observed Richard Heede of the Climate Accountability Institute, who looked at methane and CO2 emissions from 1854 to 2010. “But the decision makers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil, if you narrow it down to just one person, they could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two.” In effect, “Heede’s work debunks the myth that everyone (and therefore no one) is responsible for climate change.” In truth, Big Oil is Planet Earth’s biggest enemy.

Fact 4: ‘Big TV News’ conspires with Big Oil climate-science deniers

Wonder why you rarely hear about climate change on television news? Here’s why: Network television is a major climate-science denier in cahoots with Big Oil and all other climate-science deniers. Yes, to survive, “Big TV News” relies upon hundreds of millions of dollars a year in television ads from Big Oil.

The facts: About a month ago, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, the leading media watchdog group exposing bias in the news, released a new survey of national newscasts on CBS, NBC and ABC: “Extreme weather is big news. In the first nine months of 2013, there were 450 segments of 200 words or more that covered extreme weather: flooding, forest fires, tornadoes, blizzards, hurricanes and heat waves.”

But, unfortunately, the television networks are now de facto climate-science deniers, aiding Big Oil. How? TV news consistently fails to analyze “the human-made climate change that is affecting … extreme weather.” Of those 450 segments, “just a tiny fraction, 16 segments, or 4% of the total … mentioned the words ‘climate change,’ ‘global warming’ or ‘greenhouse gases’ [while] 96% of extreme-weather stories never discussed the human impact on the climate.” Yes, Big Oil ad spending is influencing Big TV News.

Fact 5: 2013 was worst year in human history for climate change

If you owned stocks or are an ideological climate-science denier, you loved 2013. And you’ll ignore ThinkProgress’s “nine major reasons climate change, and the carbon pollution that drives it, helped make 2013 one of the worst years in human history”:

  • Global CO2 levels hit 400 parts per million in 2013 for the first time in recorded history
  • It’s getting hotter, faster
  • A huge number of animals and plants face extinction
  • The world suffered deadly heat, drought and wildfires
  • Choking pollution shut down population centers
  • Countries suffer disasters but still commit to doing even less about emissions
  • Sea levels broke records in 2013, amplifying the effects of storms and floods
  • Much of the world is doubling down on fossil fuels
  • We are woefully undercounting methane emissions

But few in Big TV News will broadcast this message about how humans cause climate change. We prefer to hear “Wall Street’s best year since 1997!” Better yet, tell us that “2014 will be better” and give us predictions of more big returns. And, yes, that’s what our brains, and the world’s collective unconscious, will hear because the conspiracy has Big Money on its side to control the media and message. Till it’s too late.

Fact 6: Both worlds are losing this new ‘War of the Worlds’

This “War of the Worlds” redux pits capitalism against Planet Earth. But, unfortunately, in today’s “War of the Worlds,” the old conspiracy of Big Money–Big Oil–Big Government–Big TV Networks is beating the ragtag eco-activists fighting against global warming and climate change.

How? Every single day Big Oil and other climate-change deniers are spending megabucks to control your mind, to manipulate what Carl Jung called the collective unconscious. Remember, just 90 organizations with a war chest of trillions are spending billions every day to get you to ignore that rate of 400,000 A-bombs a day — and not only that. They want to control your mind, the collective unconscious. The real “War of the Worlds” is for the control of your mind. And everyone else’s.

Why? Any admission that humans are responsible for climate change would result in new carbon-emission restrictions and taxes. Until then, the impact of those 400,000 daily atomic bombs exploding on Planet Earth remains in force, and the Big Money–Big Oil–Big Government–Big TV Networks conspiracy will keep winning. And Planet Earth will keep losing, unfortunately.

RUN THROUGH THE JUNGLE – 30 BLOCKS OF SQUALOR THEME SONG

59 comments

Posted on 19th December 2013 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

ANOTHER WEST PHILLY CHRISTMAS POSTCARD FROM 2010

 

As I was driving into work this morning I was listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Greatest Hits Album when Run Through the Jungle came on. A light bulb went off over my head. The 30 Blocks of Squalor has a theme song. It was written in 1970 by John Fogerty and was likely referring to the jungles of Vietnam. The song was used in that great scene in Forrest Gump when Forrest keeps rescuing his wounded comrades. Today, the 30 Blocks of Squalor are just as dangerous as the jungles of Vietnam. A little napalm would improve the neighborhood.

It is that time of year again. The Dean’s office adopts a poor family from the West Philadelphia 30 Blocks of Squalor for Christmas. The staff gives money,clothes, essentials and presents to this family. I detailed this effort in a post last year. The Dean’s office administrative assistants had no way to transport the 8 bags of stuff to the family, so they asked me if I could drive them over in my CRV. I gulped and said yes.

 

Myself and two tiny little women got in my CRV with 8 bags of goodies and drove to 50th and Sure Death St. I parked behind a $60,000 Mercedes. The only three white people who had been on that block in 3 years got out of the car and began to search for the lucky family. We identified the correct tenement and proceeded to lug the gifts. There was no elevator and the apartment was on the 5th floor. We had so much stuff, it would take two trips to complete our task. Two chances for assualt with a deadly weapon.

 

There is no feeling like being three white people on a block that is 100% black carrying hundreds of dollars worth of stuff in bags. We knocked on the door and heard commotion inside. But the door didn’t open. We knocked again. The door knob began to shake and three minutes later the door opened. It seems that they need a knife to open their door because the lock was broken. Lucky the place was a 5 alarm fire waiting to happen. The occupiers of this hovel were an 18 year old girl, two three year old kids, a 12 year old kid, one small TV on a crate, no furniture, baseboard heat that didn’t appear to be working, and dirt. This was truly squalor.

 

The occupants were not very talkative and didn’t appear thankful for the stuff we brought them. It was a weird scene, man. We made some small talk and departed as quickly as humanly possible. I was left empty by the whole experience. There was no feeling of having done something good for these people. Their lives will still be the same.

 

Giving stuff to people does not make them happy, better off, or self sufficient. There are two things missing from the 30 Blocks of Squalor. Fathers who take responsibility for their actions and the children they father. A desire for improvement through education. They go hand in hand. Without a functioning family unit, there is no way the children can get the support to value education and use it as a stepping stone out of Squalor. The black men of this neighborhood are responsible for the squalor. The white man didn’t do this to them. Society is not to blame. Personal responsibility by the black men is the only way forward for these people. There appears to be no effort in this direction. The shiftless, lazy men along the 30 Blocks of Squalor collect their welfare, father children and take no responsibility.

 

One huge benefit of buying a Honda Insight. There is no way I can fit 8 packages of gifts into it. I’m so sad.

 

Oh I almost forgot. As I pulled away from the tenement in my CRV like Santa Claus

 

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

 

 

 

 

 

30 BLOCKS OF HO HO HO

116 comments

Posted on 19th December 2013 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, , , , , , ,

I was about to write a new 30 Blocks of Squalor Christmas article and wanted to go back and see what I had to say last year. After reading this post, I realized it couldn’t be topped. There is really nothing more to say. It’s a 30 Blocks Christmas Classic. I’ll just add a couple of anecdotes and let you enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the 30 Blocks of Squalor at Christmas.

I wanted to provide an update about the beggar who is stationed at the Girard Avenue off ramp from the Schuylkill Expressway. Earlier this week I noticed that he brought a chair to sit in while he begs. This beggar is a bit lazy. The good beggars will walk up and down the line of traffic at the red light and give you the sad eyes and downtrodden look, to guilt you into giving him money. This dude just sits there with his cardboard sign and expects you to summon him to your car. Secondly, the dude was wearing a new red LL Bean ski jacket with a beautiful brown scarf wrapped around his neck. He was wearing some pretty expensive work boots too. Next to his chair was a bag of trash with 6 empty coffee cups, $2 Deer Park water bottles and sandwich wrappers from 7-11.

I, of course, was wearing my five year old Dockers winter coat purchased at Kohl’s with a 30% coupon when it was on sale. In the seat next to me was my brown bag lunch that included a generic Wal-Mart 10 cent bottle of water. I made a pot of coffee at home and drank two cups for about 10 cents. I have a psychological issue with giving money to someone who is dressing and eating better than me. I’m not a scrooge. I give money to organizations that I know help people down on their luck like Manna on Mainstreet in Lansdale and the Ronald McDonald House in Philly. If a beggar can afford to spend $10 per day on food and drinks, he doesn’t need my money.

The second humorous anecdote is about some liberal shrew that evidently didn’t like this article when it was published last year. Somehow she concluded that I’m a racist. Liberal shrews must not have much to do other than tell other people how they should think and act. This particular shrew decided she was going to get me. She tracked down my work phone number and the phone number of my boss. She left a 5 minute screed on my voice mail about my outrageous racism due to my describing exactly what I see in West Philly. The message left on my boss’ voice mail included her reading parts of my classic Christmas tale that she found offensive. He sent it to me and walked in my office. I told him that liberals don’t like what I have to say and you can’t please everyone. He laughed and walked out. I hope the bitch reads it again and works herself into a frenzy of hate and retribution.

Now onto this touching heartfelt Christmas postcard for West Philly.   

 

GHETTO CHRISTMAS CLASSIC (12/7/12)

I knew it would happen eventually. There was a big accident on the Schuykill the other night and I had the pleasure of another trek on the 30 Blocks of Squalor under the Market Street El and through the lovely 69th Street shopping mecca in Upper Darby. No matter how hard I try not to think while I travel through this bustling ghetto of  Obama voters, I can’t help but be amazed at the unbelievable sights and reach conclusions that would make Rachel Madow and Chris Matthews foam at the mouth in anger.

It now gets dark at 4:30 every night, so my daily trek through West Philly has taken on a new complexion. Did you know it’s hard to to see black people in the dark? I’m extra vigilant when driving at night through West Philly. My biggest fear is a Bonfire of the Vanities moment where I run over a black person and have to decide whether to flee or stop and be confronted with irate Obama phone toting voters. The chances of hitting a black person are higher than you might think because they really don’t give a crap about stop lights or walking on sidewalks. There is one crazy ass black lady who walks down the middle of 37th street on a regular basis with no concern whatsoever for being run down. Her crack addled brain is incapable of worries about safety. You’ve all seen the type.

Another general observation regarding West Philly in the dark is how dark it is. I’ve been wondering about this for some time. The row homes along 37th street are dilapidated, decaying, rat infested hovels. The vacant ones have boards over the windows. The average price of these dumps is about $25,000. In the summertime there are 300 pound welfare mommas sitting outside as their bastard children play in traffic. There are automobiles parked in the street in front of these Obamaville slums. But as I drive by every night I notice there are no lights on in 90% of these low income estates. My first thought is they must still be at work. Then I come to my senses and realize no one works in this community.

The unemployment rate on this block is easily 80%. But that doesn’t seem to be impacting the corner bar that always has plenty of patrons. I can’t help but come to the conclusion that these people are living in these hovels without electricity and/or heat. My guess is their electricity was cut-off due to non-payment. It’s almost like this neighborhood is in 3rd world country, except that everyone has a cell phone and there are Cadillac Escalades, Lincoln Navigators and BMWs parked on the filth covered streets. This is one of the neighborhoods that voted 100% for Obama. After 47 years of welfare programs pushed by progressive do-gooders and urban enclaves completely run by the Democratic Party, the black people who inhabit this squalor have no jobs, no education, no self respect, no inhabitable shelter, and no incentive to change or improve their condition in life. Only in the bizarro world of the United States would these people vote unanimously to retain their right to live in squalor.

 

When you drive into my neighborhood at this time of year, it’s like a winter wonderland of lights and decorations. When you drive down 37th Street in West Philly there isn’t a Christmas decoration or twinkling light to be seen. Not one. They have bars on the windows, but not Christmas lights. You’d think someone in this squalor would have the Christmas spirit. But, I guess they figure Obama Claus delivers their EBT presents on the 1st of every month, so no need to celebrate just in December. The only Ho Ho Ho you’re likely to see in West Philly is this one.

Shortly after turning onto Market Street I noticed something new, in addition to the hundreds of newly installed wheel chair ramps on every street corner. We all know the millions of taxpayer dollars spent putting wheel chair ramps on every corner in West Philly has created thousands of union construction jobs and jump started the West Philly economy. Don’t worry about the water mains that burst every other day and cost taxpayers millions when they flood homes and businesses. At least the rascal and hoveround ghettomobiles can manuever easily from block to block. These dudes are really happy.

 

You will be thrilled to know that the brilliant government leaders of Philadelphia have dramatically improved Market Street by painting a bike lane in each direction. This is considered a major improvement in a corrupt, bankrupt city that has been in non-stop decline for the last 50 years. It was such an accomplishment that our African American Mayor Nutter brought his big scissors to the grand opening of a freaking bike lane. Meanwhile four more people were gunned down in cold blood in other parts of Philly while Nutter was celebrating some paint on a street. If we can just have a productive last four weeks, we can have the Christmas gift of a five year homicide high of 330.

I couldn’t help but find the whole concept amusing. The dimwits who run the City of Philadelphia evidently haven’t spent much time in West Philly on Market Street. Over 90% of the people are obese and only exercise when leaving the scene of a robbery or murder. Black people in West Philly don’t need to ride bikes because they don’t need to go anywhere. Their welfare payments, food stamps, and SSDI payments are all delivered electronically. They certainly don’t need a bike to get to their jobs.

I wonder if anyone else finds it amusing that the painted symbol of a biker through a neighborhood that is 98% black is as white as a ghost. This painted white stick figure is the only white person who will ever occupy this bike lane. I wonder why the city decided to have the bike lane abruptly end at 56th street? Maybe they did a study that told them that no one on a bike in this neighborhood would make it past 56th Street alive.

As I continued down Market St. the commercial success of Obama’s economic policies are evident for all to see. His 2008 campaign visit was the only and last time he will ever set foot under the Market Street El. The yellow tape is actually designating a crime scene. Notice the mural of black people doing great things in the background. There are at least six murals like this one on this route.

Live Blogging the Pa. Returns

The murals are far outnumbered by the number of vacant, crumbling buildings that once housed businesses and have been abandoned to the rats and vagrants. I’m sure four more years of Obama economic policies will surely revive the entreprenuerial spirit that lurks just below the surface in West Philly.

 

If you honestly observe the reality of Market Street today, you realize that fifty years of failed welfare policies have caused this travesty. The only operating businesses on this corridor are nail salons, hair salons, check cashing joints, bars, and porno video stores. The best selling products in West Philly are roll down steel gates, plywood, illegal hand guns, and crack. The worst selling products are books, condoms and wedding rings. It seems commerce in recently owned appliances, furniture, and electronics on the sidewalks of Market Street is thriving. The former owners of these products probably aren’t thrilled.

 

The parades of the 1950s down a Market Street of thriving businesses watched by hard working middle class married white familes are a distant memory. The population of Philadelphia reached its peak in 1950 at 2.1 million people. Today, there are only 1.5 million people living in Philadelphia. That is almost a 30% decline in 62 years. Meanwhile the U.S. population grew from 152 million in 1950 to 315 million today, a 107% increase. The State of PA.’s population grew from 10.5 million in 1950 to 12.7 million today, a 21% increase. In 1950 80% of the Philadelphia population was white and 18% was black. Today, 30% of the Philadelphia population is white white (non- Hispanic). Over 44% of the population is black and 12% hispanic, with many parts of the city (aka the 30 Blocks of Squalor) at 95% black. The white flight from the city to the suburbs was not due to racism. It was due to the government policies instituted by liberal do-gooders who thought they could create a welfare paradise.

The city inflicts a 4% wage tax on all residents and a 3.5% wage tax on non-residents like myself. The state wage tax rate is only 3%. The city has had a Business Privelage Tax and a Net Profits Tax for decades that crush businesses. For the privelage of doing business in Phila, they tax your gross receipts. They don’t care if you are making money or not. They take their slice off the top. What business in their right mind would choose to open in Philadelphia? The city is completely captured by unions. The government drones are all union, the construction industry is union. This puts a 30% premium on every expense in the city. The real estate taxes on businesses and homeowners are off the charts to support one of the worst government run school systems in the nation. As more people flee this urban nightmare, they raise the taxes on the remaining producers. Philadelphia is an example of what the nation will become after a few more years of Obama policies.

We don’t need hard working married families anymore. We have the government, welfare, Obama and shovel ready wheel chair ramp installation jobs. Market Street and West Philly are a tribute to government solutions. Maybe another PR campaign and a coat of paint on streets strewn with garbage and debris will revive Squalorville. If not, just raise taxes on the producers so the parasites can retain their free shit.

As I got closer to 69th Street the route actually deteriorated. The people who occupy this stretch of squalor are ignorant and angry. They have no self respect or respect for others. The average educational level of these people is at about a 5th grade level. During this Christmas season I’m reminded of the Island of Misfit Toys, where all the defective toys live. The 30 Blocks of Squalor is the Island of the Ignorant & Uneducated Gang Bangers, where all the dregs of our society live. Maybe Obama Claus will arrive soon and deliver them more of our tax dollars.

 

As I approached 69th Street I experienced another example of ignorance and disregard for others. A van driven by an ignorant resident of the Squalor just stopped in the middle of the street to chat with one of his homeys on the sidewalk. He didn’t care that there were four cars behind him who couldn’t get by. There were parking spots available for him to pull into, but it was easier to just sit in the middle of the street and converse about the latest goings on in the hood. After about 3 minutes he decided to pull over. I didn’t dare honk my squeeky Honda horn. It would be like the scene from Animal House when they walk into the black bar and everyone stops and looks at them. And then the black guy pulls out his switchblade.

As I entered the 69th Street area of Upper Darby, more observations about the deterioration of our daily existence came to light. The 69th Street Terminal is a transportation hub where various trolley lines, train lines and the Market Street El meet. There are four stop lights that must be timed properly in order for the traffic to flow properly through this congested area. This is a basic function of government. As I entered 69th Street it was complete and utter gridlock. The stop lights were completely out of sync. Intersections were blocked. One light was red when the light 20 yards away was green. Nothing but honking horns and pissed off drivers. As I sat in the gridlock, I looked up at the famous 69th Street sign that has been there for decades. At night it is supposed to be lit up. It is a basic government function to keep it lit properly. Today at least 70% of the lights in the sign are out.

Just another example of government incompetence and attitude of indifference about the basic things that need to be done. The zombies shuffling around this decaying urban enclave amidst the garbage thrown on the streets really put me in the Christmas spirit.

The lesson to be learned from the 30 Blocks of Squalor is that you get more of whatever you incentivize. If you tax the productive members of your city into oblivion they will flee the city, leaving only the non-productive eaters. If you penalize businesses and business owners with excessive taxation and union level prices they will leave or close up shop. If you take from the productive and give that money to the uneducated and unemployable, they will not educate themselves or seek employment. In It’s A Wonderful Life the terrible future was Potterville, where the capitalist pig Potter owned everything and kept the workers trapped in his slums. In West Philly 50 years of Democratic welfare policies have created Squalorville, where government do-gooders have created a wasteland of filth and dependency.

Now that I’ve gotten this out of my system, I’m ready to hang the Christmas lights and decorate the tree this weekend. Merry Christmas from the hood.

Outside the Box: A Limited Central Bank

0 comments

Posted on 21st November 2013 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Outside the Box: A Limited Central Bank

By John Mauldin

This week’s Outside the Box is unusual, even for a letter that is noted for its unusual offerings. It is a speech from last week by Charles I. Plosser, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia at (surprisingly to me) the Cato Institute’s 31st Annual Monetary Conference, Washington, DC.

I suppose that if Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher had delivered this speech I would not be terribly surprised. I suspect there are some other Federal Reserve officials here and there who are in sympathy with this view Plosser presents here, but for quite some time no serious Fed official has outlined the need for a limited Federal Reserve in the way Plosser does today. He essentially proposes four limits on the US Federal Reserve:

  • First, limit the Fed’s monetary policy goals to a narrow mandate in which price stability is the sole, or at least the primary, objective;
  • Second, limit the types of assets that the Fed can hold on its balance sheet to Treasury securities;
  • Third, limit the Fed’s discretion in monetary policymaking by requiring a systematic, rule-like approach;
  • And fourth, limit the boundaries of its lender-of-last-resort credit extension.

“These steps would yield a more limited central bank. In doing so, they would help preserve the central bank’s independence, thereby improving the effectiveness of monetary policy, and they would make it easier for the public to hold the Fed accountable for its policy decisions.”

Some of you will want to read this deeply, but everyone should read the beginning and ending. I find this one of the most hopeful documents I have read in a long time. Think about the position of the person who delivered the speech. You are not alone in your desire to rein in the Fed.

Two points before we turn to the speech. Both Fisher and Plosser will be voting members of the FOMC this coming year. Look at the lineup and the philosophical monetary view of each of the members of the FOMC. Next year we could actually see three dissenting votes if things are not moving in a positive direction, although another serious proponent of monetary easing is being added to the Committee, so it may be that nothing will really change.

I am not seriously suggesting that the reigning economic theory that directs the action of the Fed is going to change anytime soon, but you will see assorted academics espousing a different viewpoint here and there. I think there may come a time in the not-too-distant future when the current Keynesian viewpoint is going to be somewhat discredited and people will be open to a new way to run things. This will not happen due to some great shift in philosophical views but because the current system has the potential to create some rather serious problems in the future. This is part of the message in my latest book, Code Red.

A lot of education and change in the system is needed. I want to applaud Alan Howard and his team at Brevan Howard for making one of the largest donations in business education history to Imperial College to establish the new Brevan Howard Centre for Financial Analysis to study exactly these topics and counter what is a particularly bad direction in academia. The two leaders at the new center, Professors Franklin Allen and Douglas Gale, are renowned for their pioneering research into financial crises and market contagion – that is, when relatively small shocks in financial institutions spread and grow, severely damaging the wider economy. This new center will help offer a better perspective. What we teach our kids matters. I hope other major fund managers will join this effort!

And speaking of Code Red, let me pass on a few quick reviews from Amazon:

“Excellent review of our current economic circumstances and what we can do about it to protect our assets. Even better, it is written with the non-economist in mind.”

“I read this book from cover to cover in 24 hours and was glued to every page. Do I know how to protect my saving exactly? No. But I have the critical information necessary to make informed decisions about my investments. My husband recommended this book to me after reading a brief article, and I’m so glad I impulsively bought it. It will definitely change my investment decisions moving forward and perhaps even provide me with more restful nights of sleep.”

You can order your own copy at the Mauldin Economics website or at Amazon, and it is likely at your local book store.

It is getting down to crunch time here in Dallas as far as the move to the new apartment is concerned. Work is coming along and most of it is done, although some things will need to be finished after I move in. Furniture is being delivered and moved in as I write, and today an the new kitchen is being entirely stocked, courtesy of Williams-Sonoma – they’ll be showing up in a few minutes. I am fulfilling a long-held dream (maybe even a fantasy or fetish) of throwing everything out of the kitchen and starting over from scratch. Between my kids and a returning missionary couple, all the old stuff will find a new home, and I will renew my role as chief chef with new relish next week.

I have always maintained that I think I am a pretty good writer but I a brilliant cook. With a new kitchen from top to bottom, I intend to spend more time developing my true talent. Between the new media room and my cooking, I hope I can persuade the kids (and their kids!) to come around more often. Yes, there are a few bumps and issues here and there, but in general life is going well. I just need to get into the gym more. Which we should all probably do!

Your feeling like a kid in a candy store analyst,

John Mauldin, Editor
Outside the Box
[email protected]


A Limited Central Bank

Presented by Charles I. Plosser, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
Cato Institute’s 31st Annual Monetary Conference, Washington, D.C.

Highlights

  • President Charles Plosser discusses what he believes is the Federal Reserve’s essential role and proposes how this institution might be improved to better fulfill that role.
  • President Plosser proposes four limits on the central bank that would limit discretion and improve outcomes and accountability.
  • First, limit the Fed’s monetary policy goals to a narrow mandate in which price stability is the sole, or at least the primary, objective;
  • Second, limit the types of assets that the Fed can hold on its balance sheet to Treasury securities;
  • Third, limit the Fed’s discretion in monetary policymaking by requiring a systematic, rule-like approach;
  • And fourth, limit the boundaries of its lender-of-last-resort credit extension.
  • These steps would yield a more limited central bank. In doing so, they would help preserve the central bank’s independence, thereby improving the effectiveness of monetary policy, and they would make it easier for the public to hold the Fed accountable for its policy decisions.

Introduction: The Importance of Institutions

I want to thank Jim Dorn and the Cato Institute for inviting me to speak once again at this prestigious Annual Monetary Conference. When Jim told me that this year’s conference was titled “Was the Fed a Good Idea?” I must confess that I was little worried. I couldn’t help but notice that I was the only sitting central banker on the program. But as the Fed approaches its 100th anniversary, it is entirely appropriate to reflect on its history and its future. Today, I plan to discuss what I believe is the Federal Reserve’s essential role and consider how it might be improved as an institution to better fulfill that role.

Before I begin, I should note that my views are not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve System or my colleagues on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).

Douglass C. North was cowinner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on the role that institutions play in economic growth.1 North argued that institutions were deliberately devised to constrain interactions among parties both public and private. In the spirit of North’s work, one theme of my talk today will be that the institutional structure of the central bank matters. The central bank’s goals and objectives, its framework for implementing policy, and its governance structure all affect its performance.

Central banks have been around for a long time, but they have clearly evolved as economies and governments have changed. Most countries today operate under a fiat money regime, in which a nation’s currency has value because the government says it does. Central banks usually are given the responsibility to protect and preserve the value or purchasing power of the currency.2 In the U.S., the Fed does so by buying or selling assets in order to manage the growth of money and credit. The ability to buy and sell assets gives the Fed considerable power to intervene in financial markets not only through the quantity of its transactions but also through the types of assets it can buy and sell. Thus, it is entirely appropriate that governments establish their central banks with limits that constrain the actions of the central bank to one degree or another.

Yet, in recent years, we have seen many of the explicit and implicit limits stretched. The Fed and many other central banks have taken extraordinary steps to address a global financial crisis and the ensuing recession. These steps have challenged the accepted boundaries of central banking and have been both applauded and denounced. For example, the Fed has adopted unconventional large-scale asset purchases to increase accommodation after it reduced its conventional policy tool, the federal funds rate, to near zero. These asset purchases have led to the creation of trillions of dollars of reserves in the banking system and have greatly expanded the Fed’s balance sheet. But the Fed has done more than just purchase lots of assets; it has altered the composition of its balance sheet through the types of assets it has purchased. I have spoken on a number of occasions about my concerns that these actions to purchase specific (non-Treasury) assets amounted to a form of credit allocation, which targets specific industries, sectors, or firms. These credit policies cross the boundary from monetary policy and venture into the realm of fiscal policy.3 I include in this category the purchases of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) as well as emergency lending under Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act, in support of the bailouts, most notably of Bear Stearns and AIG. Regardless of the rationale for these actions, one needs to consider the long-term repercussions that such actions may have on the central bank as an institution.

As we contemplate what the Fed of the future should look like, I will discuss whether constraints on its goals might help limit the range of objectives it could use to justify its actions. I will also consider restrictions on the types of assets it can purchase to limit its interference with market allocations of scarce capital and generally to avoid engaging in actions that are best left to the fiscal authorities or the markets. I will also touch on governance and accountability of our institution and ways to implement policies that limit discretion and improve outcomes and accountability.

Goals and Objectives

Let me begin by addressing the goals and objectives for the Federal Reserve. These have evolved over time. When the Fed was first established in 1913, the U.S. and the world were operating under a classical gold standard. Therefore, price stability was not among the stated goals in the original Federal Reserve Act. Indeed, the primary objective in the preamble was to provide an “elastic currency.”

The gold standard had some desirable features. Domestic and international legal commitments regarding convertibility were important disciplining devices that were essential to the regime’s ability to deliver general price stability. The gold standard was a de facto rule that most people understood, and it allowed markets to function more efficiently because the price level was mostly stable.

But, the international gold standard began to unravel and was abandoned during World War I.4 After the war, efforts to reestablish parity proved disruptive and costly in both economic and political terms. Attempts to reestablish a gold standard ultimately fell apart in the 1930s. As a result, most of the world now operates under a fiat money regime, which has made price stability an important priority for those central banks charged with ensuring the purchasing power of the currency.

Congress established the current set of monetary policy goals in 1978. The amended Federal Reserve Act specifies the Fed “shall maintain long run growth of the monetary and credit aggregates commensurate with the economy’s long run potential to increase production, so as to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.” Since moderate long-term interest rates generally result when prices are stable and the economy is operating at full employment, many have interpreted these goals as a dual mandate with price stability and maximum employment as the focus.

Let me point out that the instructions from Congress call for the FOMC to stress the “long run growth” of money and credit commensurate with the economy’s “long run potential.” There are many other things that Congress could have specified, but it chose not to do so. The act doesn’t talk about managing short-term credit allocation across sectors; it doesn’t mention inflating housing prices or other asset prices. It also doesn’t mention reducing short-term fluctuations in employment.

Many discussions about the Fed’s mandate seem to forget the emphasis on the long run. The public, and perhaps even some within the Fed, have come to accept as an axiom that monetary policy can and should attempt to manage fluctuations in employment. Rather than simply set a monetary environment “commensurate” with the “long run potential to increase production,” these individuals seek policies that attempt to manage fluctuations in employment over the short run.

The active pursuit of employment objectives has been and continues to be problematic for the Fed. Most economists are dubious of the ability of monetary policy to predictably and precisely control employment in the short run, and there is a strong consensus that, in the long run, monetary policy cannot determine employment. As the FOMC noted in its statement on longer-run goals adopted in 2012, “the maximum level of employment is largely determined by nonmonetary factors that affect the structure and dynamics of the labor market.” In my view, focusing on short-run control of employment weakens the credibility and effectiveness of the Fed in achieving its price stability objective. We learned this lesson most dramatically during the 1970s when, despite the extensive efforts to reduce unemployment, the Fed essentially failed, and the nation experienced a prolonged period of high unemployment and high inflation. The economy paid the price in the form of a deep recession, as the Fed sought to restore the credibility of its commitment to price stability.

When establishing the longer-term goals and objectives for any organization, and particularly one that serves the public, it is important that the goals be achievable. Assigning unachievable goals to organizations is a recipe for failure. For the Fed, it could mean a loss of public confidence. I fear that the public has come to expect too much from its central bank and too much from monetary policy, in particular. We need to heed the words of another Nobel Prize winner, Milton Friedman. In his 1967 presidential address to the American Economic Association, he said, “…we are in danger of assigning to monetary policy a larger role than it can perform, in danger of asking it to accomplish tasks that it cannot achieve, and as a result, in danger of preventing it from making the contribution that it is capable of making.”5 In the 1970s we saw the truth in Friedman’s earlier admonitions. I think that over the past 40 years, with the exception of the Paul Volcker era, we failed to heed this warning. We have assigned an ever-expanding role for monetary policy, and we expect our central bank to solve all manner of economic woes for which it is ill-suited to address. We need to better align the expectations of monetary policy with what it is actually capable of achieving.

The so-called dual mandate has contributed to this expansionary view of the powers of monetary policy. Even though the 2012 statement of objectives acknowledged that it is inappropriate to set a fixed goal for employment and that maximum employment is influenced by many factors, the FOMC’s recent policy statements have increasingly given the impression that it wants to achieve an employment goal as quickly as possible.6

I believe that the aggressive pursuit of broad and expansive objectives is quite risky and could have very undesirable repercussions down the road, including undermining the public’s confidence in the institution, its legitimacy, and its independence. To put this in different terms, assigning multiple objectives for the central bank opens the door to highly discretionary policies, which can be justified by shifting the focus or rationale for action from goal to goal.

I have concluded that it would be appropriate to redefine the Fed’s monetary policy goals to focus solely, or at least primarily, on price stability. I base this on two facts: Monetary policy has very limited ability to influence real variables, such as employment. And, in a regime with fiat currency, only the central bank can ensure price stability. Indeed, it is the one goal that the central bank can achieve over the longer run.

Governance and Central Bank Independence

Even with a narrow mandate to focus on price stability, the institution must be well designed if it is to be successful. To meet even this narrow mandate, the central bank must have a fair amount of independence from the political process so that it can set policy for the long run without the pressure to print money as a substitute for tough fiscal choices. Good governance requires a healthy degree of separation between those responsible for taxes and expenditures and those responsible for printing money.

The original design of the Fed’s governance recognized the importance of this independence. Consider its decentralized, public-private structure, with Governors appointed by the U.S. President and confirmed by the Senate, and Fed presidents chosen by their boards of directors. This design helps ensure a diversity of views and a more decentralized governance structure that reduces the potential for abuses and capture by special interests or political agendas. It also reinforces the independence of monetary policymaking, which leads to better economic outcomes.

Implementing Policy and Limiting Discretion

Such independence in a democracy also necessitates that the central bank remain accountable. Its activities also need to be constrained in a manner that limits its discretionary authority. As I have already argued, a narrow mandate is an important limiting factor on an expansionist view of the role and scope for monetary policy.

What other sorts of constraints are appropriate on the activities of central banks? I believe that monetary policy and fiscal policy should have clear boundaries.7 Independence is what Congress can and should grant the Fed, but, in exchange for such independence, the central bank should be constrained from conducting fiscal policy. As I have already mentioned, the Fed has ventured into the realm of fiscal policy by its purchase programs of assets that target specific industries and individual firms. One way to circumscribe the range of activities a central bank can undertake is to limit the assets it can buy and hold.

In its System Open Market Account, the Fed is allowed to hold only U.S. government securities and securities that are direct obligations of or fully guaranteed by agencies of the United States. But these restrictions still allowed the Fed to purchase large amounts of agency mortgage-backed securities in its effort to boost the housing sector. My preference would be to limit Fed purchases to Treasury securities and return the Fed’s balance sheet to an all-Treasury portfolio. This would limit the ability of the Fed to engage in credit policies that target specific industries. As I’ve already noted, such programs to allocate credit rightfully belong in the realm of the fiscal authorities — not the central bank.

A third way to constrain central bank actions is to direct the monetary authority to conduct policy in a systematic, rule-like manner.8 It is often difficult for policymakers to choose a systematic rule-like approach that would tie their hands and thus limit their discretionary authority. Yet, research has discussed the benefits of rule-like behavior for some time. Rules are transparent and therefore allow for simpler and more effective communication of policy decisions. Moreover, a large body of research emphasizes the important role expectations play in determining economic outcomes. When policy is set systematically, the public and financial market participants can form better expectations about policy. Policy is no longer a source of instability or uncertainty. While choosing an appropriate rule is important, research shows that in a wide variety of models simple, robust monetary policy rules can produce outcomes close to those delivered by each model’s optimal policy rule.

Systematic policy can also help preserve a central bank’s independence. When the public has a better understanding of policymakers’ intentions, it is able to hold the central bank more accountable for its actions. And the rule-like behavior helps to keep policy focused on the central bank’s objectives, limiting discretionary actions that may wander toward other agendas and goals.

Congress is not the appropriate body to determine the form of such a rule. However, Congress could direct the monetary authority to communicate the broad guidelines the authority will use to conduct policy. One way this might work is to require the Fed to publicly describe how it will systematically conduct policy in normal times — this might be incorporated into the semiannual Monetary Policy Report submitted to Congress. This would hold the Fed accountable. If the FOMC chooses to deviate from the guidelines, it must then explain why and how it intends to return to its prescribed guidelines.

My sense is that the recent difficulty the Fed has faced in trying to offer clear and transparent guidance on its current and future policy path stems from the fact that policymakers still desire to maintain discretion in setting monetary policy. Effective forward guidance, however, requires commitment to behave in a particular way in the future. But discretion is the antithesis of commitment and undermines the effectiveness of forward guidance. Given this tension, few should be surprised that the Fed has struggled with its communications.

What is the answer? I see three: Simplify the goals. Constrain the tools. Make decisions more systematically. All three steps can lead to clearer communications and a better understanding on the part of the public. Creating a stronger policymaking framework will ultimately produce better economic outcomes.

Financial Stability and Monetary Policy

Before concluding, I would like to say a few words about the role that the central bank plays in promoting financial stability. Since the financial crisis, there has been an expansion of the Fed’s responsibilities for controlling macroprudential and systemic risk. Some have even called for an expansion of the monetary policy mandate to include an explicit goal for financial stability. I think this would be a mistake.

The Fed plays an important role as the lender of last resort, offering liquidity to solvent firms in times of extreme financial stress to forestall contagion and mitigate systemic risk. This liquidity is intended to help ensure that solvent institutions facing temporary liquidity problems remain solvent and that there is sufficient liquidity in the banking system to meet the demand for currency. In this sense, liquidity lending is simply providing an “elastic currency.”

Thus, the role of lender of last resort is not to prop up insolvent institutions. However, in some cases during the crisis, the Fed played a role in the resolution of particular insolvent firms that were deemed systemically important financial firms. Subsequently, the Dodd-Frank Act has limited some of the lending actions the Fed can take with individual firms under Section 13(3). Nonetheless, by taking these actions, the Fed has created expectations — perhaps unrealistic ones — about what the Fed can and should do to combat financial instability.

Just as it is true for monetary policy, it is important to be clear about the Fed’s responsibilities for promoting financial stability. It is unrealistic to expect the central bank to alleviate all systemic risk in financial markets. Expanding the Fed’s regulatory responsibilities too broadly increases the chances that there will be short-run conflicts between its monetary policy goals and its supervisory and regulatory goals. This should be avoided, as it could undermine the credibility of the Fed’s commitment to price stability.

Similarly, the central bank should set boundaries and guidelines for its lending policy that it can credibly commit to follow. If the set of institutions having regular access to the Fed’s credit facilities is expanded too far, it will create moral hazard and distort the market mechanism for allocating credit. This can end up undermining the very financial stability that it is supposed to promote.

Emergencies can and do arise. If the Fed is asked by the fiscal authorities to intervene by allocating credit to particular firms or sectors of the economy, then the Treasury should take these assets off of the Fed’s balance sheet in exchange for Treasury securities. In 2009, I advocated that we establish a new accord between the Treasury and the Federal Reserve that protects the Fed in just such a way.9 Such an arrangement would be similar to the Treasury-Fed Accord of 1951 that freed the Fed from keeping the interest rate on long-term Treasury debt below 2.5 percent. It would help ensure that when credit policies put taxpayer funds at risk, they are the responsibility of the fiscal authority — not the Fed. A new accord would also return control of the Fed’s balance sheet to the Fed so that it can conduct independent monetary policy.

Many observers think financial instability is endemic to the financial industry, and therefore, it must be controlled through regulation and oversight. However, financial instability can also be a consequence of governments and their policies, even those intended to reduce instability. I can think of three ways in which central bank policies can increase the risks of financial instability. First, by rescuing firms or creating the expectation that creditors will be rescued, policymakers either implicitly or explicitly create moral hazard and excessive risking-taking by financial firms. For this moral hazard to exist, it doesn’t matter if the taxpayer or the private sector provides the funds. What matters is that creditors are protected, in part, if not entirely.

Second, by running credit policies, such as buying huge volumes of mortgage-backed securities that distort market signals or the allocation of capital, policymakers can sow the seeds of financial instability because of the distortions that they create, which in time must be corrected.

And third, by taking a highly discretionary approach to monetary policy, policymakers increase the risks of financial instability by making monetary policy uncertain. Such uncertainty can lead markets to make unwise investment decisions — witness the complaints of those who took positions expecting the Fed to follow through with the taper decision in September of this year.

The Fed and other policymakers need to think more about the way their policies might contribute to financial instability. I believe that it is important that the Fed take steps to conduct its own policies and to help other regulators reduce the contributions of such policies to financial instability. The more limited role for the central bank I have described here can contribute to such efforts.

Conclusion

The financial crisis and its aftermath have been challenging times for global economies and their institutions. The extraordinary actions taken by the Fed to combat the crisis and the ensuing recession and to support recovery have expanded the roles assigned to monetary policy. The public has come to expect too much from its central bank. To remedy this situation, I believe it would be appropriate to set four limits on the central bank:

  • First, limit the Fed’s monetary policy goals to a narrow mandate in which price stability is the sole, or at least the primary, objective;
  • Second, limit the types of assets that the Fed can hold on its balance sheet to Treasury securities;
  • Third, limit the Fed’s discretion in monetary policymaking by requiring a systematic, rule-like approach;
  • And fourth, limit the boundaries of its lender-of-last-resort credit extension and ensure that it is conducted in a systematic fashion
  • These steps would yield a more limited central bank. In doing so, they would help preserve the central bank’s independence, thereby improving the effectiveness of monetary policy, and, at the same time, they would make it easier for the public to hold the Fed accountable for its policy decisions. These changes to the institution would strengthen the Fed for its next 100 years.

* The views expressed are my own and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve System or the FOMC.

1 For more about Douglass C. North and his cowinner Robert W. Fogel and the 1993 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, see Nobel Media, “The Prize in Economics 1993 – Press Release,” (1993), www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economic-sciences/laureates/1993/press.html (Accessed November 11, 2013). See also Douglass C. North, “Institutions,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 5:1 (1991), pp. 97-112.

2 Countries can and do pursue different means of setting the value of their currency, including pegging their monetary policy to that of another country, but I will not concern myself with such issues in these comments.

3 See Charles Plosser, “Ensuring Sound Monetary Policy in the Aftermath of Crisis,” speech given to the U.S. Monetary Policy Forum, The Initiative on Global Markets, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, New York, NY, February 27, 2009, and Charles Plosser, “Fiscal Policy and Monetary Policy: Restoring the Boundaries,” a speech to the same group, February 24, 2012.

4 See Ben S. Bernanke, “A Century of U.S. Central Banking: Goals, Frameworks, Accountability,” speech to the National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA, July 10, 2013; and Jeffrey M. Lacker, “Global Interdependence and Central Banking,” speech to the Global Interdependence Center, Philadelphia, November 1, 2013.

5 See Milton Friedman, “The Role of Monetary Policy,” American Economic Review, 58:1 (March 1968), pp. 1-17.

6 See Daniel L. Thornton, “The Dual Mandate: Has the Fed Changed Its Objective?” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, 94 (March/April 2012), pp. 117-33.

7 See Plosser (2009) and Plosser (2012).

8 See Charles Plosser, “The Benefits of Systematic Monetary Policy,” speech given to the National Association for Business Economics, Washington Economic Policy Conference, Washington, D.C., March 3, 2008. Also see Finn E. Kydland and Edward C. Prescott, “Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans,” Journal of Political Economy, 85 (January 1977), pp. 473-91.

9 See Plosser (2009).

Like Outside the Box?
Sign up today and get each new issue delivered free to your inbox.
It’s your opportunity to get the news John Mauldin thinks matters most to your finances.

© 2013 Mauldin Economics. All Rights Reserved.
Outside the Box is a free weekly economic e-letter by best-selling author and renowned financial expert, John Mauldin. You can learn more and get your free subscription by visiting www.MauldinEconomics.com.
Please write to [email protected] to inform us of any reproductions, including when and where copy will be reproduced. You must keep the letter intact, from introduction to disclaimers. If you would like to quote brief portions only, please reference www.MauldinEconomics.com.
To subscribe to John Mauldin’s e-letter, please click here: http://www.mauldineconomics.com/subscribe
To change your email address, please click here: http://www.mauldineconomics.com/change-address

Outside the Box and MauldinEconomics.com is not an offering for any investment. It represents only the opinions of John Mauldin and those that he interviews. Any views expressed are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed in any way as an offer, an endorsement, or inducement to invest and is not in any way a testimony of, or associated with, Mauldin’s other firms. John Mauldin is the Chairman of Mauldin Economics, LLC. He also is the President of Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC (MWA) which is an investment advisory firm registered with multiple states, President and registered representative of Millennium Wave Securities, LLC, (MWS) member FINRA, SIPC, through which securities may be offered . MWS is also a Commodity Pool Operator (CPO) and a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) registered with the CFTC, as well as an Introducing Broker (IB) and NFA Member. Millennium Wave Investments is a dba of MWA LLC and MWS LLC. This message may contain information that is confidential or privileged and is intended only for the individual or entity named above and does not constitute an offer for or advice about any alternative investment product. Such advice can only be made when accompanied by a prospectus or similar offering document. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Please make sure to review important disclosures at the end of each article. Mauldin companies may have a marketing relationship with products and services mentioned in this letter for a fee.

Note: Joining The Mauldin Circle is not an offering for any investment. It represents only the opinions of John Mauldin and Millennium Wave Investments. It is intended solely for investors who have registered with Millennium Wave Investments and its partners at http://www.MauldinCircle.com (formerly AccreditedInvestor.ws) or directly related websites. The Mauldin Circle may send out material that is provided on a confidential basis, and subscribers to the Mauldin Circle are not to send this letter to anyone other than their professional investment counselors. Investors should discuss any investment with their personal investment counsel. You are advised to discuss with your financial advisers your investment options and whether any investment is suitable for your specific needs prior to making any investments. John Mauldin is the President of Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC (MWA), which is an investment advisory firm registered with multiple states. John Mauldin is a registered representative of Millennium Wave Securities, LLC, (MWS), an FINRA registered broker-dealer. MWS is also a Commodity Pool Operator (CPO) and a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) registered with the CFTC, as well as an Introducing Broker (IB). Millennium Wave Investments is a dba of MWA LLC and MWS LLC. Millennium Wave Investments cooperates in the consulting on and marketing of private and non-private investment offerings with other independent firms such as Altegris Investments; Capital Management Group; Absolute Return Partners, LLP; Fynn Capital; Nicola Wealth Management; and Plexus Asset Management. Investment offerings recommended by Mauldin may pay a portion of their fees to these independent firms, who will share 1/3 of those fees with MWS and thus with Mauldin. Any views expressed herein are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed in any way as an offer, an endorsement, or inducement to invest with any CTA, fund, or program mentioned here or elsewhere. Before seeking any advisor’s services or making an investment in a fund, investors must read and examine thoroughly the respective disclosure document or offering memorandum. Since these firms and Mauldin receive fees from the funds they recommend/market, they only recommend/market products with which they have been able to negotiate fee arrangements.

PAST RESULTS ARE NOT INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS. THERE IS RISK OF LOSS AS WELL AS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR GAIN WHEN INVESTING IN MANAGED FUNDS. WHEN CONSIDERING ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS, INCLUDING HEDGE FUNDS, YOU SHOULD CONSIDER VARIOUS RISKS INCLUDING THE FACT THAT SOME PRODUCTS: OFTEN ENGAGE IN LEVERAGING AND OTHER SPECULATIVE INVESTMENT PRACTICES THAT MAY INCREASE THE RISK OF INVESTMENT LOSS, CAN BE ILLIQUID, ARE NOT REQUIRED TO PROVIDE PERIODIC PRICING OR VALUATION INFORMATION TO INVESTORS, MAY INVOLVE COMPLEX TAX STRUCTURES AND DELAYS IN DISTRIBUTING IMPORTANT TAX INFORMATION, ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THE SAME REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS AS MUTUAL FUNDS, OFTEN CHARGE HIGH FEES, AND IN MANY CASES THE UNDERLYING INVESTMENTS ARE NOT TRANSPARENT AND ARE KNOWN ONLY TO THE INVESTMENT MANAGER. Alternative investment performance can be volatile. An investor could lose all or a substantial amount of his or her investment. Often, alternative investment fund and account managers have total trading authority over their funds or accounts; the use of a single advisor applying generally similar trading programs could mean lack of diversification and, consequently, higher risk. There is often no secondary market for an investor’s interest in alternative investments, and none is expected to develop.

MIDDLE CLASS R.I.P.

21 comments

Posted on 19th November 2013 by AWD in Economy

A great, comprehensive article about the biblical disaster known as Obamacare.

The tsunami of Obamacare is still several years away, when millions of people that used to have health insurance no longer have any, and start dying or going bankrupt.

It’s impossible to predict the results of this disaster, but one thing’s for sure: The people left in this country that still work for a living are screwed.

null

Obamacare: The Final Nail In The Coffin For The Middle Class
By Michael Snyder, on November 17th, 2013

If there were any shreds of hope left that the stunning decline of the middle class could be turned around, Obamacare has absolutely destroyed them. Over the past decade or so, the middle class in the United States has been absolutely eviscerated. The number of working age Americans without a job has increased by 27 million since the year 2000, median household income in the U.S. has fallen for five years in a row, and the poverty numbers in this country are spiraling out of control.

And now here comes Obamacare. As you will see below, Obamacare is causing millions of Americans to lose their current health insurance policies, it is causing health insurance premiums to explode to absolutely ridiculous levels, and it is systematically killing jobs even though the employer mandate has been delayed for a while. All of this is creating a tremendous amount of stress for millions of middle class families that are already stretched extremely thin financially.

According to CNN, a survey that was conducted earlier this year found that 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Most of those families simply cannot afford to pay much higher health insurance premiums for new policies that also come with much larger deductibles and significantly increased out-of-pocket costs. Millions of those families will ultimately end up choosing to do without health insurance altogether, and that will create a whole host of new problems. This is a disaster that is so enormous that it is really hard to put into words. If the U.S. health care system was a separate country, it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire globe all by itself. And now Obamacare is going to bring the entire U.S. health care system to its knees.

Obamacare: Since October 1st, The Number Of Americans With Health Insurance Has Fallen By Nearly 4 Million

Last week, Barack Obama decided to allow Americans to keep their current health insurance plans for one more year.

Isn’t that generous of him? Especially considering the fact that he promised us over and over that if we liked our current health insurance policies that we would be able to keep them permanently.

The funny thing is that Obama is not actually changing the law. So if your health insurance company allows you to stay on your current health insurance plan that does not meet the requirements of Obamacare, it is technically breaking the law.

And if you continue to stay on that current health insurance plan that does not meet the requirements of Obamacare, you are technically breaking the law.

It is just that Obama has promised not to enforce what the law says for one year.

For a president to just blatantly disregard the rule of law is a very dangerous precedent. Do we really want the president to have the power to decide what laws are going to be enforced and what laws are not going to be enforced?

That sounds dangerously close to a dictatorship to me.

And in any event, there are many Americans that are not going to be able to keep their current policies no matter what Obama says. For example, just two hours after Obama announced his plan last week, the state of Washington announced that they would not be allowing insurance companies to extend their old health insurance plans if they don’t comply with Obamacare under any circumstances…

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has rejected President Obama’s proposal to allow insurance companies to extend health insurance policies for people who have received notices that their policies will be cancelled at the end of the year.

Within two hours of President Obama’s news conference announcing the proposed administrative fix for Americans upset by their policy cancellations, Kreidler issued a statement rejecting the proposal.

“I understand that many people are upset by the notices they have recently received from their health plans and they may not need the new benefits [in the Affordable Care Act] today,” he said. “But I have serious concerns about how President Obama’s proposal would be implemented and more significantly, its potential impact on the overall stability of our health insurance market.”

“I do not believe his proposal is a good deal for the state of Washington,” Kreidler’s statement continued. “We will not be allowing insurance companies to extend their policies.”

How do you think the people of the state of Washington will respond to that?

Things are getting crazy out there, and the number of people that are losing their health insurance policies is absolutely stunning.

According to the Wall Street Journal, so far 106,185 Americans have enrolled in Obamacare since October 1st. Most of those that have successfully enrolled have done so through the state insurance exchanges. So far, only 26,794 Americans have signed up for health insurance using the federally run exchanges on HealthCare.gov.

Meanwhile, during that same time frame, 4.02 million Americans have had their health insurance policies cancelled.

So that means that the number of Americans with health insurance has actually decreased by 3,918,205 since October 1st.

Wasn’t Obamacare supposed to result in more Americans being covered?

And according to U.S. Senator Rand Paul, Obama not only knew that this would happen, he actually wrote the regulation that caused this to happen…

“I’m still learning about it. It’s 20,000 pages of regulations. The Bill was 2,000 pages and I didn’t realize this until this week, the whole idea of you losing or getting your insurance cancelled wasn’t in the original Obamacare. It was a regulation WRITTEN BY PRESIDENT OBAMA, three months later. So we had a vote, this is before I got up there. The Republicans had a vote to try to cancel that regulation so you COULDN’T BE CANCELLED, to grandfather everybody in. You know what the vote was? Straight party line. EVERY DEMOCRAT VOTED TO KEEP THE RULE THAT CANCELS YOUR INSURANCE.”

So now millions of Americans, including women battling cancer, are losing health insurance plans that they were depending upon.

Thanks Obama?

Obamacare: Skyrocketing Health Insurance Premiums

How much more are you willing to pay for health insurance than you are paying right now?

10 percent?

20 percent?

30 percent?

Well, according to one study health insurance premiums for men are going to go up by an average of 99 percent under Obamacare and health insurance premiums for women are going to go up by an average of 62 percent under Obamacare.

And of course some groups are going to see increases that are much larger than that. For example, it is being projected that health insurance premiums for healthy 30-year-old men will rise by an average of 260 percent.

Ouch.

And there are some families out there that have already been hit with health insurance premium increases that are absolutely jaw-dropping. In a previous article, I included the example of one family down in Texas that has been hit with a 539% rate increase…

Obamacare is named the “Affordable Care Act,” after all, and the President promised the rates would be “as low as a phone bill.” But I just received a confirmed letter from a friend in Texas showing a 539% rate increase on an existing policy that’s been in good standing for years.

As the letter reveals (see below), the cost for this couple’s policy under Humana is increasing from $212.10 per month to $1,356.60 per month. This is for a couple in good health whose combined income is less than $70K — a middle-class family, in other words.

Obamacare: Enormous Deductibles And Huge Out-Of-Pocket Expenses For All

It isn’t just health insurance premiums that are going up either. Deductibles are going up too. In fact, just check out what one survey of Americans living in seven different states recently discovered…

Expenses for some policies can reach $6,350 for a single person and $12,700 per family, the most allowed by the health-care law, according to a survey by HealthPocket Inc. of seven states, including California and Ohio. That’s 26 percent higher than the average deductible in the seven states, and a scenario likely repeated across the country, said Kev Coleman, head of research and data at Sunnyvale, California-based HealthPocket.

That same article has a great quote from an elderly New Jersey resident. 82-year-old Larry Saphire thinks that if you have to pay a $5,000 deductible up front, “you might as well not have any insurance at all”…

“If you have to pay $5,000 upfront” when illness hits, “you might as well not have any insurance at all,” said Larry Saphire, 82, of West Orange, New Jersey, who shopped for coverage for his wife and two children, ages 16 and 21. “That’s not insurance.”

On California’s state-run exchange site, the standard low-premium “bronze” plan carries a $5,000 deductible per person, a $60 co-pay to see a doctor and a 30 percent fee, known as coinsurance, on hospital care. In Rhode Island, Blue Cross Blue Shield’s bronze plan has a $5,800 deductible while Missouri’s U.S.-run exchange offers plans by Anthem Blue Cross with the maximum-allowable $6,350 in out-of-pocket costs.

Obamacare: The Quality Of Care Is Going To Go Into The Toilet

A lot of Americans that are signing up for Obamacare are going to be in for a huge shock. Many of the best hospitals and many of the best doctors are not covered by their plans…

Meanwhile, sometime between March and June, the other shoe drops: People who bought exchange policies realize that the restricted networks insurers created to keep the premium costs low cut out the best hospitals and doctors. A newly insured child with cancer cannot get into a top pediatric hospital because her insurance has zero coverage for out-of-network emergency care. Tearful Mom goes on the evening news and says that she thought when they went on Obamacare, that meant they were safe, and why can’t I take my baby to Philadelphia Children’s Hospital, Mr. President?

Can you imagine being a parent in that situation?

In response, some hospitals are already filing suit over this. For instance, check out what is happening over in Seattle…

Seattle Children’s Hospital filed suit against Washington State’s Office of the Insurance Commissioner this week, after Obamacare implementation caused the hospital to be cut from four of the six insurance plans offered by the new Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

And even if you are on Medicare that does not mean that the quality of your care is going to stay the same either. As Reuters just reported, UnitedHealth is dumping “thousands of doctors” from their Medicare Advantage plans for the elderly because of Obamacare…

UnitedHealth Group dropped thousands of doctors from its networks in recent weeks, leaving many elderly patients unsure whether they need to switch plans to continue seeing their doctors, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The insurer said in October that underfunding of Medicare Advantage plans for the elderly could not be fully offset by the company’s other healthcare business. The company also reported spending more healthcare premiums on medical claims in the third quarter, due mainly to government cuts to payments for Medicare Advantage services.

In the United States, we already pay much more for health care than everyone else in the world, and we typically have to wait longer to see a doctor than most of the rest of the industrialized world does.

Now Obamacare is going to make all of this even worse, and the quality of the care that we receive is going to go downhill fast.

Obamacare: The Jobs Killer

A while back, Obama unilaterally made the decision to delay the implementation of the employer mandate until 2015.

That was probably a good political decision, because it would have been a huge political issue in the 2014 elections.

But the truth is that we won’t have to wait until 2015 for Obamacare to start killing jobs. In fact, according to CNBC it is already happening…

Approximately one-third of business decision-makers at companies with between 40 and 500 employees, say the health-care law has already increased their costs due to hikes in both the cost of insurance and compliance, according to a recent report from political-research firm Public Opinion Strategies. As a result, many business leaders say they are already making personnel decisions based on the Affordable Care Act.

Among franchised businesses, 27 percent report their company has replaced full-time workers with part-time workers and 31 percent have reduced worker hours. Among non-franchised businesses, 12 percent are replacing full-time workers with part-time workers or reducing hours. This is happening now, with more than a year before the mandate goes into effect; and undoubtedly, these numbers will rise as we approach next July’s “look back” period for tabulating workers’ hours.

It is kind of startling that we are already seeing employers make such big changes even though the employer mandate does not come into effect until 2015. You can find a very long list of some of the employers that have already either eliminated jobs or cut hours because of Obamacare right here.

Remember, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Once we get closer to the deadline things are going to get much, much worse.

At a time when the middle class desperately needs jobs, Obamacare is going to slaughter them.

And even if you are able to keep your current job, that does not mean that your health plan will remain the same. In fact, Forbes is projecting that a staggering 51 percent of all employment-based health insurance plans will be canceled and replaced with new ones.

Overall, Forbes is projecting that an astounding 93 million Americans will eventually lose their current health insurance policies due to Obamacare.

Obamacare: Providing Huge Incentives For Many Americans To Work Less And Make Less Money

Did you know that Obamacare is going to cause millions of Americans to want to keep their incomes under certain levels?

If you make too much money under Obamacare, you will miss out on some absolutely massive health care subsidies. The following is an excerpt from one of my previous articles…

—–

The figures that you are about to see were calculated using the Kaiser Family Foundation subsidy calculator. These numbers apply to a husband and a wife that are both 62 years old.

A non-smoking, married couple living in San Francisco, California earning $63,000 a year will have to pay $20,318 a year for a silver plan under Obamacare and $12,647 a year for a bronze plan.

At $63,000, that couple would be making too much money to be eligible for a subsidy, so that couple will have to pay the total cost of whatever plan they choose by themselves.

But if that couple only made $62,000 a year, things would dramatically change.

The plans would still cost the same, but the couple would now be eligible for an Obamacare subsidy of $14,428.

So a silver plan would end up costing them only $5,890, and they would ultimately pay nothing for a bronze plan.

In other words, by reducing their income by $1,000, that couple would save $14,428 if they got a silver plan or they would save $12,647 if they got a bronze plan.

Isn’t that bizarre?

—–

In the end, millions upon millions of middle class families will decide to go without health insurance entirely for one reason or another.

This will work great until they get into an accident or become seriously ill.

As I have discussed previously, approximately 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the United States are related to medical bills. And most of those bankruptcies actually happen to people that are supposedly “covered” by health insurance.

Obamacare is going to make all of this so much worse. Millions of middle class families will end up with no health insurance at all, and because so many of them are living paycheck to paycheck a single health emergency will be enough to send them hurtling down the path to financial oblivion.

If you get into an accident, a visit to the emergency room and a single night in the hospital can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars in many areas of the country.

If you get a serious illness such as cancer, the medical bills can be absolutely astronomical. For instance, there are many cancer patients that rack up medical bills well in excess of a million dollars by the time that they die.

Something desperately needs to be done about our horrible health care system. Unfortunately, Obamacare is going to make just about everything that is bad about our current system much, much worse.

And the American people are becoming increasingly disgusted and frustrated with Obamacare. According to Real Clear Politics, an average of recent opinion polls shows that the American people are opposed to Obamacare by an average margin of 14.2 percentage points.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/obamacare-the-final-nail-in-the-coffin-for-the-middle-class

null

HOW MANY FREE SHITTERS IN YOUR COUNTY?

37 comments

Posted on 16th October 2013 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, ,

Hat tip to Hope.

Only 5% of the population in my county is on SNAP. But the number has gone up by 230% since 2000. The population of my county is up about 3% since 2000.

In the urban kill zone of Philadelphia, the total is 27%. They don’t break it out by sections of the city, but I would bet that the 30 Blocks of Squalor exceeds 50%.

I wonder what the 450,000 Phila SNAP recipients will do when their pretty little SNAP cards stop working?

The unsustainable cannot be sustained.

How Many People Around You Receive Food Stamps?

 
Slate’s interactive tool for finding local SNAP data.
        By
Sales associate Leo De La Cruz restocks fresh fruit during the Grand Opening of the new Walmart Neighborhood Market in Panorama City, California, a working class area about 13 miles (20km) northwest of Los Angeles, on September 28, 2012.
Sales associate Leo De La Cruz restocks fresh fruit during the Grand Opening of the new Walmart Neighborhood Market in Panorama City, California, a working class area about 13 miles (20km) northwest of Los Angeles, on September 28, 2012.
Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Since the turn of the millennium, participation in the food stamp program, known officially as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, has more than doubled to 15 percent of all U.S. residents in January. In some parts of the country, as few as 1 in 20 people receive food stamps. In others, the figure is more than 1 in 3. Low-income households that meet SNAP eligibility requirements receive a payment card that can only be used to buy government-approved essential foods.

Under President Obama’s watch, the value of the benefits distributed by the program each year has more than doubled as more people have fallen below the poverty line and more households have joined the program. Obama has expanded eligibility under the theory that it helps the economy, which led Newt Gingrich to dub him the “food stamp president” early in the 2012 election season. Due to the high unemployment rate, the Obama administration has also waived a 1996 job requirement—a rule that made finding a job or enrolling in job training a prerequisite for receiving SNAP benefits—for 46 states. Republican leaders are trying to reinstate the requirement to counteract the program’s escalating cost.

To find out how many people participate in the program in your area and how that number has changed since 2000, enter your ZIP code, city, or county and state in the link below.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/map_of_the_week/2013/04/food_stamp_recipients_by_county_an_interactive_tool_showing_local_snap_data.html

IT RAINED

9 comments

Posted on 11th October 2013 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, ,

I guess the weather has been so good for so long around here that the morons in the Philadelphia area forgot how to drive in the rain. It has rained for the last two days and Boobus Americanus have lost their minds. They are crashing into each other, driving off the road and generally acting like idiots. It took me 75 minutes to get home last night, just in time to drive my son to his driver’s ed class. I hope he didn’t learn anything from me on the trip to the class.

Then this morning topped it off. I heard that the Schuylkill Expressway was jammed due to flooding (we wouldn’t want government drones to clear debris from the storm drains in advance of a storm), but there was an accident on the Blue Route, so I couldn’t take my alternate route through the 30 Blocks of Squalor. I proceeded to spend an hour and forty five minutes crawling at 3 mph on the Schuylkill. Only one man knows how I was feeling.

I can’t wait to order breakfast later this morning.

 

I would highly recommend that no one cross me today. I’m in a mood.

JOHN CONSTANTINO IS THE MAN WHO SELF IMMOLATED IN WASHINGTON DC – NOW WE NEED TO KNOW WHY

27 comments

Posted on 8th October 2013 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, , , ,

We now know the name of the man who committed the desperate act of self-immolation. We know where he lived. He was a senior citizen, so I’m sure he has family, friends and neighbors who can provide some insight into his life. He lived in Mount Laurel NJ, just outside of Philadelphia.

If he was just depressed over something, he could have committed suicide in his house. But he drove to the nation’s capital and committed a ghastly suicide in a spot where it would generate huge notice. He was making a statement. Of course, the MSM has been keeping an extremely low profile on this tragedy. If he was a white man who had shot a few black kids, I’m guessing the MSM would be all over it 24/7.

The MSM and the powers that be don’t want the American public to see how desperate people are becoming in this Greater Depression. It is their job to distract, mislead, and misinform.

This public hari kari on the National Mall was designed to send a message. This man surely left a manifesto describing why he did this. When will it be revealed? Or will the authorities cover it up? We’ll see.

N.J. man identified in National Mall fire suicide