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Monday, July 11, 2011

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- July 10, 2011

Geithner says hard times to continue for many - AP - July 10, 2011 - Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (GYT'-nur) says many Americans will face hard times for a long time to come... He says President Barack Obama rescued the United States from a second Great Depression and will keep working to strengthen the economy. But Geithner says will be some time before many people feel like the country is recovering... Geithner tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that it's a very tough economy. He says that for a lot of people "it's going to feel very hard, harder than anything they've experienced in their lifetime now, for a long time to come."

The Fed Rearranges the Deck Chairs on the Titanic Economy - The International Forecaster - July 2, 2011 - World markets and especially US markets are in a state of uneasiness and it is only a matter of time before they degenerate further. The real question is will everything break loose between now and the end of the year? The answer in part is yes, and it is currently in process... “The President’s Working Group on Financial Markets,” along with elitist insiders normally have the ability to make the stock and bond markets do what they want them to. That is, at least on a short-term basis. We believe the market is being deliberately taken down by them in order to impress upon politicians that if they do not extend the short-term cash debt limit that the market will fall even further and that in turn will reduce their ability to get reelected. If you do not think that is possible then you have no idea what is going on. At the present time with about a month to the August 2nd deadline the two political parties are nowhere near an agreement. As we draw closer to the deadline investors will become more and more concerned and the market will trend lower.

Dollar’s Share Of Global Reserves Continues To Slide, Reserve Status Questioned - Forbes - Agustino Fontevecchia - Jun. 30 2011 - Attesting to the continued global loss of confidence in the U.S. dollar, the greenback’s share of the world’s reserve continued to slide in the fourth quarter of 2010, the latest data show. Interestingly, the trend can be explained entirely by valuation effects, with the trade-weighted dollar depreciating 4%% in that time frame... The U.S.’ share of allocated reserves fell in the first quarter to 60.69%% from 61.53% from Q4 2010. Central Bank reserves move slowly, but the slide in the greenback’s share, which Nomura suggests would be even steeper if China was included in the sample, has been very pronounced if one takes a longer-term window... A year before the latest data, Q1 2010, the greenback’s share stood at 61.64%, while in Q1 2001, ten years before, it stood at 72.3%. While USDs dominance was unquestioned a few years ago, it is anything but rare to speak of a move toward a multi-currency system, with the dollar still a primus inter pares [first among peers]. (Read Central Banks Dump Treasuries As Dollar’s Reserve Currency Status Fades).

BofA's Mortgage-Bond Pact Draws Challenge - Wall Street Journal - Ruth Simon - July 6, 2011 - In a court filing Tuesday, the group of 11 mortgage-bond investors, who call themselves Walnut Place but declined to identify themselves, said the parties that crafted the deal with Bank of America have conflicts of interest that raise questions about the fairness of the settlement accord... "Walnut Place has serious concerns about the secret, non-adversarial, and conflicted way in which the proposed settlement was negotiated and about the fairness of the terms of the proposed settlement," the group wrote in a filing in New York County Supreme Court. The filing also called the deal "inadequate."... Last week's agreement was struck by the Charlotte, N.C., bank and 22 institutional investors that include BlackRock Inc., MetLife Inc. and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Also part of the settlement is Bank of New York Mellon Corp., which as trustee for the bond deals is charged with protecting bondholder interests.

The Real Cause of the U.S. Debt Crisis: Spiralling Defense Spending - - by Bruce Arnold - July 3, 2011 - Contrary to Kleptocracy-scripted CNN newsbytes, the United States Debt Debate is NOT just the false choice between raising taxes on the few and rich versus lowering Medicare for the many and poor: What always goes unmentioned is MILITARY PORK.

Our Politicians Are Selling Off Pieces Of America To Foreign Investors – And Goldman Sachs Is Helping Them Do It - Before It's News - July 05, 2011 - All over the United States, politicians are selling off key pieces of infrastructure to foreign investors and big Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs are helping them do it. State and local governments across the country that are drowning in debt and that are desperate for cash are increasingly turning to the "privatization" of public assets as the solution to their problems. Pieces of infrastructure that taxpayers have already paid for such as highways, water treatment plants, libraries, parking meters, airports and power plants are being auctioned off to the highest bidder. Most of the time what happens is that the state or local government receives a huge lump sum of cash up front for a long-term lease (usually 75 years or longer) and the foreign investors come in and soak as much revenue out of the piece of infrastructure that they possibly can. The losers in these deals are almost always the taxpayers. Pieces of America are literally being auctioned off just to help state and local governments minimize their debt problems for a year or two, but the consequences of these deals will be felt for decades.

The Tea Party and Goldman Sachs: A Love Story - - Robert Scheer, Truthdig - July 6, 2011 - In the midst of a jobless recovery, those same corporations are sitting on more than $2 trillion in reserves, refusing to invest in this country, as increasing percentages of their profits are garnered in tax-sheltered operations abroad. And the bankers who caused the economic meltdown have turned against President Barack Obama, who saved them; instead they favor a tea-party-dominated Republican Party that seeks to limit any restraint on corporate greed while destroying the ability of state and federal governments to bring some measure of relief to ordinary folk... The whole point of the tea party is to focus concern over our stagnant economy on something called “big government” while ignoring the big corporations that have bought the government as an accessory to their marketing strategies. Big government is big precisely because it now exists primarily to make the world safe for multinational capitalism, whether through a bloated defense budget, trade pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement, or monetary policies that serve the interests of the largest companies... It was their lobbyists who got Congress to end sensible regulations of financial shenanigans, and now, with the new tea party members of Congress as their most stalwart allies, they are yanking the teeth from the very mild regulations that Obama got through the last Congress. As The Associated Press reported: “Congressional Republicans are greeting the one-year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s financial overhaul law by trying to weaken it, nibble by nibble.”... It is nothing short of demagogic for the Republicans to be complaining about the debt when it was the radical deregulatory policies that they pursued which caused all that governmental red ink in the first place. What a hoax to pretend that teachers’ pensions or environmental protections are responsible for a debt that increased by 50 percent as a direct consequence of the banking collapse. Yet they want to gut even the tepid regulations that became law under the Obama administration, foaming at the mouth about sensible regulation as job killing when it is the uncontrolled greed of Wall Street that is at the root of our high unemployment.

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