China, Japan to Back Direct Trade of Currencies - Bloomberg - By Toru Fujioka - December 26, 2011 - Japan and China will promote direct trading of the yen and yuan without using dollars and will encourage the development of a market for companies involved in the exchanges, the Japanese government said. Japan will also apply to buy Chinese bonds next year, allowing the investment of renminbi that leaves China during the transactions, the Japanese government said in a statement after a meeting between Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing yesterday. Encouraging direct yen- yuan settlement should reduce currency risks and trading costs, the Japanese and Chinese governments said.
How wealth of members of Congress has TRIPLED in 25 years - while average U.S. family has suffered a DROP in their worth - Daily Mail (UK) - David Richards - December 27, 2011 -
- Median net worth of member of Congress rose from $280,000 to $725,000 between 1984 and 2009
- Over same 25 years the wealth of the average U.S. family slipped from $20,500 from $20,600
From captains of industry to former finance executives members of Congress have always been richer than their fellow Americans. The reasons put forward for their wealth now include the high cost of entering politics in the first place as well as inheriting wealth and marrying into money. Protected from the economic ravages faced by the rest of the population the lawmakers are now edging into the '1 percenter' income group attacked by the Occupy Wall Street protesters. The anti-corporation protesters have given voice to rising concerns over banker bonuses, unemployment and distribution of wealth. The movement which began in New York in September - and marked its 100th day of protests last week - has spread to cities across the U.S. and across the world. While the rise in lawmaker's wealth might not attract controversy when times are good it starts to become an issue when times are tough....
The New York Times' report into the wealth of members of Congress found that they were also getting rich compared with affluent Americans. It found that the median net worth of members of Congress rose 15 per cent from 2004 to 2010 as the net worth of the richest 10 per cent of the country remained for the most part flat.
3.5 Million Homeless and 18.5 Million Vacant Homes in the US - Occupy America - Diane Sweet - December 30, 2011 - In the last few days, the U.S. government census figures have revealed that 1 in 2 Americans have fallen into poverty or are struggling to live on low incomes. And we know that the financial hardships faced by our neighbors, colleagues, and others in our communities will be all the more acutely felt over the holiday season. Along with poverty and low incomes, the foreclosure rate has created its own crisis situation as the number of families removed from their homes has skyrocketed. Since 2007, banks have foreclosed around eight million homes. It is estimated that another eight to ten million homes will be foreclosed before the financial crisis is over. This approach to resolving one part of the financial crisis means many, many families are living without adequate and secure housing. In addition, approximately 3.5 million people in the U.S. are homeless, many of them veterans. It is worth noting that, at the same time, there are 18.5 million vacant homes in the country. The stark realities that persist mean that millions of families will be facing the holidays in temporary homes, or homes under threat, and far too many children will be wishing for an end to the uncertainty and distress their family is facing rather than an Xbox or Barbie doll.
Housing is a basic human need and a fundamental human right. Yet every day in the United States, banks are foreclosing on more than 10,000 mortgages and ordering evictions of individuals and families residing in foreclosed homes. The U.S. government’s steps to address the foreclosure crisis to date have been partial at best. The depth and severity of the foreclosure crisis is a clear illustration of the urgent need for the U.S. government to put in place a system that respects, protects and fulfills human rights, including the right to housing. This includes implementing real protections to ensure that other actors, such as financial institutions, do not undermine or abuse human rights.
Young people using 'no stigma' solution of insolvency as record numbers are hit by the crippling cost of living - Mail Online - Becky Barrow - December 30, 2011 - Young people addicted to the ‘have now, pay later’ culture, or who cannot cope with the crippling cost of living, are being plunged into insolvency in record numbers, official figures revealed yesterday. The shocking figures, from the Government’s Insolvency Service, said more young people are taking out a new type of insolvency than any other age group. Since the Debt Relief Order was introduced in April 2009, one in four have been taken out by a young person between the age of 25 and 34..... In their late twenties and early thirties, many of their parents had got married, bought a home, had children and started to build up a pension. But their children, who are now grown-up, have no chance of getting onto the property ladder, have large debts and little chance of being able to afford to pay into a pension. Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the debt advisers, said: ‘Many struggling 25 to 34-year-olds might have expected to be further up the financial ladder by now. ‘At the same age, their parents would most likely have bought their first home, have a comfortable pension lined up and be saving for the future. ‘For today’s 25 to 34-year-olds, the picture is much bleaker.’ She said their debt situation is made worse by the fact that many young people took out debts, hoping that pay rises in future years would mean they could easily pay them off. In reality, millions of workers have seen their pay either frozen since the start of the recession in 2008, or have received paltry pay rises which are far below inflation............
Foreigners Dump Record Amount Of US Treasuries In Past Month - Zero Hedge - Tyler Durden - 12/30/2011 - With year end fund flows making absolutely no sense for the most part, thank you global central planning, as the euro plunges and the market refuses to follow, with risk assets rising on speculation the ECB (and/or Fed) are about to restart printing yet gold collapsing (on one or two hedge funds liquidating, yet econ PhDs already rewriting their theses on why the "gold bubble has popped"), and finally with Treasurys soaring to near all time highs (10 Year under 1.9% yesterday even as stocks surged on data from the National Advertisers of Realtors, aka NAR, of all fraudulent and corrupt entities), here is the latest observation to make the confusion complete. As the Fed's critical H.4.1 weekly update shows (which is leaps and bounds more accurate than the Treasury's TIC international fund flow data), in the week ended December 28, foreign investors sold the second highest amount of US bonds in history, or $23 billion, bringing total UST custodial holdings to $2.67 trillion, a level first crossed to the upside back in April. This number peaked at $2.75 trillion in mid-August, and as the chart below shows the foreign holdings of US paper have been virtually flat in all of 2011, something which is in stark contrast with what the price of the 10 Year would indicate vis-a-vis investor demand. And going back further, the last week is merely the latest in a series of Custodial account outflows. In fact, in the last month (trailing 4 weeks), foreigners have sold a record $69 billion in US paper, a monthly outflow that was approached only once - in the aftermath of the US downgrade (when erroneously it is said that a surge in demand for US paper pushed rates lower - obviously as the chart shows nothing could be further from the truth)....
As '11 Ends, 11 Charts Of 11 Disturbing 11 Year Trends - Zero Hedge - Tyler Durden - 12/30/2011 - Please Go check out the charts from this submission
Annual New Year's Eve economic forecast with Karl Denninger-On the Edge with Max Keiser-12-30-2011