The Dismal Economic Outlook For The New Year - paulcraigroberts.org - Paul Craig Roberts - January 6, 2012 - Jobs offshoring, financial deregulation, and ten years of wars have severely damaged the US economy and the economic prospects of 90% of the American population. The signs are everywhere in front of our eyes. They are in the income distribution data, the BLS jobs data, the Census data, the poverty figures, and the high number of food stamp recipients. The signs are in the foreclosed and boarded up homes and the accompanying homelessness. They are in closed strip malls, in office building, warehouse, and shopping mall vacancies, and in the huge population losses of America’s manufacturing cities. The New Economy was a hoax, like Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” and the “war on terror.” Americans were deceived by “their” corrupt government, by greed-driven corporations, and by corporate shills among economists and the pundit class into believing that they were trading middle class “dirty fingernail” jobs in manufacturing for better middle class “clean fingernail” high-tech service jobs. Instead, reasonably paid manufacturing and professional skill jobs, such as software engineering and information technology, were traded for lowly paid jobs as waitresses and bartenders and for jobs in ambulatory health care. Consequently, real median US income fell for the vast majority of the population. To keep consumers spending when they had no raises, the Federal Reserve used low interest rates to create a real estate and credit bubble. The low interest rates drove up housing prices, and Americans refinanced their mortgages and spent the equity in their homes. Americans maxed out credit cards. The rise in consumer indebtedness kept consumer demand growing and the economy afloat. But there is a limit to how far debt can outpace income, and the bubble burst. And when it burst the financial fraud that had been hidden in the euphoria was revealed. That set off the financial crisis.
US Economic Forecast for 2012 and the Election Year Cycle - Infowars.com - James Hall - January 4, 2012 - When it comes to business cycles, the former rules no longer seem to apply. The seminal events that changed the economic landscape after the 2008 financial crash still points to an uncertain future and marginal recovery. If you watch CNBC or Bloomberg business news, you hear that a modest recovery is in place. Accepting this kind of reporting may temporarily make you feel better, but in the real economy, the prospects for a rebound are mere fiction. Prosperity only exists for the chums of the insider financial system, who are immune from actual market conditions. Under the privileged and favoritism model, political subsidies and bailouts are more important than creative industry or innovative execution. The businesses that produce and service the everyday functions of society flounder in a sea of uncertainty and a desert of capital illiquidity. Within this context, the only realistic way to examine the prospects for 2012, must factor in the political component. Yet the promoters of the corporatist system build up false hope, while fudging the number. Analyze the valid question; Can We Trust The Moderate Growth Forecasts?
Lakshman Achuthan, chief operations officer of the Economic Cycle Research Institute, talks with Bloomberg about the next year in the U.S. Economic Outlook, Labor Market video.Mr. Achuthan continues in a second video interview on the Daily Ticker – Says New Recession Unavoidable.
Top 12 Trends 2012 - rense.com - Trends Research Institute - Gerald Celente - December 21, 2011 -
1. Economic Martial Law: Given the current economic and geopolitical conditions, the central banks and world governments already have plans in place to declare economic martial law with the possibility of military martial law to follow.
2. Battlefield America: With a stroke of the Presidential pen, language was removed from an earlier version of the National Defense Authorization Act, granting the President authority to act as judge, jury and executioner. Citizens, welcome to "Battlefield America."
3. Invasion of the Occtupy: 15 years ago, Gerald Celente predicted in his book Trends 2000 that prolonged protests would hit Wall Street in the early years of the new millennium and would spread nationwide. The "Occtupy" is now upon us, and it is like nothing history has ever witnessed.
4. Climax Time: The financial house of cards is collapsing, and in 2012 many of the long-simmering socioeconomic and geopolitical trends that Celente has accurately forecast will come to a climax. Some will arrive with a big bang and others less dramatically but no less consequentially. Are you prepared? And what's next for the world?
5. Technocrat Takeover: "Democracy is Dead; Long Live the Technocrat!" A pair of lightning-quick financial coup d'états in Greece and Italy have installed two unelected figures as head of state. No one yet in the mainstream media is calling this merger of state and corporate powers by its proper name: Fascism, nor are they calling these "technocrats" by their proper name: Bankers! Can a rudderless ship be saved because technocrat is at the helm?
6. Repatriate! Repatriate!: It took a small, but financially and politically powerful group to sell the world on globalization, and it will take a large, committed and coordinated citizens' movement to "un-sell" it. "Repatriate! Repatriate!" will pit the creative instincts of a multitude of individuals against the repressive monopoly of the multinationals.
7. Secession Obsession: Winds of political change are blowing from Tunisia to Russia and everywhere in between, opening a window of opportunity through which previously unimaginable political options may now be considered: radical decentralization, Internet-based direct democracy, secession, and even the peaceful dissolution of nations, offering the possibility for a new world "disorder."
8. Safe Havens: As the signs of imminent economic and social collapse become more pronounced, legions of New Millennium survivalists are, or will be, thinking about looking for methods and ways to escape the resulting turmoil. Those "on-trend" have already taken measure to implement Gerald Celente's 3 G's: Gold, Guns and a Getaway plan. Where to go? What to do? Top Trends 2012 will guide the way.
9. Big Brother Internet: The coming year will be the beginning of the end of Internet Freedom: A battle between the governments and the people. Governments will propose legislation for a new "authentication technology," requiring Internet users to present the equivalent of a driver's license and/or bill of health to navigate cyberspace. For the general population it will represent yet another curtailing of freedom and level of governmental control.
10. Direct vs. Faux Democracy: In every corner of the world, a restive populace has made it clear that it's disgusted with "politics as usual" and is looking for change. Government, in all its forms democracy, autocracy, monarchy, socialism, communism just isn''t working. The only viable solution is to take the vote out of the hands of party politicians and institute Direct Democracy. If the Swiss can do it, why can't anyone else?
11. Alternative Energy 2012: Even under the cloud of Fukushima, the harnessing of nuclear power is being reinvigorated by a fuel that is significantly safer than uranium and by the introduction of small, modular, portable reactors that reduce costs and construction time. In addition, there are dozens of projects underway that explore the possibility of creating cleaner, competitively priced liquid fuels distilled from natural sources. Plan to start saying goodbye to conventional liquid fuels!
12. Going Out in Style: In the bleak terrain of 2012 and beyond, "Affordable sophistication" will direct and inspire products, fashion, music, the fine arts and entertainment at all levels. US businesses would be wise to wake up and tap into the dormant desire for old time quality and the America that was.
US Closes 2011 With Record $15.22 Trillion In Debt, Officially At 100.3% Debt/GDP, $14 Billion From Breaching Debt Ceiling - Zero Hedge.com - Tyler Durden on January 3, 2012 - While not news to Zero Hedge readers who knew about the final debt settlement of US debt about 10 days ahead of schedule, it is now official: according to the US Treasury, America has closed the books on 2011 with debt at an all time record $15,222,940,045,451.09. And, as was observed here first in all of the press, US debt to GDP is now officially over 100%, or 100.3% to be specific, a fact which the US government decided to delay exposing until the very end of the calendar year. We wonder, rhetorically, just how prominent of a talking point this historic event will be in any upcoming GOP primary debates. And yes, technically this number is greater than the debt ceiling but it excludes various accounting gimmicks. When accounting for those, the US has a debt ceiling buffer of... $14 billion, or one third the size of a typical bond auction.
Charlie Trotter Closing Shop - NBCChicago.com - January 1, 2012 - Restaurant shutting down August 31
Florida hit hardest by Sears store closings - AP - December 29, 2011 - (List)
Sinbad restaurant serves final meal - Times-News - blueridgenow.com - January 1, 2012 - (Hendersonville, NC restaurant closes - Typical story about small business America in this economy)
The Bank Holiday is coming - Ann Barnhardt and I (Warren Pollock) have an open conversation organized to provide background to this crisis, the setting of legal precedent, netting, settlement, and future trends including a potential bank holiday. We talk about MF Global as it applies to savings and commercial banking, brokerage, insurance, and commodities. We talk about numeric impossibility of solving the problem, incest between government and finance, having the victim of the crisis pay rather than the fraudster. We explain how the MF Global bankruptcy process will define how customer funds will be treated in a bank holiday. We talk about the idea of having an honest bank holiday to root out fraud vs an economic crisis which plays to looting and criminal activity of vested interest.