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Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood the world with money

Tuesday, December 16, 2008, 3:22 PM

Well, folks, history was made today. The US now has an official "range" of between 0% and 0.25% for the Fed Funds interest rate.

Of course this is no different than what the effective interest rate has been for a while (so the Fed is, as always, merely following the market), but now it's official.  

Perhaps our fellow readers from Japan can tell us what comes next.

Bernanke is trying out a gigantic academic experiment to see if past excesses and malinvestments caused by interest rates set too low and money made too cheap can be fixed by setting interest rates even lower and money even cheaper.

I see this path as fraught with risks and I would have preferred that we wring out the bad debts as quickly as possible.  

Instead we get this collection of policy failures guaranteed to either make this whole thing last a lot longer than it otherwise would, make it all worse by compounding past mistakes, or both.

We begin with the headlines announcing the new Federal Funds interest rate and setting expectations for future rate changes:

FOMC cuts fed funds rate to range of 0% to 0.25%

FOMC to keep funds rate 'exceptionally low' for some time 

The statement "for some time" is meant to signal to the big players in the markets that they can count on the Fed to keep the rates low for a long time and to carefully telegraph any future rate changes well in advance giving these people time to get out of the way later on.   This act of 'telegraphing' is a continuation of one of the greatest failures of the Greenspan era.  Whereas before I said the Fed really only has two tools in their toolbox, setting the price of money and the amount, they used to have three tools, the third one being surprise

But surprise turns out to be frowned upon by politicians and Wall Street types so it was abandoned by Greenspan, which is too bad because the lack of surprise is what got us here.

Specifically I am thinking of the water-torture of 14-in-a-row 'measured' 0.25% interest rate increases that Greenspan started and Ben continued in a lame attempt to carefully deflate an out-of-control credit bubble. 

Since all the market participants were 100% certain that the next hike was going to be 0.25% and that no surprises were coming they did not change their behavior, risk continued to build, and derivatives grew to extinction-level proportions. In short, the bubble got worse, not better.

And what of the rest of the Fed words? 

FOMC statement details plans for quantitative easing

Fed to keep its balance sheet at 'high level' 

Fed to flood financial system with money

FOMC to purchase large quantities of agency debt, securities

Fed considers buying longer-term Treasurys

Here all I can tell you is back up the truck and load it with anything that can be shipped and is priced in dollars - they're throwing Uncle Buck under the bus.  Gold is my personal favorite because it is liquid across all currencies.

I was wondering what would happen to the free money being given to the big banks via the Fed's negative interest rate program.  Here they put my troubled mind at ease:

The board also established interest rates on required and excess reserve balances of 1/4%.

What this line means is that regardless of the effective fed funds rate the Fed will be paying 0.25% to banks on all their reserves, whether required or 'excess'.  If you loan money at 0% and then pay 0.25% when it is handed back to you for keeping in your institution, that means you are offering a negative rate of interest. This Negative Interest Rate Policy, or NIRP, sets us apart from even the Japanese whom, to the best of my knowledge, never attempted this.

The Fed is going to print money out of thin air as fast as they possibly can until we get back to a healthy level of "growth", whatever that means.

Every single one of those statements signals the most aggressive monetary printing ever considered or undertaken by the US Federal reserve.

It is history in the making.  Keep a journal because these are the days upon which everyone will look back and ask, "what happened?"

At the end of it all, what this boils down to is a desperate attempt to return to "growth" and to how things used to be.  There is no outward questioning of whether this is a good idea or not, it is simply assumed that everyone is in agreement on this matter.

But a blind return to growth at any cost will cost us much and yield little.  Perhaps worst of all, it will steal from other more obviously productive investments that we could and should be making at this stage.

 

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57 Comments

Brainless's picture
Brainless
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

I sometimes wonder if the measures are taken to get back to growth or blow up the bubble as fast as it can to get it over with.

More gold on its way.....

 

cybernytrix's picture
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...
Brainless wrote:

I sometimes wonder if the measures are taken to get back to growth or blow up the bubble as fast as it can to get it over with.

Second that, how many sheeple do you think would have listened and followed if Greenspan simply said: "work hard, save and buy a home to live not for profit"? Zilch. For what it is worth, this generation has learnt a lasting lesson: "home prices can decline", "corporations are greedy and they need to be regulated".

Sometimes I feel Greenspan did a good thing, but then some smart, educated and responsible people are paying for this and it is totally unfair. 

Mike Pilat's picture
Mike Pilat
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

Everyone,

Perhaps I will say naive in posing this question, but hear me out. For the record, I believe the long trend of (hyper)inflation will absolutely hold and I am investing accordingly.

My question is what was the mechanism in Japan that allowed so much deflation to occur under ZIRP?

Are there any reasons to believe that those same circumstances could occur in America?

Doesn't seem like that's the case today anyway...gold at $857.

Thanks,

Mike

 

elosrebe's picture
elosrebe
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

"The Fleecing of America..."

 

What is up with absolutely ZERO accountability? It just makes me sick.

 

http://money.cnn.com/video/#/video/news/2008/12/15/news.warren.121508.cn...

Nichoman's picture
Nichoman
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Posts: 422
Re: Questions On Rate Cut...
cmartenson wrote:

Here all I can tell you is back up the truck and load it with anything that can be shipped and is priced in dollars - they're throwing Uncle Buck under the bus. 

The Fed is going to print money out of thin air as fast as they possibly can until we get back to a healthy level of "growth", whatever that means.

Every single one of those statements signals the most aggressive monetary printing ever considered or undertaken by the US Federal reserve.

It is history in the making.  Keep a journal because these are the days upon which everyone will look back and ask, "what happened?"

At the end of it all, what this boils down to is a desperate attempt to return to "growth" and to how things used to be.  There is no outward questioning of whether this is a good idea or not, it is simply assumed that everyone is in agreement on this matter.

But a blind return to growth at any cost will cost us much and yield little.  Perhaps worst of all, it will steal from other more obviously productive investments that we could and should be making at this stage.

 

 

Chris and others...please provide answers/thoughts to questions below.

 

As understand it...isn't inflation or hyperinflation eventual outcome.   If agree then 

Questions...

1.)   What areas...financial or non-financial of major cash infusions...will it show up first?

2.)   Are there historical analogs we can learn from?

3.)  How quickly will we see this?    Note: Reviewed my MBA course notes...teacher stated changes like this will have impacts within 6 months. 

Shouldn't we analyzing actions regarding these 3 questions above or am I missing something?

If questions reasonable and on correct track...shouldn't we list and setup short...long term metrics (beliver in Deming and Drucker).    

 

Nichoman

 

 

bearing01's picture
bearing01
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

For anyone who has read any Austrian Economics we know that the Fed's actions is leading to complete dollar collapse.

 We are doomed.

rufus's picture
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

my first thought was that the Fed is helping the big banks deleverage. It's going to lead to a sucker's rally which will allow the big banks to dump their equity holding

rufus's picture
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

>3.)  How quickly will we see this?

 If I had to guess I'd say things will start to heat up after the holidays. That's when the stock market is going to plung and the dollar will continue to decline rapidly

jonesb.mta's picture
jonesb.mta
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...
cybernytrix wrote:

Second that, how many sheeple do you think would have listened and followed if Greenspan simply said: "work hard, save and buy a home to live not for profit"? Zilch. For what it is worth, this generation has learnt a lasting lesson: "home prices can decline", "corporations are greedy and they need to be regulated".

Sometimes I feel Greenspan did a good thing, but then some smart, educated and responsible people are paying for this and it is totally unfair. 

Austrian Economics also tells us that this isn't as much from too little regulation but more likely from government intervention in free markets.

Nogbad's picture
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

Would you say that governments intervened just enough to create moral hazard, and not enough to prevent the resultant bad behaviour?

In a true free market, establishment folk and the rich would be exposed to the risk of losing everything, but they weren't in this case because of their friends in high places.

Instead the small prudent businessman with a positive cash balance and a modest lifestyle gets shafted for it and I'm angry. I can understand how small a step it might be for some people to become civil disobedience angry........

kcim67's picture
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

That is the problem, the markets as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world until end Amen, are never free just like any other religion!

Erik T.'s picture
Erik T.
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

Maybe I'm confused or something... I'm certainly not an expert on Mr. Bernanke, but...

I thought Ben Bernanke's whole claim to fame was, specifically, knowing better than to do this. Isn't he supposedly famous for understanding the perils of a liquidity trap and hasn't he been outspoken in the past about saying that letting interest rates get all the way down to zero would never happen on his watch?

I thought his advertised core competency was knowing what to do in order to avoid ever getting to the point of lowering interest rates to zero. Am I missing something here?

Erik

 

lundsta's picture
lundsta
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

I guess once again Ben falls victim to the saying "actions speak louder than words". He is to scared to do anything different and even if he did think outside the box......he is playing with the big boys and it would take alot of guts to do what he believed.

joe2baba's picture
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

"bernanke is trying out a gigantic academic experiment"

oh really. dr. marttenson i would like to know just how you arrived st the conclusion he is trying out an experiment as opposed to carrying out a plan?

same question in regard to greenspan "telegraphing " his interest rate moves? ie was it a failure or a success?

as for productive investments. well everyone here knows a ton more about investments than this ol hill hippy.

but it would seem that with the establishment of the dollar carry trade ( now we dont have to go to japan , well not we exactly, them that can get paid to take money from us) it would seem they will jettison there positions in the market which will crash at some point. as a student of history i seem to recall that all the "boys " got out a few months before oct. 29. as for the rest of the"investors" well y'all come back now ya hear

i think at that point the only thing i know is they will back up the truck and grab all the gold thay can or have already started grabbing.

but like i said i am just sittin here in the backwoods of the ozarks waitin to take a pot shot at the next damn revenooer to come down the road .

ps on the you tube video i heard peter schiff say that in 4 or 5 years no one will be retired but the very wealthy.

well golly i knew i was gonna work till i died but it is gonna come as some kinda shock to quite a few folks

joe2baba's picture
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

hi erik

well you might be missing something and it might be the difference between plan and accident.

grl's picture
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

I have an observation and an analogy (which is not entirely mine but thought up in conversation with friend on this subject) The observation: Bernanke is doing exactly what the "villain" Greenspan did and yet Bernanke is a hero. The media have jumped all over Greenspan, perhaps rightly so, for instigating the crisis .... yet today they laud Bernanke as a savior. There is something wrong with this picture.  A great analogy: It seems that our entire mess is the result of a huge (and multiple) Ponzi scheme. Just like Madoff's scheme, our financial system came crashing down because the source of new funds dried up and the scheme could no longer be churned. The pyramid was crashing down until today when a new and bigger fool stepped up to the plate and offered to put more money in the scheme so it could keep going. That fool, of course, is the citizenry of the U.S. courtesy of Ben Bernanke. And when the Ponzi scheme does finally crash because there just ain't any fools left, the U.S. citizens will be the biggest losers 

.

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

This action by the Fed is as close to the lowest 'wholesale price' for money as you can pretty much get.

What I have trouble getting my head around is how a fiat system has such difficulty battling deflationary pressures. I wish Chris Martenson would do a supplement to the crash course explaining the confusing area of deflation and how a paper currency system is just as susceptible to it as it was in the early 1930s.

Surely all these helicopter drops of money has to be has to be going somewhere. Is it just evaporating into the debt? I sure would like know how it works in a deflationary atmosphere.

stan.chucks's picture
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

Mike,

I suggest that Japan was led to its hyperinflation by the policies (Keynsien Economics) that were imposed on it post ww2 by the allies. When the bubble burst, the Japanese character  (frugal, high saving, hard working) re established itself. The US  is less likely to follow suit because these qualities have been forgotten for a number of generations.

Japan's low to no growth economy in the last 10 or more years might provide us with useful guidelines on how a major economy can adjust to zero growth and deflation because as I understand it this (our?!) site is pushing for a low to zero growth world.

Stan 

Mike Pilat's picture
Mike Pilat
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

Stan,

You do raise a good point. There seems to be little reason to believe that the American consumer will remain sober for long. Indeed, our own politicians are telling us to consume more.

This raises yet another question: Since fiat currency has sustained itself in Japan over years and years with little to no growth, little inflation, and low interest rates, what's to say that at least in theory, we couldn't do that with a fiat system here? I despise the manipulated paper standard we have, but I'm just curious if there's a difference between the way Japan handled no growth and the options we have.

Thanks

Mike

 

 

 

cannotaffordit's picture
cannotaffordit
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

Well, I remain fascinated.  We all continue to comment on what we think it all means, and where it is all headed......and, on the streets of my city, and in the stores, I see people making occasional comments about it all.....but.....everybody is just doing life normally, and nobody seems to be DOING anything about it.  Oh, I don't mean that some of us have not packed away gold and silver, and gotten completely out of debt, and started our nice backyard garden, and laid in a good supply of food and water, and maybe gotten a more efficient  car.......and......and....whatever else we can think of.  Yea, I don't all that too.  But, what I mean is why hasn't somebody taken action.....to stop the stupidity that is occurring daily on Wall Street, in the government, and on and on.....?

Or is it that, in truth, there's really nothing anyone CAN do to stop it?   Or, maybe, in truth, we really don't know what to do, but talk.  Is the truth that we are just doomed, and we're all gonna keep on giving our take on it, but doing nothing about it, because (1) we don't know what the heck to do, and/or (2) we're afraid to draw too much attention to ourselves, or (3) surely, we don' think.....just maybe....in the long run, it won't be as bad as we're afraid it will be?  

I have my excuse.  I don't know what else I can do.  Do you have yours? 

 

 

capesurvivor's picture
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

I don't know what we could do at the national level; my guess is that, smart as he appears, Obama will not do a "triple E" speech and really "change" the system (which, of course, would resist massive change anyway). Working locally at least gives us all a chance for survival. I met with 50 or so local Obama team people who had worked actively for his campaign. (I was there only because I'm on an email list for the CSA Farm that let them use a frigid meeting room gratis, not because I worked on the campaign). They were all above 60, like me, most pretty sharp, our local state rep and newspaper editor, smart foks, were there, and a variety of agendas came up. The Obama team leaders said that 4000 teams like this were meeting to send a summary of ideas for the O team to vet in D.C. and make priorities. They quickly decided that local issues, which they could definitely influence, were even more important. Renewable energy, transportation, etc. were discussed and finally one guy stood up and said he'd be considered a wacko but talked about many triple E ideas. I stood up and said I'd raise him two wacko points and suggested that we form a "wacko subgroup". I said that I wanted them to tell Obama to use the words "post peak-oil economy" and was pleased when people listened and rolled the term over in their heads. 

I have little hope for national changes but perhaps my local community can address the survival issues even if hypocrites and liars destroy the country.We'll see what happens.  I'll keep you informed and welcome any suggestions. I will be attending the Rowe conference and hope to bring back some ideas.

 

SG

 

Yes, I did introduce myself to the gathering and provide my address, etc. I will consider unmasking here; several  web incidents have made me cautious.

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

Ben,  Great post!  This is the exact discussion my girlfriend and I have every time I want to share the ongoing news that gets crazier every day.  She can only take so much and gets angry because of the helpless feeling of not knowing what to do about it.  

I, like you, don't know what else to do.  Protests seem futile, lawsuits take money, etc.. It's going against a very large machine that seems to have a lot of momentum and the general public doesn't seem to care.  

I think that getting people to watch The Crash Course and getting the word out that this is very, very serious is all we can do for the time being.  

I have been getting a little more interest from friends after they watch this video and want to learn more which is a good start

Bill

...

 

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

Lisa,

I absolutely agree with your analogy between our fiat currency, fractional reserve banking and Madoff type schemes. Why our popular media do not report this connection is beyond me. The methodology is not too dissimilar it's just the scale!

Stan 

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...
apollox wrote:

This action by the Fed is as close to the lowest 'wholesale price' for money as you can pretty much get.

What I have trouble getting my head around is how a fiat system has such difficulty battling deflationary pressures. I wish Chris Martenson would do a supplement to the crash course explaining the confusing area of deflation and how a paper currency system is just as susceptible to it as it was in the early 1930s.

Surely all these helicopter drops of money has to be has to be going somewhere. Is it just evaporating into the debt? I sure would like know how it works in a deflationary atmosphere.

 

There are 3 destructive mechanisms at work in the world economy today. 

At the time of America's beginnings, the Founding Fathers knew very well, the dangers represented by all 3, and warned incessantly as to the likely outcome, should the United States allow their adoption.  Unfortunately all 3 are now completely implemented in the USA, and at work to some degree everywhere else within the industrialized world.

 These 3 mechanisms are:

1) Fractional-reserve Banking

2) Private Banking controlling issuance of the nation's currency

3) Irredeemable fiat-currency (currency secured by government force only, and not a valuable commodity, like gold & silver).

 

To understand (1), I suggest watching the following free Google Video, which describes the mechanism well:

"Money As Debt"

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9050474362583451279&ei=kGlIScStNIaq-AHp5KiDBg&q=money+as+sdebt&hl=en

 

To understand (2), I suggest watching the following, also free on Google Video:

"The Money Masters (How International Banking Gained Control Over America)"

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-515319560256183936&ei=m2tISfuEDYjO-AGc0rz0BQ&q=the+money+masters&hl=en

 

To understand (3), I suggest watching the following 2 Google videos:

"Creature From Jekyll Island"

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6507136891691870450&ei=4mtISa7XEof0-QGkwujsBQ&q=creature+from+jekyll+island&hl=en

 

and

 

"Fiat Empire (Why the Federal Reserve Violates the US Constitution"

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5232639329002339531&ei=GGxISbfJJIig-AGqg73qBQ&q=fiat+empire&hl=en

 

 

For those not familiar with these aspects of monetary theory and it's impact on history (politics and economics), watching these videos will be most enlightening.  

 

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...
dbajba wrote:

...But, what I mean is why hasn't somebody taken action.....to stop the stupidity that is occurring daily on Wall Street, in the government, and on and on.....?

Or is it that, in truth, there's really nothing anyone CAN do to stop it?   Or, maybe, in truth, we really don't know what to do, but talk.  Is the truth that we are just doomed, and we're all gonna keep on giving our take on it, but doing nothing about it, because (1) we don't know what the heck to do, and/or (2) we're afraid to draw too much attention to ourselves, or (3) surely, we don' think.....just maybe....in the long run, it won't be as bad as we're afraid it will be?  

I have my excuse.  I don't know what else I can do.  Do you have yours? 

 

While feeling a bit pedantic, the answer as to "what to do", in general terms, is:

  • FOLLOW THE US CONSTITUTION, ARTICLE I, SECTIONS 8 & 10.
  • Force Banks to stop (or sharply curtail) the practice of fractional-reserve Banking.
  • Stop allowing a private Bank and Banking System, to issue the currency of the USA.
  • Back the currency by gold and silver, and make it completely redeemable

It is testimony to either a excellent execution of a conspiratorial scheme, or complete incompetence on the part of the educational system (or both), that there is little to no knowledge, that the United States fought against these mechanisms from it's inception.

While it may be frequently deemed a "quaint" document in discussion today, the fact is, the US Constitution was written in the context of discussion and arguments on these very problems.  

History is replete with letters, documentation and record, of the fight the Founding Fathers (and beyond) had against the "3 Dangerous Mechanisms" being instituted within the United States, and the likely outcome should they not scribe in the US Constitution, exactly what the government was allowed to do.  The last debate on these issues was lost in 1913, with smaller encroachments continuing since.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT:

1) Educate yourself and your loved ones

2) Protect your assets against the current and coming economic climate

3) Write, phone and contact your government representatives

4) Meet-up with others of similar persuasion, to discuss more detailed action

***

Thomas Jefferson - "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a moneyed aristocracy that has set the Government at defiance. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs." 

James Madison - "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance."

John Adams - "All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, nor from want of honor or virtue, so much as downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation."

John Adams - "Banks have done more injury to the religion, morality, tranquility, prosperity, and even wealth of the nation than they can have done or ever will do good."

Andrew Jackson - "Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the grace of the Eternal God, will rout you out"

Andrew Jackson (His Tombsone) - "I Beat the Bank!"

Mayer Rothschild - "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes the laws."

James Garfield - "The chief duty of the National Government in connection with the currency of the country is to coin money and declare its value. Grave doubts have been entertained whether Congress is authorized by the Constitution to make any form of paper money legal tender. The present issue of United States notes has been sustained by the necessities of war; but such paper should depend for its value and currency upon its convenience in use and its prompt redemption in coin at the will of the holder, and not upon its compulsory circulation. These notes are not money, but promises to pay money. If the holders demand it, the promise should be kept."

James Garfield - "Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce."

Woodrow Wilson - "We have restricted credit, we have restricted opportunity, we have controlled development, and we have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated, governments in the civilized world--no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men."

Franklin D Roosevelt - "The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government of the U.S. since the days of Andrew Jackson. History depicts Andrew Jackson as the last truly honorable and incorruptible American president."

 

 

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Mike Pilat
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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

I'm looking for some way to actually take action too. I protested with Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty on the End the FED day (11-22-08) but I was hoping that something even bigger than that could be formed. The problem seems to be uniting the many groups that share similar values and concerns. If every group that was concerned about the FED and fiat money, etc. could get together on at least that one issue, I think there would be a good number to stage a protest.

I encourage everyone on this site to SHARE any news you might have of future protests, events, or courses of action. I say as respectfully and humbly as possible that talk and discussion only go so far. Most of us understand the problems well enough to feel the need for action. Now we need to make some noise and bring others to that point.

Believe me, "Joe Sixpack" is not particularly warm to the Federal Reserve - he's largely indifferent for the simple reason that he doesn't know any better. But more and more people each day seem troubled by Paulson's Plunder Package. Many would simply join the cause if they knew there WAS a cause. 

-use facebook

-use bumper stickers

-talk to strangers (new friends) about it

-make your screen saver text say something useful (free advertising)

-if possible make your voicemail have a useful quotation or message

-make your e mail signature have a useful quotation or message (think of how many people this will reach)

-I've actually seen some FRNs that have messages written on them...now there's an idea!

-present the Crash Course to your coworkers - repeatedly until everyone gets the message

 

I have been surprised at the very warm welcome I have received when expressing my opinion on these topics. America is not happy, but it doesn't quite understand and it doesn't have a true cause to unite behind. That's where we come in.

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

the parallels to japan's 'lost decade' are too convincing to ignore. if you agree that the asset-price bubble fueled by the decades of savings finally unleashed by the japanese is similar to the asset-price bubble fueled by greenspan-bernanke holding rates low and infusing cash, than i believe i can make a strong case here.

other than that we can see that interest rates plunged to zero, central banks bailed out (propped up) doomed financial institutions and companies, banks refused to lend for lack of quality investments, and the deflationary spiral. i'm starting to beleive we are in a long period of deflation and won't see hyperinflation at all unless a miracle appears (like a drug that reverses aging), then controllling inflation will be like pulling an f-15 out of a flat spin.

 

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

I watched the first video so far and it covers much of what is discussed in "The Crash Course" with a few extra interesting details and compelling quotes from current and historical figures. My immediate thought after watching this video which is very well made and planned very well was:

BRING ON THE ASTEROID

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

Mike

 

Mike wrote wrote:

This raises yet another question: Since fiat currency has sustained
itself in Japan over years and years with little to no growth, little
inflation, and low interest rates, what's to say that at least in
theory, we couldn't do that with a fiat system here? I despise the
manipulated paper standard we have, but I'm just curious if there's a
difference between the way Japan handled no growth and the options we
have.

Might this explain it?

Central Banking Inc is a small club. No single member wants to deviate from the norm. They do not want to fight the Fed and  the Wall Street Banks. To maintain a competitive currency (for exports) they print yen. The locals have learned their lesson from the exploded bubble and have reverted to their natural instinct of buying only with money they have saved. The Wall Street Giants have taken up the excess yen and sprayed them around the globe (The Carry Trade). The Japanese behaved financially responsibly internally but provided the fuel (added to in increasing volume by the Chinese) for the Wests profligacy.

Stan 

 

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

Here is an analysis of Japan's decade plus recession and stagnation. An excellent analysis from the Austrian perspective that destroys the Monetarist and Keynesian points of view. A read worth your time, and fitting for this topic. It is a great example of what we should not be doing, even though we are really in deflationary times at the moment the article still applies.

http://www.mises.org/story/1099

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...
Quote:

Lisa said:

"...our entire mess is the result of a huge (and multiple) Ponzi scheme. Just like Madoff's scheme, our financial system came crashing down because the source of new funds dried up and the scheme could no longer be churned..."

Stan said:

"Lisa,
I absolutely agree with your analogy.... The methodology is not too dissimilar it's just the scale! "

Stan and Lisa, I think it here, you type it there. We're all in perfect agreement, and I made the same point yesterday (http://www.peakprosperity.com/comment/8796#comment-8796)

Consider this: Imagine you are one of Madoff's victims. Some magical thing occurs such that you receive your statement and it shows your original balance; that is to say, you haven't lost a cent. You can't believe it! You call Madoff's office and a magical secretary confirms your money is there. What are you going to do at that moment--after having suffered the scare of your life, thinking that you had lost everything and were going to have to work until the day you die?

Well, I think you can consider Paulson and Bernanke's reckless actions as the "magical thing" on a market scale (making the market go back to where it was). The baby boomers are like Madoff's victims who thought they lost everything.

What we are going to witness in the coming weeks? months? is a schizophrenic wretching of the market as the baby boomers compete with Paulon's Inner Gang to get their money out of the market first--before it gets Madoffized. The only way that Paulson and Bernanke can get away with levitating the market is if the rest of the world doesn't understand that they are doing all the work. Think about it: Let's say you're a contractor; you build houses. You build me a house. You hand me a bill. While standing right in front of you, I take a ream of paper, put it into a strange looking machine, turn the crank on the machine, cut the paper that comes out of the machine into currency-sized pieces, then hand the paper to you in payment for the house you just built for me.

This type of behavior cannot go on much longer, as the people who are doing all the work are far better educated (on average) than the people who are turning the crank on the strange machine...

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

GDon,  I appreciate your answers as to what to do.  I agree with all of them.  However, I am an individual, and there is only so much that one person can do (mostly for himself and his own family) against the evil giant that is reeking havoc at the national level.  When I have written (probably a hundred now) letters to various members of the congress, I eventually get back these phony-baloney answers that essentially say "I'm so glad you contacted me about so and so Ben.  And how about signing up for my monthly newsletter.....blah....blah.....blah." But, what can I expect?  These people are all bought and paid for too.  So, for me to hope that they're gonna really REALLY stand up and cause a stir is ridiculous.  You see what happened when Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich tried to get something moving in the congress.  All the other big shots just essentially humored them.

 And I really enjoyed your quotes from famous folks.  Some of them I had not heard, and they were great.  So, now, I've got the knowledge I need.  But I don't see that its getting my country anywhere.  Maybe I should just wait for the tax revolutions that are bound to start within a year or so, when folks with houses that have lost 50% in value start getting tax notices that say their home's value has increased 30%, or 40% or more.  That might be just what it takes, to get the unemployed to join with them, and get in the streets, and (maybe literally) throw the bums out.  By that time, Obama would have had a couple or three years to work his magic, which, by the way, is NOT goihg to work.  We're too far gone!  Look for a third party candidate to take the presidency in 2012.

Meantime, I guess I'll just keep reading Chris, and you guys and gals, every day......and sit in a comfy chair, by the fire, with a nice snifter of brandy and some good music.  (Doesn't sound too bad, I guess) 

Ben 

 

 

 

 

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

everyone on this site:

 

Mike "Mish" Shedlock is going to be organizing an effort to abolish the FED in January. Yes, I know this is a monumental task but you have to begin somewhere. I suggest you go to his website globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com and read about it.

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

How about a Recovery Course to compliment the Crash Course?

I'm not implying Chris spend another 3 years unilaterally developing the Recovery Course. However, I am suggesting organizing and leveraging the talents of the folks that frequent this site to create some positive energy and coordinated action.  Most of the time when I walk away from reading posts herein, I find I have a negative attitude. That is rubbing off on my family, friends, and peers. I have shared this site with others, and they are having similar challenges. Negativity breeds negativity.

As I find myself unable to sleep again (after reading some posts tonight), I thought about how to structure a Recovery Course and make it actionable on a broad scale.  Forgive me for the crudeness of this. Please focus on the concept of a Recovery Course and generating some coordinated action.

It seems to me that a Recovery Course ought to have at least three key components:

1. A unifying vision that the users can rally around - e.g. return to the Constitution; values/virtues/principles/character/common sense etc.. are rewarded etc..

2. Solution concepts and simple priorities for each of three E's that the users can help propogate. For example, in the Crash Course, Chris talks about alternative energy sources and shows a curve of which solutions yield the best return. He points out that our elected officials are currently providing the greatest funding for the least viable alternative (ethanol) on the chart. Fact-based data should be central to prioritizing the different solutions. 

3. A unified set of messaging/action tools. This will take some thought, but with a little work, can be done. For example, on the messaging front, if the users of this site had the ability to log on every day or so and print off a letter and/or email and send it:  a.) to their elected officials, b.) to a national media outlet that might publish it and c.) to a local reporter that might publish it, the user base of this site would increase and the number of informed folks pushing for some common sense solutions would increase. Assuming we could track and encourage the frequent downloads of these letters (much like Chris has done for overall website activity), there would be a sense of 'doing something positive' for our country. As this process grows and the elected officials and media folks are continually inundated with the same message, they may eventually respond beyond just a standardized 'form letter response'. Note that this is an example of a very inexpensive means of providing a coordinated effort.  I would also posit that the messages would have at least two varieties:  a.) messages re: current legislative activities, and b.) proactive messages re: solutions outlined in #2.  This same concept can apply to many other 'actionable' activities that are part of the Recovery Course.

I recognize that it was easy for me to type these ideas. Executing will take additional commitment.  However, my point is that this particular thread has some ideas for solutions, which are sorely needed. I also enjoyed the 12/13/08 post on Heroes in Action.  We need to get on the same general page and do our part to resolve these problems. Like the commercials for Lowes say: Let's build something together.

Perhaps this can be discussed when many convene in Rowe in February. 

Joe

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

I personally feel that educating folks is the best thing, and the only thing to do.

I truly feel that trying to fix this is akin to them monkeying with trying to fix the banks, the big 3 and God knows what else.

Let it (the dollar) fail, the sooner it goes bust the sooner we will have a balanced budget, there is no way in hell we are going to ever pay down that debt. 53++ trillion off balance entitlements and 11 trillion on the books. Fixing that is like Paulson and Bernanke fixing the economy, it ain't going to happen.

As long as they rebuild the system minus the insanity (the Fed, a bloated govt, and an economy based on stripping the Earth of every resource) we stand a miniscule chance. 

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

I think pumping large amounts of money will increase the worth of gold when the dollar collapses. It can be a strategy to make the current reserves in gold worth more than ever. So when the collapse happened the one with the most gold has the power. All other who have dollars as a reserve have nothing.

 

 

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

Randall: What is the exact link for Mish's End the FED site? I have a number of friends that I think would jump in and I should be able to get a little more publicity in some other circles as well.

As for the recent posts, I agree: the 2 things that need to happen are 1) End the Fed and 2) return to the Constitution. Really just returning to the Constitution would cover the Fed too, but apparently Congress doesn't realize this.

I just heard Mr. Barack on the radio this morning telling us that it's important that the Fed remain an "independent body." He said that they Fed's tools are starting to run out and now we're going to have to make some changes ourselves. On the surface this sounds benign, but if this is some sort of 1-2 punch in which the Fed inflates like mad and now they prepare us accept it and work harder to deal with the rising prices, I refuse to comply quietly. They will not inflate away my (our) wealth and have me remain docile

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

Mike: Yah might want to read Romer's papers - she has talked about quickly re-issueing currencies. I'd say this (destruction of dollar and a new buck) are as close to a sure bet as one could get.

I couldn't agree more with you (or Ron Paul) on the Constitution - having said that - the best thing that could happen is for our dollar to tank, it will destroy our debt. SS and Medicare are insolvent, there is NO fix for them.

Hyperinflation in dismal, you can protect yourself from it, being taxed to death and being in debt to death is, in my humble opinion, a helll of a lot worse. 

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...
castlewp wrote:

Ben,  Great post!  This is the exact discussion my girlfriend and I have every time I want to share the ongoing news that gets crazier every day.  She can only take so much and gets angry because of the helpless feeling of not knowing what to do about it.  

 

The response I get from family members is similar to what I recall a journalist describing when he witnessed Mt Saint Helens erupting (he was quite close).    He said it was so utterly profound and beyond what his mind could handle all at once that he had to turn away from it and not look.   Difference here is we can't run from this unfolding disaster (well, not as easily as the journalist anyway).   So everyone I have told so far reacts like "Well give me another drink while the Titanic sinks".

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

It's said that when the Titanic hit the iceberg, many people were having a snowball fight and playing with the ice that landed on the deck. They didn't get it. In this specific case, they didn't even want another drink because they didn't know there was a problem! Rome is burning, and We The People are fiddling. Where's our bread and circus?

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

Chris,

You mentioned several times about buying gold.  How do you go about doing that?  There is surprising very little about how you do that online.  The only material I have seen is about the difficulties about buying gold and to watch out for scams but nothing on the actual steps. 

There is a stock out there (GLD) that represents XX amount of gold - so it should increase/decrease with the price of gold.  I would very much prefer to actually buy gold rather then gold shares.    

Anyone know how to purchase gold?

Thanks,

   Glenn 

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

There is a column in today's NYT on the dollar that I think is relevant to many of our concerns:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/17/opinion/17wed4.html?th&emc=th

The writer's main point is that the dollar has been the safe haven in times of turmoil for a long time, and, as recently demonstrated, continues to be the reflexive refuge for most economies.  Now that things appear to be settling down (at least in the eyes of the uninformed), the dollar seems to be continuing its slow erosion.  The question the writer poses is, to paraphrase, what other currency can serve as a safe haven?  Frankly, there doesn't seem to be one.  So what is one to do?  Are pm's the only refuge?

This is of more than academic interest to me.  I have hoped to retire in about six years when both my kids will have finished college.  So far, by luck, I've managed to preserve most of my retirement fund by putting it in treasuries before the big market drop.  That solution seems to be fading fast, but it is not clear to me whether the dollar is in for a quick collapse, or will continue its slow erosion.

The economic talking heads seem to be seriously split on whether we are entering a period of inflation or deflation, and whether the money printing will work.  The question seems to be whether Bernanke can walk that knife edge and pull back in time to prevent inflation from spinning out of control. 

Although Peter Schiff has been largely correct in predicting this mess, he has been notably wrong on the price of oil and other commodities including gold.  They aren't acting like he predicted, although gold does now seem to be rising slowly as the dollar loses value slowly.

These questions are quite serious for me, as I face the issue of whether I can have a comfortable retirement, or will be forced to work into my dotage, become dependent on the public fisc or find some other way to scrape by.  I always kind of suspected that being at the leading edge of the baby boom generation might get ugly some day, but that doesn't make it any easier.

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

gfeiner: you are on the right track

There is little reason to purchase GLD if you can get physical bullion.

There is a great deal of talk of physical gold bullion shortages and indeed much of it seems well founded. As far as I can tell, many smaller shops are having trouble staying supplied, but the larger shops in bigger metro areas still seem to have some availabilitly (though a lot of places have a long lead time on deliveries).

I would just google "coin shop" and then type in your city or region and see what you come up with. It might be wise to call the place first to see what's available and at what price. It is also possible to order coins online. See Chris's articles in the "Act" section on the menu bar.

If that fails, there's always ebay...An excellent tool to track the price of precious metals sold on e bay is this website here: http://www.24hgold.com/english/buy_sell_gold_coins.aspx?co_id=0

The site displays the averages of the past 20 trades of all different types of gold and silver coins on ebay. Since there seems to be issues with gold shortages and the COMEX paper vs. physcial gold market separations, this tool seems to be a useful way to evaluate the value of bullion.

Good luck.

Mike

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

duplicate post deleted. my apologies

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

 

Chris,

You mentioned several times about buying gold.  How do you go about doing that?

 Under the ACT tab, Chris has a nice writeup on buying gold and suggests several dealers. I just made my first purchase the other week - it's pretty easy and straightforward. Check around as different places have different availability, minumums, and prices. Be forwarned, an oz. of gold is small. I showed one of my 1 oz. Suisse Pamp bars to my daughter and asked "how much?" - she ventured $50! (more like $800), though she was close to the original gold standard value ($32)!

 

 

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

Doug,

      I would offer you a few points to consider:

      You've been very wise (or lucky) to get into Treasuries at the time you did, but many are now speaking of a Treasury bubble. Talking heads aside, we eventually will reach a point where the Treasuries are not going to rally much higher, even in a deflationary environment. If you believe that we will "muddle through," without experiencing anything extremely dramatic, then I think Treasuries are good.

     I think it's commonly understood that gold is an excellent inflation hedge, but I would add that there's another wrinkle. Through the '90s, inflation was low, but gold did not even keep up with it, which tends to mitigate this narrow argument. I would add to the picture that precious metals will always do well in a time when fear is high. Fear can be created and stoked by inflation OR deflation. The worse things get in this country, the better gold should do. If nothing else, I personally can't imagine the inflation adjusted (real) price of gold to drop in an environment like we're seeing.

     Also consider: we have a hyper prefix that we sometimes use for inflation. There does not seem to be any such jargon for deflation.

     Finally, as Chris points out too: Any paper (or electronic) money that is invested is based entirely on trust in the fiat system and the people that manage it. Let your actions be guided by this principle.

     These are my thoughts and opinions only. Hopefully others can comment too.

Thanks,

Mike

 

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

As for physical gold,i wish i could help.

I have no problem whatsoever to buy physical gold. I can buy it esy in amount measured in 15.244 gram units.

1/2 unit weight until 10 units weight are available over the counter. When order 100 units weight or more are availabel. I found a large shop that has large quantities available. In normal circumstances it is because of the christmas season. Large orders of gold arrived at the shops about a week ago. After new year it can be quit different.

The gold is 96.5% pure as is the norm in Thailand.

if you really want to have physical gold a flight to Thailand (india/Dubai) might be a solution to get your hands on gold.

I have read that in Thailand it is forbidden to export bullion, but jewelry is no problem. As jewelry in Thailand is mostly made of 96.5% gold it is not really different than the bullion. The price however is a little higher because the workmanship.

I wish i had the infrastructure to send gold to other countries, i would make some money from it. I do it now for some friends and family and that way stay low level and do not attract attention.

Maybe if you search for Thai exporters of jewelry you can find some that send overseas, but i suspect the markup will be high.

 

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

Brainless

Recently I looked into buying some Thai gold.  Their basic unit of gold is the bhat, not to be confused with their currency unit, also called the bhat.  Their coins and bullion are, as I understand it, 99.99% pure.  However, a local dealer told me that he and other US dealers deal primarily in the more common gold units like the Canadian Maple Leaf, the US Gold Eagle and S. African Krugerand.  (There are probably a couple others I don't remember)  He said that the more uncommon gold units are typically melted down and recast into something else, meaning that you won't get as good a price on the more atypical gold units.  I'd be curious to hear what others' understandings are.

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Re: Fed cuts rate to less than 0.25% - promises to flood ...

Doug: I have faith in 3 things, one I don't push on others, all begin with G's:

 

  1.  G_ _
  2. Gold
  3. Government screw ups i.e. trying to prevent deflation they will either create hyerinflation by destroying the value the dollar holds 
The electronic gold, by contract or by ETF I'd be careful of, there are 2 banks shorting it in quantities that I doubt they can cover, listed to the blurb on the FSN link under yesturday's daily digest for more info on that. Also, not sure, but think I read something about some ETS's leasing gold - so what is in their volt (if my memory is correct) may not be theirs past a certain date.

 

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