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Re: SC27

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October 15, 2006 06:53PM
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=ENG20061014&articleId=3482

...........Today, most foreign central banks hold US Treasury bonds or similar US government assets as their "currency reserves." They in fact hold an estimated $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion of US Government debt. Here is the devil of the system. In effect, the US economy is addicted to foreign borrowing, like a drug addict. It is able to enjoy a far higher living standard than were it to have to use its own savings to finance its consumption. America lives off the borrowed money of the rest of the world in the Dollar System...........

.............Today, the US trade deficit runs at an unbelievable $500 billion, and the dollar does not collapse. Why? In May and June alone, the Bank of China and Bank of Japan bought $100 billion of US Treasury and other government debt!................

........................The internal debt bomb in the USA

The question is if the Dollar System is reaching its real limits? The Dollar System for the past 30 years has been built on growing dollar debt. What if the rest of the world decides it no longer wants to give its savings to the US Treasury to finance its deficits or its wars? What if China decides that it should diversify its risk by buying Euro debt? Or Japan or Russia? That day may come sooner than we think.

In addition to colossal debts to the rest of the world, the US internal debt burdens have reached alarming levels in the past three decades, especially the past decade.

The total US debt—public and private—has more than doubled since 1995. It is now officially over $34 trillion. It was just over $16 trillion in 1995, and "only" $7 trillion in 1985. Most alarming it has grown faster than income to service it, or GDP.

Since the Asia crisis in 1998, the US debt situation has exploded. The heart of the debt explosion is in US private consumer debt. And the heart of consumer debt is the home mortgage debt growth, helped by two semi-government agencies—Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Since 2001 and the collapse of the stock market wealth, the Federal Reserve has cut interest rates 13 times to a 45 year low.

US Households took on new home mortgage debt in the first six months this year at an annual rate of $700 billion, double the debt growth in 2000. Total mortgage debt in the US totals just under $5 trillion, double the debt in 1996. It has grown far faster than personal income per capita. That is larger than the GDP of most nations.

The aim has been to inflate a housing speculation market in order to keep the economy rolling. The cost has been staggering new debt levels. Because it was created with record low interest rates, when rates again rise, millions of Americans will suddenly find the burden impossible, especially as unemployment rises. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac combined guarantee $3 trillion in US home mortgages. The US banking system holds much of their bonds. When the housing bubble collapses, a new banking crisis is pre-programmed as well, with JP Morgan/Chase, Wells Fargo and BankAmerica the worst.

The US economy has only managed to avoid a severe recession since the collapse of the stock market three years ago, by a record amount of consumer borrowing. "Shop until you drop" is a popular American expression. The Federal Reserve has pushed interest rates down to 1%, the lowest in 45 years. The aim is to keep the cost of the debt low such that families continue to borrow, in order to spend! Some 76% of the US economy GDP today is consumer spending. And most of that is tied to a record boom in home buying.

But the rate of new debt growth among families is rapidly reaching alarm levels, while the overall manufacturing economy continues to stagnate or decline. Today US factories only operate at 74% of capacity, near historic lows. With so much unused capacity, there is little chance companies will soon invest in new factories or jobs. They are going to China.

So Greenspan continues to rely on foreign money to prop up his consumer debt bubble, at low interest rates. Were foreign money to stop propping the US economy, now at some $2.5 billion daily, the Federal Reserve would be forced to raise its interest rates to make dollar investments more attractive. Higher rates would trigger a crisis in consumer debt, mortgage defaults, credit card and car loan failures. Higher rates would plunge the US economy into a depression. This may be about to happen, despite poor George Bush's desires to get reelected.

There is a limit how much debt US families can pay to keep the economy afloat.

There is no US recovery, merely a debt spending boom based on this home buying explosion.

Total US household debt reached a high in June of $8.7 trillion, double that of 1994. Families are agreeing to longer debt payments for basics like homes or cars. The length of new car loans now averages 60.7 months, and the amount of car debt financed increased to $27,920, and the average new home costs $243,000.

With rapidly rising unemployment and a real economy that is not growing, at some point there will come a violent reality clash, as the market for home lending reaches its limit. At that point the danger is the consumer will stop buying, and the manufacturing economy will not be able to create new jobs and a real recovery. The jobs have gone to China!

We might already be at or very close to that point. In the past six weeks, US interest rates have risen sharply, as owners of US bonds have started to sell in panic levels, fearing the bonanza in real estate may be over, and trying to get out with some profit before bond prices collapse. The European Central Bank is advising member banks to not buy any more US Freddie Mac or government agency debts.

The problem is this process of creating debt, domestic and foreign, to keep the US economy going, has gathered so much momentum it risks destroying what remains of the US manufacturing and technology base. Henry Kissinger warned in a conference of Computer Associates in June, that the US risked destroying its own middle class, and its key strategic industries via outsourcing to China, India and other cheap areas. Today only 11% of the total workforce is in manufacturing. In 1970, it was 30%. Post-industrial America is a bubble economy about to pop...................
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SC27

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