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Re: SC45

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July 08, 2007 10:45AM
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6239

The Crashing U.S. Economy Held Hostage
Our Economy is on an Artificial Life-support System

Remember when the U.S. was the world’s greatest industrial democracy? Barely thirty years ago the output of our producing economy and the skills of our workforce led the world.

What happened? It’s hard to believe that in the space of a generation our character and capabilities just collapsed as, for example, did our steel and automobile industries and our family farming. What then are the causes of the decline?

Here’s how I would put it today: our economy is on an artificial life-support system, a barely-breathing hostage in a lunatic asylum. That asylum is the U.S. and world financial systems which are on the verge of collapse.

The inmates are the world’s central bankers, along with most of the financial magnates big and small. The fact is that the economy of much of the world is in a decisive downward slide which the financiers cannot stop because the systems they operate are the primary cause. As often happens, the inmates rule the asylum.

The problems aren’t confined to the U.S. Unemployment worldwide is increasing, debt is rampant, infrastructures are crumbling, and commodity prices are rising.

In such an environment, crime, warfare, terrorism, and other forms of violence are endemic. Only the most naïve, self-centered, and deluded jingoist could describe such a scenario in terms of the freedom-loving Western democracies being besieged by the “bad guys.”

Rather what is happening highlights the growing failures of Western globalist finance whose impact on political stability has been so corrosive. As many responsible commentators are warning, we are likely to see major financial shocks within the next few months. The warnings are even coming from high-flying institutional players like the Bank of International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund..............

................THE ROOT CAUSE OF THE CATASTROPHE

How did today’s looming tragedy come to pass?

Looking for causes is like peeling an onion. What we are really seeing are the terminal throes of a failed financial system almost a century old. It’s happening because, since the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913—even during the period of the New Deal with its Keynesian economics aimed at full employment—our economy has been based almost entirely on fractional reserve banking.

This means that under the regime of the world’s all-powerful central banking systems, money is brought into existence only as debt-bearing loans. Interest on this lending tends to grow exponentially unless overtaken by real economic growth.

Remember that every instance of bank lending, from purchase of Treasury Bonds, to credit cards, to home mortgages, to billion-dollar loans to hedge funds for leveraged buyouts or sheer speculation, must eventually be paid back somewhere, somehow, sometime, by somebody, with interest. In the end, it all comes back to people who work for a living, whether in the U.S. or elsewhere, because that is the only way the world community ever creates real wealth.

In an anemic economy like that of the U.S., growth cannot catch up with interest in a deregulated financial marketplace where interest rates are high. Rates may not seem high compared with, say, the twenty percent-plus rates of the early 1980s, but they are high in an economy with, at best, a two percent GDP growth rate.

And they have been high on average since the 1960s, as the banking industry became increasingly deregulated. Interestingly, since 1965, the U.S. dollar has lost eighty percent of its value, which tends to validate the contention by some observers that higher interest rates not only do not reduce inflation, as the Federal Reserve contends, but actually cause it.

The situation today is worse in many respects than 1929, because the debt “overhang” vs. real economic value is much higher now than it was then. The U.S. economy was in far better shape in the 1920s, because so much of our population was gainfully employed in factories or on farms.

The question is not when will the system start to come down, because this has already begun. It’s shown most clearly by the fact that according to Federal Reserve data, M1, the part of the money supply most readily available for consumer purchases, is not only lagging behind inflation but has actually decreased in eleven of the last twelve months. This means that the producing economy is already in a recession.

The federal government is trying to figure out what to do. Their biggest concern is that foreign investors have started to pull out of dollar-denominated markets.

The government’s “plunge protection team”—known officially as the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets—is trying to engineer what they call a “soft landing.” It’s been likened to the process by which you cook a frog in a pot where you raise the temperature one degree a day. The frog doesn’t hop out because the heat goes up gradually, but before long it’s too late. The frog has been cooked.

Even if the plunge protection team succeeds, and the frog cooks slowly, there will be a massive de facto default on dollar-denominated debt and a long-term degradation of the U.S. standard of living. The inside word is that we are likely to see major monetary shocks and a possible stock market crash as early as December 2007.

The worst off will be people locked into retirement funds which have a heavy load of mortgage-related securities. Entire investment portfolios are likely to disappear overnight.

The banks, along with the bank-leveraged equity and hedge funds, are preparing for the biggest fire sale in at least a generation. Insiders are going liquid to get ready. If you think Enron was “the bomb,” you won’t want to miss this one.................
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