George Soros is having a very good crisis. Other investors are wilting, political power structures are being upended and market economists are scrambling to fashion new theories, but the world’s most famous speculator is having a belated heyday.
“It is, in a way, the culminating point of my life’s work,” the 78-year-old says in his heavy Hungarian accent during an interview at his London mansion.
If Soros had retired from the money markets at 48 to become a philosopher – which was his life plan when he set up his own Wall Street hedge fund at the age of 43 – the world is unlikely to have heard of him, as either an ideas man or a money man. Even if he had ended his career 20 years later, he would have been remembered as little more than the big-stakes gambler who “broke the Bank of England” with his 1992 bet against the pound that earned him $US1.1 billion.
At 68 Soros had just predicted a global financial collapse which did not happen, just as he had done a decade earlier; his pet theory of market behaviour, which he calls “reflexivity”, had been largely ignored; and his political donations had bought him little sway in Washington. Yet today, he says, all those strands seem to have come together – “the American election, the financial crisis, the theory of reflexivity, so it is actually a very stimulating period”.
The BLS considers someone working 2 hours a week just as employed as someone working 40 hours a week. The employees certainly wouldn’t consider these jobs equivalent, but they are equivalent for purposes of the official unemployment rate.
Since December of 2012, I’ve written a number of articles on how the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (“BLS”) official unemployment rate is a poor barometer for measuring labor market health principally because of how the BLS determines who is in the labor force. The BLS removes people from the labor force unless they’ve looked for a job in the past 30 days. This is like looking at a professional baseball player’s batting average but ignoring the at bats where he didn’t get a hit unless they happened in the last 30 days. Doing so might tell you something, but it wouldn’t tell you what kind of season he’s having. This is part of the reason why Gallup Chairman Jim Clifton recently wrote in an excellent article that the official unemployment rate is “extremely misleading.”
New data “revealed that the Department previously had inflated the repayment rates for 99.8% of all colleges and trade schools in the country.
With the media’s focus on the Inauguration and the new president’s first week in office, a recent Wall Street Journal report has gone little noticed. According to the report, on January 13 (just one week before the outgoing administration up and went), the Obama Department of Education dropped a memorandum confessing that it had “overstated student loan repayment rates at most colleges and trade schools.” The “updated numbers” provided by the Department were analyzed by the Journal’s staff, who found that the new data “revealed that the Department previously had inflated the repayment rates for 99.8% of all colleges and trade schools in the country.”
This number (99.8 percent) is about as close as you can get to being completely wrong in measuring the extent of a crisis that higher education reformers have been warning us about for some time. In short, for the last eight years, the American people have not been told the whole story about just how bad the student-loan default crisis really is.
Recent revelations regarding pedophile rings run by and for the rich and powerful show that these are not isolated incidents and part of a systemic, global problem targeting defenseless children.
Pedophilia scandals continue to emerge around the world year after year while the corporate media and law enforcement agencies alike fail to treat the sexual exploitation of minors as a global, systemic problem. As the number of child abuse scandals involving the rich and powerful continue to grow, it is becoming impossible to cover up that these instances of child sexual abuse and exploitation are globally organized and often run by the very same people who greatly influence society and politics. The entertainment industry, powerful political centers, and even organized religion have been shown to be major centers where this horrific abuse has been enabled and widely accepted among the “elites” and other powerful individuals that dominate these institutions. What follows are several examples of the widespread depravity practiced by some of the world’s most powerful people.
Grant Williams, author of “Things That Make You Go Hmm…” offered the most comprehensive analysis yet of the rise and inevitable fall of the petrodollar (and implicitly US hegemony). In the following presentation, from Mines & Money Conference in London in December 2016, Williams focuses on gold’s performance in 2016, the reaction to Donald Trump’s election and joins a series of dots that may lead to the end of the petrodollar system and a new place for gold in the global monetary system.
The story begins in the 1970s when Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon struck a deal with the House of Saud — a deal which gave birth to the petrodollar system.
The terms were simple The Saudis agreed to ONLY accept U.S. Dollars in return for their oil and that they would reinvest their surplus dollars into U.S. treasuries.
In return, the U.S. would provide arms and a security guarantee to the Saudis who, it has to be said, were living in a pretty rough neighborhood.
As I outlined in my article ‘The False Economic Narrative Will Die In 2017’, the mainstream media has been carefully crafting the propaganda meme that the Trump administration is inheriting a global economy in “ascension,” when in fact, the opposite is true. Trump enters office at a time of longstanding decline and will likely witness severe and accelerated decline over the course of the next year. The signs are already present, and this fits exactly with the basis for my prediction of the Trump election win — conservative movements are indeed being set up as scapegoats for a global economic crisis that international financiers actually created.
Plus, it doesn’t help that Trump keeps boasting about the farcical Dow hitting record highs after his entry into the White House. Talk about the perfect setup…
Solutions Start With The Citizenry, Not Washington
I understand that conservatives in particular want to “make America great again,” and I fully agree with that goal. But, someone has to point out the inconsistencies in the current strategy and recognize that the situation is beyond repair. To make America great again would require decentralized efforts to maximize production and self reliance at a local level, not centralized federal tinkering with the economy. The globalists have been far too thorough in their programs of interdependency. The only way out now is for the system to crash and for the right people to be in place to rebuild.
Sadly, not only will a crash result in great tragedy for many Americans, but it is also an outcome the globalists prefer. They believe that THEY will be the men in the right place at the right time to rebuild the system in an even more centralized fashion. They hope to sacrifice the old world order to inspire the social desperation needed to convince the masses of the need for a “new world order.” Again, this crash cannot be avoided, it can only be mitigated. We can prepare and become self sufficient. We can fight to ensure that the globalists are not in a position to rebuild the system in their image once the dust settles. But, we should not place too much expectation that the Trump administration will be able to solve any of our economic problems, if that is even their intent. The solution remains in our hands, not in the hands of the White House.
The Fed has inflated our money to the point of no return just to give unlimited buying power to a select few individuals and banking corporations. When the monetary system crashes because of their manipulation, they’ll still own all the assets they bought.
You want to fix the economic system, reduce political bribery and reduce rising income inequality? Shut off the cheap unlimited credit spigot to banks, financiers and corporations.
Cheap credit–newly issued money that can be borrowed at low rates of interest–is presented as the savior of our economic system, but in reality, it’s why our system is broken. The conventional economic pitch goes like this: cheap credit enables consumers to buy more goods and services (and since the system needs growth or it implodes, that’s good).
Cheap credit also enables companies to invest in new productive assets (capital).
Last but not least, low rates of interest enables the government at all levels to borrow money at relatively low cost.
That all sounds good in theory, but let’s see how cheap credit works in the real world.
The first thing we observe is those closest to the central bank credit spigot get the lowest rates and nearly unlimited lines of credit. J.Q. Citizen may be thrilled to get a 4% annual-rate mortgage, but the mega-millionaire closer to the credit spigot can borrow 10 times as much as J.Q. can, and at half the rate of interest.
Mega-corporations and financiers can borrow billions at rates as low as 1%, which given an official inflation rate of 2%, is actually a negative rate of real interest.
Money-center banks own the credit spigot, so they can create money out of thin air at .5%.
In other words, cash isn’t king in this perverse system: cheap credit is king. Those with access to cheap unlimited credit can scoop up all the productive assets, greatly increasing their wealth–and they can buy the political class, too, with campaign contributions and donations to false-front foundations.
More meddling in our economy by central banks, encouraged by paid celebrity economists, is what got us into this mess in the first place.
Jeffrey P. Snider
Like it or not, this is where we have been all along and a great many people are just now catching up. No matter what Janet Yellen says about the economy, she is talking out the side of her mouth. Internally, the recovery is gone, and it is never coming back. Externally, we have sub-5% unemployment so we all should be so happy, especially with, in her view, stable prices.
To their credit, many prominent economists aren’t so enthusiastic about those prospects. Among them are Larry Summers, Paul Krugman, and Brad DeLong, all who recognize that “something” just isn’t right and therefore “something” else should be done about it. Thus, the real economic debate over the coming years (unfortunately) will take shape around those two facets. Having wasted nearly a decade on purely central bank solutions that were never going to work, the real discoveries can now possibly take place.
The problem is as I wrote yesterday, where in a rush to do anything and everything “different” the Trump administration might actually spoil the process. De-regulation and income tax cuts, as well as the repeal of Obamacare, are all very good things that sorely need to be addressed; but they didn’t cause this depression and thus won’t get us out of it. And you can bet that none of Summers, Krugman, or DeLong will be in favor of those options, so if they all fail to restore economic growth, as I believe they will if left in isolation, then that will severely diminish those ideas for perhaps a generation or more. That would be a fatal mistake, especially since for the first time in many generations people outside of Economics are receptive to “new” ideas (that are only new because they have been out of practice and actively discouraged for so long).