Posts tagged capitalism

How Central Banks Cause Income Inequality

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Source: https://mises.org

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How Central Banks Cause Income Inequality

 

6653The gap between the rich and poor continues to grow. The wealthiest 1 percent held 8 percent of the economic pie in 1975 but now hold over 20 percent. This is a striking change from the 1950s and 1960s when their share of all incomes was slightly over 10 percent. A study by Emmanuel Saez found that between 2009 and 2012 the real incomes of the top 1 percent jumped 31.4 percent. The richest 10 percent now receive 50.5 percent of all incomes, the largest share since data was first recorded in 1917. The wealthiest are becoming disproportionally wealthier at an ever increasing rate.

Most of the literature on income inequalities is written by professors from the sociology departments of universities. They have identified factors such as technology, the reduced role of labor unions, the decline in the real value of the minimum wage, and, everyone’s favorite scapegoat, the growing importance of China.

Those factors may have played a role, but there are really two overriding factors that are the real cause of income differentials. One is desirable and justified while the other is the exact opposite.

In a capitalist economy, prices and profit play a critical role in ensuring resources are allocated where they are most needed and used to produce goods and services that best meets society’s needs. When Apple took the risk of producing the iPad, many commentators expected it to flop. Its success brought profits while at the same time sent a signal to all other producers that society wanted more of this product. The profits were a reward for the risks taken. It is the profit motive that has given us a multitude of new products and an ever-increasing standard of living. Yet, profits and income inequalities go hand in hand. We cannot have one without the other, and if we try to eliminate one, we will eliminate, or significantly reduce, the other. Income inequalities are an integral outcome of the profit-and-loss characteristic of capitalism; they cannot be divorced.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher understood this inseparability well. She once said it is better to have large income inequalities and have everyone near the top of the ladder, than have little income differences and have everyone closer to the bottom of the ladder.

Yet, the middle class has been sinking toward poverty: that is not climbing the ladder. Over the period between 1979 and 2007, incomes for the middle 60 percent increased less than 40 percent while inflation was 186 percent. According to the Saez study, the remaining 99 percent saw their real incomes increase a mere .4 percent between 2009 and 2012. However, this does not come close to recovering the loss of 11.6 percent suffered between 2007 and 2009, the largest two-year decline since the Great Depression. When adjusted for inflation, low-wage workers are actually making less now than they did 50 years ago.

This brings us to the second undesirable and unjustified source of income inequalities, i.e., the creation of money out of thin air, or legal counterfeiting, by central banks. It should be no surprise the growing gap in income inequalities has coincided with the adoption of fiat currencies worldwide. Every dollar the central bank creates benefits the early recipients of the money—the government and the banking sector — at the expense of the late recipients of the money, the wage earners, and the poor. Since the creation of a fiat currency system in 1971, the dollar has lost 82 percent of its value while the banking sector has gone from 4 percent of GDP to well over 10 percent today.

The central bank does not create anything real; neither resources nor goods and services. When it creates money it causes the price of transactions to increase. The original quantity theory of money clearly related money to the price of anything money can buy, including assets. When the central bank creates money, traders, hedge funds and banks — being first in line — benefit from the increased variability and upward trend in asset prices. Also, future contracts and other derivative products on exchange rates or interest rates were unnecessary prior to 1971, since hedging activity was mostly unnecessary. The central bank is responsible for this added risk, variability, and surge in asset prices unjustified by fundamentals.

The banking sector has been able to significantly increase its profits or claims on goods and services. However, more claims held by one sector, which essentially does not create anything of real value, means less claims on real goods and services for everyone else. This is why counterfeiting is illegal. Hence, the central bank has been playing a central role as a “reverse Robin Hood” by increasing the economic pie going to the rich and by slowly sinking the middle class toward poverty.

Janet Yellen recently said “I am hopeful that … inflation will move back toward our longer-run goal of 2 percent, demonstrating her commitment to an institutionalized policy of theft and wealth redistribution.” The European central bank is no better. Its LTRO strategy was to give longer term loans to banks on dodgy collateral to buy government bonds which they promptly turned around and deposited with the central bank for more cheap loans for more government bonds. This has nothing to do with liquidity and everything to do with boosting bank profits. Yet, every euro the central bank creates is a tax on everyone that uses the euro. It is a tax on cash balances. It is taking from the working man to give to the rich European bankers. This is clearly a back door monetization of the debt with the banking sector acting as a middle man and taking a nice juicy cut. The same logic applies to the redistribution created by paying interest on reserves to U.S. banks.

Concerned with income inequalities, President Obama and democrats have suggested even higher taxes on the rich and boosting the minimum wage. They are wrongly focusing on the results instead of the causes of income inequalities. If they succeed, they will be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. If they are serious about reducing income inequalities, they should focus on its main cause, the central bank.

In 1923, Germany returned to its pre-war currency and the gold standard with essentially no gold. It did it by pledging never to print again. We should do the same.

 


About the Author

Frank Hollenbeck

Frank Hollenbeck teaches finance and economics at the International University of Geneva. He has previously held positions as a Senior Economist at the State Department, Chief Economist at Caterpillar Overseas, and as an Associate Director of a Swiss private bank. 

 

Image credit: https://mises.org

 

Okay Mr. President, you want to talk about “inequality”? Let’s talk about it.

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Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

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Okay Mr. President, you want to talk about “inequality”? Let’s talk about it.

 

SOTU-cc-565x376

 

I woke up this morning to Steve Liesman on CNBC explaining the theme of tonight’s State of the Union Address. You see, since 1980 middle class wages have only gone up only 50% in inflation adjusted terms whereas for the top 1% of earners income has gone up by 210%. Something clearly must be done. How can such a disparity be? This is unfair. Can’t the government “solve” this?

The new narrative which has likely been crafted by John Podesta super crony capitalist extraordinaire, is that Congress (specifically the Republican controlled House) isn’t letting the president address the issue of income inequality.

“It’s those old guys who don’t care about you who are holding back the manna from heaven aka Washington DC. It’s their fault not mine. I’m not incompetent and way out of my league even after 5 years in the White House. Not my fault. It’s the selfish and rich Republicans. They want you to remain poor.”

Rally the base when times are bad is the old political wisdom, and they are very bad for this president. Shore up the folks who will defend you no matter what and change the conversation from Obamacare. Anything but Obamacare.

Given that the ACA is Obama’s chief “achievement” to date this is a particularly sad state of affairs. The president’s “pivot” (the word is right up there with “optics” in my book) toward income inequality is a cynical political move. The White House is desperate to regain at least some momentum in the face of a 2013 which was one failure after another.

But since Mr. Obama seems keen on bringing it up, let’s talk about inequality.

Despite what the establishment #oldmedia always say, the increased income inequality that we see is not the result of the “rich” taking advantage of unfettered markets and then making a mint at the expense of everyone else. Capitalism, free markets, free thinking, entrepreneurship, innovation, is not the problem. Capitalism is in most respects the cure. No, the problem is that business and government have increasingly partnered with one another to make some very rich and to shut out others. It’s too little capitalism which is the problem.

Let’s take a look at the most obvious example, Wall Street.

Has Wall Street reaped the windfall it has over the past 5 years because of the free market, because of capitalism?

Absolutely not. Had the free market been allowed to work in 2008 Goldman Sachs, AIG, Citi, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley would probably be history. These banks leveraged themselves out too far and got caught exposed. Their greed did them in. Mr Market made a margin call and many “masters of the universe” turned out to have feet of clay after all. The banks should have been allowed to collapse so that better managed banks could fill in the space.

The banks weren’t too big to fail. They could have failed and life would have gone on. ATMs would have kept working. The sun would have still risen in the east. The economy after a period of adjustment would have righted itself and emerged much healthier for having jettisoned the poorly managed firms. Lloyd Blankfein would have been out of a job, but he’d have survived somehow in the Hamptons.

But that isn’t what happened as we know. The managers of these institutions knew how to manipulate the levers of power. They were able to engineer a massive bailout, which started at $700 billion and just grew from there. In the years after the bailout bonuses were paid out at the big banks with abandon. These bonuses were for the most part paid for by the American taxpayer. No wonder people are angry.

But the bailouts weren’t capitalism. The bonuses which were paid to Jamie Dimon and friends weren’t a result of “free markets.” They weren’t the just rewards of building a better mousetrap, or even building a better derivative algorithm. They were the result of crony capitalism, a soft form of fascism, which is of course a form of socialism. The bankers made millions because the state redistributed the income of everyday Americans and gave it to Wall Street.

Or take for example the sell off of the taxpayer’s (forced) position in GM at a loss last year. In addition to losing $10 billion on the deal for the taxpayers, the deal done by Treasury unleashes the executives which so long as money was still owed to the taxpayer couldn’t go nuts with executive compensation. Now, after the $10 billion taxpayer loss they and the GM board are free to do as they wish in the pay department.

Or what about the huge percentage of so called “green” energy initiative grants and loans which went to politically connected people in 2009. Folks made millions, in wind, solar, algae, and who knows what else, all again courtesy of the US tax payer. Almost none of the ventures were economically viable. But lots of people got paid that is for sure.

There are probably thousands of other examples over the last 10 years or so (and many more going back way before the past decade,) ranging from war profiteering of all sorts, to cronyism in the new healthcare law, to draconian copyright laws which are a subsidy to Hollywood, to, well, there are many other examples which we have chronicled at Against Crony Capitalism.

So we shouldn’t be surprised that there is so much income inequality. Business and government in this country have partnered up. Sometimes the government has the upper hand. Sometimes business does. But both parties engage in the crony capitalism waltz to enrich themselves, to the exclusion of a large part of the American population.

And at the heart of it all, is the Federal Reserve.

Nothing creates illegitimate inequality (there is legitimate income inequality which exists in a free price system) like the Federal Reserve.

0% interest rates are for the most part pretty good for rich people. Money which is super cheap can be used to speculate and invest at almost no cost. In theory such low rates are also good for home buyers. Low rates keep monthly payments lower. More people buying homes (with lower payments) spurs the economy and then the economy roars back to life as we all buy Sub Zero freezers and SUVs. This was the logic behind the housing boom in the mid 2000s and it is the same logic the Fed is using now (with less success.)

But 0% rates also means that savers are hung out to dry. The prudent middle class is hammered. Those who have a nice nest egg built up over a lifetime of hard work and thrift find that unless they take on significant risk there is no return for their money. $500,000 in a CD not so long ago yielded an yearly payout of $25,000. Now because of the Fed keeping money cheap artificially that same $500,000 might yield $5,000 on an annualized basis if one is lucky.

Over time granny finds that $5000 per year isn’t enough to get by on even though her house is paid off. She finds she must dip into her nest egg a little more each year, which also in turn lowers her already modest yield. Soon the nest egg is gone.

Of course she can always seek increased yield in other places like the stock market, (which though they won’t say it is exactly where the Fed wants granny to put her money) but widows and orphans really have no business there. It’s bad enough for granny to lose her pool of wealth over years. Losing much of it in an afternoon is tougher to take. But that is what our current monetary policy encourages.

Not so long ago granny could keep up. She could beat inflation and pay her living expenses. When she died her wealth was passed on to the next generation.

But now, thanks to the Fed and it’s policies which benefit the hedge fund guys instead of the average saver it is unlikely that much of granny’s wealth will be passed on. Wealth has been pulled from the middle class.

“Inequality” has been exacerbated by a government which is too large. The only way to get the economy on track is to lessen the footprint of government. Free prices. Free markets. Let people create. Make it easier to start businesses

But tonight Obama is unlikely to talk about how after years and years of failure government must now get out of the way. (Boy how great would that be?) Or how government sponsored public/private partnerships steal money from the average American. Or how the government enabled the biggest bonus binge Wall Street has ever seen. Or how granny is getting clobbered because of loose monetary policy.

No, my bet is that he will talk about how the economy has worked for the “rich” while others have fallen behind. But he won’t call for freer markets and an end to price fixing at the Federal Reserve. He will instead insist that government “do something.” What that something is I’m not sure but the term “shovel ready” will likely make an appearance tonight along with its old buddy “infrastructure improvement.”

The president will probably wag his finger at the House GOP a bit and threaten to use executive actions to go around them. He’ll try to look like he means business.

Obama will also talk about the need to raise the minimum wage, which is basically economic suicide but makes for good sound bites. He will give hope to people who are hurting but who unfortunately may not understand that if the minimum wage is raised they may soon be out of a job.

In short Obama will be long on proposals, long on rhetoric, but woefully short on understanding. Pretty much the to story of his presidency.

Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org


Nick Sorrentino
About Nick Sorrentino

Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.

 

 

Mussolini’s Idea of the State and Its American Defenders

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Source: https://mises.org

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Mussolini’s Idea of the State and Its American Defenders

 

6645All social theory can be reduced to two categories: those that conceive of society as the result of peace, and those for which the indispensable ingredient is violence. This is the fundamental distinction between liberalism and fascism, a point I discuss further in a book I released earlier this year called Fascism vs. Capitalism.

There is some confusion surrounding terms here. When Ludwig von Mises published his book Liberalism in English translation, he changed the title to The Free and Prosperous Commonwealth. He did so because by the latter half of the twentieth century, the word “liberal” no longer carried the meaning it once had. It had come to mean centralization, the welfare state, and a substantial government presence in economic and social life.

The liberalism I have in mind, of course, is not the modern liberalism of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but the classical liberalism of Thomas Jefferson and Frédéric Bastiat. Classical liberalism, by contrast, believed in free markets, free trade, toleration, and civil liberties.

It represented a movement toward a theory of society in which human cooperation emerged spontaneously and without coercion, by means of the natural processes of the market economy. It recognized that society seemed to manage itself without the involvement of extraneous forces like kings, aristocracies, or parliaments, and that the intervention of those forces was more likely aimed at the enrichment of a favored group or of the state itself than of at the well-being of society at large.

The price system, a spontaneous product of the free-market economy, helped entrepreneurs arrange the factors of production in such a way as to produce those outputs most highly valued by society, and to produce them in a way that was least costly in terms of opportunities foregone. Individuals specialized in those areas in which they had the greatest skill or knowledge, and the resulting division of labor meant a vastly greater output of consumer goods for everyone to enjoy. None of this required the intervention of the state.

For the classical liberal, the state was almost an afterthought. Some would have it provide a few basic services, while others conceived of it as nothing more than a night watchman. Beginning with Gustave de Molinari, the classical-liberal tradition even groped toward the possibility that the state was a dangerous, parasitical, and ultimately unnecessary monopoly.

And, of course, it was against a backdrop of peace that the classical liberal described the progress of mankind.

Fascists looked at society and the state quite differently. The prosaic bourgeois virtues of commerce, of producing, trading, and earning profit, are viewed with contempt next to the code of the warrior, which is what the fascist truly respects. Greatness comes not through the ordinary pursuits of the market or the obedience to the duties of one’s state in life, but through struggle.

It is Benito Mussolini’s famous remark — “Everything for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing above the state” — that truly sums up the essence of fascism. The good of the Nation, as defined by the fascist leader, surpasses all other concerns and allegiances. The fascist speaks of the Nation with a religious reverence. An Italian fascist youth movement in the 1920s composed the following creed:

I believe in Rome the Eternal, the mother of my country, and in Italy her eldest Daughter, who was born in her virginal bosom by the grace of God; who suffered through the barbarian invasions, was crucified and buried; who descended to the grave and was raised from the dead in the nineteenth century; who ascended into Heaven in her glory in 1918 and 1922; who is seated on the right hand of her mother Rome; and who for this reason shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the genius of Mussolini, in our Holy Father Fascism, in the communion of its martyrs, in the conversion of Italians, and in the resurrection of the Empire.

This devotion to the Nation is concentrated in allegiance to the charismatic leader. The untrammeled exercise of the leader’s will is a central ingredient in the realization of the Nation’s destiny. Moreover, the leader’s will must trump the array of activities that comprise the free market. The various companies, professions, unions, and government must work together with a conscious plan to ensure the best outcome for the Nation. This is why it is so preposterous to hear opponents of the market economy describe libertarians as “fascists.” No one could be more anti-fascist than a libertarian.

Political centralization was also central to fascism, for if the Nation is the embodiment of the people, and if it is through the Nation that every individual realizes his destiny, we cannot tolerate resistance by lesser jurisdictions within the Nation.

To say that there are fascist trends and features in the United States of today is not to say that this country is just like interwar Italy or Germany. There are some features of fascism as traditionally understood that can be found only faintly in American society today, and others than can be found not at all.

But it would be foolish to pretend that America is the very opposite of the fascist dystopias. Whether it’s the emphasis on centralization, the glorification of the police and the military, the yearning for a “third way” between capitalism and socialism, the elevation of “public service” above the services we freely provide one another on the market, the creepy and incessant references to “my president” or “our president,” or the depiction of the state as a quasi-divine instrument, the commonalities are neither trivial nor few.

Americans no doubt recoil from or laugh at that passage from the Italian fascists I shared with you a few moments ago. But few Americans are in a position to render such a judgment. Most have absorbed the idea that their government, far from a merely utilitarian contrivance established to provide them with some basic services, as many early Americans doubtless conceived of it, is a redemptive force in the world.

John Winthrop appropriated a biblical image of the church when he spoke of his settlement of Puritans as resembling a “city on a hill.” By the time Ronald Reagan made that phrase a rhetorical commonplace in American politics, it had been fully secularized. Not the church but the American state would transform mankind as God’s instrument.

Americans, even (or perhaps especially) American Christians, are for that reason not scandalized at politicians’ appropriation of religious language to describe their government. It bothers them not at all to learn that the iconic Abraham Lincoln said “the gates of hell shall not prevail against” American government ideals, or that when George W. Bush said “the light shined in darkness and the darkness did not overcome it,” by “light” he meant American government ideals.

In US history, presidents who avoided war, or who viewed the presidential office modestly and without messianic overtones, are neglected or even denounced by our official historians. You can guess at the views and activities of the presidents favored by the opinion molders. “Beware any politician who is ‘beloved,’” historian Ralph Raico once warned.

The cult of personality surrounding the US president has only grown over the past century, culminating in the creepy videos of schoolchildren pledging allegiance to Barack Obama and the YouTube videos of Hollywood actors promising their eternal loyalty. But some of those who ridiculed these ridiculous displays had themselves been part of the cult of George W. Bush. During the Bush years, Christian neocons made a video about the president set to the tune of Johnny Cash’s classic “When the Man Comes Around.” That song had been written about Jesus Christ. Here are some of the words they set to a video about George W. Bush:

There’s a man goin’ ‘round takin’ names. An’ he decides who to free and who to blame. Everybody won’t be treated all the same. There’ll be a golden ladder reaching down. When the man comes around.

Till Armageddon, no Shalam, no Shalom. Then the father hen will call his chickens home. The wise men will bow down before the throne. And at his feet they’ll cast their golden crown. When the man comes around.

That man, remember, was George W. Bush.

Americans are taught that they owe their freedoms to their government’s military. Whether it’s a country music concert, a sporting event, or even a restaurant chain, Americans are subjected to a ceaseless stream of reminders of what they allegedly owe to this particular class of government employees. (Let’s not forget the popular bumper sticker: “Only two defining forces have ever died for you: Jesus the Christ and the American soldier.”) How exactly their freedoms were threatened in any of the military conflicts in question is one of those impertinent questions one does not ask in polite society.

The propaganda has worked, to some extent at least. When Edward Snowden revealed the extent to which their government was spying on and lying to them, many listeners of right-wing radio demanded not that these activities cease, but that the leaker himself be silenced. The man who had embarrassed their rulers should be tried for treason and executed. I have heard this phenomenon described as a case of society-wide Stockholm Syndrome, and I don’t think that’s far from the mark.

If some of the superstitions of fascism have made their way into American life, it could be because both fascism and whatever it is that America has become share a superstition in common — namely, the state itself. The state has been cloaked in all manner of flattering but obfuscating rhetoric. The state looks after the general welfare, provides economic stability, protects us from the bad guys, prevents inequality, and binds us together in a common cause greater than ourselves.

It’s time we viewed the state for what it really is: a mechanism by which rulers enrich themselves at the expense of the ruled. Everything else is a smokescreen.

 


About the Author

Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.

LewRockwell

 

Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. is chairman and CEO of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, editor of LewRockwell.com, and author of Fascism versus Capitalism. Send him mail. See Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.’s article archives

 

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David Stockman speaks at the Manhattan Mises Circle

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How Crony Capitalism Corrupts the Free Market

Source: http://www.lewrockwell.com

Posted by Ryan W. McMaken

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Joining voices and efforts for the dissolution of NATO

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Source: http://english.pravda.ru

By: Iraklis Tsavdaridis *

NATO, UN, IMF, CMP, Greece, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Chicago, imperialismThe global movement for peace has to join forces against the united effort of capital and monopolies expressed for example by the G8. Imperialism is not all-powerful and is certainly not invincible.

Dear friends and comrades:

Let me thank the U.S. Peace Council for the invitation to be here with you in Chicago, which marked the history of the labor movement. We welcome the millions of people who love peace in the U.S., workers and all the poor and oppressed in this center of imperialism.

At the NATO Summit in Chicago, the CMP would like to denounce once again the largest war machine in human history, responsible for crimes against humanity since its founding in 1949 until today.

NATO has never been a defensive structure, it was not in 1952 when Greece and Turkey joined the “alliance” at the same time, and it was not for the life of the Warsaw Pact, established later than NATO and dissolved in 1991.

NATO was in friendly relations with all bloody and reactionary regimes and movements, all counter-revolutionaries of the world, their governments and leaders, extending the red carpet to Pinochet and the leaders of apartheid, and standing behind the coups and military dictatorships in Latin America and Europe.

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Bilderberg meeting 2012: Everyone not invited

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Source: http://english.pravda.ru

By Xavier Lerma

Bilderberg meeting 2012, Chantilly, Virginia, New World Order, Logan ActNear Washington, D.C., the Bilderberg meeting started Thursday, May 31 at Chantilly, Virginia, USA at the Marriott Hotel and will end June 3, 2012. Peasants like you and me are not allowed in that hotel. A concerned citizen booked a room way in advance but was later kicked out from the Marriott Hotel in this video.

Real Investigative Journalists

The mainstream media avoids them but only a few brave souls like Abby Martin from RT , Alex Jones from Infowars.com and the Guardian’s Charlie Skelton’s are doing the best to report the situation. Make sure to check their websites and videos for the latest news on the Bilderberg meeting.

The Bilderbergs are people who say they are helping humanity so they can make a buck, but are as arrogant as Lucifer and no more sympathetic than he is towards mankind. They live under the “golden rule“. Whoever has the gold makes the rules. Rockefeller himself admitted they are conspiring against the best interests of the Unites States to form a one world government.

New World Order Illegal

Why is the Bilderberg meeting a big deal. Well, for one thing it is illegal under the Logan Act which makes their New world Order illegal. Under the Logan Act a U.S. citizen without the authority of the U.S. cannot make deals with people from other countries. Obama and Hillary met secretly with the Bilderbergs on June 6, 2008 at the Marriott Hotel in Chantilly, Virginia.

No wonder Obama refused to go in 2008 to the Normandy memorial services commemorating D-Day June 6, 1944. Sounds like impeachment to me but congress says it will cause black people to riot everywhere. In other words, congress got paid off too. If life’s realities have not hit you in the face yet, you can be sure the Bilderbergs did not mention your name wondering what was best for you.

They did not ask themselves like a church social wondering how they can help you and me. I can just imagine Soros asking, “I wonder how I can help Mr. Lerma today? What can we do to improve his situation in life?” No, it’s all about them. Money is their key focus. It is their heart.

Has anyone ever been arrested? No one has been arrested for violating the Logan Act. Only journalists and protesters have been arrested. The Washington Times reported “A perimeter of about a half-mile has been set up around the Northern Virginia hotel, and all non-Bilderberg guests reportedly were kicked out of their rooms.” If anyone gets too close they will be arrested. Paul Watson of Infowars.com reported two people were arrested for photographing the Bilderberg limousines. Why would they arrest people taking pictures of a limousine? I guess some Bilderbergers prefer anonymity which makes taking photos against their law.

Who is part of the Bilderberg meeting?

Well, you can be sure few Russians are there. There are hateful critics of Russia’s beloved Vladimir Putin like Garry Kasparov of the United Civil Front. Many are from the USA like Senator and former presidential candidate, John Kerry; German-born and Nixon’s Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger; Governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels; Google’s Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt; LinkedIn Co-founder and Executive Chairman, Reid Hoffman; Alcoa’s Chairman and CEO, Klaus Kleinfeld; Dow Chemical Company’s President, Chairman and CEO, Andrew Liveris; Harvard University’s Professor of Economics, Kenneth Rogoff. Bill Gates is not there but Microsoft Corporation’s Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Craig Mundie is there. They are all big wigs.

I don’t see Soros’ name on there but who can really trust them to include everyone posted on their website? German Chancellor Angela Merkel had been spotted according to Alex Jones’ information. David Rockefeller was also reported to attend as usual but has not been seen yet.

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G. Edward Griffin, “The Federal Reserve is a Private Banking Cartel”

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You have probably seen the images by now. Athens on fire, the city literally burning as politicians within parliament voted to pass tough austerity measures to meet the demands of the EU and IMF, Greece’s international lenders. This story is about more than just austerity and riots – it’s wealth-extraction amidst economic collapse at work. The Greek economy is in the 5th year of a recession, which is a nice way of saying that it is in a depression. Money supply continues to contract, deposits are being drained and liquidity has dried up. The economy is in a free fall, and there is no bottom in sight. The proposals for recovery through “austerity” are just another way to keep the political system in place for as long as possible with the hope that the elites will be able to ride this storm out and come out the other end richer and more powerful than every before. We break down how exactly that works with Capital Account producer Demetri Kofinas.

And while we’re on the issue of debt, let’s take a look at how the US is dealing with it. US President Barack Obama released his 2013 budget today. While it will be analyzed, touted, and attacked, why should you care, or rather, why should you not care? We’ll tell you. And more economists come out saying the Federal Reserve is making a big mistake if it sticks to keeping interest rates near zero for the next three years. We look at how the Fed got here – it’s evolution into central planner, buyer of junk, war enabler, and firefighter of the economic fires it creates itself. We speak to G. Edward Griffin whose been opposing the Fed since at least the 1960s. G. Edward Griffin is author the bestselling book The Creature from Jekyll Island, which has been recommended by Republican Presidential hopeful Ron Paul on his reading list and which reportedly informed Dr. Paul’s writing on the Fed in his own books on the subject.

Griffin also takes us back in time, and reminds us how the Fed even came to be — the money trust meeting in secret on Jekyll Island in order to draft a cartel agreement that would eventually be known as the “Federal Reserve Act.”

David Stockman on Crony Capitalism between Wall Street & White House

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Source: http://www.ritholtz.com

Moyers & Company explores the tight connection between Wall Street and the White House with David Stockman, former budget director for President Reagan.

Now a businessman who says he was “taken to the woodshed” for telling the truth about the administration’s tax policies, Stockman speaks candidly with Bill Moyers about how money dominates politics, distorting free markets and endangering democracy. “As a result,” Stockman says, “we have neither capitalism nor democracy. We have crony capitalism.”

David Stockman on Crony Capitalism from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

Romney’s top contributor: Goldman Sachs, Ron Paul’s: US Army

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Source: http://milwaukeestory.com

By Andy Booker

Democrats are shocked to see President Obama treat Wall Street’s top banks with respect and kindness. In order to predict his kindness (Obama’s justice department has failed to prosecute the crimes that helped lead to the financial crisis of 2008) towards the top financial institutions it didn’t take a crystal ball, all it took was a list of his top donors which included Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Citigroup. Applying this same logic to the GOP primary election Romney is the candidate that will likely be buddy-buddy with Wall Street. Mitt Romney’s top ten is made up of Goldman Sachs, followed by Credit Suisse (Switzerland), Morgan Stanley, Barclays (UK), Bank of America and JP Morgan. In contrast Romney’s co-frontrunner in Iowa, Ron Paul, has a top three donor list made up of the US Army, US Navy and US Airforce.

Obviously Goldman Sachs and company donate heavily to Romney not because they like his stance on the social issues but because he will continue the rigged game of crony capitalism. The revolving door from Wall Street (particularly from Goldman Sachs) to the White House will remain open and Goldman and company will maintain not only their rigged game but their influence.

The active duty military that make up Ron Paul’s top donor list are attempting to send a signal to the American people that Ron Paul’s foreign policy is the right choice.

So yes Romney and Paul are in a race to get the nomination from the same party but they could not be more polar opposites when it comes to their intentions for the Presidency.

Perhaps this is why Romney has not yet attacked Ron Paul directly. Attacking Ron Paul opens Romney up to a direct debate with Ron Paul on the issues. Such a debate would draw a clear distinction between Romney and Paul on the issues that a majority of the electorate, particularly the issue of support for TARP and future bank bailouts.

In October Milwaukee Story published this article that broke down Romney’s pledge to continue US interventionist/first-strike foreign policy. That foreign policy white paper was an additional signal to Wall Street that Romney was a safe bet as an establishment candidate and could be trusted to pull from Washington and Wall Street establishments to fill his cabinet posts.

It is critical to understand that even though Goldman Sachs tops Romney’s donor list does not mean they are lining up all of their resources behind Romney alone. Goldman has also donated heavily to Obama’s reelection campaign. And while this may signal a subtle divide in the Goldman ranks, a more likely scenario is that Goldman is simply hedging their bets and lending their Wall Street credibility to each candidate that they believe will allow the crony capitalism necessary for them to continue their winning ways.

CIM Comment]

Now more than every we need the Champion of the Constitution!

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Milton Friedman – Greed

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In his book “Capitalism and Freedom” (1962) Milton Friedman (1912-2006) advocated minimizing the role of government in a free market as a means of creating political and social freedom.

An excerpt from an interview with Phil Donahue in 1979.

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