national debt

Peter Schiff Warns Of Coming Inflation, Accompanying Propaganda

“Crash prophet” Peter Schiff sees inflation getting worse in America. And with it, Washington, the Fed, and the mainstream media spinning rising prices as something that’s beneficial for the general public. The Euro Pacific Capital CEO and Chief Global Strategist added a new entry Tuesday on his YouTube video blog The Schiff Report, and warned viewers of the following:

It’s going to get worse. And, what is the Fed going to do about it? Because the problem is, no matter how high that inflation number gets, they can never admit it’s a problem. Because if they admit that it’s a problem, they’ve got to do something about it. But they can’t do anything about it. Because if they want to fight inflation, what tools do they have? Just one. They’ve got to raise interest rates, which means they’ve got to end quantitative easing. And in order to raise interest rates, they’ve got to start selling their bonds and their mortgages back into the market. That will collapse the real estate market, collapse the stock market, send the economy into a sharp recession, and bring about a financial crisis worse than 2008. So because they can’t do that, they can’t do anything. So they’re going to have to tolerate inflation, no matter how high it gets. They’re going to have to convince us that it’s good for us, no matter how high it gets. They’re going to say, “Oh, well, maybe it’s transitory,” “It’s because of the weather,” “Oh, you know, we had such low inflation for so long, we need a few years of higher inflation to even it all out.” Who knows what kind of excuses Janet Yellen is going to come up with to rationalize why whatever the inflation number is- no matter how high it is- it’s always going to be a good thing?

But I wonder if the media- if the guys at Bloomberg or the guys at The New York Times or the AP or the Financial Times- will ever see through this charade. Will they ever see through this smokescreen and come out and call the Fed out on this? Will they ever say, “You know what, we’ve got too much inflation- this is not good. Do something about it.” And when the Fed doesn’t do something about it, that’s going to be a big problem for the dollar. Because that’s when people realize that this is QE Infinity, that inflation is never going to stop, that the dollar’s value is going to erode away in perpetuity. That’s when the bottom drops out of the market. That’s when the real crisis comes in. Because now the dollar really starts to cave, and puts more pressure on the bond market. That means the Fed has to print a lot more money. A lot more dollars that nobody wants to buy the Treasuries that nobody wants to keep the market from collapsing. That accelerates the inflationary spiral, and puts the Fed in a real box. Because then, it just can’t print the dollar into oblivion. It can’t turn it into monopoly money. Then it has to slam on the breaks. Then it has to really jack up interest rates. Not just a few hundred basis points- ten percent, fifteen percent, twenty percent. Paul Volcker style. Of course, the medicine won’t go down nearly as smoothly as it did back then. Not that it was so great tasting- we had a pretty bad recession in 1980. But that’s nothing compared to what we’re going to go through, because we have a lot more debt now than we had then- it’s not even close. We don’t have the viable economy. We don’t have the trade surpluses or the current accounts surpluses. And we don’t have a federal government that has a long-term financing on the national debt. It’s all financed with T-bills. And we have all these adjustable rate mortgages. We have all these corporations, individuals that are so levered-up. We’ve got all these student loans and credit card debt. We have all this stuff that we didn’t have back in the 1980s that we’re going to have to deal with- thanks to the Fed.


“Media Reports Rising Food Prices as Positive News”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Quote For The Week

“It’s been a bad week for MSNBC, and a bad week for serious journalism. First, the network learned to regret giving Alec Baldwin a job after he called a photographer a word that is more than a little homophobic. MSNBC have since suspended his show for two weeks. Now, Martin Bashir has scraped the bottom of the proverbial barrel after launching a tirade against Sarah Palin (“America’s resident dunce”) that has to be seen to be believed. And you’re warned: it is stomach churning.

The beloved liberal journalist used his afternoon TV show to deliver a somewhat justified critique of a comparison Palin made between national debt and slavery. His analysis starts crudely and rudely enough, but it ends with a truly shocking suggestion that someone defecate in the former governor’s mouth to teach her a lesson. I’m not making this up. Quote:

Given her well-established reputation as a world class idiot, it’s hardly surprising that [Palin] should choose to mention slavery in a way that is abominable to anyone who knows anything about its barbaric history.

So here’s an example. One of the most comprehensive first-person accounts of slavery comes from the personal diary of a man called Thomas Thistlewood, who kept copious notes for 39 years. Thistlewood was the son of a tenant farmer, who arrived on the island of Jamaica in April 1750, and assumed the position of overseer at a major plantation. What is most shocking about Thistlewood’s diary is not simply the fact that he assumes the right to own and possess other human beings, but is the sheer cruelty and brutality of his regime. In 1756, he records that a slave named Darby ‘catched eating kanes; had him well flogged and pickled, then made Hector, another slave, s-h-i-t in his mouth.’ This became known as ‘Darby’s Dose,’ a punishment invented by Thistlewood that spoke only of inhumanity. And he mentions a similar incident in 1756, his time in relation to a man he refers to as Punch. ‘Flogged Punch well, and then washed and rubbed salt pickle, lime juice and bird pepper. Made Negro Joe piss in his eyes and mouth’. I could go on, but you get the point. When Mrs. Palin invokes slavery, she doesn’t just prove her rank ignorance. She confirms if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, she would be the outstanding candidate.

‘If anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, she would be the outstanding candidate.’ Wow.

There’s a popular myth that all the hate in US politics comes from the Right. Here’s proof that there’s plenty on the Left, too.”

-Dr. Tim Stanley, British historian and author, writing on The Telegraph (UK) website Saturday.

By the way, from Dr. Stanley’s personal website:

I love America deeply and I suspect she is the last hope for mankind (I really don’t want to have to learn Chinese).

Too funny.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Quote For The Week

“If you didn’t notice, gold shot higher by 4% in the wake of Congress announcing its non-solution to the government shutdown and the debt ceiling. The circus clowns did nothing more than agree to temporarily raise the debt ceiling and push the fight back a few months. The gold market sees this for what it is: a continuation of the same American fiscal imprudence that got us to this place to begin with. Nothing ever changes in Washington. Same crap; different day. Gold prices have come down in the last year because the speculators fled and the price fell to its natural level. But want to know why the price hasn’t crashed? Look no further than your local congressional chimp.”

-Erika Nolan and Jeff Opdyke in the October 20 issue of the Sovereign Digest, a weekly publication from The Sovereign Society, a Delray, Florida-based organization which provides its global membership trusted sources of information about overseas investing, asset protection, and currency trading

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Back To Blogging

It’s back to work over here at Survival And Prosperity this dreary Wednesday morning in the Chicagoland area. I had planned on publishing new material Monday, but decided to extend my “vacation” out a little bit longer. I apologize if you were checking for new posts earlier this week.

During my time away from the blog, I was able to attend to a number of tasks that needed my immediate attention. But it wasn’t “all work and no play.” I got the chance to spend a couple of days at my family’s place in southeast Wisconsin near the end of the break. The weather was terrific, the locally-brewed beer plentiful, and the Northern Pike and Largemouth Bass were biting. My cousin and I managed to haul in some really nice-sized fish. Which is why I extended my stay longer than originally planned.

Two things come to mind now when thinking about that long weekend in Wisconsin:

First, I noticed the gun section at the local hardware store had a lot more ammunition on the shelves from the last time I was there. Another sign the ammo shortage is easing up?

Second, it was nice to “Escape to Wisconsin” and breathe in some “freedom.” In my opinion, Wisconsin is heading in the right direction. Illinois… not so much. As each day goes by, the “Land of Lincoln” continues to be transformed into a Big Government Nanny State, highlighted by more/higher taxes, more/higher fees, and increasing controls forced upon the populace. Sadly enough, many of my neighbors seem to be okay with this. Especially here in the Chicago area.

Coupled with the huge financial woes facing the City of Chicago, Cook County, and State of Illinois- an ugly ending looks to be in store for us. At the very least, Illinoisans will be busting their wallets out en masse to deal with the debt debacle.

And while our nice new house in the Chicago suburbs that I worked on quite a bit the last two weeks is fine and all, I continue to warn my girlfriend that our future permanent residence looks to be outside of the state.

It’s a real shame it might have to come to that.

Back to our regularly-scheduled blogging. And wondering if incompetency trumps political theater in causing a national debt default in the coming hours.

Christopher E. Hill
Editor

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U.S. Treasury: Debt Limit Reached By Mid-October

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew warned Congress yesterday that the United States will hit its $16.7 trillion debt ceiling in mid-October. Lew wrote in a letter addressed to Speaker of the House John Boehner:

I am writing to provide additional information regarding the Treasury Department’s ability to continue to finance the government, and the extraordinary measures we have undertaken in order to avoid default. On May 17, I wrote to inform you that the U.S. government has reached the statutory debt limit and had begun to implement extraordinary measures. As I stated in that letter, Congress should act as soon as possible to protect America’s good credit by extending normal borrowing authority well before any risk of default becomes imminent.

Based on our latest estimates, extraordinary measures are projected to be exhausted in the middle of October. At that point, the United States will have reached the limit of its borrowing authority, and Treasury would be left to fund the government with only the cash we have on hand on any given day. The cash balance at that time is currently forecasted to be approximately $50 billion…

You can read Secretary Lew’s entire letter on the Treasury Department’s website here (.pdf file).

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘Solutions Not Problems’ Preview

Season 2 of National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers TV series continues tonight with a special Valentine’s Day episode, “Solutions Not Problems,” which airs at 9 PM ET.

I was lucky enough to be provided an advance-screening of the “Bachelor Prepper” episode. From a Nat Geo Channel press release I received at the end of last week:

Prepping for an economic collapse, Jeff is converting a decommissioned missile silo into the perfect bug-out getaway. But that’s not all Jeff is focused on. With an online dating profile, he is also searching for a special someone who can share his love for prepping. We’ll see Jeff, a bachelor on the lookout for love, not only work on his bunker, but also go on multiple dates to find his prepper mate. Will he select one to take to his secret bunker? We also meet Doug, who lives in the mountains of Tennessee. He currently runs his own stone quarry, and the locals call him “Rockman.” But what they may not know is that he is using rocks to prepare his underground bunker for the upcoming economic collapse. Will he build a safe haven out of his rock stockpiles?

Jeff Flaningam is a 37-year-old Wisconsin bachelor who owns 19-acres out in central Kansas- with a decommissioned Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) silo buried underneath it. Jeff is hard at work turning the abandoned missile base into a livable bug-out location. He told viewers:

I’m preparing for a catastrophic economic collapse.

According to the show:

The national debt currently totals more than $16 trillion. Jeff believes that if nothing is done to change this, the U.S. could go from becoming a global economic leader, to a nation struggling to provide food, water, and power. He worries that the consequences of such a collapsing economy could last indefinitely.

Flaningam added:

Transportation system falls apart, fuel costs go through the roof, people can’t get the goods that they need. The normal courtesy that we share with our fellow man is going to degrade and get thrown out of the window. Violence would be rampant. I don’t think anyone can know how long an event like that could last. I know I have to be prepared to stay off the grid for as long as it takes.

The Wisconsin-based prepper plans on bugging out 800 miles to the Kansas bunker when the first signs of a SHTF situation arise.

But before that happens, he’d like someone to share those “special times” with.

“Doug,” aka “Rockman,” owns a stone quarry in the Tennessee mountains. He told viewers:

I’m prepping for an economic collapse that will change the world forever.

Doug added later:

Our economy is in distress. And I don’t see it getting better. Can you imagine paying $17 trillion dollars back?

Along with his employee and best friend Inés, the two of them are shown building an underground shelter constructed out of a shipping container that their families will use as a bug-out location, and putting a 3-tiered defensive plan for the bunker into place.

It was a fun, informative, and not too overboard (reality TV-wise) episode to watch. And if you’re not into that lovey-dovey stuff, at least catch it for the “Rockman’s” segment, where he, with the help of a former U.S. President, shows you an easy way to make money from money.

Don’t worry. You’ll get what I’m talking about by watching tonight’s episode.

For more information about the TV series visit the Doomsday Preppers page on the National Geographic Channel website here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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U.S. Reaches $16.4 Trillion Debt Limit

You may have been distracted by events related to New Year’s Day and negotiations over the “fiscal cliff” to notice that the United States reached its authorized debt ceiling of $16.394 trillion on New Year’s Eve. Rich Barbieri and Jeanne Sahadi reported on the CNN Money website Monday morning:

It’s official: U.S. debt reached its legal borrowing limit Monday, giving Congress about two months before it must raise the debt ceiling or risk causing the government to default on its bills and financial obligations.

“I can confirm we will reach the statutory debt limit today, Dec. 31,” a Treasury Department official said Monday.

As for increasing the nation’s debt ceiling yet again, U.S. President Barack Obama doesn’t want debate from Congress on the subject. From Reuters this morning:

President Barack Obama vowed on Tuesday to avoid a repeat of last year’s divisive fight with Congress over an extension of the nation’s borrowing authority.

“While I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress about whether or not they should pay the bills they have already racked up,” Obama said in remarks in the White House.

“I will not have another debate.” Hmm. Back on December 5, Zachary Goldfarb wrote on the Post Politics blog on the Washington Post website:

As part of the fiscal cliff negotiations, Obama has proposed effectively ending the need for Congress to periodically raise the debt limit, which Republicans have rejected.

I wonder if this proposal won’t be pushed again in the near future?

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (http://www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Barbieri, Rich and Sahadi, Jeanne. “It’s official: U.S. hits debt ceiling.” CNN Money. 31 Dec. 2012. (http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/31/news/economy/debt-ceiling/) 2 Jan. 2013.

“Obama Debt Ceiling Statement: Limit Increase Not Up For Debate After Fiscal Cliff Showdown.” Reuters. 2 Jan. 2013. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/02/obama-debt-ceiling-fiscal-cliff_n_2394164.html). 2 Jan. 2013.

Goldfarb, Zachary A. “Obama on debt ceiling fight: ‘I will not play that game.’” Post Politics. 5 Dec. 2012. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2012/12/05/obama-on-debt-ceiling-i-will-not-play-that-game/). 2 Jan. 2013.

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Peter Schiff Warns Obama Debt Limit Proposal Could Shock America’s Creditors ‘Into Reality’

“The U.S. runs out of federal borrowing authority around the end of the year, but the Obama administration can use special measures to extend borrowing through late February or early March. As part of the fiscal cliff negotiations, Obama has proposed effectively ending the need for Congress to periodically raise the debt limit.”

-Washington Post website, December 5, 2012

Peter Schiff, President and Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital, talked about the looming U.S. “fiscal cliff” and a White House proposal to give the President the power to raise the nation’s debt “ceiling” as needed in his December 3 entry on The Schiff Report YouTube video blog. Schiff, who correctly-predicted the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and 2008 global economic crisis, zeroed in on the debt limit proposal:

This could be a moment where our creditors maybe get shocked into reality. To understand the situation that they are in, that we are in. That there is no limit. That we will borrow money until we can’t do it anymore. That we’re not going to do anything about this crisis. We’re not going to do anything to diffuse this ticking bomb. It’s simply going to go off. And I think our creditors are going to want to put as much distance as they can between themselves and the explosion. They’re going to want to sell dollars. They’re going to want to sell debt denominated in dollars. What is that going to mean? A weaker dollar and higher consumer prices for Americans. It ultimately means higher interest rates for Americans. It means the rug is going to be pulled out from the slowing economy. It means we’re going to go over the Mother of All Fiscal Cliffs, and one that is impossible to avoid.

So, my advice is don’t wait for that. Get out of your dollars. I’ve been saying this for a while, but I think the urgency, and the time with which to do it, is going to be running out. So you get out of your dollars. Get out of any debt denominated in any dollars. Because we’re not going to pay our bills, we’re going to inflate them away, which is the same thing as default. So you don’t want to ride out that inflation. You want to get out of U.S. currency. You want to look at foreign currencies where the governments are much less irresponsible. Look at real money. Look at gold and silver. Look at foreign stocks if they’re suitable that pay dividends. Do whatever you can to get out of Dodge, because just when the government assures you that there’s nothing to worry about, that’s the time where you need to worry the most.


“Debt Ceiling & the Fiscal Cliff”
YouTube Video

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

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Study: Only 3 Out Of 76 Major U.S. Metro Areas Are In Economic Recovery

Surprise, surprise. More evidence is out that points to the economic recovery that’s supposed to be taking place in the United States as being a big joke. Reuters’ Lisa Lambert talked about a new report that was released today by the Washington, D.C.-based think tank the Brookings Institution and wrote on the Yahoo! News website:

The United States has the most major metropolitan economies of all countries – 76 – according to an annual report on the 300 largest metropolitan economies worldwide that Brookings released on Friday…

Three and a half years since the 2007-09 economic recession ended, only three major U.S. metropolitan areas are experiencing an economic recovery, according to the Brookings Institution.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Those three metro areas are Dallas, Knoxville, and Pittsburgh.

Congratulations you guys.

Only 3 out of 76 major metropolitan economies in the U.S. experiencing an economic recovery?

Pathetic.

Especially when you consider all that stimulus, all those bailouts, all that government intervention, all that new debt heaped on the pile these past couple of years. Lambert added:

“It was still better than last year when the U.S. had no metro recoveries,” Brookings Associate Fellow Emilia Istrate said.

0 recoveries to 3 out of a possible 76? Pardon me for a moment while I head outside to go dance in the streets.

Source:

Lambert, Lisa. “Only three major U.S. cities see economic recovery: study.” Reuters. 30 Nov. 2012. (http://news.yahoo.com/only-three-major-u-cities-see-economic-recovery-050732585.html). 30 Nov. 2012.

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Signs Of The Time, Part 57

It’s been a hectic morning for me here in Chicago. So I figure I’ll start off today’s blogging with a chuckle. From Jim Mann on the website of The Daily Inter Lake (Montana) this past Monday:

State Rep. Jerry O’Neil, R-Columbia Falls, is spooked enough about the country’s fiscal picture to request that his legislative pay come in the form of gold and silver coins.

In a letter sent to Montana Legislative Services this week, O’Neil cites Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution, which states in part that no state shall “make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

There’s another reason Representative O’Neil would like to be paid in precious metals-based coinage instead of paper dollars. From the article:

The country’s $16 trillion debt “is a warning sign we can only ignore at our peril,” he wrote. “It is very likely the bottom will fall out from under the U.S. dollar. Only so many dollars can be printed before they have no value.”

A dollar collapse. One potential scenario for America if the “printing press” continues to run at full throttle.

Source:

Mann, Jim. “Legislator wants to be paid in silver and gold.” The Daily Inter Lake. 12 Nov. 2012. (http://www.dailyinterlake.com/news/local_montana/article_aaa1e40a-2d2c-11e2-a0a7-001a4bcf887a.html). 14. Nov. 2012.

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2012 Election Thoughts

For months now I’ve been saying to those people closest to me that Barack Obama will be reelected as President of the United States of America. Granted, last week I did mention to my girlfriend that Mitt Romney might have a shot at the White House based on analysis done by FOX News and Glenn Beck’s The Blaze TV (these two media outlets need to win back any confidence I had in them as a result). Now that Election Day has come and gone, here are some thoughts about the whole spectacle.

The main reason I kept saying Obama would get reelected as President was that the votes were already “bought and paid for.” A lot of Americans receive government benefits (49.1 percent of Americans lived in a household where at least one member of the family received such benefits in 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal earlier this year). The Obama administration has demonstrated these past four years that it’s willing to provide these benefits (part ideology, part political strategy). If you are someone receiving this, why would you endanger the status quo by voting for someone else who might take it away as part of some publicized push for smaller government living within its means? Where could all this lead to? Full-fledged dependency and eventual bondage, if one buys into the Cycle of the Body Politic.

Young American voters could be more “left-leaning” than their predecessors. How left? Well, “socialist” might not be too far off the mark if one subscribes to the findings of a Pew Research Center survey from December 2011. I wrote back on September 27:

You see, not only am I aware that a good number of Americans aren’t put-off by the idea of socialism anymore, but a recent poll even showed a majority of young Americans aged 18-29 have a positive view of it.

From the Pew Research Center website back on December 28, 2011:

Socialism is a negative for most Americans, but certainly not all. Six-in-ten (60%) say they have a negative reaction to the word; 31% have a positive reaction…

Fully nine-in-ten conservative Republicans (90%) view socialism negatively, while nearly six-in-ten liberal Democrats (59%) react positively.

The poll of 1,521 adults conducted back in early December 2011 revealed that among the 18-29 age group, 49 percent had a positive view of socialism as compared to 43 percent having a negative view.

Is Obama and his White House socialist? I don’t know. Are they “left-leaning?” The available evidence suggests so. Which could be why a lot of young American voters are drawn to the Democrats.

Public sector unions obviously played a big role in this election. I understand that such groups work toward the benefit of their members. However, does such activity work contrary to the common good, destabilizing increasingly financially-challenged public agencies, as critics suggest? Plenty of insolvent government organizations could be available for study shortly.

While incumbent politicians can be more difficult to dislodge from office, President Obama retained the White House despite a dismal economic record in his first term. Measures of (un)employment, food stamps, poverty, budget deficits, national debt, for example, grew increasingly worse over the past four years. I know, what about those “5 million jobs created” the Democrats kept touting during the campaign? Problem is, a closer look at what was “created” reveals a lot of low-paying positions. Burger flippers won’t be spearheading a U.S. economic recovery anytime soon. Perhaps Americans aren’t voting based on their wallets as much anymore. Or perhaps their pocketbooks haven’t been hit hard enough. That may be just a matter of time.

The past four years confirmed for many Americans the transformation of the news media from watchdog journalists to unofficial mouthpieces of the Democratic Party (the press being merely a mouthpiece for any party is bad). I have some journalism experience in my background, and my training included an emphasis on unbiased reporting. Being exposed to the amount of news material I am on a daily basis, it’s all too obvious to me that either that training is no longer given, a refresher course is desperately needed, or today’s journalists just don’t give a damn about it anymore. Sad. The way I look at it, if reporters not assigned to pen an op-ed/column feel the need to express the political creature in them, then get a personal blog! And let’s exchange links. Otherwise, do your country a huge favor and once again occupy the role of the “Fourth Estate”- an independent press. Continue on as the “American Pravda” and suffer the inevitable consequences.

Since Chicago/Cook County/Illinois Democrats play a significant role in running the country, one need only look at where they originate from to get an idea of where they might be taking the country these next four years. Anyone who spends enough time on this blog reading those posts written for my local audience knows exactly where that is:

Into the ground.

While Chicago and Cook County have significant financial woes, the State of Illinois is essentially bankrupt. Too many benefits, too much spending, too little cutbacks, too much borrowing, and now the fee and tax hikes on residents and businesses. It’s going to get ugly in the “Land of Lincoln” real fast. California and Illinois are the two U.S. states competing with each other to go under first as the financial crisis worsens, according to some very smart people. Yet, don’t expect any regime change in “Madiganistan” any time soon. As I wrote back on March 21:

As a result of this redistricting, Democrats could very likely control the state legislature in Illinois for a number of years. Monique Garcia, Alissa Groeninger, and Ray Long wrote on the Chicago Tribune website last night:

Even before unofficial results rolled in, some sitting Republican lawmakers were bound to lose in DuPage County, casualties of the Democratic-drawn state legislative districts. The map is tilted so heavily toward Democrats that the party led by House Speaker Michael Madigan, the Illinois Democratic chairman, is all but ensured November general election victories that could set it on a course to control the General Assembly for the next decade.

And from a Chicago Tribune editorial piece this morning:

Democrats had virtually locked in their Springfield majorities before the first voters cast the first early ballots on Oct. 22. More than half of these legislative races weren’t even contested by both major parties. And while some of the new district boundaries gave Republicans tremendous advantage, the aggregate effect was to keep Illinois and its 12.8 million citizens under one-party rule.

Voters evidently like it that way.

Yes they do. Especially as votes were also “bought and paid for” here in the ‘Stan.

Before this post is misconstrued as being merely some Obama/Democrat-bashing piece, regular readers of the blog know that I foresee a U.S. financial crash at the end of all this “kicking the can down the road.” That being said, at this point in the game, I don’t think it really matters anymore whether the Democrats or Republicans are in charge as it concerns where our economy and larger financial system is eventually heading. Enough damage has already been done (think of the Titanic and her compartments being punctured just enough to guarantee her inevitable demise) that America is fast-approaching a tipping point as both major national political parties make matters worse by refusing to scale back the obscene amounts of government spending when given the chance. If you think about it, when it comes to fiscal policy, both parties have shown to be no better than a two-headed monster. Barack Obama’s economic polices from 2008-2012, in general, were really just an extension of George W. Bush’s economic policies. Spending, stimulus, government intervention, you get the picture. Rather than sit down, have a mature conversation with the nation about the unsustainable track we’re on concerning our finances, and stop the spending, both the Democrats and Republicans continue to pander to Main Street’s desire for more stuff, more benefits, more borrowing, more debt. This time around, Barack Obama and the Democrats won. In the longer run, everyone looks to lose.

In the meantime, congratulations Mr. President and the Democratic Party on your Election Day victory.

Sources:

Izzo, Phil. “Number of the Week: Half of U.S. Lives in Household Getting Benefits.” Real Time Economics. 26 May 2012. (http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2012/05/26/number-of-the-week-half-of-u-s-lives-in-household-getting-benefits/?KEYWORDS=number+of+the+week). 7 Nov. 2012.

“Illinois Democrats and their realm.” Chicago Tribune. 7 Nov. 2012. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-legis-1107-20121107,0,2900759.story). 7 Nov. 2012.

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U.S. To Reach $16.4 Trillion Debt Ceiling By End Of Year

The federal government keeps spending… and the nation’s financial health keeps on deteriorating. Rachelle Younglai wrote on the Reuters website last night:

The Obama administration said on Wednesday that the nation would hit the legal limit on its debt near the year’s end, although it can tap emergency measures to stave off a default and keep the government running into early 2013.

As of Monday, the U.S. Treasury was $235 billion below the $16.4 trillion statutory ceiling on the amount it can borrow. That gives the government enough funds to pay its bills, including interest on its debt and retirement health benefits, until the end of the year, the Treasury said, reiterating a forecast it made in August.

So, the U.S. national debt is on track to reach $16.4 trillion by the end of 2012.

As I pointed out back on September 4 when the Treasury Department revealed the debt had surpassed $16 trillion:

When President George W. Bush took office, the national debt stood at $5.768 trillion.

By the time President Barack Obama occupied the White House, the national debt had risen significantly to $10.626 trillion.

During the Bush 2.0 administration, the national debt increased by $4.858 trillion.

So far in the Obama administration, the national debt has increased by $5.39 trillion.

Make that last figure around $5.8 trillion by the end of this year.

Our “financial reckoning day” is fast-approaching…

Source:

Younglai, Rachelle. “UPDATE 3-U.S. gov’t poised to hit debt limit before 2013.” Reuters. 31 Oct. 2012. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/31/usa-debt-idUSL1E8LV2LU20121031). 1 Nov. 2012.

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Romney 3, Obama 0

Last night I watched the last in a series of U.S. Presidential debates between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and the sitting President Barack Obama.

Once again, the incumbent came out swinging. However, despite it sounding once again like the audience was in his corner, President Obama lost.

More so than in the second debate, if you ask me.

An analyst on one of the TV stations covering the debate said it best when she pointed out that Obama was, in effect, debating himself. Since his Republican challenger lacked significant foreign policy experience (the supposed focus of last night’s exchange), it was the incumbent’s record in this area over the past four years that came under scrutiny.

And plenty of dedicated observers of U.S. foreign policy- myself included- will tell you that it’s in shambles.

Particularly in the Middle East.

As I see it, the Obama administration, in its attempt to tone-down what it perceives as an overly-aggressive U.S. foreign policy under the Republicans, has:

Not deterred Iran from advancing towards a nuclear weapon. Regular readers of this blog know that I believe the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to take advantage of proposed “talks” and other delays to continue work on such a weapon. Notwithstanding military action, they will get a nuke. The prospect of having one is just too tempting. Pop one or two of these over the U.S., and we’ll have a real problem on our hands.

Not left a stable regime in place in Iraq. I predict a real power vacuum here in the coming years, with a number of internal and external actors vying for ultimate control of the geopolitically-important failed state and its resources.

Made a big blunder in announcing the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan in 2014. Nothing like giving an enemy a timetable to work with. I suspect Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and their allies will throw everything they’ve got at our men and women in uniform over there as the end of 2014 draws closer, knowing full-well they need only sustain such intensity until the announced exit date. Then what? Attack us on our home soil, possibly. Some terrorism experts have suggested one reason why Al-Qaeda hasn’t launched a massive operation against the United States mainland since 9/11 is because they’ve figured out it’s simply easier to kill scores of Americans on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. Remember, their stated goal is 4 million Americans dead. Back to being another failed state down the road.

Alienated our ally Israel. President Obama seems to see Israel- like past U.S. foreign policy- as being too aggressive. And it doesn’t appear the sitting President doesn’t care too much for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu either- despite Vice President Biden and all that “Bibi” talk from the Vice Presidential debate. Consider the following:

November 3, 2011- Several media outlets reported an open-mic incident where then French President Nicolas Sarkozy told his American counterpart, “Netanyahu, I can’t stand him. He’s a liar.” Obama reportedly responded with, “You are sick of him, but I have to work with him every day.”

September 11, 2012- The White House said President Obama would not meet Prime Minister Netanyahu during a U.S. visit later that month. A number of media outlets suggested the Israeli leader was being spurned.

September 12, 2012- President Obama was taped for the CBS show 60 Minutes. From an exchange with Steve Kroft:

KROFT: You’re—you’re saying you don’t feel any pressure from Prime Minister Netanyahu in the middle of a campaign to try and get you to change your policy and draw a line in the sand? You don’t feel any pressure?

OBAMA: When it comes to our national security decisions, any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out any noise that’s out there.

Israeli concern over an Iranian nuke is “noise?”

Don’t even get me started on Libya and the deaths of 4 Americans, including an ambassador.

How the Obama administration has handled the Middle East is indicative of U.S. foreign policy as a whole.

Weak.

Worse yet, our adversaries recognize it and actively exploit it.

It shouldn’t be too much of surprise U.S. foreign policy has come to this. After all, Democrats aren’t really known to be big on foreign affairs. If anything, they seem to look at it as an annoyance.

Whenever I think of foreign policy in the Clinton years, two words come to mind.

Cruise missiles.

These days, perhaps it can reduced to just one word.

Drones.

Mitt Romney did a good job at pointing out the poor foreign policy record of the Obama administration.

But, truth be told, most Americans don’t care too much about international affairs.

The Republican challenger won this last debate not by talking about foreign policy- as was the intended focus- but by leading the discussion back to President Obama’s equally-dismal record on the economy.

This is what I meant when I said “more so than in the second debate, if you ask me” earlier in this post.

Romney kept hammering away at Obama’s domestic record as it pertains to take-home pay, unemployment, food stamps, government overreach, over-regulation, small-business woes, trillion dollar deficits, the $16 trillion national debt, the list goes on, and all the way to the end.

It was circling back to the Chicago Democrat’s domestic record these past four years that won the Republican challenger the debate.

In fact, all three debates.

Whether this will translate into a White House win come November 6 remains to be seen.

Regrettably, when it comes to that financial crash I predict is in store for us, I doubt a Romney win will make much of a difference at this point in the game. Economic pain is a certainty. Still, if he’s elected President of the Unites States and implements a sustained, meaningful program of fiscal responsibility, our financial “reckoning day” may not be as devastating as I suspect it would be should the nation continue on its current path.

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Romney 2, Obama 0

Just got done watching the second in a series of U.S. Presidential debates between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and the sitting President Barack Obama.

Predictably, the incumbent came out swinging after getting spanked in their first meeting.

However, despite a venue that sounded like it was full of his supporters tonight, Barack Obama fell short.

I give the President credit. It’s obvious he’s worked tremendously hard to get back into the game.

Yet, it’s become all too clear to many on Main Street- painfully in quite a number of cases- that regardless of how it’s spun, Barack Obama’s record in the White House over the past 4 years has been pretty poor.

Something which his challenger, Mitt Romney, seized on and kept hammering home tonight. As the Republican presidential candidate pointed out:

We have a record to look at.

And it’s a handicap I’m sure even Obama’s closest advisers are aware of (in spite of what they tell the public).

I know. “5 million jobs created.” Ever bother to look at what kinds of jobs were created? I have. Lots of low-paying ones.

Throw in where the country’s at with (un)employment, food stamps, poverty, budget deficits, national debt, the list goes on, and the last 4 years have been pretty ugly in retrospect.

Which is probably why President Obama kept talking up other subjects tonight like ObamaCare, the auto industry bailout, Planned Parenthood- things the government can give/provide for you, yet way beyond the scope of what the Founding Fathers ever intended for our republic.

Now, Mitt Romney didn’t bring his “A” game like last time, but his performance was still good enough to win the debate. In addition to the Republican contender pointing out the dismal economic reality of the last 4 years, his arguments made more sense. Especially as it concerned job creation. Consider this. Due to the state of the nation’s labor market these days, I’m guessing many Americans voters will be casting ballots with their pocketbooks in mind come November. The vastly-experienced challenger repeatedly emphasized his intent to create jobs and grow incomes by building-up small businesses and making America more attractive to foreign investment.

President Obama plans on creating more jobs by continuing his same policies and by expanding educational and training opportunities.

More burger flippers?

And education and training is nice and all, but what good is a degree/certificate if no one’s hiring in the first place?

Sounds like the U.S. President might be putting the cart before the horse here.

To many Americans watching the debate, Romney’s repeated emphasis on job creation was probably music to their ears.

One more thing. Barack Obama may have inadvertently shot himself in the foot (no pun intended) when he admitted tonight his desire to re-introduce the assault “weapons” ban that expired a few years back. Anti-gun groups and many in the mainstream media have tried desperately-hard for some time now to try and convince Americans that President Obama wouldn’t push gun “control” if he’s re-elected.

And then he goes on national TV and says he supports a new gun ban.

That’ll go over real well in those “swing states” with lots of firearm enthusiasts.

1994 all over again?

Anyway, it was a feisty debate. Barack Obama looked like a different man (still not as eloquent as with a teleprompter though), but Mitt Romney remained composed and pulled out the victory by repeatedly bringing up the sitting President’s track record in his first term and by emphasizing the Republican plan for creating new jobs, something I think will be key come Election Day.

On to the next, and final, debate…

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U.S. National Debt Surpasses $16 Trillion

Talk about bad timing for the Democrats. As the Democratic National Convention gets underway in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Treasury Department has revealed the U.S. national debt is now over $16 trillion. From Damian Paletta a short while ago on the Washington Wire blog on the Wall Street Journal website:

Total U.S. government debt eclipsed $16 trillion for the first time Friday, new government data show, as total federal borrowing continues marching toward the $16.394 trillion borrowing limit.

The Treasury Department said total government debt hit $16,015,769,788,215.80 on Friday, up $25 billion from the day before. The amount of federal debt subject to the borrowing limit is actually slightly less, as it doesn’t include several types of borrowing, and it stood at $15.977 trillion on Friday.

When President George W. Bush took office, the national debt stood at $5.768 trillion.

By the time President Barack Obama occupied the White House, the national debt had risen significantly to $10.626 trillion.

During the Bush 2.0 administration, the national debt increased by $4.858 trillion.

So far in the Obama administration, the national debt has increased by $5.39 trillion.

Source:

Paletta, Damian. “U.S. Debt Now Exceeds $16 Trillion.” Washington Wire. 4 Sep. 2012. (http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/09/04/u-s-debt-now-exceeds-16-trillion/). 4 Sep. 2012.

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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