Saturday, October 8, 2011

Global Economic Meltdown Says Governor of the Bank of England

Sir Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, this week called the current financial crisis “the most serious… since the 1930s, if ever”, in justification for a further £75 billion of “quantitative easing”. Since Sir Mervyn cited the chaos of the inter-war years, it seems appropriate to quote Winston Churchill: “Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusions of counsel, until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong – these are the features that constitute the endless repetition of history.”

We are at just such a moment again. Little more than two years ago, global leaders were happily congratulating themselves on having avoided the mistakes of the 1930s, thereby averting a depression. But now it appears that the difficulties of 2008 were but a foretaste of what was to come. With the European banking system again on the verge of collapse, there is a sense that politicians and economists are out of options, that governments and central banks are powerless before events. The best of the cavalry has been sent into battle, and it has come back in tatters. The fiscal armoury has been exhausted, the support offered by the boom in emerging markets such as China and India over the past two years seems to be on its last legs, and there is but the small rifle fire of the central bank printing presses left to defend us.

If it has been obvious for some time that we are caught up in an extreme financial crisis, the extent of its severity has acquired greater clarity in being described by the Governor of the Bank of England. Never before has the global financial system been so interlinked and integrated, which means that problems in one part of the world are capable of causing severe stress almost everywhere else. We once more face a perfect storm of cascading default, contracting credit and collapsing economic activity.

Yet, despite the parallels, the current situation need not end in the same catastrophe of economic, political and social meltdown as occurred in the 1930s. For most advanced economies, these outcomes are still avoidable. But escaping them is going to require leadership, nerve and collective resolve – things that have so far been in short supply.

The problem is not in Britain – which, despite the appalling legacy of debt left by the last government, is doing most of the right things – but in mainland Europe, where lack of foresight, unwillingness to act, confusion of counsel and lack of clear thinking are indeed everywhere to behold. We can but hope that self-preservation will eventually force governments into corrective action, but they are leaving it perilously late.

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US Treasury Department States That Obama Has Spent More Debt Than ALL Presidents Combined

( - The Obama administration passed another fiscal milestone this week, according to new data released by the Treasury Department. As of the close of business on Oct. 3, the total national debt was $14,837,099,271,196.71—up about $44.8 billion from Sept. 30.

That means that in the less-than-three-years Obama has been in office, the federal debt has increased by $4.212 trillion--more than the total national debt of about $4.1672 trillion accumulated by all 41 U.S. presidents from George Washington through George H.W. Bush combined.

This $4.212-trillion increase in the national debt means that during Obama’s term the federal government has already borrowed about an additional $35,835 for every American household--or $44,980 for every full-time private-sector worker. (According to the Census Bureau there were about 117,538,000 households in the country in 2010, and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were about 93,641,000 full-time private-sector workers.)

When Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009, according to the Treasury Department, the total national debt stood at $10,626,877,048,913.08.

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GALLUP Poll Shows Young Adults Want Gov’t to ‘Promote Traditional Values’

( - While a Lexis-Nexis search indicates that U.S. newspapers and wire services included in that database published 291 stories yesterday and today citing the vaguely defined, left-wing Occupy Wall Street movement, not one of them mentioned a Gallup poll quietly released yesterday that documented a trend Gallup itself cannot explain: a “recent surge” in the percentage of young adults who say government should “promote traditional values.”

In fact, American between the ages of 18 and 34 are now more likely than Americans in older age brackets to say government should promote traditional values. This reverses the historical pattern in Gallup’s polling on this question.

In the most recent survey, conducted Sept. 8-11, Gallup asked 1,017 Americans age 18 and older this question: “Some people think the government should promote traditional values in our society. Others think the government should not favor any particular set of values. Which comes closer to your own view?”

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