Friday, June 22, 2012

Thanks Obamacare: 83% of Doctors Surveyed Say They May Quit

The Doctor Patient Medical Association has released a new survey of about 700 doctors, and the results are bleak. Scary bleak. Among other dismal figures, Doctors' Attitudes on the Future of Medicine: What’s Wrong, Who’s to Blame, and What Will Fix It found that 83% of respondents are contemplating leaving the industry if Obamacare is fully implemented, owing to its disastrous projected consequences. Indeed, they openly blame the healthcare law for their industry's woes:
  • 90% say the medical system is on the WRONG TRACK
  • 83% say they are thinking about QUITTING
  • 61% say the system challenges their ETHICS
  • 85% say the patient-physician relationship is in a TAILSPIN
  • 65% say GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT is most to blame for current problems
  • 72% say individual insurance mandate will NOT result in improved access care
  • 49% say they will STOP accepting Medicaid patients
  • 74% say they will STOP ACCEPTING Medicare patients, or leave Medicare completely
  • 52% say they would rather treat some Medicaid/Medicare patient for FREE
  • 57% give the AMA a FAILING GRADE representing them
  • 1 out of 3 doctors is HESITANT to voice their opinion
  • 2 out of 3 say they are JUST SQUEAKING BY OR IN THE RED financially
  • 95% say private practice is losing out to CORPORATE MEDICINE
  • 80% say DOCTORS/MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS are most likely to help solve things
  • 70% say REDUCING GOVERNMENT would be single best fix.
If this isn't an airtight argument for the repeal of Obamacare, nothing is. When the people providing the actual healthcare are thinking of getting out of the game, the system is clearly broken. Here's hoping the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare this month.

The EuroDollar Collapse Isn't Just About the Euro.....

How do you say Schadenfreude in French?  Or Spanish?  Or Greek?  Because, three years into the failed economic policies of a failed president, Schadenfreude -- knowing that, however bad our situation may be, the state of affairs in the Eurozone is much worse -- is all that is left to us.
And it is worse, make no mistake about that.  And, it increasingly appears, irreversible.  Which is why those of us who saw this day coming must resist the urge to gloat now that the poulets europĂ©ens have come home to roost.  Let us instead, let out a sigh of relief as we observe the Euro-debacle from a safe distance and draw what lessons we can, lest their fate become ours.  For the euro's increasingly probable collapse is about more, much more, than the euro.
George Mason University economics professor Tyler Cowen almost gets it when he writes, in the May 26 New York Times:
We thus face the danger that the euro, the world's No. 2 reserve currency, could implode.  Such an event wouldn't be just another depreciation or collapse of a currency peg; instead, it would mean that one of the world's major economic units doesn't work as currently constituted.
Note the qualifiers, "could," and "would."  In fact, the euro is imploding and said implosion does mean that "one of the world's major economic units doesn't work as currently constituted."  And it's a pretty sure bet that whatever new constitution the Euro-elites conjure up for their "newly constituted unit" won't work, either -- certainly not if it's "newly constituted" by the same people who constituted the current one.
The good professor writes:  "The final lesson of this debacle is that smart nations with noble motives can make very big mistakes."  But at the same time Cowen states the obvious, he also misses the obvious by failing to name the Euro-debacle's true culprits.  For regardless of what "smart nations with noble motives" may or may not do, the guilty parties here are not "smart nations," but arrogant, soi disant "experts," who consider themselves accountable to no one due to their self-perceived brilliance, but who in fact are not nearly as smart as they think (and would like us to think) they are.  Conversely, had, say, "the first 2,000 names in the Berlin telephone directory," been allowed to vote on whether they wanted to surrender their national currencies, and the control thereof, into euros that would be out of their control, a large majority of them almost certainly would have voted no and the whole Euro-mess that was shoved down their throats and must now be vomited up, could have been avoided.
Cowen continually dances around issue, coming close, but never making the real point and I suspect that the reason for the fancy footwork is because Cowen is a liberal, or at least one who is rooting for the euro to succeed.  So allow me to state clearly what Cowen would not.
The plain and simple fact is that the euro's failure is about more, much more, than the euro.  For it is not just the euro that is failing, but the entire liberal, elitist worldview that underlies it.  That worldview, in a nutshell, is the notion that human nature is as malleable as a lump of clay and that any utopian society one can imagine can be created in the real world simply by writing it down on a piece of paper and voting for it.
And so here we are, leaving the world, including we Americans, divided, essentially, into two groups:  those who understand that liberalism's day of reckoning has come, that the debate is over, that collapse is inevitable and that the only course now is to manage, as best we can, the process of changing direction; and those who do not.
Abandoning a currency, as we are learning, is no easy task.  But it's a far easier task than abandoning a worldview upon which literally millions if not hundreds of millions of people have built and lived their lives, and which has held a considerable hold on political thinking -- and governance -- for almost a century.
Europe may or may not succeed in arresting its decline.  But we Americans, paradoxically, are made of both sterner and more flexible stuff and so one can confidently predict that it is only a matter of time before the old guard is cast out, to be replaced by a new generation of leaders with a vision that looks forward, not back.
One senses that that day is not far off.  In the meantime, protect your assets, do what you can to avoid the falling debris as the old order collapses, and prepare for a hard fight in the years ahead.

The Upcoming Battle With Social Security

That crashing sound you hear is the sickening thud of the nation's pensions hitting the brick wall of financial reality. After years of being warned about making financial promises we cannot afford, private and public pension systems are cutting benefits across the country. Employees are being asked to shoulder more of their own retirement load. Retiree healthcare help is becoming a relic of earlier times when unions had serious workplace clout.
Ford and GM are making very visible efforts to control pension expenses by offering lump-sum buyouts. Voters in San Diego and San Jose, Calif., this week acted to actually cut retirement benefits. Wisconsin voters may not have wildly cheered Republic Governor Scott Walker's curbs on union rights. But they understand the financial times we live in, and clearly felt (aided by enormous recall campaign contributions from conservative groups) his actions did not justify his recall.
What we're seeing is, unfortunately, the early edge of a wave of fiscal reckoning that is unavoidable. Even before the recession, promised pension and healthcare benefits for retirees were widely judged to be beyond the means of many companies as well as state and local governments. Today, with an anemic economic recovery, the situation has gotten worse.
Washington gridlock continues to prevent serious attention to rising deficits and unsustainable healthcare benefits. How long our nation's leaders can continue to kick this can down the road is one of the major parlor games inside the Washington Beltway. Outside the Beltway, however, reality has already come calling.
Current and future retirees are well-advised to learn how to further tighten their belts, but that's hardly a new reality. There is little prospect for making things better on the pension front.
The story is much different on the federal level. With income from pensions and private investments under long-term pressure, the traditional three-legged retirement stool is being supported mostly by the single leg that we know of as Social Security.
During the recession, Social Security held up its end of the deal and then some. Its payments did not falter and, despite a lot of unfounded rhetoric to the contrary, its long-term financial position has not been greatly compromised during these very difficult past five years.
Two years ago, the nation seemed close to doing something meaningful about its decaying fiscal situation. The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, appointed by President Obama, put together a sobering but widely respected budget reform blueprint for getting the nation back on track. The plan went nowhere, of course, and the moment was lost amidst the increasingly strident ideological rants that have become our lamentable excuse for national leadership.
The Commission's plan included significant changes to Social Security. Most fiscal experts did not think then and do not think now that Social Security's financial pressures are a major cause of our national fiscal distress. That honor clearly goes to healthcare. The mounting deficits of the Medicare and Medicaid programs dwarf any problems with Social Security.
Still, fixing Social Security was seen as a modest way to chalk up a win for fiscal reform. If we could restore its long-term financial balance, it was thought, we just might be able to pave the way for the much tougher issues involving healthcare and tax policy.
If those Fiscal Commission proposals had come up for a vote, it's likely we would have already agreed to raise the retirement age, reduce the size of automatic cost-of-living increases to Social Security benefits, raise the ceiling on annual earnings subject to the program's payroll tax, and perhaps even reduce Social Security benefits for wealthy Americans.
Today, making such adjustments seems unlikely or an event that will happen only after a scorched-earth defense by a large number of senior and social-policy groups and lobbies. If we paid lip service to the importance of Social Security before, events in recent years have greatly increased the recognition of how important the program is to the retirement well-being of not just some, but most older Americans.
AARP has launched an advocacy campaign to protect Social Security and Medicare benefits called You've Earned a Say. Don't expect a totally level playing field when AARP talks about Social Security. But it knows its 37 million members include people of all political stripes. It is more likely to take a straight line here than are more extreme groups.
The organization has just commissioned liberal and conservative experts to analyze a dozen proposals to change Social Security:
1. Raise the full retirement age
2. Longevity indexing
3. Recalculate the COLA (cost of living adjustment)
4. Increase the payroll tax cap
5. Eliminate the payroll tax cap
6. Reduce benefits for higher earners
7. Increase the payroll tax rate
8. Tax all salary reduction plans
9. Cover new state and local government workers
10. Benefit improvements
11. Increase the years used to calculate initial benefits
12. Begin means-testing Social Security benefits
With national elections less than five months away, it is incumbent on older voters to know where their candidates stand on these possible Social Security changes. Press them for detailed proposals and not just bromides about supporting our nation's seniors.

Those Who See Will Survive the Coming Monetary System Collapse

It seems not a terrible lot has changed since the 1400s.  Leonardo da Vinci then stated, “There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.”
While we can't be certain of the percentages of each back then, certainly, today, those who do not see are the vast majority.  Those who see when they are shown are very unusual.  And those who see sometimes seem as rare as astatine - an element so rare that the total amount on Earth is thought to be less than 28 grams (1 ounce) at any given time.
Certainly, the nearly universal public indoctrination system is responsible for the low level of displayed awareness on Earth today.  Just comparing Leonardo da Vinci to an equally famous person of today, Barack Obomba, is proof of the devolution.
Born on August 4th, 1961, in Kenya or Hawaii, Barack Obomba smoked a lot of weed, did some blow, was raised for all intents and purposes in a test tube by Henry Kissinger, went to Harvard and studied the millions of laws that enslave humans, became a community organizer... whatever that is.  And now he expertly reads off of teleprompters and by his words and actions kills thousands of people and destroys everything good left in humanity.
In addition, in perhaps a world record for narcissism, Barack Obomba wrote two autobiographies, before he had even done anything in his life, and now tells us we need hope and change in the form of theft and violence upon our neighbors while he puts millions in cages for smoking the same dried flowers as he did and murders innocent women and children worldwide in death from above.  But he does it with such a big smile on his face he won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Millions, including the likes of Oprah Winfrey and George Clooney cried at his ascendance to the throne and cowtow in his presence.
Leonardo da Vinci, on the other hand, was born on April 15, 1452.  He never went to "school" as we know it today.  He went on to invent the helicopter, parachutes, gliders, created the first robot in human form, built a walking mechanical lion, a spring-powered car considered to be the first programmable computer, stated that the Earth was not the center of the solar system before Galileo Galilei was born, painted the Last Supper and numerous other famous paintings and sculptures and demonstrated the human anatomy with accurate graphical presentation.
How's that government edumacation working out for everybody?
Thanks to it nearly everyone is oblivious to what is going on around them today.  They see the government as good when it is violence and theft.  They see paying the extortion called taxes as doing their "duty". They think democracy is freedom when it is slavery. They think anarchism is violence and chaos when it is actually peace and adherance to the non-aggression principle.  No one understands what money is or how it comes to be.  Of those that think they do, many believe the dollar is still backed by gold... the remainder who are aware it isn't backed by anything don't see any problem with being forced to use an unbacked currency issued by a secretive cabal of central bankers and call the totally controlled, regulated, centrally planned and manipulated money and interest rate system the "free market" and when it fails they blame it on the market being too free.
Hardly anyone sees the brick wall the entire western world is headed for at breakneck speeds.  No one saves or prepares for what is about to happen... because they don't know it is going to happen.
They believe in the goldilocks economy... or green shoots... or the recovery that the oblong box in the corner of their living room shouts at them.  They have no idea The End Of The Monetary System As We Know It (TEOTMSAWKI) is upon us.
They do not see.  When the US dollar and, with it, the western socialist nation states collapses they will be in shock.  Living in a neighborhood, town or city overrun with those who do not see will, at that point, become interesting to say the least as they realize everything they believed was a lie.
If you did not know this previously but are reading this and being awakened, you are the second best thing...  those who can see once they are shown.  You now have a great advantage and can begin making preparations ahead of the crowd.
What kind of preparations?
  • Have a significant portion of your assets in precious metals and geopolitically diversify them as much as possible.  See "Getting Your Gold Out Of Dodge" for a complete compendium on doing this.
  • If you have "retirement savings" consider cashing them out now before the government seizes them as tax theft receipts continue to decline.  If you can't or don't want to cash them out, look to place your retirement funds in assets outside of the control of your own government.  This can be done, in the US, through a Self-Directed IRA.
  • Get a second passport to give yourself options in case your government decides to take the remaining 50% of your earnings they currently allow you to keep.  The quickest one you can currently get is in less than three months but there are a wide variety of options.  Call or see TDV Passports for more on that.
  • Get a foreign bank account to give yourself options if you find yourself living in a country that gets Greeked.  And look to set up an International Business Corporation (IBC) to protect your funds from seizure further from government or frivolous lawsuits.  See TDV Offshore for more.
  • If you want to speculate, like us, that there will be a final bubble in gold and gold stocks, look to have no more than 20-30% of your portfolio in junior gold stocks which have rarely ever been more undervalued.  Subscribe to TDV Premium, if you already don't, for world-class mining stock analysis to navigate the dangerous junior mining market.  And if you own stocks, make sure you register them in your own name to prevent against brokerage bankruptcy or theft.  See BulletProof Shares for more.
  • Consider expatriating to a country that may deal with The Collapse better than most western countries.  Countries to consider are those where currency collapses are a common occurrence (Argentina, Mexico, Thailand etc) or countries with economies that are truly growing and who have very little debt (Singapore, Hong Kong etc.)  Each month in TDV we look at different countries for the purpose of expatriation.  In the past few months we have featured Egypt, Costa Rica and Brazil including on-the-ground TDV subscriber expats who are happy to help fellow subscribers as they consider moving to the country where they are situated.  
  • Keep extra cash in your home in case bank machines go dark, keep extra food in your house in case the food transportation comes to a halt again like it did in 2008 but, this time, for possibly weeks and months.
How much time do you have left?  That's the trillion dollar question.  We advise to act like it will happen tomorrow and take precautions to protect your wealth and self from The Collapse now.  The old saw about being a year early rather than one day late never was more apt.
It is not hopeless and there is plenty you can do.  In fact, after the collapse, if you manage to survive with the majority of your assets or abilities in tact there will be unheralded opportunities to make fortunes in what will hopefully be a much freer, less regulated, less violently governed world.  That's why our tagline is "Surviving and Prospering During And After the US Dollar Collapse".  But the key lies in da Vinci's quote, you have to be one of those who see.
There's never been a more important time to have your eyes open.

Signs of U.S. Weakness Mount as Confidence, Output Fall

Industrial production unexpectedly fell and consumer confidence slid, adding to evidence of U.S. economic weakness days before Federal Reserve policy makers meet to decide whether more stimulus is needed.
Output at factories, mines and utilities decreased 0.1 percent last month after a revised 1 percent gain in April, the Fed reported today in Washington. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment for June fell to 74.1, the lowest level this year, from 79.3 last month.
“We’re traveling along a canal of miserable growth,” said Brian Jones, a senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York, who correctly forecast the decline in production. “It’s not fast enough to bring the unemployment rate down or generate an appreciable number of jobs, yet it’s not weak enough that we’re going back into recession.”
Stocks climbed for a second day on speculation the Fed will join central banks in taking steps to boost growth as Europe’s deepening debt crisis threatens the global economy. Shock waves from Europe are roiling U.S. markets, denting business and consumer confidence and cutting demand for American goods.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index advanced 1 percent to 1,342.84 at the close in New York. Treasuries climbed, pushing the yield on the 10-year note down to 1.58 percent from 1.64 percent late yesterday.
Monetary policy makers from the U.K. to Japan and Canada this week sounded the alert about potential fallout from the euro zone’s troubles.

Watching Markets

The Bank of Japan today kept the size of its asset-purchase fund unchanged, two days before a Greek election that may determine whether Europe’s crisis worsens, and said it will pay “particular” attention to global markets.
Reports in the U.K. today showed exports fell in April and construction slumped, highlighting the economy’s weakness as Bank of England Governor Mervyn King warns that the outlook is deteriorating rapidly.
New York-area factories expanded this month at the slowest pace since November, another report showed. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic activity index dropped to 2.3 from 17.1 the prior month. Readings greater than zero show expansion in New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut.
Economists forecast a 0.1 percent advance in U.S. production in May, according to a Bloomberg News survey median. Manufacturing, which makes up about 75 percent of total production in the U.S., dropped 0.4 percent last month.
Less factory production represents a pause in the industry that helped the world’s largest economy emerge from recession three years ago.

‘Continued Weakness’

“We’ve seen continued weakness in Europe and we’ve seen only moderate growth in the U.S.,” Gregory Hayes, chief financial officer at United Technologies Corp., said June 14 at an industrials and materials conference in Chicago. Hartford, Connecticut-based United Technologies’ products include Pratt & Whitney jet engines and Otis elevators.
Slowing growth in China and across Asia is also taking a toll on American manufacturing. China cut borrowing costs for the first time in four years last week to boost growth.
“We are seeing a slowdown in Asia that we had not expected about three months ago, and the United States is not out of the woods yet either when we look at the unemployment numbers,” Clay Jones, chief executive officer of Rockwell Collins Inc., said at a June 13 conference.
Utility production climbed 0.8 percent last month after a 5.3 percent jump in April, today’s report showed. Mining output increased 0.9 percent following a 0.6 percent decrease.

Motor Vehicles

Motor vehicle and parts production dropped 1.5 percent in May after a 4 percent surge the month before, the Fed said. Autos in May sold at a 13.73 million annual rate, down from 14.38 million in April and the slowest this year, according to data from Ward’s Automotive Group.
Factory output excluding vehicles and parts fell 0.3 percent in May after a 0.5 percent gain. Output of business equipment increased 0.3 percent after a 1.5 percent jump in April. Consumer goods decreased 0.2 percent after a 1.4 percent gain.
Today’s data cap a week of reports pointing to an economy that’s losing momentum. Retail sales fell in May for a second month, prompting economists at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley to cut forecasts for second-quarter economic growth.

Jobless Benefits

More Americans than forecast applied for unemployment insurance payments last week, another sign the labor market is struggling to improve after the unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 8.2 percent last month. Payrolls increased by 69,000 in May, the fewest in a year.
Labor-market weakness is starting to take a toll on the confidence of consumers, whose spending makes up 70 percent of the economy.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment for June was projected to fall to 77.5, according to a median forecast of 66 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
The June decline was the first in 10 months. The index averaged 64.2 during the last recession and 89 in the five years before the 18-month economic slump that ended in June 2009.
The Michigan survey’s index of current conditions asks Americans whether they’re better off than they were a year ago and if they think it’s a good time to buy big-ticket items like cars. In June that measure eased to 82.1 from 87.2.

Consumer Expectations

The index of consumer expectations for six months from now, which more closely projects the direction of consumer spending, decreased to 68.9, also the lowest this year, from 74.3, which was the highest since July 2007.
The Federal Open Market Committee, which sets the course of central bank policy, begins a two-day meeting on June 19. The group may address a cooling expansion, weaker job growth and the financial crisis in Europe.
“Will there be enough growth going forward to make material progress on the unemployment rate?” Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said in testimony last week to the Joint Economic Committee. “That’s the essential decision and the central question that we have who look at.”

Nicely Said......

"At its core, then, political correctness is nothing more nor less than the unjust intimidation of others into thinking and speaking a certain way. As such, it is pure totalitarian mind control." - David Kupelian

What Is The “Fiscal Cliff” & What The “Fiscal Cliff” Means For You?

Now that we’ve explored the dangerous repercussions of the looming Taxmageddon, investors have another important question: What is the “fiscal cliff“?
Fiscal cliff anxiety has increased since May 22 when the Congressional Budget Office spread some gloom and doom by citing a potential 2013 recession.
As we reach 2012′s midpoint, we still have November’s presidential election and a ticking clock for Congress and the president to reach an agreement on policy issues by year’s end.
The likelihood of this doesn’t look good. That’s why now’s the time to prepare for the potential effect from the fiscal cliff.
What is the Fiscal Cliff?
You can thank Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke for coining the phrase.
Fiscal cliff refers to the coinciding action of tax increases and spending cuts that will activate on Jan. 1, 2013 unless Congress and the White House agree and take some action to either delay or change them.
Should these two actions marry, you’ll watch $7 trillion tagged onto the nation’s debt over the next decade, or about $500 billion next year, according to CNN.
How will investors be impacted?
Tax-wise, the cuts include President George W. Bush’s low tax rates from 2001 and 2003, middle class protection from the Alternative Minimum Tax, “temporary” individual and business tax breaks, jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed and a temporary payroll tax expiring on Dec. 31.
In addition, $1.2 trillion from spending in federal programs cuts will arrive (see Medicare pay for doctors, no more sundry tax breaks) after a late 2011 Congressional failure to reach an agreement to cut the budget deficit.
Lawmakers are expected to push things off until year’s end–or at least until after the election. Waiting to do so with this possible lame duck Congress could be “chaos,” predicted former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-WY.
In support of the “Act Now” camp, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-MD, the top Democrat on the Budget Committee, recently said to the Associated Press, “Simply extending all of our current tax and spending policies will produce unsustainable deficits and debt, which will also send the economy into decline. We need to act and we must do so in a balanced way.”
Even though Bernanke coined the phrase fiscal cliff, don’t look to him for help. He has repeatedly asked Congress to take care of the issue.
Bernanke recently said, “[I]f no action were to be taken, the size of the fiscal cliff is such that there’s I think absolutely no chance that theFederal Reserve… could or would have any ability whatsoever to offset … that effect on the economy. ”
What the Fiscal Cliff Means for You
When we flip our calendars over on January 1 what can we expect to see?
Don’t panic, nothing will happen overnight; it will be a process.
Aside from the expiring tax cuts and federal agency slashing, the CBO sees the U.S. economy contracting at a 1.3% annual rate in the first half of the year from lawmakers’ inaction.
“Given the pattern of past recessions … such a contraction in output in the first half of 2013 would probably be judged to be a recession,” said the CBO.
But on the flip side, added growth will return in the year’s second half to 2.3%.
Chad Stone, chief economist at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently wrote via the Washington Post, “While the limit on spending authority will be imposed at the beginning of the year, the actual reductions in spending will occur over the course of the year and into subsequent fiscal years. Once again, only a fraction of the impact occurs in the first month or so, although expectations of the cutbacks can affect the behavior of government contractors and others in advance of the actual cuts.”
But what if a full-blown fiscal cliff doesn’t happen but instead a short-term deal or few weeks delay occurs. Is it worth it?
Sure it would buy time, extend a few tax cuts while postponing spending cuts, but it would just put a Band-Aid on things until the new Congress convenes in 2013.
Think back to the 1995-96 shut down with President Clinton and his Republican Congress. The two camps couldn’t reach a legislation agreement for the funding of government departments and agencies.
Facing strong pressure to reach agreement and get the government moving again, the shutdown only lasted 21 days.
At the end of the day, a fiscal cliff isn’t likely because of the election, but look for a last-minute compromise. Neither side wants to look like a bad guy in this economy and be remembered as the party who pushed the economy over the proverbial fiscal cliff.

Fed Lies Unravel ... Bank Board Gave US$ 4 Trillion in Loans to Its Own Institutions

Ben Bernanke
A report just released by the US Government Accountability Office explains how the Federal Reserve divvied up more than $4 trillion in low-interest loans after the fiscal crisis of 2008, and the news shouldn't be all that surprising. When the Federal Reserve looked towards bailing out some of the biggest banks in the country, more than one dozen of the financial institutions that benefited from the Fed's Hail Mary were members of the central bank's own board, reports the GAO. At least 18 current and former directors of the Fed's regional branches saw to it that their own banks were awarded loans with often next-to-no interest by the country's central bank during the height of the financial crisis that crippled the American economy and spurred rampant unemployment and home foreclosures for those unable to receive assistance. – RT
Dominant Social Theme: It is necessary for Fed board members to bail out their own banks. That's what it is there for.
Free-Market Analysis: "Quantitative Easing" ... "Operation Twist" ... "Discount Window" ... The mavens at the Fed have so much jargon at their disposal.
Not anymore. This is really simple to understand – see above.
Fed board members gave trillions to their own banks so the would survive the crisis of 2008.
They gave their own banks money. They put their own banks first. This is not hard to grasp.
It's cronyism. It's an abuse of power. It's criminal.
The Fed bankers can argue that they are SUPPOSED to hand out gobs of money. That's its public mandate.
But if they argue this way, they'll only remind the public of what they've done.
If they shut up about it, they'll look guilty as hell. As well they should.
Talk about a no-win situation.
The bankers will try to obfuscate using incomprehensible terminology. But it won't work.
Before the arrival of the Internet, the double-talk had a big impact. Nobody who was normal could understand quite what the Fed did (or central banks in general).
But all that's changed now. What we call the Internet Reformation is redefining the dominant social themes of the elite. They're losing on numerous fronts. We've been predicting it for years. Like the Gutenberg Press before it, the Internet is informing tens of millions about the Way the World Really Works.
As a result, the fear-based propaganda of the power elite is not working anymore. They are no longer able to frighten people into accepting phony globalist solutions like global warming, peak oil and water scarcity. One of the biggest memes of the elite is that the economy needs the ministrations of good, gray bankers to fix the price and volume of money.
Price fixing, in fact, never works and only redistributes wealth from those who created it to those who didn't and may not utilize as efficiently. The Fed's top bureaucrats were not prepared for the Internet or its exposure of fiat printing of money-from-nothing. Once the crisis of 2008 struck, the Fed's mavens reacted incompetently. They didn't know what to do.
Disaster struck when Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) grilled Fed Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman early in 2009 over some very basic questions about the trillions of dollars showing up on the Fed's expanded balance sheet. Coleman couldn't explain it.
We wrote an article then entitled "Beginning of the End? Fed Cannot Account for $9 Trillion." Here's something from the article:
By putting Coleman up in front of Congress in such an unprepared manner, the behind-the-scenes leaders of the Federal Reserve have provided an unimpeachable metaphor. Coleman's testimony punctured the veil of secrecy and her lack of preparedness lance whatever aura of competence Ben Bernanke and others have been able to conjure. Metaphors can NEVER be undone. They can be covered up over a great deal of time, perhaps, but they cannot be explained away or rationalized. They exist. That's why they're metaphors.
The economic ramifications of what is going on couldn't be more obvious either (well, to us, anyway). Post Coleman, the Fed is suddenly, inconceivably, an institution fighting for its political life. (Perhaps you read it here first ...) This financial behemoth, the most powerful single entity in the world, has likely already begun to topple. But as it is with any figure of titanic proportions, the fall is still silent to begin with for contact with the ground has not yet been made.
Central banking will likely survive in one form or another. No institution of such authority simply vanishes. The money and power of central banking guarantee that the mechanism will be perpetuated somehow – even expanded from sheer momentum. But a regrouping will have to take place. Even if central bankers are able to maintain the outward manifestation of the economic mechanism, it has begun to rot from the inside as it topples. It may take a month, a year, a decade but changes are coming.
We haven't changed our modest collective mind since then. We likened the Fed to a walking dead man and that still seems to us an apt analogy. Things are simply going from bad to worse.
If the Fed actually does get audited, as Ron Paul and Rand Paul hope, watch out! The revelations shall prove especially injurious.
But one way or another this most corrupt of all institutions is now in a battle for its life. The PR disaster of 2009 showed us clearly that the Fed's competence is a mile wide and an inch deep. Like all fakery, it's impossible to defend. No wonder so many top men are leaving.
We've predicted that monopoly fiat central banking generally is facing its largest challenge ever as a result of Internet exposure. As a result, we expect the powers-that-be to fight back by trying to change the monetary system.
Perhaps they shall try to create a world currency or a statist gold currency. It may or may not be enough to stem the damage now being done to this most important of all memes – the monetary meme.
Another possibility is that they will aggressively support the "public" banking proposed by Ellen Brown and Bill Still. The elites operate via mercantilsm, the use of government levers to benefit private agendas. Ms. Brown is unapologetically a big government type as are many other leftists and populists in the alternative media movement including luminaries such as Webster Tarpley.
Such individuals and those that support Georgism and other schemes always have a better idea. They are convinced that THEIR scheme is the correct one and that society ought to be manipulated to support it.
Here at DB, we restrict ourselves simply to observing that a private market ought to allow competitive money and that historically speaking gold and silver have proven out as monetarily popular. Silver has often been used as the people's metal and gold for the elites. The ratio between the two metals tends to signal whether any manipulation is taking place.
We offer no complex schemes, no complex arguments, no rigid mandates, no endless dissertations, no damnations of this or that strategy or utilization of interest ... no determination, in other words, that people be forced to use this or that formula. We don't "know best" though many others now commenting on money (and attacking free-market thinking) have it all figured out apparently. If you simply do as they say (and you better!) then all will be well.
We're not so smart, but we do know this: Money is actually pretty simple. One of Murray Rothbard's best books, "What has government done to our money?" is also his shortest. It ought to be read for its elegance and directness and also for its analysis of fiat monopoly central banks.
Today, in fact, central banking is under attack as never before, and for some of the reasons that Rothbard anticipated. Forcing people to use a certain currency or monetary methodology can never be justified, morally, financially or in any other way.
It's also an invitation to abuse. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Doesn't matter if the scheme is "public" or "private" ... or whether the government is run by the "people "... or little green men from Mars. This is what's happened with the current form of central banking.
And that is why the Internet era has thrown such a spotlight on it, and we doubt it will survive the scrutiny. It is infinately corrupt. A handful of men can be seen divvying up trillions to benefit their own interests. There is no justification. Not even the fanciest words can explain it.
If central banking does survive, it will be likely in a much different form. This biggest of all sinecures for the power elite will be a less dependable source of revenue in the future. The ramifications are profound.
Conclusion: The 21st century is not the 20th. And the Internet is a process not an episode.

Gerald Celente: This Thing [Financial System] Is Coming Down

Gerald Celente began by ridiculing the media’s propensity to jump from one hyped event to the next during the global financial crisis, providing a unnecessary distraction from the all-important final outlook he forecasts for investors.
“This thing [financial system] is coming down,” Celente told KWN’s Eric King.
The outcome of the Greek election is not important, according to the founder of Trends Research Institute. What’s happening in any country is not particularly important, per se; it’s the collective symptoms of a global financial collapse that investors should focus their minds upon before considering what to do to protect their wealth.
“The entire financial system is under collapse,” Celente forcefully continued.  “It’s not about the Greeks; it’s not about the Spanish; it’s not about the Italians; it’s not about the English; it’s not about the Americans; it’s not about the Chinese; it’s about everybody.”
‘It all comes back to gold,” he said.  Celente added that he is not an investment adviser, but has repeatedly stated in the past that he likes the yellow metal for its ancient reliability as the ultimate safe-haven during times of financial crisis.
Simultaneously, vital economic statistics across the global economy show steep drops or have begun to resemble bubble-like characteristics.  Suddenly, the global economic growth story, the West-East ‘decoupling’ theory, and the global ‘muddle-through’ thesis, increasingly appear to be nothing more than well-crafted media-driven nonsense.  It’s just a media con job to keep investors back on their heels and away from critical thinking regarding their savings and wealth, according to Celente.
It was Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his predecessor Alan Greenspan who claim they didn’t see the housing bubble, nor the dangers of more than one quadrillion dollars of derivatives written since 1999.
In August 2010, Bernanke told attendees of the Jackson hole Summit, “For a sustained expansion to take hold, growth in private final demand — notably, consumer spending and business fixed investment — must ultimately take the lead.
“On the whole, in the United States, that critical handoff appears to be under way.”
As it turns out, nothing could have been further from the truth.  The financial crisis deepened throughout 2010 and 2011, with revelations that Greece could not pay on its gigantic sovereign debt and by implications threatened to take the eurozone with it as other EU sovereigns would be next.
In the U.S., bogus jobs reports issued by the U.S. Labor Department, which showed an economic recovery, streamed in month after month.  In essence, the data merely show a halt of an immediate economic Armageddon, not a recovery.
Back then, gold traded at $1,200.
Today, global statistics point to a deepening of an already recessionary global economy, but the media continues to spin the data to help the Fed ‘manage expectations’.
Though, not complete, below, is a list of items that support Celente’s call for an impending next leg down in the global financial crisis.
  •  A property bubble about to burst in Canada
  • Bank runs in Greece, Spain and Italy
  • Spain housing market to drop another 25 percent, according to S&P
  • Netherlands reports sudden 10 percent drop in retail sales
  • EU proposes currency controls
  • China reports rapidly decelerating GDP, ramps up gold imports
  • Baltic Dry Index approaches 2009 low
  • India’s currency, the rupee, is under attack
  • Slovenia needs a bailout
  • Cyprus needs a bailout
  • Egypt in the throes of civil war, again
  • Fed overtly monetizing debt 30-year treasuries, according to
  • U.S. job market is fictitious, according to John Williams and Charles Biderman.  Real unemployment is 22 percent
  • U.S. consumer tapped out and buying necessities with credit cards
  • Global recession next year pegged at “100 percent” certainty, according to Marc Faber. Jim Rogers agrees with Faber’s assessment and includes 2014 as a worse outlook
Countering misleading comments made by officialdom throughout the crisis—blatantly appearing to follow the playbook of former President of the European Council Jean-Claude Juncker, who once said, “When it becomes serious, you have to lie,” —Celente told KWN listeners to not expect the truth out of Washington or Brussels.  You must “think for yourself” and that “you’re on your own” while the global financial collapse plays out.
What should investors do? Eric King asked Celente.
“Speaking for myself . . . You [referring to Eric King] know me,” Celente stated.  “I’ve always made it clear; I only put my money in gold and in silver,” and added, “And a friend of mine, to me, the best strategy that I’ve heard.  And again, I do not give financial advice.  His strategy is, every month he buys gold and silver.  Every month he buys gold and silver with the extra money he has.  Every month.
“It’s a brilliant strategy. . . I’m in gold for the long term.  I’m not getting out of gold, and I continue to invest in it when I can.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Nicely Said............

"I keep picturing a stranger from outer space. He lands on my farm and wants me to tell him about our world. I try to put the best face on things that I can, but he keeps going back to the monetary system: 'You use what for money?' I'm so embarrassed I want to dig a hole and crawl in." - Franklin Sanders, in The Money Changer

The Mancession: 16 Signs That This Economic Decline Is Sucking The Life Out Of The American Male

This economic decline has been really hard on everyone, but it has been particularly hard on American men.  During the last recession male employment dropped like a rock and it has not recovered much at all since then.  That is why many referred to the last recession as a "mancession".  Industries where men are disproportionately represented such as construction and manufacturing have really been hit hard in recent years.  In the old days, you could take a high school education down to the local factory and get a job that would enable you to live a middle class lifestyle and support a growing family on just that one income.  Sadly, those days are long gone.  Today, American men live in a world where their labor is not really needed.  Wages are falling because almost any worker can be easily replaced by the vast pool of unemployed American workers that are currently searching for work, and a lot of big companies are shifting labor-intensive jobs overseas where workers only make a small fraction of what they make in the United States.  American workers (especially those without much education) are considered to be expensive liabilities in a world where labor has become a global commodity.  So the percentage of working age American men that have jobs is likely to continue to decline and wages are likely to continue to stagnate as well.
For many men, a long-term bout with unemployment can almost be worse than a major illness.  It can be really hard to feel like a man when you don't have a job.  Men often see themselves as filling the "provider" role, and when they aren't providing for their families self-esteem can fall through the floor.  It is easy to feel worthless when there is no money coming in and your wife and your kids are looking at you with worry every single day.
As you read this, there are millions upon millions of unemployed men sitting at home with a glazed look in their eyes.  When you talk with these men, many of them seem as though the life has been sucked right out of them.
As I wrote about recently, when you cannot find a job month after month after month people start to look at you differently.  Some start to look at you with pity in their eyes, and others start to look at you with disgust in their eyes.
Most Americans don't really understand how much the economy has fundamentally changed, and many of them still believe that it shouldn't be too difficult to find a job in "the greatest economy on earth".
But things have changed.  If you don't have a college education or some highly specialized skills then it is going to be exceedingly difficult to get a good paying job in this economy.
Unfortunately, finding a job is not going to be getting any easier.  Times are hard now, but they are going to be getting a lot harder.
The following are 16 signs that this economic decline is sucking the life out of the American male....
#1 During the last recession, men lost twice as many jobs as women did.
#2 According to the Economic Policy Institute, the "real entry-level hourly wage for men who recently graduated from high school" has declined from $15.64 in 1979 to $11.68 last year.
#3 During the recent economic downturn millions of men saw their family finances get absolutely destroyed.  According to the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of families in the United States declined "from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010".
#4 As you can see from the chart below, in the 1950s there were times when nearly 85 percent of all working age men had a job.  Sadly, that number has stayed below 65 percent since the end of the last recession....

#5 More unemployed fathers than ever are staying at home with the kids.  Over the past decade the number of "stay at home dads" has doubled.
#6 Prior to the recession, women accounted for approximately 45 percent of the workforce.  Now, they account for 49.4 percent of the workforce.
#7 According to one new survey, 23 percent of all small business owners in America have gone for more than a year without pay.  More than half of all small business owners are men.
#8 The decline in manufacturing jobs has had a disproportionate impact on men.  Back in 1940, 23.4% of all American workers had manufacturing jobs.  Today, only 10.4% of all American workers have manufacturing jobs.
#9 More than half of all middle management jobs in America are now held by women.
#10 More than half of all health care jobs in America are now held by women.
#11 American men love to watch television.  But because of harsh economic conditions more families than ever are eliminating cable television service.  According to one survey, a whopping 6.9 million American homes cancelled cable service last year.
#12 According to the New York Times, approximately 57 percent of all Americans that are currently enrolled in college are women.
#13 According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.
#14 According to another study, "young, urban, childless women" make more money in America today than young, urban, childless men do.
#15 According to CNN, in the United States today men in the 25 to 34 age bracket are nearly twice as likely to live with their parents as women the same age are....
The number of adult children who live with their parents, especially young males, has soared since the economy started heading south. Among males age 25 to 34, 19% live with their parents today, a 5 percentage point increase from 2005, according to Census data released Thursday. Meanwhile, 10% of women in that age group live at home, up from 8% six years ago.
#16 Our system often treats elderly American men like absolute trash.  Just check out what happened to one elderly veteran up in Montana recently....
Warren C. Bodeker is an 89 year old World War II Army Airborne combat veteran and war hero, living in Montana, who is being thrown off of his own land and thrown out of his own house, by Montana Federal Bankruptcy Trustee, Christy Brandon, with the approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Montana. And to make matters worse, Warren’s wife Lorna just died of cancer this past year, and is buried there on their land, right next to the house. Warren had planned to live there till he died and then be buried right next to his wife, there on their property at 11 Freedom Lane, in the town of Plains, Montana, but now, not only is he being forced off his land, he is being forced to exhume his wife’s body and take her with him.
As the ability of men (and women) to take care of their families continues to decline, the middle class continues to shrink rapidly.
Most Americans continue to expect our economy to be able to bounce back to where it was before, but the truth is that the U.S. economy is in the midst of a long-term decline.
We are heading for an absolute economic nightmare, and we desperately need to come together as a nation and find some real solutions.
Unfortunately, our nation is becoming more divided than ever, and most of our politicians are proposing that we continue to do the exact same things that got us into this mess.

19 Reasons Why It Is Time To Start Freaking Out About The Global Economy

Yes, it is officially time to start freaking out about the global economy.  The European financial system is falling apart and it is going to go down hard.  If Europe was going to be saved it would have happened by now.  The big money insiders have already pulled their funds from vulnerable positions and they are ready to ride the coming chaos out.   Over the next few months the slow motion train wreck currently unfolding in Europe will continue to play out and things will likely really start really heating up in the fall once summer vacations are over.  Most Americans greatly underestimate how much Europe can affect the global economy.  Europe actually has a larger population than the United States does.  Europe also has a significantly larger economy and a much larger banking system.  The world is more interconnected today than ever before, and a collapse of the financial system in Europe will cause a massive global recession.  Once the global economy slides into another major recession, it is going to take years to recover.  The pain is going to be immense.  Yes, that is going to include the United States.  Sadly, we never recovered from the last recession, and it is frightening to think about how much farther this next recession is going to knock us down.
The big problem is that there is simply way, way, way too much debt in the United States and Europe.  It has been a lot of fun spending all of this borrowed money, but now we get to pay the price.
The following are 19 reasons why it is time to start freaking out about the global economy....
#1 The yield on 10 year Italian bonds has now risen to more than 6 percent.
#2 The yield on 10 year Spanish bonds has now risen to more than 7 percent.  This is considered to be an unsustainable level.
#3 Citigroup Chief Economist Willem Buiter says that both Italy and Spain are going to need major bailouts.
#4 The Spanish banking crisis continues to get worse.  The following is from a CNN article that was posted on Monday....
But the depth of the nation's crisis has raised doubts about whether €100 billion will be enough to recapitalize the banks. For example, the Bank of Spain, the nation's central bank, released data Monday showing that "doubtful" loans -- those that are more than 3 months overdue -- rose to €152.7 billion in April, equal to 8.7% of all the loans held by the nation's banks.
#5 Unemployment in Spain is sitting at a record high of over 24 percent with no hope in sight.
#6 Unemployment in the eurozone as a whole has hit a brand new all-time record high.
#7 The socialists won an outright majority in the recent parliamentary elections in France.  That means that France and Germany are now headed in completely different directions.  The close cooperation that we have seen between France and Germany in recent years is now over.
#8 New French President Francois Hollande has promised to implement a top tax rate of 75 percent on those making over 1 million euros a year.
#9 German Chancellor Angela Merkel has declared that Germany will not budge at all on the terms of the Greek bailout.
#10 Analysts at Citigroup Global Markets are projecting that the odds of Greece leaving the euro over the next 12 to 18 months are still between 50 and 75 percent.
#11 Money is being transferred from banks in southern Europe to banks in northern Europe at an astounding pace....
Financial advisers and private bankers whose clients have accounts too large to be covered by a Europe-wide guarantee on deposits up to 100,000 euros ($125,000), are reporting a "bank run by wire transfer" that has picked up during May.
Much of this money has headed north to banks in London, Frankfurt and Geneva, financial advisers say.
"It's been an ongoing process but it certainly picked up pace a couple of weeks ago We believe there is a continuous 2-3 year bank run by wire transfer," said Lorne Baring, managing director at B Capital, a Geneva-based pan European wealth management firm.
#12 As I wrote about recently, about 500 million euros a day has been pulled out of Greek banks so far this month.
#13 The Bank for International Settlements is warning that global lending is contracting at the fastest rate that we have seen since the end of the last financial crisis.
#14 Lloyd's of London has publicly admitted that it is making preparations for a collapse of the eurozone.
#15 Government debt levels all over the industrialized world have exploded in recent years.  The following is from a recent article by Stephen Lendman....
Five years ago, OECD countries sovereign debt/GDP ratios were 70%. Today it’s 106% and rising.
Anything over 100% is considered to be an extremely dangerous level.
#16 The economic problems in Europe are already taking a toll on the U.S. economy.  At this point U.S. exports to Europe are way down.
#17 One recent poll found that 75 percent of Americans are either "very or somewhat worried" that the U.S. economy is heading for another recession.
#18 Under Barack Obama, the United States has been indulging in a debt binge unlike anything ever seen in U.S. history.  The following is from a recent Forbes article....
After just one year of the Obama spending binge, federal spending had already rocketed to 25.2% of GDP, the highest in American history except for World War II.  That compares to 20.8% in 2008, and an average of 19.6% during Bush’s two terms.  The average during President Clinton’s two terms was 19.8%, and during the 60-plus years from World War II until 2008 — 19.7%.  Obama’s own fiscal 2013 budget released in February projects the average during the entire 4 years of the Obama Administration to come in at 24.4% in just a few months.  That budget shows federal spending increasing from $2.983 trillion in 2008 to an all time record $3.796 trillion in 2012, an increase of 27.3%.
Moreover, before Obama there had never been a deficit anywhere near $1 trillion.  The highest previously was $458 billion, or less than half a trillion, in 2008. The federal deficit for the last budget adopted by a Republican controlled Congress was $161 billion for fiscal year 2007.  But the budget deficits for Obama’s four years were reported in Obama’s own 2013 budget as $1.413 trillion for 2009, $1.293 trillion for 2010, $1.3 trillion for 2011, and $1.327 trillion for 2012, four years in a row of deficits of $1.3 trillion or more, the highest in world history.
#19 Barack Obama almost seems more focused on his golf game than on the problems the global economy is having.  He just finished up playing his 100th round of golf since he became president.
If you are looking for some kind of a global financial miracle you can stop watching.
If European leaders had a master plan to save Europe they would have shown it by now.
If Barack Obama had a master plan to fix things he would have implemented it by now.
If the Federal Reserve had a master plan to fix things we would have seen it by now.
The entire house of cards is starting to come down and things are going to get really messy.
A lot of people both in the United States and in Europe are going to lose their jobs and their homes over the next few years.
It is likely that the next recession will be even more painful than the last one was.
Now is not the time to panic.  If you acknowledge what is coming and prepare accordingly then you will likely be in good shape.
But if you stick your head in the sand and pretend that everything is going to be okay then the next few years will likely be incredibly painful for you.

Forget The Election Results - Greece Is Still Doomed And So Is The Rest Of Europe

The election results from Greece are in and the pro-bailout forces have won, but just barely.  It is being projected that the pro-bailout New Democracy party will have about 130 seats in the 300 seat parliament, and Pasok (another pro-bailout party) will have about 33 seats.  Those two parties have alternated ruling Greece for decades, and it looks like they are going to form a coalition government which will keep Greece in the euro.  On Monday we are likely to see financial markets across the globe in celebration mode.  But the truth is that nothing has really changed.  Greece is still in a depression.  The Greek economy has contracted by close to 25 percent over the past four years, and now they are going to stay on the exact same path that they were before.  Austerity is going to continue to grind away at what remains of the Greek economy and money is going to continue to fly out of the country at a very rapid pace. Greece is still drowning in debt and completely dependent on outside aid to avoid bankruptcy.  Meanwhile, things in Spain and Italy are rapidly getting worse.  So where in that equation is room for optimism?
Right now the ingredients for a "perfect storm" are developing in Europe.  Government spending is being slashed all across the continent, ECB monetary policy is very tight, new regulations and deteriorating economic conditions are causing major banks to cut back on lending and there is panic in the air.
Unless something dramatic changes, things are going to continue to get worse.
Yes, the Greek election results mean that Greece will stay in the euro - at least for now.
But is that really a reason for Greeks to celebrate?
Right now, the unemployment rate in Greece is about 22 percent.  Businesses continue to shut down at a staggering rate and suicides are spiking.
So far this month, about 500 million euros a day has been pulled out of Greek banks.  The entire Greek banking system is on the verge of collapse.
Meanwhile, the Greek government is still running up more debt.  It is being projected that the Greek budget deficit will be about 7 percent of GDP this year.
The Greeks went to the polls and they voted for more of the same.
Are they crazy?
Someone once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Unfortunately, it looks like things are going to continue to get worse in Greece for quite some time.
And the rest of Europe is heading into a very bleak economic future as well.
At the moment, unemployment in the eurozone is at a record high.
Most analysts expect it to go even higher.
To say that Spain has an unemployment problem would be a massive understatement.  The unemployment rate in Spain is even higher than the unemployment rate in Greece is.  In fact, unemployment in Spain is the highest that it has ever been since the introduction of the euro.
The Spanish banking system is a complete and total disaster at this point.  The Spanish government has already asked for a 100 billion euro bailout for its banks.
But that might not be nearly enough.
Spain is facing a housing collapse similar to what the United States went through back in 2008 and 2009.  Right now, home prices in Spain are absolutely collapsing....
Fresh data yesterday shows how desperate the crisis is becoming in Spain. The property crash is accelerating. House prices fell at a 12.6pc rate in the first quarter of this year, compared to 11.2pc the quarter before, and 7.4pc in the quarter before that. Prices have fallen 26pc from their peak.
"Fundamentals point to a further 25pc decline," said Standard & Poor's in a report on Thursday. It may take another four years to clear a glut of one million homes left from the building boom.
Meanwhile, money is being pulled out of banks in Spain at a very alarming rate.  As panic spreads we are seeing slow motion bank runs all over Europe.  Over the past few months massive amounts of money have been moved from troubled nations to "safe havens" such as Switzerland and Germany.
Investors are getting very nervous and yields on Italian and Spanish debt are spiking again.
Last week yields on Spanish debt hit their highest levels since the introduction of the euro.  Without massive ECB intervention the yield on 10 year Spanish bonds will almost certainly blow well past the 7 percent danger mark.
The credit rating agencies are indicating that there is danger ahead.  Moody's recently downgraded Spanish debt to just one notch above junk status.  Spain is heading down the exact same road that Greece has gone.
The situation in Europe is very grim.
Greece is going to need bailouts for as far as the eye can see.
Spain is almost certainly going to need a huge bailout.
Italy is almost certainly going to need a huge bailout.
Ireland and Portugal look like they are going to need more money.
France is increasingly looking vulnerable, and Francois Hollande appears to have no real solutions up his sleeve.
As I have said so many times before, watch Europe.
Every few weeks there are headlines that declare that "Europe has been saved" but things just keep getting worse.
The governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, said the following a few weeks ago....
"Our biggest trading partner is tearing itself apart with no obvious solution."
And that is the truth.  There is no obvious solution to the problems in Europe.  The politicians could kick the can down the road for a while longer, but in the end there will be no avoiding the pain that is coming.
The equation for what is happening in Europe that I have shared before still applies....
Brutal austerity + toxic levels of government debt + rising bond yields + a lack of confidence in the financial system + banks that are massively overleveraged + a massive credit crunch = A financial implosion of historic proportions
We are watching a slow-motion financial train wreck that is absolutely unprecedented happen right in front of our eyes and our politicians are powerless to stop it.
It is going to be a long, hot summer for the European financial system.
On election day in Greece, the mood was incredibly somber.  Instead of celebrating, most Greeks seemed resigned to a very hard future.  As an article in the Telegraph described, the entire nation seems to be grinding to a halt....
This is the election that is supposed to decide whether Greece stays in the euro. Yet as it, and Europe, face what could be their Katrina moment, the dominant sense here is not of panic, or fear, or even hope - but of a country in suspended animation, grinding to a halt.
The Athens Heart shopping centre, in the southern suburbs, is polished, full of big brands, and almost totally empty of customers. "We've had five sales all day," says Steryiani Vlachakou, the assistant in the Champion sportswear store. "It's been getting a lot, lot worse."
Sadly, it is not only Greece that is doomed.
The truth is that all of Europe is doomed, and when Europe falls the entire globe is going to feel it.
So get ready for the hard times that are coming.  The pain is going to be immense and most people are not even going to see it coming.