The basic necessities in life just keep getting more expensive. On Tuesday, Hershey announced that the price of all of their chocolate bars is going to go up by about 8 percent. That is particularly distressing to me, because I am known to love chocolate. But if it was just chocolate that was becoming significantly more expensive perhaps that would be okay. Last month, it was coffee. J.M. Smucker, one of the largest coffee producers in the United States, announced that it planned to raise coffee prices by about 9 percent. And Starbucks has announced a bunch of price increases across the board on their coffee products. Of course we could all survive without chocolate and coffee, but as you will see below just about every food category is becoming more expensive. If this keeps up, could we eventually see armed guards in grocery stores and on food trucks?
On Wednesday, Robert Wenzel of the Economic Policy Journal shared some new data that has just been released by the federal government about food inflation over the past year. Without a doubt, these numbers are quite startling… Read more »(1193 words + 2 images, estimated 4:46 mins reading time)
Have you noticed that prices are going up rapidly? If so, you are certainly not alone. But Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen, the Obama administration and the mainstream media would have us believe that inflation is completely under control and exactly where it should be. Perhaps if the highly manipulated numbers that they quote us were real, everything would be fine. But of course the way that the inflation rate is calculated has been changed more than 20 times since the 1970s, and at this point it bears so little relation to reality that it is essentially meaningless. Anyone that has to regularly pay for food, water, gas, electricity or anything else knows that inflation is too high. In fact, if inflation was calculated the same way that it was back in 1980, the inflation rate would be close to 10 percent right now.
But you would never know that listening to Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen. In the video posted below, you can listen to her telling the media that there is absolutely nothing to be concerned about…
And it is really hard to get too upset with Janet Yellen.
After all, she reminds many people of a sweet little grandmother. Read more »(1240 words + 1 image, estimated 4:58 mins reading time)
Do you think that the price of food is high now? Just wait. If current trends continue, many of the most common food items that Americans buy will cost more than twice as much by the end of this decade. Global demand for food continues to rise steadily as crippling droughts ravage key agricultural regions all over the planet. You see, it isn’t just the multi-year California drought that is affecting food prices. Down in Brazil (one of the leading exporters of food in the world), the drought has gotten so bad that 142 cities were rationing water at one point earlier this year. And outbreaks of disease are also having a significant impact on our food supply. A devastating pig virus that has never been seen in the U.S. before has already killed up to 6 million pigs. Even if nothing else bad happens (and that is a very questionable assumption to make), our food prices are going to be moving aggressively upward for the foreseeable future. But what if something does happen? In recent years, global food reserves have dipped to extremely low levels, and a single major global event (war, pandemic, terror attack, planetary natural disaster, etc.) could create an unprecedented global food crisis very rapidly. Read more »(1067 words + 1 image, estimated 4:16 mins reading time)
Today is the Federal Reserve’s 100th birthday. It’s likely to slip by with little fanfare, though it should be a day that lives in infamy. It’s more destructive than Pearl Harbor. In fact, it made Pearl Harbor — and all wars in the last 100 years — possible.
One hundred years ago today, Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act. The act itself was conceived three years earlier during a secret meeting of moneyed elites and their U.S. Senator/proxy on Jekyll Island, Ga.
The conspirators were Senator Nelson Aldrich, the father-in-law of John D. Rockefeller Jr. (the Standard Oil group); Paul Warburg, a German banker representing the German banking conglomerate MM Warburg of Hamburg, Germany and Kuhn, Loeb & Co. in the U.S.; Henry P. Davison, a partner at JP Morgan and chairman of Bankers Trust Company; Benjamin Strong, vice president of Bankers Trust; Frank Vanderlip, chairman of National City Bank; and Charles D. Norton, president of First National Bank. Bankers Trust, National City Bank and First National Bank were all part of the Morgan group of banks. Vanderlip was also a Rockefeller agent (related by marriage) and was a director of Rockefeller’s railroad and lumber concerns. Read more »(1507 words, estimated 6:02 mins reading time)
This article, written by Ludwig von Mises Institute associate scholar and associate professor at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos Philipp Bagus, was originally published by the Institute on Dec. 13.
A paper currency system contains the seeds of its own destruction. The temptation for the monopolist money producer to increase the money supply is almost irresistible. In such a system with a constantly increasing money supply and — as a consequence — constantly increasing prices, it does not make much sense to save in cash to purchase assets later. A better strategy, given this scenario, is to go into debt to purchase assets and pay back the debts later with a devalued currency. Moreover, it makes sense to purchase assets that can later be pledged as collateral to obtain further bank loans. A paper money system leads to excessive debt.
This is especially true of players who can expect that they will be bailed out with newly produced money such as big businesses, banks, and the government. Read more »(1358 words + 1 image, estimated 5:26 mins reading time)
A week from now, the Federal Reserve System will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding. Resulting from secret negotiations between bankers and politicians at Jekyll Island, Ga., the Fed’s creation established a banking cartel and a board of government overseers that has grown ever stronger through the years. One would think this anniversary would elicit some sort of public recognition of the Fed’s growth from a quasi-agent of the Treasury Department intended to provide an elastic currency, to a de facto independent institution that has taken complete control of the economy through its central monetary planning. But just like the Fed’s creation, its 100th anniversary may come and go with only a few passing mentions.
Like many other horrible and unConstitutional pieces of legislation, the bill that created the Fed, the Federal Reserve Act, was passed under great pressure on Dec. 23, 1913, in the waning moments before Congress recessed for Christmas, with many members already absent from those final votes. This underhanded method of pressuring Congress with such a deadline to pass the Federal Reserve Act would provide a foreshadowing of the Fed’s insidious effects on the U.S. economy — with actions performed without transparency. Read more »(558 words, estimated 2:14 mins reading time)
If you believe that there is high inflation in the United States, you are just imagining things. That is the message that the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve would have us to believe. You might have noticed that the government announced on Wednesday that the cost of living increase for Social Security beneficiaries will only be 1.5 percent next year. This is one of the smallest cost of living increases that we have ever seen. The federal government is able to get away with this because the official numbers say that there is hardly any inflation in the U.S. right now. Of course anyone that shops for groceries or that pays bills regularly knows what a load of nonsense the official inflation rate is. The U.S. government has changed the way that inflation is calculated numerous times since 1978, and each time it has been changed the goal has been to make inflation appear to be even lower. According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if the inflation rate was still calculated the same way that it was back when Jimmy Carter was president, the official rate of inflation would be somewhere between 8 and 10 percent today. But if the mainstream news actually reported such a number, everyone would be screaming and yelling about getting inflation under control. Instead, the super low number that gets put out to the public makes it look like the Federal Reserve has plenty of room to do even more reckless money printing. It is a giant scam, but most Americans are falling for it. Read more »(1261 words + 1 image, estimated 5:03 mins reading time)
The 25 statistics that you are about to read are solid proof that the middle class in America is being systematically wiped out. Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world. It seemed like almost everyone owned a home, had a couple of nice vehicles and could provide a very comfortable lifestyle for their families. Sadly, that has all changed. In America today, prices are rising at a very brisk pace but incomes are not. There aren’t nearly enough jobs for everyone anymore, and most of the jobs that are being “created” are jobs that pay very little. The largest employer in America is Wal-Mart, and the second largest employer is actually a temp agency (Kelly Services). In a desperate attempt to make ends meet, millions of American families endlessly pile up more debt, and millions of other American families find themselves forced to turn to the government for help. At this point, more than 49 percent of all Americans receive benefits from the federal government each month. The percentage of Americans that cannot financially take care of themselves is rising every single year, and our independence is being whittled away as we become increasingly dependent on the government. Unfortunately, our politicians continue to stand aside and do nothing as our jobs are shipped overseas, inflation steals our purchasing power and the middle class continues to shrink. The following are 25 stats that prove that the American Dream is being systematically destroyed… Read more »(1275 words + 1 image, estimated 5:06 mins reading time)
There is a reason why every fiat currency in the history of the world has eventually failed. At some point, those issuing fiat currencies always find themselves giving in to the temptation to wildly print more money. Sometimes, the motivation for doing this is good. When an economy is really struggling, those that have been entrusted with the management of that economy can easily fall for the lie that things would be better if people just had “more money”. Today, the Federal Reserve finds itself faced with a scenario that is very similar to what the Weimar Republic was facing nearly 100 years ago. Like the Weimar Republic, the U.S. economy is also struggling and like the Weimar Republic, the U.S. government is absolutely drowning in debt. Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve has decided to adopt the same solution that the Weimar Republic chose. The Federal Reserve is recklessly printing money out of thin air, and in the short-term some positive things have come out of it. But quantitative easing worked for the Weimar Republic for a little while too. At first, more money caused economic activity to increase and unemployment was low. But all of that money printing destroyed faith in German currency and in the German financial system and ultimately Germany experienced an economic meltdown that the world is still talking about today. This is the path that the Federal Reserve is taking America down, but most Americans have absolutely no idea what is happening. Read more »(2331 words + 6 images, estimated 9:19 mins reading time)
Are you ready for Janet Yellen? Wall Street wants her, the mainstream media wants her and it appears that her confirmation would be a slam dunk. She would be the first woman ever to chair the Federal Reserve, and her philosophy is that a little bit of inflation is actually good for an economy. She was reportedly the architect for many of the unprecedented monetary decisions that Ben Bernanke made during his tenure, and that has many on Wall Street and in the media very excited. Noting that we “already know that Yellen is on board with Bernanke’s easy money policies”, CNN recently even went so far as to publish a rabidly pro-Yellen article with this stunning headline: “Dear Mr. President: Name Yellen now!” But after watching what a disaster Bernanke has been, do we really want more of the same? It doesn’t really matter whether she is a woman, a man, a giant lizard or a robot, the question is whether or not she is going to continue to take us down the path to ruin that Bernanke has taken us. As I have written about so many times, the Federal Reserve is at the very heart of our economic problems, and under Bernanke the Fed has created a mammoth financial bubble unlike anything that we have ever seen before. If Yellen keeps us going down that road, financial disaster is inevitable. Read more »(1365 words + 1 image, estimated 5:28 mins reading time)
If the economy is getting better, then why do incomes keep falling? According to a shocking new report that was just released by the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income (adjusted for inflation) has declined for five years in a row. This has happened even though the federal government has been borrowing and spending money at an unprecedented rate and the Federal Reserve has been on the most reckless money printing spree in U.S. history. Despite all of the “emergency measures” that have been taken to “stimulate the economy”, things just continue to get worse for average American families. Americans are working harder than ever, but their paychecks are not reflecting that. Meanwhile, the cost of everything just keeps going up. The Federal Reserve insists that inflation is “low”, but anyone that goes grocery shopping or that stops at a gas station knows that is a lie. In fact, if inflation was calculated the exact same way that it was calculated back in 1980, the inflation rate would be somewhere between 8 and 10 percent right now. Paychecks are being stretched more than ever before, and that is probably the reason why about three-fourths of the entire country is living paycheck to paycheck at this point. Read more »(1106 words + 1 image, estimated 4:25 mins reading time)
Are American workers paid enough? That is a topic that is endlessly debated all across this great land of ours. Unfortunately, what pretty much everyone can agree on is that American workers are not making as much as they used to after you account for inflation. Back in 1968, the minimum wage in the United States was $1.60 an hour. That sounds very small, but after you account for inflation a very different picture emerges. Using the inflation calculator that the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides, $1.60 in 1968 is equivalent to $10.74 today. And of course the official government inflation numbers have been heavily manipulated to make inflation look much lower than it actually is, so the number for today should actually be substantially higher than $10.74, but for purposes of this article we will use $10.74. If you were to work a full-time job at $10.74 an hour for a full year (with two weeks off for vacation), you would make about $21,480 for the year. That isn’t a lot of money, but according to the Social Security Administration, 40.28% of all workers make less than $20,000 a year in America today. So that means that more than 40 percent of all U.S. workers actually make less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968. That is how far we have fallen. Read more »(1486 words + 1 image, estimated 5:57 mins reading time)
Everything is going to be just great. Haven’t you heard? The stock market is at an all-time high, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that inflation is incredibly low, and the official unemployment rate has been steadily declining since early in Barack Obama’s first term. Of course I am being facetious, but this is the kind of talk about the economy that you will hear if you tune in to the mainstream media. They would have us believe that those running things know exactly what they are doing and that very bright days are ahead for America. And it would be wonderful if that was actually true. Unfortunately, as I made exceedingly clear yesterday, the U.S. economy has already been in continual decline for the past decade. Any honest person that looks at those numbers has to admit that our economy is not even close to where it used to be. But could it be possible that we are making a comeback? Could it be possible that Obama and Bernanke really do know what they are doing and that their decisions have put us on the path to prosperity? Could it be possible that everything is going to be just fine? Read more »(930 words + 1 image, estimated 3:43 mins reading time)
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said this week that inflation in the United States needs to be higher. Yes, he actually came right out and said that. It almost seems as if Bernanke is trying to purposely hurt the middle class. On Wednesday, Bernanke told the press that “both sides of our mandate are saying we need to be more accommodative“. Of course he was referring to the Fed’s dual mandate to keep unemployment and inflation low, but Bernanke has a very unique interpretation of that mandate. According to Bernanke, inflation in the U.S. is now “too low“. The official inflation rate is currently sitting at about 1 percent, and Bernanke insists that such a low rate of inflation is not good for the economy. He would prefer that the rate of inflation be up around 2 percent, and he is hoping that more “monetary accommodation” will help push inflation up and the unemployment rate down.
But what Bernanke will never admit is that the official inflation rate is a total sham. The way that inflation is calculated has changed more than 20 times since 1978, and each time it has been changed the goal has been to make it appear to be lower than it actually is. Read more »(1086 words + 1 image, estimated 4:21 mins reading time)
Are the central banks of the world starting to lose control of the financial markets? Could we be facing a situation where the bond bubble is going to inevitably implode no matter what the central bankers do? For the past several years, the central bankers of the planet have been able to get markets to do exactly what they want them to do. Stock markets have soared to record highs, bond yields have plunged to record lows and investors have literally hung on every word uttered by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other prominent central bankers. In the United States, it has been remarkable what Bernanke has been able to accomplish. The U.S. government has been indulging in an unprecedented debt binge, the Fed has been wildly printing money, and the real rate of inflation has been hovering around 8 to 10 percent, and yet Bernanke has somehow convinced investors to lend gigantic piles of money to the U.S. government for next to nothing. But this irrational state of affairs is not going to last indefinitely. At some point, investors are going to wake up and start demanding higher returns. And we are already starting to see this happen in Japan. Wild money printing has actually caused bond yields to go up. What a concept! And that is what should happen – when central banks recklessly print money it should cause investors to demand a higher return. But if bond investors all over the globe start acting rationally, that is going to cause the largest bond bubble in the history of the planet to burst, and that will create utter devastation in the financial markets. Read more »(1076 words + 1 image, estimated 4:18 mins reading time)
If the economy is improving, then why aren’t things getting better for most average Americans? They tell us that the unemployment rate is going down, but the percentage of Americans that are actually working is exactly the same it was three years ago. They tell us that American families are in better financial shape now, but real disposable income is falling rapidly. They tell us that inflation is low, but every time we go shopping at the grocery store the prices just seem to keep going up. They tell us that the economic crisis is over, and yet poverty and government dependence continue to explode to unprecedented heights. There seems to be a disconnect between what the government and the media are telling us and what is actually true. With each passing day the debt of the federal government grows larger, the financial world become even more unstable and more American families fall out of the middle class. The same long-term economic trends that have been eating away at our economy like cancer for decades continue to ruthlessly attack the foundations of our economic system. We are rapidly speeding toward an economic cataclysm, and yet the government and most of the media make it sound like happy days are here again. The American people deserve better than this. The American people deserve the truth. The following are 36 hard questions about the U.S. economy that the mainstream media should be asking… Read more »(1145 words + 1 image, estimated 4:35 mins reading time)
Is the coming financial collapse going to be inflationary or deflationary? Are we headed for rampant inflation or crippling deflation? This is a subject that is hotly debated by economists all over the country. Some insist that the wild money printing that the Federal Reserve is doing combined with out of control government spending will eventually result in hyperinflation. Others point to all of the deflationary factors in our economy and argue that we will experience tremendous deflation when the bubble economy that we are currently living in bursts. So what is the truth? Well, for the reasons listed below, I believe that we will see both. The next major financial panic will cause a substantial deflationary wave first, and after that we will see unprecedented inflation as the central bankers and our politicians respond to the financial crisis. This will happen so quickly that many will get “financial whiplash” as they try to figure out what to do with their money. We are moving toward a time of extreme financial instability, and different strategies will be called for at different times.
So why will we see deflation first? The following are some of the major deflationary forces that are affecting our economy right now… Read more »(1010 words + 4 images, estimated 4:02 mins reading time)
By recklessly printing, borrowing and spending money, our authorities are absolutely shredding confidence in the U.S. dollar. The rest of the world is watching this nonsense, and at some point they are going to give up on the U.S. dollar and throw their hands up in the air. When that happens, it is going to be absolutely catastrophic for the U.S. economy. Right now, we export a lot of our inflation. Each year, we buy far more from the rest of the world than they buy from us, and so the rest of the world ends up with giant piles of U.S. dollars. This works out pretty well for them, because the U.S. dollar is the primary reserve currency of the world and is used in international trade far more than any other currency is. Back in 1999, the percentage of foreign exchange reserves in U.S. dollars peaked at 71 percent, and since then it has slid back to 62.2 percent. But that is still an overwhelming amount. We can print, borrow and spend like crazy because the rest of the world is there to soak up our excess dollars because they need them to trade with one another. But what will happen someday if the rest of the world decides to reject the U.S. dollar? At that point we would see a tsunami of U.S. dollars come flooding back to this country. Just take a moment and think of the worst superstorm that you can possibly imagine, and then replace every drop of rain with a dollar bill. The giant currency superstorm that will eventually hit this nation will be far worse than that. Read more »(1596 words + 2 images, estimated 6:23 mins reading time)
Stuff costs too much. Seriously. Every time I go to the grocery store these days, I am absolutely horrified by the prices. I try not to buy anything that is not on sale, but the problem is that I am discovering that the new sale prices are the old regular prices. So now paying what used to be “full price” is supposedly a “good deal”. The other way that they are trying to hide rising prices is by shrinking package sizes. As if we wouldn’t notice that a box of 21 garbage bags is now being sold for the exact same price that a box of 25 garbage bags used to be sold for. It is one of my pet peeves. I feel like I am in the middle of some bizarre movie entitled “The Incredible Shrinking Dollar”. Sadly, I am far from alone. There are millions upon millions of American families that are seeing their expenses continue to rise even as their paychecks remain the same. But neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney seems very concerned about inflation. In fact, the Federal Reserve, QE3 and Ben Bernanke were not even mentioned in any of the three presidential debates. So I think that somebody should start the “Stuff Costs Too Much” Party. Inflation is a tax which is destroying the value of each dollar that we hold a little bit more every single day, and the American people deserve to know the truth about what is going on. Read more »(1806 words + 2 images, estimated 7:13 mins reading time)
Can we believe any of the economic numbers that the government is feeding us these days? Most of the focus recently has been on the bizarre jobs report that the government released last Friday, but the truth is that the inflation rate is a lie too. In fact, the way that the government calculates inflation has changed more than 20 times since 1978. The government is constantly looking for ways that it can make inflation appear to be even lower. According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if inflation was measured the same way that it was back in 1990, the inflation rate would be about 5 percent right now. If inflation was measured the same way that it was back in 1980, the inflation rate would be about 9 percent right now. But instead, we are expected to believe that the inflation rate is hovering around 2 percent. Well, anyone that goes to the supermarket or fills up their vehicle with gasoline knows that prices are going up a lot faster than that. Just about everything that we buy on a regular basis is steadily becoming more expensive, and so most Americans are not buying it when government officials tell us that there is barely any inflation right now. Read more »(1088 words + 2 images, estimated 4:21 mins reading time)