Friday, July 22, 2011

The Enemy is Washington

Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term.  He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal.  He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand.

The Enemy is Washington

Recently, the bond rating agencies that gave junk derivatives triple-A ratings threatened to downgrade US Treasury bonds if the White House and Congress did not reach a deficit reduction deal and debt ceiling increase.  The downgrade threat is not credible, and neither is the default threat.  Both are make-believe crises that are being hyped in order to force cutbacks in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

If the rating agencies downgraded Treasuries, the company executives would be arrested for the fraudulent ratings that they gave to the junk that Wall Street peddled to the rest of the world. The companies would be destroyed and their ratings discredited. The US government will never default on its bonds, because the bonds, unlike those of Greece, Spain, and Ireland, are payable in its own currency. Regardless of whether the debt ceiling is raised, the Federal Reserve will continue to purchase the Treasury’s debt.  If Goldman Sachs is too big to fail, then so is the US government.

A Few Charts Depicting US Economic Woes

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Presenting Things You Buy That Used to Be Free

MSN- Liz Weston

Accessing Your Own Money
You may not believe it, my dears, but banks once actually paid you for the privilege of storing your money. No, I'm not talking about the toasters that banks would give you for opening an account. I'm talking about interest, and receiving it was a wonderful thing: Your balance could grow with no effort on your part.

Banks still purportedly pay interest, but you'll need a magnifying glass to spot the difference in your account balance. Meanwhile, most financial institutions are intent on whittling away at your balance in every way they can think of -- through monthly account fees, ATM fees, fees for having a statement printed or the image of an old check retrieved, even fees for talking to a teller.

You don't have to let them rob you blind, of course. You can still get free checking at most big banks by maintaining a certain balance or agreeing to an all-electronic account (no paper statements, no talking to tellers). Or you can expand your search to community banks and credit unions, which often still offer free checking. Avoiding ATM fees can be as simple as drawing money from your own bank's machines or asking for cash back when using your debit card.