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The Economy in Pictures

"He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat out their substance." - Declaration of Independence, 1776

The below pictures were from a presentation given at yesterday's "Towne" Hall on May 24.  I've added a few comments with documentation links.  The quote above from the Declaration easily applies to the 22.5 million bureaucrats, America's second largest job sector, who make nearly twice the average wage of the private sector.

While America is not Greece - or Iceland - there are glaring similarities.

While the Republocrats are not King George... they are far worse.

For Liberty and the Constitution,

Jake Towne

USDA link here.  Note the strong rise in number of SNAP food stamp recipients during the past year.  One would expect to see this number dropping or even flat-lining - along with employment rising - if a recovery were underway.

BLS link here.  Note that while the "newspaper" unemployment rate is still 10%, the U-6 figure - which more accurately describes total unemployment is 17% - a depression statistic.  I've described the common sense solutions to end rampant unemployment almost overnight in the campaign's Jobs plank.

Since the BLS drops off workers from its U-6 figure, the real unemployment rate is most likely slightly greater than 17%.  Shadowstats estimates the rate at about 22%.

The current national debt - which is closely tied to the USTreasury market is now over $13 trillion.  Current government plans include massive deficit spending through 2013, and the government's optimistic projections of a return to "normalcy" even then should be severely doubted.  Source of budget data.  However, due to the cash-based accounting method government uses, this hides the undeniable fact that the real national debt is much larger when GAAP (Generally Acceptable Accounting Principles) are used to identify future taxation sources and future debts such as Social Security and Medicare (see below).

The above is taken from the Treasury Department's latest report from April 2010 where government's inlays - social security and retirement taxes, income taxes (both personal and corporate), and excise taxes can be seen.  The average monthly level is about $170 billion per month.

From the same report, the level of government spending, which averages about $300 billion per month.  (Only the government can run that type of accounting, due to its money-printing!)  While Social Security and Medicare are a major expense, the level of "National Defense" spending appears deceptively low as it is just the DoD budget.  As I wrote about in "Guns or Health Care?" plenty of "Other Non-Defense" spending are in fact related to the military - Homeland Security, the nuclear arsenal under the Dept. of Energy, Veteran's Affairs, the Treasury's military retirement program, etc.

As seen in the official USTreasury report on page 178/254, the total unfunded liabilities for Medicare and Social Security is a jaw-dropping $107 trillion over the future of these programs.  While I predict the Democrats may bear the brunt of the blame for the collapse of Medicare, one must not forget that it was the Republican's massive expansion of Part D's prescription drug plan that worsened the fiscal situation.  One interesting possible interpretation of the recent health care takeover plan is it may simply be a stop-gap solution to temporarily increase taxes over the next few years.  (On Social Security, I will be delivering a presentation in more detail next Friday.)

The above is built from the Federal Reserve H.4.1 data here.  The red line is the total (reported) balance sheet of the FED, which has more than doubled since the time of the Banker Bailout.  While the original TARP bailout (not shown) accounted for much of the initial sharp increase, most of the debt has been replaced by $1.12 trillion of mortgage-backed securities from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (the purple line).   This graph shows the nationalization and propping of America's entire residential housing industry.  The yellow and green lines show the cumulative totals of USTreasury and USAgency debt held by the FED.  While the Federal Reserve has admitted it will take losses on the MBS debt, the question remains as to how much and when.

The purchasing power of the dollar has lost well over 94% since FDR took America off the classical gold standard in 1933 through monetary inflation.  The monetary inflation is caused by the FED.  They debase the dollar by creating more and more irredeemable paper dollars.  Graph provided by Bloomberg Financial, 2009.

The above chart shows the "real interest rate" from 1970 to 2009, formula below.  It is an approximation for the dollar's purchasing power versus time.  While in 1980 it reached nearly +10% (savings rate of ~19% and inflation of ~10%), in 1990 this rate went negative and continued dropping.  The chart shows the capital and savings of America being ruthlessly destroyed by the FED and the government.  Source.

Real Rate of Interest = (Interest Rate earned by a bank savings account) minus (Inflation Rate)

The rising price of gold over the past decade demonstrates the destruction of the world's paper currencies.  In the past several weeks, gold reached all-time record highs in dollars, yen, euros, Swiss francs, and British pounds.  As described in this article, the gold price is likely suppressed by governments in order to make their own currencies look good as I wrote about in "The Summers Gold Price Suppression Scheme."  Gold trades over $20 billion USD per trading day - or over $20 trillion annually - a figure larger than the $15 trillion GDP figure used for the United States.

To cap off the situation with the dollar, the latest quarterly banking profile from the FDIC indicates the deposit insurance fund (DIF) is bankrupt.  While consumers at failed banks still receive "insured" funds, the losses are presumably filled in with dollars from the FED, as reported last here.  The current FDIC "watch list" rose to 775 banks, or almost 10% of all FDIC-insured banks in the US per p. 3/26.

The crux of the Over-the-Counter derivatives problem is its enormous size.  However the $600 trillion figure shown is the derivatives' contracts notional value - a true market value cannot be assessed.  The primary issue with OTC derivatives is that they trade off of exchanges, so their contents are opaque to the rest of the marketplace.  Note that exchange-traded derivatives (NYSE:EXD) are much smaller.

BIS data here.  Note the sharp drop following the 2008 financial crisis.  More details on derivatives can be learned in "What the Heck are Derivatives?" and "Bring Light to Dark Derivatives!"

Disclosure: No positions