The warnings from the top echelons of our governments and financial system are everywhere.
In January, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner confirmed that we’re literally on the brink of collapse:
Failure to raise the limit would precipitate a default by the United States. Default would effectively impose a significant and long-lasting tax on all Americans and all American businesses and could lead to the loss of millions of American jobs. Even a very short-term or limited default would have catastrophic economic consequences that would last for decades.
This past weekend, the BRIC nations that include China, Russia and other developing countries took significant, but under-reported, steps to lowering the influence of the US dollar in international trade:
China and four other leading high-growth economies have taken landmark steps toward lowering the importance of the dollar in international financial transactions — part of a seminal shift in the move towards a multicurrency reserve and trading system.
“Leaders call for peace and prosperity” was the front-page headline in the China Daily. Stirring stiff. Even more striking was the prominent story the previous day that China’s President Hu Jintao and visiting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff had agreed to quicken trade procedures for “gelatin, corn, tobacco leaf, bovine embryos and semen.” At least we know there’s no holding back the Chinese rhetorical flourishes on these issues.
Today, Standard & Poors lowered the credit rating outlook for the United States:
But the ratings agency lowered its outlook for America’s long-term credit rating to “negative” from “stable,” based on the uncertain political debate around the nation’s fiscal problems.
The outlook means that there is a one-in-three likelihood that it could lower the long-term rating on the United States within two years, S&P said.
Everything from the economic woes on Main Street up to the actions of the elites in recent months, suggests that the system is at a breaking point.
Oil is rising to 2008 levels – and for those who remember, it was these large increases in gas prices that triggered the financial collapse. Now, we are worse off. We’ve thrown everything we have at the system from a monetary and government standpoint, yet nothing has changed fundamentally. What’s worse, is that gas prices are about to surpass 2008 levels, and food prices are going through the roof, putting further pressure on American and global consumers.
Europe is and has been a disaster for several years. It’s been playing out in slow motion, and as we forecast time and again, Portugal is about to fall apart financially. Next will be Spain and likely Italy. One misstep here and everything could buckle.
The Japanese nuclear crisis, the effects of which will not be known for several more months, remains in full swing and could potentially come to a head in July and trigger the next global meltdown.
In yet another warning from a top official, which echoes previous, similar alarms raised by leaders of China, Russia and our own Congress, President of the World Bank Robert Zoellick highlights how fragile the entire global economy has become:
Zoellick estimated 44 million people have fallen into poverty due to rising food prices in the past year, and a 10 percent increase in the food price index would send 10 million more people into poverty. The United Nations FAO Food Price index jumped 25 percent last year, the second-steepest increase since at least 1991, and surged to a record in February.
Food price inflation is “the biggest threat today to the world’s poor,” Zoellick said at a press conference following meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. “We are one shock away from a full-blown crisis.”
Economic growth “is leveling off after a post-crisis recovery,” Zoellick said. “The question now is whether it’s strong enough to reduce unemployment, particularly in developed countries. Inflation is up in developing countries, and this could lead to overheating or asset price bubbles.”
Economic growth is only leveling off because of policies undertaken by the US government, the Federal Reserve, the EU, and other elite financial and government institutions. The whole point was to “stabilize” prices, markets and the economy.
But nothing of the sort has been accomplished. Every week we have an official government statement from somewhere in the world about how critical of a problem we are facing, on a number of different levels.
If we’re only one shock away from a full blown crisis, then we can’t help but suggest that we can expect complete economic pandemonium very soon. The underlying problems, which the government and financial elites have tried to cover up from some time, will come to a head – in fact, they are coming to a head right before our eyes in real-time.
It’s not an issue of if. It’s only an issue of what will trigger it and when the trigger gets pulled.