Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Greek Time Bomb

Saturday, Greek officials walked away from debt negotiations and announced a referendum vote for July, 5th on the proposed debt repayment plan. In the interim week, Athens imposed strict capital controls. Today, Greece is due to pay the IMF 1.6 billion euro; however, default here seems likely. The Greek appear to be divided on accepting the EU's bailout plan: with it will come a salvaged economy, albeit with increased taxes and cuts to their much-loved pensions; but without it, Greece could be forced off the euro, and possibly out of the EU itself. Monday, with news of shuttered Greek banks, markets across the world opened in the red. Investors in U.S. markets were only slightly cooled by Greek worry, with the Nasdaq, Dow, and S&P 500 all opening about .7 percent down. European indices faced losses greater than the U.S., (2-3 percent declines) but overall, no major economic turmoil.  In this time of economic worry, investors are moving away from volatile equity markets and parking assets in stable U.S., UK, and German bonds, all of which have seen an increase in price, and inversely proportional drop in interest rates. [more...]

The Truth about Fast Track TPA

Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is a piece of legislation that transfers Constitutional negotiation powers from Congress to the President who may use this power to negotiate any international trade agreement with any partner he chooses over the next few years (including Iran and Cuba) and to negotiate the agreements in any way the President sees fit.  Under TPA, Congress agrees to give up in advance the ability to change any existing or future trade agreement, even before Congress has actually read the agreements.  Instead, TPA requests the President consider 150 'negotiating objectives' on which Congress would like the President to 'make progress.'  The President is not required to actually accomplish any of these objectives and may ignore those requests at will.  In fact, the 2015 TPA bill makes clear that failure to achieve or make progress on any of the negotiating objectives shall not be cause for Congress to revoke trade authority from the President. Worst of all, by giving up its ability to amend or change any related laws and regulations, the President and the World Trade Organization decide to impose on the U.S.; Congress is also transferring its law-making powers to world courts. [more...]

Say NO to ISDS - Vote NO on TPP

I recently wrote about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement's Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision, in a letter to the Colorado StatesmanSay 'NO' to ISDS: Vote 'NO' on TPP. ISDS represents an unprecedented ability for foreign companies to sue U.S. states and municipalities in global courts, completely bypassing the U.S. justice system. Now that we've seen the U.S. Supreme Court's willingness to trample states' rights via their recent decision on gay marriage, the reality of potential ISDS lawsuits trampling U.S. sovereignty becomes bone-chilling. Don't let the Obama administration throw Anytown U.S.A. under the bus! Tell Congress to vote "NO" on the TPP. [more...]

Obama's Terrifying Agreement with World Leaders Could Spell Disaster for Millions

Greece, the Euro currency and Europe's entire economy may be slipping into chaos and dragging us down with them. After a fearful weekend that emptied the cash from almost half their nation's ATM machines, Greeks on Monday morning found their stock exchange and banks CLOSED and their accounts inaccessible (except for €60 per day ATM withdrawal starting Tuesday). Greece may have just reached the breaking point to which we are headed in the U.S. – a once-free market nation where banks are now required to report you to the government for making any unusual withdrawal; where banks may now refuse to let you withdraw your account in cash; and where carrying more than a small amount of cash might lead to government confiscation of your money via asset forfeiture laws. [more...]

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The U.S. Dollar vs. the Euro

The recession of 2008 greatly impacted economies across the world. In the seven years following the crash, markets lifted themselves back towards prosperity with varying degrees of success. One of the fastest recovering globally significant economies is that of the United States, and while there still remains years of work, we are faring much better than certain European counterparts. One of the hardest hit and slowest to recover is Greece, which is an anchor weighing down the recovery of the euro zone. As a result of the United States’ success and Europe’s sluggishness, the U.S. dollar is rallying against the euro, coming within a few cents of parity. [more...]

CASH AND CARRY - It is Now Against the Law to "Almost" Break the Law

How much cash can you now withdraw from your bank and carry in America without risk of being arrested, or of having your assets seized, merely for possessing money in this liquid form? The ominous answer is that carrying even one dollar in cash might give the government a pretext for such actions. Once upon a time, this question usually mattered only at the border. People were required to declare if they were carrying more than $10,000 in cash or negotiable instruments when entering or leaving the United States.  Failure to make a truthful declaration to U.S. Customs can result in the forfeiture of the money a person is carrying. Today, because of anti-racketeering RICO statutes and the 2001 Patriot Act, your bank is required to notify the federal government if you deposit or withdraw $10,000 or more in cash. In effect, your bank is required to spy on your financial life in this way for the government. [more...]