Ron Paul: Currency Crisis Looming

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Editor’s Note: It’s human nature. Some messenger comes with information you don’t want to hear and you label him or her a crackpot. In this case, instead of me, the crackpot is Ron Paul, member of the House of Representatives (R. TX) and now head of the House financial services subcommittee that scrutinizes monetary policy. OK we all know he got that post because nobody in Congress actually knows what monetary policy is, much less how to regulate it. They figured they would give him a post that seemed to satisfy him, but where he could do no harm.

But Paul is the author of END THE FED, a surprising best seller. I’m not surprised. Public confidence in government institutions could not be lower. And somehow, despite the depths of mistrust by the public, it manages to get worse every day. I think it is the title that sold the book in such large numbers. People want to strike back and END THE FED because it is the only idea on the table that addresses their anger and frustration.

We now know that that the pillars of our financial institutions (HSBC, UBS, JP Morgan, Citi and the Bank of Medici (using the name of a centuries old family who controlled the finance of the western world) stand accused by the trustee of the Madoff mess of being directly responsible for $40 billion of the losses attributed to the Madoff Ponzi scheme. Nobody disputes that it WAS a Ponzi scheme, but everyone wanted to believe that it was a “single gunman,” who got lucky with a magic bullet fired from an impossible angle that struck thousands of people and financially killed them.The allegation is essentially that these institutions knew or should have known and the public knows not only did they know it was a scheme, but that they used the scheme to channel money into it and make “extra” fees in doing so.

What politicians and the media don’t seem to understand is that the public is far out in front of the their leaders and their revered sources of information in the media. People understand that it is impossible to fashion and maintain a $60 billion PONZI scheme spanning decades without active involvement of dozens of credible channels. Everyone on Wall Street knew that Madoff was reporting impossible returns and they all knew, for a fact, that nobody had EVER seen a single trade in a  single security from the Madoff enterprise.

Madoff understood a basic fact about Wall Street that we don’t like to talk about but we all know it true. Wall Street exists to create capital and move it around. It isn’t supposed to have a conscience and it doesn’t. It never did. Because of that it is supposed to be strictly regulated so they don’t wreck world governments, societies and the marketplace that they provide the financing, hedging of risk, and opportunities for speculators. Instead we put them in charge of the government, the referees left the field and the players were free to do any damn thing they wanted.

The presumption that the managers of these Wall Street firms would self regulate because banking is built on trust and reputation was false — because there was no risk whatsoever to the managers of these enterprises — that ended when Wall Street firms were permitted to sell their shares to the public. It’s the shareholders who have the risk. The managers objective is simple: make it look like you are making a ton of money for the shareholders and take as much of that for yourself as “compensation” as is humanly possible.

Now in the face of all that comes Ron Paul crying what other people are calling “wolf” when in fact he is completely correct in his warning. Government is attempting to catch up with the overindulgence in the issuing of proprietary currency that dwarfs government currency. Private issuance of currency now represents 1200% of all the money in the world that is circulating as “money.” Nobody has any confidence in any of this money (currency). So governments are going to the next level of using “government guarantees” as a shadow currency in attempt to re-assert themselves in the game of commerce. But nobody is buying that either.

So Paul concludes that we have no money or currency that can be sustained under current policy because as long as we let the megabanks control the information we get, control the laws we make, and control the regulation of their multinational organizations, everyone will know that people with no conscience, no loyalty to the system, and no sense of public duty are in charge. Paul understands that money and currency is nothing more than symbolic as a belief system. And he understands that no currency will survive without an active belief on the part of virtually everyone that the currency is “real.”

While there are several large flaws in his proposition of going on the gold standard, he might still be right, inasmuch it is about the only thing left that people believe and accept as a medium of exchange and a storage of value — but beware that even if we followed Paul’s prescription, the proliferation of gold certificates issued by private entities will lead to the same bubble.

Current policy is based upon the weakest of all premises — if we can just keep this PONZI scheme of mortgage bonds and the synthetic derivatives going for a while, we will reach some sort of equilibrium eventually. Our leaders are scared to death of what Paul and others are demanding: THE TRUTH. So they find it more expedient to perpetuate the lie because they really don’t know (nobody does) what happens when that $600 trillion in notional value of “cash equivalent” derivatives conflates, each being a private contract deriving its value from some other private contract, and each being either a bet or a hedge on a bet. Truthfully, I don’t know either.

But I DO know that everyone seems to know the game is up and so unless we come up with a currency that people can believe in, a crisis of unimaginable proportion will come, making the last GREAT RECESSION look like something that was manageable. People would do well to listen to Ron Paul because his politics and philosophy are about to go mainstream. Not all of it is right, agreeable or even feasible — and little of it is a catchy tune like Republicans like to play or Democrats like to invent. Paul may be giving us the last message we will ever hear before what we assume is society and government comes crashing in around us. Listen up.

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US warned on currency crisis

By Tom Braithwaite in Washington, Financial Times

Published: December 13 2010 03:22 | Last updated: December 13 2010 03:22

Ron Paul, the newly empowered Federal Reserve watchdog in the House of Representatives, said the US was on the verge of a currency crisis brought about by monetary policy and pledged to introduce sweeping audits of the central bank.

The libertarian author of End the Fed, a polemical 2009 attack on the bank that became a surprise best-seller, Mr Paul was last week appointed by his fellow Republicans to head the House financial services subcommittee that scrutinises monetary policy.

“What I really fear is that when the Fed comes to an end it will not be by my planning but it will end with a catastrophic financial dollar crisis,” said Mr Paul. “This crisis when it comes, and I think we’re approaching it, affects everybody because it’s such an important currency. I think we’re moving into very, very dangerous times.”

The Texan congressman’s ambitions stop short of an abrupt end to the central bank. But he wants to reintroduce legislation to audit the Fed.

While Mr Paul may have once been dismissed by the establishment as a crank, he has recently garnered widespread support from left and right for his attempts to increase transparency.

US policymakers are proud of their aggressive response to the financial crisis and contend that the raft of liquidity programmes made possible by the Fed’s power have proven superior to the European response.

Amid widespread public suspicion, Ben Bernanke, Fed chairman, and other Fed governors have gone public in their defence of the $600bn monetary stimulus – or quantitative easing – plan the bank rolled out last month to bring down long-term interest rates.

Last week saw yields on US Treasury bonds increase sharply, in spite of the Fed’s move, making mortgages more expensive to refinance and obtain. Mr Paul sees the “American people waking up” to what he sees as the Fed’s dangerous policies.

“Nobody’s going to really understand it until you see the inflationary pressures – when interest rates go significantly higher and prices start to move along and I think they’ve already started in that direction,” he said.

Mr Paul, who is soft-spoken and has polite debates with Mr Bernanke in spite of his anti-Fed position, said there was not “much good” to be had from more “esoteric” back-and-forth with the Fed chairman at congressional hearings.

Instead, he wants members of the Austrian School of economics to debate Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize winner and standard bearer of liberals. “Let Paul Krugman argue ‘spend more, print more’ and have somebody else come out and give the correct answers,” he said.

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