Monday, 25 July 2011

America – Too Big to Fail

US Debt Crisis Threatens Global Markets as Congress Is Locked in Blame Game

THE GUARDIAN: Congressional talks fail to make progress after Obama's fall-out with House leader John Boehner

Democrats and Republicans are locked into a dangerous game of seeing who will crack first over the national debt crisis, with the White House warning that the next few days could be stressful for world markets and Americans.

With time running out, congressional leaders from both sides met on Saturday after the dramatic collapse of negotiations between Barack Obama and the house Republican leader, John Boehner, on Friday. But the congressional talks broke up late on Saturday night after failing to make progress.

The White House chief of staff, Bill Daley, interviewed on Sunday on CBS, predicted that the next few days will be tense. "In the end, we may have a few stressful days coming up – stressful for the markets of the world and the American people."

In an effort to reassure markets reopening after the weekend, he claimed he was confident a deal would be reached before the 2 August deadline. The White House refused to discuss what contingency planning is taking place in the event no compromise. » | Ewen MacAskill in Washington | Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday, 17 July 2011

US Raised Debt Ceiling 102 Times – Economist

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Return of the Gold Standard as World Order Unravels

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: As the twin pillars of international monetary system threaten to come tumbling down in unison, gold has reclaimed its ancient status as the anchor of stability. The spot price surged to an all-time high of $1,594 an ounce in London, lifting silver to $39 in its train.

On one side of the Atlantic, the eurozone debt crisis has spread to the countries that may be too big to save - Spain and Italy - though RBS thinks a €3.5 trillion rescue fund would ensure survival of Europe's currency union.

On the other side, the recovery has sputtered out and the printing presses are being oiled again. Brinkmanship between the Congress and the White House over the US debt ceiling has compelled Moody's to warn of a "very small but rising risk" that the world's paramount power may default within two weeks. "The unthinkable is now thinkable," said Ross Norman, director of

Fed chair Ben Bernanke confessed to Congress that growth has failed to gain traction. "Deflationary risks might re-emerge, implying a need for additional policy support," he said.

The bar to QE3 - yet more bond purchases - is even lower than markets had thought. The new intake of hard-money men on the voting committee has not shifted Fed thinking, despite global anger at dollar debasement under QE2.

Fuelling the blaze, the emerging powers of Asia are almost all running uber-loose monetary policies. Most have negative real interest rates that push citizens out of bank accounts and into gold, or property. China is an arch-inflater. Prices are rising at 6.4pc, yet the one-year deposit rate is just 3.5pc. India's central bank is far behind the curve. Continue reading and comment » | Ambrose Evans-Pritchard | Thursday, July 14, 2011

Monday, 4 July 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

To all my American visitors: Have a wonderful celebration on Independence Day!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Fareed’s Take: U.S. Follows Greece?

Eric Pickles Warns David Cameron of Rise in Homeless Families Risk

THE GUARDIAN: A leaked letter, from the office of Eric Pickles has warned that welfare reform will make 40,000 more families homeless

David Cameron has been warned by one of his most trusted cabinet ministers that his welfare policies risk making 40,000 families homeless.

The extraordinary claim, in a letter to the prime minister from the office of Eric Pickles, the communities secretary, exposes deep splits at the heart of government over plans to cap benefit at £500 a week per family.

The letter, leaked to the Observer, reveals Pickles's belief that the cap – announced with great fanfare at last year's Tory conference – will increase the burden on taxpayers, because thousands of families will be unable to pay their rent and will have to seek local government help. It blows apart the government's public insistence that a limit on benefit payments will have little impact on homelessness and child poverty. » | Daniel Boffey and Toby Helm | Saturday, July 02, 2011