Tuapte Semper Ingredere Via

Community, People, Localization – a return to a human scale

How things change

leave a comment »

“The more we study the major problems of our time, the more we come to realize that they cannot be understood in isolation. They are systemic problems, which means that they are interconnected and interdependent.” Fritjof Capra

The problem with central bank intervention is that it never works out as planned. The unintended consequences end up cancelling out the short-term benefits. Back in 2008, when the Fed introduced zero percent interest rates, everyone thought it was a great policy. Four years later, however, and we’re finally beginning to appreciate the complete destruction it has wreaked on savers. Just look at the horror show that is the pension industry today: According to Credit Suisse, of the 341 companies in the S&P 500 index with defined benefit pension plans, 97 percent are underfunded today. According to a recent pension study by Seattle-based Milliman Inc., the combined deficit of the 100 largest defined-benefit plans in the US increased by $236.4 billion in 2011 alone.  The main culprit for the increase? Depressed interest rates on government bonds.

Let’s also not forget the public sector pension shortfalls, which are outright frightening. In Europe, unfunded state pension obligations are estimated to total $39 trillion dollars, which is approximately five times higher than Europe’s combined gross debt. In the United States, unfunded pension obligations increased by $2.9 trillion in 2011. If the US actually acknowledged these costs in their deficit calculations, their official 2011 fiscal deficit would have risen from the reported $1.3 trillion to $4.2 trillion. Written the long way, that’s a deficit of $4,200,000,000,000,… in one year.

There is unfortunately no economic textbook to guide us through these strange times, but common sense suggests we should be extremely wary of the continued maneuvering by central banks. The more central banks print to save the system, the more the system will rely on their printing to stay solvent – and you cannot solve a debt problem with more debt, and you cannot print money without serious repercussions. The central banks are fueling a growing distrust among the creditor nations that is forcing them to take pre-emptive actions with their currency reserves. Individual investors should take note and follow-suit, because it will be a lot easier to enjoy the “Year of the Central Bank” if you own things that can actually benefit from all their printing, as opposed to things that can only be destroyed by it.

Feel like your wages are buying less in real terms?

They are:

Feel like your dollar is buying less, even though the financial press claims that the dollar is strong?

It is buying less — but so are the other fiat currencies:

Advertisements

Written by dcveale13

June 19, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: