Does the United States Still Have an Economy?

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 The US financial sector has long looted other countries. A number of participants have described the process. First a country is enticed with bribes to the leaders to take out loans that cannot be serviced or repaid. Then in comes the IMF. Austerity is imposed on the population. Public services and employment are cut to free resources for debt service, and public assets are sold to repay the loan. Living standards fall, and US corporations take over the country’s economy.

As foreign governments, having experienced or witnessed the economic carnage and fearing accountability, are less willing to be bribed into indebting their countries, American finance is now applying this technique to Americans. Contrary to the narrative in the financial press, the Federal Reserve is not raising interest rates in order to fight inflation. It is ludicrous to think that a three-quarters of one percent rise in a very low interest rate is going to have any impact on a 9.1% rate of consumer inflation or that speculation that the Federal Reserve has in mind another three-quarters of one percent possibly followed by one half of one percent comprise an anti-inflation policy. If all these increases occur, it still leaves the interest rate below the inflation rate. 

 The Federal Reserve’s rise in interest rates is just a continuation of its policy of concentrating income and wealth in the hands of the One Percent. Quantitative Easing was the cloak for the Federal Reserve to print $8.2 trillion in new money which was directed or found its way into the prices of stocks and bonds, thus enriching the small number who own most of these financial instruments. 

 Having maxed out this avenue of wealth concentration, the Federal Reserve is now raising interest rates in order to drive up mortgage costs to aspiring home owners. The Federal Reserve is driving individuals out of the housing market in order to free up properties for “private equity” firms to purchase homes for their rental values. That private equity firms see rental income from the existing stock of houses as the best investment opportunity tells us that the US economy has played out. When investment goes into existing assets, not into producing new assets, the economy ceases to grow. 

A no-growth economy is the end result of a financialized economy. With such a large share of household income spent on debt service, little is left for driving the economy forward.

Bottom Line: The world’s largest economy” (the United States)” is today total fiction. It does not have an economy.

You will never hear it from the mainstream media in the financial press, but the United States is on the precipice of economic and social collapse. And what are the fools in Washington doing? The idiots are ginning up wars with Russia, China, and Iran. 

Go figure….

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How to Form Good Money Habits in the New Normal

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There’s a lot about the pandemic period that you want to forget. For much of it, you’re either isolated, broke, or sick, which can be detrimental to your physical, mental, and financial health. As everyone is coming out and heading towards the new normal, good money habits are something everyone needs to keep. 

With so much uncertainty coming into the future, a better focus on money matters can help shift you into better habits. There are so many financial improvements we can do in our lives now that we’re going back outside. Here’s how you can form good money habits in the new normal and be more ready for the future. 

Start Your Financial Planning 

One good money mindset to have in the new normal is to “step back, then step forward.” In simpler words, you need to plan first before moving forward with any big spending. If you intend on going for a vacation or buying something big in the coming months, it’s time to reevaluate your future plans. 

Think about the bigger picture when it comes to your financial health. Sure, you can start cutting down on your coffee and save pennies on the dollar. Instead, you can take a step back and give your life a good, long think. How do you visualize where you are in a few years? 

Ask yourself a few crucial questions: 

How much savings do you have?
How much should you save every month?
Do you want to work from home or from an office?
What kind of investments are you comfortable having?
What kind of insurance do you have? 

Change your answers to these questions according to your long-term needs. Planning is an ever-changing exercise that needs consistent attention. You need to make sure that your plans are not “dreams.” You want them to be actionable, with a specific timeline to help you achieve them. 

Enjoy, But Don’t Go Crazy With Your Money 

Post-pandemic, people have pent-up energies. Everyone wants to go places, enjoy a vacation, and go out to town. There’s a big desire to go out into the world, do the things they’ve always done, and go wild if they can. It’s not bad to enjoy your hard-earned money but remember to go back slowly. 

Don’t go crazy with your money. Make sure that you have enough money to live through the month. Have a plan in place to pay for entertainment expenses so you can play around guilt-free. Even then, don’t go into debt just because you want to feel alive. 

Look for deals available out there, especially now that businesses are looking to get people walking through their establishments. Living your life means living beyond the moment. Saving some money now takes a good amount of discipline to do. 

Stick To A Budget 

One of the financial areas that everyone had to learn over the pandemic was budgeting. Sticking to a budget was a must because having cash on hand can be useful when emergencies happen. Being prudent with your disposable cash means you can take stock of your needs and potential expenses. 

Once we move on to a life post-pandemic, budgeting needs to stay. Not only will it help you prevent overspending, it will also give you a sense of control with your life. As everything gets better, you can generate long-term savings and help you get out of debt or, at least, avoid getting more. 

Practice frugal, rather than discretionary, spending. Once you’re in a pickle, it’s crucial to know which parts of your lifestyle to cut off. Less spending on travel, eating out, and going to concerts means more savings for you. Reevaluate your cash flow and stick to a set budget for every expense you have. 

Live Within Your Means 

The idea of “living within your means” can be a problematic aphorism but the truth is that you need to stay within how much you can pay for a certain period without going into debt. Many who lost their jobs suddenly had to cut back on credit card spending and learned that they were going beyond their means, which is never good news. 

Living within your means is not restricting yourself from your own money. Rather, you need to understand that spending for something out of budget means you need to pull it off somewhere. Even if you take out the credit card to pay for it, the payments that go towards your card should increase. 

There are many ways to monitor your spending and do your best to live within your means. It’s one thing to create a budget and it’s another to live within your budget. If you want to maximize some areas of your budget, you need to cut in some areas that are far less important for you. 

Build A Six-Month Emergency Fund 

The six-month emergency fund feels like a big number to strive for but you will thank yourself for getting it once you need it. The rule of thumb is to have six months’ worth of your monthly expenses prepared as your emergency fund. This money should also be easily accessible and not in any type of investment where you can’t easily pull it out. 

Six months’ worth of expenses can be the absolute bare minimum time you would need to find a new job. It can be your period of recovery from an accident or illness. If you can afford to, it’s best to create emergency funds for up to a year. It can be challenging to meet this astronomical number, especially for cash-strapped individuals, but it should be worth it. 

Start with a small amount. As you’re still healthy, build towards the number by chipping away at it. If any financial issue comes up, this should be money that you can fall back on. A 6-month fund should give you ample financial security to find your way back, while a 12-month emergency fund can give you better freedom of choice. 

The Bottom Line 

Forming good money habits in the new normal can be one of the biggest financial challenges you face. Apart from having to prepare for the worse, it’s a lot of the boring stuff that most people overlook like budgeting and staying within your means. Then again, these will benefit you and your loved ones over time. 

Follow the money tips above and see why you need to reevaluate your spending habits. As you make personal and financial adjustments, you will slowly achieve the life you want. 

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A Time to Buy & A Time to Sell: Fearless Investing in Crypto

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When making investments in global markets, there always comes a time to buy and a time to sell. When it comes to cryptocurrencies, this is no different than making investments into any other market on the world stage. Values go up and values go down, and this is just the game we choose to play as investors. Knowledge is power here, and the more you know, the more you have the potential to grow or decline with the times. Playing it safe by merely only working for each dollar you generate will oftentimes not in itself create true wealth. This can also lead to missed opportunities as the market responds and changes to the daily economic occurrences all around us. You must be willing to take risks and be ready with an open mind towards the world of today, not merely just seeking new opportunities for work, but also consistently seeking information on new opportunities to invest. The key here is becoming fearless in your investment, and to become willing to make intelligently informed decisions as to how you move your money around global markets. 

When looking at cryptocurrency today, many are making the argument that the good days are over and the chance for economic growth here is in the past. As a prospective investor myself, I am not so sure that is the case today even despite the current news of the moment. Looking through the news of now, you may choose to believe that a crash is about to happen. Headlines across the globe have turned on cryptocurrencies as China itself has made the decision to shut down 90% of its Bitcoin. mining. This is a crackdown on the financial freedom of the people within China by the Chinese Communist Party. The CCP is mandating that its banks restrict financial services to anyone trying to make an exchange through crypto in efforts to support its own future of a digital yuan. China was formerly an early adopter of Bitcoin., but as the people empower themselves on the world stage through the currencies, China has switched its viewpoint to see it as a threat to the CCP’s power structure. While the digital yuan is a centralized, surveilled currency, most of the cryptocurrencies remain free and open on the world stage. This financial freedom is a threat to anyone seeking financial control over their people. The key to understanding here is that, despite China’s own backing out for the moment, this still leaves most of the entirety of the rest of the world stage open with the freedom to still make investment in whatever cryptocurrency that they choose. This decision by China may end up resulting in China being left behind in the marketplace, despite the momentary fears it produces for investors. 

Headlines of today continue to read of fear mongering from everything from ‘Dogecoin Falls 70% Since Musk on SNL’ to ‘Bitcoin turns Negative for Year’ experience the ‘Death Cross’. I’ve heard the same rhetoric and phrases being used about the stock market entirely since the ‘crash’ in 2008. But looking at the time since 2008, what else happened? Especially during the times of the Trump presidency, the economy experienced a boom unlike anything ever seen before created by production, confidence and investment. Of course, there will always be fear mongering and there will always be the potential for crashes, but with every crash there also comes again a time to rise. Successful investors with fearless intuition know this. There is no patience for impatience here, and each investor must pay attention to the markets to know when the best times to buy and the best times to sell are. 

When the Democratic media and China begin fear mongering, it is a good time for free market capitalists to step up and pay close attention to what is happening on the world stage. The mere idea of them spouting these fears should send off a signal that opportunity is on the horizon. 

Remember too, that countries and people around the world are accepting cryptocurrencies into their culture. Most recently, El Salvador has accepted Bitcoin as legal tender. Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange, has itself just been accepted onto the stock market exchanges as a company itself. The NRCC, or National Republican Congressional Committee recently declared that it will be directly accepting cryptocurrencies through Bitpay exchanges. The Netherlands, Estonia, Denmark, South Korea, Slovenia and Singapore all are countries that are integrating Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies into their everyday culture with rapid growth expected. Across the United States and Canada, Bitcoin ATMs can be found and people across the nations are making investments into the virtual currency landscape. Japan was the first country to accept Bitcoin as legal tender and has become a leader in what a nation can look like when adopting crypto into everyday modern culture successfully. All exchanges are being recognized and respected by governments in these areas. 

Remember, cryptocurrency is all about financial freedom and independence from centralized banks. Not every cryptocurrency will survive and thrive, but every cryptocurrency still has massive potential for growth here depending on the confidence and investments into which for the days to come ahead. Recently up to and as of today, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Dogecoin have fallen from previous highs earlier this year. As of the writing of this article, Bitcoin is about 34,000 dollars in value. At its highest point this year, Bitcoin was at nearly 64,000 dollars back in April. This may seem like a sharp decline, but it is important to keep in mind that only a few months before that time it was valued around the 20,000 mark. These are individual days in the marketplace, and no decline decides the future potential. Like every other market, prices go up and prices go down. There is a time to sell and a time to buy. Looking at the world stage as a fearless investor, maybe, with all this news of today, it is just the right time to make an investment. 

In the words of Ziad K. Abdelnour, “the harder your money works for you, the less you’ll have to work for money.” If the problem here is modern media fear mongering people into being afraid to invest in cryptocurrencies, the solution is for investors who believe in its potential to continue learning and investing, especially as prices fall and new opportunities arise. Fearless investing and having the willpower to jump in and take a risk is the way entrepreneurs become wealth generators in the modern world. Here’s to self-education and self-empowerment with fearlessness in investment as a free market capitalist in the world economy. Cheers to all. 

Resources: 

  • Top 10 Bitcoin and Crypto Friendly Countries in the World 
  • Bitcoin Price Drops on China Crypto-Mining Crackdown 
  • Coindesk: Bitcoin Prices 
  • GOP House Campaign Accepts Cryptocurrencies 
  • El SalvadorBecomes First Country to Adopt Bitcoin as Legal Tender
  • DogeCoin Price
  • Bitcoin Forms Death Cross Selloff
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Emerging Markets Infrastructure Project Investment: Issues and Opportunities

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Global investment in real estate and infrastructure projects are on the rise. Preqin’s 2018 Infrastructure Fund Manager Outlook notes that institutional investors have heavily invested in the infrastructure asset class for solid diversification and stable returns. Indeed, the report ascertains aggregate asset under management (AUM) quadrupled from US$99bn to US$418bn over the past decade. The industry is expected to increase exponentially over the next decade. Globally, North America and Europe present the most viable of real estate and infrastructure opportunities. However, a bundle of emerging markets economies follow a close third. Global emerging markets infrastructure investments are currently fueled by Asia Pacific’s growth as opposed to other developing regions. Total deal value for the Asia Pacific amounted to roughly US$50bn over the past five years, with more dry powder allocated to projects within Asia.

Feasible emerging market infrastructure projects usually have a Public Private Partnership (PPP) structure, especially for risk mitigation. As we had examined in US Infrastructure: A Case for Public Private Partnerships, PPPs are beneficial as the private entity internalizes life-cycle costs during the majority building phase of new projects, while the project is listed as public investments on the government balance sheet. Purely public sector projects tend to be inefficient, and have full political risk, while purely private projects may have higher returns, but would not have the accountability of check and balance which sovereign involvement brings. Even so, there are many challenges which investors, financiers, and infrastructure fund managers must take into consideration primarily for emerging markets.

Challenges Faced:

The Macquarie Group is one of the global leaders in asset management with US$356bn AUM, and is considered to be the top global infrastructure finance advisor as at 2017. The Group has dispensed significant pain points and mitigating factors with regards to project investment in emerging markets. Most issues stem from long standing bureaucracy, lack of transparency, corruption, geopolitical and cross border risks. Highlights are follows:

Bid and Post-Bid Processes:

In short, red tape from every conceivable side of the project is challenging at best. Emerging markets tend to have delays in bid preparation, unclear bid guidelines, erratic time to submit request for proposals, and restrictive bid processes which place heavy tariffs on the build-operators of the project. In addition, project ‘hand-holding’ requires higher cost of bid bonds and of additional advisors, planners, quantity surveyors and numerous government officers. In addition, deciding on the best commercial funding structure for the PPP would most likely not be as clear or timely as with developed country projects. For instance, financing default from the private side of the PPP may lead to immediate freezing of project assets, as opposed to debt coverage negotiation.

Terms of Concession Agreements:

Land Acquisition is one of the most troublesome components of the project process in emerging markets. The land surveying, land release, ground approvals and resource rights processes, especially in real estate type transactions, take an inordinate amount of time. The best PPP investment projects that may circumvent this onerous component would be public works and transport type projects, where the government already has clear ownership of the sites in question, with full government use of site resources. Also, there is a huge communication gap in terms of the types of environmental and regulatory requirements needed for all emerging markets projects. As the Macquarie Group states, most delays in their infrastructure portfolio stems from having to backtrack and fulfill regulations that were not mentioned from pre-bid inception onwards.

FOREX Challenges:

Forex issues come in second only to land acquisition challenges in emerging market PPP project fulfillment. This is by no means theoretical as I am currently battling this challenge. In many parts of LATAM & the Caribbean multi-million infrastructure developments are offered a mere US$200.00 a day by Central Banks due to paucity in supply and treasury mismanagement. From an investment perspective, Forex volatility for projects denominated in local currencies may create lower yields due to cross border risks, and hedging for many emerging markets currencies is not available.

Macroeconomic Inefficiencies:

In addition to the Macquarie Group’s points supported above, project developers and financiers know that labor supply, labor quality, labor laws, as well as tariffs on materials, material supplies and weather factors are extremely dictating of successful project fulfillment. Most emerging markets may seem to have a dearth of labor supply. However, educated construction labor may be hard to find, and to keep. Many viable emerging market infrastructure projects that have been fully funded have stalled indefinitely due to a lack of both construction and management labor. Unfortunately with PPPs government policy would require local labor to be sourced, creating a chicken and egg situation.

Solutions Presented:

Emerging market project development, financing and investment fit in with high risk, high reward appetite. Yet as we mentioned before prudent infrastructure investments give solid returns and add practical diversification to portfolios. Therefore emerging markets project financing and investments are not to be avoided, but to be mitigated. Successful project investment takes a great deal of sovereign and macroeconomic research, whether per project or via an infrastructure fund. The Macquarie Group pinpoints several requirements needed for investor comfort when it comes to infrastructure investing, and especially for emerging market conditions.

  1. Stable Political Environment:

    Note that a stable political environment will not mitigate red tape. However, mitigated political risk allows PPP projects to be safeguarded against event risks such as coups, and freezing of foreign investments.

  2. Stable Economy with Growth Potential:

    Overall a stable economy with high credit rating gives comfort of low default risk. However, it is necessary to delve further into macroeconomic variables such as labor and capital intensive predilections. Does the country have stringent union interests? Does the country’s labor have the educative capacity to cost effectively get PPP projects done? Are there punitive tariffs on capital intensive projects? It is necessary to ensure the emerging market country accounted for PPP infrastructure projects in its annual budget, broken down by sectors such as transport, seaports, utilities etc.

  3. Open and Transparent and PPP Bid Process:

    Is the country’s public procurement and bid processes in line with international standards and policy frameworks? What is the track record of successful PPP projects in terms of pre-bid to completion timeline? It is necessary to be in close contact with the country’s department of public works, transport and infrastructure to get a detailed log of such a track record before investing in any project, or in any fund.

  4. Stable Financial Market:

    This one is tricky for actual returns, especially as most emerging market projects are structured in local currencies. If investing in an infrastructure fund, the risk is mitigated. If there is direct investment in the PPP project, the risk is heightened, no matter how stable the financial market is. And don’t be fooled by oil-based emerging market countries. One would believe that such countries would have strong cross border Forex capabilities. However, if the projects are non-energy infrastructure, FX paucity and volatility can still be an issue. It’s necessary to examine the country’s central bank and its monetary policy beforehand.

Sources:

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The Case for a Free World: Central Banks vs Cryptocurrencies

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Most anyone with some access to media of any description, has now heard of Bitcoin. Many are also excited about the possibilities and opportunity in this now booming market. And then there are those who are involved in this ‘cryptocurrency revolution’ in a more intimate manner; and we often evaluate the blockchain world of tomorrow.

How will blockchain technology be utilized in different market sectors? What are its immediate and long-term potentials? What are the legal and societal impacts? And sometimes; How can I get rich from this? This article is not going to address these somewhat weighty topics.

Instead, this post will shed light on a dark situation, that affects every single one of us, yet very few address: The Federal Reserve’s ownership of this country (and others), and how cryptocurrencies can set us free.

In this post I will argue that a move away from debt-based fiat currency, to a decentralized community owned peer to peer smart contract currency, will unhinge the central banking system that we are all forced to endure.

What is this Federal Reserve and what is this central banking system you may ask; and why do we have to endure it? It may alarm most to hear of this public record fact: the largest banks in the world – including The Federal Reserve, The Bank of England, European Central Bank, up to the International Bank of Settlements (the pinnacle of the system) – are all privately owned. That’s right. Our country’s banks are owned by private citizens.

Our banks are not owned by governments or the populace, nor controlled by the people or governments. This is not speculation, nor theory, it is what it is. The sovereign right of the peoples of nations to mint and control their accepted currency, has been taken away by a few families. Who now own the very right to this fiction of money – that we must work, profit, borrow, spend, cheat, lie, fight over, etc. Yet these families can make it up, literally, from thin air with but a few keyboard strokes.

Want a trillion dollars United States? Sure: at interest, at debt. If you need some more monies tapped into an account to pay back these awesome monies we just invented for you, do come back and we will make you some more. Again, at debt. So where do these monies to pay back this initial interest and debt come from? From the same entity. When all money comes from the same entity, and at interest, there is no way to ever pay it back; the only option is to accumulate debt. Thus, bankruptcy and never-ending debt is built into the system: $21 Trillion of debt and growing, that is.

How did this happen? Shouldn’t the peoples of all nations have the right to mint their own ‘coin of the realm’ and not have a few families punch numbers into a computer at interest? Quite simply, it came about via a multi-generational effort of bribes, corruption, funding both sides in wars, and instilling this central banking system by default upon humanity.

Here is an example: War Machine to the somewhat mildly discontent populace of Erghmanistan:

“Congratulations! We’re bringing you ‘democracy’ by force – oh wait, we mean the wonders of central banking – hey they’ll lend you enough, newly installed government of Erghmanistan – enough to re-start after we invaded/liberated, until you go broke to the interest on this newly invented ‘money’ we provide- then we own the whole show- and in the meantime some of you can stuff your pockets while your country goes to the banksters.”

People were writing about this 100 years ago and more – about the same family owners of the fiction of money that dominate us now. Why has this continued? Well, the Golden Rule helps (i.e he who has the gold makes the rules), combined with social engineering better discussed by Noam Chomsky than myself. But the truth is out there, always has been; it is not discussed as it should be. And if the media, many outlets owned/partiality owned by these same families, continues to chase Kim Kardashian’s new handbag and LeBron James’s sprained ankle, we are never going to hear this ‘inconvenient truth’.

Solution: cryptocurrencies and decentralized systems

We need to be clear about these inconvenient facts:

Fact 1: Fiat money is only ever created at interest/debt, by the private central banks, and by private credit institutions through the wonder of fractional reserve banking: the so-called culprit in the latest GFC.

Fact 2: Fiat money is only worth anything more than paper or binary 1’s and 0’s because we agree upon it, as a society.

Fact 3: There can never be enough fiat money to pay back this debt, as it is only ever created at interest.

Fact 4: In this equation fiat money equals debt, and debt equals slavery.

So how does decentralized cryptocurrency factor into this equation? It does not. Until the banksters wrestle control of large quantities of cryptocurrency, and manipulate the markets, the most they can do is fear-monger and regulate, using the Golden Rule. They use their puppet governments to ratify legislation designed to curb the public uptake of cryptocurrencies, and utilize the media, which they largely control, to push markets up and down, to create the perceived need of strong regulation on this decentralized agreement.

We are supposedly free individuals who are happy to give their all to succeed; yet are working within a fiscal system not of our devise nor control: a system where a large portion of our earnings goes to pay an ongoing odious debt. So what options do we have as a populace?

Cryptocurrencies are a form of rebellion. It is challenging the power of these families and the very fiction of money that they own. Cryptocurrencies are rebutting the system of centralized control of all trade, and providing a decentralized means of trade, outside these banksters’ control.

Also, I have long been a fan of time-banking: a means by which individuals, even corporations can trade goods and services, without fiat currency. They can bank the time/credits they accumulate and use them to purchase goods and services from any other provider involved in the network. Now, with the advent of cryptocurrency we will see time-banking and crypto evolve into one. We will no longer have the need to borrow money at debt, from these families who can make it up out of thin air.

My family and company (Wide Awake Media) are proud to be at the forefront of this revolution; for with media lies the power to alter the discourse of humanity. Fake News is done. It’s time for Truth Media, and it’s time for rebellion.

The world is waking up in droves, and we aren’t happy being slaves.

Sources:

  • “Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics,” Abdelnour 2012, Wiley & Sons
  • ‘The Money Masters’
  • ‘The Secret of Oz’ -William Still
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