Economist and TV personality Larry Kudlow explained that the decision on Wednesday by many of the world’s central banks made it easier for European banks to borrow dollars from the Federal Reserve.

He made it clear that “nothing has been solved in Europe. The Europeans are not yet helping themselves. Why should the ECB (the European Central Bank) write a trillion-dollar check to near-bankrupt governments?” The real problem isn’t liquidity. There’s plenty of money sloshing around in the banks of the world. The instant problem is the type of money. The banks want to hold dollars, not euros, and the costs of holding dollars was rising to levels not seen since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

And the reason dollars were getting increasingly expensive? One main reason was that American money market funds were pulling their dollars out of European banks: Between May and October those funds reduced their holdings in European banks by 42 percent, while their holdings in French banks were cut by two-thirds.

When demands were made on those banks for dollars, the banks had to sell euros to get them. As Capital Economics explained:

As the economic crisis in the European Union grows day by day, there is a proportionate degree of speculation around the world about the final extent of the damage that will be done by the looming collapse of the euro. According to Daniel Mitchell, a contributor to Forbes.com, many individuals among the wealthy elite in Europe are already planning to flee their respective countries for safe havens in nations such as Costa Rica or Australia. Meanwhile, the British Foreign Office is making plans to evacuate Britons from the Continent in the event of widespread rioting.

 

Here’s a story that’ll tickle your McRibs. On December 1 a law seemingly banning McDonald’s Happy Meals went into effect in San Francisco. The “Healthy Meal Incentives Ordinance” prohibits restaurants from giving away toys with meals that do not meet with the city’s approval — namely, meals with too many calories, too much salt or fat, or insufficient fruits and vegetables. Just a few days before the ordinance took effect, SF Weekly reports, McDonald’s announced it had found a simple way around the statute: Charge customers extra for the toys.

Now in order to obtain a Happy Meal toy, parents will first have to buy the meal and then pay an additional 10 cents, which will be considered a donation to Ronald McDonald House charities. With Burger King’s announcement that it will implement a similar policy, the Happy Meal ban has thus effectively been neutralized.

However, for the nanny-state types who thought they were protecting children from dangerous fast food, there is even worse news. Prior to December 1, McDonald’s stores in San Francisco actually allowed patrons to purchase a Happy Meal toy by itself for $2.18 rather than having to buy the meal to obtain the toy. Now that the Golden Arches are going to charge extra for the toys, they are discontinuing the toy-only policy. Henceforth, any parent wishing to purchase a Happy Meal toy for a child will be forced to buy the meal, too. This, the Independent Institute’s Anthony Gregory points out, is “another unintended consequence of a bad law, since now, on the margin, customers will sometimes opt to buy the greasy food targeted by the law just so they can get the toy, when before they would have not bought the food.”

As central banks around the world unleashed a coordinated deluge of new money to deal with the economic crisis swamping Europe, critics expressed outrage that the Federal Reserve System — and all holders of U.S. dollars by extension — would be bailing out profligate European governments and the troubled euro currency. And furious American lawmakers are again demanding congressional oversight of the Fed and a restoration of sound money.

On November 30, the Fed announced in a press release that it was cutting the cost of temporary dollar liquidity swaps almost in half. The rate was slashed from about one percent to slightly over 0.5 percent, making it much cheaper for foreign central banks and the financial institutions they fund to borrow a practically unlimited supply of newly created U.S. dollars.

The news was met with outrage by Congressman Ron Paul, whose subcommittee deals with monetary policy and the central bank. Paul is once again calling for, among other measures, an audit of the Fed and the eventual restoration of honest money.

“The Fed's latest actions in cooperating with foreign central banks to undertake liquidity swaps of dollars for foreign currencies is another reason why Congress needs enhanced power to oversee and audit the Fed,” said Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), the Chairman of the House Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology Subcommittee. “Under current law Congress cannot examine these types of agreements.”

Cato Institute senior fellow Jim Powell wrote in Forbes magazine about the inevitable and predictable decline of rich nations that debauched their currencies in order to pay their bills. Powell said that politicians’ urge to promise and then to spend is almost overwhelming, calling it “a visceral urge to spend money they don’t have. They can’t control themselves. They’ll weasel their way around any efforts to put the lid on the cookie jar.”

The Roman Empire was on a gold standard, minting and using the aureus from the 3rd century B.C. until the 4th century A.D. The aureus initially contained 10.9 grams of gold, which was worth about 25 denarii, or about a month’s wages. As the empire devolved into promising more and more services (grain subsidies, public entertainment, and a huge bureaucracy and military establishment) it soon exceeded revenues generated through taxation. To make up for the difference, the aureus was steadily debased so that by 50 B.C. it contained 9.09 grams of gold, 8.18 grams by 46 B.C., 7.27 grams by 60 A.D., 6.55 grams by 214 A.D., 5.45 grams by the year 292, 4.54 grams in 312, and 3.29 grams by 367.

Paper money was more easily debased, as the Chinese discovered. Powell noted that seven different Chinese dynasties issued paper money to pay their bills and all of them eventually collapsed or were defeated by others that issued their own paper currency.
 

Responding to a new analysis published Monday, the White House denied charges that President Obama's "official business" trips (paid with taxpayer money) to presidential swing states were actually for campaign events. White House officials suggested that the study overlooks the fact that Obama "expanded the political map dramatically" in 2008, which created a notable spike in the number of battleground states.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which published the exposé, when the President jets to Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday to promote his jobs agenda ("official business") — including a renewal of a payroll tax cut — he will log his 56th event in a swing state this year, vaulting him well ahead of President George W. Bush’s record-breaking swing-state campaign drive in 2003. Obama’s excessive campaign politicking has been a magnet for Republican criticism, as conservative politicians and pundits criticize the President for exerting more effort toward his 2012 reelection campaign than toward working to fix the nation’s high unemployment and stagnant economic growth.

 

The Federal Reserve Bank and five other central banks across the world cut the "temporary U.S. dollar liquidity swap arrangements" rate for central bank borrowing nearly in half, from just over 1.00 percent to a bit more than 0.50 percent, according to a November 30 Federal Reserve Bank press release. Stock and commodities markets rallied all day with the news, with the Dow Jones Industrial Index gaining 490 points on the day.

The swap rate is the interest rate the Federal Reserve charges foreign central banks to borrow dollars from the Fed. A lower interest rate makes it easier for European and Japanese central banks to go further into debt.

"The purpose of these actions is to ease strains in financial markets and thereby mitigate the effects of such strains on the supply of credit to households and businesses and so help foster economic activity," the Federal Reserve claimed. In plain English, that means the central banks' answer to the European debt crisis is to make it much easier to borrow more money and get deeper into debt. That's a bit like a bunch of doctors agreeing that the solution to the pain in a patient's eye is to push the ice pick further into his eye.

The European Central Bank and the national central banks of Canada, Switzerland, Japan, and the U.K. also lowered their swap rates. This will have the effect of burgeoning the money supply, meaning existing money will purchase less and less goods for an equal price — inflation.

“New Company Policy: We Are Not Hiring Until Obama Is Gone.” Those words are plastered across every truck owned by U.S. Cranes LLC of Waco, Georgia — not as a threat but as a recognition of the fact that, as owner Bill Looman told ABC News, “overregulation and the cost of complying with federal mandates has [sic] caused many of his customers to shut their doors.” As a result, he has been forced to lay off three of his nine employees.

“I’ve got people that I want to hire now, but I just can’t afford it,” Looman, whose company operates cranes at construction sites, told Atlanta’s WXIA-TV. “And I don’t foresee that I’ll be able to afford it unless some things change in D.C.”

“The way the economy’s running, and the way my business has been hampered by the economy, and the policies of the people in power, I felt that it was necessary to voice my opinion, and predict that I wouldn’t be able to do any hiring,” he added.

His chosen method of voicing his opinion was to place his “not hiring” message on his company’s trucks and post photos of the signs on his personal Facebook page about six months ago. Until recently, the response was overwhelmingly positive (although he did receive a perfunctory visit from the Secret Service after someone reported him to the FBI as a threat to national security). Then last week “one of the photos went viral on the Internet,” according to WXIA; and that is when all the controversy began.

Despite the best efforts of the Occupy Wall Street protesters to sabotage Black Friday Christmas shopping, the National Retail Federation reported that shoppers spent a whopping $52 billion over the weekend after Thanksgiving.  OWS had hoped to launch protests that would stop the frenzy of consumerism, but alas, the lure of spending prevailed.

 

New work rules from the Department of Labor will end most teens' farm jobs.

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