As January ushers in a new year, San Francisco will become the first U.S. city to instate a minimum wage rate of more than $10 an hour. Climbing from $9.92 to $10.24, the city’s new labor mandate will hike the city’s minimum wage more than $2 above the California minimum wage and nearly $3 more than the rate set by the federal government.
Many San Francisco workers lauded the move, particularly those residents working multiple jobs and being paid the city’s current minimum wage. "It’s a psychological boost," said David Frias, a 34-year-old movie theater usher and security guard for a crowd control firm. "It means that I’ll have more money in my wallet to pay my bills and money to spend in the city to help the economy."
Still, many city residents and community organizations say the new rate is too modest after factoring in rising inflation, cost of living increases, and San Francisco’s persistently stale economy. While Karl Kramer of the San Francisco Living Wage Coalition is happy to see that the city is raising the minimum wage, he says an adequate wage for a single, childless adult in San Francisco is $15 per hour, and double that when adding at least one child.
A United States of Europe — minus recalcitrant Great Britain — is nearly upon us; thus saith Forbes magazine. “The euro, in its old form, has fallen into crisis and the price European countries have to pay is a large loss of sovereignty,” writes Clem Chambers in the Establishment conservative magazine. Chambers continues:
Nationalists would consider this disastrous. In reality, there are not so many nationalists in Europe these days and many countries, and their populations, consider themselves European and see little problem with further integration.
Chambers is confident that zeal to maintain the eurozone will overwhelm nationalist sentiments. As a result of the current financial crisis, political power in Europe will migrate to Brussels, stripping eurozone members of their remaining economic sovereignty:
What is set to happen is that the European super state will hold the cheque book of euro member countries; or at least be able to snap it shut should any one country wish to run away with its local budget.
Money is power and once ultimate budget power is gone, political power will subsequently be drawn into the federal centre.
Washington gridlock may turn out to be the salvation of the Obama administration. Not only does gridlock allow the president to blame Republicans for not solving the financial crisis that his own runaway spending created, the inability to carry out as much government intervention in the economy as when the Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress means that the market can now recover on its own to some visible extent before the next election.
As reported by Annika Breidthardt for RealClearMarkets.com, the latest European crisis summit that ended last weekend resulted in “a historic agreement to draft a new treaty” which she then characterized as “too little, too late.” Reaction of the equity and currency markets agreed, with substantial losses in American and European stock markets opening the week, and the euro dropping to lows not seen since last February.
The agreement will require EU member states to ante-up $267 billion to the International Monetary Fund which will then turn around and re-lend it to those member states in financial trouble. Exactly how those needing the funds will “ante-up” was left unexplained. The existing bailout fund — the European Financial Stability Fund, or EFSF — will be leveraged, debt upon debt, to give it more ability to lend to those same struggling countries.
But the big news is the moving forward of the date for ratification of the ESM — the European Stability Mechanism — by a full year, to June of 2012. This is the elephant in the living room that few in the media have spent much time reviewing, although a careful analysis is available here. The reason for moving ahead with such a grotesque totalitarian program is obvious: there may not be enough time left to implement it. Investors continue to demand higher and higher risk premiums when lending to Greece and Italy, Standard and Poor’s will be doing another financial review “as soon as possible,” while Moody’s expects to issue its own credit report on European countries and banks early next year. Moody’s took a dim view of the “historic agreement” by noting:
Pushing his agenda for higher taxes on “the rich,” President Obama kicked off his December 6 speech in Kansas by saying his Kansas grandparents “shared the optimism of a nation that triumphed over the Great Depression.”
In fact, the 1929 stock market crash turned into the long-running Great Depression because the counterproductive soak-the-rich policies of the federal government hadn’t “triumphed” in reversing the downturn.
The Federal Reserve has joined an open conspiracy with its other central-banking buddies to steal several trillion dollars from my grandchildren.
The plan is to steal not just from my grandchildren, but from all of us. Each American anywhere who measures the value of his savings, the pay he receives, the stocks he owns and every other possession he has in dollars — the currency that is created and controlled by our central bank — is a target.
Every time the Federal Reserve turns on the printing presses and creates “money” out of thin air (or, more accurately, creates a digital entry on a computer screen), it reduces the value of all the money that is already in circulation.
The equation is simple: The more fiat (unbacked) currency that is created, the less each individual currency unit is worth. The creation of fiat money is the only reason for inflation. Rising prices do not cause inflation, as the powers that be would like you to believe. You see, if you accept that false explanation, you will put the blame for rising prices on businesses — not on government, where it belongs.
Americans are quickly getting poorer as the much-touted economic “recovery” remains elusive. Household wealth plummeted by more than four percent from July to September according to a report released last week by the Federal Reserve, marking the steepest drop since 2008 and the second quarterly decline in a row. That represents an average loss of about $21,000 per household in just three months.
At the end of the third quarter, household wealth plunged by $2.4 trillion, from a total of about $60 trillion down to slightly less than $57.5 trillion. The dramatic drop in net worth — the value of all assets minus total debts and liabilities -—was led by still-declining housing prices and crashing stock values.
Despite wild money printing by the Fed in recent years, home values are not expected to recover any time soon. During the third quarter, American real estate assets lost about $100 billion from the previous quarter. And banks are still sitting on an unknown but huge number of foreclosed properties expected to keep prices depressed for years to come.
Stocks performed terribly last quarter, too, though they have recovered some of those losses so far. The S&P500 Index lost around 14 percent from July to September. And according to the Dow Jones U.S. Total Stock Market Index, equities shed $2.6 trillion for the quarter.
The current political debate over “jobs” ignores a vital component of jobs and the economy: Government make-work jobs are simply another form of welfare; jobs produced by the private sector that help the economy are productive jobs. In places like North Dakota, where the economy is now benefiting from an oil boom, the importance of genuinely productive labor has been understood from the beginning of frontier America. The winter wheat farmers of the Dakotas led an unglamorous like of rising before dawn, eating a big breakfast by a hard-working wife who herself had worked long, hard days, and then turning the land into crops. These families created wealth; they work produced goods and services that people wanted.
Perhaps no job in America is more important than generating energy. Yet many parts of West Virginia today have high unemployment because the environmental regulations have made it virtually impossible or cost-prohibitive to extract coal, despite the fact that our nation has a huge reserve of this proven fuel. Oil, however, is considered the most vital fossil fuel for our nation.
Increasing the domestic production of oil would allow our nation to pursue a foreign policy guided only by our wish to remain independent, free, and peaceful. Buying more of our own oil, and less foreign oil, would lower America’s balance of trade as well. Expanding the supply of oil also would put downward pressure on the price of this vitally important product.
In his interview at King World News, James Turk, founder of GoldMoney and author of The Collapse of the Dollar, noted in his travels around Europe that “there is one common trait, regardless of which country I am in: people are really frightened about the possibility of the collapse of the euro. Money continues to move out of the European banking system, which explains why central banks stepped in with some money printing last week.”
Investors are bullish on Europe yet again after a two-day summit in Brussels produced a triumphant agreement on the part of the 17 eurozone member nations to get their collective fiscal house in order. The options for Europe going into the conference were stark — at least, according to the doomsday rhetoric emanating from European leaders and media commentators on both side of the Atlantic. Failure to reach the foreordained agreement at Brussels would have been “a luxury we cannot afford” opined French President Nicholas Sarkozy, who added that “maintenance of the eurozone is our duty. We have no other choice.”
Well, actually, the other choice, according to the powers that be, was continental and global financial ruin. “Merkel and Sarkozy have been clear — back the plan or face catastrophe. It is a simple as that,” wrote CNN anchor Richard Quest. “The unfortunate point, often overlooked, is that the eurozone countries really have little choice. The euro doesn't work as currently constituted (it never has). They either change it or the project will collapse.” And a collapse of the eurozone would probably reverberate worldwide, possibly leading to a financial panic that would dwarf the 2008 debacle.
Cowed into submission, the eurozone countries feverishly agreed to subject their fiscal policies to international supervision, with the EU empowered to impose fines and sanctions for failure to keep budget deficits essentially at zero and other transgressions.