May 26, 2009
Britain is experiencing the greatest exodus of its own nationals in recent history while immigration is at unprecedented levels, new figures show.
In 2007, 207,000 British citizens - one every three minutes - left the country and currency specialist Foreign Currency Direct has revealed that one in four working Brits are now looking to leave the country for sunnier climes and better job opportunities.
More British live abroad than any other nationality and the levels of emigration are now the same as those seen in the late-1950s when the £10 Poms left for Australia.
An increase in tax levelled at high wage earners coupled with rising UK unemployment is thought to be partly behind the mass exodus.
The research found that men are almost twice as likely as women to opt for a job overseas and moving abroad was most popular with Brits aged between 18 and 30 and also those in the 51 to 60 age bracket, perhaps seeking a better lifestyle for their retirement... Read all here
"...It is hilarious listening to the propagandists try to “spin” the events in bond and currency markets to make it sound like the U.S. government is still operating from a position of strength.
While there are many Western, corporate-media outlets spouting such drivel, I'll use the Financial Times as my example.“China stuck in dollar trap”, crows FT on May 24th. Then, later “...[Beijing] has little choice but to keep pouring the bulk of its growing reserves into the U.S. Treasury”.
What somehow escaped this “analysis” by FT is that China won't touch any U.S. dollar asset except Treasury bonds. The monthly flows of capital into (or out of) the U.S., which is known as the Treasury Department's “TIC” report, tell a clear story.
...About the only useful piece of information in the Financial Times' propaganda was to note that China was only purchasing short-term Treasuries. This is highly significant for two reasons.
First, the shorter-term Treasuries are the most-liquid form of U.S. debt. It's no surprise that China is choosing only these types of Treasuries, since it is currently on a commodities buying-spree – which it is financing with U.S. Treasuries. In other words, while China may be a net buyer of U.S. Treasuries in relation to its transactions with the U.S., on a global basis, China is spending its U.S. dollar holdings at least as fast as it is accumulating them. Does this look like China is “trapped”?
The second important point about China's focus on short-term Treasuries is that this does very little to help the U.S. fund its gigantic, out-of-control deficits. The focus by China (and most other foreign buyers) on short-term Treasuries means that not only is the U.S. being forced to dump the largest glut of new Treasuries in history on this already-saturated market, but it is also being forced to try to “roll-over” additional, huge amounts each month as the short-term Treasuries mature.
Does this support the ludicrous assertion by FT (and others) that China “is helping Washington fund its growing budget deficit”?
...The ultimate rebuttal to the nonsense of the propagandists is to simply note what is happening in markets. Since the U.S. bond-bubble hit its peak late last year, U.S. Treasuries have already plunged a sickening 30% (see “U.S. Bond Bubble Bursts – bye-bye Equities Rally”).
Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar just hit its lowest level of the year. A look at this horrific chart suggests that the plunge of the dollar is much closer to the beginning than the end.
It is not China which is “trapped”. It is the U.S. government. Trapped by years of lies and statistical “padding” of its declining economy. Trapped by years of grossly over-spending. Trapped by the self-destructive machinations of the U.S. financial crime syndicate, which runs the U.S. government in all but name.
When China runs out of things to buy with its U.S. Treasuries, it will stop accumulating them – period! Instead, it will channel its huge budget surpluses into infrastructure development and other internal uses: for a huge economy which is still in the infancy of its development.
This is the story which the Financial Times should have written." Read all hereAnd this: China unveils first sovereign credit rating standards
"...The abnormal and surreal nature of the recent rally is made starkly clear by the small charts below, prepared by www.chartoftheday.com. Both of these charts go way back to the 1930's and the first of them shows the extraordinary collapse in earnings of the S&P500 companies. The second of them shows that the resulting overall P/E ratio has risen into the stratosphere. These charts are most interesting as they demonstrate that earnings no longer matter to investors - all it takes to make the market go up these days is hope, TV commentators talking the market up - and a big dollop of TARP money. This is what is commonly known as a disconnect from reality. One thing is for sure - you don't want to be around when the market suddenly realizes that Barack Obama is not going to be able to wave a magic wand and make everything right, even with the benefit of creating trillions of dollars out of thin air to bid everything up. All this manufactured money had better create a recovery soon or the market is likely to implode. However, recovery is unlikely for, as we know, the banks are jealously hoarding their government granted largesse, and even if they made the funds available to the wider world, companies and individuals are so lamed by debt and fearful that they are in no mood to borrow, no matter how low the interest rate. So let's put 2 and 2 together - the stockmarket rallies hugely to discount recovery, but the recovery never materialises. Well, what a shame - it's an awful long way down from here.
"Over the past several years, the field of accounting has undergone quite a metamorphosis.After starting out as a boring but functional method of keeping tabs on how a business is doing, it has become a tool for manipulation, a means of executive aggrandizement, a shroud for nefarious activities, and a vehicle for creating alternative realities.
In sum, suggests columnist Jonathan Weil in a thoroughly entertaining Bloomberg commentary, "Freebasing in Caymans Would Be a Banker’s Dream," it has become something of a joke.
The race to the bottom is on for the two boards that set most of the world’s accounting standards. This can mean just one thing. It’s time they got competition.
Let us begin with a critical question. In this era of infinite possibilities, what might a truly industry-friendly setter of accounting principles look like? Allow me to present for your consideration the Financial Reporting Irregularities Board. That’s FRIB, or “Free-Bee,” for short. Its motto would be simple: You report, you decide.
Ever since last fall, the big news from the accounting mandarins in the
and U.S. Europehas been one relaxation of their precious rules after another. One day, the International Accounting Standards Board in London is rushing to please bankers and politicians by softening its pronouncements on “mark-to-market” accounting, only to watch the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board loosen its own rules later.
Nothing they’ve done has been enough to satisfy the banking and insurance industries. They just keep playing the two boards against each other, begging for more breaks.
After the FASB’s latest cave-in, for example, U.S. Representative Spencer Bachus, ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, last month called for new congressional hearings, saying that “questions remain as to the ultimate effectiveness of the fair-value accounting revisions.” Meanwhile, some European finance ministers complained the IASB hasn’t done enough to match the FASB’s changes.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Fair Value Coalition,” composed mostly of banks and insurers, saysmanagers still lack the discretion they need to “recognize true economic losses and allow for a realistic valuation of assets.” In other words, they want to value their companies’ securities at the prices they wish they could get, rather than what others would pay.
Start a Winner
So now it has come to this. The world must find a way to make sure neither of these boards can win this sordid contest. That leaves only one option: Let the banks start their own accounting board to win it instead.
From its sunny headquarters at a mail-drop in the
Cayman Islands, the Free-Bee would gather the best and brightest minds from the planet’s greatest financial catastrophes to create a new set of free-market standards. Lehman Brothers, Royal Bank of Scotland, American International Group, Fannie Mae, the nation of -- their former brain trusts all would reside here. Iceland
Adherents, known as freebasers, would prepare their financial statements in accordance with Free-Bee rules, all of which would fit neatly in a 10-page brochure, double-spaced.
Most importantly, not one of this new board’s members would be an accountant. The Free-Bee would be a for-profit venture, designed to maximize revenue. And there’s no surer way to screw up a perfectly good set of toothless accounting standards than to let some bean counter take a crack at writing them.
How would this operation work? I’m glad you asked.
Let’s say your company would show earnings of two to three bucks a share under FASB or IASB rules, and $5 under Free-Bee rules. The Free-Bee would get a cut of the difference, negotiated quarterly on a client-by-client basis. Naturally, your company would be free to spend these extra “profits” however it sees fit -- perhaps, for instance, on larger executive bonuses.
Before you dismiss this plan as a mere pipe dream, take a look at this quote by Charlie McCreevy, the European Union financial-services commissioner, from a speech he gave May 7 in Brussels. “Accounting is now far too important to be left solely to -- accountants!” he said. “
of standard- setters is important, but they must be fully accountable.” Independence
To this, the Free-Bee’s trustees would cry out: Hear, hear! They would promise to be fully accountable to you, the humble chief executive, and you alone.
Sure, you could try getting the FASB and IASB to keep outdoing each other, using the same tried-and-true pressure tactics. By this point, though, all those campaign checks to lawmakers would be a waste of good money you otherwise could be spending on yourself.
Imagine the possibilities. Just this week, the FASB said it will make banks bring zillions of dollars of assets back onto their balance sheets next year by eliminating an off-the-books trick known as qualified special purposes entities. While the Free-Bee’s staff might not understand what a QSPE thingy is, they would know this: If the FASB wants to ban them, then the Free-Bee adores them and would demand you get them back.
Do you treasure the discretion to value worthless commercial real-estate loans any way you like? It’s yours. Remember, the better your values, the greater the Free-Bee’s profits.
Have you had enough with all the red ink on junk-rated mortgage securities? The Free-Bee’s board members would be strong believers in the principle that all losses are temporary and all non-cash gains are golden, especially when the asset prices you’re using exist only in your imagination.
Or perhaps you run a publicly traded strip-club chain and want to make sure certain back-room activities don’t get reported as violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Not only could this new board help you keep hookers off your balance sheet. The Free-Bee would deliver them back to your doorstep, showered and re-perfumed, with just 30 minutes notice.
Let the mainstream accounting poobahs have their race to the bottom. The Free-Bee’s mission would be to win it hands down. And while this new board may face hurdles, such as formal recognition by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or the European Commission, history has taught us there’s nothing we can’t overcome as long as we have the right connections.
Any takers? I thought so.
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