Thursday, June 9, 2011

China warns U.S. debt-default idea is "playing with fire"

(Reuters) - Republican lawmakers are "playing with fire" by contemplating even a brief debt default as a means to force deeper government spending cuts, an adviser to China's central bank said on Wednesday.

The idea of a technical default -- essentially delaying interest payments for a few days -- has gained backing from a growing number of mainstream Republicans who see it as a price worth paying if it forces the White House to slash spending, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

But any form of default could destabilize the global economy and sour already tense relations with big U.S. creditors such as China government officials and investors warn.

Li Daokui, an adviser to the People's Bank of China, said a default could undermine the U.S. dollar, and Beijing needed to dissuade Washington from pursuing this course of action.

"I think there is a risk that the U.S. debt default may happen," Li told reporters on the sidelines of a forum in Beijing. "The result will be very serious and I really hope that they would stop playing with fire."

China is the largest foreign creditor to the United States, holding more than $1 trillion in Treasury debt as of March, U.S. data shows, so its concerns carry considerable weight in Washington.

"I really worry about the risks of a U.S. debt default, which I think may lead to a decline in the dollar's value," Li on

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How much pain will Bernanke allow before going for QE3?


Financial markets and even bullion sold off again in the wake of Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s downbeat comments on the US economy last night with not a hint of a possible QE3 money printing exercise to stimulate the economy.

The reasonable fear in markets is that the ‘Bernanke put’ is over, and that without the Fed as the buyer of last resort financial markets will crumble. Then again you could argue why would you expect a QE3 to be any more effective than a QE2.

QE2 boost

Except of course from the perspective of financial markets QE2 has been great news. It put a quick stop to the 17 per cent stock market slump last summer and paved the way for another rally, until a little over five weeks ago when the end of QE2 began to worry investors.

Now that the political support for another bailout package has completely gone in the US, there is only QE3 that might be pulled like a rabbit from a hat to save markets from falling through the floor. How much pain can Bernanke tolerate? on

Ghetto Capitalism

Some disturbing facts for the bottom 99.99%

In the United States today, the richest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.

#2 The wealthiest 1% of all Americans now own more than a third of all the wealth in the United States.

#3 The wealthiest 1% of all Americans own over 50% of all the stocks and bonds.

#4 The poorest 50% of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

#5 According to a joint House and Senate report entitled "Income Inequality and the Great Recession", the top one percent of income earners in the United States brought in a total of 10.0 percent of all income income in 1980, but by the time 2008 had rolled around that figure had skyrocketed to 21.0 percent.

#6 Between 1979 and and 2007, the average household income of the top 1% of all Americans soared from $346,600 to $1.3 million. During that same time period the average household income for middle class Americans increased only slightly.

#7 According to Harvard Magazine, 66% of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.

#8 More than 3 billion people, close to half the world's population, live on less than 2 dollar a day.

#9 According to a new report from the AFL-CIO, the average CEO made 343 times more money than the average American did last year.

#10 The number of "low income jobs" in the U.S. has risen steadily over the past 30 years and they now account for 41 percent of all jobs in the United States.

#11 Since 1979, real median weekly earnings for high school dropouts has declined by 22 percent.

#12 During this economic downturn, employee compensation in the United States has been the lowest that it has been relative to gross domestic product in over 50 years.

#13 Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

#14 Since the year 2000, we have lost 10% of our middle class jobs. In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs. Meanwhile, our population has gotten significantly larger.

#15 Ten years ago, the United States was ranked number one in average wealth per adult. In 2010, the United States fell to seventh.

#16 According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line in 2010. In the UK and in France that figure is well under 10 percent.

#17 Today, one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

#18 It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point in their lives before they reach the age of 18.

#19 According to Moody's Analytics, the wealthiest 5% of households in the United States now account for approximately 37% of all consumer spending.

#20 The number of Americans that are going to food pantries and soup kitchens has increased by 46% since 2006.

#21 The U.S. poverty rate is now the third worst among the developed nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

#22 Approximately half of all American workers make $25,000 a year or less.

#23 The wealthiest 1% of the earth's population controls 39% of the wealth.

#24 It is estimated that over 80 percent of the world's population lives in countries where the income gap between the rich and the poor is widening.

#25 One year after the recent financial collapse the top 25 hedge fund managers earned a total of approximately $25 billion. That breaks down to an average of $1 billion each.

#26 Bill Gates has a net worth of somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 billion dollars. That means that there are approximately 140 different nations that have a yearly GDP which is smaller than the amount of money Bill Gates has.

#27 It is estimated that the entire continent of Africa owns approximately 1 percent of the total wealth of the world.

#28 The top 0.01% of Americans make an average of $27,342,212. The bottom 90% make an average of $31,244.

#29 58 percent of the members of Congress are millionaires while only about 1 percent of the general population is made up of millionaires.