China Now The World’s Lender Of Last Resort – With Money Comes Power

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As the United States approaches $20 trillion in debt, on its way to $30 trillion in a few years, China has become the new lender of last resort for the global community.

The latest recipient of China’s lending largess is Petrobras, the state-owned Brazilian petroleum company. It goes without saying that Petrobras has vast oil reserves that China hopes to access.

Zero Hedge reports that China has lent Latin America over $100 billion dollars over the last ten years–and plans to ramp that number to $250 billion over the next few years. Most of these borrowers are in the backyard of the United States, putting to rest any remaining vestiges of the Monroe Doctrine.

At the risk of extrapolating too much, it appears as though Beijing isn’t opposed to throwing billions behind serving as a lender of last resort and we can’t help but wonder if the new round of Petrobras financing is indicative of where China will steer initial AIIB funding — that is, into oil and Latin America. What’s interesting (and very ironic given how we’ve characterized the AIIB), is that it appears Beijing may look to channel the bank’s lending straight into Washington’s backyard, effectively slighting the original Monroe Doctrine even as China tacitly implements its own take on an official policy of regional influence and control.

Meanwhile, US allies continue to fall in line with France, Italy, and Israel set to jump on the bandwagon.

Our profligate federal spending and ballooning debt are coming back to haunt us now in the geopolitical realm. Economic weakness leads to military weakness, and we are seeing this play out in our own backyard with China and Russia looking and paying for access, basing rights, and natural resources. The old World War II-based institutions are now facing strong competition from the Chinese.

Money equals power, and the power is shifting to China.

But hey, let’s offer free college to everyone! Someone will pay for it, right?

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Living Like Royalty, Michelle O Waves Goodbye To How Much Of Our Money At Overseas Resort?

Image Credit: Fashion Bomb Daily

Ten days ago, Western Journalism reported on the first lady’s free-flowing use of public money as she lives the incredibly good life during foreign excursions loosely billed as official visits.

In Japan earlier this month to promote a pet educational initiative called “Let Girls Learn,” Mrs. Obama ran up a tab of nearly $80,000 for a fleet of rental cars to carry her and her massive entourage to destinations such as the shrine of a Japanaese rice god.

Now, continuing her Asian tour on behalf of “Let Girls Learn,” the first lady has racked up a huge hotel bill for a brief trip to Cambodia.

The Washington Free Beacon reports that a check of government contracts reveals that Michelle and a delegation of U.S. government officials were booked into luxurious accommodations that cost American taxpayers close to a quarter-million dollars.

“Hotel accommodations for First Lady Michelle Obama’s two-day trip to Cambodia required 85 rooms and cost taxpayers $242,500.”

No run-of-the-mill resort, the Sofitel destination secured by the first lady’s travel planners was an spectacular five-star facility featuring its own golf course and “the largest free form swimming pool in Cambodia.”

In case you’re wondering where Michelle and entourage stayed, here are a few photos to help you picture the surroundings in which the first lady found herself for those two days in Cambodia.

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And how did Mrs. Obama spend her “official” time away from the resort in furtherance of the global campaign to expand educational opportunities for girls?

Mrs. Obama spent 21 minutes talking with a group of 10 female students at Hun Sen Bakorng High School, according to a White House transcript on March 21. She then went back to the hotel to speak at Peace Corps Training Round Table for 12 minutes.

Given Michelle’s reported 33 minutes in meetings on behalf of the education initiative, a little quick math shows that — considering just the $242,500 bill for accommodations — support for the first lady’s presentation in Cambodia cost U.S. taxpayers some $7,350 a minute.

Meanwhile, her husband presides over a federal government budget that has added $7.5 trillion in debt during his presidency.

Photo credit: SOFITEL ANGKOR PHOKEETHRA GOLF AND SPA RESORT HOTEL

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Another Financial Crisis Is In The Making–And It’s Going To Be Worse Than Last Time

Photo credit: Paulien Osse (Flickr)

“Nothing has changed since the last financial crisis,” says Anne Pettifor, the author who forecasted the last financial crisis.

She’s right. In fact, things have gotten much worse.

The bubble this time is much bigger. This will not end well.

The problem now is not that we have built an economy on bad loans stuffed into banks by Democrat interference in the private sector—forcing banks to make noncommercial loans to people who have no ability to ever pay them back. No, this time the problem is with governments themselves.

We in the United States and other “developed” countries around the world have gorged on sovereign debt that we will never be able to pay back. This behavior has been enabled by central banks that have kept interest rates artificially at zero, essentially creating an environment where governments don’t have to pay interest on what they borrow.

This won’t last forever.

The Guardian reports:

As Janet Yellen’s Federal Reserve prepares to raise interest rates, boosting the value of the dollar, while the plunging price of crude puts intense pressure on the finances of oil-exporting countries, there are growing fears of a new debt crisis in the making.

Ann Pettifor of Prime Economics, who foreshadowed the credit crunch in her 2003 book The Coming First World Debt Crisis, says: “We’re going to have another financial crisis. Brazil’s already in great trouble with the strength of the dollar; I dread to think what’s happening in South Africa; then there’s Malaysia. We’re back to where we were, and that for me is really frightening.”

Since the aftershocks of the global financial crisis of 2008 died away, the world’s policymakers have spent countless hours rewriting the banking rulebook and rethinking monetary policy. But next to nothing has been done about the question of what to do about countries that can’t repay their debts, or how to stop them getting into trouble in the first place.

There is only so much time before we lose control of this fiscal situation as a country. It is critical that a responsible leader be elected into the White House. In my view, the survival of the republic itself depends on the outcome of the next presidential election.

So let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work, for our children’s sake.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Contrasting Conservatism To Obama’s Policy Failures

Conservatives have, from the beginning of his candidacy for the presidency seven years ago, been critical of our sitting president. It has nothing to do, contrary to some sophist’s convictions, with the color of his skin. And our criticisms are not ad hominem; for they aren’t against him personally, but against his policies and what he’s doing to “fundamentally transform America.” So for political clarity, lets enumerate a few areas where conservative political policies would make such a difference to the country.

First, we would not have more than doubled the national debt from $7.6 trillion, when Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid took over, to over $18 trillion now. As Hillary Clinton said a couple years ago, that’s a national security issue, since it places our entire nation at risk, economically, fiscally, monetarily, and even in terms of our national security.

The deficit would not have quintupled from $263 billion when Pelosi/Reid took over, to $1.6 trillion during Obama’s first year, and remained at $1.3 trillion for the past two years. In other words, we would not be borrowing $.41 for every $1.00 that we spend!

Contrary to what Pelosi did after she became Speaker, and including the first term of the Obama administration, we would have actually had a budget passed by the Congress. Until the concurrent resolution was passed just last year, we had not had a budget passed by Congress since 2006. They’ve been simply running up the national credit cards at unprecedented levels with absolutely no budgetary restraint.

After creating an all star panel to assess the budgetary and fiscal crises exacerbated by unabated spending, the president’s Simpson-Bowles Commission recommendations to put the nation on a sound fiscal footing would not have been ignored, but implemented as judiciously and expeditiously as possible.

There is still no sign of leadership in resolving the unfunded liabilities, and exacerbated budgetary problems, of Social Security and Medicare. It’s as if the critical mass of those concerns will not be reached during his term in office, so it doesn’t matter; so all that’s occurred is a perpetual “kicking the can” down the road for some future leader who has some backbone and leadership abilities to address them.

A 2,700 page legislative monstrosity that took over 1/5th of the national economy to put government in charge of health care would never have occurred. And we certainly wouldn’t have stolen $716 billion (now $741 billion according to the CBO) from Medicare to pay for it. Instead of piling on requirements for “qualified” health insurance policies, the over 2,200 covered requirements would have been removed so people could buy exactly the coverage they want, rather than what the government compels them to buy. And policies could be bought across state lines for increased price competition.

Realizing that one of the greatest deterrents to small businesses creating new jobs is the high cost of regulation, the current $11,500 regulatory cost to small businesses per employee (per the SBA) should be reduced by getting government out of the business of micromanaging every aspect of the business environment. And certainly, the regulatory burden of small business would not be exacerbated by another 30% with the additional regulatory expenses of Obamacare, FinReg, and expanded EPA regulations.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Pentagon Wants to Destroy $1 Billion Dollars Worth Of Ammunition

The official US national debt stands at $17 trillion, but economist and national debt expert Laurence Kotlikoff says a better number is $222 trillion. He says the U.S. runs a Ponzi scheme that ignores the “fiscal gap” and excludes things like Social Security payments, healthcare and Medicare payments, and Medicaid payments.  A whopping 40 percent of Americans could not come up with $2000 in the event of an emergency.

What should the government do in light of these facts? Well, according to Pentagon and congressional sources, the Pentagon plans to destroy more than a billion dollars worth of ammunition. Unfortunately, some of this ammo could be still viable; but exactly how much is unknown due to the fact that Defense Department inventory systems can’t share data effectively, according to a Governmental Accountability Office report.

The chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, Senator Tom Carper, said the following:

There is a huge opportunity to save millions, if not billions of dollars if the (Pentagon) can make some common-sense improvements to how it manages ammunition.Despite years of effort, the Army, Navy and Air Force still don’t have an efficient process for doing something as basic as sharing excess bullets. This Government Accountability Office (GAO) report clearly shows that our military’s antiquated systems lead to millions of dollars in wasteful ammunition purchases.

According to the GAO report, only the Army uses the standard Pentagon format for date storage on ammo, while the Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps operate with obsolete formats. The Defense Department has failed to build a unified ammunition database despite working for decades on the project. Meanwhile, the Defense Department continues with its great boondoggle, the F-35 jet, which has become the most expensive weapons system in history . The tab to taxpayers for the years it is expected to be flying is no longer $1 trillion, but instead $1.5 trillion. The plane is seven years behind schedule, with frequent malfunctions still occurring.

It should be noted that the U.S. military budget is the largest in the world,  greater than the next eight countries on the list combined. Defense Department Spending SCWhat do you think? Should Americans keep shoveling pork the way the generals and DoD bureaucrats want? Or should Americans hold the Pentagon accountable for its inefficient and wasteful spending? The choice is yours. Feel free to comment below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom