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The Carpenter Comeith!!!Little by Little the “coffin” is being exposed……via e-mail to admin/capecoral

In Banking, Business, Business/Political Trends Worldwide, currency, Money and Finances, Offshore accounts, personal and business, Political parties, Taxes on July 22, 2011 at 4:56 pm
This is CRAP!!!! 
It is just like everything in this administration.
Too bad we didn’t kick out enough of Obama’s idiots from the Senate as well.Watch for this AFTER November elections; remember
this BEFORE you VOTE in case you think Obama’s
looking out for your best interest.1% tax on all bank transactions HR 4646This government just cannot think of enough ways
to hurt the American people!This Bill must die
FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!

1% tax on all bank transactions
HR 4646 ANOTHER NEW OBAMA TAX SLIPPED IN WHILE WE WERE ASLEEP.
Checked this on snopes , it’s true! Check out HR 4646.  (see below copied from Snopes)

President Obama’s finance team is recommending a
one percent (1%) transaction fee (TAX). Obama’s
plan is to sneak it in after the November
elections to keep it under the radar.

This is a 1% tax on all transactions at any
financial institution – banks , credit unions ,
savings and loans , etc. Any deposit you make , or
even a transfer within your account , will have a
1% tax charged.

If your paycheck or your social security or
whatever is direct deposit , it will get a 1% tax
charged for the transaction.

If your paycheck is $1000 , then you will pay
Obama $10 just for the privilege of depositing
your paycheck in your bank. Even if you hand carry
your paycheck or any check into your bank for a
deposit , 1% tax will be charged.

You receive a $5 , 000 stock dividend from your
broker , Obama takes $50 just to allow you to
deposit that check in the bank..

If you take $1 , 000 cash to deposit at your bank ,
1% tax will be charged.

Mind you , this is from the man who promised that ,
if you make under $250 , 000 per year , you will not
see one penny of new tax. Keep your eyes and ears
open , you will be amazed at what you learn about
this guy’s under-the-table moves to increase the
number of ways you are taxed.

Oh , and by the way , you receive a refund from
the IRS next year and you have it direct
deposited or you walk in to deposit that check ,
you guessed it. You will pay a 1% charge of that
money just for putting it in your bank. Remember ,
any money , cash , check or whatever , no matter
where it came from , you will pay a 1% fee if you
put it in the bank.

Some will say , oh well , it’s just 1%. Are you
kidding me? It’s a 1% tax increase across the
board. Remember , once the tax is there , they can
also raise it at will.. And if anyone protests , they will just say ,
“oh , that’s not really a tax , it’s a user fee”! Think this is no
big deal? Go back and look at the transactions you
made from last year’s banking statements. Then add
the total of all those transactions and deduct 1%..
Still think it’s no big deal???     Vicki

In which square hole does your round Peg fit?????

1. snopes.com: Debt Free America Act ⤢⤢⤢
Is the U.S. government proposing a 1% tax on debit card
usage and/or
banking transactions?
…It is true. The bill is HR-4646 introduced by US Rep Peter
deFazio D-Oregon and US Senator Tom Harkin D-Iowa. Their plan is
to sneak it in after the…
…moved beyond proposing studies and submitted the Debt Free
America Act (H.R. 4646) , a bill calling for the implementation of
a scheme to pay down the…
…[2010] by Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.). His “Debt Free America
Act” (H.R. 4646) would impose a 1 percent “transaction tax” on
every financial transaction…
Tue , 12 Oct 2010 11:26:37 GMT
http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/debtfree.asp

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: July 21, 2011 Reporting From: Split, Croatia

In Business, Business/Political Trends Worldwide, Continental Travel, currency, Expatriation, Food and Staples, Government, History, Money and Finances, Offshore accounts, Opportunity, Personal, Sovereign Man, Taxes, Travel on July 21, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Sovereign Man

Notes from the Field

Date: July 21, 2011
Reporting From: Split, Croatia

Print. Lie. Borrow. Deceive. Deny. These are a the principal tenants of the Greek restructuring plan that were released today from Brussels… it’s as if EU policymakers put it together after shaking a Magic 8-ball.

The whole world knows that Greece is bankrupt and has been living bailout to bailout for over a year. Deep in debt and devoid of cash, the country has completely forsaken its sovereignty in exchange for becoming a ward of the European Union; Prime Minister George Papandreou is now a hapless stooge awaiting instructions from Germany.

It’s ironic that the Greek proposal released today calls for a ‘Marshall Plan’ of investment across Europe… given that the last time Greece was being controlled by Germany was during the country’s occupation by Nazi forces after being vanquished by Hitler’s 12th Army in April 1941.

And so, with limited debate and even less fanfare, Europe has just officially signed on to destroy its own currency. Utterly worthless, quasi-defaulted Greek debt will become perfectly acceptable collateral, much in the same way that the US Federal Reserve took every scrap of toxic paper it could find off banks in 2008 and 2009.

Given the favorable market reaction, European politicians must be feeling pretty proud of themselves. The euro is up. The stock market is up. Oil is up. Well, never mind about oil, they’ll blame that on evil speculators… just like food prices.

And the proposal is so deliberately vague, they can go back home and tell constituents whatever they want. Angela Merkel can tell German voters that the French are paying for it, and Sarkozy and tell French voters that the Germans are paying for it. Win, win!

The European sovereign default SOP has just been set. When Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Ireland’s time of insolvency arrives, it will be handled just like this: Print. Lie. Borrow. Deceive. Deny.

Every day it becomes more and more obvious that the financial system as we know it is breaking down. The United States and European monetary union, whose currencies comprise nearly the entirety of the world’s fiat reserves, have both signed up to debase their currencies as rapidly as possible.

This is going to kick inflation up another notch as anyone holding on to Greek debt is going to trade out of it as quickly as possible. All that money has to go somewhere… and it’s a sure bet that a lot of it will feed rising commodities price (which translates into more inflation).

If you haven’t found a safe haven for your savings yet, it’s time to start. Now. No more excuses. A few you could consider:

Swiss franc, Norwegian krone, Singapore dollar, Chilean peso: These four currencies are generally regarded as safer, stronger, and managed by less obtuse central banks. In a world of fiat, these are among the least worst of the bunch.

Unidad de Fomento (UF): This is a special unit of account used in Chile that was set up during the hyperinflation days of the 1960s. The UF is designed to keep pace with inflation and it’s possible to establish a bank account denominated in UF in Chile. I’ll be telling SMC members how to do that in an upcoming issue.

Agricultural Property: Nothing hedges your risk against rising food prices like being able to produce your own food. This idea underpins the concept for the resilient community we’re planning in South America.

Precious Metals: Portable, divisible, durable, and scarce, precious metals are the classic hedge against rising prices. Gold and silver aren’t going to go up in a straight line, and gold in particular is due for a correction, but in a world ruled by an economic magic 8-ball, it’s a much safer store of value than a government IOU.

High quality equities: If my only two options are Apple stock and a bank account earning 0% interest, I’m going with Steve Jobs. The chief problem with equities is that the more money that central banks print, the more money flows into equities… pushing valuations up to dizzying (and unsustainable) levels.

Firearms and ammunition: Weapons and ammo serve a dual purpose of providing better home security, as well as a reasonable store of value. Unfortunately, they can also serve a third purpose– putting you on some government agency’s radar.

This list is by no means exhaustive… but if you have the majority of your savings just sitting there wasting away, it’s time to act.

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com

This article appears courtesy of SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field
, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit http://www.SovereignMan.com

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: July 20, 2011 Reporting From: Split, Croatia…..”Take Heed America” added by Admin/floridabusinessportals.com

In Business, Business/Political Trends Worldwide, Continental Travel, Expatriation, Government, History, Interesting places, Money and Finances, Offshore accounts, Opportunity, Personal, Sovereign Man, Taxes, Travel on July 20, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field

Date: July 20, 2011

Reporting From: Split, Croatia

Bruce Lee, a long-time hero of mine, died 38-years ago today, and in tribute to his intellect and philosophy, I wanted to blow the dust off an old quote of his that seems quite prescient:

“Those who are unaware they are walking in darkness will never seek the light.”

Each day it becomes increasingly obvious that there are essentially two kinds of people in this world– those who are unaware that they walk in the darkness, completely oblivious to the real dangers in the world, versus those who understand reality and seek the truth. The former group comprises the vast majority of society.

This is your voting electorate and mainstream media audience, and they’ll buy every bit of propaganda that’s sent their way… whether it’s support for the war(s), ruinous economic programs, child molesting TSA policies, or just plain old fear and hate. In its latest effort to spread fear and hate, the Ministry of Love, also known as the Department of Homeland Security, has produced an Orwellian new video intended to encourage Americans to rat each other out.

If you’re not in a place to watch the video right now, I’ll summarize briefly. First of all, it’s one of the most pathetic attempts at filmmaking in the history of motion picture; the average shampoo commercial has better acting and production quality… and is much more subtle in its message.

In the world of Homeland Security, terrorists all drive unmarked full-size vans, wear hooded sweatshirts, and deposit backpacks in conspicuous public places. They might as well have had a cackling James Bond villain twirling his moustache in the corner.

At its core, the video is filled with scenes of ordinary citizens spying on each other and alerting the authorities to their compatriots’ suspicious deeds. In my favorite scene, a woman calls the police after snooping over the shoulder of a young man typing away on his smartphone. Naturally, it’s all for the common good… for everyone’s safety and security. In fact, everyone shares in this responsibility according to DHS, so we should all be on our toes to rat each other out at the first sign of suspicious activity.

Apparently this is yet another obligation that comes with citizenship. For the majority of people who watch this video, their chests will swell with pride in the knowledge that they now have a role to play in their country’s security. These are the folks walking around in the darkness, unaware. You can’t talk to them about things like personal liberty as they’ll just regurgitate the propaganda they’ve been spoon fed since birth. These are the same folks who take their shoes off at the airport and proclaim, “Whatever it takes to keep us safe,” or “I have nothing to hide!”

Truthfully, real criminals aren’t back alley types, but rather the policymakers who spread fear and paranoia in the name of justice. They cloak their crimes in good deeds while building a brainwashed class of future Thought Police. If Orwell had written a prequel to 1984, this would all be part of it. It seems the boiling frog is getting just a bit warmer..

. Until tomorrow, Simon Black Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com

SIMON FINDS NUMBERED ACCOUNTS FOR DEPOSITS AS SMALL AS $8,000 Not yet a Sovereign Man: Confidential subscriber? This edition could have been a double issue. Here’s what you’re missing in what may be the best month yet: * This country may be a small country wedged in between two European powerhouses, but it checks just about every box for Simon. Hint…it’s NOT Switzerland. From safety, lightning-fast Internet, low taxes and minimal government intervention, this country should be on the top of your list for places to visit. Simon shares where to stay and how to fly in and out. For a land-locked location, it may be one of his favorites! * Simon proves this country isn’t just a tourist spot. He’ll show you how to get residency for an relatively small investment . Find his contact to get it done quickly. He also highlights the most difficult documentation requirement and how to be sure you have it covered. * Privacy in offshore banking? YES, this stable, European country still has private, numbered accounts AND will do business with US Citizens. Simon will share the different banks and even has negotiated a discount for Sovereign Man: Confidential members. You won’t want to miss this. * Ever-opportunistic, Simon will give some easy entrepreneurship opportunities in an emerging frontier, Kosovo. These options are the equivalent of “selling shovels to gold miners”. * Mark Nestmann also returns to go further in depth for those interested in expatriation with an honest assessment of the worst-case scenario. * Tim Staermose also offers his actionable insight from his most recent China trip. You need to have an understanding of the social and financial implications of the coming bust. To learn more about SMC and get access to the archive, click here for more information.


This article appears courtesy of SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field
, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit http://www.SovereignMan.com

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field -Date: July 18, 2011 Reporting From: Becici, Montenegro

In Business, Business/Political Trends Worldwide, currency, Government, History, Opportunity, Personal, personal and business, Sovereign Man, Taxes, Travel on July 18, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Sovereign Man

Notes from the Field

Date: July 18, 2011
Reporting From: Becici, Montenegro

In March 2010, President Obama signed into law one of the most arrogant, unfeasible bills ever to hit the books.

Known as FATCA [Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act], it was enacted as part of the inappropriately titled HIRE Act; the law requires that foreign banks must disclose personal account details for their US clients, essentially agreeing to get in bed with the US government.

If a foreign bank does not agree to disclose information on all of its US customers, then the law further requires that noncompliant banks withhold a 30% tax on all payments that may have originated from the United States.

The arrogance of this law is overwhelming. It would be as if the Saudi King issued a decree forbidding US grocery store chains to sell pork to Saudi citizens while on US soil. Crazy, right? Americans would be up in arms– who do those Saudi’s think they are, trying to control a US company on US soil?

But that’s exactly what FACTA does. Needless to say, the international banking scene has been up in arms since March 2010 when the law was passed. Those cries have largely fallen on deaf ears… until late last week when the US government granted a brief extension for the law to take effect.

This is important, and I’ll explain why.

We’re in the early stages of what I call the Age of Turmoil– a tumultuous time in which governments turn to increasingly desperate, authoritarian measures in order to maintain the status quo.

They drive their economies into the ground, generate painful inflation, and destroy the livelihoods of millions, even hundreds of millions… and when you don’t like it, they turn their police forces after you to ensure they still get to live a life of power and privilege on your dime.

We’ve already seen these people in action– they’ve seized pension accounts, turned the nation into a police state, ruined the economy with corrupt, reckless spending programs, inflated the currency to dangerous levels, and made it extremely difficult to do basic things like establish a business or even open a bank account.

There are a few things you can try to do about it. The default option for most people is to do nothing. They’ll stick their heads in the sand as things continue to get worse and their families’ livelihoods get eaten away by public policy.

Others think they can ‘vote the bums out,’ only later to realize that the brand new crop of politicians is just as bad as the old batch.

I’ve long been an advocate of the internationalization approach– diversifying your assets and interests overseas to reduce the control that one single government has over you.

If you live, work, bank, invest, own property, store gold, operate a business, etc. in the same country of your citizenship, you are truly putting all of your eggs in one basket.

Internationalization is an approach to take back your privacy, cut your ‘sovereign risk,’ and declare your economic independence, and it’s what I discuss every month in our premium service, Sovereign Man: Confidential. Think of it as your personal, offshore intelligence service.

To give you an idea, here’s what you missed in the July edition that just came out over the weekend:

– How to LEGALLY establish a private, numbered account in one of the world’s strongest banking jurisdictions… as well as how to remain compliant with the law. I tell you exactly who to contact to get started.

– How to establish residency in an extremely safe, modern, vibrant, cost effective, beautiful, and FREEDOM LOVING European location… it’s a fantastic choice for families, retirees, and even singles. Again, I tell you exactly who to contact.

– My boots on the ground recommendations for entrepreneurial business ideas in one of the world’s most opportunity-rich boom towns. Some require very little up-front capital, and you can make a fortune;

– New intelligence just revealed about relinquishing US citizenship;

– Portfolio strategies to protect against (and profit from) the coming economic slowdown that we see happening in China

– How to make the right kinds of internationalization decisions– walking through your own situation, and what to do about it.

This is the sort of actionable intelligence that can help you survive and thrive in the Age of Turmoil by reducing your exposure to any one single government. It will take time for you to implement these strategies… and given the FATCA extension I told you about earlier, the limited window of opportunity is now open.

I strongly encourage you to consider these strategies; no matter what happens, you will sleep better at night knowing that your family’s livelihood is much better protected.

The alternative– doing nothing– could be devastating.

Click here to read more about a risk-free trial to our premium intelligence service, Sovereign Man: Confidential.

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com
This article appears courtesy of SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field
, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit http://www.SovereignMan.com

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: July 14, 2011

In Business, Business/Political Trends Worldwide, Jobs in Cape Coral, Opportunity, Personal, Political, Political parties, Renmimbi currency, renminbi currency on July 14, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Sovereign Man

Notes from the Field

Date: July 14, 2011
Reporting From: Thessaloniki, Greece

Last night I had quite an unexpected surprise.

You see, at my hotel here in Thessaloniki, there’s a delegation from some group of the European Parliament called the Committee on Regional Development. They’re here to help… Hey, isn’t that what they always say? The Committee wants to supervise Greece working its way out of the debt crisis and make sure that Greece’s poor are getting the support they need.

The hotel’s restaurant was filled with these sycophantic parasites last night– an entire room full of people with a superiority complex who think that they are entitled to make decisions about other people’s lives and money.

They sat at dinner drinking fine wine and polishing up steak tartare making proud, bombastic proclamations about the virtues of foreign aid, the democratic process, and the great progress of Greece’s austerity measures.

Coincidentally, not 300 meters down the road, a campsite has been gathering for economic refugees, Thessaloniki’s former middle class that has been vanquished by the crisis. Some of the children swung by the restaurant’s outdoor terrace begging for change, only to be waved off by one of the delegate’s extended pinkie fingers as he sipped his wine.

It couldn’t have been more ironic… the perfect image of what passes for democracy today, right here in the country that invented it.

Today’s democracy is nothing more that pseudo-authoritarian rule by an elite few, executed by legions of self-deluding freeloaders who have convinced themselves that their current bureaucratic roles are both necessary and honorable… as well as a stepping stone into the next job which will be even more necessary and honorable.

With each successive position up the bureaucratic ladder comes more power, more privilege… until they actually expect to be called “The Honorable…” so and so, or “His Excellency” so and so, etc.

My dictionary suggests a few definitions for ‘honor’. One of them refers to a person’s chastity… and I doubt it applies in this case given the political establishment’s Twitter record. The other definition says, “conferred as a distinction, especially an official award for bravery or achievement.”

In the United States, they must be confusing the term ‘achievement’ with ‘destroying the economy and culture of the formerly most powerful nation on earth.’  President Obama is apparently so honorable that he can’t even be bothered to hold negotiations anymore about debt compromise, arguing that Ronald Reagan wouldn’t be doing that…

He seems more concerned about his esteem and rank being respected than facing the grim facts of economic reality.

Simultaneous on Capitol Hill, Comrade Bernanke sent the dollar plummeting once again. Just to put things in perspective, the entire eurozone is on the precipice of a meltdown, and the euro had been falling for days. The second this man opened his mouth, the dollar plunged… indicating that investors would rather take a chance on European insolvency than Bernanke.

It was truly pathetic… and yet another example of what passes for democracy today: One man who has never been elected is essentially given control of the money supply to do with it as he deems best in his sole discretion.

All in all, as usual, it’s going to come down to the taxpayers. The bureaucrats will go on enjoying their steak tartare and ignoring the huddled masses. The politicians will go on posturing over title. The central bankers will keep making interest free loans to their friends and destroying their currencies.  We get stuck with the fallout.

In the end, the governments will make it a matter of national security and patriotism, ensuring that we ‘do our duty to the nation’ by coughing up more of our livelihood. I stumbled across this WW2 propaganda video a few days ago in which Daffy Duck tells us all that it’s our patriotic duty to give as much as possible to the government.

Should we expect a new video soon suggesting that it’s our patriotic duty to buy Treasury bonds…? In what passes for democracy today, you can bet on it.


Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com 

This article appears courtesy of SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field
, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit http://www.SovereignMan.com

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: July 13, 2011 Reporting From: Thessaloniki, Greece

In Business, Business/Political Trends Worldwide, Continental Travel, currency, Government, History, Opportunity, Political, Political parties, Sovereign Man, Taxes, Travel on July 13, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Sovereign Man

Notes from the Field

Date: July 13, 2011
Reporting From: Thessaloniki, Greece

I went to dinner last night in an upmarket area of Thessaloniki. It wasn’t a touristy part of town at all, nearly everyone there was local.

As we walked down a narrow cobblestone path flanked by traditional Greek restaurants, all the various hostesses and proprietors ran out to greet us and pitch their menus.

“We have the freshest seafood!”

“We have the cheapest prices!”

“We offer free drinks and dessert!”

Within seconds, outright calamity ensued with each thrusting menus in our faces, pulling at our shirtsleeves, and shouting over the competition. Then a shoving match… and then finally an all out physical altercation, literally coming to blows over what amounted to a $20 dinner tab.

Now, aggressive behavior is common in this part of the world; it gets even worse in Turkey and North Africa. But there is an element of desperation that I have not yet seen before here. Given the graveyard of former restaurants gone bust nearby, it’s clear that last night’s owners are trying to stay afloat at any cost.

Later in the evening, I dropped by the city’s ancient agora ruins. Inside I could see a number of stray dogs marking their territory as they saw fit, and it was the perfect metaphor. This place has literally gone to the dogs.

Coincidentally, the Greek government held a ‘successful’ bond auction yesterday, unloading 1.6 billion euros of six-month bills. This sounds like a lot of money until you figure that it just barely covers this month’s interest payments on the roughly 340 billion euro debt that they already owe.

Just last month alone, the Greek budget deficit was 2.2 billion euros. Greece must continue indebting itself not only to make interest payments, but simply to keep the lights on. Meanwhile, the principal balance owed keeps rising while tax revenues are falling… making the situation perpetually worse.

Bailouts can’t fix this problem. Think about it like this: say your best friend is swimming in debt, paying $5,000 per month in interest. His best job prospect is $1,000 per month, so he’s in the hole $4,000 per month and rising.

If he receives a new $10,000 line of credit, would this fix his problems? Not at all. He’d be staring at bankruptcy again within 3-months.

Living bailout to bailout while going deeper into debt is simply an unsustainable Ponzi scheme. And given the Greek government’s current cash position and bond auction calendar, the next do-or-die bailout should come to a head this summer.

Europe will have to make a decision: (a) continue financing Greek largess and hope that taxpayers don’t care or notice; (b) take cover and allow the Greek government to default; or (c) an ‘orderly restructuring’ that combines loan workouts, haircuts for bondholders, and strings-attached cash injections from the ECB and IMF.

The most likely is the third option, but no matter how you dress it up, it’s still a default.

We’ve seen this play out once before in Dubai. The emirate underwent a steep restructuring period on roughly 50% of its $59 billion debt load in late 2009 and 2010, and it caused a deep recession and losses in the local market. Two big differences, though.

First, Dubai had a wealthy big brother in Abu Dhabi. Europe has angry German taxpayers.

Second, Dubai was isolated. Europe has a number of insolvent countries whose collective debts far exceed the capacity for any bailout.

If the market is allowed to function, the consequent derivatives chain reaction from default will cause a wave of bankruptcies among a number of large financial institutions, triggering even more government intervention (read: taxpayer bailouts) and a deflationary sell-off in financial markets.

Barring a miraculous, no-strings-attached emergency bailout, I think we can expect the opening salvos within the next few months.

So why should you care if you’re not Greek? Because the ensuing capital controls, raids on public and private pensions, and social chaos met with overwhelming police brutality will be a preview of things to come when the rest of Europe and the United States arrive at their financial reckoning days.

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com
This article appears courtesy of SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field
, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit http://www.SovereignMan.com

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: July 12, 2011 Reporting From: Chongqing, China

In Business, Business/Political Trends Worldwide, Continental Travel, Government, History, Political, Sovereign Man, Taxes, Travel on July 12, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Sovereign Man

Notes from the Field

Date: July 12, 2011
Reporting From: Chongqing, China

[Editor’s note: Tim Staermose is filling in for Simon Black today with more boots on the ground observations in China.]
 

By some accounts, Chongqing is the largest metro area in the world with a population of some 32 million. They ought to call it the largest construction site in the world.This is a place that, if you believe the official numbers, posted 17% GDP growth in 2010. It doesn’t take too long to figure out how that happened. Driving around town, I found that Chongqing is in such a building frenzy, they’re actually tearing down perfectly good (and reasonably new) buildings and infrastructure, and rebuilding them.

To give you an example, next to my 45-story downtown hotel was a building site where the constant drone of jackhammers signaled to me that there was some breaking of concrete going on. The new tower under construction had reached the 11th floor, but then they decided to tear it down and start all over again with something even bigger (102-stories).

[There are a half-dozen other such towers in Chongqing. Most of them are officially “on hold,” signaling to me that China is getting ever closer to facing its bubble reality– that demand simply cannot support such investment.]

Then there are the pavement workers… half of them digging up the road, half of them putting it back together. It is the literal equivalent of digging ditches only to fill them back up, all in order to create employment.

The government certainly hopes that actual businesses will come to Chongqing to mop up all the excess productive capacity that they’re building (and then tearing down and rebuilding).

Chongqing is, in fact, at the epicenter of the “Go West” drive in China, whereby manufacturers along China’s coast are being encouraged to move their production facilities inland to take advantage of the untapped labor pool and cheaper all-around costs of doing business.

Curiously, Ford Motor Company is one of the region’s cornerstone investors.  The company’s biggest concentration of production plants outside of Detroit is in Chongqing.  Ford aims to use the city as its beachhead in China where its market share currently languishes at a paltry 2.6%.

Perhaps in the years and decades to come, dozens, even hundreds of businesses will relocate to Chongqing. Maybe the Chinese have it all figured out and are thinking 25 years in advance. But today, it’s hard to see how ripping down buildings and roadways (and replacing them with ghost towers and the exact same roadways) could prove to be a worthwhile investment.

A half-built building is a liability. A completed building sitting empty is an even bigger liability. These aren’t signs of clever planning, but of wasteful misallocations that are starting to crack the facade of the Chinese economy.

So much superfluous construction did create temporary economic growth… but now you can see the visible signs of unemployment rising. The sheer volume of downtrodden and destitute Chinese on the streets, coupled with rising consumer prices and declining output, all suggest that deep instability is looming.
The Chinese have an old proverb: “Keep your broken arm inside your sleeve.”  They have been telling lies to the world and masquerading as an economic miracle for years, but the signs of stress are showing.
Yes, China does have the right kind of potential with over a billion people, substantial productive capacity, and a high savings rate. But these dizzying growth rates have been a total illusion. With so much of the world’s economic hopes pinned on the continued fantasy of 10% growth, it’s going to be a hard landing for everyone once China’s reality sets in.
Until tomorrow,

Tim Staermose
Editor, SovereignMan.com 

This article appears courtesy of <a href="http://www.sovereignman.com">SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field</a>, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit <a href="http://www.sovereignman.com">http://www.SovereignMan.com</a>


Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: July 11, 2011 Reporting From: Pristina, Kosovo

In Business, Business/Political Trends Worldwide, Continental Travel, Government, History, Personal, Political, Travel on July 11, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Sovereign Man

Notes from the Field

Date: July 11, 2011
Reporting From: Pristina, Kosovo

Can you imagine being trapped inside your home country, unable to leave? It may be closer to a reality than you realize. I’ll tell you a quick story to explain.

This weekend I rented a car in Bulgaria with the aim of driving through Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia, and eventually into Greece. Now, I’m no virgin to land border crossings in the developing world and understand the corruption and incompetence that typifies customs checkpoints. But this weekend’s experience was much more.

With documents in hand, I drove to my first border crossing in Strezimirovci, Bulgaria. After clearing customs on the Bulgarian side, the Serbian officers decided that they would not allow me to enter with the normal papers, and instead required that I obtain another customs form to proceed.

Unfortunately, they had no such customs form at their station, so they turned me around and sent me to another border check point in Kalotina, over an hour away.

The road from Strezimirovci to Kalotina skirts the Serbian border for a large part of the drive– quite literally, on one side of the road is Serbia, and on the other is Bulgaria. It’s all part of the same landscape with no discernable difference… these are just invisible lines guarded by gun-toting monkeys.

When I arrived to Kalotina, I found the ‘office’ where I was supposed to obtain the new document– just a simple, roadside concession stand. The ‘agent’ was the shop’s proprietor, a chain-smoking Serbian woman with rather mannish features.

Once I paid the appropriate fee, she spent the next 10 minutes hacking at her keyboard to produce an official looking Cyrillic document with lots of stamps and seals.

While I was waiting for her to finish, four different customers came into the shop to stock up on snacks and drinks. All they wanted was a cold one for the road, but they eventually got tired of waiting and left.

These four customers represented potential transactions that could have contributed something to the economy. Instead, though, they were preempted by an unnecessary bureaucracy that adds absolutely no value whatsoever.

As expected, the Serbian customs agent barely glanced at the form when I crossed the border this time. Finally on Serbian soil, I pointed my car towards Pristina.

Now, Serbia still pretends like Kosovo is part of its sovereign territory, and Serbian police are under strict instructions to make the immigration checkpoint on the Kosovo border as painful as possible.

The vehicle line at the checkpoint was backed up so much that it took several hours to pass. All along the way, there was not a single bathroom, vending machine, fuel station, or even street light. It’s obvious that they want to incovenience travelers to the point that people will think twice before visiting Kosovo again.

When it was finally my turn, I drove up to the policeman and handed him all of my papers. He slowly went through every single detail, looking for any technicality he could find to prevent me from crossing.

The rest the station was staffed with 10 other agents.  All brandished automatic weapons slung over their backs, yet each stood around doing absolutely nothing. One person was “working,” and the other ten were smoking, eating, drinking, and shooting the breeze.

Frankly, I pity all of these border agents whose only function is to deny, obstruct, or otherwise frustrate the forward progress of other human beings.  These people will go their entire careers contributing nothing of value to the world, and destroying what others are trying to create. It’s truly a pitiful existence.

This weekend’s affair was a clear example of what happens when a government imposes mind-numbing bureacracy to prevent freedom of movement. And if you think it can’t happen where you live, think again.

In the US, the government now requires all citizens to have a passport in order to pass the border, even when driving into Mexico or Canada. Obtaining a passport, however, is neither free nor guaranteed.  You must apply, pay an ever-increasing fee, and wait for weeks to be approved and receive it.

Recently, the State Department quietly proposed a new ‘biographical questionnaire’ in lieu of the traditional passport application. The new form requires you to provide things like:

– names, birth places, and birth dates of your extended family members
– your mother’s place of employment at the time of your birth
– whether or not your mother received pre-natal or post natal care
– the address of your mother’s physician and dates of appointments
– the address of every place you have ever lived in your entire life
– the name and address of every school you have ever attended

Most people would find it impossible to provide such information, yet the form requires that the responses ‘are true and correct’ under penalty of imprisonment.

Naturally, the privacy statement on the application also acknowledges that the responses can be shared with other departments in the government, including Homeland Security.

If this proposal passes, then US citizens will have a nearly insurmountable hurdle to obtain a passport and be able to leave the country at will. Even if it doesn’t pass, it’s a clear demonstration of what the people who run the country are thinking.

Have you reached your breaking point yet, comrades? Let me know what you think.


Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com 
This article appears courtesy of <a href="http://www.sovereignman.com">SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field</a>, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit <a href="http://www.sovereignman.com">http://www.SovereignMan.com</a>


Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: July 8, 2011 Reporting From: Sofia, Bulgaria

In Banking, Business, Business/Political Trends Worldwide, Constitution of The United States, currency, Jobs in Cape Coral, Local news and Opinion, Medicine, Offshore accounts, Personal on July 8, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Sovereign Man

Notes from the Field

Date: July 8, 2011
Reporting From: Sofia, Bulgaria
Folks… you just can’t make this stuff up.On July 6th, just two days ago, at least a dozen busybody Congressmen sponsored the introduction ofHR 2411, the “Reduce America’s Debt Now Act of 2011.” They always come up with fantastic names for these pieces of legislation… and rest assured, the better/more patriotic the name, the more ominous the bill. This one follows the pattern.

HR 2411 states that every worker in America should be able to voluntarily have a portion of his/her wages automatically withheld and sent directly to the Treasury Department for the purposes of paying down the federal debt.

“Every employer making payment of wages shall deduct and withhold upon such wages any amounts so elected, and shall pay such amounts over to the Secretary of the Treasury…”

That’s right. Uncle Sam is so broke that he wants to give all the good little Americans out there the opportunity to contribute an even greater portion of their paychecks to finance government largess.

Desperate? Hmmm…. Don’t worry, it gets better.

Obviously, if an employee feels so compelled and should elect to have a portion of his/her paycheck withheld, the onus of responsibility is now on the employer to make it happen. The employer has to do all the paperwork, withhold the money, send the payment to the Treasury, maintain the account records, and probably submit to all kinds of new filing requirements.

You can imagine that, if passed, the bill will result in a host of new IRS regulations, complete with a battery of penalties for employers who don’t fill out the paperwork properly, submit filings on time, or make some administrative mistake.

Think about it: if a small business owner has one single employee who is dumb enough to think that it’s his patriotic duty to pay down the debt and decides to contribute $1/month, that owner will have the responsibility for all kinds of new forms and filings, plus submit to new ‘debt reduction audits.’

But don’t worry, it gets even better.

So let’s say there are millions of sheep out there who elect to donate a portion of their toil and sweat so that the Chinese and big financial institutions don’t have to worry about an American default. How does Congress plan on rewarding its most patriotic citizens? By sticking it to them on their taxes, of course.

HR 2411 stipulates that any contribution made to the Treasury in order to pay down the federal debt IS NOT TAX DEDUCTIBLE.

“The [Treasury] Secretary shall include. . . a reasonably conspicuous statement that any amounts deducted and withheld from wages. . .  are not deductible as charitable contributions for Federal income tax purposes.”

Imagine this scenario: You make $100,000/year. In a fit of complete insanity, you decide that you want to withhold your entire annual salary to pay down the debt. Hey, you can always move in with mom for the next year, right?

Well guess what– Uncle Sam will gladly take your money… and then STILL expect you to pay taxes on the $100,000 that you earned, so you’d have to come out of pocket with an additional $40,000 or so.

Don’t worry, though. The Social Security and Medicare wages are reduced by the amount that you withhold, making you only liable for state and federal taxes. Seems like a good deal, eh comrades?

There are so many things utterly wrong with his piece of legislation, it’s hard to know where to begin other than by saying that such intellectual and philosophical perversion is only capable of springing from unprincipled sociopaths whose sole capability is the destruction of value.

There’s a great quote from Atlas Shrugged that comes to mind which sums this all up:

“[W]hen you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing; when you see that money is flowing to those who deal not in goods, but in favors; when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you. . . you may know that your society is doomed.”

We’ve discussed the story of the boiling frog so many times before– a frog, when put into a pot of water and slowly brought to a boil, doesn’t realize that he’s in danger until its too late. I think the boiling frog just got a little hotter. Have you hit your breaking point yet?


Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com 
This article appears courtesy of <a href="http://www.sovereignman.com">SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field</a>, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit <a href="http://www.sovereignman.com">http://www.SovereignMan.com</a>


Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: July 7, 2011 Reporting From: Wuhan, China [Editor’s note: Tim Staermose is filling in for Simon Black today]

In Business, Business/Political Trends Worldwide, Continental Travel, currency, Government, History, Jobs, Personal, Political, renminbi currency, Travel on July 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Sovereign Man

Notes from the Field

Date: July 7, 2011
Reporting From: Wuhan, China

[Editor’s note: Tim Staermose is filling in for Simon Black today]
 
When I left my hotel bound for the new Guangzhou South Station the other day , I didn’t know much about the station– where it was, how far from the hotel, etc. After about 25 or 30 minutes in the cab, I still hadn’t seen any signs for the station and grew concerned that the cabbie was just taking me for a ride.As we eventually approached the station, I began to understand why it was so far out of town.  Clearly, the only way they could find enough contiguous land to build this monstrosity was to go WAY into to the outskirts of the city.In the end, it was a 27.82 kilometer (17.39 miles) cab ride from my downtown hotel, and took 49 minutes to get there.  I know this because Chinese taxis are very efficient and give you a highly detailed receipt.

Guangzhou South Station is absolutely COLOSSAL.  By comparison, it is much bigger than any of the 3 international airport terminals in Manila where I live… and I’d say it’s over 8 times larger than theCentral Airport Express Station in Hong Kong.

For a start, the Guangzhou South Station is built on THREE levels.  I was dropped off at level 2.  When I entered there was an “Information” booth straight ahead.  It was unstaffed.  In fact, the entire second level was completely deserted.  Very spooky. It was something out of a low-budget zombie movie.

I went downstairs to the ticketing area where there were a few signs of life. Of the forty or so ticket windows, well over half were closed, and there were only a few dozen people mulling about. To give you an idea of density, imagine the largest football stadium you can think of with only a few hundred people inside. Ghost town.

With ticket in hand, I went up to the departures area… it defies logic that you have to go upstairs to departures even though the trains are at the ground level, but my guess is that the Party really wanted to build a third level just to heighten the grandeur of the train station.

Now, you’d think that if they spent so much money building a station this large, they would be expecting hundreds of trains steaming in and out at all hours of the day. Not by long shot. There was only one train at the platforms. Mine.

It was the same zombie movie theme– areas the size of multiple football fields with hardly any passengers standing around.  And yet, throughout the entire station over all three levels was expensive, high quality marble tiles and artistic finishings, all polished to a mirrored shine.

Guangzhou South Station is truly a monument to excess, exemplifying China’s ruinous “build it and they will come” attitude.

When I arrived to Wuhan about 4-hours later (going 300 km per hour on the high speed bullet train), it was the same theme: acres of empty space, hardly a soul in sight, yet all very modern and marbled with dozens of elevators and abandoned information booths. When my train pulled in, it was the only one at the platforms.

Frankly, the whole episode reminded me of Bangkok and Hong Kong airports during the SARS epidemic back in 2003.  I observed this firsthand– passenger traffic cratered because most people were scared silly of catching the deadly virus, and major airports were practically empty.

Similarly, this is what you would expect at New York’s Grand Central Station after a flesh-eating virus outbreak.

It’s interesting to note that China’s National Audit Office (NAO) recently published a report which says the country’s outstanding local government debt is now equivalent to $1.7 TRILLION. That’s a huge figure — about 27% of China’s GDP in 2010.Because the NAO’s figure was based only on a sampling of 6,500 local government-backed financial vehicles (out of more than 10,000 such vehicles nationwide), the actual magnitude of local government indebtedness is likely to be much greater.  China’s own Central Bank estimates the number to be 30% higher than the NAO figure.All of this certainly begs the question– how many more empty buildings and unused train stations can they possibly build?  More importantly, what happens to China’s economy when all this fixed asset spending starts to subside?  I’ll explore these questions more in the coming days… but in the meantime, I’d like to hear what you think about it.


Until tomorrow,

Tim Staermose
Editor, SovereignMan.com 

This article appears courtesy of <a href="http://www.sovereignman.com">SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field</a>, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit <a href="http://www.sovereignman.com">http://www.SovereignMan.com</a>


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