Quantitative easing, or QE, has been one of the most controversial policies of the US government since the financial crisis began in 2008. By artificially pumping money into the bonds market the Fed was able to stimulate demand in the US economy and help the stock markets recover from the worst effects of the crash, but the program has grown far beyond what was planned six years ago. There have now been three rounds of QE in total and between them they’ve sucked up $3.5 trillion, a lot more than anyone at the Fed expected when they started the process. The aim was to increase the money supply beyond what the devastated banks could manage, through buying up financial instruments – including colossal amounts of mortgage debt. The effect was to put more money in the hands of banks, businesses and consumers, and overall it’s sent several trillion dollars flowing through the economy.
Economists have been reporting low rates of inflation all year – the annualized rate has been below 2.1 percent right through 2014, and has even dipped below 1.2 percent – but for many Americans it doesn’t feel that way. If inflation is so low, why is it a basket of groceries seems to cost so much more than last year, and why is there never any money left at the end of the month? The answer is that inflation isn’t really a good measure of what’s happening to the cost of living. To understand what’s really going on we need to look in a bit more detail.
The USA’s national debt has become a talking point recently, as commentators start to realize exactly what we’re storing up for future generations – and, if we don’t halt its seemingly inexorable acceleration fast enough, for ourselves. Right now the federal government is spending more than it earns to the tune of about $550 billion every year. There’s no mystery about where this trend is taking us – the Federal reserve are open about the fact that this “improvement” in the situation (for a couple of years after the 2008 crash the deficit was over $1 trillion a year, and by that abysmal standard today’s spending counts as an improvement) should last until about 2020, at which point steadily rising social security and Medicare costs will push the debt curve back up again.
If you’re a US citizen, right now you’re saddled with close to $56,000 of debt that you didn’t choose to take out, that you can’t walk away from and that has to be paid back someday at a cost that could ruin this country. That debt is close to double the average wage. It’s the cost of an imported luxury car or the deposit on a small apartment in the most expensive cities in America. And it was run up on your behalf by the federal government.
Sometimes it seems like our politicians spend all day looking for excuses to impose new taxes, so it’s always nice to see some movement in the other direction. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it’s worth encouraging. Now it looks like New Jersey’s Republican governor Chris Christie plans to do something about his state’s crippling estate tax.
New Jersey is one of only two states that has both estate and inheritance taxes, so dying there is a pretty expensive business. It’s especially hard for small businesses and the middle class, who can easily slip into the bracket where estate tax becomes payable. It’s not much of a reward for a lifetime of building up assets – having the government step in and confiscate a big chunk of them. It makes it even worse when another chunk is seized from anyone who inherits what’s left. Now Christie is proposing raising the exemption, hopefully bringing thousands of NJ residents out of the bracket, and there’s pressure on him to go even further and scrap it altogether.
Many political observers have noted that Libertarians tend to be staunch advocates of gold and silver values. But it may be worthwhile for people to investigate why these commodities have proven to be so popular for many people out on the market. Investors from all fields are starting to realize that these commodities will retain their value throughout the course of a few different economic issues over time. It may be helpful to get an overview of the different types of advantages that gold and silver can provide to investors. This will be a worthwhile asset for owners to consider trying out for themselves. Some Libertarians support the use of gold and silver bullion because it is in line with their own unique political beliefs. This could be a worthwhile consideration for many people to keep in mind going forward. Fund owners may appreciate the opportunity to support trading stable commodities. Before running down to your local coin shop to buy gold bars, it might be good to have a look at some of the pros and cons to this libertarian viewpoint.
Doomsday Preppers is a reality TV show featured on National Geographic. It highlights the lives of Americans who are getting ready for doomsday. Their main objective is to be prepared for potential disasters. These people believe that the world is about to end. They are afraid of the apocalypse. Their beliefs about the impending end of the world vary from one household to another. These beliefs are based on certain signs such as a rise in inflation and natural disasters, which other people do not pay too much attention to. One of the most interesting aspects about these individuals is that they stock up on weapons and gold.