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The Sabotaging of the American Economy

There are rallies and then there are rallies. What do we mean by that? We mean that while a fast in-and-out high risk-taking trader can make money buying into artificial, narrow based rallies, where prices do in fact rise, these rallies are fragile, are tenuous, are subject to high risk of unexpected decline, like a balloon inflated to the point where it pops. Broad based rallies, where a wide range of buyers are providing demand, where volume is strong and rising, are more likely to have a long shelf life and experience milder declines, which end up being buying opportunities. Those are true Bull markets, like we saw from the early 1980s through the late 1990s. Since the first decade of the millennium, we have not seen a true quality broad-based Bull Market. One could actually label the start of the current Bear Market from as far back as the January 14th, 2000 top in the Industrials, on an inflation adjusted basis. That date still represents the inflation adjusted high in the Industrials. Since 2000, our economy has been managed differently than in the past. A top-down approach to economic stimulus became the policy.

By top-down, I mean the plan has been to pretend to stimulate the real economy by flowing capital down from a few large money center banks, rather than a bottom up approach where money flows from households up to small and large businesses, and eventually toward large money center banks and then local, state, and federal governments in the form of tax receipts.

In a bottom-up approach, marginal income tax rates are cut, and/or income tax rebates are issued to households and small businesses. This approach recognizes that consumers (households) account for 70 percent of GDP, and that small businesses account for 80 percent of all jobs growth. This approach empowers the middle class, offers opportunity for the lower socioeconomic class to elevate themselves through jobs and employer funded training and education, and focuses prosperity on Main Street. Increased spending fuels this economic engine, creating jobs, stimulating innovation, producing savings, and encouraging entrepreneurship and risk taking. Capital investment increases, stuff is invented, produced, and sold. Revenues (the top line in the earnings equation) grow, corporate earnings increase, and stock markets rise the right way, from a broad based demand for companies with growing P/Es where cost cutting (a temporary fix for E) is not the predominant reason for earnings growth. Revenues are. The government is mainly in the business of national defense and infrastructure. They benefit from rising tax revenues, not from an increase in marginal tax rates, not from taking a larger piece of the pie, but from taking a smaller piece of a much larger pie. This was the economics of Kennedy, of Ronald Reagan, and to a lesser extent, of Bill Clinton, largely thanks in Clinton's case to the Contract with America bottom up economic revolution of the 1994 Congress. To start a bottom-up approach requires an initial large budget deficit as taxes are rebated and cut, hitting the choke button to start the engine. It appears to be an unproductive use of fuel, but shortly thereafter, the engine is purring and producing more fuel than that initial start up process required. By the end of Bill Clinton's reign over America, we had achieved a budget surplus. America was prosperous. Main Street did well. Households felt good.

But things changed in the early 2000 millennium. Rather than accept a normal mild correction, the decision was made to take a top-down approach to economic stimulus, to attempt to minimize the economic correction, and keep the good times rolling. But the game changed from real prosperity to artificial prosperity. We entered the age of economic oligarchy in our nation, and it started in a big way in 2000. The shift that took place was to equate the economy with Wall Street. Main Street was no longer considered the key cog determining economic growth. Wall Street, mega-money center banks and mega corporations such as Exxon Mobil, were considered to be the relevant drivers of economic prosperity. If Main Street benefitted, great. But if they did not, so ne it. The goal was to make sure Wall Street financial firms made big money. Bigger was better. Industry consolidation was considered a good thing where mom and pops were bought out so the mega firm could control local markets. If a few large firms could control commerce, the government could control all commerce through partnering with the few mega-firms. As this incestuous relationship grew throughout the decade, it became increasingly unclear whether it was government controlling the few large firms, or the other way around. It hasn't mattered whether a Republican or a Democrat occupied the White House, the same top-down economic policy has been enforced since 2000. The mantra has been, simply, if it is good for Goldman Sachs, it is good enough for everyone. Obama was elected to change all this, but has done just the opposite. His administration and Congress have taken the Master Plan to new heights, to Central Planning. But the question remains, is Obama leading or is Goldman Sachs, AIG, et al? Trillions have been spent to fix this economy, but all that has been fixed is Goldman Sachs and the rest of the Corporate Oligarchy running this country. Targeted economic stimulus programs have been an abject failure, such as cars for clunkers, the token $10 a week drop in income tax withholding requirements that the Obama administration trumpets as a tax cut for 95 percent of all Americans, first time home-buyers' tax credits, and now the 2000 page, multi-trillion dollar national health insurance plan, whatever that contains.

These targeted stimulus programs are nothing more than a propaganda scheme, to try and hide the truth that fixing household finances is not on the agenda. Fixing the Money Changers, the Corporate Wall Street Oligarchy is the agenda. And to that end, this has been accomplished. At the price of the devaluation of our currency, the destruction of the jobs generating machine, the escalation of our national budget deficit to a level incomprehensible, the Central Planners have achieved restoration of large Wall Street Financial Firms' health.

Exxon Mobil was taken care of in the middle of the 2000 decade, reaching record profits for any corporation in the history of the world while oil prices skyrocketed to $147 a barrel from $10 at the beginning of the decade. The early 2000's saw the decision to indebt Main Street at the benefit of Wall Street firms and produce a fake prosperity for Main Street, the asset bubble economy where housing values blew up like a balloon, then popped, but the debt that went along with it did not pop. It stuck to households like cow dung on boots. Instead of allowing a mild recession and correction in the early 2000s, with Wall Street suffering along with the economy, it was decided to bypass pain, and replace real economic growth, bottom-up growth, with top-down debt induced, asset bubble growth. Artificial growth. The President's Working Group, the Plunge Protection Team, was on the job, pushing stock markets higher when they looked to need a mild correction, from 2003 through 2007. The Fed Chairman, a key member of this Working Group, along with the Treasury Secretary and their legal surrogates, large Wall Street Financial Firms, did their part by quadrupling the money supply over the first decade of the 2000s.The inevitable result of all this was the stock market crash of 2007 into 2009.

The Republicans were thrown out by Main Street in the elections of 2008, with the expectation that the Democrats would get back to using a bottom-up approach to economic policy, where money was placed into the hands of Main Street, of households, in a manner other than debt from Wall Street and banks who would act as tentacles for Wall Street, lending the money, then selling the debt to Wall Street, who would restructure that debt into toxic assets that would ultimately be bought by everyone, from individuals in their 401(k)s, to pension funds, to mutual funds, to local governments, to hedge funds and ultimately large Wall Street firms. Some of those Wall Street firms were allowed to fail, such as Lehman Brothers, or forced into shotgun marriages such as Merrill Lynch by Bank of America. Others were bailed out at massive taxpayer expense such as AIG. Others quietly prospered, benefitted, and had a lot to say with how the entire economic crisis was handled, such as survivors Goldman Sachs, J.P Morgan and Citicorp.

If you watch CNBC, you really get the feeling that all that matters in today's economy are the big boy firms. Goldman this, Citicorp that. Very little attention to mom and pop other than encouraging them to jump back in with their decimated account balances and buy buy buy. Main Street is irrelevant, to this administration, to Wall Street, and to the financial media. The artificial rally from March 2009 to now is very similar to the artificial rally from March 2003 through 2007. Back then, we pointed out that almost the entire rally over that four year time-span came on a fraction of days of huge price gains. The same thing has occurred again since the rally from March 2009 to now. Over the past 43 weeks, 80 percent of the price gains of this rally have come on 30 Mondays. What this tells us is that this is not a broad-based rally, rather it is a suspicious rally that looks to have sporadic deep pockets intervention behind it. If we are correct, and a myriad of technical charts and indicators we follow suggests we are, another massive stock market decline is coming again. Folks who again trust the Central Planners, who behave as sheep, who put all their eggs in the Wall Street basket without evidence of sound fundamental economic growth and prosperity at the household and small business level, are essentially playing craps at the casinos. This is a dangerous economic time for investors, regardless of whether the plunge starts soon or remains in the future.

Let's look at those fundamentals:

The federal deficit could approach $2.00 trillion dollars this year, 15 percent of GDP. Remember, this budget was balanced back in 2000. Do you understand the pressure this will put on the Dollar, and on interest rates? This almost forces the Federal Reserve to buy Dollars and Treasury Securities in the open market to support the Dollar's price and keep short and long term interest rates low. They cannot do both. To buy securities requires spending (selling) dollars. It means the Dollar has to tank, or interest rates have to rise to high heaven. In either case, real economic growth will suffer, and the U.S. standard of living will decline. A ton of last year's $1.0 trillion deficit went to Wall Street mega firm bailouts, not to Main Street. Why? Because they have the power. Because we are being governed under oligarchy, not democracy.

Construction Spending fell in November for the 7th month in a row, down 0.6 percent in November. Another horrid housing number arrived this week. The National Association of Realtors reported that its seasonally adjusted index of sales agreements fell an incredible 16 percent in November from October. It was the first decline in seven months. Not a small 2 percent drop after a string of rises, but a plunge. This came in spite of the continuation of the targeted $8,000 tax credit to first time homebuyers and the new $6,500 tax credit for relocating buyers. Further, the home loan modification program of the Central Planners, a $75 billion targeted use of your tax dollars, has been an abject failure. When first passed, we were told 5.0 million of the 80.0 million homeowners in trouble because of debt to home value ratios or income issues would be helped out of their mess. So far, only 50,000 have benefitted. Without housing and construction rebounding, there can be no real broad-based economic recovery.

We learned from an AP report Monday January 4th, 2010 in the Wall Street Journal that there were 1.43 million bankruptcy filings in the U.S. in 2009, a 32 percent increase over an awful number in 2008. December 2009 saw 116,000 bankruptcy filings.

Jobs. You ready for these numbers? The Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the U.S. Labor Department, reported Friday, January 8th, 2010, that by their count, 27 million people, or 17.6 percent of the labor force, were either unemployed or involuntarily stuck with part-time jobs when they really wanted full-time work, in December 2009. The unemployment rate they reported was 10 percent, but if you include unemployed people who want work but did not search for work in the past 4 weeks for various reasons, the unemployment rate was 11.6 percent. By comparison, the unemployment rate was 5.0 percent in December 2007. The Labor Department reported that the economy lost 85,000 non-farm payroll jobs in December. However, they goosed that number by 59,000 "make believe," unaccounted for, estimated, guessed jobs that they think new businesses that started in December may have created. So really, 144, 000 jobs were lost in December. Then if you consider we need to generate 150,000 new jobs each month to accommodate new entrants into the labor force, it means December's employment change fell 294,000 short of what was necessary to break even. How in the world is this economy going to create 27 million jobs any time soon, or even 1 million jobs for that matter, with the Central Planner top-down policies being followed? Answer, it can't and it won't.

More on the December jobs data: The average workweek came in at 33.2 hours, near record lows. The average duration of unemployment rose to 29.1 weeks. The Labor department defines long-term unemployment as 27 weeks. If you are the one unemployed, you might define it as 27 minutes.

The unemployment rate would have been worse in December if you consider that 47,000 jobs that were added to non-farm payrolls were temporary jobs. This figure offset losses in the construction, manufacturing and wholesale trade industries. In other words, we need to look at the quality of the jobs, not just the quantity of jobs. The quality of jobs is declining. More minimum wage jobs. Four out of every ten unemployed people had been unemployed for over 27 weeks, getting stale.

In summary, as far as jobs go, fewer people are working, more folks are dropping out of the labor pool, and those who are working are working fewer hours.

Wow, this new top-down economic policy that started under Bush in the early 2000s and has been taken to new heights by the Obama administration, while both Republican and Democratic Congresspersons have sat by with their hands applauding, has really worked, hasn't it? Well, like the general said to his surviving troops, "that depends upon your point of view."

Let's examine the success of this new economic top-down policy, being run by our new form of government, oligarchy:

Goldman Sachs is slated to earn about $10 billion in 2009, with Citicorp already showing $6.0 billion for the first nine months of 2009, and even Bank of America doing fine, thank you ma'am at $3.0 billion for the first nine months of 2009. Not to worry, Exxon Mobil made $45 billion in 2008, and will still do all right in 2009, showing $12 billion for the first 9 months of 2009 in spite of the decline in the price of oil. So, the Central Planners' policies have in fact worked for the big boys. All is well with the world. Main Street? They are irrelevant. Poor suckers. Who cares.

How did the stock market do over the past decade, with the Central Planner oligarchy economic policy of top-down? The Industrials remain down 8.25 percent. They remain lower today than they were in 1999. The S&P 500 remains down a whopping 24.1 percent. Cash vastly outperformed the S&P 500. The NASDAQ Composite remains down a huge 43.69 percent. The NASDAQ 100 is down 49.33 percent, sitting at only half its value from 1999. And the money supply has increased 4 times over the decade to achieve this, with the Dollar losing half its trade weighted value. At first blush, if you are a Central Planner, a member of the secret society oligarchy running this nation, you might be disturbed by this figure. But not really, no more than the housing, unemployment, and bankruptcy numbers concern you. Why? Because you still have power, your companies still are making big money. The bonuses are flowing. It's okay.

What we have witnessed over the past decade, and continue to witness is nothing more than the sabotaging of the American Economy. The American household elected three administrations to conduct this policy. They drank the Kool-Aid. They believed the smooth talking rhetoric. They ceded their power to an oligarchy. They need to yank that power back, and return this great nation to the democracy our founding fathers established, by holding representatives and an out-of-control executive branch accountable for their oversight and policy mistakes. At the coming congressional elections, any politician who had anything to do with this economic mess should be tossed out on his or her pampered derriere and replaced with a populist candidate, who believes in bottom up capitalism, low marginal tax rates, and aggressive policies to kick start the American household, small businesses, and small banks. The next election may be our last chance, if several ominous Bearish technical charts are accurate, forecasting stock markets world-wide to plunge toward zero around the 2012-2013 time period. Which is a fascinating prognostication, given the plethora of scientific and prophetic evidence being presented regularly on the History channel about the significance of a potential cataclysmic event in late 2012.

Here is what needs to be done:

Starting with you, the people, direct congress to change the entire economic approach to bottom-up from top-down. The economy is in a death spiral, and that needs to be stopped and reversed. To do so, at this point, because so much time and money has been wasted, and so much damage has occurred over the past decade, and especially over the past year, drastic action is necessary.

The solution: There needs to be a massive income tax rebate, along the lines of three years of income taxes, distributed to each and every household immediately, with a minimum payment of $50,000. Half of that would be required to be used for debt repayment. The benefit would be to clean up household balance sheets, improving household credit ratings, keeping folks in their homes, and providing bridge financing without debt burden to the unemployed to start businesses or retrain themselves through education. This would trickle up benefits to small and large businesses as folks would have more money to start spending, stimulating the economy. Further, this move would substantially improve small bank balance sheets by metamorphosing delinquent loans into current, and by repaying charged off loans. This would benefit banks by increasing capital levels, reducing loan balances, increasing lending capacity via improved loan to deposit and loan to capital ratios, as well as improving liquidity all without the need for government intervention.

As the economy revives itself through this bottom-up process, price/earnings ratios will improve for corporations with improvement coming from the top line rather than cost cuts, which in turn will boost stock prices fundamentally, not artificially, resulting in more grassroots interest in purchasing market investments, trickling money up to large Wall Street investment banking firms, where capital would be available for productive investment. The cost of such a program would be $10 to $12 trillion, but that could be raised quickly by the Treasury issuing securities to the Fed in exchange for cash. Then as profits rise from individual and corporate earnings, tax revenues would also rise for local, state, and federal governments as the total economic pie grows. This program would generate enough tax revenues over time to reduce deficits and repay issued Treasury securities without the need to raise marginal tax rates.

As a simultaneous side stimulus program, real estate taxes should be abolished and replaced with consumption taxes. This removes a rapidly growing onerous property confiscation tax, which is unconstitutional anyway, and replaces it with a tax that is born by those who can more easily afford it, buyers of goods and services. Senior citizens and unemployed folks are getting murdered by property taxes.

Finally, a third piece of this bottom-up solution is to reduce marginal income tax rates to an eventual 10 percent flat tax, period. Simple and affordable.

Now this program makes far too much sense to happen, and to be honest, it looks as if we are far too gone to effectuate this change. The present oligarchy is like a runaway freight train rushing down hill. There just may be too much momentum to stop it. Perhaps if there was some sort of grass roots "Contract with America" revival in time for this year's congressional elections, we might have half a chance. But so far, there is very little noise out there suggesting anything of the sort.

So in the absence of the necessary fix, the best course of action will be to batten down the hatches and pray. Pray for a miracle. Pray for protection. To be honest, the technical picture suggests to us a worst case scenario is possible. The fix will not be coming soon. The Bear market will continue and worsen.

A little history from ancient Greece. A policy of allowing a few large and powerful individuals, or in our case banking firms, to drive government economic policy, which is what we see going on now (almost every Treasury Secretary comes from either the New York Fed or a New York Money Center Bank), is called an oligarchy, not a democracy, not even a republic. "Oligarchy" means "rule by a few" in Greek. Almost the entire stimulus plan has been cash handouts to a few large financial corporations. Nothing of any substance has been provided to the masses, to the people who elect representatives, who elect our government. Somehow, the Central Planners are heeding the wishes of the likes of Goldman Sachs and friends, with ill-regard to moms and pops on Main Street. This was the politics of ancient Greece from 800 to 650 B.C.

Resentment of aristocratic power over the interests of the masses followed and led to dictatorship. The age of the tyrants followed oligarchy in Greece from 650 to 500 BC. The Central Planner group running the U.S. has chosen a parallel policy and decision making road, a dangerous path that could have similar consequences in the U.S. as it did in Ancient Greece.

In summary, a ton of Central Planner money has gone into a few large Wall Street firms, with very little landing in the hands of consumers. The Central Planners have essentially said, hey if you want money, play ball with the large banks and the few large firms we gave your money to. Borrow more if you can, or take your substantially lower account balances and buy stocks from the few big firms we are interested in helping, and good luck. Stocks remain far below their levels back in 1999, and far below their levels at the October 2007 highs, and households are not getting direct help from the powers with the means to give it. Job losses are increasing, salary increases are non-existent, debts are overwhelming and below collateral values, and there is not much hope on the horizon for seeing incomes increase. Stocks generally rise about 70 percent of the time, however what is critical is where prices land. Bear markets and declines can wipe out gains in far less time than it took to generate them. We saw that happen the past decade time and time again, and we believe that this is going to happen again this decade, and starting as soon as 2010.

The rest of this report will present the technical picture, including long term charts and indicators that suggest a major decline is coming, with economic devastation world-wide. Sure there will be short-term rallies and trading opportunities, but safe havens will be the best course of action for the majority. We wish we could be more optimistic at the start of a new year, but these are not normal times. If the worst case scenario unfolds, where stock prices drop to zero sometime over the next 3 to 4 years, it would suggest a paradigm shift is coming, a new world order, one hopefully divine inspired and not Central Planner ordained.

Stocks Markets world-wide are in a Grand Supercycle degree wave {IV} Bear Market. This is a huge Bear Market, meaning either in terms of time, or in terms of decline, it will be one for the ages. We believe it will be relatively short in time, but deep in decline. This Bear Market can take shape as one of three patterns, a massive sideways triangle, a flat, or a catastrophic zig-zag. If it is a Triangle, it will be a five wave supercycle pattern, and the low price has been reached on March 6th, 2009. That is the best case scenario. However, our fear is that we are going to get a zig-zag pattern, with a potential downside target close to zero. Maybe zero to 1,000 in the Industrials, and zero to 100 in the S&P 500.

Stocks are in the final wave of the eye of a hurricane of a Bear Market. The eye is the calm before the second half of a terrible storm. Once this rally finishes, we expect a severe stock market decline again. That decline should be the end of the Bear Market that started in late 2007. This Bear Market is a Grand Supercycle Bear Market, one for the ages. The first part of the storm was wave (A) down, which lasted from October 2007 to March 2009. The Second of three parts, the eye, wave (B) up, started on March 6th, and this rally should conclude in 2010, perhaps early 2010. Wave (B)'s top could arrive around the 11,000ish area for the Dow Industrials, 1,200 for the S&P 500. The third and likely final part will be wave (C) down, and will hurt.

Back in the Great Depression of 1929 through the 1930's, we saw a similar Zig-zag pattern. There was a crash in 1929, followed by a nice rally, but then the most devastating part of the market collapse followed into the 1930's. That Bear Market was a Supercycle degree wave (IV). This one is one degree larger, which means it should be worse. There is great risk to the status quo political structure of governments internationally with this Bear Market. That is why gold is an attractive investment for diversified conservative portfolios, as it has been considered a monetary equivalent throughout the ages, surviving the rise and fall of fiat currencies of nation state powers.

The above chart show the Supercycle Degree wave (IV) decline that kicked off the Great Depression of the 1930's. The point we want to make here is that the initial crash was merely wave A down of an A-down, B-up, C-down move that lasted in full about three and a half years.

Wave A down lasted about three months, from September 1929 through November 1929. Wave B-up corrected half the decline from Wave A down, and lasted about six months into April 1930.

At that point, it was a critical error to assume the worst was over. In fact, it was far from over. A catastrophic Wave C-down started in April 1930 and lasted into the summer of 1932. That two plus year decline was destined to wipe out more than the crash did, and take prices down to the point where the total damage from wave (IV) was 90 percent from its wave (III) peak in 1929.

The economy then was stuck in the throes of the Depression for the rest of the decade, only to be pulled out by the onset of World War II in the early 1940s, all the associated spending that war required.

The point here is we cannot be fooled by this Grand Supercycle degree wave (IV) that started in October 2007. Wave (A)-down is over, and Wave (B)-up is underway. However, a catastrophic Wave (C)-down is coming, just like one did in 1930 through 1932.

As a note: Most Depressions throughout history led to massive wars. The Depression of the 1850s led to the Civil War.

We have found huge Head & Shoulders Top patterns in formation for the U.S. Dow Industrials, the U.S. Russell 2000 small cap index, the Dow Transportation Average, Germany's DAX, Japan's Tokyo NIKK, and Australia's SPASX200. These patterns are not yet confirmed, but will be with declines below the horizontal necklines shown in these charts, requiring a 30 percent drop from here. Once/if those necklines have been broken, there is a high probability that the downside targets will be approached. Those downside targets are close to zero, believe it or not. This is horrific if in fact these patterns confirm.

There is evidence that those patterns will soon start their 30 percent decline to their necklines. Prices are reaching resistance at their 200 week moving averages in the Dow Industrials, the Russell 2000, the Dow Transportation Average, and Germany's DAX, and are reaching resistance at their 50 month moving average in Australia's SPASX200. Weekly MACDs are rolling over from extreme overbought levels. Weekly Full Stochastics are overbought.

These patterns add to the body of evidence that a catastrophic wave (C) down is coming, perhaps starting in 2010. These patterns, if confirmed, mean the zig-zag scenario will likely unfold. This tells us that catastrophic wave (C) down will have world-wide impact, and most likely be accompanied by terrifying news events. What those events would be are anyone's guess at this point.

We can only hope these patterns will not be confirmed, that we will not see prices fall 30 percent from here. But, honestly, these patterns are forming well, and there is great risk we will see 30 percent declines.

If we study the quality of the Head & Shoulders pattern shown above for the Dow Industrials, at first glance you may say it is slanted right, and the left shoulder is too wide in comparison to the right shoulder, so the pattern is lacking the prototypical formation. But, if you go to the technical analysis textbooks out there, you will actually see that a slanted formation leaning to the right, with a right shoulder that is weaker than the left is actually the more textbook perfect formation for a topping pattern. You see both patterns where the neckline is horizontal, and where it leans down and to the right. What would not be acceptable is if the neckline leaned upward to the right. But that is not what is occurring here. Prices will tend to follow the declining neckline. So, in conclusion, this pattern development is ominous. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SUFFICIENT CASH, GOLD, AND OTHER ESSENTIALS FOR THE CHAOS THAT COULD BE COMING.

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"Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me
shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
For I have come down from heaven,
For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds
the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life;
and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."

John 6: 35, 38, 40


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