Category Archives: Money

The Secret Bank of England

With the enactment of the privately owned central bank, the Bank of England provided the model for the financial enslavement of governments, and their citizens. Well before the conflict for establishing a National Bank in America or the eventual surrender to the money changers with the betrayal in instituting the Federal Reserve, the history of the Bank of England needs to be studied. Relying on British historians may seem to invoke a cultural bias; however, the range and wealth of information on this topic comes from an earlier age. Further research will expand this understanding and many of the sources cited can fulfill this objective.

For purposes of a mainstream account, the official site of the Bank of England provides a flowery version about the background and purported success of the scheme proposed by   “William Paterson, envisaged a loan of £1,200,000 to the Government, in return for which the subscribers would be incorporated as the “Governor and Company of the Bank of England”. Although the new bank would have risked its entire capital by lending it to the Government, the subscription proved popular and the money was raised in a few weeks. The Royal Charter was sealed on 27 July 1694, and the Bank started its role as the Government’s banker and debt-manager, which it continues today.”

“The bank hath benefit of interest on all moneys which it creates out of nothing.”

– William Paterson

THE FORMATION OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND by Halley Goodman provides a detailed and well sourced chronicle and background.

“The goldsmiths evolved to become the original private bankers of the time. Since  goldsmiths already had as part of their trade private stores of gold and stout vaults to store them in, entrepreneurs could entrust their own gold to them for safe keeping, for a fee, and receive a paper receipt for the deposit. The goldsmiths could then lend monies against these deposits for an additional fee. Mr. Hartley Winters declares that “some ingenious goldsmith conceived the epock-making notion of giving notes…and so founded modern banking.” Merchants would deposit “their money with the goldsmiths and received from them receipts” that “…were payable on demand, and were transferred from one holder to another in payment of debts.” These receipts or notes from the goldsmith bankers, often in the form of a letter, are some of the earliest surviving cheques in England. Given the economic realities of the time, although deposits provided the funds for their business, most of the clients of these goldsmith bankers were usually borrowers rather than depositors.”

From such humble origins, the foundation was laid to invent a central bank that would create money out of thin air and loan it at interest to the government, who lost it sovereignty for making this Faustian bargain.

Secrets of the Bank of England Revealed at Last!!

The Charter of the Bank of England (1694) with the Great Seal of William and Mary. The first usury central bank to be incorporated in England.

The Bank of England account, published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin cites a rocky start and opposition from the goldsmiths.

“In 1696 (very soon after its birth) the Bank experienced a crisis. There was a want of money in England. The clipped silver had been called in, and the new money was not ready. Even rich people were living on credit, and issued promissory notes. The stock of the Bank of England had gone rapidly down from 110 to 83. The goldsmiths, who detested the corporation that had broken in on their system of private banking, now tried to destroy the new company. They plotted, and on the same day they crowded to Grocers’ Hall, where the Bank was located from 1694 to 1734, and insisted on immediate payment—one goldsmith alone demanding £30,000. The directors paid all their honest creditors, but refused to cash the goldsmiths’ notes, and left them their remedy in Westminster Hall. The goldsmiths triumphed in scurrilous pasquinades entitled, “The Last Will and Testament,” “The Epitaph,” “The Inquest on the Bank of England.”

It did not take long for the Jewish bankers to set their sights on Paterson’s bank and financers for the English regime. Brother Nathanael Kapner adds his audacious viewpoints.

“The new King William III soon got England involved in costly wars against Catholic France which put England deep into debt. Here was the Jewish bankers’ chance to collect. So King William, under orders from the Elders of Zion in Amsterdam, persuaded the British Treasury to borrow 1.25 million pounds sterling from the Jewish bankers who had helped him to the throne.

Since the state’s debts had risen dramatically, the government had no choice but to accept. But there were conditions attached: The names of the lenders were to be kept secret and that they be granted a Charter to establish a Central Bank of England. Parliament accepted and the Jewish bankers sunk their tentacles into Great Britain.”

Actual control of the fiat central bank is discussed in Who owns the Bank of England?

“A very famous story relates to the Bank of England and the infamous Rothschilds, that all powerful banking family. This story was re-told recently in a BBC documentary about the creation of money and the Bank of England.

It revolves around the Battle of Waterloo in which Nathan Rothschild used his inside knowledge of the outcome and his faster horses and couriers to play the market by getting the result of the battle before anyone else knew the outcome.

He quickly sold his English bonds and gave all the traders who looked to him for guidance the impression that the French had won at Waterloo.

What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

Secretary_Kerry_Participates_in_the_TPP_Meeting_with_Nations'_Leaders_(10152830624)While the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been in the works for a decade, only recently has it become front-page news. What is it about the TPP that so many find objectionable?

What is the TPP trying to accomplish?

The TPP has been negotiated in near-secrecy for a decade so its exact aims are difficult to discern. Some key objectives have become public after materials were made public by infamous hacker organization WikiLeaks.

The agreement, in its current form, seems to protect the patents of large multi-nationals, creates an international tribunal that can order reparations on behalf of corporations and more.

Even better for global companies, the tribunal can order compensation for any lost profits found to result from a nation’s regulations. Philip Morris is using a similar provision against Uruguay (the provision appears in a bilateral trade treaty between Uruguay and Switzerland), claiming that Uruguay’s strong anti-smoking regulations unfairly diminish the company’s profits.

That tribunal we spoke of earlier can rule on corporation’s claims to be losing profits due to undue regulation. The nation’s may have little-to-no recourse. International law will over-rule.

Some oppose the international tribunal mentioned earlier because it be used by any participating nation’s companies to subvert regulations that Americans support. We don’t like horsemeat in our bologna or fox meat in our donkey meat (ok, that’s more a China thing, but you get the drift – and it could be our problem soon…) This pact could allow foreign companies to import unsafe or unsavory items into America – and U.S. consumers would never be the wiser. Heck, the foreign nations could petition the tribunal that U.S. regulations against fox, donkey, horse or … whatever meat are hurting their profits. raccoonAwesome! Who wouldn’t want some creamed raccoon in a jar for their babies?

It could also allow U.S.-based multi-nationals to get around regulations by claiming harm in the international tribunal – thereby over-stepping regulations on just about everything.

Who is involved in the TPP?

As of today, the agreement is being formed by twelve nations: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam.

What is the History of the TPP?

In 2002, New Zealand, Chili and Singapore began trade talks as the P3 (Pacific 3) at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico. Brunei joined the negotiations in 2005 making it the P4.

Not until 2008 did the United States join discussions. President George W. Bush engaged the partnership to negotiate trade liberalisation on financial services. The first U.S. involvement in the negotiations was set to be at meetings in 2009.

Obama entered office in 2009 and announced that he was seeking a broader agreement. The 2009 conference was delayed until 2010.

At the 2010 conference, President Obama advanced a proposal to limit negotiations to completing by November 2011 – negotiations are still ongoing in 2015.

Why are the contents of the TPP so secret?

The question to worry all Americans – why are the specifics of the trade agreement being kept secret and why is Congress about to allow the President to negotiate a treaty without them?

There isn’t a benevolent reason anyone has come up with.

Sure, some defend the trade pact as a winner for unions, jobs, American exports, and making sure starving albino monkeys get their porridge.. or something. But that is the justification for pushing the agreement, not why it should be done in secret.

When governments do things in secret, it is either to conceal their intent from their enemies or to conceal the same thing from their own people. This isn’t about hiding anything from ISIS, Russia, North Korea or Iran – that leaves a taste in the mouth.. doesn’t it?

The administration, other nations and even analysts have offered no valid reason to keep the TPP secret, yet Congress (Democrat and Republican alike) are working to give the President fast track authority to approve the treaty – what could go wrong?

What is the Fast Track Authority Congress Wants to Give the President?

Fast track authority (aka Trade Promotion Authority) gives the President of the United States unilateral authority in negotiating a trade agreement.

Normally, Congress has amendment and filibuster capability that can be used to shape a trade agreement. With fast-track, they get only a “yes” or “no” vote – no adding or blocking amendments.. just vote one way or the other on the deal the President negotiates.

Born in 1974 in the Trade Act of 1974, it was advanced by a President consumed with power.  In the end, the provisions it enacted did little to protect Americans, their jobs or their health.

Retirement is Just a Dream

Retirement “Just a Dream” for Many

6 out of 10 believe they’ll never see a social security check

WASHINGTON, DC, May 8 – America’s workers are too busy looking for jobs to think much about the prospects of retiring. One of the longest, slowest and weakest post-recession recoveries has decimated the work force. Record numbers of people have stopped looking for jobs out of despair, skewing government unemployment reports. And, a recent Gallup poll reported that 60% of those currently in the workforce don’t believe they’ll ever receive Social Security when they come of age.

“It’s been a depressing, a tedious and worrisome so-called recovery over the past five years and we’re still not out of the woods. Individuals who once had good paying jobs are hard pressed to find employment that allows them to make ends meet, let alone put some money aside for the future. America lost nearly 9 million jobs during the Great Recession that lasted from 2007 to 2009. Statistically the country has regained the bulk of those jobs. But, for the most part, those who have gone back to work are making less money,” according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.

Catherine Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, which issued its annual retirement survey this week, pointed out that more than a third of the country’s workers expect they’ll have to continue working well past their hoped-for retirement age.

“The long-held view that retirement is a moment in time when people reach a certain age, immediately stop working, fully retire, and begin pursuing their dreams is more myth than reality,” she said. The survey showed that only 21% of the workers who were interviewed expect they’ll be able to “fully retire” when the time comes. The rest expect to work, full time or part time.

Weber said that many seniors have gone back to work because they can. They are living longer, healthier lives and enjoy the camaraderie of the workplace. But most of them need the jobs in order to get by.

“The net worth of all Americans declined sharply during recession and its aftermath. But seniors have been hardest hit. And, the proof is in the numerous surveys that show there are more post-retirement job seekers out there than ever before.”

But for many elderly Americans, finding work to supplement their incomes is not an option. Social Security is what puts food on their tables. “It’s their principal source of income, meager as it might be, and they would face cruel hardships if they their monthly checks were cut. For them, the fact that Social Security faces major fiscal challenges in the coming years is a scary prospect. That’s why it is one of the reasons AMAC has put its primary focus on the fate of Social Security in the association’s meetings with lawmakers in Congress,” Weber noted.

Wholesale Inventories and Sales Miss Expectations

The Commerce Department reported today that wholesale inventory growth is slowing and that wholesale sales have dropped yet again.

Wholesalers are the folks that sell stuff to the retailers that sell stuff to every day Americans. When consumers buy more stuff, retailers buy more stuff from wholesalers and the wholesalers then buy more stuff and increase their inventories – that’s not what happened in March.

March wholesale inventories increased at a barely-measurable .1% after having only grown .2% the month before. Analysts had expected to see an increase in inventory growth velocity to .3% – that’s a miss.

March wholesale sales were even more disappointing. Sales of wholesale goods dropped .2%  which is the 8th straight reduction in wholesale sales.

Consumers aren’t spending so retailers don’t spend which means wholesalers don’t spend. One more report, saying the same thing, that the media seems to be glossing over. The economy still sucks.

April Employment Report: Jobs Situation Still Sucks

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released their Employment Situation Report for April and there was no good news in it – at all.

The report pushed to the headline the usual artfully constructed numbers – last months job creation and the unemployment rate.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in April, and the 
unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 5.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics reported today.

That’s great news right? I mean, in March we only created 126,000 jobs and 223 is bigger than 126! Not so fast.

Digging deeper, it’s clear that Americans are not finding jobs and that we’re getting smoke blown up our butts.

The number of persons unemployed for less than 5 weeks increased by 241,000 
to 2.7 million in April. The number of long-term unemployed (those 
jobless for 27 weeks or more) changed little at 2.5 million, accounting 
for 29.0 percent of the unemployed.

The number of people unable to find a job in the short term increased by a quarter-of-a-million and the number of longer-term jobless stayed the same. Not sure where the good news is in those two numbers.

Some other quotes from the report indicate that things really aren’t getting better, which means they are still awful unless you’re a politician or already wealthy (isn’t that the same thing?) Ok, I digress here are the low points:

  • In April, the civilian labor force participation rate (62.8 percent) 
    changed little. Since April 2014, the participation rate has remained 
    within a narrow range of 62.7 percent to 62.9 percent.
  • The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes 
    referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 6.6 
    million in April
  • In April, 2.1 million persons were marginally attached to the labor 
    force, little changed over the year
  • Among the marginally attached, there were 756,000 discouraged workers 
    in April, little different from a year earlier.

How does an employment situation – that has changed little in the last year – get reported as good? The job market sucked a year ago. Now the report says it hasn’t changed – ergo – the job market still sucks!

The downward revisions of the previous month’s report is where the real bad news shows up.

the change for March was revised from +126,000 to +85,000 ... Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 191,000 per month.

March had already come in with some of the weakest numbers in awhile, now they’ve been revised down heavily. A 32% downward revision is nothing to sneeze at and may indicate that we are in for an equally-terrible adjustment for the numbers we got today.

If the same revision is applied to April’s figures, the new job creation number for last month would be 151,000 jobs created – and that would be waaayy under the 191,000 the BLS portrays as the average from the preceding 3 month period. Then again, they could always just seasonally adjust in some magical, otherwise non-existent, new jobs in the next report – because they’re from the government and they’re here to help.

ADP: April Showed Slowest Hiring in Last 18 Months

us-unemployment-rate-decline-2012Payroll processor ADP reported that companies hired at the slowest rate in the last 18 months.

Hardest hit were manufacturing jobs. More than 10,000 jobs were lost in the sector. Losses are attributed to a strong dollar making American goods too expensive overseas and to cuts in oil and gas drilling in the U.S.

ADP said that businesses added just 169,000 jobs in April, which is 6 thousand less than were added in an abysmal March.

The ADP report along with a downturn in PMI, negative consumer confidence, a terrible March durable goods report, and record high consumer credit defaults all point to a slowing economy. It is likely that Q1 GDP, the measure of the U.S. economy’s output, will be negative.

 

Greece Considers Cash Withdrawal Tax – Could it Happen Here?

Greece has revealed it is to introduce a surcharge for all cashpoint withdrawals and financial transactions in a desperate attempt to prevent citizens withdrawing their money from the country’s beleaguered banks.

Let that sink-in. The government is taxing people if they choose to withdraw their own money!

Greek citizens were taxed when they made the money. They got taxed on any money their money made (interest.) Now the government is making a last ditch effort to slow the run on the banks by taxing the people’s money if the people decide they’d like to keep it.

Greece would not need this new tax if they had not just elected an anti-austerity government that has spent months thumbing its nose at the EU nations that had lent is so much money.

As the Greek economy teeters on the verge of bankruptcy, millions of panicking citizens have completely cleared their accounts – pulling more than €28 billion out of banks and pushing the total cash revenue held in the country’s financial institutions to a 10-year low.

The question is, could it happen in America? And the answer is YES – easily.

Many Americans keep precious little cash on them and even less in personal stores (outside banks.)

Recently the largest American banks are telling customers that they can neither store cash in safe deposit boxes or use cash to pay bills owed to the bank.

Deflation is the most-urgent concern of the Fed, which is why several re-wordings, interest rates have stayed scarily near zero.

It won’t take much of an alarm to scare U.S. account holders into pulling their cash from the bank. In a fractional reserve system – that spells trouble.

To avoid a bank run, the Fed could push for regulations making it too expensive to withdraw cash – the Greek withdrawal tax being an excellent example. More than likely, this would start a panic and a 1930’s -style bank run.

Americans Lose Hope for Economic Rebound

A new Gallup survey shows that consumers are losing confidence in the economy at an accelerating rate.

Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index was -9 for the week ending May 3 — its lowest weekly score since December. This reflects a six-point decline from the previous week, and is the largest week-to-week drop since last July.

The survey looks at how people feel about the present economy and the future prospects for improvement. Not only were Americans down on how things are now, they are growing increasingly concerned about the future.

consumer confidence

 

Note how the economic outlook line crosses above the current conditions line late in 2014. At that point, consumers felt like things would be better than at the current time. Looking at late February ’15, we see the reversal. Current condition numbers remains hopeful, but the outlook went negative quite suddenly.

May brings about a horrific picture. Not only did current condition sentiment drop significantly, the future outlook number dropped even more indicating that Americans see the economy as worse than before and getting much worse in the future.

This index measures sentiment. As such, it does not show what people are spending or have spent. It is important though, as how consumers view the future of the economy will influence their decisions on spending.

Another factor that might be affecting sentiment is that Credit card default rates have seen a disturbing trend upwards leaving many maxed-out Americans unable to use debt to finance purchases.

If Americans think they might lose their jobs, have their hours reduced or are having trouble paying their current bills, they won’t run out and buy that new car, T.V. or refrigerator. They’ll just make do with what they have.

This negative outlook on the economy may be an indicator of why the recent decrease in gas prices has done nothing to boost consumer spending.

Mortgage Rates Show Little Change

NEW YORK, April 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Fixed mortgage rates were unchanged this week, with the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate remaining at 3.79 percent, according to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey. The 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.2 discount and origination points.

To see mortgage rates in your area, go to http://www.bankrate.com/funnel/mortgages/

The average 15-year fixed mortgage also held steady, at 3.03 percent, while the larger jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage reversed last week’s move and settled at 3.92 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages were slightly higher, with the 5-year ARM inching upward to 3.09 percent and the 7-year ARM now at 3.29 percent.

Mortgage rates remained at a 23-month low on a slow week for economic data, and mixed economic data at that. With the 10-year Treasury yield approaching the 2 percent mark, mortgage rates may move a touch higher ahead of next week’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting. But any confirmation of a slow economic start to 2015 or any delay in the Fed’s timetable for interest rate hikes would most likely bring bond yields and mortgage rates back down. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds.

One year ago, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 4.48 percent. At that time, a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,011.00. With the average rate now at 3.79 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $930.78, a savings of $80 per month for anyone refinancing now.

SURVEY RESULTS

30-year fixed: 3.79% — unchanged from last week (avg. points: 0.20)
15-year fixed: 3.03% — unchanged from last week (avg. points: 0.18)
5/1 ARM: 3.09% — up from 3.08% last week (avg. points: 0.19)

March Durable Goods Report Shows Slowing Economy

U.S. core capital goods orders, a measure of hard goods being ordered from manufacturers, fell again in March.

So-called core orders excluding aircraft and military goods fell 0.5%. Shipments of core capital goods, a category used to help determine quarterly economic growth, dropped 0.4% in March

February’s numbers were in the negative as well and combined with March could signal a stagnant or reversing U.S. economy.

Economists cut first quarter growth to just above 1 percent or lower, with Amherst Pierpont Securities now forecasting absolutely no growth at all.

Military and aircraft orders showed an increase which offset the consumer drop in goods orders.

 

Congratulations! We’ve Managed to Repeat History – Greater Depression Incoming

Soup kitchen depression

With businesses struggling, a run on ATM’s, banks and other cash deposits, central bank calling back cash and every day people defaulting on every day credit – yeah, another global depression might be closer than thought.

Americans are suddenly defaulting on their personal debt at an alarming rate. Heck, even the American icon Colt is considering some form of bankruptcy.

Greece just pulled back every single bank’s reserve cash stockpile – just to keep them solvent. It won’t last long and the Greek people will soon want their money from those banks that now have no way to refund it. Bank run!!!!  (it’s not a new movie)

What’s going on in America?

Well, banks are starting to put in cash controls, businesses are struggling to increase sales and energy stockpiles are growing from a lack of consumption.

Bank of America now charges a “cash handling fee” if a business or individual deposits a lot of cash.

Chase is reportedly forbidding its customers from storing cash in safety deposit boxes or using cash to pay bills:

As of March, Chase began restricting the use of cash in selected markets, including Greater Cleveland. The new policy restricts borrowers from using cash to make payments on credit cards, mortgages, equity lines, and auto loans. Chase even goes as far as to prohibit the storage of cash in its safe deposit boxes .

 

 

In a letter to its customers dated April 1, 2015 pertaining to its “Updated Safe Deposit Box Lease Agreement,” one of the highlighted items reads: “You agree not to store any cash or coins other than those found to have a collectible value.” Whether or not this pertains to gold and silver coins with no numismatic value is not explained.

Petroleum reserves grew another 5.3 million barrels even though production has slowed. Companies aren’t using as much energy to make/grow, transport, package and sell their goods because demand is dying – consumers are flat broke and running out of credit.

Producer after producer, company after company is reporting dropping top-line numbers.

Top line revenue represents money coming in before expenses – and it is dropping RAPIDLY.

Construction giant Caterpillar has had 28 months of declining sales.

The only choice American companies have is to reduce expenses to meet the reduction in income. People and services (advertising, cleaning, driving, inventory management, sales, etc) are their greatest expense and are going to take the brunt of the hit while companies are forced to get more competitive.

The way companies meet the need for efficiency is through automation – not hiring. The HUGE U6 unemployment figure is just the start as Google, Amazon and other monopolistic giants hire armies of robots to do the jobs Americans used to do – but it is necessary.

Asia has Alibaba and soon other nations will have something similar. That’s global competition.

Google may struggle with international relations and Chinese regulatory obstacles. A Chinese firm, Baidu, is replicating the Google model and is able to include billions of Chinese consumers while Google is shut out of the EU due to regulation and relegated out of Asia due to the great Chinese Firewall.

Consider the Chinese controlled and funded Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) which replaces the IMF and World Bank in the global community, it won’t be long until the Chinese can ignore the rest of the world completely (especially the U.S.)

As China’s numbers keep coming in so weak, one has to imagine – what happens if both America and China’s economies go south .. right.. fricking .. now?!?

Kind of hard to imagine this happening without a plan… just .. so .. hard.

Is Colt Going Bankrupt?

Colt_logo

**UPDATE – Colt has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy as of 6/15/2015.

The New York Times reported last week that legendary firearms manufacturer, Colt, is undergoing something that looks a lot like bankruptcy.

Colt is considering two options to avoid running out of operating capital – a bond exchange and a prepacked bankruptcy.

Existing bonds would be exchanged for new bonds with longer maturities and higher interest rates. Bondholders would also enjoy a rather severe haircut – the new bonds would have a face amount that was 70 percent lower. Ouch.

But because Colt has also announced that the exchange offer is conditional on receiving nearly full bondholder participation, I’m going to assume that won’t happen and move along to Plan B.

Plan B is a “prepack,” or a prepackaged bankruptcy case. An American prepack – the term has a different meaning in Britain – involves solicitation of votes on a bankruptcy plan before the bankruptcy is actually filed. Once the case is filed, the debtor can move quickly to court approval of the plan.

That’s a ton of econo-speak for most, but the lay of the land is straight-forward – Colt is not showing its hand, hoping to bluff bond holders into a debt roll-over (bond exchange) or somewhat less-favorable prepackaged bankruptcy.

The first, debt roll-over is where debt that is soon due, is replaced by longer term debt. Kind of like having a ten year mortgage you can’t make the payment on and you offer the bank a swap for a 30 year mortgage to avoid a default (also known as a re-finance.) The benefit to this approach is that bond holders will be offered secured bonds in trade for their currently unsecured paper. That means that should Colt declare bankruptcy in the future, they would have claim to the assets of the company – right now, they do not.

The second option is a strategic re-organization. Prepack or prepackaged bankruptcy plans allow the debtor to arrange the term of their debt re-organization and solicit debtor votes on the plan before declaring bankruptcy. In essence, there is little threat of debtor opposition and the arrangement can go through quickly.

It would appear that Colt didn’t really bother talking to their creditors. That makes a prepack harder and really complicates a debt roll-over.

The problem for Colt is what happens if bond holders reject both ideas? Colt enters a contentious, ugly, nasty, no good Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

– or Freedom Group (a.k.a. Remington) buys them.

Which one is worse?

Hybrid and Electric Car Sales Slowing

Photo: Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz

Photo: Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz

Car buying company Edmunds.com released data today that shows that Americans are dumping electric and hybrid vehicles for gasoline powered vehicles at a growing rate.

EVs and hybrids accounted for just 2.7 percent of all new car sales in the first quarter of 2015, down from 3.3 percent during that same period last year. The share of SUVs, meanwhile, has increased from 31.8 percent in Q1 2014 to 34.2 percent in Q1 2015.

Furthermore, those trading in so-called “green vehicles” are now more likely to trade them in for an SUV than another expensive alternative vehicle.

About 22 percent of people who have traded in their hybrids and EVs in 2015 bought a new SUV. The number represents a sharp increase from 18.8 percent last year, and it is nearly double the rate of 11.9 percent just three years ago. Overall, only 45 percent of this year’s hybrid and EV trade-ins have gone toward the purchase of another alternative fuel vehicle, down from just over 60 percent in 2012. Never before have loyalty rates for alt-fuel vehicles fallen below 50 percent.

Gas prices have fallen, but alternative vehicle costs have not – even with huge incentives from the government. As more Americans struggle to make credit card payments, a car that does less and costs more than a cross-over SUV just doesn’t make sense.

 

Bank Card Defaults Soar to Five Year High

Credit cardsReleased today, the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices showed the largest two-month increase in the rate at which consumers are defaulting on credit card debt since 2010.

The bank card default rate increased 15 basis points to 2.99% following an increase of 23 basis points in February, the largest two month increase since April 2010.

Slowing retail sales in March, lackluster wage growth are contributing factors the increase in the speed at which consumers are failing to pay their credit card bills. Card holders are also likely running into the upper-end of their available credit and are having to choose between necessities like housing and keeping that card in the wallets.

As more Americans reach the end of their ability to buy retail goods on credit, those in the retail trade are likely to see more of a slowdown in sales.

The barely growing economy may have been largely paid for on plastic – and the limit may have just been hit.

Millennials Faring the Best Financially

NEW YORK, April 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Millennials are feeling better about their finances than other age groups, according to Bankrate.com’s (NYSE: RATE) April 2015 Financial Security Index.

Job Security
32% of employed millennials (18-29 year-olds) report higher job security relative to a year ago and just 4% report lower job security. Overall, 23% of employed Americans are feeling better about their job security now versus April 2014.

Savings
30% of millennials say their savings are in better shape now than a year ago, twice as many as the 15% who are less comfortable. In total, 20% of Americans are feeling better about their savings (including a measly 13% of those age 50 and older).

Overall Financial Situation
33% of millennials report their overall financial situation is better than 12 months ago and 16% say it has deteriorated. As with savings, the 50 and older crowd is feeling much worse. Only 19% are reporting a better overall financial situation.

Net Worth
This is the only category in which millennials are lagging behind. The most positive sentiment was observed among 30-49 year-olds. 29% of them are reporting higher net worth than a year ago and only 18% of millennials can say that.

“While millennials are doing pretty well financially, their net worth is being held back because they aren’t as invested as older adults in the stock and housing markets,” said Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate.com’s chief financial analyst.

The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) and can be seen in its entirety here:

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