International Forecaster Weekly

Credit Agencies Are Fighting To Limit Your Protection Against Identity Theft

Credit agencies are fighting to limit your protection against identity theft... Balkan tribalism... phony bailout for pensions... new fed chair examines interest rates...

Bob Chapman | March 25, 2006

Lobbyists for Equifax and TransUnion, owned by the Marmon Group are seeking to add an amendment to the Financial Data Protection Act, a bill being rewritten by the House (a similar Bill, S1408, is working its way through the Senate), while the wording has not been set for the bill, also known as HR 3997, lobbyists for the credit agencies are pushing for a law that limits the ability to lock credit reports to victims of identity theft. Moreover, the reports could be unlocked with 5-day’s advance notice. Once a report is locked, an agency cannot release any of its details. Consumer groups are upset, and rightly so, that a federal law might supercede what has been done at state levels.

Why does the credit industry need any protection? As far as we are concerned they have no right to anyone’s records. People don’t authorize to do what they do. Worse yet, their records are replete with errors and it is very difficult to change their errors and the errors of others. Lenders should manage their own risks, not some agency.

This is the way it once was and it worked just fine. Why should Americans pay $100 a year to protect their credit information that an agency has no right to have in the first place? Insuring your credit is a $1 billion industry that shouldn’t exist. Identity thieves are a problem, but so are credit agencies. Let’s stop credit companies for infringing any further into our lives.

George has been instructed by top elitists to not invade Iran. If he attempts to or does invade, they will have him assassinated. It is our opinion that the Bush administration has allowed Israel to resume exports of military hardware to China after months of blocking such trade.

American foreign policy is a quandary. Those of you who like to delve into such arcane matters might read a recently released study by Professors Stephen Walt of Harvard and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago entitled, “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy,” that concludes that the overall trust of US policy in the Middle East is due almost entirely to US domestic politics, and especially, the activities of the Israel Lobby.

British and German interests began using what is today called the Balkans in the 1600’s. Differing tribes were put together in countries so that these major European powers could have war on demand. One or the other or both financed both sides of each conflict. It was no different in the 1990s nor is it today.

The latest episode was begun some 15 years ago with the breakup of Yugoslavia, which had been formed after WWII. One of the main players as we all know was Slobodan Milosevic who in all likelihood was recently murdered. British-US-and German interests funded the ethnic conflict on both sides as usual. The chaos they created eventually led to NATO intervention. Slobodan knew all the details. He had been invited into the cabal but refused and at his trial that was in its fifth year he gave the tribunal at The Hague US government documents showing that the US government and NATO provided military and financial support to the Kosovo Liberation Army in its war against Serbia and supported al Qaeda. He described in detail how the breakup of the Balkans was part of the path of the Illuminists to their New World Order. Milosevic at his phony trial continued to bring up the crimes committed by the elitists, which the public of course never heard about. As we said in an earlier article, this is why Milosevic was murdered. He had a ringside seat to the Illuminists machinations. He wanted to expose the illegal NATO bombing of the region for 2 1/2 months in 1999. He knew the KLA was funded by the US, which approved of Kosovo Muslims expelling Serbs and other minorities from their region. We are led to believe that Milosevic took a drug to offset and render his heart medications ineffective so he could suicide himself. This of course is ridiculous. Where and how could he get such a drug? All his medications were subscribed to him by court appointed doctors. As we said last week, he couldn’t be allowed to subpoena a long list of elitists responsible for another phony war.

Our President told Congress to fashion legislation that would protect America’s private pension system. In the end lawmakers modified many of the proposed rules, allowing companies more time to cover pension shortfalls, to make more forgiving estimates about how much they will owe workers in the future and even sometimes to assume that their workers will die younger than the rest of the population. In essence, another corporate bailout similar to the one Congress provided two years ago. On top of these changes, companies also persuaded lawmakers to add dozens of specific measures, including a multibillion-dollar escape clause for the nation’s airlines and a special exemption for the makers of Smithfield Farms Hams. The agency’s report projects that the House and Senate bills would lower corporate contributions to the already under-financed pension system by $140 billion to $160 billion in the next three years. That shortfall raises the specter of more pension plans failing, pushing their liabilities on to the taxpayers, according to the agency and critics of the bills. And, some companies with fully funded pensions feel unfairly penalized by having to pay higher pension premiums to make up for others’ shortfalls. Both pieces of legislation increase the premiums that companies pay to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporations, an agency grappling with a $23 billion deficit. The fact is the PBGC isn’t working. It is socialist legislation unfairly hurting companies that fully fund pension and it asks that these companies and American citizens subsidize incompetent managements. Those who often deliberately under fund plans are forcing some solvent to increase insurance payments by 60% like Sears Holdings. The whole concept of the PBGC is wrong. A company either funds programs correctly, or the officers go to jail.

The new chairman of the fed, Ben Bernanke, says the Fed needs to pay more attention to global financial conditions in setting interest rates, moving beyond its traditional focus on domestic economic forces. What that means is that we do not have yields high enough to satisfy foreign investors – they won’t buy Treasury and Agency bonds and notes. That means once he stops raising rates they may not go down again even if the domestic needs lower rates. This problem is exacerbated by the Japanese over the past year being sellers not buyers and China in revaluing its yuan has no reason to be buying US paper except perhaps to sop up their current account surplus. As we have pointed out before, the Chinese situation is problematic. We want them to devalue but if they do they won’t have to buy much Treasury and Agency paper. That is because foreigners do not know what to do with their sea of dollars and cooperating central banks have to be buyers or the US won’t be able to fund its current account deficit and if they don’t do that the US will be in serious financial trouble. As long as the yield curve is inverted the Fed will have to raise rates. That is two-year notes yielding more than 5 and 10-year notes. In conclusion, we believe Mr. Bernanke is telling us whether he or we like it or not foreign buyers to an extent are going to dictate interest rates and the Fed has no choice in the matter. Lower rates may well be history for some time to come. The Fed is still increasing money and credit well over 10% and that won’t stop any time soon.

As we have said over and over again, there was no productivity miracle in the 1990s nor in the 2000s. We know because those phantom gains did not increase real income for the average American. All we have is a further concentration of wealth among the wealthy. Median family income fell by 3.8% from 1999 to 2004, and grew cumulatively from 1995 to 2004 at an annual rate of only 0.9% per year, much slower than the growth rate of non-farm private business output per hour over the same period of 2.9%. Similarly, the median real wage for all workers grew over 1995-2003 at 1.4% per year, less than half the rate of productivity growth. Not only did median real income and wages fail to come close to the gains in productivity, but also jobs at any wage were hard to find. Total payroll employment in July 2005 was only 0.9% above its previous peak in February 2001. The unemployment rate at 5% in July 2005 seemed low by historical standards, but was held down by a drop in the labor force participation rate from 67.1% in July 2000 to 66.1% June 2005 – a result of substantial “discouraged worker” effects of people, especially young people unable to find jobs.

The failure of the productivity growth revival proportionately to boost the real incomes and wages of the median family and median worker calls into question the standard view that productivity growth translates automatically into rising living standards as in this quote from Paul Krugman commenting on the pre-1995 period of slow productivity growth: “Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything. A country’s ability to improve its standard of living over time depends almost entirely on its ability to raise its output per worker – the essential arithmetic says that long-term growth in living standards depends almost entirely on productivity growth.”