With three concurrent and major government scandals filling the media, very few people will pay attention or care about the economic contagion spreading throughout Europe, but they should.
One certain outcome of Obama’s chaotic Administration is gridlock. With Congress on the warpath, every bureaucrat at every level will be in hiding so as to not draw attention to themselves. This means even less focus on the economy, spending, jobs, etc. Congress itself will be consumed with endless hearings and investigations while corporate and globalist lobbyists (unaccountable to public pressure) will push trade un-vetted legislation through right under our nose.
Obama’s former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel wasn’t the first person to suggest “Never let a good crisis to go waste.” Hillary and Bill Clinton both said it. Trilateral Commissioners Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski were probably the first in modern history to verbalize it. The point is, it’s not a new idea. It is a central theme in the globalist playbook and history bears it out: “Ordo ab Chao” — Order from Chaos.
Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote,
“However crudely and primitively, man has always sought to crystallize some organizing principle that would, by creating order out of chaos, relate him to the universe and help define his place in it.” (Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era, p. 31)
Indeed, chaos is viewed as opportunity by the global elite and thus, America is ripe for wrenching change thanks to the chaos that is upon us.
So, it figures that the 17th round of negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is set to start today (May 15) and run through May 24 — in Lima Peru. There are over 600 “stakeholders” who will meet with negotiators from the 12 nations on the Pacific Rim (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam). These so-called stakeholders include members of academia, NGO’s, labor unions, and global corporations.
It has been estimated that about 20 percent of the TPP has to do with actual trade issues. The other 80 percent has to do with binding regulations that will supersede the laws of individual nations. Remember the damage that NAFTA (negotiated by George W. Bush and signed into law by Bill Clinton) caused in the intervening years.
Will anyone cover this round of TPP negotiations? Not likely. No doubt that many will be smiling in the absence of media scrutiny.
Another key trade agreement moving forward is the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Although just getting underway, the TTIP is expected to be the largest Free Trade Agreement in the history of our country. Again, the trade portion will be much smaller than the non-trade issues that deal with regulations, normalization, legal disputes, taxation, etc.
As scandal-mania moves forward, Democrats are racing to distance themselves from Obama, hoping to preserve some stature in the upcoming midterm elections in 2014. The odds increase daily that both the House and the Senate will gather a GOP majority and push the Democrats back into the minority position.
While conservatives are already salivating over this possibility, they should be careful what they wish for, because the champions of Free Trade and disastrous trade agreement have mostly come from the GOP, not Democrats. In fact, the greater majority of Democrats have consistently voted against Free Trade deals that have hurt American jobs and industries.
Thus, without a healthy percentage of Democrats in the Senate and House, all of the upcoming Free Trade Agreements are virtually guaranteed to pass with whatever sovereignty-robbing text that the “stakeholders” can stuff in.
But, back to Europe.
France has just slipped back into recession as their economy shrunk by 0.2 percent in Q1 2013.
The recession across the 17 member eurozone has now entered its sixth quarter, the longest recession since the union congealed in 1995. It is now obvious to all that Germany alone is unable to save any part of the eurozone from GDP shrinkage. With their own growth rate stagnating at 0.1 percent in the first quarter, they are perilously close to recession themselves.
We can only hope that the depression that is still raging in Greece does not become reality for the rest of Europe. It is now in its fifth year of economic decline, expecting a GDP contraction of 4.2 percent in 2013, while unemployment continues to soar. Overall unemployment has risen to 27 percent but jobless youth has grown to an unbelievable 64.2 percent! Yes, two out of three people between the ages of 15 and 24 are without work.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund continues to put the screws to Greece, demanding further tax reform and reduction in public debt.
Italy is a country locked into political gridlock, and it shows. Its economy will shrink around 1.8 percent in 2013 as unemployment stays above 11.5 percent. Youth unemployment rose to 36.3 percent in March.
The above chart sums up the rest of Europe by showing the momentum of GDP growth. Greece has literally dropped off the chart. Portugal, Spain and Italy are grouped as the next worse performers. Finland and The Netherlands comprise a middle group. The top grouping consists of Germany, Austria, Ireland and Belgium. However, note that except for Germany, the momentum on all these countries is still down.
The largest country to the east, Russia, is technically in a recession as its basic industries have contracted for two quarters in a row. If Russia posts any growth this year, it will likely be under 1 percent.
British economists are disputing among themselves as to whether or not England had a double-dip recession. They did, but after revisions to the 2012 numbers were released, they didn’t. The Brits are famous for these kind of meaningless debates. Unemployment has risen to 7.9 percent while the rate of jobless youth stands at 20.7 percent.
The actual state of the eurozone economy simply do not support the political rhetoric and wishful thinking that we hear from the media. Europe is still a mess and there are no real signs of relief. Until countries in Europe can shrink public and private debt, their downward spiral will continue.
The corresponding downward pull on the U.S. economy is still evident and will also continue.— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — – Note: Additional content on this page is available only to Premium subscribers of Findings & Forecasts.
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