Economics and Investing:

The War On Paper Currency Begins: ECB Votes To “Scrap” 500 Euro Bill – G.G. “Draghi: any ECB action on EU500 note is not about reducing cash. Translation: the ECB action is only about reducing physical cash, some 30% of it to be specific.”

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Central bankers ‘don’t have a clue’ – Jim Rogers – G.G.

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When Cash Is Outlawed… Only Outlaws Will Have Cash– Sent in by D.S.

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Percent of Total Wealth Owned in the United States: Bottom 40% control -0.9% Meaning Close to Half the Country has a Negative Net Worth.

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Items from Mr. Econocobas:

“You Should Be Very Worried, You Should Be Prepared” Warns Jim Rogers– Make sure to listen to the audio interview, and you can fast forward to the 39-minute mark, as the article points out that is where is gets interesting.

Items from Professor Preponomics:

US News

How the Government Buys Your Support (Mises) An excellent Mises article and timely follow up to ongoing SurvivalBlog coverage about egregious levels of wasteful government spending. Excerpt: “In Iraq and Afghanistan, US military officers routinely handed bundles of cash to local residents to buy influence and undermine resistance to the American occupation. Such payments came in especially handy after US troops inadvertently killed innocent civilians or sheep. Billions of dollars were shoveled out with little or no oversight as part of the Pentagon’s “Money as a Weapon System” program. In the same way, politicians have long relied on money as a weapon system to buy votes or to undermine resistance to Washington.”

Watchdogs Let Errant Feds Go Anonymous (Government Waste Fraud and Abuse) Excerpt: “Six of the top inspectors general (IG) — presidentially-appointed watchdogs tasked with fighting waste, fraud and abuse in the federal bureaucracy — withheld the names of government employees in 88 percent of the reports they issued over a six-month period.”

Capitol Portraits, a Perk of Access, Became a Symbol of Excess Instead (Taxpayers for Common Sense) Excerpt: “Families struggle to pay their mortgage and feed their families,” Mr. Cassidy said, “while the federal government spends money on paintings of government officials that are often placed in the back of a government bureaucracy, never to be seen by the public.” …but wait, there’s more. Examples of wasteful government spending just keep coming. Federal Spending Oversight Reports: Dr. Rand Paul Uncovers $15K Grant for Conference on Balding in Latest “The Waste Report”

International News

A Tempest of Fear: European Banks are in the Eye of a New Financial Storm (The Economist) Excerpt: “If the start of the year has been desperate for the world’s stockmarkets, it has been downright disastrous for shares in banks.”

A Massive Banking Crisis is Brewing in Singapore, Says Swiss Billionaire Zulauf(Yahoo Finance) Excerpt: “Speaking at the annual Barron’s roundtable, Swiss billionaire investor Felix Zulauf warned that Singapore’s largest banks are at risk of massive capital outflows if the Chinese economy experiences a hard landing, which he expects will happen this year.”

UK Business Gas Supplies Could Be Diverted to Households in Europe, Under EU Crisis Plan (The Telegraph) Excerpt: “A new “solidarity principle” would apply to gas supplies to ensure that households, healthcare and security services across Europe were maintained as a priority in the event of a severe crisis.”

Saudis and Russians Agree to Oil Output Freeze, Iran Still an Obstacle (Yahoo News) Excerpt: “OPEC member Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional arch rival, has pledged to steeply increase output in the coming months as it looks to regain market share lost after years of international sanctions, which were lifted in January….” Reuters updates the developing story of Iran’s position related to oil output with this article: Iran Says Will Resist Curbs on Oil Output as Part of Global Pact

Personal Economics and Household Finance

10 Ways to Protect Your Social Security Number (Investopedia) Excerpt: “Identity theft thrives in the U.S. in part because Americans feel forced to use their SSN for so many types of interactions. Ultimately, it falls on individuals to protect their own number.”

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