China Is Quietly Becoming Gold Superpower - By WashingtonsBlog (8/11/12) PDF Print E-mail
WashingtonsBlog   
Thursday, 08 November 2012 09:21

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When Infinite Inflation Isn't Enough - By Peter Schiff (8/11/12) PDF Print E-mail
Peter Schiff   
Thursday, 08 November 2012 09:20

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The Secret Return To The Global Gold Standard - By Money Morning (7/11/12) PDF Print E-mail
Money Morning   
Wednesday, 07 November 2012 10:05

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The Economics Of Disaster - By Ron Paul (7/11/12) PDF Print E-mail
Ron Paul   
Wednesday, 07 November 2012 10:02

Texas Straight Talk

Hurricane Sandy was one of the worst natural disasters the east coast has ever seen. Clean-up and recovery will take months, if not years and estimates run in the tens of billions of dollars. Parts of New York and New Jersey will never be the same. Entire seashore communities have been wiped out, but the determination to rebuild has been lauded as courageous and admirable. Yet as with all natural disasters, Sandy raises uncomfortable questions about the extent to which taxpayers should fund the cleanup and the extent to which government programs create moral hazards.

For example, FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are expected to pick up the tab for much of the flood damage caused by the hurricane. Of course this will mean more federal debt and inflation for the rest of us, since the program only has about $4 billion to work with [1] and is already $18 billion in debt [2] from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Many think there is a need for the government to provide flood insurance of this kind. After all, the market would never provide insurance in flood prone areas at an affordable price. But shouldn't that tell us something?

Shouldn't that tell us that it is a losing proposition to insure homes in coastal areas and flood plains often threatened by severe and destructive weather patterns? And if it’s a losing proposition, should taxpayers subsidize the inevitable losses arising from federal flood insurance?

The NFIP disguises the real cost of flood insurance [3] in flood prone areas, which influences homebuilding and sales in such areas. Recklessly taking unwise risks when risk is underpriced is known as moral hazard [4]. When politicians decide that private insurance premiums are too high, as with houses built in flood plains, the solution is to under price the risk through federal subsidies. The obvious and expected outcome is more danger to life and limb when disaster strikes.



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HSBC Prepares To Face U.S. Money Laundering Charges - By Howard Mustoe and Gavin Finch (7/11/12) PDF Print E-mail
Howard Mustoe and Gavin Finch   
Wednesday, 07 November 2012 09:58

Bloomberg

HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) said it’s likely to face criminal charges from U.S. anti-money-laundering probes and the cost of a settlement may “significantly” exceed the $1.5 billion the bank has set aside.

The lender made an additional $800 million provision in the third quarter to cover a potential settlement, adding to the $700 million it had already earmarked. HSBC also put aside $357 million in the period to compensate U.K. clients wrongly sold payment-protection insurance on loans as it posted an increase in pre-tax profit that missed analysts’ estimates.

“The final amount of the financial penalties could be higher, possibly significantly higher,” HSBC said in a statement today. “The resolution of at least some of these matters is likely to involve the filing of corporate criminal as well as civil charges.”

Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver’s attempts to reduce costs at the bank are being hobbled by the U.S. probes and compensation claims from U.K. clients. A Senate committee said in July that failures in HSBC money-laundering controls allowed terrorists and drug cartels access to the U.S. financial system. Standard Chartered Plc (STAN), which like HSBC makes most of its profit in Asia, paid $340 million in August to settle a regulator’s claim it broke Iranian sanctions rules.

“The size of the provision is a shock,” said Simon Maughan, a financial industry strategist at Olivetree Securities Ltd. in London. “There was a huge fuss made about Standard Chartered’s fine, but this far exceeds that.”



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