Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cops: Thieves Are Drilling Into Gas Tanks to Steal Fuel

Maybe it's time to stop investing in gold and start investing in premium gasoline.

When they stopped to fill their gas tanks recently, several Takoma Park residents realized something wasn’t quite right. As they pumped, a puddle of gasoline began to pool at their feet.  This was no typical car trouble, though. Police said the drivers had fallen victim to thieves who drilled into their tanks and made off with the fuel — an attractive target, considering today’s gas prices.  Police believe that the incidents, which can be dangerous because gasoline vapors are flammable and can ignite with a spark, occurred overnight and on weekends. Police are still looking for who committed the crimes.

There’s no doubt that thieves are attracted to certain easily portable, high-value items: iPhones, laptop computers, cars’ Global Positioning System devices. But police say those looking to steal also go after loot that might be less obvious — but that can still bring a quick buck.

Unusual items can still bring a bounty for thieves, police say - The Washington Post

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Video: The U.S. Dollar and Where Are We Headed?

Other countries are looking for alternatives to the US Dollar.

Countries worldwide are trying not to do business in U.S. dollars any longer.Why? The U.S. debt problems are even worse than what the Greeks are facing. Is there a dollar alternative?

The U.S. Dollar and Where Are We Headed? - YouTube

Video: Peter Schiff says No Ceiling for Gold Price

From the YouTube description:

Peter Schiff says gold is more than just another precious metal. According to the president of Euro Pacific Capital, gold is a thermometer for the economy. And with gold prices at a high of $1851 an ounce, the economy isn't getting any healthier.

"Gold going up every day is saying that the economy is sick. It's really, really sick," Schiff told RT. Yet, he added, world leaders are ignoring the surge in gold prices as if the increase wasn't telling them something.

As central banks continue to print money while currencies devalue day by day, Schiff said owning gold is a safe haven. Some say treasuries are a safe haven, but Schiff asks, "What is it a safe haven from?" Gold, he said, is an alternative to owning currencies like the US dollar, the euro and the yen, which he said are being created too quickly and in too much quantity.

"I keep hearing people on television saying people aren't buying gold because of inflation," saudSchiff. "Gold is a safe haven from inflation."

Schiff noted that many are still skeptical of buying into gold, citing widespread fear of a bubble ready to pop. He believes, however, that prices are only going to be higher. Schiff said he was right about this before and he is right about this now.

Schiff told RT that the only thing people have to worry about is the devalue of currencies, which continue to go down in value while gold only goes up. "It's not a bubble because gold is not going up," said Schiff. It's paper currency, according to him, that's just losing value. "Gold is simply letting you know that it's occurring."

"Most people would accept gold in exchange for goods," he said. "Gold is money; it's recognized around the world."

And according to Schiff, people need to realize it before it's too late.


Peter Schiff: No ceiling for gold prices - YouTube

Era of Low Cost Borrowing Benefits US Government

And you thought the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates to benefit you? Silly.

These are the best of times for the world’s most ravenous borrower, the United States of America.  A combination of unusual and unsustainable forces has pushed the cost of borrowing as low as it has ever been, so low that many investors effectively are paying to lend money to the government.

Investors buying five-year federal debt are accepting such low interest rates that inflation is on pace to reduce the value of their investments by more than 1 percent each year. Yet demand for United States Treasuries remains much greater than the supply.

The glut of cheap money has allowed the government to keep its annual deficits much smaller than it had expected, holding down the growth of the federal debt.

The Treasury Department, seeking to milk the moment, may start issuing debt with negative interest rates, making investors pay for the privilege of lending money to the government.

But a wide range of experts agrees that the bubble will eventually pop. The question, they say, is not if but when. There are signs that the era of low borrowing costs may be approaching its end, as the domestic economy shows signs of strength and Europe pulls back from economic immolation.

Era of Low-Cost Borrowing Benefits U.S. Government -

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Report: Credit Card Debt in US Nearing Toxic Levels

Been pulling out the plastic a lot lately, have we? That's gonna cost you more in the end, friend.

More American households are falling back into the debt hole, this time without the safety net of home values to help bail them out, the New York Post reported Sunday.  Last year, total US consumer debt reached its highest point in a decade, according to a credit card industry observer.  "Now more than ever, families need to work at saving and paying off any outstanding debts," said Howard Dvorkin, a certified public accountant and founder of the credit counseling service Consolidated Credit. After a few months of reducing credit card debt levels, Dvorkin said, Americans are starting to return to their reliance on debt.

Credit Card Debt Nears Toxic Levels

Monday, February 27, 2012

US Home Prics Decline 2.4% in Fourth Quarter of 2011

Investing in real estate is not the guaranteed winner it used to be. Maybe it never will be again.

U.S. home prices fell 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, as sales were boosted by investors seeking lower-cost distressed properties. Prices dropped 0.1 percent from the prior three months on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said today in a report from Washington. In December, prices retreated 0.8 percent from a year earlier, while increasing 0.7 percent from the previous month. Foreclosures (FORLTOTL) are boosting the supply of properties on the market and dragging down values for all houses. Banks may seize more than 1 million U.S. homes this year after legal scrutiny of their foreclosure practices slowed actions against delinquent property owners in 2011, RealtyTrac Inc. said last month.

Home Prices Declined 2.4% in Fourth Quarter - Bloomberg

Gold Falls One Percent Monday

The Euro Zone Crisis is even beginning to shake investor's confidence in Gold.

Gold prices fell 1 percent on Monday, in line with the euro, stocks and other commodities, as worries over the euro zone debt crisis and the impact of high crude oil prices on the fledgling economic recovery fuelled risk aversion.

Spot gold was down 0.9 percent at $1,764.80 an ounce at 1058 GMT, while U.S. gold futures for February delivery were down $10.30 an ounce at $1,766.10.

The precious metal struggled to maintain traction above $1,780 an ounce last week after rising more than 3 percent -- its best weekly performance since late January -- to its highest in three months.

Gold retreats in line with euro, stock markets | Reuters

Breaking US Dollar Collapse News

What's Behind the Decline of the US Dollar?

This is one the of the best and simplest explanations we have seen:
The U.S. dollar's downward slide is accelerating as low interest rates, inflation concerns and the massive federal budget deficit undermine the currency. - Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2011
Interestingly, the Federal Reserve is responsible for, or an active participant in all three of these factors.