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Planning: Iraq's debt amounted to 115 billion dollars and unemployment reached 13.8%

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Iraq's budget: $ 4.6 billion for external loans and public debt of $ 130 trillion

04:37 - 06/01/2019


Private - Mawazin News 
A member of the Finance Committee parliamentary Faisal al-Issawi, on Sunday, the existence of 4 billion dollars in the budget as benefits to Iraq's foreign loans, while noting that Iraq is indebted to the amount of up to 130 trillion dinars. 
"The budget includes 4 billion dollars as interest on foreign loans obtained by Iraq," Al-Issawi said in an interview with Mawazine News. "The presence of 10 billion dollars is financed by foreign loans," he said. 
He added that "the debts of Iraq up to 130 trillion dinars, which is partly divided as compensation for the invasion of Kuwait and the Paris Club debt section and another part of the former regime."

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Monday 14 January 2019 01:34 PM
| Number of readings: 286

France cancels Iraq debt through Paris Club





BAGHDAD / Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi on Monday thanked French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Lourdien for his country's position on canceling debts owed by Iraq through the Paris Club.

"France is a country that is friendly to Iraq and its relations are very important for its position and its strong and distinguished role. We look forward to a greater contribution and presence in the fields of economy, services, culture and education, in continuation of France's position with Iraq in its war against Da'ash, And to continue coordination and communication on support for security and stability in the region.

He pointed out that "the democratic experiment in Iraq is being strengthened and made progress for the benefit of all Iraqis, and that a supporter is not an Iraqi industry but a backward and extremist thinking industry, calling for building balances that support moderation, moderation and civic values." He stressed his keenness to develop partnership with France in combating terrorism, , And expressed full readiness to overcome obstacles and legacies.

The Prime Minister thanked France's position to cancel the debt owed by Iraq through the Paris Club, while proposing a study twinning between the cities of Paris and Baghdad welcomed by the French side and promised to study.

For his part , the French Foreign Minister said that we came to declare our full support for Iraq and its government and to express France's will to expand relations with Iraq and to continue to stand by Iraq in building after our supporting position in defeating the support and support of the Iraqi forces. He added that Iraq has become a key player in stability and its policy. And that France will go forward with the partnership and cooperation with Iraq and support the Iraqi government, which is leading Iraq successfully, referring to the upcoming visit of French President Macaron to Baghdad to reaffirm support and develop friendly relations and cooperation. The existing partnership between the two countries. Finished

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Sound the alarm “Iraq’s debts”, betting the oil country to creditors

By Editor
January 5, 2019
- In Releases


Shatha Khalil *
Iraq is entering the circle of danger because of the doubling of debts and the rise of them , where the expert and economist , Iraqi professor Dr. Abdul Rahman Najm Mashhadani confirmed the warning of the Deputy President of the International Monetary Fund to the Iraqi government in the “Kuwait Conference for the reconstruction of Iraq” that the policy of borrowing has become dangerous to Iraq and the interests that Iraq must pay it in the year 2022 about (60%) of its revenues, i.e. it will be unable to repay its debts and the payment of the interests on them also, Iraq is moving towards a real disaster that the government does not care about it .
Mashhadani stressed that Iraq during 2014 and 2016 wasted $ 202 billion, which came from $ 36 billion in foreign loans; $ 23 billion from the decrease of reserve in central bank, $ 33 billion comes from the rise of in domestic debt, and (120) Billion dollars of oil revenues.
Mashhadani added that Iraq needs 30 years to repay its internal and external debts, which will put Iraq’s oil resources for many years under the mortgage of banks and creditor countries.
In the same context, specialists stressed what was reported in a recent and important news , confirmed that there are more than (4) million government employees and (3.7) million retirees, plus 2 million Iraqis registered under the so-called social welfare network that they receive monthly salaries to lift them out of poverty.
The Ministry of Planning, according to figures and statistics, sounded the alarm that began to threaten the body of the Iraqi state and the future of development, in a country that its government was forced to borrow for the third year in a row to secure (42) Billion ” dollars annually to cover its operating budget, and experts described the private sector as the savior, in the event that the State has started to support it and urge it to work again in the local market.
Mashhadani criticized the budget of 2019 because it is illogical, and there is an exaggeration of operational figures, surprising the context of the distribution of proportions to the provinces and ministries, and pointed out that he was expected to press the expenses, not to maximize, adding that the budget needs to be significantly modified because the large increase is suicidal, because of the large deficit and borrowing, stressing that in (2022) Iraq will not be able to repay its external debt only by paying (60%) of its imports !!
Economists and experts said that the proposed draft bill (2019) , shows any follower that Iraq is steeped in its debts and the interests of previous debts, which may amount to the extent that Iraq would lose more than (15%) of its budget to pay these debts, if oil prices did not increase , It would be possible that these debts and their payments would amount to 70 percent of Iraq’s annual budget.
A member of the Iraqi Finance Committee in the Iraqi parliament Rahim Darraji, said that since 2003 and to date, Iraq resulted in many debts due to the wrong policies of successive governments, and that the governments that took power has no wisdom in managing the financial and monetary policy of the country, and the budgets of Iraq’s previous budgets were exaggerated and lack of good management and not based on study and planning, but on the basis of so-called fill-in spaces, that future generations will bear the current debt burden.
A member of the economic committee in the Iraqi parliament, Nora al-Bajari, said that the debts that have burdened the Iraqi economy caused by rampant corruption in the country, and the fight against the terrorist organization ISIS, in addition to the seizure of officials and parties affiliated to take over projects in the deals of corruption.







The total amount of these benefits and repayments to Iraq about 12423.5 billion Iraqi dinars, equivalent to about 12770 billion dollars.
When borrowing is positive?
State borrowing can be useful and positive in many situations, most notably:
• States should have plans and objectives for borrowing, with their causes, dimensions and sources, and not for patchwork.
• The borrowing should not be based on sovereign guarantees in a way that guarantees the unity of the country and non-interference in its affairs.
• The borrowing should be for urgent necessities such as wars or investment to maximize returns.
• The State should have the proven capacity to serve the debts and repay the debts within their deadlines without renewal.
• The lending state should be easy and can give some permissiveness such as reprogramming loans.
• Not to borrow with greedy countries or to have hostile objectives or to save grudges with borrowers.
• Prior intentions must be made to restore the loan schedule or to extinguish it or settle it amicably without acquiescence.
• Borrowing is a unanimous collective decision and not based on an individual opinion and involves corruption.
• There is a real will to pay loans on time and not to beg to postpone them year after year.

Iraqi Finance Committee:
The Parliamentary Finance Committee has not classified foreign loans that its value is more than $ 70 billion, some of which are bad debts that were considered debt despite being subsidized during the first Gulf War. Some of them can also can be settled at the Paris Club for Debt. Other debts can be negotiated to extinguish them or convert them into investments or any formula agreed upon, as part of their political and military goalsand as done with a political system that has ended and can not pay any dollar. According to data provided by Iraq in 2012, Iraq ranked (60) between countries in terms of indebtedness, which is a good rank if there have been serious policies to address the debt, but the reality is not telling good news l, as external loans and internal indebtedness multiply year after year, noting that in the draft federal budget for the year 2018, it was planned to address the budget deficit of (12) trillion dinars, by authorizing the Ministry of Finance to find External sources of borrowing, as well as the inclusion of expenditure paragraphs to be financed through loans previously agreed, leaving the door open to borrow from the Central Bank by treasury bills, bonds, credit and other available means.
This means that loans are generated annually in the hope of rising oil prices, a possibility that is difficult to achieve , if not impossible, because alternatives to oil are possible and can prevent any crises to supply black gold (oil), after there are more possibilities for export, and to limit the crisis of hgh prices , a the most serious issue is that the IMF has long hands in Iraq and can influence the government to make decisions that do not take into account the interests of the poor, which are increasing annually. The measures for economic reform and increasing national income need an administration and will that are not currently available, There is a real need for (200) billion dollars, in order to put things back to normal, which requires attention before it is too late.

Note: The tables are for Rawabet center

Translated by : mudhaffar al-kusairi

Economic Studies Unit

Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies

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Thanks for the article Butifldrm.  If Iraq would go after all the corrupt politicians who have been ripping off the Iraqi wealth and shake them down like Saudi Arabia, the debt could be paid down or off quickly.  Start with Maliki and his sons, that would account for 100B.  

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Parliamentary Finance: Iraq will pay its external debt until 2053

15:40 - 27/02/2019

Information / Special ...

The parliamentary finance committee confirmed on Wednesday that the Iraqi government will continue to pay the country's external debt until the end of 2053.

"The foreign debts of Iraq are divided into two parts, which will be fully paid by the end of 2024," committee member Ahmed Hama said in a statement. "The other part will be completed by the end of 2053 as the government has not submitted On international borrowing again. "

He added that "Parliament obliged the government not to go towards external borrowing to fill the budget deficit during the current year and will continue this decision in the coming years to prevent the rise of foreign debt," noting that "debt repayments will be scheduled on the public budgets and not from surplus funds high oil prices" .

The coalition of victory was likely, earlier, go to the surplus from the budget of 2019 towards the launch of grades for graduates and the reconstruction of cities liberated from the call of the terrorist and the payment of external debt.

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Probably a longer payback than doubt the words “ Delay “ & “ Postpone “ will be used, and often. 

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46 minutes ago, 10 YEARS LATER said:

no doubt the words “ Delay “ & “ Postpone “ will be used often.



                             Don't forget my personal favorite. SOON. ;)

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On 2/12/2019 at 6:33 PM, Butifldrm said:

The total amount of these repayments equivalent to about 12770 billion dollars.


Apparently, the only bank in the world that Iraq DOESN'T owe a loan payback. :moneybag:


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2 hours ago, King Bean said:


Apparently, the only bank in the world that Iraq DOESN'T owe a loan payback. :moneybag:


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Watch for the articles to come out next week . . . " National Australia Bank loans Iraq 500 million Dollars - CEO says glad to step up and ' HOP TO IT  " . . . small bank DEEP pockets;)

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30-05-2019 03:13 PM



Revealed the deputy of the Finance Committee Parliamentary Ahlal Dulaimi, on Thursday, there are cases of corruption in the amount of indebtedness of Iraq, noting that the economy of Iraq does not bear more foreign borrowing.

"The amount of indebtedness of Iraq is very large, and part of it went to the pockets of corrupt and some political parties, through the imaginary projects in the absence of transparency from 2003 until the end of 2014," Dulaimi said in an interview with Al Jazeera Net.

"The budget of 2014 contains external and internal loans disbursed without the knowledge of anyone in mysterious circumstances because it was not approved within the parliament with the provision of accounts final to them."

"Dilaimi pointed out that" there are debts have been disbursed, and the country is obliged to pay its dues and benefits, and "these funds did not go to achieve development, but pockets of corrupt."

She pointed out that "the proportion of loans in each budget after 2003, between 20 and 25% of the total budget, because of the failed economic policies of previous governments, which are economic plans indiscriminate not dependent on the economy, but on the parties and businessmen loyal to them, and tampering with the country's ability to During the militias, according to their expression. "

"The Finance Committee has taken a decision during the current parliamentary session to prevent the government from borrowing abroad, as was approved in the budget of 2019, because the country's economy does not bear more foreign borrowing, which includes the risk of reducing support for the poor and raising the prices of derivatives Oil and other taxes. "

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16 minutes ago, KDuesing said:

I'm calling it for Tue!



Help a brother out .... which month and what year. Just wanna be ready to jump. 😆


This waiting is becoming brutal.:tiphat:

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Today, the Iraqi economy is facing huge challenges: a high debt volume, with $ 15 billion being allocated to repay debt and interest payments in 2019 as a result of increased borrowing over the past 10 years.

A matter attributed to specialists, according to "Al Jazeera Net", to the financial and administrative corruption prevalent in the country, and go to the pockets of the parties to finance their activities instead of sustainable development. 

The story of Iraq began with the religion in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, where the debt out of the sum of eighty billion dollars, and in 2003 reached Iraq's debt to nearly 120 billion dollars, before the debt is settled with some countries by paying the principal Without any benefits, in cooperation with the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund .


In 2014, Iraq was hit by a financial crisis with a third of its territory out of government control, plus high operating costs, making it resort to external and domestic borrowing to fill its budget deficit and cover war costs. 

The foreign debt, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) , is currently $ 85.3 billion. It includes the entitlements of foreign companies operating in the energy sector and the purchase of electricity and gas from Iran , while the internal debt is $ 40 billion, mostly to the central bank and the three government banks: Rafidain, For trade, and the National Retirement Authority.

Today, Iraq owes the Gulf states about $ 41 billion, borrowed from Saddam Hussein's former political system, as well as Paris Club debt of $ 9 billion. Iraq's debt has come close to the level of the red line to reach 55% of GDP. 

The director of the Department of Financial Operations and Debt Management of the Central Bank of Iraq, Dr. Mahmoud Dagher , said in a press interview that " Iraq's debt is not classified as excessive debt, because they are within the rational range, when compared with GDP. 

"Iraq's debt currently stands at $ 68 billion, divided into $ 40 billion in domestic debt and $ 28 billion in foreign debt," he said.

He added that some international organizations add to the total debt of $ 41 billion to become a total of $ 109 billion, while these debts are not "suspended" in terms of payment of interest and receivables, and need to negotiate, and may be extinguished of 80%, as happened with the Paris Club countries 

Dagher pointed out that some parties calculate the entitlements of foreign companies operating inside Iraq , as well as the import of electricity and gas within the debt, which is incorrect, because these are settled annually in the general budget, and allocate funds. 

He stressed that the compensation of Kuwait is within the debt, and the rest of which 4.3 billion dollars, "We pay annually 0.5% of oil revenues."

He pointed out that there are two types of debt: the first went to fill the budget deficit, specifically during the years 2015 and 2016 because of increased military spending to recover land from the state organization, which was accompanied by a financial crisis due to low oil prices, which made the state go to borrow to fill the budget deficit Operational insurance for staff pensions, war costs and others. 

The second type of religion went to investment projects to develop them, the private loans to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and the Japan Agency for International Cooperation "JICA" and others, according to the same speaker. 

Dagher pointed out that Iraq began repaying loans and interest in 2018, and is expected to end the external loans during the next ten years, because the loan period ranging from five to seven years, while the domestic loans are very few and are settled annually.

The amount of indebtedness of Iraq is very large, and part of it went to the pockets of corrupt and some political parties, through fictitious projects in the absence of transparency from 2003 until the end of 2014," said Deputy Speaker of the Parliamentary Finance Committee Ikhlas Dulaimi. 

"The budget of 2014 contains external and internal loans disbursed without the knowledge of anyone in mysterious circumstances because it was not approved within the parliament with the provision of accounts final to them." 

Sistani Dulaimi pointed out that there are debts disbursed, and the country is obliged to pay its dues and benefits, and "these funds did not go to achieve development, but pockets of corrupt."

She pointed out that "the proportion of loans in each budget after 2003, between 20 and 25% of the total budget, because of the failed economic policies of previous governments, which are economic plans indiscriminate not dependent on the economy, but on the parties and businessmen loyal to them, and tampering with the country's ability to during the militias, according to the expression. 

For their part, economists emphasized that the problem of Iraq is the lack of control over the debt, which made many international organizations refuse to lend directly, but through the support service projects supervised by, for fear of financial and administrative corruption. 

said Bassem Jamil Antoine Vice - President of the Assembly For Iraqi economists in a press interview that " the problem of IraqThe money that entered the country of oil estimated at one trillion dollars, since 2003 until now, and is able to build the country, and not to borrow from any external or internal. " 

He added that the problem that accompanied the Iraqi debt is financial and administrative corruption, and part of the This debt went to support the financial budget in the closure of salaries of employees and public expenditures and others, while there are projects funded funded from public debt 

He explained that some international organizations and countries began to grant funds to the Iraqi government, in the form of installments after the completion of the stage of each project, The money was also getting in the past.

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At the HEART of Iraq's numerous challenges is the problematic Corrupt Iron Grip of the Career Criminals in the Government . . . 

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MP Mahmoud al-Kaabi, on Wednesday, that the volume of Iraqi debt is more than 133 billion dollars, noting that Iraq pays 10.8 trillion dinars.

Al-Kaabi said in an interview with Alsumaria News that "the report of the Parliamentary Finance Committee showed that the volume of debt owed by Iraq amounted to 133 billion and 700 million dollars," noting that "the budget showed that Iraq pays 10.8 trillion dinars due to debt and interest of 4.5 trillion dinars because of these debts "He said.

"We have asked the Department of Public Debt at the Ministry of Finance mechanism to pay these debts and their schedule and interest and the size of internal and external debt, but the Department refrained from that," adding that "will be approached by the Ministry of Finance on this and we await response to all our concerns." 

Al-Kaabi said that "there are suspicions that require us to investigate the matter," stressing that "we will inform the people on all the results, whether negative or positive." 

The debt of 
Iraq amounted to nearly 120 billion dollars in 2003, before the debt settlement with some countries by paying the principal only without interest, in cooperation with the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund .
In 2014, 
 was hit by a financial crisis with a third of its territory out of government control, plus high operating costs, making it resort to external and domestic borrowing to fill its budget deficit and cover war costs.
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Change the value of the Iraqi currency ... benefits and costs


Change the value of the Iraqi currency ... benefits and costs


Change the value of the Iraqi currency ... benefits and costs

The importance of the Iraqi currency and its impact on the Iraqi economy in light of the current changes The Department of Economic Studies in Beit al-Hikma held a scientific symposium entitled "Change in the value of the Iraqi currency, benefits and costs" under the chairmanship of Prof. Dr. Falah Hassan Thoini, / 7/2019 on the seminar hall in Beit al-Hikma. 
The seminar was attended by Dr. Mazhar Mohammed Saleh, financial adviser to the Prime Minister, as well as Professor Dr. Mahmoud Mohammed Dagher, Director of the Department of Financial Operations and Debt Management of the Central Bank of Iraq. 
The participants discussed the problem of changing the value of the Iraqi currency and the reduction of the Iraqi dinar and its impact on the Iraqi economy, some describe this reduction as support for the global economy and some see the deterioration of the purchasing power of the Iraqi individual.
Dr. Mazhar Mohammed Saleh talked about the policy of the Central Bank since its establishment so far in a concise and clear as the goal of the bank is to manage the monetary expectations and how Iraq's oil revenues since 2003 to 2014 is improving continuously so there was no budget deficit. He pointed to the role of Iraq and the agreements signed with the International Monetary Fund and its impact on the Iraqi economy. 
He concluded by discussing the need for new policies that are consistent with the central bank's policy of reaching solutions. 
Dr. Mahmoud Mohammed Dagher discussed the current exchange rate regime for two years in Iraq and mentioned facts about the Iraqi economy for 2019. 
The promise of the devaluation of the Iraqi currency affects all the real and monetary balances of the Iraqi economy because one of the reasons for inflation accompanying the reduction ignites expectations and pressures towards the continuation of subsequent reductions decisions.
In conclusion, there were comments from the audience and views and proposals on the decision to reduce the Iraqi dinar. 

The seminar was attended by Dr. Ihsan Al-Amin, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Bayt Al-Hikma and a number of prominent personalities in the banking and financial field and a number of academics.  













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Don't lose confidence in the Dinar it will come up in valve, they are already to low. The oil country's around them have high valve to there money , 



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"In conclusion, there were comments from the audience and views and proposals on the decision to reduce the Iraqi dinar."


Is it just me, or does this article sound like this is something that they are just starting to talk about and getting opinions on, as to whether this is a good idea or not?


They needed a symposium about this, at this late date?

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8 minutes ago, Floridian said:

"In conclusion, there were comments from the audience and views and proposals on the decision to reduce the Iraqi dinar."


Is it just me, or does this article sound like this is something that they are just starting to talk about and getting opinions on, as to whether this is a good idea or not?


They needed a symposium about this, at this late date?

lol, thats what it sounded like to me too.

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10 minutes ago, denster said:

Don't lose confidence in the Dinar it will come up in valve, they are already to low. The oil country's around them have high valve to there money , 



If you look up currency values you will see this 1 to USD value 

Nigeria 1 to .0028 USD

Lydia  1 to .71 USD

Algerians. 1 to .0084 USD

Iran 1 to . 000024 USD

Kuwait 3.29 USD


IQD .00084 USD

Angola .0031 USD

Russia .015 USD 

So all these oil producers are big oil producers.  If you look at the value of their currency its valued all over the board. 

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Why raise the value when you can catch the rabbits by continuing to dangle the carrot. No rush for RV in near future.

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I was talking about Kuwait  and Saudi Arabia and Qatar big oil country that are recognized 

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      We can see that despite the American and French Revolutions, government reverts always back to the dominant punisher assuming the very same power against which the people revolted to begin with. We can see Thomas Paine’s words are applicable today. The US government called Snowden a traitor for telling the people the government was illegally searching and seizing everything. It was irrelevant that he informed the people about the illegal acts of government. It was treason by their definition because he revealed what they were doing illegally to the people. That reflect what Paine said – they see themselves as the nation not the people who they exploit for their own survival.
      Understanding who is the enemy is the very first step in the reform process. About every 309 years we reach a crisis in government. This has been resolved unfortunately with violence for whoever is in power never goes quietly into the light. The late 1700s was of course the American and French Revolutions and today the people of both nations have less rights than existed when they rose up in their respective revolutions. Both were sparked by a debt crisis.
      In Britain, George III needed money so badly, he was taking Spanish coins and counterstamping his own image and making them English. The Assignates were paper money issued by the French that was back by confiscating the property of the Catholic Church. The Crown had bailed out the debt of the Mississippi Bubble of 1720 and that imposed harsh taxes upon the French people. We are in the very same position of a Sovereign Debt Crisis once again that is turning to confiscating everything we have as well as government is always driven by debt.
      Thomas Jefferson was highly practical. He wanted the Constitution to automatically expire every 19 years and he was against any government debt. Why? A national debt to Jefferson was taxing the next generation without representation. Indeed, we are being heavily taxed to support the continued rollover of debt.
      Without question, this is where we are once again. Jefferson understood looking at history that it repeats because human nature never changes. He saw war was caused by standing armies and once government is paying to maintain such a force, it is like have a car you never drive.
      If we look back 309 years from the 1700s, we come to the 14th-15th centuries. In Florence it began with a revolution where they too ran out and hanged bankers. The great series of tax revolts began on that cycle in England and France that finally culminated following the Black Death (1346–53) where capitalism really began with the reintroduction of wages given the shortage of labor.
      Perhaps this time we can put pressure for political change in eliminating debts and this viscous cycle of Sovereign Debt Defaults that destroy society. We can prepare for our individual survival by comprehending the nature of the beast. As was discussed in the session in Warsaw, it is true gold is no longer the savior since we cannot hop on a plane with a briefcase full of gold and seek a new start. Gold’s role may be local and in an underground economy, but make no mistake about that, government is well aware of that role as well.
      Governments are robbing anything travelers might have these days. There were even signs in Poland warning if you have more than €10,000 in cash or “assets” when traveling it was illegal. They will look for jewelry, stocks, gold, or diamonds. Anything they deem of value they can confiscate.
      This is a new age of authoritarianism and is not ending nicely. The idea of crypto-currencies is also rather foolish for nothing can compete against a government that is ruthless and broke. They have the guns and then tanks and will use them against the people. Our hope is to identify the problem and spread the word. Yeltsin stood on the tanks in Russia and asked the troops not to fire on their own people. If the pawns of government refuse to massacre their own people, then we can win. It is critical to understand that police and military will become the tool for both sides.
      This is why Brussels is now calling for a European Army. That will be their power and sending Greek troops into Germany will prevent the troops from siding with the people. This is also why there is a mad rush to create robots for war. They have no emotions and cannot be turned. Government understands their weak-link for throughout history it has always been the loyalty of the troops.
      That is what we must understand and we must understand that private assets are the means to survive – not pensions or government bonds. Eliminating cash is their way to force people into banks and prevent a bank-run. That will end in the total authoritarian government for you will not be allowed to buy or sell except without the grace of government.
    • By Sgwmax
      I am trying to understand what the community is referring too when the topic of taxes are raised as it relates to the impending CE.  I asked my tax advisor, and he explained to me that because the Currency being exchanged is in fact a debt note, and NOT a SECURITY, there are no taxes to be paid on any gains realized when the exchange is completed... so, please help me with understanding what I'm missing... Thanks everyone~!
    • By UNEEK
      Confessions of an Over-Saver: Why I Hate Spending Money
      Karen Mazzola, as told to Alden Wicker    Posted on May 31, 2013

      Everyone is talking about the crisis among twentysomethings. We don’t save enough. We’re behind on retirement. Our loans are untenable. We have high credit card debt.

      Not me.

      I’m a 27-year-old legal consultant in New York City. I don’t make six figures, but I make a comfortable income. And I like saving. A lot. Maybe a little too much.

      I max out my 401(k), have a robust savings account and no credit card debt, and I paid off $34,000 in student loans in less than a year. Even my parents think I’m an over-saver, and they save a lot.

        The author, Karen Mazzola at her mother’s wedding, where she wore a dress from Filene’s Basement and made her own bouquet. What Made Me This Way

      I was raised on Staten Island, New York in a middle class family. My dad was a teacher, and my mom worked for the government. We were generally financially secure, though somewhere below what would be termed “comfortable.” But for some reason, I got it into my head at a young age that we were poorer than we were.

      It probably had something to do with the fact that both my parents came from poor families. My dad’s parents were both factory workers who lived in Brooklyn in an apartment with no heat. When the factories would close down for a month in the summer, they went on temporary welfare.

      My mother grew up the oldest girl of seven kids in a two-bedroom house in Queens. She went to Queens College even though she was valedictorian of her class, because it was all her family could afford. I think she’s always regretted that she didn’t go somewhere fancier, so she’s made it her goal to give me and my brother as much as she could.

      For this reason, she tended to spoil us. I had several dozen Barbies, the Barbie dream house, the Barbie limo, the Barbie yacht (that thing had a working blender on it) and nice clothes.

      Of course, my mom bought everything on sale whenever she could, because that’s just how we roll in our family. And the rest of her money she saved and put in savings bonds … so she could give it to me and my brother later.

      (She gave my brother the down payment for his first condo and money for his next home with his wife, the result of saving a little bit of each paycheck since the day he was born.)

          I walk to work—it takes a half hour each way—rather than spend $2.50 each way on subway fare. That also saved me from getting a gym membership.

      I saw my parents fight about money a couple of times, and they were separated by the time I was eight. Though I later found out that their divorce was for very different reasons, I think that in my head I at least partly attributed their separation to money, which made me think that more money equaled less discord.

      How I Got Four Degrees and Owed Just $34,000

      My mom had saved money for college, but she thought it made more sense to go to undergrad for free and then go to a good graduate school. I applied to nine schools, got into all nine and I got four merit-based full-ride scholarships. Out of those four, I chose my favorite, the University of Delaware.

      College was basically free. My full ride came with housing and meals. I usually had some money left over from my book stipend, and I would live on that. I rarely ate outside of my meal plan. I didn’t drink until I was 21. There wasn’t much to do in my college town, and campus events were free or very cheap. I didn’t have a car, so I went to the mall maybe twice.

      The only thing I paid for was study abroad in Australia (and I went back for free as a teaching assistant the next year) and some summer classes, since I was getting two degrees, in civil engineering and English.

      After I graduated, I went straight to law school at Cornell. I used all the money my mom had saved for college, and during the summers I worked at a law firm. The rest of my degree I financed with the maximum amount of federal subsidized student loans.

      My second and third years in law school, I was a residential adviser. I loved being an R.A., but saving $10,000 a year on housing was definitely the impetus. I cooked most of my own food. My budget for going out and eating and drinking was probably less than $50 a month. I still had no car.

      When I did one more year at NYU to get my master’s in tax law, I lived with my dad in his studio in the city, even though all my friends lived in a dorm by the school. By the time I graduated, I had four degrees and only $34,000 in student loans.

      The day I graduated from law school in 2011, my mom found out she had breast cancer. I moved back home to live with her on Long Island, and used that time to apply for jobs. I got a job offer in the late fall, right around the time my mom finished with her surgeries and my student loans kicked in. My dad moved to Florida, so I moved back into his apartment in the city.

      Transitioning to Adulthood—and Saving Even More

      As soon as I started my job, I maxed out my 401(k) by putting in 21% of every paycheck. I put at least $1,600 (half of my take-home pay) toward my student loans each month – more than four times the minimum payment. My mom put $600 toward paying them off as well.

      The rest of my paycheck went toward roughly $700 for maintenance on my dad’s apartment, $100 for cable, $50 for utilities, $100 for groceries (vegetarianism and home cooking for the win!), $100 to charity, and a little bit to occasionally go out. I also tried to put money in my savings account, but inevitably took it out to put toward my loans anyway.

      While it might not be everyone’s idea of fun, I was obsessed with budgeting. Every dollar I spent on things other than loans had a 6.55% surcharge in my mind, because that was the percent I was being charged on my loans.

      I was really into online calculators and I maintained a massive spreadsheet detailing the principal, daily interest I was paying, and how much I would save overall if I paid off my loans faster.

      I was spending $5 a day in interest in the beginning, so I balanced this by walking to work—it takes a half hour each way—rather than spend $2.50 each way on subway fare.

      That also saved me from getting a gym membership and being crushed in rush hour subway traffic. I didn’t go out to eat often, if at all. I never got takeout.

      When I went drinking with my friends, I only paid in cash because then you can’t get a crazy bill, and you won’t forget your credit card somewhere. When the introductory price ran out on my cable, I cancelled it and switched to a digital antenna and a streaming video subscription.

      I will not pay retail on clothing—the most I’ve spent on a single piece of clothing this year was $100 on a deeply-discounted coat.

      I feel like there are two types of shoppers: hunter/gatherers like me, and farmers. The latter like everything in rows, organized by color and size, and they pay full price for the convenience. But I like to hunt for the one perfect piece and I will not spend more than 50% of the original price.

      My goal is to get 80% to 90% off. To do this, I go to stores like Marshalls and Century 21 (and then head straight to the sale section) or browse eBay and the local thrift stores.

      I have not taken a single day off work since I started 15 months ago. I reasoned that if I quit or got fired (not likely, but you never know), I would get paid for those vacation days. Each one is worth around $300, so I would think to myself, “Do I want this day off or do I want the $300?”

      I’m not sure if my bosses have noticed I’ve never taken a vacation day, but they definitely know I’m a saver. At work we generally congregate in the conference room for lunch after everyone gets takeout from various restaurants, but I always bring my lunch.

      I can’t fathom spending $15 for the convenience of having someone else make a salad for me when I don’t even spend $15 on my whole week of lunches—and they’re healthy (and delicious) lunches with lots of fresh veggies.

      So yeah, I’m vocal about it.

      My friends make fun of me sometimes, but in a good-natured way. Many are also recent law school grads, and they have incredible student loans, so they understand. We’ll get dollar pizza and Trader Joe’s wine and play video games at my apartment or go to dive bars.

      Sometimes they’ll comment on the fact that I’m more frugal than they are even though I no longer have loans and don’t pay full rent, but not in a negative way. I think anyone who would seriously criticize you for not spending as much them is a jerk, and I probably wouldn’t want to be friends with them anyway.

      Oh, and I never use my credit card. I probably have a terrible credit score, but I won’t need to take out any new loans any time soon. I just really hate paying interest.

      Bye-Bye, Student Loans

      I paid off my loans in September, less than a year after they kicked in, saving myself over $11,000 in interest. I switched from playing with loan calculators to retirement calculators (I love online calculators), and maxed out my IRA.

      I check my net worth every day and examine my spending using an online budgeting tool, like the LearnVest Money Center.

      In the past, I’ve never had more than $2,000 or $3,000 in the bank because I immediately put it toward my loans. Now I have real money, and I don’t know what to do with it! I’ll probably invest in the stock market or redo the bathroom in my apartment.

      I do spend a little more than I used to, and I don’t feel as guilty. If I see a piece of clothing I like, I’ll give myself a pep talk. “It’s $30, you like it, and you can afford it.” I still only buy items when they’re on sale, though.

      I feel like my life is pretty full, though I’m terrible at dating. I like to pay for my own food and drinks on a date, and I’ll think, do I like this guy enough to swipe my Metro Card to get there, pay $20 for food, $10 for drinks, and Metro Card it home? The answer is often no. But for my friends? I’ll pay that much to see them. It’s all about knowing what’s worth it to you.

      I know what you’re thinking, and it’s true: I’m pretty responsible, but I couldn’t have gotten here without my parents’ help and guidance. I’m incredibly grateful, especially to my mom.

      You know what my ultimate financial goal is? I hope to someday be rich enough that my mom never has to worry about money again. It’s probably impossible given her nature, but it’s my hope nonetheless.

      Love reading other people’s financial tales? Check out more great LearnVest-exclusive personal stories.
    • By thegente
      World Bank Insider Blows Whistle on Corruption, Federal Reserve

      Wednesday, 22 May 2013 

      A former insider at the World Bank, ex-Senior Counsel Karen Hudes, says the global financial system is dominated by a small group of corrupt, power-hungry figures centered around the privately owned U.S. Federal Reserve. The network has seized control of the media to cover up its crimes, too, she explained. In an interview with The New American, Hudes said that when she tried to blow the whistle on multiple problems at the World Bank, she was fired for her efforts. Now, along with a network of fellow whistleblowers, Hudes is determined to expose and end the corruption. And she is confident of success. 

      Citing an explosive 2011 Swiss study published in the PLOS ONE journal on the “network of global corporate control,” Hudes pointed out that a small group of entities — mostly financial institutions and especially central banks — exert a massive amount of influence over the international economy from behind the scenes. “What is really going on is that the world’s resources are being dominated by this group,” she explained, adding that the “corrupt power grabbers” have managed to dominate the media as well. “They’re being allowed to do it.”

      According to the peer-reviewed paper, which presented the first global investigation of ownership architecture in the international economy, transnational corporations form a “giant bow-tie structure.” A large portion of control, meanwhile, “flows to a small tightly-knit core of financial institutions.” The researchers described the core as an “economic ‘super-entity’” that raises important issues for policymakers and researchers. Of course, the implications are enormous for citizens as well.

      Hudes, an attorney who spent some two decades working in the World Bank’s legal department, has observed the machinations of the network up close. “I realized we were now dealing with something known as state capture, which is where the institutions of government are co-opted by the group that’s corrupt,” she told The New American in a phone interview. “The pillars of the U.S. government — some of them — are dysfunctional because of state capture; this is a big story, this is a big cover up.”

      At the heart of the network, Hudes said, are 147 financial institutions and central banks — especially the Federal Reserve, which was created by Congress but is owned by essentially a cartel of private banks. “This is a story about how the international financial system was secretly gamed, mostly by central banks — they’re the ones we are talking about,” she explained. “The central bankers have been gaming the system. I would say that this is a power grab.”

      The Fed in particular is at the very center of the network and the coverup, Hudes continued, citing a policy and oversight body that includes top government and Fed officials. Central bankers have also been manipulating gold prices, she added, echoing widespread concerns that The New American has documented extensively. Indeed, even the inaccurate World Bank financial statements that Hudes has been trying to expose are linked to the U.S. central bank, she said. 

      “The group that we’re talking about from the Zurich study — that’s the Federal Reserve; it has some other pieces to it, but that’s the Federal Reserve,” Hudes explained. “So the Federal Reserve secretly dominated the world economy using secret, interlocking corporate directorates, and terrorizing anybody who managed to figure out that they were having any kind of role, and putting people in very important positions so that they could get a free pass.”

      The shadowy but immensely powerful Bank for International Settlements serves as “the club of these private central bankers,” Hudes continued. “Now, are people going to want interest on their country’s debts to continue to be paid to that group when they find out the secret tricks that that group has been doing? Don’t forget how they’ve enriched themselves extraordinarily and how they’ve taken taxpayer money for the bailout.”

      As far as intervening in the gold price, Hudes said it was an effort by the powerful network and its central banks to “hold onto its paper currency” — a suspicion shared by many analysts and even senior government officials. The World Bank whistleblower also said that contrary to official claims, she did not believe there was any gold being held in Fort Knox. Even congressmen and foreign governments have tried to find out if the precious metals were still there, but they met with little success. Hudes, however, believes the scam will eventually come undone.

      “This is like crooks trying to figure out where they can go hide. It’s a mafia,” she said. “These culprits that have grabbed all this economic power have succeeded in infiltrating both sides of the issue, so you will find people who are supposedly trying to fight corruption who are just there to spread disinformation and as a placeholder to trip up anybody who manages to get their act together.… Those thugs think that if they can keep the world ignorant, they can bleed it longer.”

      Of course, the major corruption at the highest levels of government and business is not a new phenomenon. Georgetown University historian and Professor Carroll Quigley, who served as President Bill Clinton’s mentor, for example, wrote about the scheme in his 1966 book Tragedy And Hope: A History Of The World In Our Time. The heavyweight academic, who was allowed to review documents belonging to the top echelons of the global establishment, even explained how the corrupt system would work — remarkably similar to what Hudes describes.

      "The powers of financial capitalism had a far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole,” wrote Prof. Quigley, who agreed with the goals but not the secrecy. “This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations."

      But it is not going to happen, Hudes said — at least not if she has something do to with it. While the media are dominated by the “power grabber” network, Hudes has been working with foreign governments, reporters, U.S. officials, state governments, and a broad coalition of fellow whistleblowers to blow the entire scam wide open. There has been quite a bit of interest, too, particularly among foreign governments and state officials in the United States.

      Citing the wisdom of America’s Founding Fathers in creating a federal system of government with multiple layers of checks and balances, Hudes said she was confident that the network would eventually be exposed and subjected to the rule of law, stopping the secret corruption. If and when that happens — even if it may be disorderly — Hudes says precious metals will once again play a role in imposing discipline on the monetary system. The rule of law would also be restored, she said, and the public will demand a proper press to stay informed.

      “We’re going to have a cleaned-up financial system, that’s where it is going, but in the meantime, people who didn’t know how the system was gamed are going to find out,” she said. “We’re going to have a different kind of international financial system.... It’ll be a new kind of world where people know what’s going on — no more backroom deals; that’s not going to keep happening. We’re going to have a different kind of media if people don’t want to be dominated and controlled, which I don’t think they do.”

      While Hudes sounded upbeat, she recognizes that the world is facing serious danger right now — there are even plans in place to impose martial law in the United States, she said. The next steps will be critical for humanity. As such, Hudes argues, it is crucial that the people of the world find out about the lawlessness, corruption, and thievery that are going on at the highest levels — and put a stop to it once and for all. The consequences of inaction would be disastrous.
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