When? That’s the question that is on the minds of people following the economy. When will the “you know what” hit the fan and we start another global meltdown. I am not going to string you along. I will tell you right now, I don’t know. I will tell you the headlines I read and the things I am hearing from people in power around the globe say we are in deep danger. The time is close. Mervyn King, Ben Bernanke’s counterpart over at the Bank of England, said last week, “This is the most serious financial crisis we’ve seen, at least since the 1930s, if not ever.” If this is what he’s willing to say publicly, what is he saying behind closed doors? This means today’s financial conditions are worse than the meltdown of 2008.

King is not the only one sounding an alarm. UK Prime Minister David Cameron said yesterday, “Time is short, the situation is precarious.” The Financial Times (FT.com) reported yesterday, “Mr. Cameron wants Germany and others to accept the “collective responsibility” of euro membership and to increase the firepower of the Eurozone’s €440bn bailout fund to stop financial contagion spreading from Greece. Although he refused to speculate on a Greek default – some British government ministers believe it is now inevitable – he said all uncertainty had to be removed about the country’s economic future.” The FT.com story also said, “Mr. Cameron believes it is vital that Europe’s leaders get ahead of the markets by announcing a comprehensive plan, comparing it to the “bazooka” approach once advocated by Hank Paulson, former US Treasury secretary.” (Click here to read the complete FT.com story.)

I hope that “bazooka” approach doesn’t end up being like the gigantic bait and switch U.S. taxpayer rip-off called TARP. That stands for the Troubled Asset Relief Program which was supposed to buy “troubled assets,” but none were bought. The reckless, crooked bankers did get some sweet bonuses that following year though. I hope the crisis holds off until the G-20 meets in France in early November. I am sure the subjects will include how to handle the coming Greek default and recapitalizing European banks.

The way I see it, many European banks are simply insolvent and are interconnected to the global economy. Otherwise, this would not be a “systemic crisis.” Three things can be done. The EU can print lots of money and give it to the banks. (They say this will “recapitalize” the banks.) It can let the banks take a haircut, but we all know the debt write down would be so big that many banks would fail. Finally, a combination of the two can be done, with the emphasis on printing lots of money. The reason why the EU is laboring over all of this is they don’t want people to figure out that all they’re really doing is printing money. This has to look like a really complicated tough decision so the fiat money and the people who control it remain relevant.

But back to the question at hand, and that is when? When does it all fall apart? Last week, Robert Shapiro, senior advisor to the IMF, said if a “credible” plan isn’t reached in three weeks that a global financial meltdown would happen. Please watch the chilling BBC video.

No matter what’s done, star banking analyst Meredith Whitney says many European banks over the next few years are “just not going to make it . . . because the governments just can’t save all the banks.” (Click here to see the complete Whitney interview buried near the end of a recent CNN story.)

Economist John Williams of Shadowstats.com says “don’t blame Europe” for the world-wide systemic crisis we are facing. The blame should mostly fall on America. In his latest report, Williams said, “The problems, however, always have been primarily U.S.-based and due to domestic economic, monetary and regulatory policies. Blaming the euro area for U.S. problems is little more than a foil aimed at distracting attention from the catastrophic fiscal and Fed-policy issues threatening long-term U.S. solvency and the U.S. dollar. . . .Broad systemic and economic instabilities have been ongoing in the United States for more than three years, and the crises appear headed for a near-term crescendo”

Don’t expect the Fed to sit by and do nothing as the world economy falls into a black hole. According to Shadowstats.com , “The Fed and the U.S. government still will provide whatever guarantees are needed, whatever money has to be created, spent or loaned out, in order to prevent systemic failure. This includes any sovereign or non-U.S.-bank bailouts required to prevent systemic collapse. The costs of such actions remain inflation or U.S. dollar debasement. They can continue only so long as the global markets allow them, until the U.S. dollar comes under massive, sustained selling pressure.”

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial meltdown, the Fed pumped out $16 trillion. If this is the worst crisis “ever,” then expect more of the same. The Fed will stop the meltdown or kill the dollar. Either way, most Americans are headed for a third world living status.