Busted: Bankers and The Global Economy

June 15, 2011

US economist predicts economic storm in 2013

devalued dollarA “perfect storm” of fiscal woes in the United States, a slowdown in China, the debt crisis in Europe and stagnation in Japan has a decent chance of damaging the global economy by 2013, Roubini told reporters late last week. Even so, he is being quite conservative about it. A 33% chance doesn’t seem like news to me. All this by New York University professor Nouriel Roubini, who correctly predicted the global economic crisis in 2008.

According to Mr. Roubini, the world economy expansion may slow in the second half of this year as “the deleveraging process continues, fiscal stimulus is withdrawn and confidence ebbs.”  To me, this seems obvious. This process is really part of what is already happening. It’s not news. The job market stinks in the U.S. and other modern nations. Money isn’t being made abundantly in the real economy. It’s all on Wall Street and in the investment world, based on heavy borrowing and debt restructuring of nations based on fiat money. Washington has been unwilling to deal with a one-trillion-plus budget deficit and a distinct bond market revolt is in the wings. Investors are waking up to the danger to their investment as US bonds are in danger of becoming junk. This will create higher interest rates and possible hyperinflation, which will remove any possibility of a recovery, even resulting the destruction of the dollar for an international medium of exchange. The bankers aren’t truly bothered by this. Based on inside information, the bankers already have a plan in the wings that I have touched on previously. It’s all about marketing, presentation to them.

Already, we have riots in Greece, as they face the music regarding the bad debt that the nation and bankers have created. They claim that officials need to restructure the debt of Greece, Ireland and Portugal. Waiting too long will ultimately result in the disintegration of the euro zone stability, experts say. Roubini agrees. The ridiculous aspect to the entire scenario is that all banking debt in the current system that is created will never be paid back. Further, much of this debt has been cleverly folded into Wall Street investments with the idea of making money, either through long or short selling. But this does not solve the problem of any debt unless the nations involved have the ability to make money by having control. They don’t. Only the bankers make money on any debt. In the meantime, these nations are paying on interest, not on principal. It’s stupid. The spiral never ends. Roubini and most economists remain silent on this aspect of the system.

Many other analysts, like myself,  have repeatedly warned of a “possible” repeat of the 2008 global economic meltdown in the immediate future. Others, like Moscow financial expert Alexander Osin expresses hope that the international community will be able to find the way out. Russian economist Konstantin Sonin  warns against overdramatizing the situation since people like Roubini are full of it, false prophets, in essence. The solution?

“The world economy faced such a problem in the 1930s,” Osin says, adding that Adolf Hitler’s ascent to power and the beginning of World War Two helped to resolve the problem. “At present, it should be solved by peaceful means, which the global community is almost certain to find.” Certainly, the Russians and Arabs are doing quite well since they are sitting on oil profits. That will only last as long as the current monetary gaming system does. That is the problem behind the whole matter. An eternal debt-based banking system destroys the nations that depend on it unless they are sitting on huge cash cow. Rest assured, that is temporary. If they are doing business with the bankers, the banking system will drain that wealth too. That is the nature of the system in place, as well as the nature of the future system.

So, to solve the problem we need a global war and preferably another Hitler. In the meantime, resolving the monetary system crisis is all about “hope,” and now we are listening to Russians for economic advice. The global economy really is in trouble. There won’t be any gain without plenty of pain. Never mind the pain that so many are in now.

E. Manning

Advertisements

November 21, 2010

Old News, New News

Filed under: banking, central bank, corporatism, economy, federal reserve, globalization, recession — Tags: , , , , , , — digitaleconomy @ 11:26 am

“Capital must protect itself in every possible way, both by combination and legislation. Debts must be collected, mortgages foreclosed as rapidly as possible. When, through the process of law, the common people lose their homes, they will become more docile and more easily governed through the strong arm of government applied by a central power of wealth under leading financiers. These truths are well known among our principal men who are now engaged in forming an imperialism to govern the world. By dividing the voter through the political party system, we can get them to expend their energies in fighting for questions of no importance. It is thus by discreet action we can secure for ourselves that which has been so well planned and so successfully accomplished.”

– Montagu Norman, Governor of The Bank Of England, addressing the United States Bankers’ Association, NYC 1924

 

July 31, 2010

SEC Lets Citi Execs Go Free After $40 Billion Subprime Lie

The following news analysis was written by AlterNet.org’s economics editor Zach Carter.

What is the penalty for bankers who tell $40 billion lies? Somewhere between nothing and a rounding-error on your bonus.

The SEC just hit two Citigroup executives with fines for concealing $40 billion in subprime mortgage debt from investors back in 2007. The biggest fine is going to Citi CFO Gary Crittenden, who will pay $100,000 to settle allegations that he screwed over his own investors. The year of the alleged wrongdoing, Crittenden took home $19.4 million. That’s right. Crittenden will lose one-half of one percent of his income from the year he hid a quagmire of bailout-inducing insanity from his own investors. That’s it. No indictment. No prison time. Crittenden doesn’t even have to formally acknowledge any wrongdoing.

In 2007, as financial markets were freaking out about the subprime situation, Citi repeatedly told its investors that it owned just $13 billion in subprime mortgage debt. It was true – if you didn’t count an additional $40 billion in subprime debt that the company was also holding onto.

Citi’s CEO at the time, Chuck Prince, has not been charged with anything. As Yves Smith emphasizes, all of the top financial officers of every major corporation are responsible for the accuracy of their quarterly financial statements. Lying on those statements is a federal crime. This is the sort of thing that securities fraud cases are built around.

The SEC’s own statements about what went on at Citi are damning. If the agency can make this kind of information public, they ought to be pursuing criminal prosecutions. The SEC says that senior Citi management had been collecting information about the company’s subprime situation as early as April 2007, but repeatedly cited the $13 billion figure to investors over the next six months, waiting to acknowledge the additional $40 billion in subprime debt until November 2007. The SEC also says that Crittenden knew the “full extent” of Citi’s subprime situation by September at the latest, but the company continued to cite $13 billion in earnings reports through October.

Citi’s subprime shenanigans had consequences for taxpayers, pushing the company to the brink of total collapse and prompting one of the biggest bailouts of 2008.

Phil Angelides and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission deserve a lot of credit for highlighting the absurdity of Citi’s actions in a hearing on April 7 of this year (the key passage starts on page 368 of this pdf transcript). Angelides’ line of questioning revealed that even Citi’s board knew that the subprime exposure was much greater than what the company was claiming in public. Citi’s board at the time included Robert Rubin, former Treasury Secretary and architect of much of the deregulation that lead to the current crisis who took home $120 million for his work at Citi.

Either the SEC or the Justice Department could be pursuing criminal cases against Citi executives. What does it take to get the Justice Department’s attention on a financial fraud case? You have to launder $380 billion in drug money, and even then, DOJ lets you off with a slap on the wrist. The DOJ caught Wachovia doing just that, and the bank is getting off with a minor fine that won’t even make a dent in it’s second-quarter profits.

The Citi settlement is worse than a get-out-of-jail free card for Crittenden, Prince and their cohorts. The SEC actually fined Citi’s shareholders $75 million for the alleged wrongdoing of their executives. For some varieties of corporate misconduct, like Wachovia’s drug money laundering, hitting shareholders with the fine is appropriate. Wachovia’s money laundering operations directly enriched the company and its shareholders. This was not the case with Citi’s subprime scandal. Citi’s executives were hurting their own shareholders. Instead of meting out serious punishment to those executives, the SEC is fining Citi’s shareholders, the very people wronged in the incident.

This deference to the elites who wrecked the economy just keeps playing out. When Bank of America lied to its shareholders about billions of dollars in bonus payments it was about to make, the SEC decided to fine BofA shareholders and let the firm’s executives off the hook. The decision-makers at Wachovia, who allowed the firm to funnel drug money despite repeated warnings by whistleblowers, have not been indicted. Nobody at Washington Mutual has been indicted despite clear evidence of rampant mortgage fraud at the firm. Lehman Brothers’ repo 105 accounting scam is going unpunished, as are similar schemes at other banks including Bank of America. After much public relations flogging, the SEC let Goldman Sachs off easy.

More than 1,100 bankers went to jail in the aftermath of the savings and loan crisis. Massive financial crises simply do not occur without widespread fraud. The failure to prosecute that fraud poses systemic risks for the global economy. With too-big-to-fail behemoths dominating the financial landscape, the prospect of prison is the only serious check on executives interested in cannibalizing the economy for personal gain. If the SEC and the Department of Justice continue to let executives get away with outrageous acts without even taking the case to court, our financial system is doomed to repeat the same excesses and abuses we’ve seen over the past decade. If Crittenden did what the SEC claims he did, he screwed over his own investors and scored a huge bonus in the process. Everybody on Wall Street understands the implications: breaking the law is a great way to make a lot of money. When a class of elites can thumb its nose at the law with impunity, the result is not only a threat to the efficiency of our economy, but a threat to the basic functioning of our democracy.

You can read Mr. Carter’s news analysis in context here: blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/07/30/where-are-the-prosecutions-sec-lets-citi-execs-go-free-after-40-billion-subprime-lie/ Mr. Carter is a fellow at Campaign for America’s Future, and a frequent contributed to The Nation magazine.

July 26, 2010

Plague of Home Foreclosures in U.S. Continues

The miraculous recovery that has been proffered by the Banking Elite hasn’t happened. Central Bankers and Wall Street profiteers believed that they could continue to operate with wild speculation while reaping the results and encouraging more of the same. The financial wizards have not proved their financial literacy. Their speculative downfall started with bundling speculative instruments tied to U.S. housing debt that never should have happened to begin with. Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of Americans bought homes that never really qualified. The hot market was bolstered until the superheated financial bubble burst, leaving a worldwide recession based on what amounts to Wall Street gambling on highly leveraged contracts that have bankrupted the system. The reality is that the problem isn’t with foreclosures themselves, but with the bundled securities and expected profits that are tied to the failing mortgages. No doubt, these securities have been packaged and sold dozens of times even though they are worth nothing now.

More than three years into a U.S. housing crisis that started a worldwide recession, home foreclosures continue to further the devaluation of the U.S. economy. The waves of foreclosures no longer come from sub-prime loans that have defaulted. Foreclosures come from formerly respectable borrowers that have lost their jobs in an impoverished and drained economy that no functions to support a nation of hard-working Americans, but functions only to serve the Banking Elite.

In the first half of 2010, more than 1.6 million U.S. properties are in the midst of foreclosure filings, which include bank repossessions, default notices and auction sale notices. This is an 8 percent increase from the first half of 2009 which puts the United States on target to reach 3 million filings this year. These numbers show the fragile state of housing and real estate investment, which has been decimated. Government programs have been ineffective at stopping the national hemorrhage. Little has changed except that more Americans are living in rentals, with friends and family, in tents or on the streets, depending on their financial fortunes.

The U.S. government and banking profiteers built a house of cards on the idea that the cost of housing would always rise and that the profits would never cease. After massive bailouts, they are still stuck without a financial course to chart and exploit, beyond tapping government bailouts. The Federal Reserve holds trillions in useless notes and obligations in the hope that someday they will be worth more than the paper they are printed on. The economy continues to spiral downward despite limited attempts by big money multinationals to bolster the market.

Corporate multinationals and banking bigshots aren’t here as charities. They demand to make money for shareholders. For decades they have profited from U.S. tax law and from the backs of manufacturing slaves in the third-world. Now they seek to hold the bottom line and to keep their organizations alive. Now they are cannibalizing inept governments to sustain themselves. Stagnation is preferable to loss as the United States becomes the new third-world in their great plan to level the national playing field through globalization. Welcome to the brave new world of globalism, where everyone is equal except for the corporate oligarchy.

It isn’t pretty, but is pretty much as advertised.

April 28, 2010

Wall Street: Worse than Robber Barons

I’ve said it before. I’m going to say it again. Wall Street, the whole lot of them are self-deceived and full of themselves. They are worse than Robber Barons. Remember last November when Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein told “adoring crowds” through The Times of London that he was, but a humble banker “doing God’s work”?

This nation and the entire world has had unscrupulous tycoons for some time now under the reign of corporatism. Now the nation takes full ownership of market manipulators and connivers, the most obnoxious and self-deceived weasels in recent history.  They hold the higher ground while admitting no wrong. They haven’t a clue what dishonest gain is about. Antisocial behavior simply consumes them. They live in their own self-made bubble of finance and privilege.

They are in bed with government minds of the same persuasion, a circle of self-dealing and wanton abandon of anything but self. Meanwhile, they pretend to tell the nation, even the world, what financial literacy is when they cannot balance, much less leverage their own checkbook.  For example, venerable chief of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke applies this paradigm to you, but excludes himself, Wall Street and his banker cohorts.

An undergraduate student from Atlanta’s Morehouse College asked Bernanke what accounts for the enormous racial disparity in wealth in America. Bernanke responded that the source of the problem was the lack of “financial literacy” and “financial education” on the part of blacks, particularly with respect to savings decisions. While a scholar of Depression Era America, he clearly omitted his own knowledge of history. Bernanke never mentioned the notorious history of national violence that included the seizure, destruction and appropriation of black property, never mind the property and lives of others. The idea of financial literacy has nothing to do with principles and everything to do with who you are.

During 250 years of slavery, blacks as a people were both capital and financial assets for whites, and even after emancipation.  The national failure has been continual. At one time, the nation failed to endow black ex-slaves with a promised forty acres and a mule in any place in America. It doesn’t stop with the blacks. Today, through the Federal Reserve system of finance and government, all people have systematically have been denied the fruits of their labor. The national has simply switched gears, commandeered by the appearance of wealth, influence and power.  Land acquired between 1880 and 1910 frequently was taken by government complicity, fraud and outright seizures by terrorists. Our current reality is little different.

Regardless of race, creed or faith, few have any incentive to save in a world where Robber Barons, in this case the International Society of Bankers, simply consume any savings through the modern miracle of inflation. Inflation is the miracle of the system that regularly extracts the precious substance of American wealth because of the mindless fearful weasels that run amok in government and in finance. The real problem remains in the minds of Americans. We sit around and listen to this blather instead tarring and feathering them, even though this same judgment seems perfectly adequate in older times. Goldman Sachs is simply more of the same. Everyone else are the suckers. We’ve paid for their crimes, lock, stock and barrel.

April 20, 2010

Video: Obama and Economic Reform

Filed under: banking, business, economy, globalization, government, money — Tags: , , , , , , — digitaleconomy @ 3:49 pm

President Obama hosts a public meeting of the Presidents Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

February 23, 2010

Strength of EU and Euro Threatened

Filed under: banking, corporatism, credit, economy, money, politics — Tags: , , , , , , , , — digitaleconomy @ 10:46 am

With the ongoing financial plight of Greece, the European Union is facing a growing threat of national bankruptcies. The consequences would be profound for the whole of the continent, especially German banks, which are highly exposed to risky debt. EU politicians are feeling increasingly panicky.

Europe is one of the hotter topics on the global financial circuit. The value of the battered euro has been falling since the Greek government confessed to the actual scope of its debt, cobbled together with shaky securities and kept secret for years by complicit bankers. Things are not looking significantly better and EU politicians are looking for a solution that will contain the financial fire.

Older Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.