Busted: Bankers and The Global Economy

December 31, 2010

2011: A New Year for Dogs & Ponies

It’s been a great year if you haven’t looked much at the world around you, but there is always potential, especially for Wall Street leveraging and central bankers. Since I’ve retired in earnest, I sometimes shut off the news because I’d rather think about something else. Perhaps you’ve been doing this too. If so, you may not for much longer. Scuttlebutt at the G20 has it that the dollar won’t be the darling of the world much longer. So what, you say! That kind of talk has been going on for years. Apparently, the G20 finance ministers have decided that on May 4, 2011 that the dollar will no longer be the “world reserve currency.” So what you say? Even if you don’t believe it, the scenario is rather entertaining, i.e., would make a great movie. It’s a real dog and pony show.

Even now silver and gold paper is highly leveraged, much like the dollar is with the fractional reserve. There is so much leveraged paper out there that the system in place is likely to implode from the panic. There isn’t enough silver and gold bullion in the marketplace, or rather, in the storehouses. This is already heating up into a potential crisis, a run on the bank, as it were. Won’t that make gold and silver more valuable? Only if you have your gold or silver in real gold or silver. In that case, you won’t have worthless paper securities, but a real danger of having your life taken from you if anyone knows you have it. Because of this, you won’t be able to spend it either, because if you did, somebody would know you had it.

As I said, the demand for the real gold and silver will be terrific as the former world reserve currency plunges into oblivion. Either singular scenario means hyperinflation. With OPEC oil being the USA major import, the nation will shut down from lack of fuel or rather, the ability to buy it. The nation has an oil reserve, but that won’t last long the way America consumes it. Too bad we can’t leverage the oil reserve to pretend there’s more. I’m not finished yet.

The Fed has initiated Quantitative Easing (known as QE2) that spells an end to the Bretton Woods accord with the idea of replacing it with a different system. Trading partners are nervous, but they aren’t the only ones. For now, export-dependent nations recycle capital to USA markets in order to sustain demand. The Federal Reserve decided that the only way to fight deflation and high unemployment in the USA was by weakening the dollar to make USA exports more competitive. That means that the USA will be battling for the same export market as the rest of the world, which will shrink global demand for goods and services. Never mind that China’s decision to back off on the dollar would be enough to cause a dollar crisis. Never mind that the multinationals will hate this as profits plunge. Government officials will wet their pants in panic. Number of jobless Americans will go through the roof, if we had one. Wal-Mart, so dependent on China exports will close. Inventories will be short. National GDPs will shrink. Economies will contract. Ooh. It’s not pretty.

Paul Volcker recently opined: “The growing sense around much of the world is that we have lost both relative economic strength and more important, we have lost a coherent successful governing model to be emulated by the rest of the world. Instead, we’re faced with broken financial markets, underperformance of our economy and a fractious political climate…” Everyone has rode the pony too hard. Now the powers that be are preparing to run the show in a way that is untested. We aren’t sure whether the dogs can carry the weight. All those “risk-free” treasury bonds are in real danger. The whole system is bankrupt. The USA stands to lose all its status. Central bankers know this, but they already hold all the valuables, and the means for a new system.

The world doesn’t care about the USA deficit, as long as it’s used to bail out the world in some sense. 100 major cities are facing bankruptcy this year unless they get a federal bailout. Even though Great Britain opted for austerity measures, the USA doesn’t really have this for a choice because they hold the debt bag for the global standard. Central bankers have the valuables and the credit to prolong the current system as they please or not. Meanwhile, Main Street and the population is more tightly squeezed than ever. Those trained dogs are walking a tightrope, but for how long? President Obama needs to hold everything together with a grand distraction so that he will be handily re-elected. What do you think that will be? It’s sure to be glorious.

In the meantime, go ahead and shut off your TV until something better comes along. Have a party while you can. You might not have long to wait.

July 19, 2009

Economic Depression: American Resentment Flickers Against Corporate Wealth

money green with envyThe recession and the rising gulf between the haves and have nots; investment bankers versus newly impoverished and unemployed Americans is changing viewpoints. At one time, any company reporting record profits was certain to earn applause for this was seen as the American way. Americans were firmly invested in what they believed was the trickle-down theory of economics. The scam that investment bankers have pulled on the world with their highly staked leveraging games has changed much of this sentiment. Now that institutions that formerly made up the investment banking capital of the world are recovering with the intent of paying back taxpayer-backed Federal Reserve bailout money, Americans are leering at the possibilities that nothing has been learned from the crisis of financial literacy that prevails itself upon the world.

Writer David Segal has introduced the idea that class resentment is to blame as investment bankers continue to rake in the speculation-based financial dough based on the same numbers games that brought the nation to the edge of financial oblivion. The reality runs much deeper. In the eyes of Americans, the reality isn’t about making money, but how money is earned. Americans feel that they are being scammed because the nation operates by multiple sets of rules depending on how much money and influence you can peddle. Even members of Congress like Charles Schumer have demonstrated that they believe Americans are simply brutes to be used by the system to bolster corporate along with government wealth and influence.

Now that the likes JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs are reporting fantastic encouraging numbers after having enjoyed bailout at the expense of Americans and the system at large, Americans see that the victory is very hollow. Recent financial victories in American are without benefit to anyone that doesn’t directly play the insider financial games on Wall Street. Multinational corporations continue to rule the roost behind the scenes, taking more out of America than they put in. Profit without personal responsibility is king. Most of America continues to be in great pain and America already knows that recent financial victory on Wall Street is a result of the same deluded thinking and policy that still threatens to destroy the financial system. It is not a system based on honesty and real numbers, but simply a gambling game of manipulation and opportunity.

The fact is that the Federal Government likes the control and authority that it wields in the banking community as a result of the bailout. The same can be said for the money that government has invested in the corporate structure. Uncle Sam holds the cards as the government maintains a front row seat at AIG. This is the only means that government now has to rein in the continued greed and avarice of Wall Street and corporate investors. The system hasn’t been reinvented as promised nor have sufficient reforms taken place to insure the safety of financial system on any level. We are still living in the last century. Nothing has changed. That is why government is so quiet about what is a hollow victory on Wall Street. ~ E. Manning

June 14, 2009

Recovery: New Technology and Financial Literacy With a Glimmer of Hope

There are signs that the rapid decline in economic activity of the past few quarters is slowing. Per the observation by the Federal Reserve, stabilization or improvement will begin from very low levels compared with those the levels of previous recoveries. This recovery is likely to be painfully slow and “the economy unusually vulnerable to new shocks. The news remains bad in two areas of direct importance to American families: Unemployment continues to rise and housing prices continue to decline.”

“Government-provided liquidity and guarantees remain as necessary supports in many areas. Because the collapse of these same markets set off the present crisis and the serious recession that has followed, the case for far-reaching reform appears a strong one.”

The Federal Reserve admits the fact that banks are highly leveraged, presumably due to the fractional reserve backlash in this crisis and compounded by creative banking instruments that have brought the system to its’ knees. Many bankers have been highly creative in protecting themselves from public or government scrutiny on an ongoing basis.

The Fed readily admits:

“that a malfunction in the financial industry can immediately and profoundly harm the entire economy…As we have seen to our dismay in the last year, even where such support is forthcoming, the resulting damage inflicted on the real economy by the financial sector can still be extensive, and the potential costs to taxpayers can still be high.”

financial literacyFor some time, the Federal Reserve has heralded the idea of financial literacy as if it were some ‘new technology’. Now the Fed has realized its’ own training regarding the need for a new financial literacy. The Fed now admits “that systemic risk was very much built into our financial system,” spotlighting the too-big-to-fail phenomenon as one of the most problematic systemic risks in the financial system.

Many members of the Fed now admit that we much apply ‘new technology’ to financial literacy and systemic risk in an effort to overcome the greed syndrome that has wracked U.S. and global banking for the last several decades. The problem remains that central bankers, like the Federal Reserve, are now in charge of implementing policy that can pad and perpetuate their own bottom line and purpose for existence since all central bankers are, in reality, a closed brotherhood or society devoted to their own corporate and global power in the financial system as they tap profits from their own system to benefit the global system and the shareholders of the global corporate central banking system. ~ E. Manning

March 4, 2009

U.S. Mortgage Panic Ensues

tsunami-financeA mortgage panic is setting in. More than 8.3 million U.S. residential mortgage holders owed more on their loans in the fourth quarter than their property was worth as the recession cut home values by $2.4 trillion last year. An additional 2.2 million borrowers will be underwater if home prices decline another 5 percent. Do you have one of these mortgages? Probably not if you have been in your home more than 5 years and made sensible choices with financing. 10 million homes is small potatoes compared to number of residential mortgages out there in the United States. However, the crooked system of weights and balances that bankers designed are now a house of cards ready to crash as more Americans appear to be losing their homes.

The banking and finance system has plowed virtually every mortgage into a profit making system of toxic securities. The system of high finance is beginning to panic as it realizes that it must comply with trimming and modifying home loans to keep their customers viable as they lose their bottom line. Why are the system of bankers and high finance trembling in their boots? Confidence continues to dwindle and stock prices fall. Trading value is the bread and butter of publicly-traded companies. Banking and high finance are trembling due to the toxic securities that they built to underscore and enhance their profits. With toxic mortgage-based securities failing, this puts banks, investors and insurers like AIG in the position of holding the bag of spoiled goods that were originally designed to spur runaway profits and build a system of financial prosperity.

mortgage-tsunamiWe are witness to what has happened. Bankers and high finance have designed their own self-destruction that has been left squarely in the hands of government and citizens to miraculously rectify. The fallout from all the speculation and rampant leveraging has been an enhanced recession which is likely to lead to a depression. No man lives on an island. The world of finance is no exception. Sooner or later, greed and fraud bite back. The only problem for the nation is that the taxpayer is covering the systemic failure with their own blood, sweat and tears. ~ E. Manning

January 18, 2009

Economic Panic: Frying Pan to the Fire

As the economy risks spinning out of control and banks continue to run up multi-billion dollar losses, the Obama administration will face tough choices with the $350 billion remaining in the bailout plan. With the bailout of General Motors by converting it to a bank holding company, some boundaries were set where corporate welfare is concerned. This has stopped most of big corporate Main Street from expecting direct government bailouts so far. There are many institutions that still want a piece of the bailout pie. The result is likely to be a shortage of bailout money.

The rumor is that the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) will be used to build a “bank” that holds the toxic debt, a repository of toxicity that moves those debts firmly into government hands. The government is hoping beyond hope that at some time in the future, those debts will increase in value once the recession is in hand and the economy has returned to health. (more…)

October 1, 2008

Economic Bailout Drumbeat: Securities, Transparency & Housing Value

The White House, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Congressional leaders coupled with candidates McCain and Obama, kept up a steady drumbeat of support for the ultimate bailout plan that has yet to materialize. For the moment, the U.S. political perception is that the world markets are stabilized. The reality is that on the surface, stability is a mirror on the pond of finance. Economists discuss among themselves that the reality of life in America remains that the nation is living way beyond its means. Political ideology in the States coupled with irresponsible spending has brought the nation to its knees. Generally, economists long for a pragmatic economic policy that is not driven solely by politics and special interests. An enlightened public is necessary to drive true reform to force politicians to do what they should.

Cutting bankers some slack by buying their bad securities is a bad idea. Is this not like overpricing the junk in your basement to resale as new? Garage sale junk rarely goes up in value. Depending on failed securities to magically increase in value when they are currently worthless is self-deception. Expecting financial junk to appreciate in value when there is no market for it because the premise of that junk is fatally flawed is no less deceptive. Failed banking securities are not wine.

The technical aspects of buying out bad securities is equally problematic. What is worse, depending on Congressional oversight to save the world is an exercise in futility. The lack of “transparency” is the chief issue behind the entire process. There is still no transparency in the process. Designing that transparency on many levels is probably mythical. Nobody within the brightest barrel of economists truly knows how to accomplish this transparency, but readily admit that the possible solution is highly technical.

The basis of the last several decades of wealth creation has been based on the foundation that housing prices could only increase. If U.S. economists had spent any time looking at Japan, most of us  would know the likelihood of truth. A few of us do. Since the crash of the 90s, housing prices in Japan have continued to move downward with no prospect of increase. Real estate is no longer the quality investment that it was in Japan and this nation is looking at the same scenario. ~ E. Manning

April 10, 2008

Wall Street Expects 35% Job Losses

As if the latest round of job losses hasn’t been bad enough, the U.S. should expect to have record numbers of unemployed from Wall Street investment firms. Wall Street investment banks hit by mortgage losses and writedowns have slashed more than 34,000 jobs in the past nine months.

The leveraged credit market fueled a record boom in private-equity buyouts before investors began shunning high-yield loans and bonds last year. Standard & Poor’s estimated on April 1 that banks still hold about $213 billion of leveraged loans they can’t sell, which are essentially worthless and threaten the very fabric of banking with liquidity issues.

15,000 investment jobs were lost last month, but some analysts expected 150,000. Essentially, the job market has been holding on. Since a sudden collapse hasn’t happened, the expectations of little more impact on the job market has been high. Some analysts are feeling bolder with every day that passes without a major collapse. With the financing of investment banks, the Federal Reserve has put a new floor in the economy.

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