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.

February 24, 2010

U.S. Consumer Confidence Remains Low Despite Projected Optimism

The measure of U.S. consumer confidence fell in February to the lowest level since April 2009 as the outlook for jobs diminished. This is an obvious sign spending will be slow “as the economy recovers.” The banking community is gridlocked and recent short-term gains in the business community indicate an upturn. Meanwhile, a real recovery depends on consumers. Why?

Since consumer spending accounts for approximately 70 percent of overall U.S. economic activity depressed consumer confidence will undoubtedly lead to less consumer spending and sluggish growth in the economy. The economy that I refer to is the real economy as opposed to the Wall Street economy. The fact remains that if consumers have a lack of confidence in the economy, they are not likely to engage in spending sprees if they can and they certainly won’t make major purchases like appliances, houses and automobiles.

Despite media hype and the government spending, Americans are not seeing any real change in the economy. Politics seems to continually pin its hopes on Wall Street and stock market as a measure of confidence. Wall Street, now absorbed into the banking system, continues to function within the same dynamics as before the meltdown. Bundling securities continues unabated even though this, in large measure, has resulted in substantial reverses in resolving bank debt and cleaning up the meltdown mess. Lawmakers remain weak willed even though hands have been figuratively slapped for financial illiteracy by the Federal Reserve, the new kingpin of financial law.

This is no different from allowing the “Big 3” Credit Tracking Agencies to run the show in managing consumer credit, a definite conflict of interest since these businesses and the Federal Reserve have so much to gain from the system in place. This is illustrative as to why so little has been accomplished. The system has its’ hands in its’ own pockets. Corporations have adopted functions of government as lines continue to blur. The system grows with little benefit to anyone as corruption further stagnates the system. Politics is working in the same way to involve health care on a larger level. The government may have a system of checks and balances, but the founders of the country did not count on the corporate oligarchy now in place.

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.

January 28, 2009

Congress: We are not the Experts (The Real Truth about the U.S. Economy)

kanjorski-banking-economyIn a CSPAN interview, Democrat Representative Paul Kanjorski, the Capitol Markets Subcommittee Chairman, made some revealing confessions about the expertise of the U.S. House and Senate, the facts behind the scenes during the EESA Stimulus plan last year and the real plight of the U.S. economy.

the actions of the Secretary of Treasury and EESA bailout

“Things were done that were misunderstood. We did not give the $700 million for the purpose of lending money. It was never in the program (TARP, EESA) It was misconstrued initially and put together with the suggestion by the Secretary of Treasury that we would be buying what we called dirty assets, defective mortgages and securities in these banks and that the government would find a way to create a market, buy them in, take them off the balance sheets so that the banks could continue to function normally…I supported that. But another part of the bill, we gave jurisdiction and authority to the Secretary of the Treasury to make investments in banks. He had very wide authority because, quite frankly, we (Congress) are not the experts on the Hill as how to solve this problem and the problem is multifaceted, so we gave great flexibility to Secretary of Treasury to act.”

The near collapse of the economy and U.S. government

“I was there when the Secretary and the Chairman of Federal Reserve came those days and talked with members of Congress about what was going on. It was about September 15th. Here’s the facts: we don’t even talk about these things. On Thursday, at about 11 o’clock in the morning, the Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous drawdown of Money Market Accounts in the United States to the tune of $550 billion. It was being drawn within the space of an hour or two. The Treasury opened up it’s window to help. They pumped $105 billion into the system and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide. We were having an electronic run on the banks. The decided to close down the operation, close down the money accounts and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account so that there wouldn’t be further panic out there. That is what actually happened. What if they had not done that? Their estimation was that by 2 o’clock that afternoon $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out of the money market system of the United States, would have collapsed the entire economy of the United States and would have, in 24 hours, the world economy would have collapsed. We talked about, at that time, what would have happened, if that had happened. It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it.”

“That’s why, when they made the point, we’ve got to act and do things quickly, we did. Now, Secretary Paulson said, Let’s buy out these subprime mortgages. Give us latitude and large authority to do many things as we decide necessary and give us $700 billion to do that. Shortly after we enacted our bill with those very broad powers, the UK came out and said ‘No, we don’t have enough money to buy toxic assets. Instead, we are going to put our money into banks so that their equity grows and they’re not bankrupt. The UK started that process. That’s true, it was much cheaper to put more money in banks as equity investments than to start buying their bad assets. It was early determined that we would have to spend 3 to 4 billion dollars of taxpayer money to buy these bad assets. We didn’t have it. We only had $700 billion.”

“So Paulson made a complete switch, went in and started putting money in and buying securities and investing in banks in the United States. Why? Because if you don’t have a banking system, you don’t have an economy. Although we did that, we didn’t have enough money and as fast as we did that, the economy has been falling. We are really no better off than we were off today than we were three months ago because we have had an decrease in the equity positions of banks. Other assets are going sour by the moment.”

the real truth of the matter according to Paul Kanjorski

“Now, we’ve got to make some decisions. Do we pour more money in to the extent that the money goes in…I, myself, think that we ought to take the time, analyze where we are, have the people (American public) understand…We need to really inform (the public) as to the facts and get input (from them). Perhaps (the public) has better ideas. We aren’t any geniuses in economics or finance. We are representatives of the people. We ought to take our time, but let the people know that this is a very difficult struggle. Somebody threw us out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean without a life raft and we are trying to determine the closest shore and whether there is any chance in the world to swim that far. WE…DON’T…KNOW.”

Remember who actually threw the economy into “the middle of the Atlantic Ocean without a life raft.” We can offer that credit to greedy unscrupulous bankers, a corrupt banking community, unattentive government regulators and politicians that gloried in the temporary economic bubble that the moral bankruptcy created. Never forget that America! ~ E. Manning

U.S. stimulus trivia: the latest stimulus provision provides enough spending to give every man, woman, and child in America $2,700.
President Obama has said that his proposed “stimulus legislation” will create or save 3 million jobs. This means that this legislation will spend at least $275,000 per job. The average household income in the U.S. is $42,000 a year. The way that the stimulus is currently written will probably save mostly state and federal government jobs. The current stimulus is not designed principally for economic stimulus for Main Street.

January 16, 2009

Treasury Bails Out Bank of America

rainy day for B of A

rainy day for B of A

Since the beginning of economic contraction, Bank of America, has been buying up banks and assets from failed institutions such as Merrill Lynch. Now is a rainy day for Bank of America, a toxic debt laden bank in danger of failure.

After taking recent value write offs on toxic debts, the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation are providing protection against unusually large losses on approximately $118 billion of loans, securities backed by residential and commercial real estate loans and related faulty assets. (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

September 25, 2008

U.S. Political Infighting Threatens Bailout

rushing to "secret meeting"

rushing to secret meeting

Tempers are aflair in Washington on the eve of what authorities hoped would be the salvation of Wall Street and the U.S. economy. What Democrats declared as a breakthrough Wednesday evening seems a bust. The nation was led to believe that agreement had been reached and the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury could begin the work of applying the agreement. Negotiations toward a massive bailout for Wall Street has just fallen into disarray on after Democrats said they learned in a White House meeting that presidential candidate Senator John McCain is backing a new plan differing markedly from one that has been under discussion. So much for bipartisan political agreement and cooperation that McCain advertised in the U.S. bailout.

Now, the feeling is that a new plan could be another week in the making as Republicans retired to an unknown location to plow through their ideas for the bailout. The Republican plan may involve a mortgage insurance plan as an alternative to the Bush plan, which has encountered criticism on Capitol Hill. Republicans also argued that the Treasury Department should charge premiums to holders of securities to finance the insurance.

Until Thursday’s White House meeting, Republicans had not brought up an alternative plan for the Wall Street bailout, including during previous meetings and Senate hearings. Is this political grandstanding or a far better concept? What does this mean, if anything, for the nation? If a negative catastophic reaction occurs will U.S. citizens hold Republicans responsible for the result? This portends to be a big stakes gamble for McCain which could catapult him to great heights or destroy his chances at winning the presidency. Only time will tell whether what Republicans are doing is a boon or a bust as some U.S. politicians seem to have forgotten that global confidence is more important to sustain the ailing U.S. economy than the opinions of the U.S. taxpayer. This reality isn’t opinion, but fact.

Meanwhile, the global central bankers of the G8 continue to dump dollars to encourage global dollar liquidity, thus increasing the pitch of inflation and further devaluing the dollar between the dollar and other currencies as the U.S. becomes indebted to foreign central bankers through the Federal Reserve. The dollar has less buying power and increased pressure toward inflated pricing across the board. The dollar is overheating, which will easily evolve into hyperinflation along with pressures that would force the Fed to admit the truth of that inflation. Even though central bankers are essentially holding a gun to the head of the U.S. national economy, they can’t seem to stop themselves in the name of dollar liquidity. In the end, foreign central bankers don’t want to be stuck with devalued dollars anyway. The International Society of Bankers are looking at global monetary policy and their own corporate profits.

Global reaction to a bailout is not very positive overall as the U.S. economy remains on life support. The German Finance Minister reacted, “The United States will lose its superpower status in the world financial system.” How the world reacts as the morning and day wears on in Europe and Asia remains to be seen. Ultimately, outside global and sovereign financing is what the U.S. economy is dependent on. How the world reacts is of great importance.

~ E. Manning

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