Guest Post: Can’t See the Forest For The Trees

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Miss America

Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

Five years ago, when I showed up on the doorstep of Nouriel Roubini’s RGE Monitor, I was in the minority of macro economists who saw a financial tidal wave coming.  For the rest of the world, including Wall Street’s financial analysts, Fed bankers, Politicians, or even Moses himself, none of them could see how the contagion from subprime loans could cascade into a systemic crisis.  A crisis that would then expose larger problems that would eventually lead to a complete financial meltdown. 

Similar to the subprime loans and the subsequent credit crisis, we face a new tsunami of what on the surface appears to be of minor financial relevance, but what will be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back if not politically achieved.  What it is is ownership and accountability, from a political standpoint, for ALL of the politically fueled economic decisions being made as well as their side effects.  For investors, it would be a catastrophic misjudgment to not escalate these macro political views into the analysis of economic work.  (This is starkly different then a political debate, but rather a true non-partisan skyview of policies and rhetoric and their overall effects on the psyche of the economy.)  For a financial system that is running on the fumes of confidence, we need to properly analyze this new dynamic.

Quite simply put… The cross pollination of politics and economics is not only the #1 factor in investing right now…  IT’S THE ONLY FACTOR!!!

We are not facing a credit crisis.  (The printers solved that.)  We are facing a confidence crisis.  Papering over financial voids, changing accounting rules, socializing loses, removing moral hazards…  these are the death throws of ponzi scheme that is allowed to continue through the TBTF virus of our worldwide interrelated financial systems.  The current green shoots are nothing but weeds of:  “well if we’re all screwed, then none of us are screwed.”  When that’s the good news… what’s the bad?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or a high frequency trade algorithm) to see that stocks are now all trading within a standard correlation with one another.  From an analytical standpoint… Fundamentals are dead.  (yes, there can be momentary exceptions, which is what keeps the addicted gamblers coming back… but from a macro standpoint, nothing withstands the tsunami.) 

In Egypt right now, no one is looking at the P/E ratio of the Egyptian Company for Mobile Services S.A.E.!  No one is looking at what the likelihood of the National Bank of Egypt paying a dividend!  No.  Instead what is driving that market is civil unrest.  The results of events like these can be easy to see in hindsight.  We can accurately dissect them afterwards…  but the warnings are almost always unseen in forethought.  I Guarantee you that no current investment models place the proper risk management weighting on this tsunami.

What starts as a cultural awareness, eventually grows to an upheaval of entitlement and elitists.  This is the ebb and flow as the meek try to once again inherit the earth.  (or at least 50% of it from the top 1%) An Egyptian setting himself on fire was the spark that set Egypt on fire.  To try and time our markets is the financial equivalent to dousing yourself with gasoline and hoping things turn out all right. 

Five years ago, I watched people’s eyes glaze over as I explained the financial Armageddon we faced.  It was a fictional story that could never actually happen.  Now, 2 years after the collapse, understated unemployment still grows, growth is muted or faked, …but most of all, faith is swaying.

The next dominoes to fall. 

In Europe, Eastern European countries (EECs) that grew, and enabled EU nations to leverage their own growth through funding these EEC’s, will now see the rugs pulled out from under them.  As the EU has to ring fence their selves to bail one another out, there is no longer spare change to debt finance these EEC countries.  These same counties who are not part of the EURO then are forced into the reality of inflation as they have to print their unwanted currencies to pay off their EURO denominate debt.  …and this speaks nothing of the actual size of the obligation due for the EURO zone countries that have no cross border contractual obligations to one another other then fear of contagion.

Similar to the problems of Europe, the US at the muni level will see the states run similarly dry.  As this trickles to local governments who largely depend on the trickle down, we see a cascading affect on the negative outlook for economic recovery.  As these funds fizzle, they cause more cutbacks, more layoffs, more mortgage defaults, less tax revenues from houses and unemployed, and a greater dependence on federal aid, which once again circle back to the taxpayers and our future generations. 

For those EEC countries, they know violence.  Their existence is born from revolution.  Not much differentiates a social regime from a debt slave regime!  For Americans, the fantasy of the past 99 weeks of paid unemployment, comes to a reality end.  Those barely treading water, no longer receiving aid, and having less decent prospects for work will have to find a means to survive.  While at the same time, cutbacks in police forces, education, and various other evolutionary services will be the enablers for those who have no other choice to find their means.  A future without civil unrest seems a bit unrealistic.

Mark my words, in the coming 2 years…  not a single word a CEO says, nor a single dividend a company announces will have nearly the financial importance of what society grades the current politicians who are now in control of our economy.  This new social science of pricing in the psychological effects of things like truth and accountability will paramount.  And being pioneers in understanding the political effects of the market are what will keep you ahead of the game. 

In the meantime, if you feel you have to invest…  Well then invest in real productive (not servicing) things that will affect the society you are part of.  Invest in your health.  Invest in your relationships, and invest in the future of our kids.  Avoid the servicing sectors of the world.  For example, Facebook, which was born in 2003/4 has no historically comparable measure.  (forget the fact that it is born from stolen ideas, affiliated with napster/music theft… and we are just handing them all of our personal information?!?!?!)  This king of information in the information age, whom collects advertising revenue, is service, servicing a service.  The “pro’s” over at Goldman Sachs try buying a 1% share, thus valuing the company at $50,000,000,000.00…  

…Well of that $50billion, what portion of Facebook would an Egyptian want to own right now???   …especially when the internet is shut down? 

In god we trust?  In the politicians we trust?  (Who speak for our currencies, our countries and our economies?)  Well, this new level of “faith economics” will have to stand up to scrutiny that leaves us potentially valuing a service somewhere in-between $0-$50billion.  That’s a wide range of trust.  That’s a wide range of faith!

Now do you get the underestimated risk assessments associated with civil unrest and political economics???  Do you see the Tsunami of accountability?

All the best,

Miss America – Rich Hartmann

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prophet's picture

It would seem that Truth and Accountability is not the American way.

koot's picture

True statement and the reason is, most Americans are afraid of the truth, only lies are they comfortable with.  Hence dying of the once main stream media.

sunny's picture

I fully appreciate the sincerity and enthusiasm for this analysis.  That doesn't change the fact that any number of people are offering exactly the same thoughts to pretty much exactly the same crowd.  It does not change the fact that after the fecal matter is distributed by the rotary air moving device 99% of administration and congressional people will say "who could have known, no one saw it coming." 

Tell me something new, what we can do about it that will work.


AldoHux_IV's picture

Start by demanding our politicians dissolve the federal reserve and reform the treasury or else get someone else in that position that will.  This would be an attempt at a peaceful reformation/revolution.

Miss America's picture

Sunny...  I get your frustration.  That's what the point of the article is.  There comes a "tipping point".  ...and with civil unrest, it does not announce itself. 

You want to know when.  That's like timing a market.  A guess. 

What I am saying is the whole "Same old shit" holds up for so long until...


When the money runs out!  That's when.  You have Dems and Repubs saying there will be more free money handed out and the will NOT be free money handed out again. 

One side will win in this next round and get their way.  ...and when the muni's force police layoffs, cut back public sector pay, raise retirements...  We're talking serious S.H.I.T.

Unemployment runs out.  The fact that so many unemployed are part of duel incomes is what has allowed them to still get by.  Now as assistance stops, desperation will stsrt escalating... and very soon. 

QE works momentarily for covering the voids of the TBTF, but they don't trickle down or out as they are advertised.

Tipping points will not be on a spreadsheet, but in confidence.  Own the failure, you leave as a failed figure.  Lie about the failure, and the lynch mob appears. 

We shall see.

koot's picture

First, The driver must be aware that something is seriously wrong with the car.  I am not sure too many of the leaders in the US realize this. 

Second, the car must be stopped, engine turned off and have a complete diagnostic.  They are trying to drive with burnt rings, bad gas, engine knocking and tires going flat with voting passengers who only want to get to the destination and don't want to stop the car.

Third, either the car is stopped and overhauled from fan to tail bumper, or it continues out into the hot desert and blows up at the worst possible time.

It is likely that there is nothing that will be done, even if something could work. 

Quinvarius's picture

Facebook = Myspace.  The business model does not make money.

Red Neck Repugnicant's picture

Yardfarmer - That website is a bunch of fucking bigoted garbage, and I'm not even Jewish. 

On a long enough timeline, all that's left of ZeroHedge are bigoted rednecks and gloom/doom libertarians.   




william the bastard's picture

Are you saying the gold doomers will not survive to spend any of their tin can stash?


dogbreath's picture

you and redneck are sitting across from each other.  couldn't you have just said it to him.

Chupacabra's picture

. . . and of course you and your constant, juvenile attention seeking.

MSimon's picture

Yep. Israel is a racist State. Moslems can live there. The Arab States solve this problem (mostly) by keeping Jews out. No Jews. No bigotry.

Sophist Economicus's picture

"an Egyptian setting himself on fire...."

"....did we quit when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor...

Leave'm alone, he's on a roll"

william the bastard's picture

That Egyptian was in Tunis and he was pissed at Berlusconi's Algerian concubine

Dugald's picture

Wonder what history book you read? Japanese did the bombing, and had you got off the fence sooner It may well not have happened!

Come to think of it, you are again sitting on the fence chattering about "the situation" when will you take affirmative action and start to return America to the state of most envied nation in the world!

RockyRacoon's picture

I think the overall IQ level just got lowered by 40 points.

Thanks for the Belushi chuckle.   Miss that guy.

chindit13's picture

I think the overall IQ level just got lowered by 40 points

I'm not sure we had that much left to lose.

At times I'm beginning to think it is becoming a thing of shame to be a regular on this site, like still having an "Edwards for President" bumper sticker on your car.

Day_Of_The_Tentacle's picture

I for one, I hope that you will perish that thought at once. Poor quality comments should not be allowed to debase those that are not.

The rest of us, those who are still searching for perspective and insights around here, will just have to endure browsing through ever more of nothing, before we come across the small thought provoking gems.

I say - keep up the good work - and ignore those whose only display of excellence is in the area of escalation of personal animosity and use of unimaginative foul language.  

ViewfromUndertheBridge's picture

Gresham's Law applies to lots of things...comments too.

william the bastard's picture

I see black swans and they are the power brokers lies.

Conditions for revolution

1- Large income or social inequality between classes

2-Societal upheaval (e.g. war, financial crisis)

3- A promise by leadership to repair and reform

4-A failure of the reform/change promise


dogbreath's picture

already factored into the end game.  move along.

phil silver's picture

Could I also add Food to the list. 48 hours within eating, really gets people upset. 60 Hours and it's getting nasty.

If you get the chance, check this out. It was something on Max Keiser's website. The guy is on the money as far as I'm concerned.

The Axe's picture

Tyler , I  believe the sub prime came to a head because Bear and others got so levered that JPM and GSCO thought they could profit from them. The shit hit the fan becausethey are jackals , not for another reason.  The government can and will shove this down the rood forever, They can right new rules, change existing regulations,,whatever it takes to keep the genie in the bottle..will be done!

whirlybird's picture

I'd like your thoughts on this; apologies if this is bad form but i am concerned for a friend who I am concerned may be getting involved in this.  Seems like this is waaaaaaaay too good to be true.


Am I right?  Or am I right?  Is this how they're offloading foreclosed properties?



Hoser's picture

I like the reminder of the Eastern Europeans knowing violence and having been born out of revolution.   Having travelled there, I am glad I left with a full set of teeth.  They are a passionate bunch who won't put up with shyte.  Long live Tito!

topcallingtroll's picture

People come out of crises very rough edged and tough, almost insensitive and callous. Your time in eastern europe probably taught you how to have fun and live cheap. Good skills to have.

Point Being's picture

"the death throws"

Writers should use editors.  Spellcheck misses these homonymic miscalculations.

No. Although it may seem like it, I am not Egyptian Economist.'s "throes." 

Zero Govt's picture

Miss America

How do you think Big Govt "intertwines" with business? Big Govt only ever talks to Big Corps. 90% of the real economy is driven by Small-Medium Enterprises. So you need to join the dots between Big Govt and SME's in decision making. I'll save your time and tell you there is none.

When politicians take decisions they REACT to events that have already happened in the economy. Namely business has already taken decisions months if not years before. By the time politicians have picked up the batton business has moved on.  

You are putting the cart (Govt) before the horse (SME's and the economy).

When the Govt central planning committee for reactive decision making does make a decision on old news and makes a policy business just has another turd in the street to walk around. Business focuses on tomorrow, Govt focuses on old news and what happened 6 months ago which were the impacts of decisions made a year or more even before that.

There is no intertwining of political-business decisions. Business doesn't take any account of the windbags in Washington except having to deal with their endless barrage of inane red tape. Business is the leading edge, Govt is the trailing arse. Is that clear enough?

Miss America's picture

What you said completely makes sense.  ...but it's only applicable once the SME's matter.  Pre 1990, I'd say what you said is 100% correct, but we've moved past this point. 

1st, we're not a business society anymore.  We're a consumer society. 

2nd, the way the game has been reshaped, SME's (even though they are the majority of the economy) are 100% dependent on our modern TBTP system.

The best analogy I can come up with is SME's are the Body and most of it's parts.  The TBTF are the heart. 

Sure the people are the life blood, (I think the Gov't is the rectum?), but the truth is when the heart stops pumping, this body dies.

Zero Govt's picture

Miss America

I'm even more concerned with your understanding from your reply than from your article! Let me give you a quick lesson in capitalism.

There are 3 sources of wealth (wealth streams): agriculture: industry: energy. 

The banks have sweet f.a. to do with it. Period.

The consumer society you feel's so integral to the economy ALL HANGS on these 3 sources of wealth. All value created from these 3 streams thereafter is in effect processing (administration) of that created wealth (value). Passing it around.

So all consumers depend on that wealth creation and further their consumer economy is absed on spending that wealth. The banks have added to this value by faking it, better known as fractional reserve banking, the creation (fabrication) of false wealth better known as credit (DEBT). 

So to use your analogy the Big 3 create the blood for the system while the banks leverage that up to 30/1 by pumping in cocaine. Meanwhile all the Govt does is consume wealth (think of a tape worm is probably best).

So just to return to my original point SME's make business decisions based on their business logistically to perform and to ever adjust to the market they serve. Serving banks or listening to  Govt do not come into their decision making. Quite the opposite, both follow the SME's around as SME's lead the economy.

Miss America's picture

Zero G,


I don't want to sound too obnoxious...   (Yet I know how obnoxious what I'm about tom say is)  ...but I'm at a point where I feel like I've figured it all out.  (you can agree to disagree wherever you want, argue your point, etc...  but at the end of the day, my track record has been nearly impeccable)  A couple of years ago I was explaining how fractional reserves and leverage ratios worked for the reading public that was largely unaware of these mechanics.  I've further delved into the collateral boxes, the myths of zero sum in CDS's, and various wall st games that the public just didn't know.  (here I'll attach a link with many of my 2008 stories/articles)

What I'm getting at for a long time is, capitalism as "you" know it is dead.  I don't like where we are at all.  A spent out, saving less society is no way to run a business, let alone a country.  ...but the debt slavery trap has been laid and our society already stepped in it.  With 90% of society tied to it's debt, and no real productive base, you should realize that capitalism now circles around and through the banks.  Any and all societal action works off of credit/debt.  The money markets shut down and the system literally grinds to a halt.  INSTANTLY!  This is the trap, and we are all in it.  Otherwise, we would have to move to a barter system.  Sure that might work for a few minutes, to pick up some milk and eggs, but when you have to fill your car with gas, or turn on your electric, heat, A/C...   different ball game!!!


That's the new unfortunate reality. The current system you know and love (or hate) is currently operating dependent on the TBTF host.

What I speculate is that we (through civil unrest) may see this come to an end, so that productive values, or the concept of capitalism (SME's and alike) can take back their lives of being able to function on their own.  ...and that only happens with a legitimate collapse.  ...and the power players are doing everything they can to keep their current viral/host in place.

All the best, MA/RH

topcallingtroll's picture

Stay healthy, have some solid relationships, get married and have some kids, quit smoking, exercise, lose weight.. dont get too caught up in how much money you make, trade sentiment extremes, llaugh at your losses, belong to something bigger than you, build a sense of community around you, learn to build things, grow things, and today both kudlow and cramer said gold was going to 2000 so it must be true! if you are really worried about collapse read ferfals book. he went through the agentinian collapse. Booyah!

topcallingtroll's picture

Ferfal's book about argentina will give you the confidence and knowledge to survive collapse if it were to occur, but i doubt it.

gwar5's picture

Beer is still good though, right? Lite beer?

duo's picture

I went on a cruise of the Med and Greece/Turkey in the fall of 2006.  I would estimate that 90% of the passengers on that voyage were from CA, and were either retired (cashed out or HELOC'd the cruise) or were RE agents or mortgage brokers.  Hey, times were good.  To kill the buzz I mentioned at dinner the unsustainability and risk of 120% loans, but no one wanted to hear it.

I also remembering getting enough bars on my phone to order 20 Krugs at $570 from my dealer from some town in Italy that week.  Man, how things have changed.

gwar5's picture

Yep, the light in the tunnel is a train -- we know.

Economic central planning is doomed but they'll continue anyway.

TPTB want to reinvent a system with a perfected WRC, but have to crash this system first.

Yes, I think it's deliberate. The growth for the next century is in the East. 

The currency masters need to pull China in as a partner. The mess and chaos is just collateral damage as they negotiate terms. Opium wars are so 19th century.

They've been speeding it up since Rubin left Treasury. He strategically got rid of Glass-Steagal and the LTCM collapse was a warning of what is to come. He is now co-Chair of the CFR, and was a star at the last Bilderberg meeting in Barcelona, so I guess he did a good job -- as planned. Just facts.

TPTB are all getting fabulously richer from the "Biggest economic crises since the great depression" --- anybody who doesn't think that is strange is not paying attention. They're not even that concerned anymore as they unmask themselves as the



Double down's picture

It has been a while since I read such a good and clear article.  It captures and formalizes an understanding not yet conscious.

koot's picture

A little over 200 years ago, Mayer Amschel Rothschild said "Give me control of a nations money supply, and I care not who makes it' laws".

Apparently his imperial descendants, which today represents the Fed and its sister banks, did not learn that lesson. So now they fail because they have become politicians and law makers.

They can't win by winning, they can only win by loosing. That is something else they have never learned and the Whole world pays the price.

williambanzai7's picture

Tnx for this enjoyable read. I remember reading RGE before the last time the shit hit the fan.

Yen Cross's picture

Funny my fellow traders taste the spicy taste. Very good taste indeed. Biting the hand that feeds your (ahhh) ravenous taste

searcher68's picture

Not to be a stick in the mud, but it sucks when I'm reading a seemingly intelligent article but then come across the author's misuse of "then" vs. "than". At once I'm struck with the sentiment that the author must be full of shit if they aren't even versed in basic American grammar. Kinda makes me lose interest in the rest of the article. Anyway, nice try on the article Miss America. It was good while it lasted.