"We're Living In A Gambling Society" BlackRock's Larry Fink Urges CEOs To Stop "Short-Termist" ThinkingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/14/2015 16:00 -0500
As the ongoing collapse in economic productivity continues in America, and Alan Greenspan's concerns grow, the call for an end to the diversion of corporate spending to instantly shareholder-friendly actions comes from an unusual source. Larry Fink - CEO of the largest asset manager in the world - has unleashed a letter to 500 CEOs around the world - telling them that "the effects of the short-termist phenomenon are troubling both to those seeking to save for long-term goals such as retirement and for our broader economy,” bucking the dividend/buyback trend that investors are demanding. As NYTimes notes, the shortsightedness that pervades corporate America is just a symptom of a larger issue. "This is not just a corporate problem," Fink explains, "It's a societal problem, we’re currently living in a "gambling society."
The US stock market is trading at 1929-bubblesque valuations, with a CAPE of 27.34 (the 1929 CAPE was only slightly higher at 30. And when that bubble burst, stocks lost over 90% of their value in the span of 24 months.
Wiping out creditors by inflation is the easy part. Re-establishing money to restart the world economy is the harder one.
My advice to Ben Bernanke is simple. If you consider yourself a public servant, spend less time trying to concoct ways to defend your legacy, and spend more time on what you did that didn’t work, what can be learned from it, and what current policy makers can change and do better. Here is a theoretical title to a Bernanke blog post that I would like to read, but don’t think will ever get wrriten “Things I was wrong about, what I learned, and what the Fed should do differently going forward.”
In short, Bernanke bankrupted the US and most Americans in the span of ten years. He created the biggest housing bubble in 100 years and also casue the greatest Crash in 100 years. A few blog entries won’t change this.
"...I don’t think we know enough about how the private financial system works under these conditions... If you are an institution that is doing well within the parameters under which you’re used to functioning, you will fight any change without any notion as to whether that change is good or bad. That’s because there’s a very large uncertainty premium associated with the change... "
Bernanke drove interest down to zero, where it has stayed for over 6 years. In his rationalization, he concedes an importantg point that undermines his argument (and the Fed).
History is on the market’s side, says DoubleLine's Jeff Gundlach, noting the Fed’s forecast for how much benchmark rates will rise is still too high, even after central bankers lowered their estimates last month. BlackRock’s Jeffrey Rosenberg says the bond market’s too complacent and is poised for a correction, claiming The Fed has "a tremendous ability" to send bond yields higher. But as Bloomberg reports, "if the burden of proof is on anybody, it’s on the Fed," and for now, as Gundlach exclaims, The Fed has "been wrong for so long," that their forecasts have been literally of no value, "the market’s pricing has been closer."
Our current faith in central banks' ability to "make the economy all better, all the time" is horrendously misplaced.
The Cop Is On the Take
If you ever doubted that bad news is good news... have faith!
"If the RMB wants to achieve international status, it must have popular acceptance and a stable value. To this end, other than having assurance from the issuing nation, it is very important to have enough gold as the foundation, raising the ‘gold content’ of the RMB. Therefore, to China, the meaning and mission of gold is to support the RMB to become an internationally accepted currency and make China an economic powerhouse. That is why, in order for gold to fulfill its destined mission, we must raise our gold holdings a great deal, and do so with a solid plan. Step one should take us to the 4,000 tonnes mark, more than Germany and become number two in the world, next, we should increase step by step towards 8,500 tonnes, more than the US."
- Song Xin, Party Secretary and President of the China Gold Association
Echoing the grave concerns of no lesser 'maestro' of manipulation than Alan Greenspan, Wells Capital Management's Jim Paulsen notes that while the U.S. stock market has risen by about 3 times from its crisis low in March 2009; much of this advance has been against a backdrop of disappointing productivity gains... should productivity growth remain subpar, stock market risk seems to be rising.
Debt, Distraction, Currency Wars, Itchy Fingers
Having recently explained why the stock market is extremely overvalued (in his own words by Fed-driven multiple expansion alone), Alan Greenspan - seemingly brimming over with the need to remedy his years of lies/mistruths with some uncomfortable truthiness - is now taking on the US Dollar ("it is not from a strong US economy but a weak rest of the world") and oil prices (America has a massive surplus of oil and there may soon be nowhere to store all of it, "we'll be lucky if we can get $40 for it.")