With the Federal Reserve now indicating that they are "really serious" about raising interest rates, there have come numerous articles and analysis discussing the impact on asset prices. The general thesis, based on averages of historical tendencies, suggests there are still at least three years left to the current business cycle. However, at current levels, the window between a rate hike and recession has likely closed rather markedly.
On Saturday night, a man whose name still seems to be unknown, but who was wearing a “F##k the Police” t-shirt, came out in front of police past the official curfew. This is what happened next...
"I am not very optimistic about the fate of mankind as while our problems tend to evolve in exponential ways, our attempts at solving them move in linear fashion. That is true as much for the problems we ourselves create as it is for those that – seem to – ‘simply happen’. I think it would be very beneficial for us if we were to admit to our limits when it comes to solving large scale issues, because that might change the behavior we exhibit when creating these issues. The human capacity for denial and deceit plays a formidable role in this. We’re simply not smart enough to acknowledge our own limitations. Therefore, as Meadows says: "we are going to evolve through crisis, not through proactive change.""
Gillian Tett, markets and finance commentator and an Assistant Editor and former U.S. Managing Editor of the Financial Times, wrote an important and little noticed article last week questioning complacency on the part of European policy makers regarding a Greek default and potential exit or ‘Grexit’. Tett argues that a Greek failure would lead, as Lehman’s did to “wider policy uncertainty: when Lehman failed, the entire paradigm for finance suddenly seemed unpredictable”.
“[W]e have placed the exclusive custody of our entire banking reserve in the hands of a single board of directors not particularly trained for the duty - who might be called 'amateurs'... But still there is a faith in the Bank, contrary to experience, and despising evidence.”
“When does our credit based financial system sputter / break down? When investable assets pose too much risk for too little return. Not immediately, but at the margin, credit and stocks begin to be exchanged for figurative and sometimes literal money in a mattress.” We are approaching that point now as bond yields, credit spreads and stock prices have brought financial wealth forward to the point of exhaustion. A rational investor must indeed have a sense of an ending, not another Lehman crash, but a crush of perpetual bull market enthusiasm.
The end result of Fed policy appears to be to keep us in perpetual economic malaise, to keep us all confused. They keep interest rates low masking the huge structural issues of huge federal budget deficits and whenever the economy appears to be picking up a bit, they threaten to take away the government props of QE and low interest rates faster thereby slapping down the economy. All this happening while the ticking time bomb of huge Federal Debt accumulates more potency. There is no solution to the crisis, merely a choice of which roads to choose, a deflationary debt collapse, or a hyperinflationary dollar collapse or World War III. Pick your poison...
"With US GDP growth ‘officially’ back where it belongs, in the Arctic zone close to freezing on the surface but much worse in real life, for reasons both Albert Edwards and Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (not exactly a pair of Siamese twins) remarked this week; that is, excluding the 'biggest inventory build in history, the economy contracted sharply', it’s time for everyone to at long last change the angle from which they view the world, if not the color of their glasses."
While we are delighted that you take advantage of the daily posts on Zero Hedge detailing flagrant spoofing across various asset classes (which you use to promptly ban two gold manipulators yesterday), the reality is that with every passing day the market becomes more disjointed, more fragmented, more broken.
"Too Big To Fail Is A License For Recklessness" America's Banking System Is A "Fragile House Of Cards"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/01/2015 17:45 -0400
"Too Big to Fail is a license for recklessness. These institutions defy notions of fairness, accountability, and responsibility... They benefit from the upside and expose the rest of us to the downside of their decisions. These banks are too powerful politically as well... Effectively we're hostages because their failure would be so harmful. They're likely to be bailed out if their risks don't turn out well and the largest financial firms in America can hide an enormous amount of risk in derivatives which creates a house of cards — a very fragile system."
So if you were sitting then in the turmoil of the economic upheaval and had to get on the phone to the one person that was likely to get you through the mortgage rates hikes and the jobless rates or the spiraling debt and inflationary pressure, then who would you immediately think of?
Baltimore, Maryland is in many ways the perfect microcosm for these United States of America.
If you still don’t get that, you’ll be in for a rude awakening in the years ahead.
Wall Streeters are not happy. According to the latest Bloomberg poll, 48% believe they are paid less (or much less) than they had hoped for. With the biggest banks cutting costs as new regulations force derisking and deleveraging (in theory), pay is taking a hit (although not so much for the CEOs). As one headhunter noted, "they're still making decent money, but it’s nothing like 2007," but ironically, a massive 71% of Wall Street bankers admit that their banks are still Too Big To Fail.