Modern economics is obsessed with modelling. An overwhelming majority of academic papers on the subject work like so: they take data, and use data to construct formal mathematical models of economic processes. Models mostly describe a situation, and describe how that situation would be changed by a given set of events; a very simple example is that as the supply of a good diminishes, its price will increase. Another is that deficit spending increases the national income. A mathematical model is a predictive tool created to demonstrate the outcome of events in a massively simplified alternate universe. As someone who rather enjoys voyages of the imagination, the use of mathematical models in economics is intriguing. The pretension that through using formal mathematical techniques and process we can not only accurately understand, but accurately predict the result of changes in the economy is highly seductive. After all, we can accurately predict the future, right?
The pathway of dissent is to resist financial feudalism and its enforcer, the expansive Central State. Here are twelve paths of resistance any adult can legally pursue in the course of their daily lives:
- Support the decentralized, non-market economy
- Stop participating in financialization
- Redefine self-interest to exclude debt-servitude and dependence on consumerism and the Central State
- Act on your awareness that the nature of prosperity and financial security is changing
- Stop supporting distant concentrations of capital that subvert democracy by using their gargantuan profits to buy the machinery of State governance and regulation
- Stop supporting the debt-and-leverage based financial aristocracy
- Transfer your assets out of Wall Street and into local enterprises or assets that do not enrich and empower Wall Street.
- Refuse to participate in consumerist status identifiers and the social defeat they create
- Vote in every election with an eye on rewarding honesty and truth and punishing empty promises
- Stop supporting inflationary policies such as “money creation” by the Federal Reserve and Federal deficit borrowing
- Become healthy, active and fit
- Embrace self-directed coherent plans and construct a resilient, diverse ecology of identity and meaning
As we suggested yesterday, the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee (basically Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, and the rest of the buy and sell side) did indeed come out with a unanimous decision, having decided to recommend FRNs. This simply means that Wall Street is either desperate to telegraph a surge in short-term rates, or, even worse, if actually anticipating a surge in short-term rates and is doing all it can to hedge before it happens. Nonetheless, "system limitations would prevent any possible issuance of FRNs until 2013" while those wondering what the reference rate will be will have no answer for a while: "In discussing the best index, the member recommendations were divided, with 4 members voting for Treasury bills, 3 members voting for a general collateral rate, and 6 members voting for the federal funds effective rate." Finally, anyone wondering why the market acted odd yesterday, i.e., experienced a freak sell off in the afternoon, the reason is that Brian Sack was also present at the TBAC meeting, and away from his trusty BBG terminal.
All you need to read and some more.
Gold’s London AM fix this morning was USD 1,661.25, EUR 1,253.02, and GBP 1,024.70 per ounce. Yesterday's AM fix was USD 1,662.50, EUR 1,256.61 and GBP 1,021.44 per ounce.
Silver is trading at $30.85/oz, €23.37/oz and £19.10/oz. Platinum is trading at $1,570.00/oz, palladium at $677.60/oz and rhodium at $1,350/oz.
In the shady underground world of banking, doing wrong means doing right, up is down, and left is right.
This Is the First Time In History that All Central Banks Have Printed Money at the Same Time … And They’re Failing MiserablySubmitted by George Washington on 05/01/2012 18:44 -0400
Simultaneous Global Printing Is Failing Miserably
When we last discussed what now appears certain to be a TBAC announcement tomorrow that Floating Rate Treasurys are about to be launched by the US during the Treasury, we cautioned, using an analysis by the IMF's Singh, that "the US Treasury may be telegraphing to the world that it, or far more importantly, the TBAC, is quietly preparing for a surge in interest rates." We then continued that "What is also obvious is that if the TBAC is quietly shifting the market into preparation mode for "a steady (or rocky) rise in rates from near zero to a "neutral" fed funds rate of 400 bps and a "normal" 5 percent yield on 2 year U.S. Treasuries" as the IMF warns, then all hell is about to break loose in stocks, as by now everyone is aware that without the Fed liquidity, and not just liquidity, but "flow" or constant injection of liquidity, as opposed to merely "stock", VIX will explode, equities will implode, and all hell would break loose. It is not yet certain if the TBAC will proceed with implementing FRNs. Although, since the proposal came from the TBAC, read Goldman and JPM, and what Goldman and JPM want, they get, it is almost certain that in about a month, concurrent with the next quarterly refunding, America will slowly but surely proceed with adopting Floaters." Judging by the amount of press coverage this topic has received in the past week, the advent of FRNs is now a given. What is unclear is why: our take is that this is simply a move to make Treasurys more palatable to investors, simply to avoid capital losses when rates finally resume their inevitable surge higher. The flipside of course, is that the guaranteed coupon payments in a rising rate environment means that more cash will leave the Treasury to cover interest. It is this corollary to increasing demand that has made the "father" of Treasury floaters warn on Bloomberg that now is the worst possible time to being sales of FRN Treasurys.
Forget 'irrational exuberance', forget 'deregulation of derivatives', Big Al is back and this time he seems to have forgotten any- and every-thing we has ever said. It was only a year ago that Greenspan told CNBC "I am ill-aware of anything that really worked. Not only QE2 but QE1" and yet today the mumbling-'maestro' pronounces, via Bloomberg:
- *GREENSPAN SAYS EQUITY STIMULUS IS HELPING TO DRIVE ECONOMY
- *GREENSPAN SAYS EQUITY STIMULUS IS UNDERESTIMATED
- *GREENSPAN SAYS EQUITY IS COLLATERAL OF FINANCIAL SYSTEM
So it sounds like Alan has joined Ben in the parade of 'the-market-is-the-economy' thinkers as now the critical action of all the greatest minds in our economic policy-makers are convinced that debasement manufacturing a rising equity market (by whatever means necessary) is key (and nothing else!).
Collateral matters when it comes to assessing the value of the debt. If a bank lists the mortgages in its "assets" column at full value even though the underlying collateral (the houses) has lost much of their value, then the bank is grossly over-estimating the value and security of the mortgage. The bank's "assets" are based on phantom collateral. Take away $1 in collateral and you impair $4, $10, $20 or even $30 of debt. Recall that the vast majority of real estate equity and financial wealth is owned by the top 20%, with the majority of that concentrated in the top 5%. That means the bottom 80% own little collateral to leverage into debt. How about leveraging income into more debt? Since the top 10% receive almost 50% of the income, and most of the bottom 90%'s income goes to non-discretionary spending and taxes, then only the top 10% have discretionary income that can be leveraged into more debt.
The pastel-wearing President of TrimTabs proffers an entirely non-perfunctory prose explaining why he believes we are now due for a stock market decline. Echoing our thoughts, Charles notes that "It's the Federal Reserve that controls the market, it's their money, they're the boss, we play with their money that they print or stop printing". Sadly true (especially for all the highly-paid economists and strategists out there), the pre-2009 drivers of equity performance (specifically new or excess savings) are no longer so; since the initial QE1 this has not been the case and providing us with a thoughtful history of equity market valuations relative to the various QE-efforts over the past few years - especially when compared to income growth and/or macro-economic data - provides just the color required to comprehend this essentially a obvious thread of reality that merely four years ago would have been denigrated to the tin-foil-hat-wearers of the world. Real-time data says that wages and salaries are barely growing above inflation, Europe is a disaster, and the emerging nations are seeing slowing growth; without the Fed's new money where will cash come from to drive stock prices higher? The question is, assuming the Fed will 'stimulate' again pre-Election, will the market react the same way? And will the trigger for such an event be a major decline once again in asset prices?
What Would Krugman Do? (obviously, that is rhetorical). Supreme Keynesian Voodoo acolyte Paul Krugman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul go head to head on fixing the U.S. economy at 4pm ET today on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart.” Watch the live webcast beginning at 3pm ET for Krugman, who will be guest-hosting “Street Smart” until 5pm ET. On the heels of the recent "controversial" NYT piece, where Krugman called on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to do more for the U.S. economy, Krugman will be asked to explain exactly how more stimulus will create jobs and put the economy back on the growth track. Also just what rug will the trillions in additional debt be swept under. Then at 4pm, Krugman will face the ultimate debate with Ron Paul, who has called for drastic cuts in spending. Grab your popcorn now.
It's all good, and no doubt this can only mean one thing. It's clear sailing ahead. But not so fast.
“…we have not had to put any taxpayers’ money into our financial system in Canada, nor do I anticipate that we’ll be obliged to do so.”
—Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance
“Without wanting to appear arrogant or vain, which would be quite un-Canadian... while our system is not perfect, it has worked during this difficult time, I don’t want the government to be in the banking business in Canada.”
—Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance
“It is true, we have the only banks in the western world that are not looking at bailouts or anything like that...and we haven’t got any TARP money.”
—Stephen Harper, Prime Minister