"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."
During the heyday of post-war prosperity between 1953 and 1971, real final sales - a better measure of economic growth than GDP because it filters out inventory fluctuations - grew at a 3.6% annual rate. That is exactly double the 1.8% CAGR recorded for 2000-2014. The long and short of it, therefore, is that there has been a dramatic downshift in the trend rate of economic growth during an era in which central bank intervention and stimulus has been immeasurably enlarged. How exactly is the Fed helping when the trend rate of real growth has withered dramatically?
The results of the latest FOMC meeting confirm that most of the media and investor communities don't get the joke on Fed policy since the crisis. No change in '15
Self-reliance is a concept rooted in the groundwork that made America great. Being dependent on our own capabilities and resources helped create a strong, plentiful country for so long. That said, the existing country as it is now is entirely different than when it began. It is much too complicated to get into how the “system” was created. That said, the purpose is to enslave through debt and to create an interdependence that will force you and your family to never truly find the freedom you are seeking. It manipulates and convinces you to continue purchasing as a sort of status symbol to make you think you are living the good life; while all along, it has enslaved you further. Breaking away from the system is the only way to avoid the destruction of when it comes crumbling down.
Honest price discovery is essential to capitalist prosperity since it is the miraculous mechanism by which capital is raised from savers and investors and efficiently allocated among producers, entrepreneurs and genuine market-rate borrowers. What the central banks have generated, instead, is a casino that is blindly impelled to churn the secondary capital markets and inflate the price of existing assets to higher and higher levels - until they ultimately roll-over under their own weight. The Easy Button addiction of our central bankers is thus not just another large public policy problem. It is the very economic and social scourge of our times.
We are paying a high price for too many elites and their ‘frivolous cravings’. Nowadays many countries’ social and political structure relies on debt-driven consumption and increasing levels of entitlements. Blame the policy-makers as the “permanent lie [has become] the only safe form of existence.”
One of the great ironies of American politics is that most politicians who talk about helping the middle class support policies that, by expanding the welfare-warfare state, are harmful to middle-class Americans. Eliminating the welfare-warfare state would benefit middle-class Americans by freeing them from exorbitant federal taxes, including the Federal Reserve’s inflation tax.
With everyone's attention pegged on the Grexit, what everyone appears to be forgetting is a nuanced clause buried deep in the term sheet of the second Greek bailout: a bailout whose terms will be ultimately reneged upon if and when Greece defaults on its debt to the Troika (either in or out of the Eurozone). Recall that as per our report from February 2012, in addition to losing its sovereignty years ago, Greece also lost something far more important. It's gold: To wit: "Ms. Katseli, an economist who was labor minister in the government of George Papandreou until she left in a cabinet reshuffle last June, was also upset that Greece’s lenders will have the right to seize the gold reserves in the Bank of Greece under the terms of the new deal."
The picture of this very old telephone reminds of our “esteemed” Federal Reserve. They really seem incapable of any modern thought. Their parallels to, and fears of, the Great Depression [Former Chair Bernanke], seem to drive 2009-2015 monetary policy. It reminds me of incredibly stale thinking... sort of like their incredibly stale personalities. I suppose it’s a good match for them but not for the citizens of the world subjected to their currently ineffective and intellectually lazy policies... rooted in very ancient [just like most of them] history.
American banks have largely gained from low interest rates, British banks have suffered losses as a result and in the Eurozone they have been hugely detrimental to banks’ profitability. The ones who have undoubtedly lost out were those quintessential Keynesian villains: the savers. The medicine prescribed by the central banks to correct their “bad” ways has cost them billions. And given that yields have continued to go down since McKinsey's report was published, their misery has only increased. More high fives from Keynes! And yet, even within those groups the impact has been uneven. Who in the household segment is suffering the most because of ultra-low interest rates? The retirees, of course.
To put the 28 months of declining retail sales in context, during the Great Financial Crisis, CAT suffered "only" 19 months of consecutive declines. As of March 2015, this number is now 28! Or as a more truthful Tim Geithner would say, "Welcome to the second Great Depression, Caterpillar!"
Of course no two financial crashes ever look exactly the same. The crisis that we are moving toward is not going to be precisely like the crisis of 2008. But there are similarities and patterns that we can look for. Sadly, most people are not willing to learn from history. Even though it is glaringly apparent that we are in a historic financial bubble, most investors on Wall Street cannot see it because they do not want to see it. This next financial crisis will be strike number three. After this next crisis, there will never be a return to “normal” for the United States.
In 2014, all but a few argued that the path of interest rates was certainly higher. Despite a steady decline beginning on January 1st of 2014 and continuing today, everyone still insists strenuously that interest rates simply have to go up. What if all the arguments about growth in the US economy and much anticipated rate hikes by the Federal Reserve hinged upon a decision-making premise that is flawed? What if instead of the standard and variety of factors informing the consensus perspective about the direction of interest rates it is actually interest rates themselves that are sending signals that should inform our perspective about all other things?
"An alternate, more sophisticated approach to explaining why QE may not work to stimulate aggregate consumption is, perhaps, because the demographic mix of the U.S. (and most parts of the developed world) has shifted toward older people. Unlike 30 or 40 years ago, the enormous baby boomer generation, and even retirees, are much wealthier (including human capital) than in the past, and they are wealthier than current generations earlier in their life cycle. So the wealth effect does not lead to an increase in consumption and, potentially, has the opposite outcome."
- Robert Merton