Forget turning Japanese, an anxious-looking Paul Krugman appeared on Stephen Colbert last night to hawk his book and suggested that "Ireland is Romney economics in practice". Noting that Obama "inherited a Depression" but has unfortunately not taken us out of it due to a "whole lot of opposition from 'the other guys'". The Kaped Keynesian Krusader went on to note that "a recession is when things are going down but a depression is when things are down" and suggests an Obama campaign slogan "It's Not As Bad As The Great Depression" to which Colbert retorts that electing Romney would seem to be the path to 'ending this depression now'. While Krugman opines that if we would just re-hire all the government workers who have been laid off over the past few years then all would be well in the world, we suspect Colbert is closer to the truth when he comedically adds that "obviously the way to end the real depression is a war in Europe" and while USA is not Greece (or Uganda), it appears we will be Ireland if Romney gets elected.
America is spending more today drone-striking American citizens in Yemen, drone-surveilling Mexican drug lords and “turning our attention to the vast potential of the Asia-Pacific region“ than she was during the cold war when a hostile superpower had thousands of nukes pointing at her. Military contractors have nothing to fear. Whether it is the Pacific buildup to contain Chinese ambition, or drone strikes in the horn of Africa or Pakistan, or the completely-failed drug war, or using the ghost of Kony to establish a toehold in Africa to compete with China for African minerals, or an attempted deposition of Bashar Assad or Egypt’s new Islamist regime, or bombing Iran’s uranium-enrichment facilities, or a conflict over mineral rights in the Arctic, or (as Paul Krugman desires — and what the heck, it’s 2012, why not?) an alien invasion, or a new global conflict arising out of a global economic reset, it’s springtime for the military contractors. It’s everyone else who should be worried.
"Private Debt Doesn't Matter" Because "Banks Can't Create Money Out of Thin Air"
The question is, are Barack Obama and Mitt Romney really that moderate?
Let’s account for the similarity in policy of both.
With all the buzz about the 'Fiscal Cliff' – that toxic combination of tax increases and spending cuts due to take hold in a few months – the subject of ongoing Federal budget deficits has fallen by the wayside. ConvergEx's Nic Colas believes that’s a temporary phenomenon, for Congress will have to hammer out agreements to raise the debt ceiling right alongside its negotiations over the 'Cliff' items. His back-of-the-envelope attempt to quantify how much a multi-year debt limit increase would run to take this burdensome legislative issue off the Congressional docket for 5, 10 or even 20 years is worrisome at best with a $3.4 trillion for the 5-year runway, but this assumes a high level of incremental taxation. The number could be as high as $4.5 trillion. As for the longer time horizon debt runways, think in terms of an incremental $6.5 -9.5 billion for a 10 and 20 year horizon. And without significant changes to taxes and/or spending, more. Much more. We cannot help but think about Paul Krugman as we ponder these numbers. His recent book, End this Depression Now, proposes that “A quick, strong recovery is just one step away, if our leaders can find the intellectual clarity and political will to end this depression now.” This “One step” is deficit spending that is orders of magnitude greater than anything spent already. We have no idea if he really believes any of this, since it is politically impossible, but he does have a Nobel (though so did the guys at LTCM).
Giddens ought to approach the bankruptcy judge and suggest that they both apply to Judge Rakoff for the appointment of a receiver in the MF Global bankruptcy.
An uplifting story of austerity and growth at the edge of Eurozone mayhem.
10 Questions ...
German taxpayers still have an opportunity to just say no
We know the U.S. is a big and liquid (though not really very transparent) market. We know that the rest of the world — led by Europe’s myriad issues, and China’s bursting housing bubble — is teetering on the edge of a precipice, and without a miracle will fall (perhaps sooner, rather than later). But we also know that America is inextricably interconnected to this mess. If Europe (or China or both) disintegrates, triggering (another) global default cascade, America will be stung by its European banking exposures, its exposures to global energy markets and global trade flows. Simply, there cannot be financial decoupling, not in this hyper-connected, hyper-leveraged world.
All of this suggests a global crash or proto-crash will be followed by a huge global money printing operation, probably spearheaded by the Fed. Don’t let the Europeans fool anyone, either — Germany will not let the Euro crumble for fear of money printing. When push comes to shove they will print and fiscally consolidate to save their pet project (though perhaps demanding gold as collateral, and perhaps kicking out some delinquents). China will spew trillions of stimulus money into more and deeper malinvestment (why have ten ghost cities when you can have fifty? Good news for aggregate demand!).
At François Hollande’s “growth” policies, Greece, the ECB, the Fed, Paul Krugman....
Michael Hudson argues that Mr. Krugman is a conservative in disguise.
We have all thought it. We have all muttered it under our breaths (and some of us have even written about it on blogs) but the Keynesian Krusader's borrow-and-spend-our-way-to-growth dogma was bazooka'd by former Senator Alan Simpson yesterday. "I say why don't you read our report and then get back to me", Simpson says of Krugman in a must-watch interview on Bloomberg TV, adding that "Paul Krugman is a great economist, but he ain't the best in the world. This is nuts...I love to read his stuff because it borders on hysteria" Critically, he adds on the growing demographic crisis "This is not 20 years ago, it isn't 10. It is now. You have 10,000 a day coming into the system. The demographics are there. It is all different -- it is not the same". The former Senator goes on to discuss whether US will become the next Europe, how lawmakers will sell cutbacks to the American public, whether policymakers keeping rates low are contributing to the problem, and finally on Simpson-Bowles 2.0. - "The people of America are telling their elected people how it is. Erskin and I go all over the country and tell them we do not do BS or mush, but pull up a chair and we will tell you where the country is, and they are thirsting for that."
From the 2008 financial crisis to Bernie Madoff, federal regulators have consistency proven too incompetent or too in-the-pocket to actually catch big disasters before they happen. Their interests, like all government employees, are politically based. State bureaucracies seek more funding no matter performance because their success is impossible to determine without having to account for profit. There is never an objective way to determine if the public sector uses its resources effectively. The news of JP Morgan’s loss has reignited the discussion over whether the financial sector is regulated enough. The answer is that regulation and the moral hazard-ridden business environment it produces is the sole reason why a bank’s loss is a hot topic of discussion to begin with. Without the Fed, the FDIC, and the government’s nasty history of bailing out its top campaign contributors, JP Morgan would be just another bank beholden to market forces. Instead it, along with most of Wall Street, has become, to use former Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig’s label, a virtual “public utility.” Take away the implied safety net and “too big to fail” disappears. It’s as simple that.
As either taxpayers or long-term JPM investors, we should be more grateful than sorry about the JPM CIO Ina Drew.