Moral Hazard

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Portugal's "Left-Wing" Forces Threaten Troika Revolt





"Europe faces the risk of a second revolt by Left-wing forces in the South after Portugal’s Socialist Party vowed to defy austerity demands from the country’s creditors and block any further sackings of public officials", The Telegraph reports. In sum, the reason why concessions (any concessions) to the Greeks are a non-starter in Athens' negotiations with creditors is that the IMF, the European Commission, and most especially Germany, want to send a clear message to any other 'leftist radicals' who may be thinking about using the "one move and the idea of EMU indissolubility gets it" routine as a way to negotiate for breathing room on austerity pledges, will get exactly nowhere and will have a very unpleasant time on the way.

 
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The Fed Has Created A "Clockwork Orange" Market





Stanley Kubrick's highly-disturbing film-version of A Clockwork Orange takes place in a dystopian futuristic London and exposes the extreme battle of good versus evil. Extracting out the violence, we can’t help but notice the symbolic similarities of the motif-ridden story with the 2008 financial market fallout and subsequent attempts at economic rehabilitation. The film forces us to consider how much liberty we are willing to give up for order, and how much order we are willing to give up for liberty.  The central idea of the film has to do with the freedom of the individual to make free choices, but free choice becomes problematic when it undermines the safety and stability of society. It reminds us of the markets price discovery mechanisms (or lack thereof).

 
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China's Banks Obscure Credit Risk, Face "Insolvency" In Property Downturn, Fitch Says





As data on non-performing loans at Chinese banks shows the biggest sequential increase on record in Q1, Fitch wonders if perhaps the data actually obscures a far larger problem. Official figures on China's NPLs are obscured by a number of factors and may be grossly understated the ratings agency suggests. Furthermore, Fitch says "a protracted downturn in property markets could threaten the solvency of Chinese banks, given their modest loss-absorption capacity."

 
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Ten Things We're Grateful For (Irony Alert)





Being grateful boosts your happiness. Here are ten sickening wonderful things we're grateful for in the new normal...

 
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If QE Is So Great, Why Stop Printing Now?





Chair Yellen frequently reminds us how effective and innovative QE is as a monetary policy tool. She even referred to the monetary actions, of her former boss, as heroic at a commencement speech this past spring. Literally…QE has saved the financial world. So, why are we, the citizens of this great country, no longer worthy of the almighty, far ranging and omnipotent QE? Ms. Yellen, don’t you stop this money printing anytime soon. Just erase that thought from your mind just like you can simply erase away all my financial worries with that great machine of yours. We, the ignorant public, are so relying on you. As we see it there is just no downside to any of this money printing.

 
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CLO Volume Hits Record As PE, Wall Street Look To Stay Ahead Of New Rule





March was a record month for CLO issuance with $15.2 billion in deals coming to market, bringing the YTD total to $29 billion and making Q1 2015 the best first quarter in history for CLO new issue volume. And while a JPM analyst who spoke to Bloomberg says managers “want to get deals done early before risk retention kicks in,” we're confident that it’s all about keeping credit flowing to deserving borrowers and not at all about a desire to keep exposure to 5% of a collateral pool littered with loans to “companies that are of lower credit quality or that do not have a third-party evaluation of the likelihood of timely payment of interest and repayment of principal” off of the books.

 
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Today's Money Regimes Are Doomed To Failure





Centrally issued money centralizes wealth and generates systemic inequality. This is equally true of all centrally issued currencies.  But the inequity that is intrinsic to this system is politically, socially and financially destabilizing, and so this system is unsustainable.

 
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Guaranteed Financial Security Is A Fantasy





Guarantees based on extracting higher taxes, borrowing trillions of dollars and creating trillions more out of thin air only guarantee eventual systemic implosion.

 
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BofA's Modest Proposal For Greece: "A Negative Shock May Be Necessary"





Either Greece will stop trying to save the failed past and look into the future, treating the crisis and the adjustment program as opportunities to finally implement urgently needed reforms, or the country will be eventually forced to exit the euro, in our view.  Economics 101 teaches us that an economy can survive within a monetary union only if it has fiscal policy room and structural flexibility to respond to asymmetric shocks. In our view, Greece had none and has none. We see no solution for Greece within the Eurozone without reforms.

 
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"Belief That European QE Will Work Is Far-Fetched," Bill White Warns This Will "End Very Badly"





"I'm not sure [European QE] is going to do anything - certainly, nothing that's good. The fundamental problem here, as I see it anyway, is that the European banking system is still broken... I think, increasingly, bankers are discomforted more than anything else (it's not just the ex central bankers but increasingly the people that are still holding the levers)... they are starting to ask whether they have somehow been backed into a place where they don't really want to be.... Unfortunately, [it] is getting bigger and bigger. There is a possibility at least that this whole exercise could end very badly."

 
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The Federal Reserve Bank Must Be Destroyed





It matters not who is in charge of the Fed or what rules Congress may insist that it adopts. Once money printing, via fiat or fractional reserve credit creation, is seen to be both feasible, justified, and legal nothing and no one can stop it. The political pressure to fund government programs will be irresistible. Everyone knows that the Fed seemingly has the ability to solve their problem by monetizing the federal debt. Should it refuse to do so, we would see riots in the streets similar to what is happening in Europe as protesters target the European Central Bank. The only solution is to destroy the monster that makes it all possible, the Fed.

 
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Bank Of Japan's Plunge Protection Desperation: "May Buy Individual Stocks"





The BoJ may now run into the same inconvenience in its efforts to control the stock market that it encountered on the way to monopolizing the JGB market: there’s only so much out there to buy. "BOJ held 3.85t yen ($32.0b) of ETFs at end-2014 and plans to boost these holdings by 3t yen per year; at this pace, the current market value of 11.5t yen in ETFs would be entirely bought by BOJ by end-2017," Bloomberg notes.

 
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"Cancel All Student Debt" - The Petitions Begin





"Dear President Obama, Senators, and Members of Congress:

Americans now owe $1.3 trillion in student debt. Eighty-six percent of that money is owed to the United States government. This is a crushing burden for more than 40 million Americans and their families.

I urge you to take immediate action to forgive all student debt, public and private."

 
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The Fed Blew It





The Fed had multiple opportunities to let the air out of unsustainable asset bubbles by notching interest rates higher and tapering its asset purchases (QE). Instead, it waited until the next global recession is already starting to consider what should have been done long ago.
 
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