You don't put out a fire with gasoline. You don't cure a hangover with vodka. You don't end a headache by banging your head against the wall. Apparently, at least in Washington, you do address a sick banking system by keeping more sick banks open. It's as if I'm in the Twilight Zone...
The only way to maintain the global ponzi bubble as insiders cash out in ever increasing droves has now become a wave of rolling bailouts not only in the US, but across the entire world. The latest little casualty that could: Austria's Hypo Group Alpe Adria, the country's fifth largest bank by assets, which was nationalilzed ealier in a €5.5 billion bailout package. But ignore that: Europe is long and strong, with no bank balance sheet assets writedowns, a flourishing export economy, a surging currency and unprecedented growth ahead of soon to be (non) bankrupt Eastern European and Baltic states. The sarcasm in the previous statement is certainly not lost on the Austrian National Bank which said that "the whole Austrian economy has been able to avert a massive threat at a critical moment in time." No further commentary needed. Ben Bernanke's Moral Hazard world tour soon coming to an insolvent bank near your cottage.
Courtesy of the SIGTARP's latest report, the events on November 6 and 7th, when Wall Street lackey extraordinaire Tim Geithner decided to pay $27.1 billion to make all of AIG's counterparties whole, have attained even more granularity. The main thing disclosed is just how willing Geithner was to extract absolutely no concessions from AIG's counterparties, and how after putting in a token effort, the best he could do was to just get UBS to agree to a contingent 2% haircut, which would only be effective if all the other counterparties agreed to the same. Of course, this approach failed, and the final "make whole" bailout was a foregone conclusion from the beginning. That Tim Geithner approached his duty of "preserving" taxpayer capital with such disdain, would be grounds for immediately termination for cause in any normal, non-banana society. Alas, America has long ceased being representative of one.
Paul Volcker Blasts The Goldman Business Model, Moral Hazard, And Calls For A Return Of Glass-SteagallSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/23/2009 22:10 -0500
Tomorrow at 9 am, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker will testify before the House Committee on Financial Services, discussing topics on Systemic Risk and Resolution Issues. Since a former Fed Chairman will effectively be discussing the actions undertaken by the current one, this promises to be a most interesting testimony. We present some key points from Volcker's prepared remarks below: at first blush it would appear that the former Chairman is distancing himself substantially from the activities of the current one, and among other things, is proposing serious curbs on Moral Hazard, on the lack of Fed's accountability, highlights the need for a return to a Glass-Steagall system, and blasts the prop trading/hedge fund business model, whereby in discussing what he believes should be prohibited activities by systemically important firms, he highlights "ownership or sponsorship of hedge funds and private equity funds [as] should in my view a heavy volume of proprietary trading with its inherent risks." If that is not a direct stab at Goldman Sachs, nothing is.
"As the US market is now back at fair value, I’ve been pondering what could drive the market higher. Jeremy Grantham provides some answers in his latest missive to clients. He argues that “the greatest monetary and fiscal stimulus by far in US history” coupled with a “super colossal dose of moral hazard” could generate a stock market rally “far in excess of anything justified by…economic fundamentals”. This viewpoint receives support from the latest finding from experimental economics. The evidence from this field shows that even amongst the normally well behaved ‘experienced’ subjects, a very large liquidity shock can reignite a bubble!" - Soc Gen
There is nothing quite like the acting Secretary of the Treasury promoting it on national TV. In his most recent Charlie Rose interview, TG openly tells the banks not to be concerned with things getting worse. Well, Mr. Geithner, if the banks by that definition always have the governmental backstop, then who are we kidding that the entire financial system has not be nationalized.