Guest Post: Why The Full Faith And Credit Of Governments Is Inferior To Real Assets And How We Can Fix It Once And For All

I used to think like a statist, and I used to agree with them. It's appealing to redistribute wealth, especially when it's not fairly achieved. But what I've realized is that the solution to creating distortions in the market is not to create more distortions by attacking the symptoms. What ends up happening when you do that is that you create a hugely complex set of rules and regulations that hinder the market, make it inefficient and most importantly makes it ripe for abuse via regulation in favor of those who make the right campaign donations to the right politicians. This is the situation we find ourselves in now: A very broken market setup to benefit those who've made the right political moves. On the other hand, you can simply end the sole cause of the problem to begin with. That sole problem is bad monetary policy. You might say that we should replace everyone in charge of the Federal Reserve with the "right" people. But even if you were able to do that, it's really a temporary fix. So how do we fix this? Sound money, debt forgiveness and a truly free market that isn't guided by the hand of the government and is instead determined by what the aggregate investor pool thinks is the right direction. Gordon Gecko was wrong overall, but he was right that greed is good. The profit motive is the key to good decisions and long-term thinking. That doesn't mean we need to be miserly dickheads who only care about ourselves, but self-enrichment and the unfettered ability to be as successful as possible is the only route to a truly higher standard of living.

Europe's Ponzi Takes A Twist For The Wacky: Greek Bank Equity To Be Used As Loan Collateral

That the European ponzi is leaps and bounds ahead of the US is well known: we have frequently succumbed to vertigo trying to chart just how interconnected Europe's financial system is at the current point where €1 in incremental capital is supposed to prop up a multi-trillion pyramid scheme. But the just released news from the Handeslblatt demonstrates that just when we thought we had seen it all, Europe once again manages to surprise us. As is by now well-known, Finland has proven to be quite a stick in the spokes of the joint-European can kicking exercise by, prudently, demanding collateral, or threatening to walk out of the second Greek bailout (that 1 year Greek bonds are trading at 60%+ yields is irrelevant). Well, here's the solution - give them collateral... in the form of insolvent Greek bank shares, which however will be "partially nationalized" as if that will suddenly push their value higher. Supposedly the Finns never clarified that the collateral has to have some liquidation "value."  Oh well, better luck next time.

Guest Post: Apocalypse Trades: Neither Things Nor Bureaucracy

Tangible stores of wealth are indeed seductive, and apocalyptic overtones add to their allure. But what is tangible can be taken. Trading in apocalyptic settings has minimal gain and even the most tangible things carry risk: there is no profit in an unshakable faith in them. The only unshakable faith should be in one’s capacity to foster a world worthy of wonderful and useful ideas, avoiding religious matters. It is here that the rules themselves change in unpredictable ways. Bureaucracies collapse: the largest predators in the food chain become extinct. The best hope is to rise out of it and rise quickly and the smaller, nimbler, and more cunning can live to see brighter days. There is no science to living in such circumstances. But perhaps there is an art in it. If the world does melt under the unlaboring stars, one should not despair of it.

Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: August 26

  • Markets focus on Fed Bernanke’s Jackson Hole speech in anticipation of getting a glimpse into the Fed’s monetary policy stance going forward
  • S&P sovereign ratings head, David Beers, said that the AAA rating for the US is not likely in the near term, and S&P is looking very carefully at France’s evolving fiscal strategy
  • Speculation that the German Chancellor Merkel may be ousted as early as September weighed on the DAX future
  • RBA’s chief Stevens said that the central bank may act to lessen the upward pressure on inflation, which helped AUD
  • CHF weakened on the back of market talk that the SNB may announce further measures to curb the currency's strength

Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: August 24

  • Moody's downgraded Japan's long-term sovereign rating by one notch to Aa3, with a stable outlook
  • Financials came under pressure during the early European session after figures from the ECB revealed a sharp jump in lending to banks, re-igniting funding concerns
  • The Greek/German spread widened partly on news that Troika has warned Greece on public payroll and public mergers
  • The German IFO report was not as bad as some analysts expected, which provided appetite for risk

And In The Category For Biggest Conspiracy Theory We Have....

Two and a half years after consistently and methodically exposing one conspiracy after another (and by the way, once it is proven to be a fact, it is no longer a conspiracy), we were stunned to find that the biggest conspiracy theory is none other than... Zero Hedge. "Zero Hedge, for example, is one that lots of hedge funds look at, lots of money managers look at, and the guy that runs it has their ear. Now I'm not saying that he is not doing his own proprietary work, but, people like to plant stories in there. [cue ominous silence]." TA DUN DUN. Gee - one does learn something new every day. Also, to anyone who still doesn't get it, please send your dodecatuple secret "plant" stories to plant@zerohedge[.]com along with your non-refundable payment made in physical gold Zimbabwean dollars, to be delivered to our paper street headquarters. We certainly would prefer it if the drop man is Bank of America's James Mahoney.

Moody's Downgrades Japan From Aa2 To Aa3

What was that word Freud used when you are a weak, pathetic, corrupt, powerless, piece of anacrhonistic filth and instead of doing the right thing (for fear of losing your job or worse), you lash out at a weaker and irrelevant substitute? Oh yes, projection.

S&P Board Fires CEO For Telling The Truth, To Be Replaced With COO Of Citibank

Following years of pandering to client demands, and assigning trillions of dollars in fixed income securities with whatever rating money bought (among other things, a factor to the credit bubble and its subsequent implosion) S&P finally tried to do the right thing and tell the truth. However in this case it picked if not the worst, then certainly the most hypocriticial credit in the world to expose - the US itself. Sure enough two weeks after the downgrade, someone made the phone call and the CEO Deven Sharma is no more. As for the kick square in the gonads: Sherma will be replaced with the COO of...you know it... the bank which demanded tens of billions in secret Fed bailout loans itself, Citibank. The only question left in this entire farce is how long before S&P issues the following upgrade of the US: "Great service, AAA+++ rating, immediate payment, would do business again!!!"