Too Big To Fail
Are much lower oil prices good news for the U.S. economy? Only if you like collapsing capital expenditures, rising unemployment and a potential financial implosion on Wall Street.
Not long ago, we wrote Ten Reasons Why High Oil Prices are a Problem. If high oil prices can be a problem, how can low oil prices also be a problem? In particular, how can the steep drop in oil prices we have recently been experiencing also be a problem? In our view, a rapid drop in oil prices is likely a symptom that we are approaching a debt-related collapse. Underlying this debt-related collapse is the fact that we seem to be reaching the limits of a finite world. There is a growing mismatch between what workers in oil importing countries can afford, and the rising real costs of extraction, including associated governmental costs. This has been covered up to date by rising debt, but at some point, it will not be possible to keep increasing the debt sufficiently. At some point the debt situation will eventually reach a breaking point.
As Day 2 of Carl Levin's Senate hearing on the fact that banks did indeed corner and rig the physical commodity markets - with the erosion of the line separating banking from commercial activities leading to the detriment of consumers and the financial system - we thought the world needed a 'dummy's guide' to why the biggest banks should not be allowed to do this... or in legalese, here are the four most negative effects of allowing FHCs to engage in Complementary Commodity Activities.
With gold already moving today on rumors of an increasingly positive tone towards Switzerland's referendum on the Gold Initiative, Axel Merk notes that it appears widely misunderstood and discusses implications for gold, the Swiss franc and Switzerland as a whole. "Gold is the people’s money, not the government’s money to splurge...gold is a store of value that ought to back the currency in circulation." Ultimately, people should never rely on their government to pursue a gold standard, but consider pursuing their own, personal gold standard.
We finally have the answer, courtesy of the FCA's partial and very much selective disclosure of FX rigging findings by "The Cartel", the "Bandits" and so on, as part of its wrist-slapping settlement, just how the big boys make millions in FX on every single fix. Hopefully one day the regulators, who are as corrupt and conflicted as the banks they quote-unquote police, will reveal all the documents in their possession and let the public decide what is important and what isn't. But in the meantime, for all those curious just why the Too Big To Fail are also Too Big To Prosecute, here is the blow by blow.
- No Sign of Thaw in Obama’s Brief Encounters With Putin (BBG)
- Japan Lawmakers Prepare for Snap Elections as Abe Mulls Tax (BBG)
- Global stocks rise, Brent crude hits four-year low (Reuters)
- U.S., China to Drop Tariffs on Range of Tech Products (WSJ)
- ‘Too-Big-to-Fail’ Rule Would Raise Bar for Bank Capital (WSJ) ... and mean even bigger taxpayer bailouts
- Pot in New York: $100 Ticket. No Charges. No Record. No Nothing (BBG)
- Microsoft unveils first Lumia smartphone without Nokia name (Reuters)
- Davos-Man Ackermann Lured to Cyprus Bank by Billionaires (BBG)
- Alibaba, Apple Talks on Payments Tie-Up Focused on China (WSJ)
The risks unleashed by central bank funding of massive carry trades, policy-driven devaluations and currency crises have yet to manifest. When they do, we'll rediscover why traders consider the FX market the 800-pound gorilla that stomps on the stock and bond markets without even noticing the squishing sound.
By continuously intervening in all of the markets, the Fed has destroyed the information transmission system that is built into freely trading markets. Time is starting to run out for ability of the U.S. to keep kicking the can of collapse down the road. We’ve come full circle, only with China in the Midas throne this time around. Eventually the world is going to revert back to a gold-backed currency system. When this happens, the U.S. will be required to demonstrate that it possesses the amount of gold that it reports to own. The only caveat here is that we believe that the U.S. will start WW3 before it’s forced to reveal the truth about its empty gold vault. That’s how broken our system really is…
"Solutions to the world's problems are not produced in a meeting between Bill Gates and George Soros... Renewal has to come from below... Limiting the influence [of the richest] is of the utmost importance... so that today's upper-class, high-finance capitalism can once again revert to being a capitalism of the real economy and the societal center."
The short answer, of course, is "nothing" - Congress, or the presidency, have been irrelevant ever since the Fed fully took over the US some time in late 2008. Since then, it has been the role of the central printer of the US, working on behalf of the US banking syndicate, to "get to work", and cover up the fact that Congress, its make up, or its decisions, are now inconsequential. Still, there are those whose job is to overanalyze everything, and those, whose ideological persuasion, is to believe that what there is a difference between the "left" and the "right." Still, since someone has to pay attention to the proceedings in the most farcical and polarized, if only for public consumption purposes, Congress in history may as well present what The Hill thinks will happen. Here are the five areas to watch.
When it comes to the Fed's QE3 generosity, what was the bottom line? Here is the answer.
"Since 9/11, those thank yous have been aimed at veterans with the regularity of the machine gun fire that may still haunt their dreams. Veterans have also been offered special consideration when it comes to applications for mostly menial jobs so that they can “utilize the skills” they learned in the military. While they continue to march in those welcome home parades and have concerts organized in their honor, the thank yous are in no short supply. The only question that never seems to come up is: What exactly are they being thanked for?"
The recent spike in global political-financial volatility that was temporarily soothed by ECB covered bond buying reveals another crack in the six-year-old throw-money-at-the-banks strategies of politicians and central bankers. The very fact - that without excessive artificial stimulation or the promise of it - more hell breaks loose - is one that government heads neither admit, nor appear to discuss. But the truth is that the global financial system has already failed. The political system that stumbles to sustain the illusion that economies can be built on rampant financial instability, has also failed us. Past presidents talked of a square deal, a new deal and a fair deal. It’s high time for a stability deal that prioritizes the real financial health of individuals over the false one of financial institutions.
Europe is fast turning into a freak comedy show. Very fast. Or maybe we should say it’s always been one, and it’s just that the Larry, Curly and Moe moves are only now coming out in droves. Or maybe, what do I know, we’re just starting to understand how much talent for farce and slapstick the boys from Brussels have always had. Someone finish off that inane union before it starts to do real serious harm. Because it will.