With the Associated Press report appended here, the German gold audit story has just exploded into the English-language press with some important revelations.
Ben Bernanke is so desperate to find support regarding his steal from the poor and give to the 0.01% policies he is now telling blatant lies about famous, dead economists that can’t refute what he says. In this case Milton Friedman. In his Q&A today, The Bernank claimed:
BERNANKE: MILTON FRIEDMAN WOULD HAVE SUPPORTED WHAT FED DOING
Well I suppose it’s easy to make things up about people that can’t claim otherwise, but he made a big mistake this time. Why? Because Anna Schwartz, who co-wrote the famous work “A Monetary History of the United States” with Milton Friedman in 1963, actually came on the record on several occasions calling out The Bernank and saying there’s no way Friedman would agree. The sad part about this is it seems Bernanke waited until Schwartz died to really start spewing the lies. This guy is not only dangerous he is despicable and increasingly desperate… Don’t take it from me though, back in October 2008 Anna Schwartz had this to say in the Wall Street Journal.
...the pushback from Wall Street was intense and multi-pronged. The Blob oozed through the halls of government, seeking, through its glutinous embrace, to immobilize the legislative and regulatory apparatus, thereby preserving the status quo. The executive jets of the Wall Street air force flew sortie after sortie, transporting high-ranking emissaries from new York to Washington to meet with the SEC, [Senator Chris] Dodd and [Senator Richard] Shelby staff, and the staff of other senators on the Banking Committee. Some of the executives, no doubt less enthusiastically, even met with Josh and me. The research companies and market experts Wall Street employs also raised their voices against us. At times it got ugly. Ted was called a crackpot and dangerously uninformed. He was accused of “politicizing” market regulation (a strange notion considering he wasn’t running for election). It seemed as if Wall Street, which wasn’t used to someone on Capitol Hill asking in-depth questions about arcane issues, wished to silence or marginalize its critics. Industry people would always ask me, “What got Kaufman so interested in this stuff?” Used to politicians whose top priorities were to please their home-state business interests and raise money, they had trouble fathoming that Ted was so interested because it was the right thing to do. He believed in fair markets. And because he was genuinely concerned about emerging issues that threatened the stock market, where half of all Americans keep a sizable portion of their retirement savings.
- Anti-Japan demonstrators protest in New York City (China Daily) ...and the propaganda: Younger generation feels wave of emotions (CD)
- And the retaliation: Obama to launch auto trade case against China (Reuters)
- Spanish Banks Bleeding Cash Cloud Bailout Debate (Bloomberg)
- Chicago teachers extend strike (Reuters); Emanuel Promises He’ll Sue to End Chicago Teacher Strike (Bloomberg)
- China hurts own credibility with Xi's vanishing act (Reuters)
- European Squabbling on Euro Crisis Solution May Test Rally (Bloomberg)
- Two South Africa mines reopen, most don't (Reuters)
- Finance Industry Warns of ‘Cliff Effect’ in ECB’s Bond Plan (Bloomberg)
- China struggles to cure the violent ills of health system (Reuters)
- QE3 is for Main Street, except... it isn't: QE3 hit by mortgage processing delays (FT)
- Probe focuses on JPMorgan's monitoring of suspect transactions (Reuters)
- As explained here before: Spanish Bonds Decline as EU Policy Makers Clash on Bank Plan (Bloomberg)
If 2011's Arab Spring was all about the propaganda "hope" of democracy (driven paradoxically by soaring global good prices as we predicted in early 2011 before the first Tunisian domino toppled), then 2012 Arab Fall, is all about the blowback to US policies and intervention in the region. And while we are amused by the media's narrative that an entire continent can suddenly come to arms against Pax Americana over a YouTube clip, we are confident that what some hate-mongering preacher has to say about Mohammed is about as relevant to what is happening in the Middle East today, as how the global economy performs impact the S&P. Absolutely none. What we do know is that the anti-American revulsion, which started on September 11 in Egypt and has since taken Libya and Yemen by storm, is spreading like wildfire. The NYT writes: 'Protests were also reported at American missions in Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia, where the police also fired tear gas to disperse crowds." It is only going to get far worse, as suddenly geopolitics, and the US response thereto, becomes the biggest issue in the presidential debate.
- Germany says U.S. debt levels "much too high" (Reuters)
- Netanyahu ramps up Iran attack threat (Reuters)
- Burberry plummets by most ever, slashes guidance, rattles Luxury-Goods Industry as Revenue Growth (Bloomberg)
- FoxConn Again Faces Labor Issue on iPhones (NYT)
- Southern whites troubled by Romney's wealth, religion (Reuters)
- China's Xi not seen in public because of ailment (Reuters)
- Another California muni default: Oakdale, Calif., Restructuring Debt, Planning Rate Raise After Default (Bond Buyer)
- Spain's PM expects "reasonable" terms for any new aid (Reuters)
- Bernanke Proves Like No Other Fed Chairman on Joblessness (Bloomberg) - Ineffective like no other?
- John Lennon’s Island Goes on Sale as Irish Unpick Property Boom (Bloomberg)
- China Output Growth Slows as Leadership Handover Looms (Bloomberg); Weak China trade data raises Beijing spending stakes (Reuters)
- Italy Q2 GDP revised down to -0.8% year-on-year on weak domestic demand (Economic Times)
- Troika disagreed with €2 billion in Greek "cuts" (Reuters)
- No Greek bottom in sight yet: Greek IP, Manufacturing Output plunge compared to year earlier (WSJ)
- France's Hollande sees 2013 growth forecast about 0.8 pct (Reuters), France plots tax hikes of up to 20 bln euros (Reuters)
- Euro Crisis Faces Tests in German Court, Greek Infighting (Bloomberg)
- Geithner sells more AIG stock (FT)
- Japan infuriates China by agreeing to buy disputed isles (Reuters)
- Euro crisis to worsen, Greece could exit euro: Swedish FinMin Anders Borg (Economic Times)
- ‘Lead or leave euro’, Soros tells Germany (FT)
- German MP makes new court complaint against euro plans (Reuters)
- Obama super-Pac in push to raise $150m (FT)
If you haven't heard yet, the United States of America just hit $16 trillion in debt yesterday. On a gross, nominal basis, this makes the US, by far, the greatest debtor in the history of the world. It took the United States government over 200 years to accumulate its first trillion dollars of debt. It took only 286 days to accumulate the most recent trillion dollars of debt. 200 years vs. 286 days. This portends two key points:
- Anyone who thinks that inflation doesn't exist is a complete idiot;
- To say that the trend is unsustainable is a massive understatement.
This is banana republic stuff, plain and simple... and smart, thinking people ought to be planning on capital controls, wage and price controls, pension confiscation, and selective default. Because the next trillion will be here before you know it.
We have critically examined the question of whether the stock market 'discounts' anything on several previous occasions. The question was for instance raised in the context of what happened in the second half of 2007. Surely by October 2007 it must have been crystal clear even to people with the intellectual capacity of a lamp post and the attention span of a fly that something was greatly amiss in the mortgage credit market. Then, just as now, both the ECB and the Fed had begun to take emergency measures to keep the banking system from keeling over in August. This brings to mind the 'potent directors fallacy' which is the belief held by investors that someone – either the monetary authority, the treasury department, or a consortium of bankers, or nowadays e.g. the government of China – will come to their rescue when the market begins to fall. 'They' won't allow the market to decline!' 'They' won't allow a recession to occur!' 'They can't let the market go down in an election year!' All of these are often heard phrases. This brings us to today's markets. Nowadays, traders are not only not attempting to 'discount' anything, they are investing with their eyes firmly fixed on the rear-view mirror – they effectively trade on yesterday's news.
If you haven’t heard yet, the committee which is drafting the platform for next week’s US Republican National Convention has announced that they are including a proposal to return to the gold standard. Big news. Remember, a gold standard is a monetary system in which individual currency units are fixed to an amount of gold held by the government; under a gold standard, the paper money supply cannot be expanded without also increasing the amount of gold on hand. At present, the market value of the federal government’s gold holdings only amounts to about $250 billion which constitutes a mere 2.5% of US money supply. Clearly one of the key risks in this scenario is that the US government would need to acquire as much gold as they can get their hands on, likely through Roosewellian-style gold confiscation, and if so - the safest place for your gold is going to be a snug safety deposit box in a place like Hong Kong or Singapore.
Crony Socialism Strikes Back: Geithner Retaliates Against DeMarco; Accelerates Wind Down Of GSE Treasury BackingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/17/2012 07:41 -0500
Two weeks ago we reported in Geithner To DeMarco: "I Do Not Believe [Un-Socialism] Is The Best Decision For The Country" that TurboTax Tim did not take lightly to FHFA head Ed DeMarco's snubbing of the worst treasury secretary ever, when DeMarco refused to comply with Tim Geithner's "proposal" for mortgage principal reduction in effect forcing responsible taxpayers to bail out irresponsible ones. Lots of media posturing and free-market bashing ensued. Today, Tim has once again taken the offensive, and is announcing plans that the Treasury is accelerating the winddown of its backing of Fannie and Freddie and that going forward instead of a 10% dividend, the Treasury will be entitled to a "full income sweep" of the GSEs on behalf of the US Treasury. One can only hope that the loan loss reserve reduction which was the sole source of Fannie and Freddie "profit" (see Bank of America) will continue. And since it won't, it is once again Tim Geithner who ends up with the short end of the stick in his idiotic attempt to escalate a matter which is far beyond his meager comprehension skills. And here is the kicker: "The agreements require an accelerated reduction of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s investment portfolios. Those portfolios will now be wound down at an annual rate of 15 percent – an increase from the 10 percent annual reduction required in the previous agreements. As a result of this change, the GSEs’ investment portfolios must be reduced to the $250 billion target set in the previous agreements four years earlier than previously scheduled." Oops MBS market, unless of course there is someone who will miraculous step up and buy the "excess investment portfolio"... who could that be... who could that be? Ah yes: Giethner just greenlighted the MBS purchases (sorry MBS twist - no cookie for you) portfion of QE3. And finally, following today's unambiguous renationalization of the GSEs, does this mean that US debt is now $16+6 trillion or over $22 trillion courtesy of the GSEs which are now on the US balance sheet?
Proof Positive that Government's "Homeowner Relief" Programs Are Disguised Bank Bailouts ... Not Even AIMED at Helping HomeownerSubmitted by George Washington on 08/16/2012 18:02 -0500
Government Was Just Trying to "Foam the Runway" to Help Giant Banks
Fed and Treasury Irate at NY Bank Regulator's Vulgar Display of Public Diligence with Standard CharteredSubmitted by ilene on 08/08/2012 15:27 -0500
Only the little people are meant to suffer for their country.
Back in 2009 when the government sacrificed GM and Chrysler bondholders just so labor unions (read voters) can be made whole, the media, for various reasons, decided not to pursue the decision-making process that left some workers with their pensions wiped out, while others were made whole and suffered no losses (with a comparable lack of investigation being conducted as to the decisions that shuttered some Chrysler dealers, but left others operating, a topic Zero Hedge had some say over). In fact, as the Daily Caller reminds us "The White House and Treasury Department have consistently maintained that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) independently made the decision to terminate the 20,000 non-union Delphi workers’ pension plan...Former Treasury official Matthew Feldman and former White House auto czar Ron Bloom, both key members of the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry during the GM bailout, have testified under oath that the PBGC, not the administration, led the effort to terminate the non-union Delphi workers’ pension plan." Turns out they lied... Under oath.
When we started reading the LA Times article reporting that "the federal government has quietly been completing an audit of U.S. gold stored at the New York Fed" we couldn't help but wonder when the gotcha moment would appear. It was about 15 paragraphs in that we stumbled upon what we were waiting for: "The process involved about half a dozen employees of the Mint, the Treasury inspector general's office and the New York Fed. It was monitored by employees of the Government Accountability Office, Congress' investigative arm." In other words the Fed's gold is being audited... by the Treasury. Now our history may be a little rusty, but as far as we can remember, the last time the Fed was actually independent of the Treasury then-president Harry Truman fired not one but two Fed Chairmen including both Thomas McCabe as well as the man after whom the Fed's current residence is named: Marriner Eccles, culminating with the Fed-Treasury "Accord" of March 3, 1951 which effectively fused the two entities into one - a quasi independent branch of the US government, which would do the bidding of its "political", who in turn has always been merely a proxy for wherever the money came from (historically, and primarily, from Wall Street), which can pretend it is a "private bank" yet which is entirely subjugated to the crony interests funding US politicians (more on that below). But in a nutshell, the irony of the Treasury auditing the fed is like asking Libor Trade A to confirm that Libor Trader B was not only "fixing" the Libor rate correctly and accurately, but that there is no champagne involved for anyone who could misrepresent it the best within the cabal of manipulation in which the Nash Equilibrium was for everyone to commit fraud.