From Mark Grant, author of Out of the Box
Leaving Ponzi In The Dust
“Ideas are indeed the most dangerous weapons in the world.”
-Justice William O. Douglas
I am about to walk into a highly speculative and somewhat dangerous place. I make the journey though because when all the options for explanation are exhausted whatever is left; must be the truth. There have been a lot comments about Europe indicating various Ponzi schemes and Ponzi bonds but it is now evident to me that we have not looked hard enough; long enough. Our range has been diminished by the sheer size of Europe’s undertaking and we have not dared to regard all of the facts as one all-encompassing plan in the fear of what we might find by doing so. So today I square up and look into the maw of the Beast and describe what I think is staring back at me.
The European Central Bank prints money and hands it to the banks in undiminished size and at an interest rate which compels massive carry trades. The European banks buy sovereign debt that helps to lower the price of the sovereign’s funding costs, the banks use some of the money to increase their own capital and lend some of the money to individuals and corporations in the nations where they are domiciled. The money gets used and eventually dries up and a some of the capital is used to come into compliance with Basel III. The yields of the periphery nations fall but then begin to rise again. Germany, using Target-2, keeps lending money to the other central banks which use part of the money to support their currency, the Euro. The circle is then completed and the equity markets, notably in America, trade off of the strength of the Euro and some days at almost a point by point movement. Never before in the history of the world has such a grand scheme been implemented and in such an all-encompassing fashion. The unlimited amount of money that is available, because they can print all the money they want, has allowed Europe to game the world’s financial system while no one looked or caught on to the scheme. The world’s fiscal system has been rigged by Europe.
In the past, when countries such as Peru or Argentina hit the wall and defaulted; they did not have enough capital to overcome the rest of the players in the financial markets and so this Ponzi manipulation could not be done. Now with Europe utilizing all of the assets of a Continent; the pipedream of absolute control can be exercised by the State with the only dangers being the United States, China, an accurate IMF, investors opting out of buying Europe’s debt and the ratings agencies. This is why then that Europe is so vicious when it comes to the ratings agencies; because they are out of their control and one element that could sink the ship. Europe has minimized America and China by the natural fears of nation-states realizing the potential wreckage that could be done to their national economies from Europe’s duress. Europe has minimized the IMF by one of their own in charge and by supplying manufactured numbers that leads to each and every projection done by the IMF for Europe to be far past wildly optimistic as Europe manipulates their own data. The Great Game has now been rigged past any attempt ever made before but real numbers eventually catch up with falsified numbers I can assure you. It may take some time ,the falsification may not be readily apparent, but the truth eventually rears it grizzled head. There will be a point when so many institutions will no longer buy European debt and when the balance sheet at the ECB terrifies everyone and the demands of austerity drive nation after nation into throwing out their governments and replacing them with politicians who want to protect their own country and not fantasize about any European visions or, in the darker case, the people revolt against their government in some kind of violent manner that the construct sinks under its own mountain of debt. To continually pay off old debt with larger and larger amounts of new debt eventually has serious consequences. In the case of the recent LTRO, to get the same results, you would have to double the size with $1.2 trillion paying off the old debt and $1.2 trillion being used for the same purposes of the original monetary easing so that the balance sheet at the ECB would balloon to $5.2 trillion.
“Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men.”
There are a number of logical reasons why the central banks in Europe buoy the Euro and the first and foremost is that Oil/Energy trades in Dollars so at 1.32 euros to the Dollar Europe has a 32% discount when buying Oil/Energy. This method also allow Europe to buy American goods at a 32% discount so that their imports are cheap while they trade with themselves and Asia at the rate of the Euro and then finance themselves through the ECB and Target-2. They have, in fact, created a closed system that they try to maintain at ANY cost. No government in the history of the planet has been able to close off the financial circle in such a fashion but without growth or Inflation the paradigm cannot go on indefinitely as the ratings agencies and then investors opine upon the scheme.
The construct which supports the European Union is also coming under fire. It is not, I assure you, that there is no mechanism for a country to leave the Eurozone that stops any nation from departing. This is similar to Chancellor Merkel’s nonsensical comment last Friday that the new EU fiscal pact cannot be renegotiated. Of course the fiscal pact can be changed and changed anytime enough governments want to change it. A country can leave the EU anytime they wish to leave. The reasons that nations do not leave can be found in both the carrot and the stick of the manner that the European Union is structured. The carrot is open borders, open trade, financing by the ECB and Germany and available capital if a country has fiscal difficulties. The stick is a loss of trading partners, isolation from the rest of Europe and a lack of financing by the core nations. However, and I point to Greece specifically, when you have borrowed all you can borrow and your begging falls on deaf ears then it is your benefit to depart because you have gotten all you are going to get and then the ECB, the EIB and the IMF are stuck with the consequences of Greece’s sizeable debts that will finally have to be recognized with quite dire consequences for those institutions.
In the short term the greatest pain will most likely be felt in Spain. There is no way out for this country any longer. They are experiencing a deep recession, unemployment that may lead to social unrest and any further attempts at austerity will only lead to even worse economic conditions. Here is one more example of a funding country that is about to be a funded country and the size of the bailout will strain Europe in a manner that cannot yet be accurately contemplated.
I suspect the biggest surprise though will come in Germany. Berlin has done all that it can do exempt itself from the recession that is sweeping across Europe but they have just about run out of tools to exempt themselves. All of the austerity measures and all of the fiscal restraints that they have imposed upon the rest of Europe undoubtedly result in one specific consequence and this is a severe lessening in Demand. Providing financing for that which is not sought is irrelevant in the end and as Demand for goods and services dries up across the Continent then Germany will begin to feel the pain as well and join the rest of its neighbors in recession. With no growth it will come down to a choice between declining economics or Inflation and if there is one country that is allergic to Inflation it is Germany and so the choice will come late, will be agonizing and will lead to a massive political re-structuring where I suspect it will come to “Germany for the Germans” and a rise in political parties that represent that vision.
When it comes to the European debt to GDP ratios or the financial projections that are never, ever accurate or the ascertations made by the politicians that each and every country in Europe is on sound footing never forget the basis for German logic. It is grounded in what they have learned during the last one hundred years and as the “wink, blink and nod” mentality in Sothern Europe has not changed; neither has the German manner of thinking either.
"Propaganda must not investigate the truth objectively and, in so far as it is favorable to the other side, present it according to the theoretical rules of justice; yet it must present only that aspect of the truth which is favorable to its own side…The receptive powers of the masses are very restricted, and their understanding is feeble. On the other hand, they quickly forget. Such being the case, all effective propaganda must be confined to a few bare essentials and those must be expressed as far as possible in stereotyped formulas. These slogans should be persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward…Every change that is made in the subject of a propagandist message must always emphasize the same conclusion. The leading slogan must of course be illustrated in many ways and from several angles, but in the end one must always return to the assertion of the same formula."
-He that MUST not be Named