UPDATE: Added Romney's Bernanke-Busting Clip
With Romney's comments (that QE2 didn't work, that he doesn't back QE3, and that Bernanke should go) somewhat cornering the Fed-Head's decision-making, CNBC's Rick Santelli's comments this morning are even more prescient. The Chicago truth-sayer vociferously noted the increasingly politicized Federal Reserve actions, highlighting Schumer's recent 'demand' that Bernanke do his job. With Bullard this morning noting that muddle-through was not enough to justify the size of QE3 the market seems to be anticipating, it appears any actions by the Fed in the near-term can only be seen as political. The only way to justify any sizable NEW QE is then surely for the market to crash - and with Spain's no-bailout-soon, and Merkel back in the headlines, who knows what's possible. One thing is certain: under Romney the country will need a Fed Chairman. And if it is not Bernanke, despite Glenn Hubbard's promises yesterday, one very likely name will be Hubbard's close friend and co-author: Goldman's Bill Dudley, who now runs the NY Fed. One wonders which choice will be worse for the country (if not for gold longs) - the Chairsatan or Bill Dudley? Of course, look for Obama to retaliate and promise to para-drop dolla dolla billz if elected. Critically, the wizened ex-Gold trader Santelli notes the precious metal knows this and is acting as a barometer of anxiety in this stand-off.
Capital Markets Über Alles: What Mitt Romney's Economic Advisor, Goldman Sachs (And The NY Fed) Really ThinkSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/22/2012 11:09 -0400
When it comes to Glenn Hubbard, the man needs no introduction, at least to those who have watched the Charles Ferguson seminal movie 'Inside Job.' Indeed, the extensive connections of the Dean of the Columbia school of business to the financial industry is well known, a fact which served as the basis of Ferguson's question: just how corrupt is America's elite educational establishment, and just how much of a factor in the perpetuation of the status quo is Wall Street's puppet control over each generation of rising financial and economic thinkers. For those who are unaware, Hubbard also happens to be presidential candidate Mitt Romney's top economic advisor. The reason why Hubbard has suddenly made the headlines, is because of his overnight statement that contrary to what the potential future president has said, namely that Bernanke's days would be numbered under a Romney presidency, and that the Fed would be audited, Glenn has taken the other side of this argument, and told Reuters that Bernanke should "get every consideration" to stay beyond January 2014, when Ben's term expires. But why? Well, for the answer to this particular question, we have to go back to that long ago year 2004, when Glenn Hubbard together with current Fed president, and former chief Goldman chief economist Bill Dudley, authored a white paper bearing the Goldman sachs logo, titled "How Capital Markets Enhance Economic Performance and Facilitate Job Creation." In a word: for Mr. Hubbard (as well as for Mr. Dudley, Goldman Sachs, and thus, the New York Fed) it is all about the capital markets.
How far is the Fed from reaching the bottom of its ammunition box? Well, both Mario Draghi and Ben Bernanke said no to yet more monetary stimulus recently. Wall Street unsurprisingly was disappointed. Wall Street expected more stimulus, as institutional investors are analyzing monetary policy from their own perspective rather than the central bank's viewpoint – understandable, but a big mistake. Wall Street's Conundrum: with the S&P 500 up less than 7% in 2012, the year is almost over, and the investment firms have little to show for it.
Up until now we were a lone voice in the wilderness, with our "dry-humored" Transatlantic colleagues, working for a newspaper funded with Goldman Sachs advertisements, periodically mocking our "misunderstanding" of credit and money creation. We are now delighted that none other than one of the foremost opinions on all topics "shadow" stood up this week, and admitted that indeed, it is Zero Hedge whose view on money creation is the correct one. Behold several absolutely critical observations by Citi's Matt King. The same Matt King who a week before the collapse of Lehman wrote "Are The Brokers Broken" and explained to all those who had heretofore been reading and basing their understanding of finance on the above-mentioned Transatlantic newspaper, why everything they know about the modern financial system is wrong. Lehman filed for bankruptcy 12 days later. Unless and until this $3.8 trillion 'shadow banking' hole is plugged, one thing is certain: risk is not going anywhere.
Two years ago, in August of 2010, Ben Bernanke pre-announced QE2 at the annual Jackson Hole economic policy symposium. What followed was a 20% spike in the stock market as the impact of another liquidity deluge was digested by the market, leading to such luminaries as Tepper to make his first ever TV appearance telling everyone he was "balls to the wall" long. The QE effect came and went, and Tepper made money, and then lost it, as QE2 was followed by Twist, and then by more easing out of Europe, including a global coordinated intervention. This year, as the US and global economies have been floundering, the Fed has so far disappointed, and despite a "mere" continuation of Twist, has so far refused to implement the same bazooka measure that it did 2 years ago, no doubt well aware that doing so would merely confirm that every successive intervention has less of an impact, and last about half as long as each previous one (as we demonstrated over the weekend). The market, however, like the honey badger, does not care: and with stocks trading just shy of 2012 highs, and with Crude having soared by 20% since July, and with Brent at 3 month highs, is very much convinced that the imminent Jackson Hole symposium of 2012 will be a repeat of 2010, and Bernanke will announce something (and if not, there is always September, and if the disappoints then there is October, and December - in a world addicted to Fed liquidity the only thing that matters is when is the next fix). So what happened in the last run up to the 2010 Jackson Hole meeting? Here is a visual and factual summary.
Weekend economic indices of dubious value
Chautauqua Notes | Ethical Challenges of Finally Fixing the Financial Crisis: Fair Deals vs. New DealsSubmitted by rcwhalen on 08/09/2012 07:48 -0400
From the perspective of ethics, the fiscal profligacy of the US government and related behavior in the private sector is the cause of the financial crisis
"At this juncture . . . the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime markets seems likely to be contained" - Ben Bernanke, March 28, 2007
"I don’t think student loans are a financial stability issue to the same extent that, say, mortgage debt was in the last crisis because most of it is held not by financial institutions but by the federal government" - Ben Bernanke, August 7, 2012
Please mark your calendars accordingly as yesterday the Chairman just guaranteed that student loans will be cause for the next "financial stability issue."
The lunatics are running the asylum. This is the only conclusion one can come to when considering the nonchalance with which what was once considered an extraordinary policy with a firm 'exit' in mind is now propagated as a perfectly normal 'tool' to be employed at the drop of a hat. We refer of course to so-called 'quantitative easing' (QE), which really is a euphemism for money printing. Apart from his sole focus on short term outcomes, an important point that seems not be considered by the FOMC's Rosengren this week is the question of what should happen if the 'open-ended' QE policy were to fail to achieve its stated goals. He seems to assume that it will succeed in lowering unemployment and creating 'economic growth' as a matter of course. It goes without saying that money printing cannot create a single molecule of real wealth. If it could, then Zimbabwe wouldn't be a basket case, but a Utopia of riches. We must infer from Rosengren's idea of implementing open-ended QE until certain benchmarks in terms of unemployment and 'growth' are achieved, that in case they remain elusive, extraordinary rates of money printing would simply continue until the underlying monetary system breaks down.
Putting our trust and faith in a few unelected bureaucrats and bankers, who use their obscene wealth to buy off politicians in writing the laws and regulations to favor them has proven to be a death knell for our country. The captured main stream media proclaims these men to be heroes and saviors of the world, when they are truly the villains in this episode. These are the men who unleashed the frenzy of Wall Street greed and pillaging by repealing Glass Steagall, blocking Brooksley Born’s efforts to regulate derivatives, encouraging mortgage fraud, not enforcing existing regulations, and creating speculative bubbles through excessively low interest rates and making it known they would bailout recklessness. They have created an overly complex tangled financial system so they could peddle propaganda to the math challenged American public without fear of being caught in their web of lies. Big government, big banks and big legislation like Dodd/Frank and Obamacare are designed to benefit the few at the expense of the many. The system has been captured by a plutocracy of self-serving men. They don’t care about you or your children. We are only given 80 years, or so, on this earth and our purpose should be to sustain our economic and political system in a balanced way, so our children and their children have a chance at a decent life. Do you trust that is the purpose of those in power today? Should we trust the jackals and grifters who got us into this mess, to get us out?
The idea of “collapse”, social and financial, comes with an incredible array of hypothetical consequences ranging from public dissent and martial law, to the complete disintegration of infrastructure and the devolution of mankind into a swarm of mindless arm chewing cannibals. In an age of television nirvana and cinema overload, I have found that the collective unconscious of our culture has now defined what collapse is based only on the most narrow of extremes. If they aren’t being hunted down by machete wielding looters or swastika wearing jackboots, then the average American dupe figures that the country is not in much danger. Hollywood fantasy has blinded us to the tangible crises at our doorstep. In 2012, we still await that trigger event, which I believe will be the announcement of QE3 (or any unlimited stimulus program regardless of title), and the final debasement of the dollar. At the beginning of this year, I pointed out that we were likely to see such an announcement before 2012 was out, and it would seem that the private Federal Reserve is right on track. Last month, the Fed announced that it was formulating a plan to “expand its tool kit”.
Eventually — because the costs of the deleveraging trap makes organicy growth very difficult — the debt will either be forgiven, inflated or defaulted away. Endless rounds of tepid QE (which is debt additive, and so adds to the debt problem) just postpone that difficult decision. The deleveraging trap preserves the value of past debts at the cost of future growth. Under the harsh discipline of a gold standard, such prevarication is not possible. Without the ability to inflate, overleveraged banks, individuals and governments would default on their debt. Income would rapidly fall, and economies would likely deflate and become severely depressed. Yet liquidation is not all bad. The example of 1907 — prior to the era of central banking — illustrates this. Although liquidation episodes are painful, the clear benefit is that a big crash and depression clears out old debt. Under the present regimes, the weight of old debt remains a burden to the economy.
Human nature hasn’t changed in centuries. We have faith that humanity has progressed, but the facts prove otherwise. We are a species susceptible to the passions of power, greed, delusion, and an inflated sense of our own intellectual superiority. And we still like to kill each other in the name of country and honor. There is nothing progressive about crashing the worldwide economic system and invading countries for “our” oil. History has taught that there will forever be manias, bubbles and the subsequent busts, but how those in power deal with these episodes has been and will be the determining factor in the future of our economic system and country. Humanity is deeply flawed; the average human life is around 80 years; men of stature, wealth, over-confidence in their superior intellect, and egotistical desire to leave their mark on history, always rise to power in government and the business world; this is why history follows a cyclical path and the myth of human progress is just a fallacy.
When it comes to building wealth, muddying the difference between perception and reality is the key manipulation tool that banksters use to goad people into wrong choices.
America is now exactly 5 months away from the day the US Fiscal cliff will crater the economy unless a Congress which has never been as partisan as it is currently agrees to collaborate and delay the day of reckoning. This is very unlikely to happen before the presidential elections for obvious reasons, and it is even more unlikely to happen after the elections when politicians demonstrate just why the term "graceful loser" has never existed when describing what happens in D.C. So what would happen to the US economy if and when January 1, 2013 rolls in and nothing has changed, and how does this differ from the consensus? The chart below from BofA answers that particular question, and brings up a new one: even if the Fed goes ahead with more NEW QE today or in September, if the "cliff" consensus really is as wrong as it very well may be, will the Fed have no choice but to follow up its easing at this FOMC meeting or the next with another one immediately following? And is this precisely the one consideration for Ben Bernanke, who realizes very well that if financial conditions, read the Russell 2000, are relaxed just in time for the crucial decision on Bush Tax Cut extension, then absolutely nothing will happen, forcing the Fed to continue being the sole source of "stimulus" in America. Of course, in that case expect nothing from the Fed not only in in August and September, but well into 2013.