As we witness the riotous dissolution of corrupted capitalism, we need not wait for the history books to identify the mile markers of self-destruction. If we are to rebuild capitalism, even as it is tearing itself down, then we will need to become street-smart detectives in analyzing the current economic murder-suicide in progress. Every fall has its tell-tale confirmations and corrupt capitalism is no exception. There arrive key points where a system’s own contradictions become so evident and self-damaging, where motive, means, and opportunity become so clear, that one can mount an informed, effective counter-offensive.
And so, the little rating agency that could, just gave Spain the triple hooks, downgrading the country from B to CCC+, negative outlook. As a reminder, the Uganda credit rating is B: it sure is no Spain.
So we now know that’s Spain’s political leaders will lie right up until the point of systemic collapse. We also know that both Spanish banks and politicians are highly incentivized to not quantify the true extent of the risks inherent in the Spanish banking system (remember, Bankia was discussing paying its dividend in April… just one month before it requested a bailout and revised its 2011 €309 million profit to a €3 billion loss). Thus, I would change the common phrase applied to the EU’s political/ financial policies from “extend and pretend” to “lie until you are about to die.”
The crony capitalist show must go on: those bribed by Jamie Dimon are about to ask question of the same person. That this theatrical hearing will be a farce is by now well known by absolutely everyone, as confirmed by the rumor that late last night someone ordered 22 copies of "Credit Default Swaps for Bought and Paid For Senatorial Muppet Idiots" from Amazon.com. In the off chance Dimon slips and does say something of significance, here is your chance to follow the next 2 hours live. Everyone else will be.
It is really rather pathetic. The Prime Minister of Spain today called for a deposit guarantee fund, pleaded for the EU to take over the budget of Spain and said Spain would cede its sovereignty over its banks. This is all just one thing; a cry for money and money at any cost. The poor fellow has obviously lost whatever self-respect that he had and is behaving no differently than some street urchin begging for alms. What can be seen from this kind of behavior is the desperate state that Spain is in and it is reflected in his desperate pleas for help. I would speculate that so much has been hidden and so many balance sheets falsified that Spain has suddenly found itself in a sea of their own making which could be termed, “Dire Straits.” When Rajoy termed the bailout for Spain as a “Victory for Europe” I knew that he had left “sense and sensibility” behind and headed into the land of Don Quixote where windmills were imagined to be giants and fantasy had replaced reality. The problem is, unlike the creation of Miguel Cervantes, this guy is the Prime Minister of Spain and not some aged senior chasing after the Knights Templar in his later years.
With all the buzz about the 'Fiscal Cliff' – that toxic combination of tax increases and spending cuts due to take hold in a few months – the subject of ongoing Federal budget deficits has fallen by the wayside. ConvergEx's Nic Colas believes that’s a temporary phenomenon, for Congress will have to hammer out agreements to raise the debt ceiling right alongside its negotiations over the 'Cliff' items. His back-of-the-envelope attempt to quantify how much a multi-year debt limit increase would run to take this burdensome legislative issue off the Congressional docket for 5, 10 or even 20 years is worrisome at best with a $3.4 trillion for the 5-year runway, but this assumes a high level of incremental taxation. The number could be as high as $4.5 trillion. As for the longer time horizon debt runways, think in terms of an incremental $6.5 -9.5 billion for a 10 and 20 year horizon. And without significant changes to taxes and/or spending, more. Much more.We cannot help but think about Paul Krugman as we ponder these numbers. His recent book, End this Depression Now, proposes that “A quick, strong recovery is just one step away, if our leaders can find the intellectual clarity and political will to end this depression now.” This “One step” is deficit spending that is orders of magnitude greater than anything spent already. We have no idea if he really believes any of this, since it is politically impossible, but he does have a Nobel (though so did the guys at LTCM).
Between discussions of gold-backed debt issuance in Europe (from Rick Santelli) and why Europe's problem is not merely a banking crisis but far worse (with the need for large-scale default and deleveraging as opposed to constant political intervention to makes things worse - quoting our earlier note on Italy's insanity), Michael Pento asks, rhetorically we pre-supposed: "What is wrong with letting the free markets work here? Let's let what is going to happen, happen!" But Bill Griffeth provides the truth-quote-of-the-day (in a stunning kimono-opening for the CNBC-watching public at large) when he opines on Pento's question that "There is not a single politician who hopes to let the free markets work and be reelected."
...and after all of those fancy acronoyms (ECB, EFSF, EU, ESM, ASS, BS, etc.), Italy is essentially just one big Greece. No, I'm not oversimplifying, just look at the bank bailout bailing out the insolvent country circular arguments!