Although I never thought it was possible, it makes me angry to write this book review. I'm not angry because I don't like the book. On the contrary, this is the best economics book I've ever read. Indeed, it may be the best and most influential book I've ever read in my life. I only wish I had read it the moment it was published in April 2013.
Practically since the day Lehman went down in September 2008 Washington has been conducting a monumental farce. It has been pretending to up-root the causes of the thundering financial crisis which struck that month and to enact measures insuring that it would never happen again. In fact, however, official policy has done just the opposite. The Fed’s massive money printing campaign has perpetuated and drastically enlarged the Wall Street casino, making the pre-crisis gamblers in CDOs, CDS and other derivatives appear like pikers compared to the present momentum chasing madness. In a nutshell, the Fed’s prolonged regime of ZIRP and wealth effects based “puts” under risk assets has destroyed two-way markets.
The market is extremely tired and the systemic risks underlying the Financial Crisis are in no way resolved. With investor complacency (as measured by the VIX) at record lows, the Fed withdrawing several of its more significant market props, and low participation coming from the larger institutions, this market is ripe for a serious correction.
The end game of three decades of excess is upon us, and we can't deny the weight of the debt imbalances that are currently in play. The medicine that the current administration is prescribing is a treatment for the common cold; in this case a normal business cycle recession. The problem is that the patient is suffering from a "debt cancer," and until the proper treatment is prescribed and implemented; the patient will most likely continue to suffer.
“It’s going to get a lot hotter in the United States over the next 100 years, and worse going forward," notes a report cited by Bloomberg.The report, below, fearmongers the mutually assured destruction that will happen if something is not done right now about global warming (despite the implications being out to the year 2200) concluding... "The risks are much more perverse and cruel than we saw with the financial crisis, because they accumulate over time...a business-as-usual approach is actually radical risk-taking." Can you guess who sponsored the report and used those M.A.D. words?
Obamacare, the Stimulus, TARP, Fast and Furious, support of the Egyptian regime change, Libyan Leading from Behind, four American killed in Benghazi, blaming a video for the Benghazi attacks, the IRA targeting, NSA email and phone file storage, Syrian Red Line, the Russian takeover of Crimea, the VA handling of veterans, release of Taliban terrorists from Guantanamo, the onslaught of children crossing the Mexican border, two years of lost emails of the key IRS individual and now Iraq. I can’t imagine any previous U.S. President having so many scandals attributed to his administration and virtually none of them adequately answered or resolved.
It's possible to describe Rep.Eric Cantor as a serial sell-out. But that would be giving an unprincipled politician driven by an unalloyed ambition to climb the greasy pole of Washington power too much credit. In truth, Cantor never campaigned for any recognizable principle; he merely maneuvered his way to the top of the House GOP hierarchy by following in the tawdry footsteps of modern GOP bagmen like Tom DeLay and Roy Blunt. Eric Cantor made a career of milking the Warfare State and pandering to Wall Street. This brought him nearly to the top of the Washington heap. But in the end, it did not fool his constituents. And most certainly it set back the conservative cause immeasurably.
Timothy Geithner is likely to go down in American history as one of the most dangerous, destructive cronies to have ever wielded government power. The man is so completely and totally full of shit it’s almost impossible not to notice. The last thing we’d ever want to do in our free time is read a lengthy book filled with Geithner lies and propaganda, so we owe a large debt of gratitude to former Congressional staffer Matt Stoller for doing it for us. Stoller simply tears Geither apart limb from limb, detailing obvious lies about the financial crisis, and even more interestingly, Geithner’s bizarre bio, replete with mysterious and inexplicable promotions into positions of power..."Geithner is at heart a grifter, a petty con artist with the right manners and breeding to lie at the top echelons of American finance..."
Bailing out banks is not hard when a nation has a sovereign currency and the banks’ debts are denominated in that currency.
Never in a million years did we think we’d ever use an article by Andrew Ross Sorkin as the basis of a blog post, but here we are. While probably entirely unintentional, his article serves to further solidify as accurate the prevailing notion across America that former head of the New York Federal Reserve and Obama’s first Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, is nothing more than an addled, crony, bureaucratic banker cabin boy. Simply put, "Geithner is so bad, he actually makes Larry Summers look good."
Wall Street is back in the business of lending money at the Fed’s gifted rate of zero plus a modest 80 basis point spread - so that the fast money can buy CLO paper on 9 to 1 leverage. There is your triple shuffle. It didn’t work out last time, but that doesn’t matter because the game is obvious. After enough buying on Wall Street’s triple leverage, junk loan prices might temporarily rebound. Then the brokers will put out the call to retail: The junk loan asset class is rebounding - its time to come back. For the final shearing, that is!
Reflecting on the divergence between equities at all time-highs and drastically sliding bond yields, CNBC's Rick Santelli reminds that it seems bonds recognize that business cycles work in "fits and starts" and not in straight-lines as some (equity bulls) would believe and reminds (as we noted previously) that with revisions, Q1 GDP could be negative. His discussion moves from US Treasury 'cheapness' relative to global bonds and the 'weather' effect's over-exuberant expectations; but it is his final topic that raised an eyebrow or two. Santelli doesn't buy into the meme that "the reason the Fed is doing all this is because Congress does nothing;" in fact, he exhorts, it's the opposite, if the Fed wasn't hunkered down supporting the stock market - and stocks started throwing little hissy fits (a la TARP), it would send signals... and things would get done!"
"...policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened...
...even when 80% of the population favored a particular public policy change, it was only instituted 43% of the time."
Public Service Annoucement: The Most Likely Armageddon Threat … Preventable for a Small Amount of Money
Just buy the book Damnit, it’s all in there.