If party politics are weak, muddled, and contradictory, the divisions between Americans are starkly clear: wealth in America has never been so unevenly distributed — the fabled one percent versus everyone else. Despite the election of a mixed-race president, and the wish-fulfillment fantasies of Hollywood, race relations in the USA remain tense. Divisions between men and women are tragically compounded by the dangerous dynamics of work in America that leave many men (especially men) in a vacuum of purpose, meaning, and potency. It is almost impossible these days for low-skilled men to support a family. The indignity of this thunders through broken communities and the penitentiary cellblocks. The ongoing national culture war pits the “traditional values” faction against the sexual libertarians; the red states against the blue states; urban against the conflated suburban and rural; the Christian fundamentalists against an array of other positions and belief groups; the entitlement “socialists” against the “free market” conservatives. Perhaps most divisive of all will be the schism between the young and the old over the table scraps of the dying industrial economy.
Risk is an ever-present characteristic of life; it cannot be eliminated, it can only be masked or hedged. We know this intuitively, yet we blithely accept official assurances that risk can be eliminated by the monetary machinations of the Federal Reserve, the Central Bank of China, the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank. To confuse masking risk with the elimination of risk is the acme of hubris and the perfect setup for disaster.
"The powers of financial capitalism had (a) far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland; a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank... sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world." - Carroll Quigley, member of the Council on Foreign Relations
If policymakers were gunfighters, they’d be out of bullets: They have run out of effective policy tools to improve the economy.
So the question is simple: If there is a recession in 2014, and policymakers are out of bullets, how will it play out across the American economy?
They will try the head-fake taper. They must. It will be backstopped by and saturated in statistical lying, and everyone will have trouble parsing the probable effect because the chronic dishonesty loose in this land will have deformed and impaired all metrics of true value. At the heart of whatever remains of this economy is fire, and the officers of the Federal Reserve are playing with it. Pretty soon, we’ll get the un-taper, the final surrender to the crack-up boom that awaits before the western world has to go medieval.
The spin does not get any better than this... As they reported they would,
- *LEW SAYS U.S. SOLD ALL REMAINING SHARES OF GENERAL MOTORS RECOUPING $39 BLN OF ORIGINAL GM INVESTMENT
That is a $10.5 Billion loss! But, The Center for Automotive Research, a Michigan nonprofit organization that analyzes auto industry issues, those funds “saved or avoided the loss of $105.3 billion in transfer payments and the loss of personal and social insurance tax collections -- or 768% of the net investment.” We can't wait to hear how much Bill Ackman made or saved on his Herbalife investment...
Rebellious Fed head Lacker fired at “implicit guarantees” to bail out bank creditors. Covered liabilities, the size of US GDP.
A zombie government armed with accounting tricks has bailed out a zombie banking industry using even more financial phoniness. A few numbers pushed here and there, and the industry is earning record profits. But out in the real world where people live and work, things aren't so rosy. Zombies make negligent landlords and dangerous neighbors.
Since the Financial Crisis erupted in 2007, the US Federal Reserve has engaged in dozens of interventions/ bailouts to try and prop up the financial system. Now, I realize that everyone knows the Fed is “printing money.” However, when you look at the list of bailouts/ money pumps it’s absolutely staggering how much money the Fed has thrown around.
If one was a foreigner visiting for the first time, one would think Space Available was the hot new retailer in the country. Thousands of Space Available signs dot the bleak landscape, as office buildings, strip malls, and industrial complexes wither and die. At least the Chinese "Space Available" sign manufacturers are doing well. The only buildings doing brisk business are the food banks and homeless shelters. However, reports like the recent one from SNL Financial – Branch Networks Continue to Shrink - are emblematic of the mal-investment spurred by the Federal Reserve easy money policies, zero interest rates, and QEternity... In a truly free, non-manipulated market the weak would be culled, new dynamic competitors would fill the void, and consumers would benefit. However, extending debt payment schedules of the largest zombie entities and pretending you will get paid has been the mantra of the insolvent zombie Wall Street banks since 2009.
Meet The Man Responsible For Regulating $234 Trillion In Derivatives: The CFTC's New Head Timothy MassadSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/12/2013 11:38 -0400
It's official - goodbye Gary Gensler, we hardly knew you... as a commodities regulator that is, although Bart Chilton (who is finally also stepping down due to being too burdened by lack of funding to actually do anything) was kind enough to provide much needed perspective on how the CFTC truly works. In place of the former Goldmanite, today Obama will announce that going forward America's top derivative regulator and CFTC head will be Timothy Massad, the Treasury Department official responsible for overseeing the U.S. rescue of banks and automakers after the credit crisis.
The MSM did their usual spin job on the consumer credit data released earlier this week. They reported a 5.4% increase in consumer debt outstanding to an all-time high of $3.051 trillion. In the Orwellian doublethink world we currently inhabit, the consumer taking on more debt is seen as a constructive sign. The storyline being sold by the corporate MSM propaganda machine, serving the establishment, is that consumers’ taking on debt is a sure sign of economic recovery. They must be confident about the future and rolling in dough from their new part-time jobs as Pizza Hut delivery men. Plus, they are now eligible for free healthcare, compliments of Obama, once they can log-on. Of course, buried at the bottom of the Federal Reserve press release and never mentioned on CNBC or the other dying legacy media outlets is the facts and details behind the all-time high in consumer credit. They count on the high probability the average math challenged American has no clue regarding the distinction between revolving and non-revolving credit or who controls the distribution of such credit. A shocking fact (to historically challenged government educated drones) revealed by the Federal Reserve data is that credit card debt did not exist prior to 1968. How could people live their lives without credit cards? 1968 marked a turning point for America...
Do you remember the $700 billion bailout of the financial system in 2008? It seems these days that most investors do not. People are partying like it’s 1929… as if all the issues and challenges that plagued the banking sector just a few years ago have miraculously vanished. This thinking is absurd, and even a casual glance at the balance sheets of so many banks in the West shows objectively that the entire system is still precariously leveraged, undercapitalized, and illiquid. In the wake of the bailout, Congress created a special position to oversee how the funds were spent. Like anything else in government, they used an unnecessarily long name followed by a catchy acronym – Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or SIGTARP. SIGTARP just released its quarterly report to Congress… and it’s scatching, suggesting that “the toxic corporate culture that led up to the crisis and TARP has not sufficiently changed.”
It is a common view that the shutdown, the debt-limit debacle and the repeated failure to enact entitlement and pro-growth tax reform reflect increased political polarization. John Taylor believes this gets the causality backward. Today's governance failures are closely connected to economic policy changes, particularly those growing out of the 2008 financial crisis. Despite a massive onslaught of legislation and regulation designed to foster prosperity, economic growth remains low and unemployment remains high. Claiming that one political party has been hijacked by extremists misses this key point, and prevents a serious discussion of the fundamental changes in economic policies in recent years, and their effects.
While the biggest problem facing US bands is lack of demand (and supply, since it is far more profitable for banks to "invest" reserves in risk assets using excess deposits as initial margin) for loans, Japan doesn't have such a problem. At least not, when the loans are made to "gangsters" such as the Yakuza. AFP reports that executives at Mizuho Financial Group, one of Japan's largest banks, knew the firm was doing business with gangsters but failed to stop it, a panel said Monday, as Japan's finance minister slammed the banking giant over the affair. The bank has been in the public spotlight since it emerged last month that it processed hundreds of loans worth about $2 million for the country's notorious yakuza crime syndicates. And while in the US the punishment for banks caught in criminal behavior is a simple slap on the wrist and a settlement paid using TARP money, in Japan bank CEO still have some semblance of honor. Bloomberg adds that in the aftermath of the revelations, Mizuho's president Yasuhiro Sato will give up six months of pay ahead of more penalties, and will resign his Chairmanship at Mizuho Bank while keeping the post at the parent company. Some 52 other current executives will also be penalized.