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.
Alasdair explains how his "Fiat Money Quantity" (FMQ) is derived, as well as what it can tell us about the true levels of fiat money supply. In the case of the dollar, it reveals that levels are far above what is commonly appreciated – so far, in fact, that a currency crisis could arrive sooner than even many dollar bears expect... and how horribly mispriced gold remains.
TedBits - Newsletter
David Stockman, author of The Great Deformation, summarizes the last quarter century thus: What has been growing is the wealth of the rich, the remit of the state, the girth of Wall Street, the debt burden of the people, the prosperity of the beltway and the sway of the three great branches of government - that is, the warfare state, the welfare state and the central bank...
What is flailing is the vast expanse of the Main Street economy where the great majority have experienced stagnant living standards, rising job insecurity, failure to accumulate material savings, rapidly approach old age and the certainty of a Hobbesian future where, inexorably, taxes will rise and social benefits will be cut...
He calls this condition "Sundown in America".
What if the Treasury were to go over the X date (date beyond which the Treasury cannot honor all its payments) without the debt ceiling being raised? As BofAML notes, the Treasury estimates the X date to be October 17, though they believe that the Treasury may have enough cash and incoming tax receipts to last a few more days. In either case, the date is not too far out. Market concerns over possible postponed payment have been rising as indicated by the performance of October and November bills. What are the options of for the Treasury?
72% of the poor and 71% of the middle-class believe government policies (fiscal and monetary) have done little or nothing to help them. Of course, this will be eschewed by the academics (as Santelli recently exclaimed regarding the arrogance of the intellectuals) because "the people" just don't get it. But when 69% of all Americans, according a new Pew study, say large banks and financial institutions have benefited the most from post-recession government policies; communications policies are going badly awry. Despite a surging stock market, exploding home prices, and low rates spurring all kinds of subprime auto loan exuberance, there has been little change in these perceptions since July 2010.
"The government’s bailout plan destroyed capitalism. In a capitalist system, those who stood to gain–and already made off with large gains—would have to bear the risk. The bailouts represented a corruption of capitalism. Crony capitalism violates the spirit of democracy established by the Founding Fathers of the republic known as the United States." - Janet Tavakoli
All of the suffering and hardships the majority of Americans are experiencing today are directly related to the coup pulled off by the crony financial oligarchs in the fall of 2008, and all of the media and political minions that helped them do it. People realize we have become a Banana Republic and they have now lost all hope.
It is undeniable that America is thoroughly addicted to fiat stimulus. Every aspect of our economy, from stocks, to bonds, to banks, and by indirect extension main street, is now utterly dependent on the continued 24/7 currency creation bonanza. The stock market no longer rallies to the tune of increased retail sales, growing export markets or improved employment expectations. In fact, “good” economic news today is met with panic and market sell-offs! Why? Because investors and banks still playing equities understand full well that any sign of fiscal improvement might mean the end of the private Federal Reserve’s QE pajama party. They know that without the Fed’s opiate-laced lifeline, the economy dies a fast and painful death. All mainstream economic news currently revolves around the Fed, as pundits clamor to divine whether the latest signals mean the free money will flow, trickle, or dry up. At the edge of the Federal Reserve’s 100th anniversary, it is vital that we see the current developments for what they really are – history changing, in a fashion so violent they are apt to scar America forever.
A decisive tipping point in the evolution of American capitalism and democracy - the triumph of crony capitalism - took place on October 3, 2008. That was the day of the forced march approval on Capitol Hill of the $700 billion TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) bill to bail out Wall Street. This spasm of financial market intervention, including multi-trillion-dollar support lines provided to the big banks and financial companies by the Federal Reserve, was but the latest brick in the foundation of a fundamentally anti-capitalist régime known as “Too Big to Fail” (TBTF). It had been under construction for many decades, but now there was no turning back. The Wall Street bailouts of 2008 shattered what little remained of the old-time fiscal rules. There was no longer any pretense that the free market should determine winners and losers and that tapping the public treasury requires proof of compelling societal benefit.
"When it comes to market events, there have been no impactful black swans - the so-called unexpected 'tail events," Mark Spitznagel notes in his excellent new book, The Dao Of Capital: Austrian Investing in a Distorted World, explaining that, "what were unseen by most, were indeed highly foreseeable" by others. The Fed planted the seeds for the last financial crisis and "when you prevent the natural balancing act, you get growth that shouldn't be happening."
The financial crisis of 2008 could have been the wake-up tall that, like the Yellowstone fires of 1988, alerted so-called managers to the dangers of trying to override the natural governors of the system. Instead, the Federal Reserve, with its head "ranger," Ben Bernanke, has deluded itself into thinldng ft has tamped down every little smolder from becoming a destructive blaze, but instead all it has done is poured the unnatural fertilizer of liquidity onto a morass of overgrown malinvestment making a even more highly flammable. One day - likely sooner than later, it will burn, and when that happens, the Fed will be sorely lackng in buckets and shovels and must succumb to the flames.
While unlikely to surprise too many people, the chairman of the ironically-named "MainStreet Bank" used over one-third of the TARP-supplied funds his bank received to buy himself a luxury home. Darryl Woods plead guilty to using $381,000 of the TARP funds to buy waterfront Florida property "at a time when many Americans were losing their homes," the US District Attorney exclaimed. Disgustingly, Mr Woods had previously written to TARP regulators describing Mainstreet as a small community bank and saying the funds "will provide vitally needed infusions to a bleeding patient." As The BBC reports, his wrongdoing was uncovered when regulators began examining how the money was used - which has so far uncovered 140 cases of misused funds...
Traditionally, metals markets are supposed to be a solid fundamental signal of the physical and psychological health of our overall economy. Steady but uneventful commodities trade meant a generally healthy industrial base and consumption base. An extreme devaluation was a signal of deflation in consumer demand and a flight to currencies. Extreme price hikes meant a flight from normal assets and currencies in the wake of possible hyperinflation. This is how gold and silver markets were originally designed to function – however, welcome you to the wacky world of 2013, where bad financial news is met with the cheers of investors who believe stimulus will last forever, where foreign investors dump the U.S. dollar in bilateral trade while mainstream dupes argue that the Greenback is invincible, and where everyone and their uncle seems to be buying precious metals yet the official market value continues to plunge. The reason our entire fiscal system now operates in a backwards manner is due to one simple truth - every major indicator of our economy today is manipulated by our central bank...
When Bad Government Policy Leads to Bad Results, the Government Manipulates the Data … Instead of Changing PolicySubmitted by George Washington on 07/30/2013 14:09 -0500
Problem ... What Problem?