Spoiler Alert: They’re mostly still in office (so much for building suspense).
On October 3, 2008, 338 elected officials (263 House reps, 74 Senators and 1 President) took it upon themselves to save America from certain financial doom by passing the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, completely ignoring the will of the American people, opting instead to fulfill a Thomas Jefferson prophesy:
“The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
A common theme among many of our insights is the reality that lurks behind the proposed perception of many of our economic, financial, and political leaders' projections. From Spain not needing a bailout to Juncker's lies, from Bernanke's transitory inflation to Dimon's not needing TARP, the list is endless. Artemis Capital, whose insights we have discussed here and here, use the metaphor of the impossible object (e.g. Penrose Triangle or Necker's Cube) to explore the role of perception in modern markets, monetary policy, and risk. In a world where global central banks manipulate the cost of risk, the mechanics of price discovery have disengaged from reality resulting in paradoxical expressions of value that should not exist according to efficient market theory. Fear and safety are now interchangeable in a speculative and high stakes game of perception. The market is no longer an expression of the economy... it is the economy; and common sense says do not trust your common sense.
Four years ago today, the Troubled Asset Relief Program was signed into law. We thought it timely to take stock of different asset price levels with respect to that magnificent day in the history of our country as well as how a broad cross-section of global asset markets have performed relative to their pre-crisis peaks. Of the major US banks, Wells Fargo has done the best (-2.3%) while BofA and Citi are worst (down ~80%). As Goldman notes, two features stand out when we look at the broad markets: asset markets that have outperformed and are closer to pre-crisis peaks are either ‘defensive’ in some way, or have benefited inadvertently from the ‘Great Easing’ in response to the crisis. From precious metals and Swedish and Canadian house prices at the top to European bank stocks and US Growth at the bottom; 'hard assets' and 'defensives' combined with central bank yield compression has, as we would expect, dominated performance.
Indeed, it is now clear, via QE 3, that the Fed has gone “all in” in its commitment to money printing. QE 2 put food prices to record highs… what do you think QE 3 (which is unlimited) will do to the cost of living?
We'll fare better than you...
So, the Fed has failed to improve the economy… but it has unleashed inflation. This is called STAGFLATION folks. And the fact the Fed thinks the answer to it is printing more money tells us point blank: things are going to be getting a lot worse in the coming months.
Since 2007 our analysis has suggested the likelihood of economic outcomes that most have considered unlikely: significant and ongoing monetary inflation, policy-administered currency devaluation, substantial global price inflation, and an eventual change in how the forty year old global monetary system is structured. Most observers have viewed such outlooks as tail events – highly unlikely, unworthy of serious consideration or a long way off. We remain resolute, and believe last week’s movements in Frankfurt and Washington towards perpetual quantitative easing confirmed and accelerated the validity of our outlook. With QBAMCO's view that $15,000 - $19,000 Gold is possible, timing of the catch-up phase is impossible - though they suspect last week's events may be the catalyst that begins to raise public awareness of the link between monetary inflation and price inflation.
Bob Janjuah - "Central Banks Are Attempting The Grossest Misallocation And Mispricing Of Capital In The History Of Mankind"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/18/2012 07:45 -0400
"The bottom line is simple: The Fed and the ECB are directing and attempting to orchestrate the grossest misallocation and mispricing of capital in the history of mankind. Their problem is that their actions have enormous unintended and even (eventually) intended consequences which serve to negate their actions in the shorter run, and which could create even bigger problems than we currently face in the near future. Kicking the can is not a viable policy for us now. The private sector knows all this, consciously and/or sub-consciously, which is why I feel these current policy settings are doomed to fail. Having said all that, the one area which for some reason still holds onto hope that Draghi and Bernanke can still perform feats of "magic" is the financial market, which central bankers assume, rely on and are happy to encourage Pavlovian responses. The reality here though is that even financial markets are, collectively, either sensing or assigning a half-life to the "positives" of central bank debasement policies, which to me means that even markets are only suggesting a short-term benefit from the latest policy actions. This is not what Draghi and Bernanke are hoping for, but in order for them to see the half-life outcome averted they know that we need to see major political and structural real economy reforms which somehow make Western workers competitive and hopeful again. The track record of the last four to five years inspires very little confidence that we will see such great necessary reformist strides taken anytime soon."
America Was Founded on Courage ... What Hapened?
The acquisition of CRBC by FMER provides a stark illustration of the fundamental conflict between the Fed’s “dual mandate” and its legal responsibility to supervise the nation’s banks.
Have you heard the news? Auto sales are booming. Total sales for the month of August were 1,285,202 vehicles, according to Autodata Corp, the highest monthly sales figure for any August since 2007, when 1.47 million autos were sold in the United States. Year to date auto sales have totaled 9.7 million and are on track to reach 14.5 million. Between 2006 and 2007, auto sales ranged between 16 million and 18 million. They crashed below 10 million in 2009. The Keynesians running our government have pulled out all the stops to restart this engine of consumer spending. First they wasted $3 billion of taxpayer funds on the Cash for Clunkers debacle. Almost 700,000 perfectly good cars were destroyed in order to keep union workers happy. This Keynesian brain fart distorted the used car market for two years, raising prices for cars needed by the working poor. After that miserable failure, they realized the true secret to selling vehicles is to give them away to anyone that can scratch an X on a loan document, with 0% interest for 60 months, financed by Federal government controlled banking interests. Add in some massive channel stuffing and presto!!! – You’ve got an auto sales boom.... This is America, land of the delusional and home of the vain. The appearance of success is more important than actual success.
Up to his neck: the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia—the latest in a series
Proof Positive that Government's "Homeowner Relief" Programs Are Disguised Bank Bailouts ... Not Even AIMED at Helping HomeownerSubmitted by George Washington on 08/16/2012 19:02 -0400
Government Was Just Trying to "Foam the Runway" to Help Giant Banks
The market may have found itself in the purgatory of the summer doldrums, where unlike last year this time, not only are volumes over 50% lower, but volatility is non-existent, but that doesn't mean that investors are sleeping easy. In fact, quite the opposite because as the following chart from MS confirms, the lack of market volatility merely mimics the complete chaos and lack of decisiveness in Congress, where each passing day brings America not only closer to the most contentious presidential election in ages, but to another debt ceiling hike debate, and, of course, the fiscal cliff. All of these combined have brought US policy uncertainty to the third all time highest level, on par with September 11 and the collapse of Lehman/TARP, and just short of last year's imminent European collapse, which was only staved off courtesy of the coordinated global central bank intervention on November 30.
Many folks were surprised Friday night as rumors began leaking that Romney tapped Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, for the prestigious VP slot. The surprise came largely because many were expecting a more mundane pick like Tim Pawlenty or Rob Portman. The reactions from the GOP base is positive overall, although the story is still fresh and drawing conclusions is difficult. The reactions from the Democrat/Liberal base are predictable and we are guessing that the Obama campaign is licking its lips over the prospect of skewering Ryan like a kabob. We have a slightly different take, my feeling is that this pick is an indication that the Romney team is struggling and sees the prospect of winning in November diminishing with each passing day. People like Pawlenty and Portman is the equivalent of swinging for a base hit - the selection of Ryan is swinging for the fences. It is desperation and an attempt to shake things up substantially in the hopes of energizing a splintered and unimpressed Conservative base. However we prefer to focus on the economics of politics, not the politics of politics - so lets take a look at what exactly makes Ryan such a risk.