I was not going to bother to comment further, but after hearing pundit after pundit attack Obama for the bank levy and Glass Steagal 'lite', after banks allegedly paid their dues... I just couldn't take it anymore.
Yes! Obama has made a lot of policy errors in dealing with the banks. Yes! I believe he has not solved the problems, but has chased the symptoms. The separation of prop trading from deposit banking IS the RIGHT thing to do. In addition, the banks have not come anywhere NEAR repaying their debt to the government. Not even close.
Yes, some of the banks repaid TARP, with interest and warrants. Okay. The investment big banks (that were still in existence) were offered expedited financial holding company (bank) charters. That is why they didn't fail, at least in part.
So, running down the list, the banks paid back TARP. That's a +, but....
- What was the value for bank charter, to get cheap access to the Fed's funds? did they pay back this value yet? No!
- How about the payment of interest on the banks' excess reserves at the Fed. Have the banks repaid that yet? No!
- The Fed and the Treasury have purchased hundreds of billions of dollars of Agency debt, Agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and related securities through Treasury purchase programs. Have the banks paid back the capital behind those purchases yet? No!
- How about the Term Auction Facility? Has the capital behind the benefits of that program been paid back? No!
- Then there is the Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF), has this been paid back? No!
- Do you remember the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF)? Have the funds behind that been paid back? No!
- What about the PPIP? No!
- Hey, there's the Foreign Exchange Swap programs (the currency swap lines, that saved not only our banks but out banks facing counterparties who were short on dollars), has that been paid back? No!
- There's the Commercial Paper Funding Facility (CPFF), have the funds behind that been paid back? No!
- Most importantly, the opportunity cost of ZIRP, which hurts those who do not speculate (or have not speculated) with near free money! How do you pay that back to grandma and her .017% CDs?
How do you repay the synthetic bid that the Fed has created under MBS that has rescued the banks from balance sheet purgatory (for now)? How about the accounting fantasy football game that was authorized by FASB last year that has lost fundamental investors who actually count vast sums of money? Then there is those FDIC bond guarantees... Oops, I went way past 1 reasons, didn't I?
I can rant on, but if I haven't driven the point home by now, I probably never will. So as you read about Goldman's earnings beat on weaker revenue, consider the advantages that they have, that they didn't pay back, that smaller businesses such mine simply don't have access to.
See the following for a backgrounder on my opinion before we move on to the risks emanating from other parts of the world stimulated by our number one export from the "Too Big To Fail, but Too Big to Let Survive Intact" club:
- The Fed Believes Secrecy is in Our Best Interests. Here are Some of the Secrets
- Why Doesn't the Media Take a Truly Independent, Unbiased Look at the Big Banks in the US?
- As the markets climb on top of one big, incestuous pool of concentrated risk...
- Any objective review shows that the big banks are simply too big for the safety of this country
- The ARE trying to kick the bad mortgages down the road, here's proof!
- Why hasn't anybody questioned those rosy stress test results now that the facts have played out?
- If a Bubble Bubble Bursts Off Balance Sheet, Will Anyone Be There to Hear It?
- If a Bubble Bubble Bursts Off Balance Sheet, Will Anyone Be There to Hear It?: Pt 2 - JP Morgan
- If a Bubble Bubble Bursts Off Balance Sheet, Will Anyone Be There to Hear It?: Pt 3 - BAC (the bank
- If a Bubble Bubble Bursts Off Balance Sheet, Will Anyone Be There to Hear It? Pt 4 - Wells Fargo
- If a Bubble Bubble Bursts Off Balance Sheet, Will Anyone Be There to Hear It? Pt 5 - PNC Bank
- The Next Step in the Bank Implosion Cycle???
- A Must Read: An Independent Look into JP Morgan. This contains the "public preview" document (JPM Public Excerpt of Forensic Analysis Subscription), which is free to download.