Having rapidly become the only person worth listening to on CNBC, Rick Santelli's insights on the economy are now far more valuable than any other guest's on the Jeff Immelt propaganda station. Which is why we were very happy to find that Eric King's latest interview was with none other than Mr. Santelli. The topics discussed are numerous, varied and and very critical to our economy, covering such concepts as deflation, deficit spending, bailouts, government spending multipliers, Fed transparency, spending cuts, austerity, the folly of Keynesianism, strategic defaults, direct bidders and treasury auctions, and lastly, tea party dynamics, making this a must hear interview for anyone still on either side of the economic fence, and who enjoys listening to Rick for longer than the 45 second segments the CNBC producers will allow.
- Deflation: "deflation is the most disingenuous argument especially in the current conditions. [When the bubble process ends prices have to come down to reality] the process really is deleveraging, but what happens when prices go down you get the economists call it deflation. Deflation is always the biggest bogeyman in a central banker's closet. It also allows them to use the only tool in their toolbox, which is to spend money, and usually money they haven't collected yet, so it's usually a deficit form of spending. Think about what economists are trying to do: we go up too high in leverage, prices are too high, we try to correct that process, it's called deflation, and they try to put money in to prop it up at an artificial price-deleveraging is the word we should stick to"
- Deficit spending: "the only thing that works is across the board tax cuts because it fuels the type of small business that does the bulk of the hiring"
- Bailouts: "the only regulation that will ever work is failure. If you don't allow failure what you end up with is regulators trying to serve when it's time to take punch bowls away. Regulators never go against the grain. Back in 03-04 many in the fixed income markets saw it coming but nobody wants to pull that punch bowl away. Businesses should fail, that's the way the system was designed"
- The Multiplier of Government spending: "Larry Summers on many occasions has said that the multiplier of government spending is greater than 1. If that was true, we'd never have another recession ever again, and I would be advocating to spend a trillion dollars every hour. It would be like a perpetual motion machine and all physicists know those are impossible. Every dollar the government spends comes from somebody's pocket"
- Fed Transparency: "It seems to me we are making some progress on the financial audit. I absolutely agree that on all of the issues that take taxpayers' money and end up being distributed or put on the balance sheet and in any way used by the Fed, there should be an audit that should be fully transparent. I am worried about the financial accounting"
- On Spending Cuts: "Listeners, this is going to be the most important thing I am going to say: we need to maintain the focus on spending, the politicians in my lifetime always spend. If we end up spending way more than we can take in, in essence the deficit panel becomes a tax panel. We must stop spending before we talk about VAT taxes or taxing Americans more, we need to get spending under control. The retings of congress are the lowest they have been in history."
- On Austerity: "Nobody wants that. But there is a silver lining - the UK have conditions in their economy worse than the US, but they came up with an austerity plan, and we see that their currency has been rewarded. The GBP has risen about 10% in a very short period of time."
- On Keynesianism: "The Keynesians are both right and wrong. I don't think Keynes advocated the kind of helicopter-Ben spending that many say he promoted. He promoted the kind of stimulus that created jobs, that's more the medicine for a cyclical downturn, we have a structural issue because of the bubble credit scenario."
- On the ECB's Debt Monetization: "I think that the ECB has a huge issue and they are behind the ball. They don't have a constitution in the eurozone, they have cultural and monetary cultural issues to deal with. I think that buying securities or monetizing or QE is always a bad idea. Once there is a subsidy in the marketplace, it becomes the normal pricing mechanism. For the Fed or the ECB to unload these securities, becomes a destabilizing force and in the long run does more harm than good."
- On Strategic Defaults: "I have feelings on this that go both ways. I think morally I would have an issue doing that, but people who did the mortgage, or the second mortgage, or took a HELOC to pay for cars, pay for the vacations, I think it is reprehensible that we end up reshuffling wealth to pay some of that off. But I think the dynamic is from the government side - I think contracts between banks and homeowners - if it's unsecured, it's unsecured, I don't have an issue with that."
- On Direct Bidders being a proxy for the Fed (a much debated topic on Zero Hedge) and Treasury Auctions in general: "That's the best question anyone has asked me in a long time. I think there is a recycling quid pro quo going on: the Fed is making banking obsolete because a lot of the programs that they have is to take the cheap end of the curve and invest it in Treasuries. Well the Treasury needs as many buyers as it can get. I think the financial institutions are recycling easy money that should be going into John Q Public's pocket, to those that deserve credit, all this money is ending up in the forms of purchases of 10, 7, and 5-Year Notes, and I don't like that way that's working. That's why I think that raising rates would be a good thing. Why? Because it would take some of the easy ways the banks recycle the Fed's cheap money and put it back in the hands of the public and actually make banking a relationship between banks and Americans that need it whether it is for funding a mortgage or funding a small business."
- And on Tea Party dynamics: "I think November 2 is going to be a watershed of Americans letting Washington know they're the boss."
Full must hear interview can be listened to here, courtesy of King World News.