2010-04-29 Daniel Amerman.com
Have the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented market and banking interventions fundamentally weakened America’s banks? In this article, we will illustrate how the Federal Reserve has been hollowing out the US banking system. We will show how the Fed has been creating a banking industry shell that looks strong on the surface, but is increasingly empty beneath that facade, with less and less economic strength, and an ever greater reliance on the Federal Reserve’s monetary creation ability.
Using a single loan as an example, we will explore in step by step detail how almost 10 percent of US bank assets have been hollowed out, with former investments in the economy being replaced by excess reserve balances at the Federal Reserve. On paper, these balances are the highest quality assets which a bank can own, yet in economic reality, they represent an investment in nothing at all.
Few articles explained the dangerous process of creating an almost entirely artificial mortgage market in 2009, and almost none have explored how participating in this process has transformed US banks in 2010. When you finish, you may find yourself looking at the new US banking system in a very different way, as well as understanding the powerful economic and personal investment implications.
BEIJING — China is expected to impose a moratorium on share issues by real estate companies in mainland markets as part of a broader campaign to rein in rising property prices, state media said Wednesday, potentially blocking $16.1 billion in capital-raising.
The move could delay plans by 45 Chinese companies to raise about 110 billion renminbi, China Daily said, citing unidentified people close to the China Securities Regulatory Commission.
A commission official told Reuters a formal suspension was not in place but confirmed that before approving any share issues in mainland markets, the regulator and the Land Resources Ministry were examining whether property companies had illegally manipulated land prices. The official asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Willem Buiter Issues His Most Dire Prediction Yet: Sees “Unprecedented” Fiscal Crises, US Debt Inflation And Fed Monetization
Doomsday scenarios from the establishment periphery always come fast and furious, especially in our day and age when bankrupt sovereigns are the norm, not the exception. And the “faster and furiouser” these come, the more steadfast the core is in refuting that the reality is much, much worse than portrayed on the mainstream media. Which is why we were very surprised when we read Willem Buiter’s latest Global Economic View (recall that he works for Citi now). In it the strategist for the firm that defines the core of the establishment could not be more bearish. In fact, at first we thought that David Rosenberg had ghost written this. Once the apocryphal truthsayers such as Buiter become mainstream within the mainstream, it is only a matter of time before the marginal opinion shifts to match that of those who have been prognosticating doom all along (for all the right reasons). In the below piece, Buiter presents a game theory type analysis, which concludes that the US and other sovereigns will soon be forced into fiscal austerity. Among his critical observations (we recommend a careful read of the entire 68 pages), are that the US is highly polarized, and that the Fed, which is “the least independent of leading central banks” would be willing to implement “inflationary monetisation of public debt and deficits than other central banks.” The next step of course would be hyperinflation. And Buiter sees America as the one country the most likely to follow this route. Most troublingly, Buiter predicts that a massive crisis is the only thing that can break the political gridlock in the US in order to fix the broken US fiscal situation. Must read.
2010-04-29 Jesse Cafe’ Blog
The strategy of the Bernanke Federal Reserve and of the Obama Administration’s economic team is fairly clear: prevent the bank failures of the 1930’s by propping up the biggest banks with huge infusions of publicly subsidized capital, and hope that they start lending again as the economy recovers. It is a variation of the ‘trickle down’ theory of economics adjusted by the perceived Fed policy errors of the first Great Depression, with little from the New Deal programs.
Bernanke is famously a student of the first Great Depression, even as General Joffre, the architect of the Ligne Maginot, was a student of the first World War. And Larry Summers is remarkably similar to Marshal Pétain. Tim, on the other hand, seems to be a student of very little, not even apparently of the tax code which he administers, except perhaps the art of being a manservant, a valet to the powerful.
Failure number one of course is that the banks that they chose to support are not responsible commercial banks engaged primarily in lending to small business and localized activity. Those banks are the local and regional banks that are failing in record numbers. The banks they chose to save are those who have heavily contributed to the campaign coffers and job prospects of Washington politicians. Goldman Sachs, for example, is a glorified hedge fund dedicated to speculation and enormous amounts of leverage. One only has to look at the source of their profits to understand what it is that they do with their capital and energy. And it is largely from ‘trading.’
Statement of Congressman Ron Paul – United States House of Representatives – on Motion to Instruct Conferees on HR 2194, Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act – April 22, 2010
Mr. Speaker I rise in opposition to this motion to instruct House conferees on HR 2194, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act, and I rise in strong opposition again to the underlying bill and to its Senate version as well. I object to this entire push for war on Iran, however it is disguised. Listening to the debate on the Floor on this motion and the underlying bill it feels as if we are back in 2002 all over again: the same falsehoods and distortions used to push the United States into a disastrous and unnecessary one trillion dollar war on Iraq are being trotted out again to lead us to what will likely be an even more disastrous and costly war on Iran. The parallels are astonishing.
We hear war advocates today on the Floor scare-mongering about reports that in one year Iran will have missiles that can hit the United States. Where have we heard this bombast before? Anyone remember the claims that Iraqi drones were going to fly over the United States and attack us? These “drones” ended up being pure propaganda – the UN chief weapons inspector concluded in 2004 that there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein had ever developed unpiloted drones for use on enemy targets. Of course by then the propagandists had gotten their war so the truth did not matter much.
We hear war advocates on the floor today arguing that we cannot afford to sit around and wait for Iran to detonate a nuclear weapon. Where have we heard this before? Anyone remember then-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s oft-repeated quip about Iraq: that we cannot wait for the smoking gun to appear as a mushroom cloud.