The U.S. Capitol looms in the background of a sign on the National Mall reminding visitors of the closures to all national parks due to the federal government shutdown in Washington October 3, 2013. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, professor of economics, founder and director of the Centre for Research on Globalization, Montreal and editor of the globalresearch.ca website.
- Shutdown of US govt & ‘debt default’: Dress rehearsal for privatization of federal state system? (RT, Oct 15, 2013):
By Michel Chossudovsky
The ‘shutdown’ of the US government and the financial climax associated with a deadline date, leading to a possible ‘debt default’ by the federal government, is a money-making undertaking for Wall Street.
Several overlapping political and economic agendas are unfolding. Is the shutdown – implying the furloughing of tens of thousands of public employees – a dress rehearsal for the eventual privatization of important components of the federal state system?
A staged default, bankruptcy and privatization is occurring in Detroit (with the active support of the Obama administration), whereby large corporations become the owners of municipal assets and infrastructure.
The important question: could a process of ‘state bankruptcy’, which is currently afflicting local level governments across the land, realistically occur in the case of the central government of the United States of America?
This is not a hypothetical question. A large number of developing countries under the brunt of IMF ‘economic medicine’ were ordered by their external creditors to dismantle the state apparatus, fire millions of public sector workers as well as privatize state assets. The IMF’s Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) has also been applied in several European countries.
Tags: Bailout, Banking, Barack Obama, Ben Bernanke, Bonds, Bush administration, Debt, DHS, Dictatorship, Economy, EU, Europe, Fascism, Fed, Federal Reserve, Financial Crisis, Food stamps, GDP, George Bush, Global News, Government, Homeland Security, IMF, Keynesianism, Michel Chossudovsky, Military, military-industrial complex, New World Order, Obama administration, Pentagon, Politics, Quantitative Easing, TARP, U.S., Wall Street
- Buffett’s Bailout Bonanza (ZeroHedge, Oct 7, 2013):
In the past we have tried to show the growing divide between the haves and the have-nots in the US. Whether through this morning’s “aggregate” Main Street vs Wall Street chart or various anecdotal indicators of diverging confidence. However, no one signifies the beneficiaries of the status-quo-sustaining government bailouts and stimulus better than Warren Buffett (who now, like Obama, sees stocks are full valued). The following chart shows just how well one can do with a few billion in your pocket and an ear for what the Government will do.
From the article:
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. I expressed these sentiments in a letter to the Financial Times on September 29, 2008.
- Why Obama Allowed Bailouts Without Indictments (Tavacoli Structured Finance, Sep 10, 2013):
By Janet Tavacoli
In November 2008, President Obama was elected, and he was sworn in January 2009. The country was promised change and reform. Recently two democrats close to the top of President Obama’s administration made excuses to me for the lack of financial reform in the United States. Their separately related versions were remarkably similar, so similar they seemed scripted:
The administration made a bargain, and I’m not sure it was the right decision. The world was teetering on the edge of collapse. There was a crisis of confidence. There would have been unimaginable consequences. So bad even your imagination can’t handle the truth?
- Cyprus 37.5% Depositor Haircut Upgraded To 47.5% Brazilian Wax (ZeroHedge, July 29, 2013):
Once upon a time (in April), a few weeks after reversing its initial disastrous decision to haircut all deposits (including insured ones) the Troika slammed large Cypriot depositors (read evil Russian oligarchs) with a “bail-in” template, soon coming to all insolvent European nations, that included not only a forced assignment of equity in broke Cypriot banks, but far more importantly a haircut that amounted to 37.5% of deposits over €100,000. Since then a few things have happened in Cyprus, neither of them good, i.e., an a record collapse in bank deposits despite capital controls and a record crash in the local real estate market.The confluence of both these events meant that as bank liabilities shrank (deposits), asset fair values (home mortgages) collapsed even faster. Which, as we warned in March, would entail bigger and more aggressive deposit haircuts, and ultimately: another bailout of Cyprus (something the president floated but promptly denied upon rejection by Merkel ahead of her September elections). Today, we learn that while the inevitable next bailout of Cyprus is still on the table, the deposit “haircut” just upgraded to an aggravated Brazilian wax, as the 37.5% gentle trim initially proposed was revised to 47.5%.
The Finance Ministry and the Troika appeared to be converging on an agreement on the haircut of uninsured deposits over 100,000 euros in the Bank of Cyprus at 47.5%.
- Obama To Detroit: “No Bailout For You” (ZeroHedge, July 19, 2013):
While in the past President Obama has been more that willing to throw good money after bad and “refuse to let Detroit go bankrupt,” it seems when push comes to shove – under the intense scrutiny of a nation awash in scandal, a drastically bifurcated congress – that despite the imploring from local congressmen for “moar” already – that the savior of the city will not this time ride to the rescue on his white horse. In a statement, the White House said they “are monitoring the situation in Detroit closely,” with no hint – just as they have made clear for months – of any sort of Federal bailout. As USA Today notes, the federal government provided federal loans to prevent New York City from declaring bankruptcy during the 1970s. But times have changed; the federal government has debt and financial problems of its own, and a Detroit bailout could run into significant opposition in Congress and cause serious damage in the Muni market.
While the GM debacle put pensioners ahead of creditors, it would be unprecedentedly bad for the massive Muni bond market should Obama acquiesce and change the law once again to put pensioners ahead of GOs…
The White House statement on Detroit.
The president and members of the president’s senior team continue to closely monitor the situation in Detroit.
While leaders on the ground in Michigan and the city’s creditors understand that they must find a solution to Detroit’s serious financial challenge, we remain committed to continuing our strong partnership with Detroit as it works to recover and revitalize and maintain its status as one of America’s great cities.”
Translation: “sorry guys, you’re on your own on this one!”
h/t by reader M.G.:
“Just saw this story on Rt.com. The new plan is for investors to rescue the crumbling banks. Brilliant. What a way to get people to stop using banks! It is beyond stupid, it is outright stealing. Here is the link. I am too angry to say any more right now. Damn these thieving bastards!”
- Investors to pay for bank failures – EU (RT, June 27, 2013):
European Union finance chiefs agreed Thursday investors and wealthy depositors will foot the bill for bank bailouts, in a break with the past convention of burdening taxpayers.
If pursued, bailout strategy, shareholders, bondholders and depositors with more than 100,000 euro will share the financial strain of saving a bank. Deposits under 100,000 will be protected.
- The Cyprus Bail-In Blows Up: President Urges Complete Bailout Overhaul (Full Letter) (ZeroHedge, June 18, 2013):
Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades has realized (as we warned), too late it seems for the thousands of domestic and foreign depositors who were sacrificed at the alter of monetary union, that the TROIKA’s terms are “too onerous.” Anastasiades has asked EU lenders to unwind the complex restructuring and partial merger of its two largest banks leaving EU officials “puzzled”, according to a letter the FT has uncovered, as “essentially, he is asking for a complete reversal of the program.” The EU officials claim that the failure to prepare for the bailout’s impact was partially the fault of Mr Anastasiades’ government, which voted down a first agreed rescue before succumbing to a similar deal nine days later.
The FT goes on to note that although the letter does not request it explicitly, Mr Anastasiades is in effect asking for further eurozone loans on top of the existing EUR10bn sovereign bailout – something specifically ruled out by a German-led group of countries at the time. The return of beggars-can-be-choosers we presume – or just token gestures to recover some populist support as the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
As we noted here (and on the chart below), it seemed pretty obvious where this was going to end – obvious that is to everyone except Europe’s victory-claiming politicians.
It seems the ongoing flood of capital (despite controls) and collapse of the economy that we discussed here is occurring at ever increasing pace – and demanding even more gold be sucked out of their vaults…
“Unless Cyprus implements some controls that truly work, at this pace its entire banking system will be completely deposit-free in under one year. And it will need to sell much more than all its gold to continue keeping the Troika happy and in compliance with all the future (because there will be many more) bailouts.”
- Which Country’s Gold Will Be Sold Next? (ZeroHedge, April 15, 2013):
The first time the Status Quo/Troika tried to force a (not so) stealthy gold confiscation on an insolvent European country was back in early 2012, when as part of the most recent Greek bailout MOU, it was disclosed that “Greece’s lenders will have the right to seize the gold reserves in the Bank of Greece under the terms of the new deal.” However, the public outcry was so loud that the Troika had no choice but to shelve its plans and proceed with a full scale bondholder restructuring instead. Fast forward to last week, when Europe’s appetite for physical gold came back with a bang, this time as part of the Cyprus “Debt Sustainability Analysis“, and subsequent comments from Mario Draghi, demanding that tiny Cyprus, whose opposition, already weakened by the confiscation of uninsured deposits would be far less vocal than Greece’s, sell off €400MM, or virtually all of its sovereign gold, over 10 of its 13.9 total tons, to cover the excess costs of its ever ballooning sovereign bailout. Continue reading »
- Cyprus Bailout Size Increases By 35% In One Month To €23 Billion, 120% Of GDP (ZeroHedge, April 11, 2013):
As was reported in the previously presented Cypriot Debt Sustainability Analysis, which among other things had this stunner inside of it, things in Cyprus have gone from bad to worse in the brief span of a month. 35% worse to be exact, because this is how much the total bailout of Cyprus has grown by in a few shorts weeks, from €17 to €23 billion, which happened because just as we predicted the stealth outflow from banks was much worse (read bigger) than previously reported, leaving banks with a far bigger hole to plug. This is problematic because at least previously the bailout as a percentage of GDP was in the double digits. No longer so, as the latest (and soon to be re-revised higher) bailout figure now stands at over 120% of the country’s €18.8 billion GDP (which itself is about to tumble following the collapse of the economy).
From the Guardian:
Crisis-hit Cyprus will be forced to find an extra €6bn (£5.1bn) to contribute to its own bailout under leaked updated plans for the rescue.
In total, the bill for the bailout has risen to €23bn, from an original estimate of €17bn, less than a month after the deal was agreed – and the entire extra cost will be imposed on Nicosia.
- Here We Go: Cyprus To Sell €400 Million In Gold, About 75% Of Its Total Holdings, To Finance Part Of Its Bailout (ZeroHedge, April 10, 2013):
Curious why every bank and their grandmother, and most recently Goldman today, has been lining up to push the price of gold as low as possible? Here’s why:
- CYPRUS TO SELL 400 MLN EUROS WORTH OF GOLD RESERVES TO FINANCE PART OF ITS BAILOUT – TROIKA DOCUMENTS – RTRS
Or about 10 tons of gold. But… the bailout was prefunded and there was no need to provide any additional cash? What happened: was the deposit outflow discovered to have been even greater than the worst case scenario and thus Cyprus needed even more cash? As for the buyers? We will venture a guess: central banks buying at the lows.
Finally: congratulations Cypriots. You are now handing over your gold for the one time, unbeatable opportunity to remain a vassal state to the Eurozone. But at least you have your €.
The good news: Cyprus will have at least another 4 or so tons after selling the 10 demanded now, before the Troika kindly requests that Cypriot citizens sell a kidney or two to pay for the ongoing deposit outflow from its insolvent banks, and indirectly, the endless bailout of the Euro.
- Visualizing The Cypriot Deposit Confiscation (ZeroHedge, April 2, 2013):
From ‘why Cyprus could not bail out its banks’ to its failed financing needs and the road to confiscation, Demonocracy provides the ‘everything you wanted to know about Cyprus’ infograph ‘but were afraid to read’.
The big depositors will get hit harder than expected, because a lot of money left the banks right before the banks went into lock-down.
Cyprus’ Banks are the first during the last 147 banking crises that will not get a single Euro from EU to bail out the banks. Greek branches of Cyprus banks had €15 Billion in deposits, they were sold last minute to another bank, by so they will not be included in sharing the losses- obviously suspicious. Some people are offering depositors to get their money out of Cyprus for a 20% fee. Cyprus officials are throwing around slogans such as “time for responsibility‘ (to pay up) just to turn around a week later and oppose it.
With the lack of backbone, the next political move is rather unpredictable. EU officials say Cyprus is a unique case, but EU has many countries with over-sized banking sectors.
The crash of Cyprus financial sector and government bailout sentences Cyprus to a long period of recession and debt. The list of demands by EU to Cyprus for accepting the €10 billion bailout includes things such as freeze on pensions, massive tax increase on just about everything and more taxes.
- The Great Cyprus Bank Robbery (Ron Paul, April 1, 2013):
The dramatic recent events in Cyprus have highlighted the fundamental weakness in the European banking system and the extreme fragility of fractional reserve banking. Cypriot banks invested heavily in Greek sovereign debt, and last summer’s Greek debt restructuring resulted in losses equivalent to more than 25 percent of Cyprus’ GDP. These banks then took their bad investments to the government, demanding a bailout from an already beleaguered Cypriot treasury. The government of Cyprus then turned to the European Union (EU) for a bailout.
- Cyprus Parliament President Says “No Future” Under Troika, Calls For “Iceland” Solution (ZeroHedge, March 30, 2013):
Just last week Yiannakis Omirou, Cypriot House of Representatives President, was calling for the nation to accept it is “time for responsibility” as they progressed towards a final solution; and yet today, as Cyprus’ Famagusta reports, he believes the ‘Troika-imposed’ responsibility will, “turn Cyprus into a colony of the worst possible type.” His ‘Icelandic’ solution is to “leave the Troika and EMS behind,” to ensure “national independence, national sovereignty, moral integrity, and economic independence.” He may have a point; judging from the chart below of the Troika’s poster-child Greece, relative to Iceland, things are not going so well. As Omirou ominously concludes, “if we remain bound by the Troika and the memorandum Cyprus’ destiny is already foretold and there will be no future.”
There is no other alternative but to free Cyprus from the bonds of the troika and the memorandum, House of Representatives President Yiannakis Omirou has said.
- Cyprus-Style Bank Account Confiscation Is In The New 2013 Canadian Government Budget! (Economic Collapse, March 28, 2013):
The politicians of the western world are coming after your bank accounts. In fact, Cyprus-style bank account confiscation is actually in the new Canadian government budget. When I first heard about this I was quite skeptical, so I went and looked it up for myself. And guess what? It is right there in black and white on pages 144 and 145 of “Economic Action Plan 2013″ which the Harper government has already submitted to the House of Commons. This new budget actually proposes “to implement a ‘bail-in’ regime for systemically important banks” in Canada. “Economic Action Plan 2013″ was submitted on March 21st, which means that this “bail-in regime” was likely being planned long before the crisis in Cyprus ever erupted. So exactly what in the world is going on here? In addition, as you will see below, it is being reported that the European Parliament will soon be voting on a law which would require that large banks be “bailed in” when they fail. In other words, that new law would make Cyprus-style bank account confiscation the law of the land for the entire EU. I can’t even begin to describe how serious all of this is. From now on, when major banks fail they are going to bail them out by grabbing the money that is in your bank accounts. This is going to absolutely shatter faith in the banking system and it is actually going to make it far more likely that we will see major bank failures all over the western world.
What you are about to see absolutely amazed me when I first saw it. The Canadian government is actually proposing that what just happened in Cyprus should be used as a blueprint for future bank failures up in Canada. Continue reading »
- What Dijsselbloem Really Said: Full “On The Record” Transcript (ZeroHedge, March 26, 2013):
Hopefully the memory of the new Eurogroup head, who in a one day lost more credibility than his admittedly lying predecessor Juncker ever had, will be jogged courtesy of this full transcript provided by Reuters and the FT of what he told two reporters – on the record – and for the whole world to read. Because, by now, we are confident everyone has had more than enough with watching the entire Eurozone rapidly and tragically turn itself into a complete and utter mythomaniac, kletpocratic circus.
To clarify what Dijsselbloem said, we’ve decided to post a transcript of the portion of the interview dealing with how the eurozone might deal with bank failures in the future in light of the Cyprus example. The interview we conducted alongside Brussels bureau chief Luke Baker of Reuters (@LukeReuters) lasted about 45 minutes, and the portion on bank resolution lasted for about 10 of those minutes. The interview started out with some Cyprus-specific questions – like how capital controls might work, whether Dijsselbloem had learned any lessons form the Cyprus experience – and then shifted to a discussion about whether north-south relations were hampering EU decision making. That’s when Baker asked the first question about whether Cyprus set a precedent for future bank rescues…
Q: To what extent does the decision taken last night end up setting a template for bank resolution going forward?
A: What we should try to do and what we’ve done last night is what I call “pushing back the risks”. In times of crisis when a risk certainly turns up in a banking sector or an economy, you really have very little choice: you try to take that risk away, and you take it on the public debt. You say, “Okay, we’ll deal with it, give it to us.” Continue reading »
From the article:
Deposits above 100,000 euros, which under EU law are not guaranteed, will be frozen and used to resolve debts, and Laiki will effectively be shuttered, with thousands of job losses.
The revised bailout plan may not require further parliamentary approval since the idea of a levy was dropped.
The tottering banks hold 68 billion euros in deposits, including 38 billion in accounts of more than 100,000 euros – enormous sums for an island of 1.1 million people which could never sustain such a big financial system on its own.
- Cyprus Reaches Bailout Deal With International Lenders (Huffington Post/Reuters, March 25, 2013):
* Deal to shut Laiki bank, transfer insured deposits
* Clinched hours before Monday deadline to seal EU bailout
* Without deal banks faced collapse, possible euro zone exit
BRUSSELS, March 25 (Reuters) – Cyprus clinched a last-ditch deal with international lenders on Monday for a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) bailout that will shut down its second largest bank and inflict heavy losses on uninsured depositors, including wealthy Russians.
The agreement emerged after fraught negotiations between President Nicos Anastasiades and heads of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – hours before a deadline to avert a collapse of the banking system.
- Cyprus bailout: Deal reached in Eurogroup talks (BBC News, March 25, 2013):
Eurozone finance ministers have agreed a deal on a bailout for Cyprus to prevent its banking system collapsing, officials say.
Reports suggest the deal will include a levy on deposits of more than 100,000 euros in Cyprus’ two biggest banks.
The levy on accounts in Laiki Bank – the country’s second-biggest – could be as high as 40%, correspondents say.