Following his inconvenient truthiness yesterday, Andrew Huszar appeared on Bloomberg TV today (having dismissed the comic-book-written discussion he faced in CNBC’s Fast Money yesterday). As usual Bloomberg gave him more time to speak, listened, and challenged some of what he said, but we were struck by the man-who-ran-the-Fed’s-mortgage-book’s points that “we are eerily similar to 2008.” Simply out, he implores, “the structure of our economy has not changed,” and his apology (on behalf of the Fed), is because the Fed “helped squander an opportunity to see change in America.” The fact of the matter, this was folly, “The Fed does not have the ttols to help the economy.”
A banker named Andrew Huszar that helped manage the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program during 2009 and 2010 is publicly apologizing for what he has done. He says that quantitative easing has accomplished next to nothing for the average person on the street. Instead, he says that it has been “the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time.” And of course the cold, hard economic numbers support what Huszar is saying. The percentage of working age Americans with a job has not improved at all during the quantitative easing era, and median household income has actually steadily declined during that time frame. Meanwhile, U.S. stock prices have doubled overall, and the stock prices of the big Wall Street banks have tripled. So who benefits from quantitative easing? It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out, and now Andrew Huszar is blowing the whistle on the whole thing. Continue reading »
In a bizarre announcement yesterday, the U.S. Treasury Department boasted that the government of Jordan had closed on a $1.25 issuance of sovereign debt guaranteed by the U.S. government. While I am not sure how common it is for our nation to guarantee these types of issuances (comments would be appreciated), the announcement represents a gigantic slap in the face on multiple levels.
This guarantee marks the conclusion of a process that President Obama set in motion in March 2013 when he visited Jordan. During his visit, President Obama noted that a U.S. guarantee, “can help deliver the results that Jordanians deserve… to see their schools better, their roads improved, healthcare, clean water all enhanced, the training that I know a lot of Jordanians seek, particularly young people, to get a job or to turn entrepreneurial skills into a business that creates even more jobs.” That vision was further affirmed by the signing of a loan guarantee agreement in Amman on August 14, 2013.
The unemployment rate in the eurozone is higher than it has ever been before. This week we learned that eurozone unemployment came in at an all-time high of 12.2 percent for September. Back in January 2012, it was sitting at just 10.4 percent. So anyone that believes that “things are getting better” in Europe is just being delusional. In fact, the economic depression in Europe just keeps getting deeper. The funny thing is that the mainstream media will barely call what is going on in Europe a “recession” even though the unemployment rates in both Spain and Greece are now much higher than anything that the United States ever experienced during the “Great Depression” of the 1930s. There haven’t been as many headlines about the financial crisis in Europe lately because the ECB has been papering over the debt problems of the periphery (at least for the moment), but the economic conditions on the ground for average Europeans just continue to get even worse. Later on in this article, you will read about a 25-year-old Spanish man with three college degrees that moved to London in a desperate search for a job who is now cleaning up poop for a living. The economic collapse of Europe continues to march on, and there is no end in sight.
All you have to do is look at the latest unemployment numbers to realize that things are getting worse in Europe. Continue reading »
The city of Detroit is facing a money crunch as its bankruptcy saga develops, but a severely injured local firefighter is seeing the tragedy unfold before his eyes now that he’s been told his medical coverage is coming to an end.
Back in 2010, firefighter Brendan Milewski suffered a serious injury when, on his first shift, a building collapsed and he was struck by a chunk of limestone “the size of a parking block.” He’s now a T6 paraplegic, and has relied on the city’s medical coverage to get by for the last three years.
As the Detroit bankruptcy hearing heats up following news that the city’s unsecured creditors, among them pensioners, are set to recover pennies on the dollar, 16 to be precise, the question of which are the next cities to follow in the footsteps of bankrupt Motown, becomes relevant once again. Courtesy of the WSJ, and the second part of its series on “U.S. Cities Grapple With Finances“, here is a list of the US cities that when push comes to shove metaphorically, and when the money runs out literally, will have no choice but to knock on the door of the local regional bankruptcy court and submit that long-prepared bankruptcy petition. Specifically, here are the cities that have 10 days or less in cash on hand available. Because, unless one is the Fed, cash and lack thereof is all that matters.
The list below ranks the top 10 cities in terms of days cash on hand. Needless to say, a city with a low number in this category (such as 0.0) may have trouble paying bills, bribes, lap dances and other core municipal outlays.
Shifting away from the stock, and looking at the flow, as Detroit showed the world the very hard way, cities mired in pension costs will ultimately default and lead to massive haircuts to the retirees. The following 10 cities have the greatest percentage of pension costs as a percentage of the city’s general fund. Continue reading »
If there is ever a case study about people who built up their reputation and then squandered it for first being right for all the wrong reasons, and then being wrong for the right ones, then Meredith Whitney certainly heads the list of eligible candidates. After “predicting” the great financial crisis back in 2007 by looking at some deteriorating credit trends at Citigroup, a process that many had engaged beforehand and had come to a far more dire -and just as correct – conclusion, Whitney rose to stardom for merely regurgitating a well-known meme, however since her trumpeted call was the one closest to the Lehman-Day event when it all came crashing down, it afforded her a 5 year very lucrative stint as an advisor. Said stint has now been shuttered.
The main reason for the shuttering, of course, is that in 2010 she also called an imminent “muni” cataclysm, staking her reputation once again not only on what is fundamentally obvious, but locking in a time frame: 2011. Alas, this time her “timing” luck ran out and her call was dead wrong, leading people to question her abilities, and ultimately to give up on her “advisory” services altogether. Which in some ways is a shame because Whitney was and is quite correct about the municipal default tidal wave, as Detroit and ever more municipalities have shown, and the only question is the timing.
Hideo Hayakawa, former Bank of Japan chief economist and executive director, set the scene on Wednesday when he discussed the BOJ’s ¥7-trillion-a-month effort to water down the yen by printing money and gobbling up Japanese Government Bonds. It wants to achieve what is increasingly called “2% price stability,” a term that must be a sick insider joke played on the Japanese people. He warned that if these JGB purchases are “perceived as monetization“ of Japan’s out-of-whack deficits, it would drive up long-term JGB yields “to 2% to 3%.” Up from 0.60% for the 10-year JGB. “But once interest rates start rising, they would overshoot,” he said. So maybe 4%?
He’d set the scene for the Bank of Japan’s 81-page semiannual Financial System Report, released the same day. Buried in Chapter V, “Risks borne by financial intermediaries,” is a gorgeous whitewash doozie: if interest rates rise by 1 percentage point, it would cause ¥8 trillion ($82 billion) in losses across the banking system.
The number one American export is U.S. dollars. It is paper currency that is backed up by absolutely nothing, but the rest of the world has been using it to trade with one another and so there is tremendous global demand for our dollars. The linchpin of this system is the petrodollar. For decades, if you have wanted to buy oil virtually anywhere in the world you have had to do so with U.S. dollars. But if one of the biggest oil exporters on the planet, such as Saudi Arabia, decided to start accepting other currencies as payment for oil, the petrodollar monopoly would disintegrate very rapidly. For years, everyone assumed that nothing like that would happen any time soon, but now Saudi officials are warning of a “major shift” in relations with the United States. In fact, the Saudis are so upset at the Obama administration that “all options” are reportedly “on the table”. If it gets to the point where the Saudis decide to make a major move away from the petrodollar monopoly, it will be absolutely catastrophic for the U.S. economy.
The biggest reason why having good relations with Saudi Arabia is so important to the United States is because the petrodollar monopoly will not work without them. For decades, Washington D.C. has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the Saudis happy. But now the Saudis are becoming increasingly frustrated that the U.S. military is not being used to fight their wars for them. The following is from a recent Daily Mail report: Continue reading »