Finance For Dummies!

Finance For Adult Dummies (ZeroHedge, Feb. 10, 2012):

For the last thirty years economic policy makers have been in the business of promoting asset prices higher through easy credit. Global policy makers are meddling in markets so that the economies they feel responsible for can achieve what seems to be a consensus objective of muddling through. A policy of meddling to muddle, if you will. QBAMCO’s critical ‘inflation’ insights, and Tourette’s-ridden ranting, reflect the simple realities of what real-world consequences occur when policy makers succumb to the perceived political imperatives of perverting economic data. In this combined note, Brodsky and Quaintance scrub away at the misconceptions related to inflation, raise doubts as to the incentives of central banks to share the true loss of their currencies’ purchasing power with the public, and extend this to try and get a truer sense of money, inflation, and real value today – all of which seem grossly misunderstood, despite our best efforts, in the marketplace. Simply put, they point out that, “It should not be considered acceptable to be in a profession – as a political economist, policy maker or investor – in which self-delusion has become a necessary requirement for success and perpetuating that delusion is harmful to the broad economy over time. Yes, but the “public good” you say? Ah, but for how long?”


Given: 1) the exorbitant leverage currently in the global banking system, 2) current negative real output growth in developed economies, 3) current negative real interest rates, 4) uniformly poor monetary, fiscal and demographic conditions across most developed economies, and 5) already wary populations beginning to get restless; we have difficulty imagining that global banks, labor, savers, politicians and investors will be able to endure current conditions much longer before demanding the financial reset button be pressed to complete bank de-levering.

We provide the graph below merely to make it easier to conceptualize the nature of such a de-levering, as we see it. (This is not necessarily a prediction of timing or magnitude.) The takeaway is that base money (in the form of physical currency in circulation) and bank deposits will have to rise at a much steeper rate than bank assets until the banking system is more fully reserved. (At some point we think bank animal spirits will once again take over and we will have a new leveraging cycle.)

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US: The Speculative Bubble in Equities and the Case for Deflation, Stagflation and Implosion

“If the Fed continues to apply monetary stimulus and subsidy into this system, without a significant reform, the dollar will eventually “break” and the real economy will temporarily collapse. This will result in the mother of all stagflation.”

In my opinion the US dollar will collapse, the real economy will collapse, the stock market will collapse, but not only temporarily, unless you see time from the perspective of an oak tree.

Stagflation would be great. It rather looks like a hyperinflationary depression to me.

Let’s see.

German miracle in the US?!:

“The traditional solution has been a military conflict, which stifles dissent against the government while generating artificial demand sufficient to energize the productive economy. It is a means of exporting your social misery, official corruption, and fiscal irresponsibility to another, weaker people.”

“One only has to look at the “German miracle” of the 1930’s to see this progression from artificial stimulus, to domestic seizure of assets, to scapegoating and aggressive wars of acquisition, as described above. But this progress out of economic depression had made Hitler and Mussolini the darlings of Wall Street and the international financiers. Indeed, Time Magazine had even named Hitler their “Man of the Year” for this economic miracle, even though it was a fraudulent house of cards.”

Maybe that is what Obama’s  ‘change’ is all about.

We are living in interesting times. That’s for sure.

As part of their program of ‘quantitative easing’ which is another name for currency devaluation through extraordinary expansion of the monetary base, the Fed has very obviously created an inflationary bubble in the US equity market.

(Click on images to enlarge them)


Why has this happened? Because with a monetary expansion intended to help cure an credit bubble crisis that is not accompanied by significant financial market reform, systemic rebalancing, and government programs to cure and correct past abuses of the productive economy through financial engineering, the hot money given by the Fed and Treasury to the banking system will NOT flow into the real economy, but instead will seek high beta returns in financial assets.


Why lend to the real economy when one can achieve guaranteed returns from the Fed, and much greater returns in the speculative markets if one has the right ‘connections?’


The monetary stimulus of the Fed and the Treasury to help the economy is similar to relief aid sent to a suffering Third World country. It is intercepted and seized by a despotic regime and allocated to its local warlords, with very little going to help the people.


By far this presents the most compelling case for a deflationary episode. As the money that is created flows into financial assets, it is ‘taxed’ by Wall Street which takes a disproportionately large share in the form of fees and bonuses, and what are likely to be extra-legal trading profits.

If the monetary stimulus is subsequently dissipated as the asset bubble collapses, except that which remains in the hands of the few, it leaves the real economy in a relatively poorer condition to produce real savings and wealth than it had been before. This is because the outsized financial sector continues to sap the vitality from the productive economy, to drag it down, to drain it of needed attention and policy focus.

At the heart of it, quantitative easing that is not part of an overall program to reform, regulate, and renew the system to change and correct the elements that caused the crisis in the first place, is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme. The optimal time to reform the system was with the collapse of LTCM, and prior to the final repeal of Glass-Steagall, and the raging FIRE sector creating serial bubbles.

These injections of monetary stimulus to maintain a false equilibrium is in reality creating an increasingly unsustainable and unstable monetary disequilibrium within the productive economy. As the real economy contracts, the amount of money supply that the economy can sustain without triggering a monetary inflation decreases, and in a nonlinear manner. This is because the money multiplier does not ‘work’ the same in reverse, owing to the ability of private individuals and corporations to default on debt.

Ironically, with each iteration of this stimulus and seizure of wealth, the dollar becomes progressively weaker because there is a smaller productive economy to support it, even if there are less dollars, despite the nominal gains in GDP which are an accounting illusion. This has been further enabled by the dollar’s status as reserve currency backed by nothing since 1971, which has created an enormous overhang of dollars in the hands of other nations.

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Get Ready for Inflation and Higher Interest Rates: The unprecedented expansion of the money supply could make the ’70s look benign


Rahm Emanuel was only giving voice to widespread political wisdom when he said that a crisis should never be “wasted.” Crises enable vastly accelerated political agendas and initiatives scarcely conceivable under calmer circumstances. So it goes now.

Here we stand more than a year into a grave economic crisis with a projected budget deficit of 13% of GDP. That’s more than twice the size of the next largest deficit since World War II. And this projected deficit is the culmination of a year when the federal government, at taxpayers’ expense, acquired enormous stakes in the banking, auto, mortgage, health-care and insurance industries.

With the crisis, the ill-conceived government reactions, and the ensuing economic downturn, the unfunded liabilities of federal programs — such as Social Security, civil-service and military pensions, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, Medicare and Medicaid — are over the $100 trillion mark. With U.S. GDP and federal tax receipts at about $14 trillion and $2.4 trillion respectively, such a debt all but guarantees higher interest rates, massive tax increases, and partial default on government promises.

But as bad as the fiscal picture is, panic-driven monetary policies portend to have even more dire consequences. We can expect rapidly rising prices and much, much higher interest rates over the next four or five years, and a concomitant deleterious impact on output and employment not unlike the late 1970s.

About eight months ago, starting in early September 2008, the Bernanke Fed did an abrupt about-face and radically increased the monetary base — which is comprised of currency in circulation, member bank reserves held at the Fed, and vault cash — by a little less than $1 trillion. The Fed controls the monetary base 100% and does so by purchasing and selling assets in the open market. By such a radical move, the Fed signaled a 180-degree shift in its focus from an anti-inflation position to an anti-deflation position.

The percentage increase in the monetary base is the largest increase in the past 50 years by a factor of 10 (see chart). It is so far outside the realm of our prior experiential base that historical comparisons are rendered difficult if not meaningless. The currency-in-circulation component of the monetary base — which prior to the expansion had comprised 95% of the monetary base — has risen by a little less than 10%, while bank reserves have increased almost 20-fold. Now the currency-in-circulation component of the monetary base is a smidgen less than 50% of the monetary base. Yikes!

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Peter Schiff: We are the United States of Madoff (1/14/09)

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Source: YouTube

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