By Mike Whitney
27/09/08 “ICH” — – The financial system is blowing up. Don’t listen to the experts; just look at the numbers. Last week, according to Reuters, “U.S. banks borrowed a record amount from the Federal Reserve nearly $188 billion a day on average, showing the central bank went to extremes to keep the banking system afloat amid the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression.” The Fed opened the various “auction facilities” to create the appearance that insolvent banks were thriving businesses, but they are not. They’re dead; their liabilities exceed their assets. Now the Fed is desperate because the hundreds of billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) in the banks vaults have bankrupt the entire system and the Fed’s balance sheet is ballooning by the day. The market for MBS will not bounce back in the foreseeable future and the banks are unable to roll-over their short term debt. Game over. The Federal Reserve itself is in danger. So, it’s on to Plan B; which is to dump all the toxic sludge on the taxpayer before he realizes that the whole system is cratering and his life is about to change forever. It’s called the Paulson Plan, a $700 billion boondoggle which has already been disparaged by every economist of merit in the country.
“Borrowings by primary dealers via the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, and through another facility created on Sunday for Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Merrill Lynch, and their London-based subsidiaries, totaled $105.66 billion as of Wednesday, the Fed said.”
See what I mean; they’re all broke. The Fed’s rotating loans are just a way to perpetuate the myth that the banks aren’t flat-lining already. Bernanke has tied strings to the various body parts and jerks them every so often to make it look like they’re alive. But the Wall Street model is broken and the bailout is pointless.
Last week, there was a digital run on the banks that most people never even heard about; a “real time” crash. An article in the New York Post by Michael Gray gave a blow by blow description of how events unfolded. Here’s a clip from Gray’s “Almost Armageddon”:
“The market was 500 trades away from Armageddon on Thursday…Had the Treasury and Fed not quickly stepped into the fray that morning with a quick $105 billion injection of liquidity, the Dow could have collapsed to the 8,300-level – a 22 percent decline! – while the clang of the opening bell was still echoing around the cavernous exchange floor. According to traders, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, money market funds were inundated with $500 billion in sell orders prior to the opening. The total money-market capitalization was roughly $4 trillion that morning.
The panicked selling was directly linked to the seizing up of the credit markets – including a $52 billion constriction in commercial paper – and the rumors of additional money market funds “breaking the buck,” or dropping below $1 net asset value.”
The Fed’s dramatic $105 billion liquidity injection on Thursday (pre-market) was just enough to keep key institutional accounts from following through on the sell orders and starting a stampede of cash that could have brought large tracts of the US economy to a halt.” (New York Post)
Commercial paper is the lubricant that keeps the financial markets functioning. When confidence vanishes (because the stewards of the system in Washington are buffoons), investors withdraw their money, normal business operations become impossible, and the markets collapse. End of story. So, rather than restore the public’s confidence by strong leadership and behavior designed to reassure investors; President Bush decided to give a major prime-time speech stating that if Paulson’s emergency bailout package was not passed immediately, the nation’s economy would vaporize into the ether. Go figure?
Last week, the commercial paper market, (much of which is backed by mortgage-backed securities) shrunk by a whopping $61. billion to $1.702 trillion, the lowest level since early 2006. So, Paulson’s bailout will effectively underwrite CP as well as the whole alphabet soup of mortgage-backed derivatives for which there is currently no market. The US taxpayer is not only getting into the plummeting real estate market, he is also backstopping the entire financial system including defaulting car loan securities, waning student loan securities, flailing home equity loan securities and faltering credit card securities. The whole mountainous pile of horsecrap-debt is about to be stacked on the back of the maxed-out taxpayer and the ever-shriveling greenback. Paulson assures us that its a “good deal”. Booyah, Hank!
PAULSON’S $700 BILLION BOONDOGGLE
How did Treasury Secretary Paulson figure out that recapitalizing the banking system would cost $700 billion? Or did he just estimate the amount of money that could be loaded on the back of the Treasury’s flatbed truck when it sputters off to shower his buddies at G-Sax with freshly minted greenbacks? The point is, that Paulson’s calculations were not assisted by any economists at all, and they cannot be trusted. It is a purely arbitrary, “back of the envelope” type figuring. According to Bloomberg: Swiss investor Marc Faber, known for a long track record of good calls, believes the damage may come to $5 trillion:
“Marc Faber, managing director of Marc Faber Ltd. in Hong Kong, said the U.S. government’s rescue package for the financial system may require as much as $5 trillion, seven times the amount Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has requested….
“The $700 billion is really nothing,” Faber said in a television interview. “The treasury is just giving out this figure when the end figure may be $5 trillion.”(Bloomberg News)
Most people who follow these matters would trust Faber’s assessment way over Paulson’s. In his latest blog entry, economist Nouriel Roubini said that “no professional economist was consulted by Congress or invited to present his/her views at the Congressional hearings on the Treasury rescue plan.” Roubini added:
“The Treasury plan is a disgrace: a bailout of reckless bankers, lenders and investors that provides little direct debt relief to borrowers and financially stressed households and that will come at a very high cost to the US taxpayer. And the plan does nothing to resolve the severe stress in money markets and interbank markets that are now close to a systemic meltdown.”
Roubini is right on all counts. So far, more than a 190 prominent economists have urged Congress not to pass the $700 bailout bill. There is growing consensus that the so-called “rescue package” does not address the central economic issues and has the potential to make a bad situation even worse.
Financial industry rep. Paulson is the ringleader in a banker’s coup the results of which will decide America’s economic and political future for years to come. The coup leaders have drained tens of billions of dollars of liquidity from the already-strained banking system to trigger a freeze in interbank lending and hasten a stock market crash. This, they believe, will force Congress to pass Paulson’s $770 billion bailout package without further congressional resistance. It’s blackmail.
As yet, no one knows whether the coup-backers will succeed and further consolidate their political power via a massive economic shock to the system, but their plan continues to move jauntily forward while the economy follows its inexorable slide to disaster.
The bailout has galvanized grassroots movements which have flooded congressional FAXs and phone lines. Callers are overwhelmingly opposed to any bailout for banks that are buckling under their own toxic mortgage-backed assets. One analyst said that the calls to Congress are 50 percent “No” and 50 percent “Hell, No”. There is virtually no popular support for the bill.
From Bloomberg News: “Erik Brynjolfsson, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School, said his main objection “is the breathtaking amount of unchecked discretion it gives to the Secretary of the Treasury. It is unprecedented in a modern democracy.”
“I suspect that part of what we’re seeing in the freezing up of lending markets is strategic behavior on the part of big financial players who stand to benefit from the bailout,” said David K. Levine, an economist at Washington University in St. Louis, who studies liquidity constraints and game theory.” (Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis)
Brynjolfsson’s suspicions are well-founded. “Market Ticker’s” Karl Denninger confirms that the Fed has been draining the banking system of liquidity in order to blackmail Congress into passing the new legislation. Here’s Denninger:
“The Effective Fed Funds rate has been trading 50 basis points or more below the 2% target for five straight days now, and for the last two days, it has traded 75 basis points under. The IRX is demanding an immediate rate cut. The Slosh has been intentionally drained by over $125 billion in the last week and lowering the water in the swamp exposed one dead body – Washington Mutual – which was immediately raided on a no-notice basis by JP Morgan. Not even WaMu’s CEO knew about the raid until it was done….The Fed claims to be an “independent central bank.” They are nothing of the kind; they are now acting as an arsonist. The Fed and Treasury have claimed this is a “liquidity crisis”; it is not. It is an insolvency crisis that The Fed, Treasury and the other regulatory organs of our government have intentionally allowed to occur.”
Bingo. This is a banker’s coup cooked up and facilitated by the deep-money guys who operate stealthily behind the political sideshow. The only time they emerge from their stinkholes is when they’re flushed out by a crisis that threatens their continued dominance. Grassroots resistance, spearheaded by Internet bloggers (like Mish, Roubini and Denninger) are demonstrating that they can mobilize tens of thousands of “peasants with pitchforks” and be a factor in political decision making. It also helps to have elected officials, like Senator Richard Shelby, who stand firm on principle and don’t faint at the first whiff of grapeshot (like his weak-kneed Democratic counterparts) Shelby has shouldered the full-weight of executive pressure which has descended on him like a Appalachian rockslide. As a result, there’s still a slight chance that the bill will have to be shelved and the industry reps will have to go back to Square 1.
Market Ticker has provided charts from the Federal Reserve that prove that Bernanke has withdrawn $125 billion from the banking system in the last 4 days alone to create a crisis situation that will incite credit market mayhem and increase the liklihood of passing the bill. This is coercion of the worst kind. Go here for the market screens
A comment found on a financial forum:
Over and over again, I see the public discussing both sides of a completely false dialectic process… ($700 Billion dollar bailout). Again the federal reserve is a private entity that has never been audited in its entire history, and can create this needed money from thin air. The banking system can easily be bailed out by federal reserve notes — so why did they need Congress to pass this bill?
The real answer is they DIDN’T.
But what they did need is an excuse to collapse the economy and the $700 Billion dollar bill is nothing more than a dog and pony show for everybody to get all chatty about, it changes NOTHING. But it gives the ruling elite the excuse they need. While the puppet media is howling (because they realize they are going for the ride as well) — everything is going just according to plan, and that plan is to put you into poverty. It cannot be stressed enough — the bill is only an excuse to create an crisis, and use this crisis as a guise to tighten liquidity on the banking system and seize your assets.
It is no different than a farmer who waters his crop (loosens liquidity) and watches his crop grow (economy flourishes). Then at the time of harvest he halts liquidity (stops watering to dry the wheat out for harvest). Then he comes in and cuts his crop down (asset seizure after credit tightening.) After taking everything fresh seeds are planted (a new economy is started) and it is watered (liquidity is reapplied) and the cycle repeats. Your grandparents were a good example of this in action as the real cause of the financial crash was the tightening of liquidity.
The Congress voted against the bill because if they had not — the ruling elite would not have an excuse to create a crisis. This is a long term plan being craftily played out. Remember AGAIN the federal reserve can create this money from nothing, they never needed the $700 Billion. As you kill a deer you hang in the garage for a week to drain out its blood. As you kill an economy you tighten currency for a prolonged period until all the businesses and people are on their knees. Then you come in and buy all the businesse for pennies on the dollar, and take control of everything.
It works great:
– You make America a 2nd world country and the people work for free.
– Through various subsidiary corporations you quietly buy up all the industries and control EVERYTHING.
– Through the guise of an economic recession you can start labour camps and raise taxation to crippling levels.
And while this is being done to you — people can feel relieved that they ‘fought the good fight’ and convinced their senator to vote against the bill.
What should have been on the bill is the abolishment of the Federal Reserve and the right for them to create currency. Again everybody needs to watch the documentary The Money Masters which can be seen for free at video.google.com. [BELOW]
The Money Masters. If you haven’t watched this video, do so now. Watch it in parts — just make note on where you left off, come back and advance to that section, or just hit play to continue [INCOG].
Write your Senator AND Congressman ONLY ABOUT THE ABOLISHMENT OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE AND THEIR RIGHT TO ISSUE CURRENCY. It is the only issue that matters.
Why Are People Going for Congressmen Who Voted For This Bill?
The bigger question is why are people not trying to get rid of ALL THE CORRUPT SENATORS and CONGRESSMEN, and keep people like Ron Paul who know the real cause of the problem. Email this to everybody you know – start a wake-up chain today!