The Policies of Insolvency: Part II
Death, er... Debt Spirals; Blow Out and BLOW UP
As the currency and financial systems of the developed world's social-welfare-states head towards their doom, the battles between King Kong (Mother Nature and Darwin) versus Godzilla (public servants and banksters) continue. After generations of defying the reality that you must produce more than you consume, the social welfare states are being presented with the bill for their unpayable social obligations.
Modern day kings and their courts in developed world capitals are learning what King Canute once did: you CANNOT stop the tides from rolling over you; man is not god; he cannot command nature or defy its laws (i.e., survival of the fittest and producing more than you consume or perish/submit to those who do) and to believe he can is FALSE. POLITICS and MAN WILL NOT PREVAIL OVER NATURE or MARKETS (which are nature).
Morally and fiscally-bankrupt public servants, ratings agencies and finance ministers can try to DECLARE that bankrupt sovereigns and financial systems are AAA, but it does not change the fact that they are BANKRUPT. They only produce PAPER illusions and, like governments and kingdoms in history tried to turn lead into gold, this form of sovereign alchemy will FAIL as well. We only wait for history to roll over them like the tides. The farther they climb out on the limb, the bigger the coming economic and financial system CRASH.
Black swans are taking flight in a number of areas; the "when hope turns to fear moment" continues to advance towards the social welfare states.
Broken promises loom. First, the entitlement promises to the something-for-nothings which have driven us to this point, and then, ultimately, to the holders of Bonds through the IOU's in which they are denominated, known as G7 currencies (US dollars, British Pounds, Euros, Swiss Francs, Aussie and Canadian dollars.)
The greatest transfer of wealth from those who store it in paper to those who don't has commenced: A Crack-up Boom is on the horizon.
Remember what the December 2009 Tedbits stated about the something-for-nothing societies? They will borrow until they can borrow no more, then they will print the money until it is no longer accepted. This is in full motion throughout the G7, the idea that 11 million people in Greece who have already borrowed 300 billion Euros ($396 billion) are going to be rescued by the Euro Zone by lending them another 110-120 billion Euros is FALSE, as the NEW patsies, er..... lenders shall soon learn.
"Extend and pretend" only works when income and growth can be expected to resume robustly. Obviously whoever is engineering this package FORGOT to bring the calculators to the table to see how the money might be REPAID.
For prepared investors this is the greatest opportunity in history; for those looking in the rearview mirror it is the seeds of their demise. You must learn to restore the functions of money to your fiat currencies to stop the debasement of your money. Then apply various absolute-return alternative investing techniques and the indirect exchange as outlined by Ludvig Von Mises to turn the unfolding crisis into your opportunity. Volatility is opportunity and it is about to explode.
The Greek drama is fascinating to watch and from which to learn, but it is just a small glimpse of what is to come; like a snowball rolling downhill gathers size and momentum, this crisis will also until it engulfs the base and BLOWS it apart. The belief that the EU, ECB and IMF will stop contagion is false; the cat is already OUT OF THE BAG.
PAPER is TOXIC, as are any promises of morally and fiscally bankrupt governments, central banksters and their BIG bank partners, crony capitalists and their state-run capitalist systems.
Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs it is the rule... -- Friederich Nietzsche
The insanity began with the creation of the Federal Reserve and central banks in general, but really accelerated with Bretton Woods II in 1971, when semi-reserved-backed currencies (dollars were redeemable in gold by central banks) were converted into government-sponsored FRAUD (dollars and all currencies redeemable in NOTHING) and became IOU's.
"Prosperity was to be created out of government debt, not effective policies. That notion was so appealing to the politicians.
Greece simply carried Keynesianism to an extreme. Government workers and pensioners were to receive excessive salaries and annuities, financed by government debt, in exchange for votes. Keynesianism evolved into quite simply the substitution of government provided incomes for earnings from private activities. As we will observe in Greece, and likely in Spain, Portugal, and England, the terminal stage for a debt-financed lifestyle is a lower standard of living.
Keynesian economics, through government intervention in the real economy, creates distortions. Rather than investors placing their money at risk in sound business ventures, they are seeking to extricate it from those unsound economies. Rather than investing in those enterprises that would provide tomorrow's economic growth, wealth is hiding in U.S. government debt. With $13 trillion of debt, the U.S. government has provided plenty of hiding space". - Ned Schmidt
Malinvestments are at the heart of the insolvencies, as misallocated capital vaporizes the money and credit placed in them, and while other sectors which DID not receive the proper funds (due to financial system distortions) become DARLINGS sooner than later. I hope you all understand BOTH concepts outlined by Austrian economist Ludwig Von Mises: Malinvestments (buy them when they become UNDERVALUED) and the Indirect Exchange (exchange your money for them to store your wealth and create CASH flow) are the KEYS to SUCCESSFUL investing for the foreseeable future. This will unfold over and over again until the global financial crisis ends. I am working on these subjects for readers and investors.
We are just waiting for purchasing power to collapse under the debasement which is currently unfolding both in PLAIN sight, and by stealth by morally and fiscally-BANKRUPT central bankers and public servants. All FIAT currency and financial systems (they are just credit, aka IOU's) throughout history have fallen to their doom in insolvency, and this episode will be no different. Never in the history of the world have the outcomes been different. Let's take a look at a recent comment from the granddaddy of newsletter writers Richard Russell:
"I want to make one thesis clear. Up until recently, gold moved inversely to the dollar. If the dollar was weak, gold rallied, and vice versa. But I believe that has changed. With the mess in Greece and other European nations (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Ireland), suspicion is rising about ALL fiat money. Increasingly, gold is considered the ONLY safe money (probably along with diamonds and famous works of art). The most stable intrinsic wealth is gold because it is priced around the world every hour of the day, and it can be sold immediately in any quantity, making it completely liquid.
As I see it, a great drama is unfolding. What we are seeing is the slow, steady decline of the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the people of the world. The fraud I am referring to is fiat money. This is the so-called "money" created by the central banks. Fiat (non-intrinsic) money can be created at will by a central bank via a computer.
You work all your life to make a total of $900,000. The Fed, with no work or sweat on its part, can create a billion or 10 billion fiat dollars at will. Is that logical or moral? It allows politicians to spend whatever they want, and the bills are paid for in fiat money. The result is that many nations have spent far more than they ever should have, and oceans of fiat money have swept across the planet.
If you continue to produce an over-supply of an item, ultimately that item will become progressively less valuable. This is what's happening to fiat money. As fiat money, all of it, loses value, it takes an increasing amount of a given fiat currency to buy an ounce of gold.
As economies sink, governments create an increasing amount of fiat money in an effort to jump-start their sinking economies. Thus, what we are seeing is the perfect formula for the death of fiat money. But before death, the value (purchasing power) of a given fiat money must head down.
Therefore, I view rising gold as the death knell for all fiat money. But first, investors will exit the weakest and most speculative of the various fiat monies. Right now we are seeing investors fleeing Greek money in favor of the US dollar. In the end, I believe this is a fool's trade. Ultimately, we'll see the final flight to safety. This will be the flight out of dollars into gold." - Richard Russell
Thank you Richard (I urge you to subscribe - www.dowtheoryletters.com). The sage Richard Russell understands it all. Look at the Greeks in the streets, their way of life having been taken for granted, built on wage, entitlement and pension promises to pay which will never be met. Now that illusion to reality is SHATTERED. Just think of all the pensions, government entrepreneurs (private sector vendors to government), Medicare, Medicaid, government-sponsored healthcare recipients, social security, public sector pensions, etc. ANYBODY dependent on government support in one way or another is about to be issued a WAKE UP call. In the G7 welfare-state economies this is OVER 50% of the economies.
This way of life planning is woven into the fabric of the developed world social welfare states, built on government promises to pay which will also NEVER be met. If you count the hundreds of trillions of dollars of entitlement and pension obligations held off balance sheet by bankrupt G7 governments, then the streets of Greece will spread to every G7 Capital. Let's take a look at the amount of understatement of debt-to-GDP ratios, which do not include BIG "politically connected or controlled" bank debts, which are also out of control and unpayable:
Looking behind the curtain, the understated OBLIGATIONS are bigger than outlined. An example of this is Fannie and Freddie debt and guarantees which are not included in the above calculations, and amount to almost another $10 trillion. These liabilities are only ½ of the total, because every Dollar, Euro, Pound, Swiss Franc or whatever is also an IOU of a bankrupt G7 government, so we can double the amounts their constituents hold. Here is a chart from a recent www.nyt.com outlining the enormous amount of money which is owed between countries, a "Web of Debt":
Greece is but a footnote, the main event is about to unfold. When you consider this picture you now understand this was not a rescue of Greece; it was an attempt to rescue these behemoths and their CREDITORS from the meat grinder. The meat grinder is also known as Mother Nature and Darwin; politics WILL NOT prevail over fundamental insolvency which spells the demise of the unfit, morally and fiscally BANKRUPT elites, central banksters and their BIG bank cronies. But the fight is certainly interesting to watch.
These obligations are unpayable, inextinguishable and represent government fraud upon their constituents and employees. Pitting the "something-for-nothings" (welfare recipients of one sort or another), public servants and under-worked and overpaid public employees against over-worked and income-starved private sectors (destroyed by misstated inflation, over taxation, mandates, and rules and regulations that benefit crony capitalists and destroy their UN, politically-connected PRIVATE SECTOR competitors). As German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, quipped today "we have reached the fork in the road," spelling doom for something-for-nothing societies as they grasp for lenders and cash from their private sectors, and thereby destroying the seed corn required for growth. The parasite is killing the host private sectors and is a sociopath in search for something for nothing.
These conflicts are set to EXPLODE as MANY governments REFUSE to reform themselves or reduce spending; instead, they are selling fairy tales to the something-for-nothings and vote buying. The printing press and its incipient inflation are in the PIPELINE to destroy these illusions and expectations for the future.
Under the gold standard, deficit spending, entitlement promises and the size of bailouts available to public servants, banksters and crony capitalists was LIMITED. In a fiat system there is no limit to them until the purchasing power of the money COLLAPSES.
We are in the stretch run for these MAINSTREAM currencies and their financial systems, as hundreds of billions of Dollars, Euros, and Francs etc. will be required for the bailouts and unpayable promises, and sooner or later the lenders will FIGURE out the game in which they are the patsies. This is why DEFAULT in Greece is to be avoided at ALL COSTS, as to do so would FREEZE the lenders into inaction, creating an immediate sovereign BOND market collapse.
The only source of the funds is the PRINTING press, as these economies NO LONGER produce more than they consume, if properly measured. In fact, wealth creation has gone in reverse; these economies are shrinking at a rate of 5 to 10%, or more if you SUBTRACT government spending which is miscounted as GDP, paid for by socialist, corporatist monsters who are BORROWING from SAVERS and sending the bill to FUTURE generations and their children.
Just before the collapse of the financial systems and markets in August 2008, I wrote an article entitled Blow Out and Blow Up -- and that is where we find ourselves NOW. Greek Bond interest rates have exploded higher and inverted, the Two-Year Note trades at approximately 19%, and the Ten-Year Notes are just north of 10%.
The markets have shut down for Greek banks, money is FLEEING the country and the big Greek banks are about to collapse as the REPO market is CLOSED to them. But the bigger story is the downgrading of Greek debt to Junk, forcing institutions to SELL and prohibiting holders of the debt from borrowing against them from the European Central Bank. Take a look at the size of the GREEK debt currently held by banks in the Euro Zone:
The money on their balance sheets just took a 30% haircut at the minimum, and NO ONE will lend against them, except the European Central Bank (which changed the rules to keep them eligible to use as collateral). It is only a MATTER of TIME before this spreads to the other social welfare states. As this crisis spreads to Italy, Portugal and Spain the interbank lending market will become increasingly dysfunctional and FREEZE up, as the COUNTER PARTY solvency issues which emerged with Lehman Brothers resurfaces.
This is actually a bailout of the European banks as they are STUFFED to the gills with sovereign debt, running the carry trade with 1% money from the European Central Bank (this is how Trichet got around QE in 2008, now it is BACKFIRING) and buying longer term maturities from the respective bankrupt sovereigns. Until now a win/win as quantitative easing, now practiced by the Bank of England, US Federal Reserve (the fed is STILL monetizing, only through different channels to hide it) and the Bank of Japan. Look for Libor (London interbank spreads) to start blowing out soon as counterparty risk considerations come to the fore.
Euro Zone public servants are outraged at the credit ratings agencies which FINALLY acknowledged the unfolding insolvency, calling for investigations of their refusal to provide politically-correct but practically-incorrect sovereign bond ratings. It is being postulated that the Greek downgrade was a diversion from the raising of the debt ceiling by the US of $1.9 trillion in February. Global financial crisis part II has begun or will do so SOON. Take a look at 2-year yields - they are a canary in the coal mine:
As you can see, Portugal is at the doorstep with Spain and Italy about to join the BANKRUPTCY party. BLOW OUT and BLOW UP is happening right before your eyes, financial calamity DEAD AHEAD. The contagion cannot be contained at this point as all the other Euro Zone countries try to finance their own budget deficits of 5 to13% and become lenders of last resort to Italy, Portugal and Spain, who will, at some point SOON, arrive at the point Greeks are now. Ten-year Spreads are blowing out over German Bunds as this chart illustrates:
Look at deficits currently unfolding this year, and the debt as a percentage of GDP from a recent www.wsj.com:
These countries are NOT growing, but their debt and borrowing is exploding HIGHER. These governments are doing NOTHING to increase incomes and generate higher levels of wealth creation (remember this does not include off balance sheet OBLIGATIONS). In fact, they are raising taxes and burying their private sectors in new regulatory mandates (increased costs such as health care, cap and tax and new entitlements of one sort or another). Do you see ANYTHING in government policy which creates jobs, rising incomes or economic activity? NO, it is INSANITY. A RECIPE for ECONOMIC collapse...
Since the beginning of the global financial crisis, the private sectors of these economies have and continue to shed millions and millions of jobs, while the public sectors are the same size, or growing, and have wages that are considerably higher than the private sector, and they produce NOTHING.
Wealth, job and Income generation are public sector and main stream media HOT AIR with absolutely nothing being proposed or implemented. ON PURPOSE. This is the final assault on CAPITALISM and the private sector just before the UNFOLDING ECONOMIC collapse lowers the BOOM on what little freedoms are left. Why start a new business or work hard to make money when the Government and president think:
"We don't begrudge success fairly earned. I do think at a certain point you've earned enough money"... - Barack Obama
This is an obscene attitude from the president of the United States. VOTE EVERY DEMOCRAT OUT; it is the only way to stop this man from destroying more than he already has. Congressional oversight and support of wealth creation must be restored.
Of course, this number is in continuous FREEFALL throughout the developed world welfare state (while rich is continually defined LOWER), in France that number is about 50,000 Euros, after which rates become confiscatory. France is not growing in any meaningful way except through misstated inflation.
Next year when the Bush tax cuts expire, taxes on DIVIDENDS and investment income are slated to climb to 39.6%, then the health care bill adds a 3.8% SURCHARGE taking the rate to 43.4%. Can you say gangster government? In effect, this is a tripling of the current 15% rate. Do these GOVERNMENT terrorists actually believe this will not affect human and investor behavior? They are destroying all incentives to PRODUCE wealth, invest and create jobs. This is CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN... the bastards. This is UNREPORTED by the media, and is already in law for the 2011 budget. They seek nothing less than the FINAL death of capitalism.
The companies are taxed at 40% on income and what little they share with their shareholders will be taxed at that level as well. A double dip for the terrorists in Washington DC. An increase of 164%; do you think this is going to spur investors? Or entrepreneurs? Or create economic activity? Of course not. It is absurd policy from the progressives (BIG GOVERNMENT supporters). To them you are UNDERTAXED; you are their sheep to be fleeced.
Politicians and Keynesian economists DO NOT consider human behavior or the incentives to produce when formulating government policy. They believe they can keep taxing and that people who actually produce will keep working just as hard ever, but take bug pay cuts as their incomes are confiscated and redistributed to others; they somehow missed the history of these beliefs.
Recent polls show 4 out of 5 people DO NOT trust Washington, and they trust Wall Street over Washington by the same amount. I am quite certain that our European brothers and sisters are harboring the same beliefs.
This is INCREDIBLE, yet they ignore this and proceed to bury you and me. As I have said before, dictatorship is upon us as elected representatives DEFY the will of the people they represent and work against the public interest in growing the economy. The progressive, congressional, democrats in charge are now at ramming speed to implement everything they want, as they realize that, come the 2010 elections, they are LAME ducks.
Let the economic destruction begin as socialist, progressive, ideologues RAM through every hoped-for policy from the last 50 years, just as they have been doing since the chosen one was elected. Congressional progressives and the Executive Branch have been braying they INHERITED the deficits: B**L S**T, congress passes the budget and the president signs it. They are the CULPRITS, take a look at this chart of budget deficits illustrating the reckless expansion of government embarked upon AFTER the last presidential election:
Of course, they did this to SAVE YOU. If you properly add in losses at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the budget deficits are another $250-300 billion HIGHER. The GAAP budget deficit (generally accepted accounting principles) is defined by the US TREASURY at almost $5 trillion rather than the main stream media advertised $1.6 trillion. I have no love lost for Pinocchio but this makes Bush look like an ANGEL. This is the embodiment of the chosen one's campaign slogan: "Change we can believe in." The chosen one is now the new Pinocchio.
Just as the Euro Zones markets must PRICE in this profligacy, so must American markets. Think of the reckless entitlement EXPANSION contained in HEALTHCARE reform. As Ob@ma muttered after it passed, "this is what change is," unpayable benefits for those who are unwilling to work with the bills sent to those who do. Government dependence for money.
Anyone who has looked CLOSELY at the financial reform bill KNOWS it is nothing of the sort; it is just another expansion of government power over another sector of the economy. Reform of Fannie and Freddie are ABSENT, as well as a resolution process for TOO BIG TO FAIL. This bill is a favor factory for incumbent politicians. IT IS MORAL HAZARD WRIT LARGE, removing the fear of failure for politically-connected campaign contributors and the holdings of the financial ILLUMINATI. Let's take a look at the money trails while the GANG of 535 DEBATES the future of banks and financial companies:
And the top recipients are:
Dozens of FUNDRAISERS are being held while these gangsters are DEBATING the legislation. And who made the BIG contributions to protect their futures from these congressional PREDATORS?
This is PROTECTION money just like that collected by the mafia; it's just like Congresswoman Bachman has said: GANGSTER government. It's the Chicago way. The republicans and democrats doing imitations of the Gambino's and Gotti's as I have said many times in the past. Tea Party buyers beware.
Another question that beggars belief is the fact that this legislation is being put forth BEFORE the financial commission created by Ob@ma presents their report. How do you fix the problems if they haven't been properly identified and defined? This is another political fix to practical problems. It HAS NO REDEEMING value except to entrenched politicians, giving them more POLITICAL control of the banking system. It NEEDS to be RUSHED through before they LOSE the next elections. You can expect the VAT tax to be rushed into law before the deficit commission presents their conclusions which have already been decided upon as well. MORALLY and FISCALLY bankrupt public servants.
In Conclusion: These are the policies of INSOLVENCY! Nowhere are policies of economic, job or income growth being discussed or implemented, so a return to economic growth as a method to pay the unpayable is OFF THE TABLE. There is no way that extend and pretend will PAY OFF. They will have to print the money, and since we are off the gold standard there is nothing preventing the illuminati and their minions from doing so. Keynesian economics are falling on their own petard.
A hyperinflationary depression continues to unfold. Trillions of dollars have yet to be created to STEM the collapse. The elites will FAIL and take their financial and currency systems with them. IT'S ALL AUSTRIAN economics. The something-for-nothing social welfare states of the developed world will ALL descend into the hell hole Greece is becoming. No politician, central bankster or crony capitalist can stem the tide of their self-generated insolvency from washing over them. When interest rate spreads blow out in your area, you know the crisis has ARRIVED where you live and the blow up will not be far behind.
Make no mistake, this is an unfolding currency extinction event and it is not limited to the Euro. Spain, Italy and Portugal are at the EU doorstep soon to seek Greek aid. The destruction of the Euro is dead ahead as they will soon try a rescue of BIG MONEY. A $2 trillion Euro Zone rescue fund is being proposed. YOU can COUNT on it. As I have said in this letter for years: They will print the money. Germany MAY leave the monetary union because the rescue is toxic to the public. One thing is certain; they will not pay for it. The Euro is in freefall and, as Dennis Gartman correctly notes, the situation has now become a liquidation of euro-denominated reserves by central banks.
Something-for-nothing societies will borrow until they cannot do so, and print until the purchasing power of the currency collapses, up to and including the US Dollar. It will be the last to fall as all fiat currencies are derivatives of the dollar. Don't lose everything when they crank up the printing presses over and over again. The fiat currency PONZI schemes are collapsing. Learn how to turn it into your opportunity.
For investors, it's the greatest opportunity in the world as these REALITIES are priced into all markets (stocks, bonds, commodities, metals, etc.) they will zoom up and down. BUY and HOLD is DEAD, except for GOLD and SILVER (buy pullbacks). EVERY asset class in the world is MISPRICED as it is impossible to know what a Dollar, Franc, Pound, or Euro is worth.
As a unit of account for trade they are WORTHLESS as they represent no intrinsic value except the corruption of our leaders. They will all ultimately go to their intrinsic value as they have done throughout history, without exception. In order to thrive, you must learn to restore the functions of money and consider investments that can thrive in up and down market conditions. This is what I do - click here to find out more www.traderview.com/inquire.htm
I also have a special treat from my friend and Technical Analyst Garret Jones. He has written a special alert on the major stock indexes and the big and little pictures, it is good work and you can access it here www.traderview.com/tedbits/GarretJones-SpeAlert70-050410.pdf
There are only two reliable units of account and settlement and they have not changed value in thousands of years: Gold and silver. The only thing that changes value is the currencies in which they are denominated, pushing them up and down as a reflection of the RELATIVE strength or weakness of the underlying FIAT currency. Remember: Currencies don't float they just SINK at different rates.
The European central bank will have to figure out quantitative easing or its curtains sooner rather than later. They will do so in one form or another. Banks soon will rebel at taking down more bad sovereign offerings. It will probably be camouflaged, as the fed is probably doing it now: DIRECT BIDDERS.
Why do we know this will happen? If someone points a gun at your head will you duck or take the bullet? These predators (public servants, elites, crony capitalists and banksters) are no different than you. They will duck and let the public take the bullets as they have done since time began. You must learn to dodge the bullet as well. It's all contained in the works of Von Mises, Hayek and Schumpeter. Applied Austrian economics. You should learn it.
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