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ECONOMICS AND ESOTERICA FOR A NEW PARADIGM

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“We are on the verge of a Great, Great Depression”

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by George Washington
Posted originally June 1, 2011

THE NEWS THAT FREQUENT CNBC GUEST Peter Yastrow of Yastrow Origer (and formerly with DT Trading) told CNBC that “We’re on the verge of a great, great depression. The [Federal Reserve] knows” is going viral today. But this is not news to anyone who has been paying attention. As I pointed out Tuesday, billion dollar fund managers agree: the government never fixed the underlying economic problems, so we’ll have another crash. I provided details last month: As noted in January, the housing slump is worse than during the Great Depression.

As CNN Money points out today: Wal-Mart’s core shoppers are running out of money much faster than a year ago due to rising gasoline prices, and the retail giant is worried, CEO Mike Duke said Wednesday. “We’re seeing core consumers under a lot of pressure,” Duke said at an event in New York. “There’s no doubt that rising fuel prices are having an impact.”

Wal-Mart shoppers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, typically shop in bulk at the beginning of the month when their paychecks come in. Lately, they’re “running out of money” at a faster clip, he said. “Purchases are really dropping off by the end of the month even more than last year,” Duke said. “This end-of-month [purchases] cycle is growing to be a concern.

And – in case you still think that the 29% of Americans who think we’re in a depression are unduly pessimistic – take a look at what I wrote last December. The following experts have – at some point during the last two years – said that the economic crisis could be worse than the Great Depression:

States and Cities in Worst Shape since the Great Depression

States and cities are in dire financial straits, and many may default in 2011. California is issuing IOUs for only the second time since the Great Depression. Things haven’t been this bad for state and local governments since the 30s. Loan Loss Rate Higher than During the Great Depression

In October 2009, I reported: In May, analyst Mike Mayo predicted that the bank loan loss rate would be higher than during the Great Depression. In a new report, Moody’s has just confirmed (as summarized by Zero Hedge): The most recent rate of bank charge offs, which hit $45 billion in the past quarter, and have now reached a total of $116 billion, is at 3.4%, which is substantially higher than the 2.25% hit in 1932, before peaking at at 3.4% rate by 1934.

Here’s a chart summarizing the findings:

Indeed, top economists such as Anna Schwartz, James Galbraith, Nouriel Roubini and others have pointed out that while banks faced a liquidity crisis during the Great Depression, today they are wholly insolvent. See this, this, this and this. Insolvency is much more severe than a shortage of liquidity.

Unemployment at or near Depression Levels

USA Today reports today: So many Americans have been jobless for so long that the government is changing how it records long-term unemployment. Citing what it calls “an unprecedented rise” in long-term unemployment, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), beginning Saturday, will raise from two years to five years the upper limit on how long someone can be listed as having been jobless.

The change is a sign that bureau officials “are afraid that a cap of two years may be ‘understating the true average duration’ — but they won’t know by how much until they raise the upper limit,” says Linda Barrington, an economist who directs the Institute for Compensation Studies at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

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Fifty things every American should know about the collapse of the Economy

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by Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse
Posted originally May 18, 2011

RIGHT NOW WE ARE WITNESSING A TRULY HISTORIC COLLAPSE OF THE ECONOMY, AND YET MOST AMERICANS DO NOT UNDERSTAND what is going on. One of the biggest reasons why the American people do not understand what is happening to the economy is because our politicians and the mainstream media are not telling the truth.

Barack Obama and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke keep repeating the phrase “economic recovery” over and over, and this is really confusing for most Americans because things sure don’t seem to be getting much better where they live.

There are millions upon millions of Americans that are sitting at home on their couches right now wondering why they lost their jobs and why nobody will hire them.  Millions of others are wondering why the only jobs they can get are jobs that a high school student could do.  Families all across America are wondering why it seems like their wages never go up but the price of food and the price of gas continue to skyrocket.  We are facing some very serious long-term economic problems in this country, and we need to educate the American people about why the collapse of the economy is happening.

If the American people don’t understand why they are losing their jobs, why they are losing their homes and why they are drowning in debt then they are going to keep on doing all of the same things that they have been doing.  They will also keep sending the same idiot politicians back to Washington to represent us.  There are some fundamental things about the economy that every American should know.

The American people need to be shocked out of their entertainment-induced stupor long enough to understand what is really going on and what needs to be done to solve our nightmarish economic problems. If we do not wake up enough Americans in time, the economic collapse that is coming could tear this nation to shreds.

The U.S. economy was once the greatest economic machine in modern world history. It was truly a wonder to behold. It worked so well that entire generations of Americans came to believe that America would enjoy boundless prosperity indefinitely.

But sadly, prosperity is not guaranteed for any nation. Over the past several decades, some very alarming long-term economic trends have developed that are absolutely destroying the economy. If dramatic changes are not made soon, a complete and total economic collapse will be unavoidable.

Unfortunately, the American people will never agree to fundamental changes to our economic and financial systems unless they are fully educated about what is causing our problems. We have turned our backs on the principles of our forefathers and the principles of those that founded this nation. We have rejected the ancient wisdom that was handed down to us.

It has been said that those that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind. We are about to experience the consequences of decades of really bad decisions. Hopefully we can get the American people to wake up. The following are fifty things that every American should know about the collapse of the economy….

#1 Do you remember how much was made of the “Misery Index” during the presidency of Jimmy Carter?  At that time, the “Misery Index” was constantly making headlines in newspapers all across the country. Well, according to John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics, if we calculated unemployment and inflation the same way that we did back during the Carter administration, then the Misery Index today would actually be higher than at any point during the presidency of Jimmy Carter.

#2 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of about 5 million Americans were being hired every single month during 2006. Today, an average of about 3.5 million Americans are being hired every single month.

#3 According to the Wall Street Journal, there are 5.5 million Americans that are currently unemployed and yet are not receiving unemployment benefits.

#4 All over America, state and local governments are selling off buildings just to pay the bills.  Investors can now buy up government-owned power plants, prisons and municipal buildings from coast to coast.  For example, the mayor of Newark, New Jersey recently sold off 16 government buildings (including the police and fire headquarters) just to pay some bills.

#5 When Americans think of “government debt”, most of them only think of the federal government, but it is not just the federal government that has a massive debt problem.  State and local government debt has reached an all-time high of 22 percent of U.S. GDP.

#6 If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.

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Fear, Inflation and Debt

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by Greg Hunter
Originally posted March 2, 2011

USAWatchdog.com

YESTERDAY, GOLD HIT FRESH ALL-TIME HIGHS at $1,432.10 an ounce. Silver hit a 31 year high, closing at more than $34.50 per ounce. Oil nearly touched $100 per barrel, which is the highest it has been since September 2008. What’s going on? Part of the price spikes are, no doubt, due to riots and rebellions in the Middle East, but it is also the world’s awakening realization America’s crushing debt will never be repaid in real money.

The U.S. needs to slash its budgets, but finding politicians on Capitol Hill with the nerve to make deep cuts is elusive, to say the least. Yesterday, the Associated Press reported, “The Republican-controlled House is on course to pass legislation cutting federal spending by $4 billion and averting a government shutdown for two weeks. And Senate Democrats say they will go along… Republicans want to slash more than $60 billion from agency budgets over the coming months as a down payment on larger reductions later in the year, but are settling for just $4 billion in especially easy cuts as the price for the two-week stopgap bill.” (Click here for the complete AP story.)

Over in the Senate, the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee asked questions of Fed Chief Ben Bernanke about the state of the economy and raising the debt ceiling.  It currently stands at $14.3 trillion.  Senator David Vitter said “the biggest” problem the nation faced was “reaching our debt limit… sometime between late March and May.” Senator Vitter asked Mr. Bernanke, “Would it be better to increase the debt limit and go along our merry way on the present fiscal path or would it be better to increase the debt limit and at the same time pass meaningful budget reform?”

I really do not see how cutting $60 billion is “meaningful reform” when PIMCO’s Bill Gross said two months ago on CNBC, “We have a deficit in the $1 trillion plus arena, which means we must borrow at least a trillion dollars additional a year in order to fund the deficit.  And, so, the debt ceiling currently at $14.3 trillion, which is 95% of GDP, has to go up by another trillion or so every 12 months.” (Click here to read more about raising the debt ceiling.)

Bernanke responded to Senator Vitter’s question by saying, “Clearly, the latter. You want to make sure the debt is paid, interest is paid, and meaningful budget reform is highly desirable. I’m just concerned that there could be a significant probability that we would not raise the debt limit, and that would cause real chaos…This is money we’ve already borrowed. These are commitments we’ve already made to contractors, to senior citizens and so on…”

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Trigger Points, Black Swans, and other unpleasant realities

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by Giordano Bruno
Originally posted October 27, 2010

Neithercorp Press

AN AVALANCHE IS NOT AN “EVENT”, IT IS AN EPIC; A SERIES OF SMALLER EVENTS DRIFTING AND COMPACTING ONE AFTER ANOTHER until the contained potential energy reaches an apex, a point at which it can no longer be managed or inhibited. A single tremor, an inopportune echo, an unexpected shift in the winds, and the entire icy edifice, the product of countless layered storms, is sent crashing down the valley like a great and terrible hand.

In this way, avalanches in nature are quite similar to avalanches in economies; both events accumulate over the long span of seasons, and finally end in the bewildering flash of a single moment.

The problem that most people have today is being unable to tell the difference between a smaller storm in our economy, and an avalanche. Very few Americans have ever personally witnessed a financial collapse, and so, when confronted with an initiating event, like the stock market plunge of 2008, they have no point of reference with which to compare the experience. They misinterpret the crash as a finale. Untouched, they breathe a sigh of relief, unaware that this is merely the beginning of something much more complex and threatening.

So, without personal experience on our side to help us recognize a trigger point incident; the catalyst that brings down our meticulously constructed house of cards, how will we stand watch? Will we miss the danger parading right in front of our faces? Will we be caught completely off-guard?

The key in avoiding such a scenario is in identifying the primary pillars of our particular financial system, and tracking them carefully. Once we are able to cut through the haze of distractions and minor events promoted mostly by the mainstream media, and focus on that which is truly important, our ability to foresee danger greatly increases. But what are the crucial mainstays of our economy, and what kind of disastrous occurrence could possibly bring them tumbling down?

Mortgage Crisis Redux

The health of property markets is a vital indicator of the stability of almost any country, but most especially in the United States. The reason why the bust in mortgage values is so dangerous to our particular economy is because Americans allowed themselves to become completely dependent on debt in order to sustain their consumption. We have been surviving on mortgage loans and Visa cards for nearly two decades! The fantastical boost in stocks and retail during the late 90’s and early 2000’s was an illusion built on artificially low interest rates and easy credit. Of course, it doesn’t help that corporate interests outsourced most of our industrial foundation to the third world leaving us with an emaciated jobs market utterly reliant on the service sector. Many people were given few options besides taking loan after loan using homes they couldn’t afford in the first place as collateral.

Regardless, without the support of solid industry and innovation in a system to supply employment opportunities and create true wealth (not debt), we have only “derivatives” and toxic securities, worthless bits of paper representing liabilities that will never be repaid. Now that these contracts are known to be worthless, there is only one thing left to prop up the economy; fiat printing of the U.S. dollar.

Back in 2008, I called the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac a “black hole” of debt which would siphon the last remaining vestiges of wealth from the American taxpayer, and this is exactly what has happened. Every quarter, MSM analysts claim the housing market has “bottomed” and is ready for a rebound, yet, every quarter the mortgage crisis gets just a little bit worse. It is now projected that Fannie and Freddie could end up costing taxpayers over $1 Trillion:

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Fairy Tales of Recovery, Reality of More Failures

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Fairy Tales of Recovery, Reality of More Failures
by Bob Chapman
Originally posted: September 2 2009
Little recovery with bailout funds, More failures to come in credit card, loans, and commercial real estate, Other currencies are not the answer for anybody, since all currencies rise and fall in relation to gold and silver, foreign investors feasting on US banks, negative GDP decline in other major economies, perpetual crisis for perpetual government control, Things dont look good and a TARP wont cover it, US poverty rate now higher than Mexico or Turkey.
The Illuminists are desperate. They are appealing the Bloomberg directive to reveal who received funding to keep from going bankrupt from the Federal Reserve.
In addition HR 1207 will pass in the House this month. The question is in what form. No matter what happens the Illuminati knows we are hot on their trail. They have to do everything possible to end the depression, or go for broke.
Thus far there has been little recovery even with an official $23.7 trillion committed by the Treasury and the Fed. This number alone shows you how serious this situation is. The banking sector is still broke and is using TARP funds to buy out failing smaller banks. The residential TARP funds returned will go toward helping bail out the collapsing commercial real estate industry. Quantitative easing has not worked, nor has TARP and the endless stream of money from TALF. We are anxious to see if the FASB sticks to its guns and demands mark-to-market accounting. That will pull the cover off of the fraud known as mark-to-model, which really is mark to whatever you want it to be. As you can now see this is a much deeper problem than a subprime problem. That just triggered events. As we pointed out before we are still facing a new wave of subprime loans written over the past year by FHA, Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, plus ALT-A, Option ARMS Pick-and-Pay Loans and the failure of prime loans that will stretch to 2013. On top of that we have commercial real estate loans now to deal with and credit card failure. This is what the Illuminati crime syndicate has brought you in their lust for more power and riches. We must not forget as well, standing in the wings, are America’s creditors, especially the Chinese who are dumping $25 billion to $100 billion in dollar denominated assets monthly. Their goal is to be out of dollar paper in another 1-1/2 years. Then there are the other sellers. There are few buyers, so the Fed will have to monetize trillions of dollars in dollar denominated bonds, which they are doing secretly presently. It is no wonder they are terrified of an audit, which would not only uncover their illegal activities, but also expose their leadership and participation in the outrageous suppression of gold and silver prices. The status of foreign creditors could turn on a dime. We predict they will abandon ship one at a time, as the dollar slips lower and lower. The Fed and the Treasury have tried over and over to keep the USDX, dollar index, over 80 for weeks and they have been totally unsuccessful. It settled this past Friday at 78.31, just ready to break to new lows. We wonder how long these countries will tolerate such arrogance and the dream of world government? One must remember these countries are suffering the fallout of the actions that have been deliberately executed by these Illuminists and they are not happy about that. They are all suffering recession and many depression. It is only a matter of time before they too dump dollar denominated assets.
We would like to say for individuals caught up in this mess worldwide, other currencies are not the answer. Only gold and silver related assets are the answer. Remember that, for in the final analysis all currencies will fall in value versus gold and silver and there are no exceptions. We have been there before and seen that, so do not be deluded into going into other currencies, or shares in foreign markets denominated in other currencies, they are not the answer, only gold and silver are.
Then we hear the fairy tales of recovery in the US, Europe and Asia. If you spend enough money you can create a recovery albeit of short duration. No one is out of the woods. Europe, particularly the eurozone, has cut issuance of money and credit to 3.7% but they are maintaining interest rates at 1%, which is in reality ½%. The European recovery will be a parallel movement for a year and without more cheap money or an increase in money and credit it will die and wither away. Then there are the ongoing real estate collapses in the US, Ireland, Spain and in the Persian Gulf. There could be a bank panic or holiday in any of these regions. If a panic occurs the first liquid asset sold will be US Treasuries and Agencies and the US dollar. This would spread terror in Frankfurt, Paris, London and NYC. All these stock exchanges could collapse as well. The NYSE, FTSE, CAC and the DAX as countries in trouble sell everything not nailed down to simply survive. The world is about to find out that free trade and globalization has been a disaster. The millions of jobs lost in the US and Europe, so that transnational conglomerates could prosper is in the final stages of death. The redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor countries is about to end in a shattering smash-up. The myth of worldwide prosperity is about to end. Contrary to prevailing thought the biggest losers will be world exporters, such as China, which has already seen a 40% fall in exports. All the money and credit creation we have seen in China over the past seven months, some $1.9 trillion, isn’t going to work. They still face 30 million unemployed. Those jobs are not going to return for a long time if ever. Out of desperation there eventually will be tariffs, legislated in the US, Europe and in other countries and inflation will rise as a result.
In America the safety net of the FDIC doesn’t exist. It is virtually broke and that is why a few months ago unofficially the FDIC asked government for $500 billion. Putting this into perspective, about $700 billion would insure about 1% of all the qualifying deposits in the US.
Not only will the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, HR-1207, pass the House, but also it will pass the Senate, because you are going to write every Senator demanding that they pass it.
If passed, we will see our gold inventories. We’ll find out what toxic garbage the Fed has been buying from banks and what they have paid for it. We will find out every company that received funds and how they were spent. We will subpoena every piece of correspondence, fax, e-mail and phone calls the Fed has ever made. We will get a real balance sheet; not some version the GAO approved. Wait until the public sees how the Fed and its owners have looted the people for almost 100 years.
Two Republican lawmakers, Darrell Issa, (R-Ca) and Rep. Spencer Bachus, (R-OK), House Financial Services ranking members are seeking an audit of the trust that manages the government’s controlling stake in AIG.
Three more U.S. banks failed on Friday, bringing the total to 84 so far this year, as the industry continues to grapple with deteriorating loans on their books. 

Regulators shuttered Affinity Bank of Ventura, California, Bradford Bank in Baltimore, and Mainstreet Bank of Forest Lake, Minnesota, which in total are expected to cost the government’s deposit insurance fund about $446 million. 

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp on Thursday reported that the insurance fund’s balance stood at $10.4 billion at the end of the second quarter. But the agency also noted that the figure was adjusted to account for $32 billion set aside for expected failures over the next year. 

FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said this week that bank failures will remain elevated as banks go through the painful process of recognizing loan losses and cleaning up balance sheets. 

The total of 84 failures this year marks a sharp rise over the 25 last year, and the three failures in all of 2007.
We stated long ago the somewhere between 3,400 and 4,200 banks would go under and the FDIC would spend trillions of dollars to cover the loses. A loss of 3,400 banks would lead to losses of over $33 trillion.
The FDIC now has foreign banks and private equity groups about to engorge themselves on failing US banks. Worse yet, rather than cash the FDIC is allowing these financial firms to use equity which is unprecedented. The use of non-cash collateral assets is being used because the purchasing banks are broke and without TARP not only could they not buy anything, but they’d probably be out of business. What Ms. Bair has done has been to expedite the takeover of banks by bigger banks and involved the use of foreign banks as well as private equity partnerships.
As far as we are concerned, as a foreigner, you have to be deranged to buy dollar denominated assets with the massive monetization of agency securities, collateralized debt obligations and treasuries going on, never mind the underhanded secret deals the Fed is involved in to fund their markets. If we can understand what the fed is up too, so can these foreigners. That is what a more than $600 billion swap facility is all about, including suppression of foreign currencies in order to bolster the strength of the dollar.
This month, September, a great confusion will begin. The occupation of Iraq will continue; more troops will be sent to Afghanistan and Pakistan will become another major battleground. Terrorism will be used to continue to propagandize the American public, along with Cap & Trade and medical reform and the Swine Flu fiasco. These are all distractions to keep the publics’ eye off the continued failure of our financial system.
Deflation continues to eat away at assets, except for gold and silver, and the Fed creates money and credit to offset deflation’s savages.
The torrent of money and credit has pulled some nations at least temporarily out of the negative decline on GDP. Japan, France and Germany are examples. The question is when will their economies run out of stream? Probably when they attempt to raise interest rates. In the case of the eurozone the expansion of money and credit has already fallen 3.7%.
The global economic crisis, now more than two years old has allowed governments to run banking and financial systems in a usurpation of power over the individual and private property. What we are facing is perpetual crisis and intended government control. There will not be a return to normality. Next will come food shortages and rationing and one epidemic or pandemic after another. We wonder what will happen when the public finds out that all these problems were preplanned by the Illuminati. Then comes the control of all labor. Government is now spending 185% of tax receipts. The budget deficit will be between $1.6 and $2.00 trillion for fiscal 2009, ended on 9/30/09.
For those who hadn’t noticed, yoy commercial real estate values fell 27% and are off 36% from their 10/07 peak. We see a total drop of 70% to 75% from the highs, when all is said and done. Refinancing has to be found for $165 billion in properties by the end of the year, which is impossible, even with left over TARP funds.
Deflation has prices somewhere between minus 2% to plus 5% worldwide as imports and exports have fallen over 30%. As an example, Los Angeles, the busiest port in the US, imports have fallen 16.9% yoy. It is the exporters who are getting hit the hardest and some have cut prices in the process.
The only thing that keeps a veneer of equilibrium is the massive creation of money and credit pumped out by central banks worldwide. We said we had entered depression this past February and as when we called the beginning of recession two years before, no one shared our opinion. If we are not in depression than what is the significance of 20.8% unemployment, a factory utilization level of 65% and continued massive foreclosures? As we have said over and over again the Fed, Treasury, Wall Street and banking are in a box and they cannot get out. They deliberately created this horrible situation and there is no going back. It is impossible to reverse the process. We are in an economic and financial depression. The palliative supposedly is bigger budget deficits and credit expansion into infinity. We are going to see a replay of the 1970s. Inflation will catch up and overtake deflation one more time, but in the end deflation will prevail.
Fiscal spending is running wild and our president predicts a budget deficit of $9 trillion dollars over the next ten years. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says spending has to be cut 8% permanently over the next several years. In July alone federal spending rose 26%, as revenues fell 6%. Corporate tax receipts fell 58%, as individual revenues fell 21%. The official economic contraction is the worst since the great depression. Can you imagine what it really is? 9.4% unemployment is front-page news, but you didn’t hear about the 4.7% loss in salaries and wages of 4.7% for the 12 months ended in June. There are more government employees now than all those employed in manufacturing and construction. How is it that state employees now make 40% more than the average income in non-governmental jobs? What a perversion of government. It is no wonder that the US poverty rate is higher than in Mexico and Turkey.

by Bob Chapman
Originally posted: September 2, 2009

Short summary:
Little recovery with bailout funds, more failures to come in credit card, loans, and commercial real estate, other currencies are not the answer for anybody, since all currencies rise and fall in relation to gold and silver, foreign investors feasting on US banks, negative GDP decline in other major economies, perpetual crisis for perpetual government control, things don’t look good and a TARP won’t cover it, and the US poverty rate is now higher than Mexico or Turkey.

THE ILLUMINISTS ARE DESPERATE. They are appealing against the Bloomberg directive to reveal who received funding from the Federal Reserve. In addition HR 1207 will pass in the House this month. The question is in what form. No matter what happens the Illuminati knows we are hot on their trail. They have to do everything possible to end the depression, or go for broke.

Thus far there has been little recovery even with an official $23.7 trillion committed by the Treasury and the Fed. This number alone shows you how serious this situation is. The banking sector is still broke and is using TARP funds to buy out failing smaller banks. The residential TARP funds returned will go toward helping bail out the collapsing commercial real estate industry. Quantitative easing has not worked, nor has TARP and the endless stream of money from TALF.

We are anxious to see if the FASB sticks to its guns and demands mark-to-market accounting. That will pull the cover off of the fraud known as mark-to-model, which really is mark to whatever you want it to be. As you can now see this is a much deeper problem than a subprime problem. That just triggered events.

As we pointed out before we are still facing a new wave of subprime loans written over the past year by FHA, Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, plus ALT-A, Option ARMS, Pick-and-Pay Loans and the failure of prime loans that will stretch to 2013. On top of that we have commercial real estate loans now to deal with and credit card failure.

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Crooks, Computers, and the Coming Crash

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Crooks, Computers, and the Coming Crash
By Graham Summers  Sep 1 2009
As stocks continued to rally into September, one has to ask one’s self, “just who’s buying this rally?”
The answer?
Computers and no one else.
I’ve written extensively about the computer trading programs that are dominating this market. All told, High Frequency Trading Programs HFTPs control 70% of trading volume on the NYSE.
However, at this point, five stocks (yes only five) account for 40% of the trading volume on the market. Those five stocks: Citigroup, CIT Group, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG. Think about that, five stocks out of several thousand, are accounting for 40% of ALL trading.
And which five are they?
Five that are virtually guaranteed to be propped up by the government in one way or another (CIT indirectly through Goldman and other government-aligned groups). This summates today’s market like nothing else: folks are ONLY trading the investments that they know are on life support from the government.
That metaphor extends to the entire economy. Nearly 20% of incomes come from the government. More than 34 million Americans are on food stamps. This will continue. The government will extend unemployment and every other short-term “fix” it can. But it won’t do ANYTHING to create real job growth.
The life support metaphor extends to the financial system as well. The Fed has extended TRILLIONS to support virtually everything out there. Here’s a brief list of some of the more major items:
The Federal Reserve cutting interest rates from 5.25-0.25% (Sept ’07-today)
Bear Stearns / the Fed taking on $30 billion in junk mortgages (March ’08)
The Fed opens up various lending windows to investment banks (March ’08)
The SEC proposes banning short-selling on financial stocks (July ’08)
Hank Paulson uses the blank check with Fannie/ Freddie spending $400 billion in the process (Sept ’08).
The Fed takes over insurance company AIG (Sept ’08) for $85 billion.
The Fed doles out $25 billion for the auto makers (Sept ’08)
The Feds kick off the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) with the Government taking stakes in private banks (Oct ’08)
The Fed offers to buy commercial paper (non-bank debt) from non-financial firms (Oct ’08)
The Fed offers $540 billion to backstop money market funds (Oct ’08)
The Feds agree to back up to $280 billion of Citigroup’s liabilities (Oct ’08).
$40 billion more to AIG (Nov ’08)
Feds agree to back up $140 billion of Bank of America’s liabilities (Jan ’09)
Obama’s $787 Billion Stimulus (Jan ’09)
Fed announces its plans to buy $300 billion of Treasuries (Mar ’09)
Most if not ALL major banks, the stock market, the debt market, and more are on Fed life support right now in one form or another. Take this life support away, and you have a full-scale collapse. I’m talking about 300 on the S&P 500 and 3,000 on the Dow.
And what a life support it is:
The above chart is what you get when you throw trillions (literal trillions) at the financial system. But does throwing money around create sustained recovery? NOPE. I’ve often railed that the market is discounting an economic recovery that does not exist. However, I may have been wrong… at least in terms of what the market is discounting.
Today, I would argue that the market is discounting Ben Bernanke’s “juicing” of the system. The rise from 666 to 1,033 was the market announcing “this guy is going to throw as much money as he can at the crisis and it’s going to flow into the market.” This is a liquidity rally driven by non-thinking computer programs, not a rally based on fundamentals.
Speaking of which…
I’ve watched with first amusement, then disgust, and ultimately outrage as various pundits proclaimed Bernanke’s efforts “saved the financial system” or helped the US “weather the storm.” Bernanke did NO such thing. You could train a chimpanzee to hit the “print money” button at the Fed every-time the Fed phone rings with a Wall Street number and get the same results. To date, Bernanke has spent or put the taxpayer on the hook for some $24 TRILLION in bailouts, lending windows, and off balance sheet arrangements.
AND HE’S FIXED NOTHING.
Banks remain insolvent (if you marked their assets at market value, they’d all wipe out equity in a second), mortgages remain underwater, hundreds of thousands of Americans continue to lose their jobs every month, foreign investors grow increasingly distrustful of the dollar, and the financial system continues to have multiple black swans… all of which could bring about another CRASH.
Indeed, anyone looking to proclaim Bernanke as a savior should review the below video which shows that the guy DIDN’T HAVE A CLUE about the financial system/ economy from 2005-2007. Just click on the below image to watch (video should load in your Internet Browser). Prepare to see an Ivy-league educated guy who’s in charge of our monetary system NOT see the biggest housing bubble in US history OR the worst financial crisis since the ‘30s (an era on which he is an alleged expert).
Video of Bernanke’s mistakes:
However, to focus on Bernanke’s incompetence is to overlook his culpability in destroying Americans’ wealth. In the last 12 months alone, the man has committed perjury (he lied under oath about no longer monetizing debt), embezzlement ($24 trillion gone to banks at least $9 trillion of which no one, not even the head of oversight at the Fed, kept track of), fraud (any proclamation of green shoots or recovery is fraud), corruption (forcing Bank of America to buy Merrill Lynch), and more.
It would, in fact, be no exaggeration to say that Ben Bernanke is a financial criminal on a scale that makes Bernie Madoff look like Mr. Rogers. Madoff ripped off $50 billion. Bernanke is currently destroying the middle class in the US, trashing our currency, worsening EVERY Americans’ quality of life, and erasing any hopes of retirement for millions of Boomers.
In simple terms, Bailout Ben, in a mere year and a half, has overseen the destruction of 30% of US household wealth (from a housing and stock bubble he FAILED to see coming while working under Greenspan). He has yet to do a single thing to protect the average American or the dollar, but instead has opted to funnel trillions of taxpayer dollars over to Wall Street so that Goldman Sachs and friends could claim they’re not insolvent and pay themselves RECORD bonuses.
Indeed, Bernanke has re-created late 2007: the time when stocks went up day after day after day on lower volume and no fundamentals. Indeed, if I had to summate the entire market rally since July in one sentence it would be: insane euphoria and discounting of Fed pumping. The 2007 reference is not mere whimsy either.
Insider selling is at its highest ratio to insider buying since October 2007. The Relative Strength Index for the market recently hit levels we haven’t seen since October 2007. Corporate debt issuance is at October 2007 levels (companies issue as much debt as they can when stocks are up). 36% of investors are bullish and 24% bearish: a gap we haven’t seen since… October 2007.
Bernanke has literally re-created the sentiment of late 2007: a time when fundamentals didn’t mean a thing.
And that didn’t end well.
Folks, the US stock market is an enormous house of cards propped up by the biggest bubble-blower in history. Fundamentals have NOT improved, the economy continues to collapse (regardless of the GDP accounting gimmicks they use to claim we’re out of the recession), and stocks are at least 20-30% overvalued.
This mess will come unraveled. And it won’t be long…

by Graham Summers
Originally posted Sep 1, 2009
www.gainspainscapital.com

AS STOCKS CONTINUED TO RALLY into September, one has to ask one’s self, “just who’s buying this rally?” The answer?

Computers and no one else. I’ve written extensively about the computer trading programs that are dominating this market. All told, High Frequency Trading Programs (HFTPs) control 70% of trading volume on the NYSE.

However, at this point, five stocks (yes only five) account for 40% of the trading volume on the market. Those five stocks: Citigroup, CIT Group, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG. Think about that, five stocks out of several thousand, are accounting for 40% of ALL trading.

And which five are they?

Five that are virtually guaranteed to be propped up by the government in one way or another (CIT indirectly through Goldman and other government-aligned groups). This summates today’s market like nothing else: folks are ONLY trading the investments that they know are on life support from the government.

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