Despite examples of the success of restructuring with F and even General Motors, the invidious cowards who inhabit Washington are unwilling to restructure the largest banks and GSEs. The reluctance comes partly from what truths restructuring will reveal.
Indeed. Were we to actually open the box and have a look inside, we would find chocolate-covered dog turds. Lots of them. We would discover that they were intentionally brokered and sold to investors worldwide, and that just like Citibank, the GSEs knew by 2006 that huge percentages of the production through the entire financial system was fraudulent.
The sad part is that the truth is now actually out there in the record, under oath, in the form of testimony before the FCIC. Pretending at this point is a waste of time and effort – there is nothing that can be done to avoid reality showing up. Obama and friends are now fighting a rear-guard action, and the inevitable flanking attack is going to come. When it does, the pretense will vanish in a puff of smoke.
As a result, these same large zombie banks and the U.S. economy will continue to shrink under the weight of bad debt, public and private. Remember that the Dodd-Frank legislation was not so much about financial reform as protecting the housing GSEs.
Because President Barack Obama and the leaders of both political parties are unwilling to address the housing crisis and the wasting effects on the largest banks, there will be no growth and no net job creation in the U.S. for the next several years. And because the Obama White House is content to ignore the crisis facing millions of American homeowners, who are deep underwater and will eventually default on their loans, the efforts by the Fed to reflate the U.S. economy and particularly consumer spending will be futile. As Alan Meltzer noted to Tom Keene on Bloomberg Radio earlier this year: “This is not a monetary problem.”
Barack Obama, just as with John McCain and both political parties, do not give a damn about the American public. They do not care about the massive frauds perpetrated on them. They could care less, so long as their banking cronies get bailed out and can continue to pretend they have “good assets”, even though what they really have on their balance sheets is rotting fish. The underlying fraud in these “products” is being ignored because to do otherwise would be to admit that the banking system committed millions of chargeable felonies – and that would require that each and every one of these firms be shut down and their executives imprisoned.
Forget Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner lying about the relatively small losses at American International Group (AIG), the fraud and obfuscation now underway in Washinton to protect the TBTF banks and GSEs totals into the trillions of dollars and rises to the level of treason. And the sad part is that all of the temporizing and excuses by the Fed and the White House will be for naught. The zombie banks and GSEs alike will muddle along until the operational cost of servicing bad loans engulfs them. Then they will be bailed out — again — or restructured.
But who will charge Treason? Nobody. The people are watching Bristol Palin on Dancing with the Stars and NFL Monday Night.
It’s truly amazing to watch someone get financially raped on a daily basis and then argue over whether we should have prayer in the schools. The last time I checked, if you’re homeless and penniless, all these other political issues are rather immaterial to your life.
Idiocracy has nothing on the average American. We simply don’t want to sit down with a pencil and paper and figure this stuff out. You can’t borrow your way to prosperity – all you do with borrowing is spend tomorrow’s earnings today. That’s it.
But when tomorrow comes you already spent the money. Now you wind up having to do it again, or you must pull back. So you do it again. But that borrowing comes with an interest cost too, which means you always enjoy a lower standard of living over time by borrowing – always.
But now the larger lenders are sinking under the weight of rising servicing costs, falling asset returns and other problems linked to mortgage securitizations. So while the Fed continues to try to revive the largest banks via massive monetary ease, the FOMC is at the same time preparing to do further damage to solvent lenders, insurers and other investors via QE2.
The IRA has spoken to a number of executives in banks and life insurance companies about the impact of QE and Fed zero interest rate policy on their income statements and balance sheets. The universal message: If rates do not return to “normal” levels by year-end, the pain in terms of reduced earnings on assets and the resultant negative cash flow will start to become so apparent that the financial markets will actually notice. In particular, we have been told that by year end several of the largest publicly traded banks and life insurers could show significant declines in net interest earnings due to QE — declines driven by falling net interest income that may provoke ratings downgrades. And when this next systemic crisis comes — whether in December or later in 2011 — the full blame will belong to the members of the Bernanke Fed and the Obama Administration.
That’s a polite way of saying that insurance companies and pension funds are going to start getting screwed in ways they can no longer hide.
This has been part of my message since Bernanke started with his “easing” – “easy money” always screws the saver. And while people chortle that the money “forced into the market” helps GDP (because it is spent) and thus will allegedly pump the stock market it is inherently damaging to pension funds and insurance companies, because those institutions rely on the ability to grow money via safe interest payments to meet their obligations – and those obligations are to YOU.
Thus the pump in the market is short term, and is eventually followed by the realization that these institutions cannot pay out what was promised. When that realization comes to the fore the collapse in valuations is immense, simply as reversion to reality.
There’s more in here, and you should read it. In particular, the issue of mortgage insurers – you know, the old monolines that have been on a tear in the market of late? Yeah, those guys. The guys who apparently, if IRA is correct, are not paying claims even though the GSEs force you to buy their product if you’re not putting 20% down. Instead of simply refusing to write business with less than 20% down, they’re instead funneling your money to keep the artifice afloat, even though claims aren’t being paid out – and it is a near-certainty you, in fact, are buying nothing.
As Chris says:
In each case the substance of the transaction is to falsify the financial statements of the participants. And in each case, the acts are arguably criminal fraud. And in the case of the zombie banks, the GSEs and the MIs, the fraud is being actively concealed by Congress, the White House and agencies of the U.S. government led by the Federal Reserve Board. Is this not tyranny?
Of course it is.
But heh, Dancing With The Stars is on, even if we’re all broke in America.
So instead of doing what we should – demanding of politicians that they take these organizations into receivership and their executives into custody, we instead will go searching for another stick for our teeth – because we bit through the last one yesterday.