Archive for the ‘losses’ Category
Hurricane Sandy is another reminder of just how incredibly fragile the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted on a daily basis really is. Many of the hardest hit areas along the Jersey shore and the coast of Long Island have descended into a state of anarchy. More than 7 million people live on Long Island, and millions more live along the Jersey shore and right now they are getting a taste of what life would be like during a total economic meltdown. At the moment, there are still approximately 4.7 million homes and businesses that do not have power. Officials say that some of those homes and businesses may not have their power restored until the weekend of November 10th and 11th. Meanwhile, it is getting very cold at night. This weekend the low temperatures on Long Island are supposed to dip into the upper thirties. There have been reports of people diving into dumpstersbehind supermarkets in a desperate search for food, and there have been other reports of roaming gangs of criminals posing as officials from FEMA or Con Edison and then robbing families at gunpoint once they have gained entrance into their homes. If people will behave like this during a temporary emergency that lasts only a few days, what would they do during a total economic collapse? That is a frightening thing to think about.
Most gas stations along the Jersey shore and on Long Island are either totally out of gasoline or they don’t have any power to operate the gas pumps. It is estimated that more than half of all gas stations in New York City are closed at the moment, and officials say that more than 80 percent of all gas stations in New Jersey are not able to sell gas right now. So needless to say, the lines at the gas stations that remain open are horrific.
It is being reported that some people are waiting in line for hours for gasoline in some areas and that state troopers have actually been deployed at every gas station along the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway.
The following is how one New Jersey mayor described the situation…
“Gas lines are stretching for a couple of miles,” said Anthony Ammiano, mayor of Freehold, N.J., who recalled the oil crisis of the 1970s. “It’s like the Jimmy Carter years. It’s a flashback of bad memories.”
There have even been reports of people literally fighting each other over gasoline…
“It’s so crazy. Cars are pulling up and people are fighting each other. There is no gas around here,” said Mena Aziz, who manages a Gulf Express station in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. “It’s been so busy.”
According to Breitbart, there have been continuous reports of “fistfights and people bringing guns to gas stations” on Twitter. The following are a couple of examples…
— Camila Xavier (@camilaxavier) November 1, 2012
You know things are bad when you ask the gas station attendent “when do you think you’re going to get more gas?” and he just laughs at you.
— Prede (@predederva) November 1, 2012
Unfortunately, authorities are projecting that the gas shortage may last for another week at least.
How angry and frustrated will people get by that time?
There are vast stretches of the Jersey Shore and the coast of Long Island that will never be the same again. The following is an excerpt from a comment that a reader of mine from Long Island left on one of my recent articles…
I live in Massapequa NY …..No power to 95%. almost every home south of Merrick Road ( 1.5 miles from open water ) has been flooded. No electricity, no supermarkets in immediate area, no gas (approx 80% of gas stations closed on Long Island).
This was not just another storm. It was a life-altering event for millions of people.
Unfortunately, just as we have seen after every other major storm in recent years, looters are taking advantage of the chaos caused by Hurricane Sandy.
According to the New York Post, a number of arrests for looting have already been made on Long Island…
In the Rockaways, lowlifes were sneaking into clothing stores and cleaning out pizzerias. Two men and a woman were arrested for robbing a BP gas station on Beach Channel Drive, three men and one woman were cuffed for pillaging a Radio Shack on Beach 88th Street, and two people were arrested for raiding a clothing store near Beach 86th Street, cops said. Stores were emptied along a two-block stretch of Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island. Seven people were busted.
Over on Coney Island, looting appeared to be out of control during the immediate aftermath of the storm…
Thieves broke in to the badly damaged Mega Aid Pharmacy on Mermaid Avenue and reportedly stole more than 10,000 pharmaceutical items, including prescription drugs.
“The water went away and these people started walking down the streets and just robbed stores,” a pharmacy worker told HuffPo’s Andy Campbell.
Manager Stan Gutkin said the major heist essentially “breaks the business.”
Looters reportedly also targeted banks, other shops, and other pharmacies.
And residents are noticing.
“People are turning on each other — they’re attacking each other,” Ocean Towers resident Dena Wells told Campbell.
Amazingly, a number of not-so-smart looters have actually been displaying their looted goods on Twitter. Just check out the shocking photos in this article.
But most people living in the areas that were most affected by Hurricane Sandy are decent people that just want some assistance. One resident of Hoboken, New Jersey became so frustrated that he inflated an air mattress and used it to float down to city hall in an attempt to get some answers…
Nearly 20,000 people have been trapped at home in the New Jersey city of Hoboken, just across the Hudson River from New York City, amid accusations that officials were slow to deliver food and water.
One man blew up an air mattress and floated to City Hall, demanding to know why supplies had not reached residents – at least a quarter of homes there are flooded and 90% do not have power.
Just like we saw after Hurricane Katrina, the response by the federal government and by big aid agencies such as the Red Cross has been very slow. In fact, Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro has gone so far as to call the Red Cross an “absolute disgrace” and is urging people that live in his area to quit giving money to them…
“You know, I went to a shelter Monday night after the storm. People were coming in with no socks, with no shoes. They were in desperate need. Their housing was destroyed. They were crying. Where was the Red Cross? Isn’t that their function? They collect millions of dollars. Whenever there’s a drive in Staten Island, we give openly and honestly. Where are they? Where are they? I was at the South Shore yesterday, people were buried in their homes. There the dogs are trying to find bodies. The people there, the neighbors who had no electricity, were making soup. Making soup. It’s very emotional because the lack of a response. The lack of a response. They’re supposed to be here….They should be on the front lines fighting, and helping the people.”
If this is how angry and frustrated that people become over a temporary disaster, how angry and frustrated would they get if there was a total economic meltdown that was permanent?
Sadly, the truth is that what we are seeing during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is just a very small preview of what is coming on a national level.
Our economy is a complete and total mess right now, and things are going to get a whole lot worse.
When unemployment starts skyrocketing again and large segments of the population realize that there is no hope for a turnaround, many of them are going to totally give in to despair and become very desperate.
And as we are seeing along the Jersey Shore and on Long Island right now, desperate people do desperate things.
That is why I am constantly pounding on the need to prepare for what is ahead. There are signs of social decay all around us, and most Americans are not equipped to deal with the pressures that come with a major emergency. When things totally fall apart, you don’t want your family to be totally unprepared and surrounded by millions of angry and desperate people.
Hopefully Hurricane Sandy will serve as a wake up call for millions of American families. Time is definitely running out, and we all need to get prepared while we still can.
Government promises to public employees have created “zero-risk” Wonderlands protected from the market forces of risk and consequence. These islands of privilege are snapping back to join the real economy.
Every government entity that reckoned it was moated from the market economy will be snapped back to “discover” risk and consequence. Let’s lay out the dynamic:
1. Every government can only spend what its economy generates in surplus.
2. Every government transfers risk and consequence from itself, its employees and its favored vested interests to the citizenry and taxpayers.
3. Every government collects and distributes the surplus of its private sector to its employees, favored constituencies and vested interests.
4. Since the government (State) promises guaranteed salaries, benefits and entitlements to its employees and favored constituencies, these individuals believe they are living in a risk-free Wonderland that is completely protected from the market economy.
5. Risk cannot be repealed or eliminated, it can only be masked or transferred to others.
6. The Federal government and the Federal Reserve have pursued a policy of inflating serial speculative credit-based bubbles.
7. These bubbles inflated assets, profits and taxes, creating the illusion that blow-off speculative tops were “the new normal.”
8. Speculative credit-based bubbles misallocate capital and incentivize malinvestment on a spectacular scale.
9. Once the bubble deflates, the capital is lost or trapped in illiquid malinvestments.
10. As a direct result of the dot-com bubble, Stockton’s tax revenues (general fund) leaped to $139 million in 2001. As a direct consequence of the housing bubble, it jumped to $186 million in 2007.
11. This “new normal” encouraged the belief that the stock market would double or triple every decade into the future, generating 8%+ annual returns for public union employee pension funds.
12. The city government granted employees open-ended guarantees of lifetime healthcare coverage.
13. This meant that there was no limit on the cost of each employee’s benefits.
14. As noted here many times, healthcare costs rise by 7%-10% every year, even as the economy which supports healthcare grows by 2% on average.
15. Healthcare alone will bankrupt the nation, and the bankruptcy of entities that promised open-ended healthcare is merely one manifestation of the coming bankruptcy of the entire sickcare/entitlement Status Quo.
16. Once the stock market reverts to the mean and is revalued to the “new normal” of global recession and low earnings growth, it will decline by 40% or more and yields will remain around 2%.
17. Pension funds earning 2% at best based on expectations of permanent 8% returns cannot sustainably pay the benefits promised.
18. If the city attempts to make up the shortfall annually, the services provided to the citizenry will be gutted. The risk and consequence of malinvestment and favoritism has been offloaded onto the citizens while those protected by the government moat live “risk-free” lives of guaranteed pensions and benefits.
19. The public-employee pension and healthcare benefits were separated from the market economy with this government guarantee: regardless of what happens in the real economy, you will be paid pensions and benefits that have zero exposure to the market economy and private-sector pensions/benefits.
20. In effect, the government has placed its employees and vested interests in a moated “risk-free” zone outside the market economy. The risk that is distributed to all participants in an open market (i.e. a democracy) is transferred to the citizens and taxpayers.
21. Any government that siphons off an increasing share of its taxpayers’ disposable income (to distribute to the privileged few) in return for declining services will eventually be overthrown by the citizenry and taxpayers who must bear the full consequences of the city’s mismanagement of their capital and income.
22. Every city, county and state in the U.S. which has secured a risk-free wonderland for its favored few will “snap back” into the real economy and face the discipline of the credit market and the “discovery” of price and value.
23. Risk cannot be eliminated by government mandate, it can only be transferred to others. No government entity can maintain a “risk-free” fortress outside the market forever. The moat around Wonderland will be drained or filled, regardless of what promises were made.
24. Government has no mechanism to transparently price risk, value and return on investment. The market will “discover” all these and re-set government services and salaries accordingly.
Charles Hugh Smith – Of Two Minds
“…. as a result of a clearing member default at CME Group”
The “Trends Journal” says it has uncovered critical information that – in light of the MF Global bankruptcy – casts doubt on the fitness of CME Group to serve as a trustworthy derivatives and commodities exchange, and on the credibility of its Executive Chairman, Terence Duffy.
The “Trends Journal” says not only has the scandalous MF Global bankruptcy (the eighth-largest in US history) wreaked financial havoc on thousands of individuals, it has single-handedly destroyed faith in the commodity markets. CME’s reputation as the financial Rock of Gibraltar, upon which the commodity markets are anchored, has now been undermined. By its recent actions, CME’s claim of being committed to guaranteeing the transactions undertaken by its members has been called into question.
As recently as 2010, Terrence Duffy boasted, “No customer has ever lost a penny as a result of a clearing member default.”* Moreover, in the same press conference, Duffy stated unequivocally, “Since we are the guarantor of every transaction that happens in our markets, we have to guarantee the performance of each and every one of these contracts … To do this, we hold more than $100 billion of collateral to support the transactions that are being done on our markets.”
So let’s ask the question: What’s the truth and why should anyone be trading through an allegedly transparent “guarantor” of contracts when segregated customer funds wind up “missing”?
It is at times like this that we find out if the alleged transparency and exchange trading guarantees actually mean something. I have long been a strong proponent of the regulated futures and options markets on the premise that even during severe events like 1987, 2000 and the 2008 crashes — even when the solvency of clearing members has been called into serious question (or they’ve failed outright!) nobody has gotten rooked as a consequence.
That is the function of a regulated and transparent exchange. The regulation of margins and supervision of the cash that backs transactions and provides collateral against non-performance is the primary function of such an institution.
It is not clear at this point point exactly what happened with MF Global. But this much is quite clear — the rapid transfer of open positions to other firms along with the cash margin deposits held on behalf of customers to guarantee trades did not happen in a reasonably-expeditious (like “right now”) basis when MF Global failed. Some customers were forced to come up with a second margin deposit and if they were unable to do so their positions were forcibly liquidated. Significant amounts of that margin money appear to have disappeared outright, despite the fact that it is the CME’s job to guarantee performance through the enforcement of margin deposits. Indeed, they call these margin requirements performance bonds — because they are.
Well, if they were and are performance bonds then perhaps CME would like to explain why they did not demand a full accounting of them on a nightly basis from all clearing firms (including MF Global), how it is that MF Global managed to evade proving up their customer performance bonds, and why their failure to supervise the presence and legitimacy of these performance bonds should not fall on them.
If this alleged supervision and guarantee is in fact worthless then the role of a neutral “referee” that CME Group has asserted has been abdicated and there is no reason to believe that any transparency, any guarantee of fairness in execution is real or any alleged “performance bond” money actually exists.
Indeed, the entire purpose of CME’s existence has been rendered null and void by their own hand.
The entire premise of my endorsement of exchanges — and for forcing derivative contracts onto exchanges as a means of de-fanging the CDS monster — rests on the integrity of this performance bond process. An exchange, due to the fact that it is paid a relatively small amount of money to handle each contract that passes through it, has a very strong incentive to make sure nobody is cheating and that all margin money is actually there because if they don’t they face losses that are radically outsized when compared to the fee they collect for facilitating the trade itself.
It appears, however, that in the MF Global case this supervisory function failed. That’s bad. What’s worse is that it appears CME Group has, at least thus far, successfully dodged taking responsibility for that failure and the apparent non-presence of alleged “performance bond” deposits that in fact disappeared.
There are only two possibilities: Either CME knew the alleged “performance bonds” were not present or they were tricked into believing they were present when they were not.
CME’s thus-far successful dodge of responsibility to make good on these alleged “performance bonds” that were not where they were represented to be makes a mockery of the premise that an underwater position is fully collateralized by the customer who has the losing position and thus the customer with the winning side of that trade will, with certainty, get paid.
That is the entire purpose of requiring margin deposits in the first place!
If we are to have actual regulated markets and a known safe place to trade where customer “performance bonds” actually mean something that must not occur. If CME was either tricked or worse, allowed MF Global to close a single day’s trading book while the allegedly deposited customer performance bond funds were missing then CME must promptly make good on the missing funds as this is the premise on which a regulated exchange rests!
The literal existence of safe and sound markets is at stake here. If CME successfully dodges responsibility for failure to actually guarantee that performance bond funds are real and are where they are represented to be in each and every case then no end user, industry group or other person can reasonably believe that their trades are in fact “money good” anywhere on any United States exchange.
A curious thing happened to a middle-aged Frenchman in Monte Carlo last year. He had unexpectedly received a year-end bonus of 10,000 from his employer, and decided to visit Le Grand Casino for a weekend, where he could relax and gamble with his new found wealth. Since his wife and daughters were visiting his stepmother that weekend, he would be able to focus entirely on making some money. His first night was judiciously spent at the Roulette tables, where his sharp instincts and calculated patience presumably allowed him to double his allotted wealth in just five hours. It was an excellent night for the man, who was now 10,000 richer, and he spent the next afternoon lounging in a cabana at the hotel’s pool.
That night, the man locked away the initial 10,000 in his room’s safe and took the rest back down to the casino floor, where he quickly locked up a seat at his favorite Roulette table from the night before. His playing strategy remained the same as always – place a minimum bet on two out of three columns, switching one column each time he won a bet, and sitting out one roll each time he lost - no deviations from the strategy whatsoever. After a series of wild fluctuations in his bankroll, the man was left with only two more bets, and he decided to place them both on black. The tiny steel ball deftly rolled around the wheel for several revolutions and tensely bounced between a few numbered slots before finally choosing to settle on number 21 - red.
The man quietly finished his glass of red wine, shuffled up to his room and lay awake in bed. He couldn’t help feeling extremely frustrated about the events of that evening. Frustrated with the insidious game of roulette, with his own careless betting decisions, with his “bad luck”, with the other players who had won, with the man spinning the little steel ball, with the tiny ball itself. He kept replaying the spins in his mind, fantasizing about the money he would still have in his pocket if he had just made a few different decisions.
What especially haunted him was the would-be expression on his wife’s face when he unexpectedly brought home 20,000. The 10,000 bonus would surely lift her into a state of pleasant surprise, but the man speculated that, if he had managed to double that bonus in just two short days at the casino, her pleasant surprise would be magnified ten-fold into a state of blushing pride .
On his journey back home the next day, the man began to realize just how strange his lingering feelings from the night before were. After all, he was exactly even from gambling at the end of his trip, and had actually been comped for a night’s stay at the hotel and a few meals. He had even expected to lose a bit of money going into the trip, since Roulette laid players some of the worst odds in the Casino. The man reflected on the fact that his brief excitement from winning 10,000 on the first night had paled in comparison to his prolonged dismay from losing that same 10,000 on the second night. It was indeed a curious psychology that continued to puzzle the curious man, so he decided to do some Internet research when he arrived home. Hopefully, he thought, a new and more fundamental understanding of this psychology would finally put his mind at ease.
It didn’t take too many Google searches before the man came across the concept of “myopic loss aversion“, which explains that people are significantly more likely to experience pain or displeasure from losing a monetary amount than excitement or pleasure from winning that same amount, especially when they frequently evaluate financial outcomes. This disproportional dynamic is obviously powerful when it involves money that one can barely afford to lose, but it also forcefully applies to losses that may be small relative to an individual’s bankroll. Even the multi-millionaire corporate executive who drops fifty grand gambling at a Vegas poker table will be beating himself up soon after, despite the fact that he will most likely make multiples of that by the end of the year (or at least he believes that he will).
Many of us may be familiar with the painful/shameful process of losing significant sums of money invested in the “wrong” place at the “wrong” time, but it is much more difficult to imagine the negative reactions produced when an entire economy of millions is serving up losses which, in a few short years, will threaten to wipe out all of the financial gains accumulated over decades. After the most potent “winning streak” in human history, the majority of American society has been blindsided by equally potent losses, which continue to mount and show no signs of abatement:
- It is estimated by Zillow that average home prices in the US have declined ~27% from their peak in June 2007, effectively destroying $9.8 trillion worth of homeowner’s equity (in an economy worth ~$14 trillion). 
- About 15.7 million homeowners have negative home equity (owe more on home than it is worth), representing a whopping 27% of all mortgaged single-family homes. Joseph Stiglitz infers that these trends will lead to a total of about 9 million people losing their homes through foreclosure between 2008-2011. .
- According to officially under-stated statistics, the unemployment rate jumped from 5% in 2008 to ~9.6% in 2011, and the U-6 number puts it at ~16.5%. . The official rate is only that “low” because millions of people have given up looking for jobs over the past few years (magically removing them from the official labor force), and millions of other people with part-time, low-paying jobs are counted as employed (26% of new private-sector hires are temporary ).
- Between 2006 and mid-2008, Americans had lost about 22% of total retirement assets or $2.3 trillion, and $2.5 trillion in savings and investment assets. . Although a decent amount of this value has been recovered during 2009-10, it has mostly gone to a significantly smaller percentage of people who have held on to such assets and has only been achieved on the backs of taxpayers, who now owe interest on an additional $4 trillion+ in public debt (plus a few more trillion if we include the GSEs). . When the markets crash again, that public debt will be money completely wasted for a large majority of Americans, if it is not considered to be already.
- Credit card defaults hit a near-record rate of 11.4% in 2010, more than double the rate in 2007, and the average late fee had risen almost 10% from $25.90 in 2008 to $28.19. .
- Public employees face at least a $2.5 trillion state pension shortfall mostly accumulated since 2008, and the gap can only be made up through drastic cuts to pension benefits, layoffs and cuts to public services for all other citizens. .
- Profits of most small businesses (unincorporated organizations such as partnerships and sole proprietorships) have fallen 5% in the last two years. , . These businesses employ over half of all private sector employees and have created 64% of net new jobs over the last 15 years. .
There are many other losses that have befallen the American people over the last few years on top of those listed above, and recently they have also seen the costs of necessities increase. The real interest burden of private and public debt continues to weigh heavily on businesses, consumers, patients, students and civil servants. State welfare programs such as unemployment insurance, food stamps, Section 8 and Medicaid provide temporary crutches to dull the searing pain, but it is clear that these programs only continue to exist on recklessly borrowed time and will be selectively restricted to the American people in short order. The federal retirement program of Social Security, on which many retired Americans have come to rely on, is at the brink of insolvency (the difference between outlays and receipts for the SSA in 2010 was $76 billion ), and Medicare isn’t looking too much better.
American politicians and officials are promising their constituents that this value lost will be recovered, but most of them remember too many broken promises to find any comfort in hollow words. When structural shortages of oil imports become a factor, Americans will have systematically lost not only their financial investments, but their entire way of life and lofty perspectives of reality. Sooner rather than later, we will be forced to fully experience the penetrating anguish and regret associated with unprecedented loss, as the tiny steel ball ceases to bounce around and settles in its pre-determined slot. It is at this time which we will realize that there is only a thinly-veiled political fiction separating us from the furiously desperate protesters in the crowded streets of the Middle East.
I hate bankers and so should you. Why? Because bankers steal a little bit of Christmas cheer
every year. For the past several years, bankers have stolen a lot of Christmas
cheer. Like the Grinch from Dr. Seuss’s famous children’s tale, How the Grinch
Stole Christmas, bankers have hearts two sizes too small, and by means of
burglary, they do their best to deprive everyone of Christmas every year. Only
unlike the Grinch, despite stealing from people every year, bankers never learn
and never reform, they never return to the people the vast amounts of money
they stole from them, and they are cold-hearted and arrogant enough to claim
that they are doing “God’s work” (as stated by Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO
Lloyd Blankfein, when in reality, they do much more harm to society as a whole
than good. And this makes the majority of bankers worse than the even the
loathed Grinch himself.
Since the institution of banking was founded, bankers have
been guilty of deceit, fraud and theft. During Biblical times, “Jesus went into
the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and
overthrew the tables of the moneychangers [bankers]..And he taught, saying unto
them, Is it not written, my house shall be called of all nations the house of
prayer? But ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Mark 11:15-17)
Fast forward almost a couple thousand years later, and
bankers were still committing the same theft. In fact, over a period of
eighteen hundred years, bankers learned nothing from being cast out by Jesus
from the temples, and they continued to commit such questionable acts of
morality that even a man of very questionable character himself showed nothing
but contempt for them. Though historians noted that former US President Jackson
committed numerous hateful acts against Choctaw, Chikasaw, and Cherokee
American Indians, Jackson despised bankers so much, that in front of a
delegation of bankers, he stated the following:
“Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time, and
I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the
breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you,
and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the
deposits from the bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand
families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you
go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are
a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the eternal God,
I will rout you out.”
Fast forward another one hundred and eighty years, and we
discover that bankers have failed to evolve even a tiny iota from their
deceitful nature. When ex-CEO and former US Secretary Henry Paulson lied to the
American people and to US Congress by asking for more than $800 billion of
funds for the purposes of helping American home owners and then committed the
ultimate bait-and-switch fraud by handing this money to his banking friends, he
epitomized the very warning Andrew Jackson levied against bankers in the
1800’s: “When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost,
you charged it to the bank.” In this case, Paulson acted beyond the normal
level of immorality of bankers, and charged the banks’ losses to every single
American citizen. Unlike the
Grinch, who repented from the error of his ways over a period of a few days,
bankers have refused to repent for the unsound monetary system they have
created for more than two thousand years!
To understand why Jesus threw bankers out of the temple, why
a former governor of the Bank of England stated that banking “was born in sin”,
and why Andrew Jackson, a focus of much hatred and contempt among American
Indians, viewed bankers as so immoral, that despite his own immense character
flaws, he made it his own personal crusade to throw out all bankers from US
government, one must understand how bankers continually rob all citizens of
their wealth every day. To state that bankers lie, deceive, rob and steal from
all citizens every day is not an exaggeration. The means by which they do so
today has drastically changed from the means they employed centuries ago, so
this is why so few people understand that bankers continually rob them. Most people don’t understand that
bankers ensure the continual devaluation of the purchasing power of all money
in the system by not only literally creating money out of nothing but also by
creating money as debt.
This process, to which they cleverly assign the word
“inflation” is in reality a tax that constitutes a direct theft of your
savings, and no different than the tax British monarch King George imposed upon
the American colonists that triggered the American Revolution. The bankers have
only changed the mechanism by which they collect this tax, and the word that
they use to describe this mechanism. In America, this hidden tax of inflation,
which is a euphemism for the devaluation of the currency that sits in your
savings account, is directly responsible for the following situation that Eric
Schlosser described in his national bestseller, Fast Food Nation:
“It used to be, even in low income families, that the father
worked and the mother stayed home to raise the children. Now it seems that no
one’s home and that both parents work just to make ends meet, often holding
down two or three jobs. Parents increasingly turn to the school for help,
asking teachers to supply discipline and direction.”
The above paragraph described the family life of many
families that lived in Middle America almost a decade ago. Due to an unsound
monetary system that has led to relentless devaluation of the US dollar, the
situation described above will explode in intensity and magnitude over the next
five years, and affect everyone in America, no matter your income level and
socio-economic status. As the US dollar continues to lose purchasing power,
despite a current possible extended rally against the pound and Euro,
middle-class America will sink into the ranks of the poor. If the world operated on a sound monetary system, even in low-income families, the mother could still stay home to raise the children. Today, even in middle-class families, thanks to bankers, the mother does not have the option to stay home and raise the children. When the situation
of both parents working two or three jobs and their kids attending high school
while working 20+ hours a week is still not enough to make ends meet, crime
will explode in America during the next five years. It is the critical problems
of these very families that the bankers are creating through their monetary
policies that will come home to roost in America.
In reality, I don’t hold hatred in my heart for anyone.
Christmas is a time for forgiveness and none among us are infallible and none
among us are without sin. Yet, to be forgiven, those that continually do wrong
must repent, and bankers have yet to do anything that demonstrates that they
have even the slightest amount of regret and remorse for the economic upheaval
and chaos that they have created throughout the world in recent years. The
rich, though they may not care to understand the tale of How the Bankers Stole
Christmas now, should make it their prerogative to understand this as soon as
possible. Why? The current course the bankers have set us on has ensured that
the rich will soon become victims of desperate masses of people in their
country that will see a huge degradation in their quality of life due to the
recent monetary policies bankers have elected to impose upon their
citizens. When large portions of
the middle class are destroyed, masses of people that never considered stealing
before, will steal and loot due to the simple instinct of survival, and a great
battle between “the haves” and the “have nots” will ensue in future years in
many developed countries, as crazy as this concept sounds today. Should the
people choose to understand “How the Bankers Stole Christmas”, the
inevitable massive increase in crime that will accompany the sinking of the
middle class into poverty can be avoided.
If instead, everyone chooses to buy into the propaganda of
the bankers, then this same scenario, as crazy as it sounds today, will come
true in the future just as the “crazy” stock market crashes I predicted in 2006
eventually materialized in 2008.
And the biggest culprit of this shameful scenario, should it
materialize, will embarrassingly be our own refusal to see the truth about how
bankers have commandeered today’s “modern” monetary system for their own
benefit, and their own benefit only, to the detriment of every single citizen
they claim to be helping. If one doubts the enormous reach of banker’s
tentacles into governments, then perhaps now is a good time to review former
IMF Chief Economist’s Simon Johnson’s brilliant article, “The Quiet Coup”.
Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) — Citigroup Inc.,
the last of the four largest U.S. banks to seek funds to exit a
taxpayer bailout, raised $17 billion by selling stock for a price so
low that the U.S. delayed plans to shrink its one-third stake in the
Citigroup sold 5.4 billion shares at
$3.15 apiece, less than the $3.25 the government paid when it acquired
its stake in September. The New York-based bank said the Treasury won’t
sell any of its shares for at least 90 days.
Investors demanded a bigger discount from Citigroup than Bank of America Corp. or Wells Fargo & Co.,
which together raised more than $31 billion this month to exit the
Troubled Asset Relief Program. Wells Fargo, which trumped Citigroup’s
bid to buy Wachovia Corp. last year, leapfrogged its rival by
completing a $12.25 billion share sale Dec. 15. JPMorgan Chase &
Co. repaid $25 billion in June.
“The market cast its vote and they’re low down on the ballot,” said Douglas Ciocca,
a managing director at Renaissance Financial Corp. in Leawood, Kansas.
“Citigroup needs to show steps to reinstall the quality of the brand.”
the sale, Citigroup’s common shares outstanding increased to 28.3
billion. That’s up from 22.9 billion as of Sept. 30 and 5 billion at
the end of 2007.
“More shares outstanding means less value per share,” said Edward Najarian,
an analyst at International Strategy and Investment Group in New York,
who has a “hold” rating on the shares. “The whole structure of their
deal to pay back TARP wasn’t very good for common shareholders and that
is being reflected in the pricing.”
one of the most important points are being missed. Most of these banks
swore that they didn’t need TARP. Despite this, in order to return it,
they must go back out to the capital markets. Why do you have to hit
the market to return a loan that you said you didn’t need, unless you
needed it? This obvious lie has went unchallenged.
worse. Citi is diluting the hell out of it shareholders, as well as all
of the other TARP banks that are selling shares. Some may even be
taking on debt. They are doing this primarily to gain the freedom to
declare bonuses at higher rates despite uncertain credit condition
surrounding the toxic assets that caused the problem in the first
place. Why in the world would any lender or shareholder agree to
dilution and/or higher debt service “primarily” to pay higher bonuses
to employees in the highest compensated (as a percent of net revenue)
industry in the world???
Imagine if you ran this business, you
have rocky times during a recession with revenues in nearly all aspects
of your business down save the blatant risk taking of trading, and you
go to your bank and say I need a big loan so I can pay myself a $20
million bonus increase.
Do you think Citibank would give you this
loan? They expect it from their shareholders. The same goes for
Goldman, JPM, BAC, etc.
Also from Bloomberg: Weak Banks Should Face Curbs on Bonuses, Dividends, Basel Regulator Says
Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) — Global regulators urged national
authorities to limit bonus and dividend payments by banks with
weakened capital safety nets as part of proposals to reduce
risks to the financial system.
Banks should increase the quality of the capital they hold
to cope with losses, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision
said in a report on bank capital and liquidity published today.
Banks with depleted capital buffers shouldn’t use predictions of
recovery to justify generous dividends to investors and
employees, the committee said.
Global regulators have been wrestling with plans to
increase supervision of banks following the worst economic
crisis since World War II. The Group of 20 Nations agreed in
April that banks should be required to hold more and better
quality capital to reduce risks to the financial system.
“It’s not acceptable for banks which have depleted their
capital buffers to try and use the distribution of capital as a
way to signal their financial strength,” the committee’s
statement said. “The proposed framework will reduce the
discretion of banks which have depleted their capital buffers to
further reduce them through generous distributions of
It’s amazing that this even needs to be said.