Posts Tagged ‘Bankers’
In a recent opinion piece for The Salem News, Joseph F. Doyle seems to understand the nature of the revolving door that exists between big finance and our government…
All through America, and for that matter, the Western World, there is the feeling that government, particularly the United States government, is just another organized crime group. There are some specific incidences that seem to glaringly verify that suspicion even more than others.
Doyle covers a couple examples in detail, then when describing the system as it is functioning now, Doyle calls it “a winner-take-all dynamic of crony capitalism,” concluding…
The “revolving door” in our government must be closed, permanently. Financial institutions that are “too big to fail” (or to prosecute) must be broken up. Campaign financial reform is a white-hot must. Most of all, punishment for malfeasance encompassing the government and financial sectors must be sure, swift and draconian.
Mr. Doyle, we couldn’t agree more…
STOP THE LOOTING AND START PROSECUTING!
Four Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) employees arrested on allegations of obstruction of justice and money laundering were ordered to remain in custody while the investigation is pending.
The fifth suspect arrested yesterday was released because of health issues, Guenter Wittig, a spokesman for the Frankfurt General Prosecutor, said by phone today. He declined to explain the court’s ruling or identify any suspects.
The case is part of a criminal probe over tax-evasion allegations linked to the sale of carbon-emission certificates in which prosecutors are investigating a total of 25 people at Deutsche Bank. The lender’s German offices were raided yesterday and Co-Chief Executive Officer Juergen Fitschen and Chief Financial Officer Stefan Krause, who weren’t arrested, are subjects of the probe.
Criminal probe? You mean, like jailtime? Bubba dates?
This is serious and not something out of The Onion?
It appears so.
It looks like this isn’t a bunch of underlings either — the co-CEO and CFO are subjects of the probe, although they have not (yet) been charged.
If you remember there were raids on offices a couple of years ago. I, along with everyone else, assumed that the odds of an actual prosecution were slim and none, and slim left the building. After all, that’s been the pattern since 2007 – it literally doesn’t matterwhat was done, the worst that is ever assessed is a fine — which the bank can (and does) then pass onto customers and shareholders, neither of which did anything wrong.
This bears watching — especially if it manages to reach all the way up into the executive suite and tag some of the highest-ranking corporate officers.
Three former Deutsche Bank AG (DBK)employees told U.S. regulators that the German lender covered up paper losses during the financial crisis, the Financial Times reported. The company disputed the allegation.
The employees — a trader and two risk managers — told the Securities and Exchange Commission that the Frankfurt-based bank inflated the value of credit derivatives to avoid recognizing as much as $12 billion in losses, the newspaper reported, citing people it didn’t identify. The portfolio had a notional value of $130 billion, the FT said.
Let’s drill into this at the most-fundamental level — the reason we have reports like this that surface is that we do not require that all of these instruments trade on an exchange, and thus we continue to have people make claims of asset valuations that are not supported by an actual trade at an actual price.
This sort of intentional distortion became effective law in the United States in 2009 following the Kanjorski hearing when FASB was effectively extorted by Congress.
That was the proximate event that halted the stock market slide in early 2009.
This sort of game, incidentally, has precedent. During the Latin-American Debt Crisis Volcker is known to have intentionally allowed banks to lie about their asset valuations and exposure on Latin American debt. Several large banks were factually insolvent and under the law should have been immediately closed.
There are many who argue that we “orderly markets” require that we allow these games to be played from time to time as these are “temporary insolvencies” and “cure themselves” if we allow large firms to “earn their way out of the hole.”
The truth is more sinister – firms get into the hole in the first place because they believe they will be permitted to play this game and instead of being held to account they will be given a pass.
That in turn leads to both outrageous subsidy costs being passed to the taxpayer and general citizen (e.g. ridiculous overdraft fees and other games) through the back door instead of good corporate governance and risk controls being imposed by boards up front.
This is exactly like a gambler in Vegas who has no fear of losing because when he loses he can force someone else to cover his marker, but when he wins he gets to keep the money.
When financial institutions gain the ability to use the guns possessed by government to force others to cover their expenses and commit frauds that you or I would go to prison for, arguing that “the economy requires that we prevent the bad outcomes from happening”, we continually slip further and further toward losing our nation.
This game must stop, not because of an alleged $12 billion concealment but because no institution should be able to counterfeit the currency of any nation in which it operates, and any financial institution that issues unbacked credit whether above-board or under the table is doing exactly that.
(Reuters) – Darden Restaurants Inc (DRI.N) warned on Tuesday that earnings for the latest quarter would miss expectations after unsuccessful promotions led to a decline in sales at its Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse chains.
Promotions my ass.
The simple reality is that the devaluation of purchasing power is biting the consumer and the more QE The Fed does to cover deficit spending, and thus the more deficit spending The Government does, the worse this problem is going to get.
You can cover it up for a while with more borrowing, such as in Student Loans. But eventually that “goosing” of the economy runs out, as acceptance of credit tops, and when that happens the trend re-asserts itself and the driver of it, which is the government’s deficit spending, comes back to the fore.
Bubble TV is trying to play this off as “fiscal cliff” concerns. Nonsense.
The trend was evident more than six months ago in the macro-level data and I’ve been talking about it since. There is no evading the impact of what the government has done with its handmaiden The Fed.
Remember that we were told that “Christmas would be strong” and other similar lines of crap. Well, if sales are going to be strong,why the profit warnings?
The United States is clearly in an advanced state of decline. Many people around the world (and even inside America) rejoice at this, but not me. I mourn for the country that I was born in and that I still love. Yes, the United States has never been perfect, but the Republic that our Founding Fathers started truly has been a light to the rest of the world in a lot of ways over the centuries. Unfortunately, our foundations are badly rotting and our nation is collapsing all around us. Many Americans like to think that the United States is greater today than it has ever been before, but the truth is that America is like a patient that has stage 4 cancer that has spread to almost every area of the body. Our nation is being destroyed in thousands of different ways, and more distressing news emerges with each passing day. This article will mainly focus on the economic decline of America, but much could also be said about our social, political, moral and spiritual decline as well. We are simply not the same country that we used to be. Americans are proud, selfish, greedy, arrogant, ungrateful, treacherous and completely addicted to entertainment and pleasure. Our country is literally falling apart all around us, but most Americans are so plugged into entertainment that they can’t even be bothered to notice what is happening. Most Americans seem to assume that we will always have endless prosperity just because of who we are, but unfortunately that simply is not true. We inherited the greatest economic machine the world has ever seen and we have wrecked it, and now a very painful day of reckoning is approaching. But most people will not understand until it is too late.
The following are 34 signs that America is in decline…
#1 According to the World Bank, U.S. GDP accounted for 31.8 percent of all global economic activity in 2001. That number dropped to 21.6 percent in 2011. That is not just a decline – that is a freefall. Just check out the chart in this article.
#3 The United States has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.
#4 According to the Wall Street Journal, of the 40 biggest publicly traded corporate spenders, half of them plan to reduce capital expenditures in coming months.
#5 More than three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as will be sold in 2012.
#6 America once had the greatest manufacturing cities on the face of the earth. Now many of our formerly great manufacturing cities have degenerated into festering hellholes. For example, the city of Detroit is on the verge of financial collapse, and one state lawmaker is now saying that “dissolving Detroit” should be looked at as an option.
#7 In 2007, the unemployment rate for the 20 to 29 age bracket was about 6.5 percent. Today, the unemployment rate for that same age group is about 13 percent.
#9 If you can believe it, approximately one out of every four American workers makes 10 dollars an hour or less.
#11 Median household income in America has fallen for four consecutive years. Overall, it has declined by over $4000 during that time span.
#12 The U.S. trade deficit with China during 2011 was 28 times larger than it was back in 1990.
#13 Incredibly, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been shut down since 2001. During 2010, manufacturing facilities were shutting down at the rate of 23 per day. How can anyone say that “things are getting better” when our economic infrastructure is being absolutely gutted?
#16 As I have written about previously, 61 percent of all Americans were “middle income” back in 1971 according to the Pew Research Center. Today, only 51 percent of all Americans are “middle income”.
#17 There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing. That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.
#18 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty rate for children living in the United States is about 22 percent.
#19 Back in 1983, the bottom 95 percent of all income earners in the United States had 62 cents of debt for every dollar that they earned. By 2007, that figure had soared to $1.48.
#20 Total home mortgage debt in the United States is now about 5 times larger than it was just 20 years ago.
#21 Total credit card debt in the United States is now more than 8 times larger than it was just 30 years ago.
#22 The value of the U.S. dollar has declined by more than 96 percent since the Federal Reserve was first created.
#25 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that receives direct monetary benefits from the federal government. Back in 1983, less than a third of all Americans lived in a home that received direct monetary benefits from the federal government.
#27 In November 2008, 30.8 million Americans were on food stamps. Today, 47.1 millionAmericans are on food stamps.
#28 Right now, one out of every four American children is on food stamps.
#29 As I wrote about the other day, according to one calculation the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
#30 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse. It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
#32 The U.S. national debt is now more than 23 times larger than it was when Jimmy Carter became president.
#33 According to a PBS report from earlier this year, U.S. households that make $13,000 or less per year spend 9 percent of their incomes on lottery tickets. Could that possibly be accurate? Are people really that foolish?
#34 As the U.S. economy has declined, the American people have been downing more antidepressants and other prescription drugs than ever before. In fact, the American people spent 60 billion dollars more on prescription drugs in 2010 than they did in 2005.
So what are our “leaders” doing about all of this?
They just continue to insist that everything is “just fine”.
Sadly, the truth is that they live in a world that is very different from most of the rest of us.
Barack Obama is getting ready to take a 20 day vacation to Hawaii.
When was the last time you got to take a 20 day vacation?
And most of our “leaders” have no idea what it is like to struggle from month to month on a paycheck.
Overall, more than half of the members of Congress are millionaires. We are led by wealthy men who are serving the interests of other wealthy men.
But the problem with our system is not limited to the president and the members of Congress. The truth is that the political system in America has become a colossal beast that just continues to grow no matter who is in power. The political establishment of both parties is totally dependent on this beast, and they will continue to feed it and serve it because it has been very good to them. The following is from an outstanding article by Steve McCann…
The Republican and Democratic political establishments are made up of the following:
1) many current and nearly all retired national office holders whose livelihood and narcissistic demands depends upon fealty to Party and access to government largesse;
2) the majority of the media elite, including pundits, editors, writers and television news personalities based in Washington and New York whose proximity to power and access is vital to their continued standard of living;
3) academia, numerous think-tanks, so-called non-government organizations, and lobbyists who fasten onto those in the administration and Congress for employment, grants, favorable legislation and ego-gratification;
4) the reliable deep pocket political contributors and political consultants whose future is irrevocably tied to the political machinery of the Party; and
5) the crony capitalists, i.e. leaders of the corporate and financial community as well as unions whose entities are dependent on or subject to government oversight and/or benevolence .
Do you think that there is any chance that this insidious system will be uprooted any time soon?
Of course not.
We will continue on the same path that we are on right now and America will continue to decline.
Many will rejoice as America falls, but I will not.
I will mourn for a mighty Republic that has fallen and for a dream that has been lost.
By recklessly printing, borrowing and spending money, our authorities are absolutely shredding confidence in the U.S. dollar. The rest of the world is watching this nonsense, and at some point they are going to give up on the U.S. dollar and throw their hands up in the air. When that happens, it is going to be absolutely catastrophic for the U.S. economy. Right now, we export a lot of our inflation. Each year, we buy far more from the rest of the worldthan they buy from us, and so the rest of the world ends up with giant piles of U.S. dollars. This works out pretty well for them, because the U.S. dollar is the primary reserve currency of the world and is used in international trade far more than any other currency is. Back in 1999, the percentage of foreign exchange reserves in U.S. dollars peaked at 71 percent, and since then it has slid back to 62.2 percent. But that is still an overwhelming amount. We can print, borrow and spend like crazy because the rest of the world is there to soak up our excess dollars because they need them to trade with one another. But what will happen someday if the rest of the world decides to reject the U.S. dollar? At that point we would see a tsunami of U.S. dollars come flooding back to this country. Just take a moment and think of the worst superstorm that you can possibly imagine, and then replace every drop of rain with a dollar bill. The giant currency superstorm that will eventually hit this nation will be far worse than that.
Most Americans don’t realize that there are far more dollars in use in the rest of the world than in the United States itself. The following is from a scholarly article by Linda Goldberg…
The dollar is a major form of cash currency around the world. The majority of dollar banknotes are estimated to be held outside the US. More than 70% of hundred-dollar notes and nearly 60% of twenty- and fifty-dollar notes are held abroad, while two-thirds of all US banknotes have been in circulation outside the country since 1990
For decades we have been exporting gigantic quantities of our currency.
So what would happen if that process suddenly reversed and massive piles of dollars started coming back into the country?
It is frightening to think about.
Well, I guess the key is to get the rest of the world to continue to have confidence in the U.S. dollar so that will never happen, right?
Unfortunately, there are lots of signs that the rest of the world is accelerating their move away from the U.S. dollar.
For example, it was recently announced that the BRICS countries are developing their own version of the World Bank…
The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) bloc has begun planning its own development bank and a new bailout fund which would be created by pooling together an estimated $240 billion in foreign exchange reserves, according to diplomatic sources. To get a sense of how significant the proposed fund would be, the fund would be larger than the combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about 150 countries, according to Russia and India Report.
And as I noted in a previous article, over the past few years there have been a whole host of new international currency agreements that encourage the use of national currencies over the U.S. dollar. The following are just a few examples…
1. China and Germany (See Here)
2. China and Russia (See Here)
3. China and Brazil (See Here)
4. China and Australia (See Here)
5. China and Japan (See Here)
6. India and Japan (See Here)
7. Iran and Russia (See Here)
8. China and Chile (See Here)
9. China and the United Arab Emirates (See Here)
10. China, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa (See Here)
Will this movement soon become a stampede away from the U.S. dollar?
That is a very important question.
But you don’t hear anything about this in the U.S. media and our politicians are not talking about this at all.
Meanwhile, our “leaders” seem to be doing everything that they can to destroy confidence in the U.S. dollar. The Federal Reserve is printing money like there is no tomorrow, and the federal government continues to run up trillion dollar deficits year after year.
They do not seem to understand that they are systematically destroying the U.S. financial system.
Other world leaders get it. For example, Russian President Vladimir Putin once said the following…
“Unreasonable expansion of the budget deficit, accumulation of the national debt – are as destructive as an adventurous stock market game.During the time of the Soviet Union the role of the state in economy was made absolute, which eventually lead to the total non-competitiveness of the economy. That lesson cost us very dearly. I am sure no one would want history to repeat itself.”
Why can’t most of our politicians see how destructive debt is?
What the federal government continues to do is absolutely insane. The national debt increased by more than 24 billion dollars on the day after Thanksgiving this year. But utter disaster has not struck yet, and most Americans are not really that concerned about the debt. So things just keep rolling along.
And of course our national debt of $16,309,738,056,362.44 is nothing when compared to the future liabilities that our federal government is facing. Just check out what a recent article in the Wall Street Journal had to say about all this…
The actual liabilities of the federal government—including Social Security, Medicare, and federal employees’ future retirement benefits—already exceed $86.8 trillion, or 550% of GDP. For the year ending Dec. 31, 2011, the annual accrued expense of Medicare and Social Security was $7 trillion. Nothing like that figure is used in calculating the deficit. In reality, the reported budget deficit is less than one-fifth of the more accurate figure.
Other economists paint an even gloomier picture. According to economist Niall Ferguson, the U.S. government is facing future unfunded liabilities of 238 trillion dollars.
So where are we going to get all that money?
Well, why don’t we just print more money than ever before so that the U.S. government can borrow and spend more money than ever before?
Don’t laugh. That is actually what some of the top economists in the country are actually recommending.
The most famous economic journalist in the entire country, Paul Krugman of the New York Times, is boldly proclaiming that the solution to all of our problems is to print, borrow and spend a lot more money. He insists that there is no reason to fear that the giant mountain of debt that we are accumulating will someday collapse the system…
For we have our own currency — and almost all of our debt, both private and public, is denominated in dollars. So our government, unlike the Greek government, literally can’t run out of money. After all, it can print the stuff. So there’s almost no risk that America will default on its debt — I’d say no risk at all if it weren’t for the possibility that Republicans would once again try to hold the nation hostage over the debt ceiling.
But if the U.S. government prints money to pay its bills, won’t that lead to inflation? No, not if the economy is still depressed.
Now, it’s true that investors might start to expect higher inflation some years down the road. They might also push down the value of the dollar. Both of these things, however, would actually help rather than hurt the U.S. economy right now: expected inflation would discourage corporations and families from sitting on cash, while a weaker dollar would make our exports more competitive.
Of course what he is prescribing is complete and utter madness.
At some point this con game is going to collapse and the rest of the world is going to say a big, fat, resounding “NO” to the U.S. dollar.
Why should they continue to use a currency that is becoming extremely unstable and that is constantly being manipulated?
And when the rest of the world rejects the U.S. dollar, the value of the dollar will drop like a rock because there will be far less global demand for it.
In addition, if the rest of the world is not using the U.S. dollar for trade any longer, other nations will cease to soak up our excess currency and huge mountains of our currency that are floating around out there will start flooding back to our shores.
At that point we will be looking at inflation unlike anything we have ever seen before. The era of cheap imports will be over and we will pay far more for everything from oil to the foreign-made plastic trinkets that we buy at Wal-Mart.
Most Americans don’t even know what a “reserve currency” is, but when the U.S. dollar loses reserve currency status it is going to unleash a nightmare that most economists cannot even imagine.
So enjoy this holiday season while you can. There are still lots and lots of cheap imports filling the shelves of our stores.
Once the coming giant currency superstorm strikes, we will dearly wish for the good old days of 2012.
Yes, the U.S. dollar is alive and ticking for now. But at the pace that our authorities are abusing it, I would not say that things are looking good for a long and healthy lifespan.