PALOOKAVILLE FINANCIAL stardate : capitulation day+93
ponzi : heyyyyyyyyyyy?
richie : hey ponzie...how come everyone stopped shoppin man?
ralf malf : yeahhhhhhh...crummy Christmas anna sucking new yeah...
potsie : whooeeee ponzi i think my strings have snapped...
ponzi : y'all jus stop suckin dudes...i gotta scheme ta get us outa this jam...
THE PONZI CHAPEL CEILING
paintybollox : shoot! ....ah jus bin onna ticker blog...anna bin shocked and awed...
zooneh : wot fo yo bin frazzled man?
beulah : at f**kin ticker jus blowin offa steam innit? ...he allus inna bate...
laverne : ah dunno beulie babe him n mish be two offa best bloggers onna planet...
spidah : onna web yo kin scare yo self...iffn yo aint street smart...
peteyangelo : that ole ticker gotta ponzi scheme all laid bare...itta woik o art...
ticker : ..."This is an uncomfortable reality, but it is reality.
Mr. Madoff stands accused of (in his own words) running "a Ponzi Scheme."
In fact, our entire economy over the last ten years, and really back to at least 1987, has been roughly equivalent to what Mr. Madoff was doing.
So has our government.
Let's go down the list of things that have been inflated beyond their natural boundaries, and look at how each and every one of them was destined to collapse - and why they're all collapsing at once:
- The Internet Bubble.
- The Housing Bubble.
- The Stock and Credit Markets Generally.
- Our Government's Finances.
There are many who say that our government debt-bubble will not collapse, and they list a whole host of reasons.
Why would you believe that?
Can you show, through history, one speculative bubble that has not popped?
Can you find one time - just once - that such a bubble was able to be grown without limit?
Simply put: No......
.......Americans have, as a nation, become fat, dumb, "entitled" and lazy.
There are many who argue that those who live "hand to mouth" don't have that choice. Really? Here are two statistics that make clear that this is simply false:
- In 2003 there were 159 million cell phone subscribers in the United States, and the average monthly bill was $49.91. Penetration has since grown to approximately 70% of the population (from ~60% in 2003.) Since 25% of all persons are under the age of 18, the majority of the non-subscribers to cellular services are in fact children under the age of 10.
- In 2002 58 percent of persons age 18 and over were overweight, and 23 percent were considered medically obese.
.....So in fact we have two "inconvenient facts" that contradict the claim that those who live "hand to mouth" and yet are working could not save for their retirement and old age if they decided to do so - the first being that they spend nearly $600 a year on cellular service - a luxury, and the second being that nearly 6 in 10 are consuming significantly more food (and paying for it) than their body demands for metabolic balance......
.........As the embedded (and fraudulently-concealed) debt continued to mount banks and other institutions found themselves performing a Madoff - that is, issuing new credit (debt) to be able to "show earnings" that in fact were a phantom. Unlike Madoff they did not have to go find someone new to put money in to be able to issue the checks to existing investors, since a bank that can operate with no reserve requirements imposed on it is capable of issuing as much credit as it wants, effectively "printing money.".....Regulations and leverage limits are supposed to prevent this, but they were systematically and intentionally dismantled in the name of "financial innovation."
In truth they were dismantled in the name of a massive financial fraud that permeated every corner of our credit system, from credit cards to student loans to automobiles to housing.
This ponzi scheme even extended to individual consumers - that is, you.
If you HELOC'd out money and paid down your credit cards with it, then charged anew or cash-out refinanced, you were a Madoff. If you bought a house with an Option ARM, knowing full well you could not make make a fully-amortized "recast" payment, you were a Madoff. If you played the balance transfer game with your credit cards, rolling balances from one zero-interest offer to another, you were a Madoff. Tens of millions of Americans did one or more of these things - and each and every one of them - if not you then someone you knew - was running a personal version of Madoff's scheme.
Every organ of our government and regulatory system was involved in this knowing deceit and the complicity required for it to occur - Congress, The White House, Treasury, The Federal Reserve - and still is.
So why did the bubble collapse, if these institutions are able to continue to literally "print money" and the regulators were intentionally ignoring all of it?
The fundamental problem with all Ponzi Schemes, even those in which the operator is able to issue credit at will, is that it relies on people not challenging the books.
It requires "belief" - that is, confidence.
Thus the phrase "con game".
When Bear Stearns two hedge funds collapsed, the house of cards began to shake. People started looking at balance sheets and asking lots of very inconvenient questions, including exactly how one can have a mortgage-backed security rated "AAA" when 40% of the loans in it are either delinquent or in foreclosure. A few people started to listen to those who had analyzed the math, such as myself and Mish, and the light came on in their head - "Oh My God, they're right!"
See, while credit spends like money, it is not money. ........
.............You would think that Bernanke and Paulson would recognize what is going on - and that they are unable to stop the inevitable collapse.
Here's the problem - they do recognize it, but they are two of the architects of it, and admitting the truth means taking responsibility for what they have done.
That's not going to happen so long as they believe they can manage to keep the "con" going with someone.
The group of "someone's", however, is shrinking rapidly. Commercial and Investment bank loans, then Fannie and Freddie, then commercial paper issuers, and now various sorts of consumer loan products such as credit cards, automobile financing and student loans are all being shunned by those with actual money as they start to peek under the kimono and find not a pleasant sight but rather something both ugly and hairy staring back at them.
Thus, the transfer of all of this "credit" (really bad debt) no longer backed by money (as the producers have taken their ball and left) from the institutions that created the ponzi scheme to "the sovereign" - the Government - in all of its forms, whether it be Treasury or The Fed directly.
The latest announcement came on Friday, when The Fed loosened the terms of the TALF (one of its alphabet soup programs) and effectively allowed hedge funds to borrow from it.
This, incidentally, is why Bloomberg has had to sue The Fed to try to get disclosure of the crap they have taken on their balance sheet, and why Fox News announced that it is suing Treasury to gain disclosure of what they have taken on.
It is also why Markit has announced that they're "postponing" the listing of performance data on "Prime" mortgages - they were pressured to do so (by their own admission) because a published price means no more lying about values, and that could mean immediate (and monstrous) new writedowns for banks which hold trillions of dollars of "Prime" mortgages yet are valuing them pretty much "however they want."
As I said before, evil requires secrecy.
There is real (and justified) fear that should the truth of what is being held in these "Fed and Treasury programs" be disclosed in full that those with money (that is, producers) would flee United States Treasuries (and dollars.)
This is not an unjustified fear; it is, in fact, fear of exactly what has happened thus far and led to the collapse of AIG, Lehman, Bear Sterns and the near-collapse of Fannie and Freddie.
And what is The Fed using for its "credit grade"? Ratings from the same agencies that graded as "AAA" toxic subprime debt that all blew up.
If this last gambit fails so does our government's ability to deficit spend.
There is a near-100% probability that it will fail - we are simply arguing about the "when", not the "if".
See, without evidence that the debt (not deficit) they are asked to back will be paid down at some date-reasonable in the future, eventually the people with money will flee.
It is simply a matter of exactly when their confidence fails (that is, at what leverage ratio do they say "screw this!"), not if it will fail.
Removal of the ability to deficit spend, when the government will be running a $1 trillion+ deficit next year, would result in a roughly 25% instantaneous reduction in the government's budget - assuming tax receipts will be maintained. The problem is that they won't - with unemployment skyrocketing and GDP collapsing, tax receipts are likely to fall 30% or more, meaning that in all probability the government will find itself having to cut its budget in half on an immediate basis.
Since a goodly part of that budget is in fact interest and it cannot be cut (without causing a general default) the consequence would be a requirement to slash all government programs immediately by approximately 60% - including Medicare, Social Security, the military, education, other social programs (e.g. Title I) and everything else. In addition The Fed would be forced to immediately disgorge all of its bad assets into the market at whatever price they could be sold for, lest The Dollar become "de-currencied" almost instantaneously.
Think about Iceland and how quickly their situation unraveled.
It can - and may - happen here".......more
opkin : okay...okay...okay...enough already! ....sheesh!
peteydavinci : y'all should read a whole thang! dudes...it so good ah wudda lak ta copy...
...all on it! ...oh yeah....it were me wot messed it abaht an put summa italics an stuff in...
opkin : ah don geddit!...how come a title o this piece is 'little house onna prairie'?
hoss : cos that gon be the way it gonna be dude...self sufficiency...save fo yo own lean years...
...a new american prairie....
little joe : anyone heah seen a varmint...take me to the varmint...
adam : i aint seen a BONANZA lak iss in many a long yeah...
dandg dadalang dadalang dadalang dang daannggg dang...
ONNA LIGHTER NOTE
hamish macrae : ..."I don't think Gordon Brown has any idea of the contempt in which he is held in the rest of the world. I sat at lunch next to a top European politician a few months ago and his assessment was unrepeatable. (He cheered up noticeably when I said that the PM couldn't win an election.)
carmen macrae : There'll be no tomorrow, no matter how we pretend....
....Tomorrow brings sorrow, and loneliness without end....
beulah : WTF...aint no carmen macrae onna vid.....ya limey b*stard...
thepainteronnacisternroof : watcha want...jam onnit?