Bob Chapman | December 10, 2008
We are now 17 months into a credit crisis that continues to expose the corruption and incompetence of government, banking, Wall Street and transnational corporations. The situation has not stabilized and it won’t anytime soon. All we see are sweetheart deals for elitist corporations for which American taxpayers will pay for years to come. The future of our nation is totally out of control. For the last eight years our economy has been running on something for nothing, lies and deceit. The result will be hyperinflation and then the Second Great Depression.
As we predicted long ago the only avenue open to the elitists that control our country is to hyper-inflate to avoid collapse as long as possible. In this process financial institutions, most of whom are bankrupt, are trying with the help of the American taxpayer, to hold on. In that process they are severely limiting credit, which restricts business and growth and has caused crippling de-leveraging in our economy, particularly among hedge funds. Debt totally embraces our lives and finally we see de-leveraging among individuals as all debtors and borrowers come under pressured from the lenders. While this transpires relentlessly, unemployment grows stamping out the buying power of the masses many of whom already are on the edge of bankruptcy. We have this great mass of disintegration on the bottom and massive amounts of money and credit on the top. The money and credit is not reaching consumers who have been forced to stop buying. It is staying on the balance sheets of banks, brokerage houses, insurance companies and transnational conglomerates, such as G.E.
As you can tell from our publication and its growing size there is so much negative news we cannot publish it all. The response of government has been a massive distribution of taxpayer funds and if you can believe this they refuse to tell us who are the recipients of this public largess. In spite of repeated requests they refuse to name the borrowers, so that corruption and fraud can thrive. In such an environment of aggregate creation and corruption the only investments that shine are gold and silver. The cracks are appearing in this edifice of greed and the only place to flee to is those historical stand buys.
The first $125 billion lent by TARP went to banks in the Fed system of which 90% was used to award bonuses. This is to make sure that the Illuminists continue to receive the riches of the system. Funds are being lent, but the system is being strangled. Funds lie on bank balance sheets to keep them solvent and to be available for dividends and the purchase of other non-elitist banks. This is why more and more funds are needed for the system. This is what we realized very early on, some three months ago and that is how we were able to predict that more than $10 trillion would be needed to keep the system afloat. In time these infusions won’t work any more.
This is why the Fed and the Treasury won’t tell you who is receiving the handouts. It is a state secret. Such arrogance is unprecedented in the history of America.
Banks do not really know if they are solvent because they are holding so much toxic garbage. On top of that they have to contend with losses on credit cards, commercial mortgages, vehicle loans and derivatives.
As this game goes on unemployment is 6.7%, U6 13.5% and long-term joblessness is 15.4%. That means a further hit on bank earnings, balance sheets and solvency.
What has also gone almost totally unnoticed is the $700 billion drain from the economy via cash management bill. This holds down inflation and those funds end up in Treasuries that end up in elitist banks in exchange for toxic CODs, SIVs, and allows banks to handle their naked derivative problems. These tactics by the Fed and Treasury puts more downward pressure on the economy causing more unemployment and less consumer spending. This deepens the recession. Saving AIG, as we predicted, will cost $500 billion and Citigroup $1 trillion. JP Morgan Chase has unlimited funds to cover its derivative losses, control the bond market and to depress gold prices. That is why what Morgan does is classified as a national security issue.
It has been just three weeks since the Fed flooded the books of the 16 major banks that run Libor, the London Interbank Offered Rate, which is used worldwide to calculate interest rates. That rate was 4.8% for 3-month paper. A couple of days ago it was 2.16%. This forced the lenders to loosen up on lending and bring interest rates down. This needless to say is highly inflationary. Among other reasons for the manipulation is that this rate is used to set mortgage rates worldwide. The funds used to accomplish this were lent by the Treasury to US banks, which in turn lent to London banks. That step was followed by the Treasury and the Fed, via Morgan, Goldman and Citi, to drive down rates on US Treasuries. The long term rate on the US Ten-year Treasury note was then driven down from 4% to 2.55%. 30-year fixed rate mortgages usually sell for 1% to 1-1/4% higher than the 10s, so rates should be 3.80%. The lenders, banks, held rates at 6% to 6.5%. After such an onslaught they have dropped rates to 5.5%. That isn’t good enough for the Fed and the Treasury, they want rates at 4.5% for FHA loans, so that is where that mortgage rate is headed. If you were waiting to reset your mortgage wait until rates go below 5%. That should happen soon. This shows you how extensive government and Fed manipulation is.
Vast amounts of funds are being funneled in the finance sector where half the corporations are bankrupt, without any questions or announcements as to who’s getting the funds. We are talking about over $10 trillion yet the UAW and the officials of GM, Ford and Chrysler have to beg on their knees for $15 billion to tide them over for 3 to 6 months. This shows you how unfair the entire process is and how the Illuminists are trying to bury the American and Canadian vehicle manufacturers as soon as possible. The Democrats see political advantage here and will get a bailout done. They should be carried for 6 months and that is it. We believer they will not make it. We see absolutely no recovery for years to come. In June they’ll all file for bankruptcy. What you are seeing is a sideshow. Our vehicle business will not survive unless Congress implements trade tariffs on goods and services. Remember whether companies live or die is decided by the Illuminists not by a free marketplace. Most of the money lent out is going to bankrupt loser banks and brokerage houses, which caused all these problems in the first place; Labor elitists have exacerbated the problem over the years as well. It is still not too late to drop labor rates from $31 to $15 an hour and make other major concessions as well, in the absence of trade tariffs in order to survive.
How would you like to have several billion dollars without any restrictions on how it’s spent? That is the kind of deal Citigroup, AIG, JP Morgan Chase and many other institutions have regarding money from the Treasury and the Fed. These are the Illuminist corporations that are deemed too big to fail. When they are to be bailed out Congress has very little to say, but when the big 3 automakers need help congress puts them through the hoops. This capitalism is survival of the fittest and the richest. There is no fairness or even handedness. It is the worst looting of the American people in history. Automakers must have a plan, but Citigroup doesn’t need one. As it was said in Animal Farm, “some are more equal than others.”
Bear Stearns was financially assassinated. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG were rescued to cover up their frauds. The corrupt Lehman Brothers was simply beyond saving. It would most certainly have been saved if it had been possible. The only way Fannie and Freddie were saved was by guaranteeing their bonds. That job was left to the American taxpayer.
Such bailouts and free trade, globalization, offshoring and outsourcing have destroyed our economy. These actions began in full force under Clinton and Rubin, and were strongly carried on under the Bushes. The strong dollar-anti-gold policies in the 1990s laid the groundwork for the boom and bust of the dotcom era. It also allowed conglomerates to offshore production and workers, which destroyed our industrial base. These US transnationals control 60% of Chinese exports to the US. As a result the American consumer economy is now collapsing.
In June subprime and ALT-A resets should be mostly over, but the Option-ARMs-Pick-and-Pay loans are coming into view. The later are ten times larger than the former held by banks. A 10% write off would wipe out many American banks. Just recently ALT-A and Option ARMs delinquencies were averaging 20 plus percent for 2006 loans, and 17% plus for 2007, up from 16.9% and 12.2% six months ago. As this next nightmare unfolds over the next four years, it will be joined by the FHA bubble that will begin two years from now. This is more serious than the subprime/ALT-A fiasco could have dreamed of being. This will be a wipeout and all treasury’s Paulson and the Fed’s Bernanke can think of doing is to bail out Illuminist Wall Street and banking. They want to make sure shareholders get their dividends and corporate officers get their mega salaries and bonuses. Wait until the other loans go bust – the credit card and vehicle loans. As we explained previously the commercial real estate market is frozen because banks won’t lend and that crisis is unfolding as we speak. The people who destroyed our financial system are being allowed to repair it. The problem is they are not repairing it – they are looting it further. The fraud is blatant and Americans are too dumb to understand what is being done to them.
As a result of the Fed draining liquidity out of the system and giving it to the banks to keep them solvent via cash management bill sales, there is little left in the economy and the people to borrow. These actions should be looked at for what they are – a further bailout of the financial industry. This in part is a reason why credit default swaps on US Treasuries are at 50 bps not at 1 or 2 bps. This figure is rising because professionals think there is a growing possibility of the US government defaulting on its debt. This premium is double what it was just two months ago. In case it interests you, states such as California, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and New Jersey vary from 192 bps to 164 bps. Can you see the great risk in buying or owning municipal bonds issued by these states? If you own them dump them. You cannot be blind to the facts - take action emotionlessly and sell them if you own them. Whatever, you do not buy them. This is why we stopped recommending US Treasuries a year ago and switched to Swiss franc Treasuries.
Investors are running headlong to liquidity, bypassing quality and safety. After they realize they’ve only solved part of the problem they will head for gold. The supply of US Treasuries grows exponentially every day. The dollar is strong and it shouldn’t be. The demand for physical gold cannot be filled so obviously some people realize what is going on. That is why Comex December futures’ physical delivery is at all-time highs. There are even rumors that the Bank of England has shipped gold to Comex to meet deliveries. In time we will all, but it makes sense.
Values in residential and commercial real estate continue to fall. Residential is off 17.4% and foreclosures are continuing at record rates. Millions of homes are in negative equity and are subject to walk-a-ways. This is the monstrosity the banks and brokerage houses created. First by issuing credit to people they knew could never pay and then securitizing mortgages as AAA’s that were BBB’s. Nothing but out and out criminal fraud. Government wants lenders to reduce loan balances to meet equity. They refuse to do so. Worse yet, most of the American public is broke. The only thing left for government to do is to nationalize all mortgages, which we predicted they would do 4-1/2 years ago. Get it straight your government is bankrupt. That will add $2 to $3 trillion on to the $10 plus trillion they are already under water for. Incidentally, Congress in which American voters returned 94% of incumbents to office, does exactly what the elitist bankers and Wall Street tells it to do.
Put this all together and you have massive inflation on the way. This means gold is bottoming out again over the next two weeks. When that’s completed you can expect a major upward move in gold and silver.
The conference Board says its Employment Trends Index fell to 102.9 in November from 104.5 in October.
The Fed now has no choice but to purchase all Treasury paper the Treasury cannot sell. They have no other choice. This perceived flight to quality by investors is a suicide mission as it is for the Fed. Later whom will they sell too? The Fed is the buyer of last resort.
Sony will cut 8,000 jobs to reduce $1.1 billion in costs.
Wyndham worldwide will cut 4,000 jobs and cut back on timeshares.
Three-months ago 29 states faced a $48 billion shortfall. In 2009, 41 states face a projected $71.9 billion budget shortfall. California and Florida lead the pack with $31.7 billion and $5.1 billion. Projections are for a shortage of $200 billion by 2010. Across the country services are being cut for the elderly, disabled, the poor and the unemployed. Tuitions rise as teachers are cut.
Some states have “rainy day funds” and many have dipped into them already, and some are already depleted. This means no social safety net because it has been ripped to shreds over the past twenty years. In addition, fiscal debt is massive. We see a $1.3 trillion shortfall for September 30, 2009’s fiscal year. Spending will be cut and taxes will be raised.
Thus far $32 trillion has been lost in world equity markets, which is more than double US GDP. Then there is $6 trillion lost in US real estate alone. Then there is commercial real estate and in commodities. Those losses are probably near $75 trillion to $100 trillion worldwide.
Governments worldwide are increasing money and credit, lowering interest rates and raising deficit spending to unheard of levels. Our $1.3 trillion deficit could range as high as $2.5 trillion dependent on what the president-elect decides to do and he’s going to spend money with wild abandon on domestic problems. The problem is not the presence of liquidity; it is debt. That is solved by cutting expenses faster than you cut taxes. This allows funds to flow into consumer hands and not widen government debt. Consumers can spend more if their debt is low and reduce debt if necessary. Interest rates should rise so Americans can save. As you well know just the opposite is happening. The question is will treasury and the Fed be able to keep deflation’s head down by pouring massive amounts of liquidity into the system? We believe it will work for 2 to 3 more years and when the system is sodden in debt and inflation it won’t work anymore, deflation will move into control.
The power behind government is in a precarious position. Either this works or they go down with the economy and they are well aware of it. They are on a voyage of no return.
We reflect on Japan since 1991. If zero interest rates and a permissive money and credit policy worked, plus the generous help from the US, Japan would have been out of the woods years ago. It hasn’t worked, yet the major government’s of the world are repeating the same mistakes.
Government has no intention of cutting spending, nor heading anywhere near a balanced budget. That reflects to no savings and having to continue to depend on foreigners to fund our debts. Sound money is something that never enters the mid of elitists behind the scenes, nor politicians either. In time we imagine foreigners will demand bonds in local currencies like the yen as the Japanese have – eventually maybe even gold.
The December IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism was 450 down from 50.8 in November. The Economic Optimism Index fell 5.8 points, or 11.4% to reach 45 in December. The index is 2.5 points above its 12-month average 42.5 and just 6.5 points below its all-time average of 51.5.
Restructuring mortgages does not work. 58% return to default in just eight months. After three months 36% default and after six months 56%.
Obviously these results tell us that government and the lenders are far from solving the foreclosure crisis. That is because they are not trying to solve the crisis. Lenders are failing to give troubled homeowners affordable long-term fixed rate mortgages. They more likely were offering modified loans that resulted in a higher – not lower – monthly payment.
The National Association of Home Builders wants homebuyers to get a free tax credit, and for government to buy down mortgage interest rates. They also want continuing government breaks to keep people who would go into foreclosure in their homes. Even with this stimulus the industry won’t be doing much building soon due to the huge inventory of homes in the pipeline. The new problem for the past year has been, how can you think of buying a home when you may not have a job next week?
They complain of higher lending standards and what they consider high interest rates at 5-1/2% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. They want 4-1/2% rates. That is why the Treasury and the Fed are forcing interest rates lower. Then the FHA can justify cheaper rates. The Treasury is also buying bonds from FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to force rates down.
In addition the incoming administration expects to pass bankruptcy reform, which would allow courts to modify an individuals mortgage payments and to provide a universal mortgage credit, for homeowners that do not itemize their taxes.
Housing starts fell 4.5% in October, the slowest pace since the 1940s. New home sales fell 5.3%. Builders want a non-repayable tax credit of 10% of the home price. They want 2.99% rates for contracts to June 2009 and 3.99% after that. What they should be is allowed to go bankrupt.
Unemployment has fallen far heavier on men than women. In the last 12 months more than 8 of 10 pink slips have fallen on men who are paid more than women. This is as gender-lopsided as it gets. In November male unemployment was 7.2% and female 6%.
For the first time since 1940, and briefly during the Great Depression, US T-Bills went negative. Yesterday, three-month T-Bills traded at a negative yield…The US sold $30B of 3-month T-Bills for 0%, another first!
U.S. companies are headed for their first three-year decline in profits since at least the 1980s, according to David J. Kostin, a strategist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Operating earnings per share for companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index will drop 5 percent next year after tumbling an estimated 33 percent this year, Kostin wrote in a report today. They fell 6 percent in 2007.
JP Morgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. bank, owns 40 percent of the shut-down Chicago factory whose workers are blaming Bank of America Corp. for causing the company’s demise.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac engaged in “an orgy of junk mortgage development” that turned the two mortgage-finance giants into vast repositories of subprime and similarly risky loans, a former Fannie executive testified on Tuesday…
Edward J. Pinto, a former chief credit officer at Fannie Mae, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that the mortgage giants, which have been taken over by the government, now guarantee or hold 10.5 million nonprime loans worth $1.6 trillion — one in three of all subprime loans, and nearly two in three of all so-called Alt-A loans, often called “liar loans.” Arnold Kling, an economist and former Freddie Mac officer, testified that a high-risk loan could be “laundered,” as he put it, by Wall Street and come back into the banking system as a triple-A rated security for sale to investors, obscuring its true risks. Charles Calomiris, a finance professor at
Columbia, testified that nobody saw the crisis coming because the two mortgage giants “adopted accounting practices that masked their subprime and Alt-A lending,” but did not elaborate.
Another lever was what Representative Christopher Shays, Republican of Connecticut, said was more than $175 million in lobbying fees spent by the mortgage giants over 10 years, in part to counter attempts at stronger oversight.
The developer of the stalled Centerpoint condominium towers in downtown Tempe filed for bankruptcy on the project Friday after months of legal wrangling with its construction lender, Mortgages Ltd.
With its Chapter 11 petition for reorganization, Avenue Communities LLC said it also planned to file a lawsuit against Mortgages Ltd. and the lender's investors for failing to fund loans to build the high-rise project.
November rain poured down on hedge-fund managers as market turmoil and increased demands from investors wanting their money back deepened problems for funds already facing their worst year on record.
The largest hedge funds run by Toscafund Asset Management LLP and Kingdon Capital were among many funds with heavy losses in November, according to investors. Satellite Asset Management, founded by former Soros Fund Management traders, saw double-digit losses during the month and is reportedly among a handful of funds that have tried to stem investors' redemptions.