The second wave of mortgage defaults and foreclosures will hit the economy this year. Not only will we have failure in prime loans and option-arm loans, but we are faced with a new crop of subprime and ALT-A loans put into motion by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae and FHA.
As we have been forecasting for the last two years, the second wave of mortgage defaults and foreclosures will hit the economy this year. Not only will we have failure in prime loans and option-arm loans, but we are faced with a new crop of subprime and ALT-A loans put into motion by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae and FHA. In addition, we find it of great interest that the FHA is changing the rules to purchase homes. That, of course, means less homes will be purchased.
The incidence of unemployment may be lessening, but it isn’t going away. Those of you who keep your ear to the ground know that real unemployment is 22.5% and in cities like Detroit it is somewhere near 45 to 50 percent. This is the result of free trade, globalization, offshoring and outsourcing. No city in America has been deprived of their livelihood more than Detroit. Yet, this is only the beginning. If allowed to continue 30 percent more of our jobs will be allowed to leave America, making our country an economic basket case over the next 20 years. The $25 billion that our federal government is about to loan to the states will help keep unemployment paying out and save some 40 states from going into bankruptcy. That will keep some Americans going but not for long.
Foreigners are buying less and less US dollar denominated assets, specifically Treasury and Agency bonds. As an example, Russia is buying Canadian dollar denominated assets. We ask how does the US fund its debt and its growing debt? The administration is planning for some sort of exchange of retirement funds for a government guaranteed annuity. That is so they can fund their enormous debt domestically as Japan has done for almost 20 years. Who would want to have a government guaranteed annuity from a bankrupt nation? It should also be noted that these retirement plans are still vastly under funded. What will happen if the Dow again revisits 6,600 and these funds’ assets again fall 40 percent? The collateral behind any annuity would be almost cut in half. We will have to see what the government comes up with but any kind of voluntary plan would in time become a mandatory plan. The funds may well be funneled to insurance companies, so they can take part of the action, but they will be buying Treasuries and Agencies with those funds, you can take that to the bank. One of the rumors floating about is that a new 5 percent tax will be foisted upon what is left of American taxpayers, in the form of forced savings, which would be in the form of an annuity. The need for funds to run the government is advancing by more than 10 percent a year, as government becomes bigger and bigger. We see no abatement in Marxist, socialist or fascists in government in their desire to spend to make government ever bigger.
The public is howling for blood, particularly from banking and Wall Street, and rightly so, but the main culprit was the Fed and in third place lies our government. In populist pose our President wants to tax Wall Street and banking for looting our economy. We might remind our President that these are the very people who financially put him in office. There is also talk emanating from the Oval Office of breaking up the banks, so that the too big to fail problem will be solved. This is the result of trillions of bailout funds for banks, which then post outsized mega profits, and little or nothing to assist the taxpayer. Investigations are going on to find out what caused the collapse of the system, but Americans believe they will go nowhere. The main brokerages and banks that caused most of the problems are the owners of the FED, the 12 regional Fed banks and the legacy, money center banks in NYC. How far do you have to investigate to find that out? Billions are being paid out to banks’ top employees, money they made with the assistance of a taxpayer bailout. The public believes it is unfair and they are right. As an example, Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, who says, “He is doing God’s work,” will receive $100 million as the unemployment lines lengthen day by day. The President in his new budget says he will spend $100 billion creating jobs for Americans and $25 billion will be loaned to 40 states, so they can pay extended unemployment benefits. The gap between the haves and have-nots grows wider.
As a result of the changing of the guard in who rules Wall Street and Washington, JP Morgan Chase has again surged to the forefront and with them former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker. This time his role will be more subdued then it was in the early 1980s. He cannot advocate a purging of the system as he did in the early 80s, because the financial system has been allowed to go too far. Any such purge would take the system down; something of that nature should have been done three years ago. Mr. Volcker wants banks to go back to taking deposits, making loans and to return to 8 to 10 to one leverage, not 40 to 70 to one. He believes banks should not have proprietary trading operations and that they should be transferred into unregulated hedge funds. That would solve very little. The change would be cosmetic. Then again isn’t that what government, Wall Street and banking are all about – subterfuge?
The administration and Congress refuse to deal with ever growing debt in spite of its decaying affect on our financial structure and banks and many other corporations are carrying two sets of books and refuse to deal with toxic assets. The Fed has purchased $900 billion of these toxic assets and they won’t tell us what they paid and from who they bought them from. Monetary growth continues and much of it sits on bank balance sheets having borrowed it from the Fed, where much of it lies gaining interest that is being paid by the taxpayer. Those are costs that are deducted from any profit the Fed makes that is returned to the Treasury. In addition, overall there is no transparency and the gambling by Wall Street and banking goes on unabated just as it has in the past - the sort of high velocity risk that caused all these problems in the first place. Much of what they do is off balance sheet. The next three years will see lenders buried in falling commercial real estate, so the death dance won’t end for some time to come.
The banks and hybrid brokerage-banks are all involved in flash trading, which is more appropriately known as front running. They continue to engage in naked shorting and the SEC stands by and does nothing. This gambling and criminal activity is funded by the Fed via very cheap loans. Then there is their business and relationship with totally unregulated hedge funds. The money center legacy banks are growing not shrinking and now control more than 70 percent of global banking assets. You add this all up and you find you have a financial oligarchy that is gaining in dominance not shrinking, as Wall Street would have you believe. While this transpires our President and Congress have doubled the federal deficit. The previous two administrations and the current one have taken debt from almost nothing to $12.3 trillion, which will be $14.3 trillion by December. Even the Fed’s debt has risen to $2.2 trillion having engorged themselves on bonds from Agencies, Treasuries and with toxic waste. The Fed is lying about their holdings; they purchased 80 percent of last year’s Treasury debt. What they did was stuff billions in purchases under other investors – household, which is ludicrous.