Saturday, January 24, 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015


The talk over the past couple of years has been, when does the Fed raise its discount rate?  The fact of the matter is this talk is to be taken with a grain of salt, as any possible threat is met with assurances from some Fed dove that raising rates in the near term just isn't possible.  I have a few explanations to offer that go outside of this jawboning policy, that actually moves to the point that only the market will ever raise rates, as the Fed is stuck on zero.

The first point to make is that since the Japanese bank went to zero, a bank that actually went so far, has never been able to get out of the trap they built themselves.  There are many reasons why this is the case, but the primary one is that the monetary base has no natural way to have increased itself while stuck at zero.  A zero fed funds rate raises no money for depositors or bankers, who have excess cash.  The only thing that grows is the monetary debt associated with increased bank lending in the first place.  Thus, debt has either increased or remained flat, while the compound interest equation has consumed the means of repayment.  For those that don't understand this policy, I will go into details. 

All the money in circulation today has been created by the system of banks either creating debt or buying the debt of others.  This includes the central banks, which must maintain a balance sheet that at least presents a case of solvency.  In making such loans, they never create the interest with which to pay the debt back to its source.  Repayment has to either come out of the deposit balances in the banking system, out of the capital position of banks or out of the forfeiture of property, in the event of default.  In any case, the ability to service debt, placed on the debit side of the bank ledger, has to come from the credit side of the ledger.  This is what constitutes the entire base of funds to service the cumulative ledgers of the banking system. 

Once we have met zero, all kinds of carry trade financing takes place.  Banks and other entities that have the capacity, borrow at zero and buy higher yielding securities that give them a free ride, along with allowing all sorts of borrowers a source of lower financing, much lower than the normal risk situation presented often deserves.  To raise rates, puts this entire systematically created situation at risk.  The carry trade in various currencies around the world is in full force and effect. 

How large is this trade?  I have no way of knowing, but I would suspect it is behind the low government rates around the world, just as is QE itself.  As more money is put on the debit side of the bank ledger, more funds become available at zero, to anyone willing to take the risk.  The Japanese carry trade has been happening for close to 20 years.  Japan has never moved off the zero rate.  The 10 JGB is trading about as close to zero as could ever be imagined for a government that for all practical purposes is insolvent and has absolutely no mathematical capacity to service its debt any anything resembling a real interest rate.  Its entire tax revenue would be consumed at such a rate.

As long as those in position to know can make the assumption that rates are going to remain at or almost at zero, this trade will go on.  It appears to me they have the central bankers trapped, as the losses of even a couple a percent move in longer dated paper would create a margin call that exceeds the capital of the entire system that supports such carry.  A 20% haircut on sovereign debt or corporate debt issued to support the trillions in stock buybacks and acquisitions would make the subprime disaster look like a rained out picnic.

Then, one must look at the other side of the game, the banking system itself.  Excess reserves total in the multi-trillions in the US alone.  How could such a massive pool of money be put in demand to create a bid, when the system is so flush with cash?  Are the central banks going to commit suicide and destroy the mark to market on what they hold as collateral, in order to raise rates?  To reverse QE and start selling bonds would by itself, destroy the leveraged carry trade.  I suspect this activity isn't even in the cards. 

The proposed method is to raise the interest rate paid on reserves.  That rate, from what I understand, is at 1/2%.  There is no real bid in the Federal funds market or the rate on funds would be what the Fed would pay on reserves, in the first place.  Why would it be any less?  Why would banks give up this rate to lend these risk free funds in the broad market?  Is it because no one needs any funds at this level of supply or am I missing something?  It would only be the Fed itself providing funds at a lower rate that could answer any needs of funds.  Absent a bid, there is no Fed funds market.

My preferred means of raising the discount would be to raise the reserve requirement.  This would fly in the face of the TBTF banks, as they would be the most likely entities that would be affected by such a move, in that they would be most likely the more highly levered institutions.  Could we see such a move?  I highly doubt it.

Without a system that needs funds, how can the Fed create a bid?  They are limited as to how much they can pay on reserves, because they are the holders of such a large amount of low yielding paper.  I would suspect, having some clue as to the rates of interest on 10 year paper over the past few years, they would be limited to maybe 2.5% to 3% on the top.  This is hardly a real interest rate, but high enough to upset the finances of government and destroy any carry trade in dollars.  A 2% inflation rate, from what I have been taught, implies a 5% risk free rate on bonds.  A move in the coupon from around 2% to 5% on a 10 year bond, implies a roughly 25% loss in current market value of such securities.  How could such a move be transacted for long?

In this vein, we are faced with only 3 remedies for the Fed to raise rates.  Sell assets and draw in money, raise the rate paid on reserves or raise the reserve requirement, forcing banks to hold more cash.  The only one that can be successfully used over the short term would be to pay a higher rate of interest on excess reserves.  But, this is limited to the average rate the Fed receives on its assets, surely less than 3%, which is a normal rate at around zero inflation.  Pulling money out of the system, though the wise position, would create an unwind of the carry trade on bonds and the inflated stock bubble, destroying the false prices of assets we see at this time. 

When a small group can purchase a return for free, we end up with an unbalanced economy and one that is rife with systematic risk.  The average American doesn't have access to free money.  Only those positioned to take advantage of the financial engineering mechanisms developed over the past 30 years have this advantage.  In the meantime, it is mandatory that someone hold the excess money produced, whether it be the banks, which have the money immediately returned to them through the closed system of banking or the poor guy who saved his money and has sense enough to not trust the asset inflation that has come around to bite them over and over again. 

In the end, at zero or at a higher rate, this system will collapse.  It will collapse, because no one lives off their own body and the fact of the matter is the earnings excess we see in corporate America is a result of excessive debt, taken on largely by people that have no capacity to borrow and service more debt.  Financing available to them is only available at rates a long way from zero, some of the subprime, paying rates that were against the law at one time.  Paying zero on liabilities created by the entities that have been entitled to pay zero is also against the law, the law of nature and mathematics.  Something that can't go on forever won't. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

New Commitment

I haven't been here in awhile, though I have drafted a few posts that never made it to the site.  The subjects have become stale, so it is probably no use saving old material.  In any case, it is time for some new stuff.

Some of you that follow me know I write plenty around the net.  I write because I read and I think I have something to say on a subject, right or wrong.  Everyone has their own version of reality and that includes the guy that does your local news.  Sports writers make Gods and goats and guys that write on markets and economics look like fools or geniuses, depending on which way the grain is running. 

Though I am still interested mainly in markets and economics, reading various Austrian economic and libertarian sites, my perspective has changed somewhat.  Though the perception presented in the mainstream press is that countries like Russia and China are run by oligarchs, the truth of the matter is, so are the western countries.  There are questions about the politics and economics of the western states that I don't believe I would have asked a few years ago.  Some of this is due to reading and listening to men like Murray Rothbard, one of the great informed minds of the last half of the last century.  In many places, his philosophy would be dismissed as pure bullshit, as I was informed by one of my favorite writers on the net.  But, my study of the last 100 years tells me Rothbard was right on.  Whether you call it conspiracy or merely people with power taking care of their business and feathering their own nests, doesn't matter. 

There are a couple of questions that have come to mind recently that I don't know I would have studied in the past.  One is, why is the USA continually looking for the next scape to get into?  This is even more important a question, as the resources of the country have become drained over the past 50 years or so, through the same repetitive activities.  It is even more important, in that it appears the foreign policy and actions of the US are designed to create the next enemy, as they have with ISIS and Al Qaeda.  I call this procedure knocking over bee hives.  It appears we are racing toward a big finale, where Americans lose their prosperity and freedom and maybe even the war.

The biggest question that has to be asked today is, why are there more people in prison in the US than anywhere else in the world?  It isn't just violence, but all kinds of crimes.  And, why are so many common people in prison, yet those that rig financial games to defraud others and expose the economy to risks not there with them?   Is there a good old boys club, where they not only profit from others being in prison, but they see to it that their crimes are swept under the table and at best, the corporation, generally a banking conglomerate, are fined?

In his history classes, Rothbard brought up something that isn't taught in American history, the religion of the Eastern Establishment, namely what Murray called Yankees.  This not only has to do with morality, but it has to do with the promoted biblical prophecy that we hear all the time.  I doubt there was much discussion of this prophecy 200 years ago, but someone found it and it appears they are pushing to bring it about.  Rothbard says it caused the Civil War.  I think it might have caused the prison population as well.  Rothbard called these people humanitarians with a guillotine.  They have been around for hundreds of years.  The idea of socialism and communism actually is derived from these religious groups. 

One thing I never thought would happen was the degree of asset purchases we have seen by the central banks.  I suspected the US would do the same thing as Japan when the time came, after many claims that they would never do so.  The US has done one thing differently, they recapitalized the banks first then shoved in the dirt.  Being that the balance sheet of banks can only be recapitalized by shifting money from being liabilities to capital, someone had to replace the money for the scam to work.  The debts owed banks can only be paid out of the supply of money on the credit side of the schedule or by reducing capital.  This back door bailout has kept a lot of powerful people, many guilty of criminal activity, in power. 

Then we have the greatest asset bubble in history.  You would think we are in an economic boom, but the spending power of the basic customer of the corporate world has been exhausted.  We are instead in an inflationary asset bubble, where the real power has been provided by low interest rates and the borrowing of money to buy back stock by companies that will have little means of repaying the money should another credit crunch occur.  In the process, the purchasing power of those lower down the economic scale has been diminished greatly.  The equation is broke and the US, save for the fact the population is still growing is headed for a Japan situation.  Europe is already there. 

I hope to see all of you soon.  I will dedicate time to post this site 3 or 4 times a month minimum.  I encourage debate, should you like to comment.  Thanks for showing up. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Road to Serfdom and Obamacare

Like many of my posts, this one was originally written on Karl Denninger's site

I decided to search the site to see if they posted the Hayek book, The Road to Serfdom. It is there. I had bought it in paperback a few years ago, but I would suspect I have gained more perspective, watching the NAZI's in power and reading other stuff. If you haven't read the book, or have and it has been awhile, this is the book to read now and turn onto your friends. I put it on Facebook, which is about all I do on Facebook. That is post stuff I hope others will read.

hayek page 47 wrote..
Nobody saw more clearly than the great political thinker de
Tocqueville that democracy stands in an irreconcilable conflict
with socialism: Democracy extends the sphere of individual
freedom, he said. Democracy attaches all possible value to each
man, he said in 1848, while socialism makes each man a mere
agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in
common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while
democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in
restraint and servitude.

hayek page 49-50 wrote..
Democratic assemblies cannot function as planning agencies.
They cannot produce agreement on everything the whole direction
of the resources of the nation for the number of possible
courses of action will be legion. Even if a congress could, by
proceeding step by step and compromising at each point, agree on
some scheme, it would certainly in the end satisfy nobody.
To draw up an economic plan in this fashion is even less
possible than, for instance, successfully to plan a military
campaign by democratic procedure. As in strategy, it would
become inevitable to delegate the task to experts. And even if,
by this expedient, a democracy should succeed in planning every
sector of economic activity, it would still have to face the problem
of integrating these separate plans into a unitary whole. There
will be a stronger and stronger demand that some board or some
single individual should be given powers to act on their own
responsibility. The cry for an economic dictator is a characteristic
stage in the movement toward planning.

Thus the legislative body will be reduced to choosing the
persons who are to have practically absolute power. The whole
system will tend toward that kind of dictatorship in which the
head of government is from time to time confi rmed in his position
by popular vote, but where he has all the power at his command to
make certain that the vote will go in the direction that he desires.

hayek page 53-54 wrote..
Advancement within a totalitarian group or party depends
largely on a willingness to do immoral things. The principle
that the end justifi es the means, which in individualist ethics is
regarded as the denial of all morals, in collectivist ethics becomes
necessarily the supreme rule. There is literally nothing which the
consistent collectivist must not be prepared to do if it serves the
good of the whole, because that is to him the only criterion of
what ought to be done.
Once you admit that the individual is merely a means to
serve the ends of the higher entity called society or the nation,
most of those features of totalitarianism which horrify us follow
of necessity. From the collectivist standpoint intolerance and
brutal suppression of dissent, deception and spying, the complete
disregard of the life and happiness of the individual are essential
and unavoidable. Acts which revolt all our feelings, such as the
shooting of hostages or the killing of the old or sick, are treated
as mere matters of expediency; the compulsory uprooting and
transportation of hundreds of thousands becomes an instrument
of policy approved by almost everybody except the victims.

To be a useful assistant in the running of a totalitarian state,
therefore, a man must be prepared to break every moral rule he
has ever known if this seems necessary to achieve the end set for
him. In the totalitarian machine there will be special opportunities
for the ruthless and unscrupulous. Neither the Gestapo nor
the administration of a concentration camp, neither the Ministry
of Propaganda nor the SA or SS (or their Russian counterparts)
are suitable places for the exercise of humanitarian feelings. Yet it
is through such positions that the road to the highest positions in
the totalitarian state leads.

Any legitimate American can't read this and look at the current administration and not see the Road to Serfdom being paved by the NAZI's in power. When confronted with their lies, the administration tells more lies. They go right from telling people they can keep their insurance coverage, to writing rules that force insurers to cancel policies because they are against the law to blaming the insurance companies. Who is writing the business under Obamacare? The insurance companies, of course. So, the new idea will be to get rid of the insurance companies and institute new taxes to run the system. All decisions dealing with health care, treatments, who will live, etc., will be done by the regime. Dissenters will be fined or imprisoned. Or be pursued by the IRS.

Health insurance really isn't anything more than a means of financing health emergencies. You pay in advance for what you might need. Now, where are we? Everyone that has had insurance that has had an illness since being insured is now impaired as an insurable life. Remember, health insurance is life insurance. You can't buy life insurance when you are dead and you can't buy it when you are likely to die, at least at a premium most people would be willing to pay. But, if you are terminal, they can't cancel you. Not even on a term policy where the fixed term is up, you can still pay the renewal to 95 rate and you can sell your policy and let someone else pay it.

But, with health insurance, if the pool is cancelled, those that are uninsurable are fucked. They had insurance and now they don't. I have never sold health insurance, because between the noise you hear from the socialists and my misunderstanding of various payment clauses in the policies (I have never used a health insurance policy in my adult life), I never felt competent to discuss such coverage. I have had contracts to sell insurance though and there was always a guarantee you had coverage in a new pool, if the pool you were in was discontinued. I guess the only out the insurance company had was to quit doing business in your state. The bullshit you hear from the mouths of the defenders of this current mess is just that, bullshit.

I posted the Hayek link, because I think every American should read this book and examine what we are seeing now. I get a lot of argument from people I know about this NAZI stuff I rant. Mainly, because they are clueless as to how the Hitler's happen. This is how they happen. Good intentions or not, a group sets the stage and another group comes in and takes over. It is already clear that the Obama administration has absolutely no morals. The entire group lie. They intend to use force at some point. They spy on the people. I can go on and on. It might not be Obama that turns this into a totalitarian dictatorship, but it is apparent we are well on our way. There will be more adherents to socialized medicine, as the system comes out of this totally fucked up. We are really looking at a situation which would be not unlike Japan, where instead of 2 bombs, we flew over the same cities and dropped another on each and then put a couple on Tokyo to boot. Some will say you can't fuck up what is already fucked up. Any of us that have been through difficulties know that is not true, as it can always get more screwed up.

What if the news Karl posted above had come out when the data was available? The whole government shutdown mess would have been a mute point. At the worst, we would have had a case for postponing the Unaffordable Care Act for a year, that the American people would have probably demanded. As it is now, the genie is out of the bottle. I don't think they get the genie back in the bottle at this point. We have seen the nuclear option used on the healthcare system of the United States. The only way to save the village was to destroy it.

There is only one way we come out of this in one piece. That is to allow the free market to work. There have been examples posted here and wrote about a couple of MD's running no insurance operations, one a GP and the other a surgeon. Anyone with credit can afford to get a surgery under the free market system. The payments would probably be less than those on a health care policy and there would be no coinsurance.

I am sure that if any free market plan comes to fruition, the NAZI's will step in to stop it. I am not sure that such a restraint of trade and freedom would pass court muster, but this day and time, you never know. as the legal system has been steered in a fascist direction as well. If enough people dropped their health insurance and bought policies that covered cancer, heart problems and accidents and paid the rest out of pocket, American health care would be revolutionized. If you think we would see the current cash pricing in pharmacies continue without insurance, you are missing the boat. But, the can of worms is open and the totalitarian solution Hayek diagrams is likely to be used. NAZI's cannot afford to have their authority questioned.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Is It Time for an Anti Party?

I have thrown this idea around on various posts on Karl Denninger's Market Ticker.  I can't say how many people have thought it a good idea or failed to recognize how it would work.  But, we have reached a fork in the road where the United States is headed to financial doom, the politico's represent themselves and a few constituents and the Executive branch is now structured to control the lives of the masses through personal regulation and spy networks that do little to further the lives of these people nor protect the real security of the nation. 

The idea is an Anti Party.  I figure, if a group could control 15% of the vote, they could restructure Congress, swing the election of Presidents and clean out government.  All they would need to do is work to vote in the primary running against the incumbent, for a candidate of their own.  The Tea Party has succeeded in do this in the Republican Party, but in effect it has merely divided one Party between Freedom fighters and corporate interests.  This action has left the Democratic Party totally in the hands of the corporate statists and done little to fix the Federal government to be of interest in the middle class.

One must look at what the Tea Party really is.  It is far from the guns, God and small government group the establishment has painted it to be.  These are free market, anti control people, who are rebelling against the status quo of soaking the middle for the benefit of Wall Street, the poor and the rich in general.  They are also not necessarily soak the rich people, nor starve the poor people either.  Though they tend to be anti Fed and anti socialism. 

Through this anti idea adopted by the Tea Party, they have been able to elect several candidates on the Republican ticket.  This has the establishment Republicans in a tizzy, namely because these people are not for what the National Republican party is operated to achieve, which is more along the same goals as the behind the scenes Democrats, to strip power from the middle and play both ends of the political spectrum against the middle.  All government revenue is levied against productive enterprise, which is the primary reason the USA has been in decline since the Great Society began and fantastic wealth has been cornered in the top 1% of the population.  Those who have been able to assemble idle capital have done well in the trickle up economics of LBJ, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, not to mention the Bush's and to some extent Reagan. 

What the Tea Party really represents is the Democratic Party of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson.  These people were pushed out of the Democratic Party through the actions of the party, progressively since the late 1800's, with an acceleration occurring after Jimmy Carter, where they no longer had a place in the fascist Democratic Party of Carter and Mondale.  They are not corporate Republicans, but generally middle to upper middle class workers, small business owners and middle management.  They are painted by the national media as yokels and idiots, but likely the average Tea Party member possesses a better idea of economics and how the American government is supposed to work than the mainstream groups which are primarily voting to have government force others to pay their way. 

The problem the Tea Party has is they have no say in the Democratic Party and the National Republicans, with their media machine, don't want them.  The current demonizing of Ted Cruz is a clear point to demonstrate this reasoning.  If John Boehner was a Democrat, we wouldn't ever know the difference, as he represents a different ideology than Cruz or most of the non traditional people who have joined the Republican party merely because they can't stomach the Democrats and their government control socialism.  But, it isn't only the Democratic socialism they can't stomach, but the repeated wars of both parties, the watering down of civil liberties due to security issues created by the waging of these wars, the debts associated with wars and socialism and the general corruption involved at the top of both parties.  The Tea Party is the current anti party in operation. 

Cruz, like him or not, stood up against a real issue.  It isn't that Obamacare is necessarily good or bad, but that it involves massive regulation, implied force to comply and makes a mess of the entire landscape of American medicine.  American's aren't going to like Obamacare, not the middle class, which it is designed to coerce into paying the bill for others.  It will create a guaranteed cash flow for the elites, which control the title of nobility drug business, the bankers who derive massive cash flow from the financing of medical facilities and the poor, which will be subsidized by the productive people of society.  Someone must be blamed for the continued inaction of the US Senate, why not the guy who stood up and spoke up on an issue where preferred constituents have received a bye in compliance?

The sort of anti party I mention has little to do with philosophy, other than the philosophy of the party.  It won't run candidates in any specific party, but attack named incumbents and attempt to nominate and elect candidates in the opposing party.  Most elections are won by spreads of 55-45 or lower in the House and few ever go over 60-40.  If we had 15% of the vote to vote as a block, against the mess we have in Congress, regardless of party, we could clean out Congress until we found one that worked.  Forget you are a Democrat or Republican.  If you are among the forgotten middle class, you can band together with other like minded people, nominate a candidate in the opposing party and whether he wins or not, vote for the candidate of the party out of power.  If the rule of thumb is these 15% are split 5/10 Democrat to Republican, the 5% going over to the Republican side will swing a lot of seats that way and on the contrary, would pretty much wipe out the Republicans as we know them.  I would suspect that 25% of the Democratic vote and half the Republican vote technically belongs in the anti party.

It isn't against the law for the Democratic Party to have a Tea Party, which will also refuse to toe the national line.  Remember, the National Republican leadership treats the Tea Party as if they were the nutty aunt locked up stairs.  So would the Democrats, but remember there are members of both parties that would vote for a yellow dog before they would vote for the other party.  I will also note that primaries nominate the candidates and a significant minority of voters participate on those elections.  The first thing that must be done to change things is to get at least one non-establishment candidate on the ballot.  Which party means absolutely nothing. 

Why should there only be Tea Party Republicans, when we can have Tea Party Democrats?  The Tea Party or whatever Anti Party we need to develop, should be concerned with who runs on the ticket opposite the incumbent, unless the incumbent is one of theirs and is in danger of losing his spot.  A 70% participation of 15% of the likely voting public in either party primary would enable them to nominate the entire slate of candidates.  Eventually, they could have influence on the leadership of both parties and instead of being the nutty aunt locked up stairs, they would become king makers in both parties, directing candidates to pare back the Federal government and its regulations on us, not to mention the destructive theft of services our government has come to represent. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

When the market calls a spade a spade

I posted this on Karl Denninger's Market Ticker on this date. 

There are some stupid questions asked in regard to money, no offense intended.

For one thing, the banks would remove every spare dime from the Fed. Depositors would remove every dollar they could stand to hide themselves from the banking system and hold it in cash. They can't turn your currency into 99 cents from one dollar and issue 99 dollar bills in place of $100's. Banks would be devoid of currency and cease to function.

In a sense, the central bank is already carrying on a negative interest rate policy. The interest rate, which is basically zero, up to 1/2%, if you take into consideration what the Fed is paying on excess reserves. A real interest rate encompasses at least the inflation rate and should encompass a return in excess of that. The rate is near zero because Benny has put so much money in the system the banks don't need money to clear their imbalances.

There is a big joke out there the Fed can tomorrow declare the interest rate to be 1%. Benny has ass fucked himself with all his QE. He has to create enough of a shortage to create a bid for bank funds. Remember, Fed money has to do with the transition of bank liabilities and has little to do with our accounts. The banking system pays interest on the cash we hold, at least indirectly. In truth it is paid by the government, but is forfeited by the banks, in that they hold non-interest bearing Federal Reserve liabilities in lieu of interest bearing treasury debt.

Maybe in the long run, things are the way we think they are, but in the short run, the system works entirely different than the vast majority of us were taught. It is the function of a credit system, which is really a debit and credit system. The cash available at any given time to those outside the bank consists of credits or bank liabilities and currency held by the public. Few, if any businesses, outside of retailers and illegal businesses hold any significant balances of currency outside the banks. Retailers hold only enough to make change for what comes into their trade and the vast majority of other cash is held by businesses that cash checks.

The actual print has been around $1 billion a week, from figures I see Doug Noland publish on his weekly report on money supply. The remaining $80 billion plus is ending up, largely on the debit side of the bank ledger, plus whatever is being financed directly by government flows. It is these government flows, money that it is implied by decades of action as money that will never be paid back and backed by compound interest that is the true long term push on inflation. KD's example of borrowing against future demand is the counter balance of private money expansion. Thus, out of the banks assets (ie: bonds you and I sell that are funded by the Fed, along with those bought from pension funds and other institutions) make up the bulk of credit creation by the Fed. Credit creation implies there is a credit entry creating a cash liability on the bank ledger.

I think the primary effect of QE is more and more, a greater and greater percentage of the bank assets are represented by Fed money. This is in effect, a forced deleveraging of the various banks balance sheets. A creation of a mass of idle capital and an unwinding of the long term leveraging of debits the banking system has accomplished over decades. There may or may not be a countering credit liability, other than bank capital that represents this increase. For years, banks have been creating credits on a very minimal increase in bank cash, literally their entire portfolio being represented by loans and various income producing assets, against a small slice of capital.

Bank credits can be extinguished by the repayment of debt that extinguishes bank debits. Such an action on Fed funds can only be exercised by a resale of assets by the Fed, picking up cash or payment of interest to the Fed. This interest generally cycles back through the Federal government and paid back out into the banking system, producing a wash. Thus, the only thing that can carry this cash is private capital. It can't go anywhere, except to be used to leverage more credit, which is actually leveraged against bank capital, be withdrawn from the bank for cash hoards or lie there in the banks. Very little bank lending is used to create a hoard of currency, but instead is used to move to credits in the bank issuing the credit or in other banks in other entities accounts.

It is what is happening to the cash, once it is created that presents the current picture. The debt levels and the structure of the US economy is now that money might flow to entitlements, but the money spent by those drawing entitlements circulates mainly to accounts where it isn't being spent again through the economy. Any flow merely creates a cash balance somewhere else. Corporate profits are now around 1/8th the economy, up from a long term average of 1/16th, so in short it takes money only 8 cycles to belong totally to the corporate world, as opposed to 16 times years ago. Much money is being used to pay interest on prior debt, thus accruing to accounts that reinvest the money. Unlike the average Joe, these entities don't spend their entire cash hoard every 2 weeks, but buy assets with it instead. Money instead is being used for speculation instead of consumption. Some is being used to replace worn out capital goods, but little is being used for expansion, because demand has been pulled forward.

Japan is an interesting study, in that everything that would be assumed to happen, hasn't happened. The US is on QEIII. Japan is on QE a whole lot more. Their government carries a massive debt, I would suspect largely monetized by the Bank of Japan. The banking system in Japan is so full of cash, the people of Japan, having received next to zero on their funds are holding hoards of printed yen, in lieu of the banking system and still little pulse. At best, one can speculate on wide swings in the Nikkei index and hope to beat the game. The fact Japan hasn't blown up YET, is evidence this game works. The fact Japan's economy has stagnated, their birth rate has collapsed and their debt is massive, is evidence trouble is still ahead of us. Abe is going to prove the point one way or another.

The fiat on US currency reads "This Note is Legal Tender for all Debts, Public and Private". The currency is a unit of debt, valued only in its capacity to satisfy debt obligations. This is why the dollar has international value. The fact the dollar once had intrinsic domestic value, that it was part of the international gold exchange system and represented stored capital, made it a means of transferring capital and debt between countries. It is through the international banking system that trade is generally transacted and international debt is created. The dollar has value internationally, not because the US prints it, but because massive banking and other debts are denominated in dollars. It is also the means of access to the United States capital markets, the deepest in the world. It is the unit of trade, not due to decree, but due to its position in debt in capital markets around the world. Regardless of whether a country would issue gold back currency, gold itself or choose another currency, the fact is that the fiat of tender for debts around the world give rise to its value and not much of anything else.

In the position of debt and in the position of credit in banking around the world, the value of the dollar is also the problem with the dollar. This along with the fact that principal and interest in banking can only be satisfied with the creation of more dollars, not on the banks ledger, but in the accounts of those that owe dollars in the form of principal and interest to the banks. The banking system creates every actual dollar in existence. Dollars are loaned through other entities, but they are only created through borrowing from commercial banks and monetization of sovereign debt.

If you do the math, we get back to what Karl wrote above. I buy a car with cash from my account, the cash goes to another entity and I get the car. Once I move from paying cash to creating a debt instrument, either a bank creates the cash or the cash is acquired from the banking system as a loan or from an account and placed into another account. I no longer own my car until it is paid off and to get another one, I either have to take out a new loan or save the money while I am paying off the car I have to buy another at cost beyond the equity I have in the car I own. This problem began to assert itself back in the 1970s, when terms on auto loans was extended beyond the 36 month terms that were usual then. I think they now have auto loans of 7 years and maybe longer and leases where no equity is acquired. People roll larger and larger balances to the next auto, to the point they no longer can trade cars. Of course, in order to continue to lengthen the term of loans, automakers had to make better cars. When I was a kid, a car with 100,000 miles was considered an exceptional auto that was worn out and had little trade value. Today, if I bought a car that wouldn't go 200,000 miles, I would consider it a lemon. I am now at 93,000 miles on a truck I bought used 6 years ago, a total of 173,000 miles. I recall in the 1980's, a 6 year old auto was a pile of junk. Mine will be 14 model years on and I expect to drive it 2 more years. You couldn't do that in 1980, nor could a lender expect to have a car worth much more than scrap at the end of a 5 year loan. Autos are one thing that I can about guarantee you they don't make them like they used to and thank God they don't.

Credit cards are another matter. I would suspect a person who has required debt service on credit cards in excess of 10% of their income are credit impaired. They are also debt slaves. In order to extinguish credit card debt, a persons spending must not only decline the amount it exceeded income while the debt was being incurred, but a like amount, plus interest must be dedicated to paying down the debt. Thus, if a person paid interest only on their $10,000 line of credit over 50 months of building up the debt, their cost during that time was the interest. Their incurring of debt was $200 a month, spending they did in excess of income minus interest. Going from spending $200 a month more than someone makes to spending $200 a month less is a $400 swing. It is either do that, pay on the debt forever or default. Bankruptcy solves a lot of these problems, as long as the system is set up to absorb the losses.

One persons money debt is another persons or institutions money asset. The impact of default, on a wide scale basis, is loss in many areas, including banking. I don't believe there is any purpose for what the Fed has been doing other than to cover up insolvency in banks, pension funds and strangled leveraged plays. As we go forward, more supposed wealth accrues in these areas,, until the markets catch up and once again declared a spade a spade.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Has Government Painted Us into a Corner? The Use of Emergency Laws and the Rules Associated with them

The Patriot Act and all executive orders associated with it should be repealed and replaced with something more limiting.  I recall listening to a lawyer from Virginia on Coast to Coast AM.  Now I know Art Bell and company had a lot of characters on their show, but this guy was speaking on Executive Orders.  I want to say this was back in 1999.  I taped it, but I doubt I could find that tape, as it was in my car for a few years and probably was ruined. 

In any case, the guy argued about how the President didn't need mother may I from Congress to do anything, merely pass executive orders associated with some problem and they would usually stand.  The 2 that didn't were the Youngstown Steel case during the late 1940's, when Truman tried to nationalize the Youngstown Steel Company and some end run the Clintons tried to do on health care when they came into office in 1993.  Clinton passed some orders on wetlands (the story was they could declare almost the entire country wetlands and rule over us with an iron fist, destroying farming and limiting construction on a sizable amount of the country.  Around that time, a friend of mine told me he was arrested once for urinating on a public watershed, because they deemed where he stopped along the side of the road as such and there wasn't a lake or river within site).  The guy said that had been challenged by a few in Congress, including Helen Chenowith of Idaho.  The court ruled they had no standing to challenge, because they were in Congress. 

The real point here is the guy brought up the most recent executive order at the time.  Clinton had declared a state of emergency on something Bin Laden's group had done, I believe in Thailand and basically declared war on him.  The fucker had been around for awhile.  It might have been the embassy in Africa.  I have no way of knowing what the administration might have done there. 
In any case, since Pearl Harbor, there hasn't been an official declaration of war by the US Congress.  Yet we spent a decade in Viet Nam, several years at war in Korea, where the threat of war has been continual for longer than I have been alive, 2 invasions of Iraq (one partial and one full), Afghanistan, and smaller police actions in various countries around Africa and Europe.  Congress hasn't declared war, but they evidently agree to these war under some other kind of nonsense.  I have yet to see Congress get us out of one of these conflicts or refuse to fund them, no matter how popular or unpopular the conflict might be.  Are we stuck once these actions start?

It is my understanding that Abraham Lincoln issued the first executive order, basically prosecuting the Civil War without Congress.  To the thinking of the South and most likely most, if not all of the States at the time, they were sovereign states and were acting within their rights.  I would have thought there would have been more orders of that sort issued prior, like in the War of 1812, which was a real emergency and a war I understand to have been declared by Congress.  Lincoln took actions to silence dissent that developed over the time the war was going on.  Texas was let into the union under a Constitution that allowed the people to dissolve their government and wasn't annexed, because John Q. Adams ruled that a sovereign state couldn't be annexed.  It was brought in under a joint resolution of Congress, akin to the declaration it is National Secretaries Day, with the understanding Texas would fulfill various requirements, one of which was to enact an approvable Constitution.  By popular vote, Texas withdrew from the Union under that Constitution.  I know nothing about the other States.  I do know Texas and Alabama were the last given full representation back into the union, I believe in 1878. 

KD mentioned the draft and registering for the draft in the last ticker on this subject.  Mohammed Ali, aka Cassius Clay, successfully avoided the draft, under the term conscientious objector.  I would suspect you can refuse to volunteer, but is not the filing of a draft card offering to volunteer?  If it is, why are there penalties for not filing?  The fact that there hasn't been a draft since the early 1970's (I missed the war and the draft), doesn't outweigh the requirement to register. 

The point here is there any greater act of terrorism than to require people to go to war for some action the government chooses to get involved.  The US screwed up World War I, getting in to lend money to Britain and France, actions which created great resentment when we actually wanted our money back.  They took the tact they fought the war for us, which was a bunch of bullshit.  National Security was never an issue in World War I.  FDR staged our entry into WWII.  Should we have been in that war?  There were some bad actors, notably the Germans, Russians and to some extent the Japanese.  My suspicion is that Hitler opened a can of worms when he attacked Russia, thus exposing Europe to eventual occupation by the communists.  This is a coin flip call, but there were more Americans killed in that war than the terrorist have killed to date.  Ditto Viet Nam and Korea. 

Then there is the refused for reasons of National Security.  I have heard enough stories and seen enough official letters on this subject to realize that the main security they are concerned with is covering up the crimes of various government agencies.  Here is one such paper that was covered up by national security for decades, in the files of Georgetown University.  It was a plan to incite a war against Cuba after Castro took over, staging events to appear we were attacked by Cuba.  This was in the 1960's.  Think the power grab of the US government has gone backwards over the past 50 years?

What is the response to the release of the news that our communications are being tracked?  The government is denying its use and they are charging the guy who released the news with a crime, likely violating National Security.  The government is waging war against us, so how is the disclosure of a war against us a breach of national security?  Obama is merely the end of a long line of lying bastards we call Presidents.  How much of the national security restrictions apply to dirty deeds run under executive order? 

It is much preferable, in my opinion, to be conquered from without than to be conquered from within.  The current government is too interested in making us do something, like buy health care, what would appear to be a good cause, enforced by NAZI tactics, than letting us be free.  Sure someone getting sick without insurance affects all of us.  So does the appropriation of our labor under force of law.  I think in the past, this was called slavery.  Maybe we should us 18USC1581 as an attack, when this is enforced.  They are also interested in raising a revenue against the population.  This was one of the main protests in the founding protest documents of the nation.

There is no justification for the gathering of information about the general population.  As Karl states, this is a clear violation of the Bill of Rights, not just 4 & 5, but all 10 and some of the others.  Theses amendments stand together or they hang separately.  99% of the phones in the USA can probably be linked into a chain of calls that touch the phone of a terrorist.  Think the terrorist is going to use a phone registered in his name?  Think we aren't going to have to provide passport, birth certificate, Drivers license and other ID to get a phone soon? 

There is an authorizing act in Congress that is vague or broad enough that allows these bastards to do anything they wish.  Note the administration pretty much refused to say they wouldn't kill Americans with drones.  Think they are going to get impeached when they do?  No, they will hide behind national security.  I recall the basis and purpose statement on the Patriot Act that I saw read, for defense against terrorism and other purposes (paraphrased).  What are other purposes?  What are terrorists?

America had better get a handle on the concept of executive order.  Obama supposedly has or will attempt to enforce his gun laws through executive order.  Whether you believe it or not, the government will attempt to act under these orders, until challenged.  I believe they become effective 30 days after publishing.  It matters not what Hitler did was against the law.  He did it anyhow.  I do know that executive orders will cite an authority, usually a statute.