Monday, February 1, 2010

Capitalism, greed, and the faustian bargain of more liquidity

"Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone" John Maynard Keynes

"The best way to destroy the Capitalist system is to debauch the currency" Vladimir Lenin

As more Billionaires are made, and the current ones increase their wealth in leaps and bounds, in the same year that workers are tremendously punished, and stand to lose their futures, one wonders if Capitalism itself isn't the third system to meet it's fate after National Socialism (Nazism) and Communism. Today, the pure Capitalist system is shown wanting, as never before. Let's call it "Kudlow Capitalism" after CNBC's very outspoken, cheer leader, of the billionaire club, Larry Kudlow. You know, the TV host who never allows anyone with a different slant on Capitalism to talk more than 20 seconds without either cutting them off or talking over their voices. The same guy that is now blaming President Obama for all the troubles, along with Fox news, who now resemble the Nazi propaganda machine of the 1930's

"investment banks" hoard tankers full of oil offshore, awaiting a rise in oil prices, so as to pounce on the unsuspecting consumer like a cougar, is that good for the rest of the economy? Remember, this is not an oil company that needs storage space for a glut on the market, but an "investment bank"! Should they be allowed to speculate on such a large scale, in such a necessary commodity? Oil speculation is only one example of the "fingers in the cookie jar" mentality of big investment banks like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs. As I've said before, if the price of oil is $70, you can probably chock up $25 of that price to these types of giant, market moving, speculators. (That's about 36% of the cost of filling up your cars gas tank). No wonder GS has come to be labeled a "Giant vampire squid" smothering the face of society with their tentacles following the smell of money into every orifice.

Several years ago, GS collected a $300,000,000 fee to help the country of Greece essentially fudge the numbers of their national debt. (to allow the lying Greek government to get into the Euro zone by skirting the necessity to disclose it's total debt ratio) Now their bets against that same debt stand to make them even more money. Essentially they gave Greece a reason to burn the house down, then bought insurance against the fire. Is this fraud or just good money management. You decide if they deserve the title of Vultures of Wall Street! (See Bank Bets - New York Times )

Investors in the Euro have already decided, by dumping their Euro's. Greece may yet get bailed out by it's Euro partners, but don't count on it. Why should hard working, prudent Germans, who have recently been told they cannot collect old age security pensions until after age 67, suddenly feel the urge to bail out free spending and freeloading Greeks, who can retire at 60. With Spain Portugal and Italy waiting in the wings for their own rescue, why would Germany and France (who have troubles of their own) even consider it. Greece should be ejected from the Euro zone unless or until they get their sick fiscal house in order, and their bulging debt under some sort of control. Civil unrest will result.

Speaking about sick fiscal policies and massive debt, The United States budget forecasts a $1.7 Trillion dollar debt for this year, bringing total debt to around $14T (depending on which number are crunched) by year end. If America continues to pump liquidity into the system, the storm clouds of 2008 will begin to pail in comparison with those forming over 2010 and beyond. The U.S. Government is now the sole backer of mortgages in the Country through it's control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If they nationalized those two entities right now, that would add over $5 Trillion to the U.S. Debt book. Add to that the fact that China is owed a big chunk of the United States debt at a time when a trade war with the Country looms large and those storm clouds get darker still. China holds $2 Trillion in their FE account, (including $800 Billion in U.S. debt) has been storing up massive amounts of commodities, is ahead in the production of green energy initiatives and has more than three times the population, so who is best suited to withstand a protracted trade war? Couple all of this with the continuing "gaming of the U.S. system" by the vultures of Wall Street, and the picture for prosperity in the Good Ole U.S. of A is dimming daily.

Weighing in on the "Faustian bargain" of Keynesian economic theory this week was none other than Conrad Black, in a letter to his old Alma Mater, the National Post (Almost surely written from his jail cell). The audacity of an old Bay Street fraudster, writing about the futility of propping up markets with so much liquidity, while other, bigger frauds are being precipitated upon an unsuspecting public purse, by much bigger "Wall Street" fish, exactly because of the liquidity infusion, was a little comical.

Whether the infusion of money comes from taxpayers (TARP and it's ilk) or from common shareholders, (as in Conrad Blacks case) there is always a vampire squid swimming nearby to latch on and leach every bit of money it can settle it's tentacles upon. Why does the general public always seem surprised when Wall Street Vultures pay out to their executives, over $100 Billion in bonuses for one year of speculation, while the American taxpayer is given a bill that neither they, their children or their grandchildren will be able to pay.

It is said that, "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely". Since the early 1970's we've been fed the mantra" greed is good" and "free markets can regulate themselves" (greed good - regulation bad - ie: Larry Kudlow and company) and that Government should just get out of the way and let markets regulate themselves. We are now reaping the painful rewards of that mindset. The vultures of Wall Street have proven that "Greed is corrupt, and absolute greed is corruption absolute"! The opposite of greed is not thrift. It is generosity. Generosity is a word completely lost on Wall Street. Vultures aren't generous, indeed they don't really care who they feed upon, but only that they feed.

The crooks settled in and took over the store so long ago that they have convinced the police that they are actually the owners. Only when the real owners return and demand change, will real change occur, but don't hold your breath. Every time that notion takes shape, the crooks rally the troops in Washington and the uninitiated across America, then threaten to close the great Casino, and everyone goes away until it re stocks and re-opens for business again.

Maybe it's time to tear down the Casino and start again!

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