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This ain’t your mama’s economy! February 1, 2014

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TAKING BACK OUR MONEY FROM THE BANKS! HERE’S HOW! May 23, 2010

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For over a decade, accountant Walter Burien has been trying to rouse the public over what he contends is a massive conspiracy and cover-up, involving trillions of dollars squirreled away in funds maintained at every level of  government.  His numbers may be disputed, but these funds definitely exist, as evidenced by the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) required of every government agency.  If they don’t represent a concerted government conspiracy, what are they for?  And how can they be harnessed more efficiently to help allay the financial crises of state and local governments?

The Elusive CAFR Money

Burien is a former commodity trading adviser who has spent many years peering into government books.  He notes that the government is composed of 54,000 different state, county, and local government entities, including school districts, public authorities, and the like; and that these entities all keep their financial assets in liquid investment funds, bond financing accounts and corporate stock portfolios. The only income that must be reported in government budgets is that from taxes, fines and fees; but the investments of government entities can be found in official annual reports (CAFRs), which must be filed with the federal government by local, county and state governments.  These annual reports show that virtually every U.S. city, county, and state has vast amounts of money stashed away in surplus funds.  Burien maintains that these slush funds have been kept concealed from taxpayers, even as taxes are being raised and citizens are being told to expect fewer government services.

Burien was originally alerted to this information by Lt. Col. Gerald Klatt, who evidently died in 2004 under mysterious circumstances, adding fuel to claims of conspiracy and cover-up.  Klatt was a an Air Force auditor and federal accountant, and it’s not impossible that he may have gotten too close to some military stash being used for nefarious ends.  But it is hard to envision how all the municipal governments hording their excess money in separate funds could be complicit in a massive government conspiracy.  Still, if that is not what is going on, why such an inefficient use of public monies?

A Simpler Explanation

I got a chance to ask that question in April, when I was invited to speak at a conference of Government Finance Officers in Missouri.  The friendly public servants at the conference explained that maintaining large “rainy day” funds is simply how local governments must operate.  Unlike private businesses, which have bank credit lines they can draw on if they miscalculate their expenses, local governments are required by law to balance their budgets; and if they come up short, public services and government payrolls may be frozen until the voters get around to approving a new bond issue.  This has actually happened, bringing local government to a standstill.  In emergencies, government officials can try to borrow short-term through “certificates of participation” or tax participation loans, but the interest rates are prohibitively high; and in today’s tight credit market, finding willing lenders is difficult.

To avoid those unpredictable contingencies, municipal governments will keep a cushion of from 20%  to 75% more than their budgets actually require.  This money is invested, but not necessarily lucratively.  One finance officer, for example, said that her city had just bid out $2 million as a 30-day certificate of deposit (CD) to two large banks at a meager annual interest of 0.11%.  It was a nice spread for the banks, which could leverage the money into loans at 6% or so; but it was a pretty sparse deal for the city.

Meanwhile, Back in California

That was in Missouri, but the figures I was particularly interested were for my own state of California, which was struggling with a budget deficit of $26.3 billion as of April 2010.  Yet the State Treasurer’s website says that he manages a Pooled Money Investment Account (PMIA) tallying in at nearly $71 billion as of the same date, including a Local Agency Investment Fund (LAIF) of $24 billion.  Why isn’t this money being used toward the state’s deficit?  The Treasurer’s answer to this question, which he evidently gets frequently, is that legislation forbids it.  His website states:

“Can the State borrow LAIF dollars to resolve the budget deficit?

“No. California Government Code 16429.3 states that monies placed with the Treasurer for deposit in the LAIF by cities, counties, special districts, nonprofit corporations, or qualified quasi-governmental agencies shall not be subject to either of the following:
“(a) Transfer or loan pursuant to Sections 16310, 16312, or 16313.
“(b) Impoundment or seizure by any state official or state agency.”

The non-LAIF money in the pool can’t be spent either.  It can be borrowed, but it has to be paid back.  When Governor Schwarzenegger tried to raid the Public Transportation Account for the state budget, the California Transit Association took him to court and won.  The Third District Court of Appeals ruled in June 2009 that diversions from the Public Transportation Account to fill non-transit holes in the General Fund violated a series of statutory and constitutional amendments enacted by voters via four statewide initiatives dating back to 1990.

In short, the use of these funds for the state budget has been blocked by the voters themselves.  Bond issues are approved for particular purposes.  When excess funds are collected, they are not handed over to the State toward next year’s budget.  They just sit idly in an earmarked fund, drawing a modest interest.

What’s Wrong with This Picture?

California’s budget problems have caused its credit rating to be downgraded to just above that of Greece, driving the state’s interest tab skyward.  In November 2009, the state sold 30-year taxable securities carrying an interest rate of 7.26%.  Yet California has never defaulted on its bonds.  Meanwhile, the too-big-to-fail banks, which would have defaulted on hundreds of billions of dollars of debt if they had not been bailed out by the states and their citizens, are able to borrow from each other at the extremely low federal funds rate, currently set at 0 to .25% (one quarter of one percent).  The banks are also paying the states quite minimal rates for the use of their public monies, and turning around and relending this money, leveraged many times over, to the states and their citizens at much higher rates.  That is assuming they lend at all, something they are increasingly reluctant to do, since speculating with the money is more lucrative, and investing it in federal securities is more secure.

Private banks clearly have the upper hand in this game.  Local governments have been forced to horde funds in very inefficient ways, building excessive reserves while slashing services, because they do not have the extensive credit lines available to the private banking system.  States cannot easily incur new debt without voter approval, a process that is cumbersome, time-consuming and uncertain.  Banks, on the other hand, need to keep only the slimmest of reserves, because they are backstopped by a central bank with the power to create all the reserves necessary for its member banks, as well as by Congress and the taxpayers themselves, who have been arm-twisted into repeated bailouts of the Wall Street behemoths.

How the CAFR Money Could Be Used Without Spending It

California, then, is in the anomalous position of being $26 billion in the red and plunging toward bankruptcy, while it has over $70 billion stashed away in an investment pool that it cannot touch.  Those are just the funds managed by the Treasurer.  According to California’s latest CAFR, the California Public Employees’ Retirement Fund (CalPERS) has total investments of $360 billion, including nearly $144 billion in “equity securities” and $37 billion in “private equity.”  See the State of California Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2009, pages 83-84.

This money cannot be spent, but it can be invested — and it can be invested not just in conservative federal securities but in equity, or stocks.  Rather than turning this hidden gold mine over to Wall Street banks to earn a very meager interest, California could leverage its excess funds itself, turning the money into much-needed low-interest credit for its own use.  How?  It could do this by owning its own bank.

Only one state currently does this — North Dakota.  North Dakota is also the only state projected to have a budget surplus by 2011.  It has not fallen into the Wall Street debt trap afflicting other states, because it has been able to generate its own credit through its own state-owned Bank of North Dakota (BND).

An investment in the State Bank of California would not be at risk unless the bank became insolvent, a highly unlikely result since the state has the power to tax.  In North Dakota, the BND is a dba of the state itself: it is set up as “the State of North Dakota doing business as the Bank of North Dakota.”  That means the bank cannot go bankrupt unless the state goes bankrupt.

The capital requirement for bank loans is a complicated matter, but it generally works out to be about 7%.  (According to Standard & Poor’s, the worldwide average risk-adjusted capital ratio stood at 6.7 per cent as of June 30, 2009; but for some major U.S. banks it was much lower: Citigroup’s was 2.1 per cent; Bank of America’s was 5.8 per cent.)  At 7%, $7 of capital can back $100 in loans.  Thus if $7 billion in CAFR funds were invested as capital in a California state development bank, the bank could generate $100 billion in loans.

This $100 billion credit line would allow California to finance its $26 billion deficit at very minimal interest rates, with $74 billion left over for infrastructure and other sorely needed projects.  Studies have shown that eliminating the interest burden can cut the cost of public projects in half.  The loans could be repaid from the profits generated by the projects themselves.  Public transportation, low-cost housing, alternative energy sources and the like all generate fees.  Meanwhile, the jobs created by these projects would produce additional taxes and stimulate the economy.  Commercial loans could also be made, generating interest income that would return to state coffers.

Building a Deposit Base

To start a bank requires not just capital but deposits.  Banks can create all the loans they can find creditworthy borrowers for, up to the limit of their capital base; but when the loans leave the bank as checks, the bank needs to replace the deposits taken from its reserve pool in order for the checks to clear.  Where would a state-owned bank get the deposits necessary for this purpose?

In North Dakota, all the state’s revenues are deposited in the BND by law.  Compare California, which has expected revenues for 2010-11 of $89 billion.  The Treasurer’s website reports that as of June 30, 2009, the state held over $18 billion on deposit as demand accounts and demand NOW accounts (basically demand accounts carrying a very small interest).  These deposits were held in seven commercial banks, most of them Wall Street banks: Bank of America, Union Bank, Bank of the West, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Westamerica Bank, and Citibank.  Besides these deposits, the $64 billion or so left in the Treasurer’s investment pool could be invested in State Bank of California CDs.  Again, most of the bank CDs in which these funds are now invested are Wall Street or foreign banks.  Many private depositors would no doubt choose to bank at the State Bank of California as well, keeping California’s money in California.  There is already a movement afoot to transfer funds out of Wall Street banks into local banks.

While the new state-owned bank is waiting to accumulate sufficient deposits to clear its outgoing checks, it can do what other startup banks do – borrow deposits from the interbank lending market at the very modest federal funds rate (0 to .25%).

To avoid hurting California’s local banks, any state monies held on deposit with local banks could remain there, since the State Bank of California should have plenty of potential deposits without these funds.  In North Dakota, local banks are not only not threatened by the BND but are actually served by it, since the BND partners with them, engaging in “participation loans” that help local banks with their capital requirements.

Taking Back the Money Power

We have too long delegated the power to create our money and our credit to private profiteers, who have plundered and exploited the privilege in ways that are increasingly being exposed in the media.  Wall Street may own Congress, but it does not yet own the states.  We can take the money power back at the state level, by setting up our own publicly-owned banks.  We can “spend” our money while conserving it, by leveraging it into the credit urgently needed to get the wheels of local production turning once again.  Ellen Brown (Global research writer and author)

You know if we all can just get together and say,  we’re taking back our economy out of the hands of Wall street and these too-big-too-fail ” behemoths” the taxpayer can jump start his /her financial future and keep it in the  hands of the people,  for the people,  by the people. The banks may control those in Washington but they sure as hell can’t control they states by which we live. Power to the people.  Bernard Ball (writer and author)

The Illusion of recovery! February 23, 2010

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In August of 2009, I wrote an article, Entering the Greatest Depression in History, in which I analyzed how there is a deep systemic crisis in the Capitalist system in which we have gone through merely one burst bubble thus far, the housing bubble, but there remains a great many others.

There remains as a significantly larger threat than the housing collapse, a commercial real estate bubble. As the Deutsche Bank CEO said in May of 2009, It’s either the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning.

Of even greater significance is what has been termed the bailout bubble in which governments have superficially inflated the economies through massive debt-inducing bailout packages. As of July of 2009, the government watchdog and investigator of the US bailout program stated that the U.S. may have put itself at risk of up to $23.7 trillion dollars.

[See: Andrew Gavin Marshall, Entering the Greatest Depression in History. Global Research: August 7, 2009]

In October of 2009, approximately one year following the great panic of 2008, I wrote an article titled, The Economic Recovery is an Illusion, in which I analyzed what the most prestigious and powerful financial institution in the world, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), had to say about the crisis and recovery.

The BIS, as well as its former chief economist, who had both correctly predicted the crisis that unfolded in 2008, were warning of a future crisis in the global economy, citing the fact that none of the key issues and structural problems with the economy had been changed, and that government bailouts may do more harm than good in the long run.

William White, former Chief Economist of the BIS, warned:

The world has not tackled the problems at the heart of the economic downturn and is likely to slip back into recession. [He] warned that government actions to help the economy in the short run may be sowing the seeds for future crises.

Where’s the 2 trillion dollars? December 21, 2008

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Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve refused a request by Bloomberg News to disclose the recipients of more than $2 trillion of emergency loans from U.S. taxpayers and the assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.

Bloomberg filed suit Nov. 7 under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act requesting details about the terms of 11 Fed lending programs, most created during the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

The Fed responded Dec. 8, saying it’s allowed to withhold internal memos as well as information about trade secrets and commercial information. The institution confirmed that a records search found 231 pages of documents pertaining to some of the requests.

“If they told us what they held, we would know the potential losses that the government may take and that’s what they don’t want us to know,” said Carlos Mendez, a senior managing director at New York-based ICP Capital LLC, which oversees $22 billion in assets.

The Fed stepped into a rescue role that was the original purpose of the Treasury’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. The central bank loans don’t have the oversight safeguards that Congress imposed upon the TARP.

Total Fed lending exceeded $2 trillion for the first time Nov. 6. It rose by 138 percent, or $1.23 trillion, in the 12 weeks since Sept. 14, when central bank governors relaxed collateral standards to accept securities that weren’t rated AAA.

‘Been Bamboozled’

Congress is demanding more transparency from the Fed and Treasury on bailout, most recently during Dec. 10 hearings by the House Financial Services committee when Representative David Scott, a Georgia Democrat, said Americans had “been bamboozled.”

Bloomberg News, a unit of New York-based Bloomberg LP, on May 21 asked the Fed to provide data on collateral posted from April 4 to May 20. The central bank said on June 19 that it needed until July 3 to search documents and determine whether it would make them public. Bloomberg didn’t receive a formal response that would let it file an appeal within the legal time limit.

On Oct. 25, Bloomberg filed another request, expanding the range of when the collateral was posted. It filed suit Nov. 7.

In response to Bloomberg’s request, the Fed said the U.S. is facing “an unprecedented crisis” in which “loss in confidence in and between financial institutions can occur with lightning speed and devastating effects.”

Data Provider

The Fed supplied copies of three e-mails in response to a request that it disclose the identities of those supplying data on collateral as well as their contracts.

While the senders and recipients of the messages were revealed, the contents were erased except for two phrases identifying a vendor as “IDC.” One of the e-mails’ subject lines refers to “Interactive Data — Auction Rate Security Advisory May 1, 2008.”

Brian Willinsky, a spokesman for Bedford, Massachusetts- based Interactive Data Corp., a seller of fixed-income securities information, declined to comment.

“Notwithstanding calls for enhanced transparency, the Board must protect against the substantial, multiple harms that might result from disclosure,” Jennifer J. Johnson, the secretary for the Fed’s Board of Governors, said in a letter e-mailed to Bloomberg News.

‘Dangerous Step’

“In its considered judgment and in view of current circumstances, it would be a dangerous step to release this otherwise confidential information,” she wrote.

New York-based Citigroup Inc., which is shrinking its global workforce of 352,000 through asset sales and job cuts, is among the nine biggest banks receiving $125 billion in capital from the TARP since it was signed into law Oct. 3. More than 170 regional lenders are seeking an additional $74 billion.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in September they would meet congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system.

The Freedom of Information Act obliges federal agencies to make government documents available to the press and public. The Bloomberg lawsuit, filed in New York, doesn’t seek money damages.

‘Right to Know’

“There has to be something they can tell the public because we have a right to know what they are doing,” said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Arlington, Virginia-based Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

“It would really be a shame if we have to find this out 10 years from now after some really nasty class-action suit and our financial system has completely collapsed,” she said.

The Fed’s five-page response to Bloomberg may be “unprecedented” because the board usually doesn’t go into such detail about its position, said Lee Levine, a partner at Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz LLP in Washington.

“This is uncharted territory,” said Levine during an interview from his New York office. “The Freedom of Information Act wasn’t built to anticipate this situation and that’s evident from the way the Fed tried to shoehorn their argument into the trade-secrets exemption.”

The Fed lent cash and government bonds to banks that handed over collateral including stocks and subprime and structured securities such as collateralized debt obligations, according to the Fed Web site.

Borrowers include the now-bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., Citigroup and New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co., the country’s biggest bank by assets.

Banks oppose any release of information because that might signal weakness and spur short-selling or a run by depositors, Scott Talbott, senior vice president of government affairs for the Financial Services Roundtable, a Washington trade group, said in an interview last month.

‘Complete Truth’

“Americans don’t want to get blindsided anymore,” Mendez said in an interview. “They don’t want it sugarcoated or whitewashed. They want the complete truth. The truth is we can’t take all the pain right now.”

The Bloomberg lawsuit said the collateral lists “are central to understanding and assessing the government’s response to the most cataclysmic financial crisis in America since the Great Depression.”

In response, the Fed argued that the trade-secret exemption could be expanded to include potential harm to any of the central bank’s customers, said Bruce Johnson, a lawyer at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP in Seattle. That expansion is not contained in the freedom-of-information law, Johnson said.

“I understand where they are coming from bureaucratically, but that means it’s all the more necessary for taxpayers to know what exactly is going on because of all the money that is being hurled at the banking system,” Johnson said. Let me hear your comments.

Global financial Meltdown in 90 days October 30, 2008

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In this 28th edition of the GEAB, LEAP/E2020 has decided to launch a new global systemic crisis alert. Indeed our researchers anticipate that, before next summer 2009, the US government will default and be prevented to pay back its creditors (holders of US Treasury Bonds, of Fanny May and Freddy Mac shares, etc.).
Of course such a bankruptcy will provoke some very negative outcome for all USD-denominated asset holders. According to our team, the period that will then begin should be conducive to the setting up of a « new Dollar » to remedy the problem of default and of induced massive capital drain from the US. The process will result from the following five factors studied in detail further in this GEAB:

• The recent upward trend of the US Dollar is a direct and temporary consequence of the collapse of stock markets

• Thanks to its recent “political baptism”, the Euro becomes a credible “safe haven” value and therefore provides a  “crisis” alternative to the US dollar

• The US public debt is now swelling uncontrollably

• The ongoing collapse of US real economy prevents from finding an alternative solution to the country’s defaulting

• “Strong inflation or hyper-inflation in the US in 2009?”, that is the only question.

Studying the case of Iceland can give an idea of the upcoming stages of the crisis. That is what our team has been doing ever since the beginning of 2006. This country indeed provides a good illustration of what the US and the UK should be expecting. It can be considered – and that is what most Icelandic people do today – that the collapse of Iceland’s financial system came from the fact that it was disproportionate to the size of the country’s economy.


 
Inflation in Iceland – 2003-2008 – Source Central Bank of Iceland
Financially speaking, Iceland thought of itself as UK (1), in the same way as, financially speaking, UK thought of itself as the US and the US thought of themselves as the entire world. It is therefore quite useful to study the case of Iceland (2) in order to understand the course of events that London and Washington will follow in the next 12 months (3).

What we see today is a double historical phenomenon:

. on the one hand, since September 2008 (as anticipated in the February 2008 edition of the GEAB – N°22), the whole planet has become aware that a global systemic crisis is unfolding, characterised by the collapse of the US financial system and its contagion to the rest of the world.

. on the other hand, a growing number of global players are beginning to act on their own, in reaction to the ineffectiveness of the measures advocated or implemented by the US though they are the centre of this global financial system. What happened with this first Euroland (or Eurozone summit which took place on Sunday, October 12, 2008, and whose decisions, by their scope (close to 1,700-billion EUR) and their nature (4), resulted in a regain of confidence on financial markets from all over the world, is typical of the « post-September 2008 world ».


 

Map of deposit insurances in the EU – Source AFP – 10/09/2008
Indeed there is such a thing as a « post-September 2008 world ». According to our team, it is now clear that this past month will remain in the history books of the whole planet as the month when the global systemic crisis started; even if what is really at play is its decanting phase, the last of a series of four phases of the crisis described by LEAP/E2020 as early as June 2006 (5). As always when it comes to large human groups, the perception of change among the general public only occurs when change is already far on its way.

As a matter of fact, September 2008 is the month when the « financial detonator » of the global systemic crisis exploded. According to LEAP/E2020 indeed, this second semester 2008 is the time when « the world dives into the heart of the impact phase of the global systemic crisis » (6); which means for our researchers that, at the end of this semester, the world enters the « decanting phase » of the crisis, i.e. a phase when the outcome of the shock settles down. This phase is the longest (from 3 to 10 years, according to the country) and the one affecting the largest number of people and countries. It is also the phase when the components of new global equilibriums will start to appear, two of them being already described by LEAP/E2020 in this 28th edition of the GEAB in the graphic illustrations below (7).

Therefore, as we repeated it on and on since 2006, this crisis is far more important, in terms of impact and outcome, than the 1929 crisis. Historically, we are the very first players, witnesses and/or victims of a crisis affecting the whole planet, in a situation of unprecedented interdependence of countries (resulting from twenty years of globalisation) and people (the level of urbanization – and related dependence for all the basic needs – water, food, energy… – is also unprecedented). However, the 1929 experience and all its dreadful outcome, is still vivid enough in our collective memories to hope, if citizens are vigilant and leaders clear-sighted, that we will be spared from a « remake » leading to major conflagration(s).

Europe, Russia, China, Japan,… are certainly the collective players who can make sure that the unfolding implosion of today’s world power, i.e. the United States, does not drive the planet into a disaster. Indeed, except for Gorbachev’s USSR, empires have a tendency to strive in vain to reverse the course of History when they realize their might is escaping them. It then belongs to partner-powers to channel the process peacefully, as well as it belongs to the citizens and rulers of the concerned country to be clear-sighted and face the difficult times they are about to cross.


 

 
Total borrowings of US Depository Institutions from the US Federal Reserve (01/08/1986 – 10/09/2008) – Source Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis
The « emergency repair » of international financial channels, achieved by the countries of the Eurozone at the beginning of this month of October 2008 (8), should not hide three fundamental facts:

• The “repair” was necessary to curb the panic that threatened to squander the entire global financial system in just a few weeks, but what it heals temporarily is merely a symptom. It has just bought a bit of time, two to three months maximum, as the global recession and the collapse of the US economy (the table above shows the staggering increase of US banks’ borrowings from the Fed) will speed up and create new tensions in the economic, social and political fields, that must be anticipated and coped with as soon as next month (as soon as the “financial packages” have been implemented)

• The huge financial means allocated worldwide for « emergency rescues » of the global financial system, though they were necessary to put back in order the system of credit, are lost for the real economy when it is on the verge of facing a global recession

• The « emergency repair » results in further marginalization, and therefore weakening, for the United States, because it sets up processes that are contrary to those advocated by Washington for the allocation of the Hank Paulson’s and Ben Bernanke’s 700-billion USD TARP: bank recapitalisation by governments (a decision Hank Paulson has now come to follow) and interbank loan guarantees (in fact Euroland governments substitute to credit insurers, a mostly American industry at the centre of global finance since decades). These trends turn more and more decision-making relays and financial flows away from the United-States when because of the explosion of their public (9) and private debt they need them more than ever; not to mention pensions going up in smoke (10).

The last aspect shows how, in the coming months, solutions to the crisis and to its various sequences (financial, economic, social and political) will increasingly diverge: what is good for the rest of the world will not be good for the United States (11), and now, Euroland in the first place, the rest of the world seems determined to make its own choices.

The sudden shock that will result from the US defaulting in summer 2009 is partly due to this decoupling of decision-making processes of the world’s largest economies with regard to the US. It is predictable and can be dampened if global players start to anticipate it. As a matter of fact, it is one of the topics developed in this 28th edition of the GEAB: LEAP/E2020 hopes that the September shock has “educated” the world’s political, economic and financial policy-makers and made them understand that it is easier to act by anticipation than in a panic. It would be a pity if Euroland, Asia and oil-producing countries, as well as US citizens of course, discover one morning of summer 2009 that, after a long-week-end or bank-holiday in the US, their US T-Bonds and Dollars are only worth 10 percent of their value because a « new Dollar » has just been imposed (12).


 

Notes

(1) Iceland adopted 10 years ago all the principles of economic deregulation and « financieration » advocated and implemented in the US and UK. Reykjavik thus became some sort of a financial « Mini-Me » of London and Washington, in reference to the very Americano-British movie character Austin Powers. The three countries undertook to play the financial game of « the frog that wished to be as big as the ox

», in reference to a fable by Jean de la Fontaine with a very unhappy end for the frog.
(2) Icelandic stocks collapsed 76 percent after a few days suspension designed to « avoid » a panic! Source: MarketWatch

, 10/14/2008
(3) On this subject, let’s spend a few lines on the amount of the “financial package” announced by London, i.e. 640-billion EUR including 64-billion EUR to recapitalize banks and a further 320-billion EUR pay back those same banks’ debt (source: Financial Times, 10/09/2008). With an economy in freefall to the image of the real-estate market, with a soaring inflation, with capital-based pensions going up in smoke and a currency at the lowest,… apart from increasing the public debt and weakening even more the Sterling pound, it is difficult to imagine how the plan can « rescue » British banks. Contrary to Eurozone banks, the British financial system, exactly like its US counterpart, is at the centre of the crisis, not a collateral victim. Gordon Brown may well compare himself to Churchill and Roosevelt together (Source: Telegraph

, 10/14/2008), in his ignorance of History, he seems to forget that neither Churchill nor Roosevelt had already spent 10 years in their country’s governments when each of them had to cope with their « big crisis » (that goes for the US and the Bush administration – Paulson and Bernanke included – who all come from the problem and are certainly not part of the solution). Not to mention the fact that Churchill and Roosevelt organised summits such as Yalta or Tehran leaving the French and the Germans waiting at the door, while today it is him who waits at the door of the Euroland summit.
(4) Source: L’Express

, 10/13/2008
(5) Source: GEAB N°5

, May 15, 2006
(6) Source: GEAB N°26

, June 15, 2008
(7) LEAP/E2020 made a synthesis of its anticipations on the decanting phase of the crisis by means of a world map of the impact of the crisis based on the identification of 6 large groups of countries; and of an anticipatory schedule of the 4 financial, economic, social and political sequences over 2008-2013 for each of these regions.

(8) It is indeed the Eurozone which curbed the spiral of global panic. For weeks, the US and British initiatives followed one another without any effect. The eruption of a new collective player, the « Euroland summit », and the wide-ranging decisions it made, are a new and soothing phenomenon. It is for this very reason that Washington and London have systematically prevented such a summit from taking place ever since the Euro was launched, 6 years ago. A complete set of diplomatic gesticulation was required (preliminary meeting, pre-summit group photo,…) to make the British Prime Minister believe he was not set aside the process, when in fact there is no reason why he should take part in a Euroland Summit. In this edition of the GEAB, LEAP/E202020 comes back on the phenomenon and the long-term systemic consequences of this 1st Euroland Summit.

(9) The US financial rescue plan has already increased by 17,000 USD the debt owned by each US citizen. Source: CommodityOnline

, 10/06/2008
(10) It is indeed 2,000-billion USD of capital-based pensions which evaporated in the past few weeks in the US. Source: USAToday

, 10/08/2008
(11) At least in the short-term. Indeed our team is convinced that it is not bad at all for the American people in the medium- and long-term if the system currently prevailing in Washington and New-York is fundamentally reappraised. This system has thrust the country into dramatic problems among which dozens of millions of US citizens now struggle, as illustrated in this article by the New York Times

dated 10/11/2008.
(12) Even if it will be a minor-scale measure compared to the prospect of a US bankruptcy, those who think that it is time to invest again on financial markets may find useful to learn that the New York Stock Exchange has recently reviewed all its circuit-breaker thresholds as a result of ratings collapse. Source : NYSE/Euronext, 09/30/2008

 

 
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