5 September 2008

The Death of Capitalism. Not Yet but Close. Financial Tsunami Incoming

"At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow?

Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we will live through all time, or die by suicide."

Abraham Lincoln January 27, 1838

Bill Gross seems to be a smart and decent man. He is a savvy bond trader but like most traders he often 'talks his book' when speaking publicly.

And he is afraid. He is afraid of what he sees behind the scenes in the markets, as one of the largest holders of US debt, public and private. His words are a reflection of how bad it must be behind the facade of calm appearance. Bill Gross is a sincere voice of a probable victim coming out of a business sector most recently devoted to manipulation and deception.

Capitalism is sick, perhaps on its death bed. It has not been conquered from abroad by a competing ideology, jealous of its great success. It is slowly being strangled by the crony capitalists and a rogue financial sector out of control.

Crony capitalists do not want any part of free markets. They loathe them, run from them, seek to undermine them at every turn. Their intent is always and everywhere to create monopolies, sinecures for themselves, to wield inordinate power to keep what they win and give the public what they lose. They manipulate through words, and bribery, and deception.

Yes, Fannie and Freddie debt must be supported, with a haircut perhaps, because of the 'implicit guarantee' which was extended for years by the Congress. We cannot afford to default on anything that so closely resembles sovereign debt.

But 'buying assets' with public monies without reforming the system feeds the problem and makes the eventual solution more severe.

The Resolution Trust is a fee and commission generating machine for the same group that caused the problems. Receivership, investigation, orderly liquidation, position limits and transparency in commodity markets, a restoration of the laws created after the Crash and Great Depression to restrain reckless and fraudulent banking are essential to a genuine solution to these serial bubbles and financial Ponzi schemes.

It is what we do when no one is looking, or when you are under duress, or frightened, that takes the measure of our character.

We will stand free or we will fall. But if we fall it will be by our own hand and a lack of resolve, a reluctance to put aside our fears and prejudices and greed that are used to play us for fools and face the facts, and listen to the truth. When the banks make us an offer they think that we cannot refuse, we will be at the crossroads and will decide what we wish to be: slaves or free men. Yes, it really is that simple.

"And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."

Thomas Jefferson

U.S. Must Buy Assets to Prevent `Financial Tsunami,' Gross Says
By Jody Shenn
September 4, 2008 08:43 EDT

Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. government needs to start buying assets to stem a bourgeoning ``financial tsunami,'' according to Bill Gross, manager of the world's biggest bond fund.

A process of ``delevering,'' where banks are shrinking and cutting off lending, is sapping demand for loans, bonds, stocks and commodities, driving down prices of assets of even ``impeccable quality,'' Gross said. The decline may continue until the government steps in as a buyer, he said.

``Unchecked, it can turn a campfire into a forest fire, a mild asset bear market into a destructive financial tsunami,'' Gross of Newport Beach, California-based Pacific Investment Management Co. said in commentary posted on the firm's Web site today. ``If we are to prevent a continuing asset and debt liquidation of near historic proportions, we will require policies that open up the balance sheet of the U.S. Treasury.''

The government should be used to support not only mortgage finance providers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but also ``Mom and Pop on Main Street U.S.A.,'' through subsidized home loans issued by the Federal Housing Administration and other government institutions, Gross said. A new version of the Resolution Trust Corp., which bought assets from failing institutions during the savings-and-loan crisis of the 1980s, may also work, he said.

Pimco, sovereign wealth funds and central banks are reluctant to participate in new capital raising by financial companies after losing money on more than $400 billion of investments, Gross said. (and that's the money quote - Jesse)

No comments: