Tag Archives: Federal Reserve

Party While You Can – Central Bank Ready To Pop The ‘Everything’ Bubble, by Brandon Smith

A new chairperson of the Federal Reserve sets the state for a thunderous financial market crash. From Brandon Smith at alt-market.com:

Many people do not realize that America is not only entering a new year, but within the next month we will also be entering a new economic era. In early February, Janet Yellen is set to leave the Federal Reserve and be replaced by the new Fed chair nominee, Jerome Powell. Now, to be clear, the Fed chair along with the bank governors do not set central bank policy. Policy for most central banks around the world is dictated in Switzerland by the Bank for International Settlements. Fed chairmen like Janet Yellen are mere mascots implementing policy initiatives as ordered.  This is why we are now seeing supposedly separate central banking institutions around the world acting in unison, first with stimulus, then with fiscal tightening.

However, it is important to note that each new Fed chair does tend to signal a new shift in action for the central bank. For example, Alan Greenspan oversaw the low interest rate easy money phase of the Fed, which created the conditions for the derivatives and credit bubble and subsequent crash in 2008. Ben Bernanke oversaw the stimulus and bailout phase, flooding the markets with massive amounts of fiat and engineering an even larger bubble in stocks, bonds and just about every other asset except perhaps some select commodities. Janet Yellen managed the tapering phase, in which stimulus has been carefully and systematically diminished while still maintaining delusional stock market euphoria.

Now comes the era of Jerome Powell, who will oversee the last stages of fiscal tightening, the reduction of the Fed balance sheet, faster rate increases and the final implosion of the ‘everything’ bubble.

As I warned before Trump won the election in 2016, a Trump presidency would inevitably be followed by economic crisis, and this would be facilitated by the Federal Reserve pulling the plug on fiat life support measures which kept the illusion of recovery going for the past several years. It is important to note that the mainstream media is consistently referring to Jerome Powell as “Trump’s candidate” for the Fed, or “Trump’s pick” (as if the president really has much of a choice in the roster of candidates for the Fed chair). The public is being subtly conditioned to view Powell as if he is an extension of the Trump administration.

 

To continue reading: Party While You Can – Central Bank Ready To Pop The ‘Everything’ Bubble

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Fed Pays Banks $30 Billion on “Excess Reserves” for 2017, by Wolf Richter

This should disabuse any remaining innocents of the quaint notion that the Federal Reserve isn’t a tool of the banks. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

At taxpayer expense: easiest, risk-free, sit-on-your-ass profit ever.

The Federal Reserve’s income from operations in 2017 dropped by $11.7 billion to $80.7 billion, the Fed announcedtoday. Its $4.45-trillion of assets – including $2.45 trillion of US Treasury securities and $1.76 trillion of mortgage-backed securities that it acquired during years of QE – produce a lot of interest income.

How much interest income? $113.6 billion.

It also made $1.9 billion in foreign currency gains, resulting “from the daily revaluation of foreign currency denominated investments at current exchange rates.”

For a total income of about $115.5 billion.

Those are just “estimates,” the Fed said. Final “audited” results of the Federal Reserve Banks are due in March. This “audit” is of course the annual financial audit executed by KPMG that the Fed hires to do this. It’s not the kind of audit that some members in Congress have been clamoring for – an audit that would try to find out what actually is going on at the Fed. No, this is just a financial audit.

As the Fed points out in its 2016 audited “Combined Financial Statements,” the audit attempts to make sure that the accounting is in conformity with the accounting principles in the Financial Accounting Manual for Federal Reserve Banks.Given that the Fed prints its own money to invest or manipulate markets with – which makes for some crazy accounting issues – the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) that apply to US businesses to do not apply to the Fed.

This annual audit by KPMG reveals nothing except that the Fed’s accounting is in conformity with the Fed’s own accounting manual.

Here is what the banks Get:

The Fed pays the banks interest on their “Required Reserves” and on their “Excess Reserves” at the Fed. Excess Reserves are the biggie: As a result of QE, they jumped from $1.7 billion in July 2008, to $2.7 trillion at the peak in September 2014. They’ve since dwindled, if that’s the right word, to $2.2 trillion:

To continue reading: Fed Pays Banks $30 Billion on “Excess Reserves” for 2017

Dangers of Government Control, by Walter E. Williams

Why does the Federal Reserve have so much control over the monetary system and the FCC over the internet? From Walter E. Williams at lewrockwell.com:

We are a nation of 325 million people. We have a bit of control over the behavior of our 535 elected representatives in Congress, the president and the vice president. But there are seven unelected people who have life-and-death control over our economy and hence our lives — the seven governors of the Federal Reserve Board. The Federal Reserve Board controls our money supply. Its governors are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate and serve 14-year staggered terms. They have the power to cripple an economy, as they did during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Their inept monetary policy threw the economy into the Great Depression, during which real output in the United States fell nearly 30 percent and the unemployment rate soared as high as nearly 25 percent.

The most often stated cause of the Great Depression is the October 1929 stock market crash. Little is further from the truth. The Great Depression was caused by a massive government failure led by the Federal Reserve’s rapid 25 percent contraction of the money supply. The next government failure was the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which increased U.S. tariffs by more than 50 percent. Those failures were compounded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation. Leftists love to praise New Deal interventionist legislation. But FDR’s very own treasury secretary, Henry Morgenthau, saw the folly of the New Deal, writing: “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. … We have never made good on our promises. … I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started … and an enormous debt to boot!” The bottom line is that the Federal Reserve Board, the Smoot-Hawley tariffs and Roosevelt’s New Deal policies turned what would have been a two, three- or four-year sharp downturn into a 16-year affair.

Here’s my question never asked about the Federal Reserve Act of 1913: How much sense does it make for us to give seven unelected people life-and-death control over our economy and hence our lives?

To continue reading: Dangers of Government Control

Stabbing With Their Steely Knives, They Just Can’t Kill the Beast, by Doug “Uncola” Lynn

Saving the best for last. From the always interesting Doug “Uncola” Lynn at theburningplatform.com:

 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor…

– Ezekiel 28: 15-17

In horror stories originating from the times of the first songs there have always been common enemies.  Creatures of sinister intelligence, blind violence, disingenuity, clever crafters of schemes, or often containing the capacity for all of these; lurking in the dark, or hidden in plain sight, but always waiting and watching.  Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs suffered through the antics of wily wolves. Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel agonized before the wicked wills of warted witches; and with Jack of Beanstalk fame it was jeering giants who longed to grind his bones for bread, alive or dead.  Star Wars had Darth Vader and the Lords of the Sith, whereas it was the evil eye of Sauron that ruled over J.R.R Tolkien’s shadowy land of Mordor.  And for most of the world’s religions today it remains Lucifer, the morning star, who fell from heaven by the weight of a prideful heart and now reigns as the Prince and Power of the Air; tempting, taunting, and tantalizing, all of mankind.

In every story, there are heroes and villains introduced and funneled into the friction of rising action that results in a climax followed by the falling action which precedes any resolution.  Also known as the Five Elements of a Plot, these components are the sine qua non of universal story telling across any genre or medium.

To continue reading: Stabbing With Their Steely Knives, They Just Can’t Kill the Beast

Trump’s Fed Picks? More of the Same! by Ron Paul

It’s not clear if Ron Paul thinks the right personnel, policies, and an audit will cure an institution that rests on an illogical foundation, is inherently corrupt (if you or I counterfeit money, we get thrown in jail), and is the apex of a bankers’ cartel. Paul is not happy with Trump’s candidates for the next Fed head. From Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

This week President Trump revealed his final five candidates for Federal Reserve chair. Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, all five have strong ties to the financial and political establishment. The leading candidates are former Federal Reserve governor and Morgan Stanley banker Kevin Warsh and current Fed governor, former investment banker, Carlyle Group partner, and George H.W. Bush administration official Jerome Powell. Gary Cohn, current director of the president’s National Economic Council and former president of Goldman Sachs, is also on Trump’s list.

Trump is also considering reappointing Janet Yellen, even though when he was running for president he repeatedly criticized her for pursuing policies harmful to the middle class. Of course candidate Trump also promised to support Audit the Fed and even voiced support for returning to the gold standard. But, he has not even uttered the words “Audit the Fed,” or talked about any changes to monetary policy, since the election.

Instead, President Trump, in complete contradiction to candidate Trump, has praised Yellen for being a “low-interest-rate-person.” One reason Trump may have changed his position is that, like most first-term presidents, he thinks low interest rates will help him win reelection. Trump may also realize that his welfare and warfare spending plans require an accommodative Fed to monetize the federal debt. The truth is President Trump’s embrace of status quo monetary policy could prove fatal to both his presidency and the American economy.

The failure of the Fed’s post-2008 policies of unprecedented money creation and record-low interest rates shows our experiment with fiat money is nearing its inevitable end. All of Trump’s potential picks are likely to continue the Fed’s current policies. Even the ones who say they favor higher rates will likely bow to the wishes of their friends in the financial and political establishment and make sure any rate hikes are minuscule. Appointing a Fed chair who will continue, or only make marginal changes to, these failed policies will hasten the collapse while making the resulting depression more painful.

To continue reading: Trump’s Fed Picks? More of the Same!

Federal Reserve Will Continue Cutting Economic Life Support, by Brandon Smith

The Fed’s mission is not to help the US economy, but to torpedo it. From Brandon Smith at alt-market.com:

I remember back in mid-2013 when the Federal Reserve fielded the notion of a “taper” of quantitative easing measures. More specifically, I remember the response of mainstream economic analysts as well as the alternative economic community. I argued fervently in multiple articles that the Fed would indeed follow through with the taper, and that it made perfect sense for them to do so given that the mission of the central bank is not to protect the U.S. financial system, but to sabotage it carefully and deliberately. The general consensus was that a taper of QE was impossible and that the Fed would “never dare.” Not long after, the Fed launched its taper program.

Two years later, in 2015, I argued once again that the Fed would begin raising interest rates even though multiple mainstream and alternative sources believed that this was also impossible. Without low interest rates, stock buybacks would slowly but surely die out, and the last pillar holding together equities and the general economy (besides blind faith) would be removed. The idea that the Fed would knowingly take such an action seemed to be against their “best self interest;” and yet, not long after, they initiated the beginning of the end for artificially low interest rates.

The process that the Federal Reserve has undertaken has been a long and arduous one cloaked in disinformation. It is a process of dismantlement. Through unprecedented stimulus measures, the central bank has conjured perhaps the largest stock and bond bubbles in history, not to mention a bubble to end all bubbles in the U.S. dollar.

Stocks in particular are irrelevant in the grand scheme of our economy, but this does not stop the populace from using them as a reference point for the health of our system. This creates an environment rife with delusion, just as the open flood of cheap credit created considerable delusion before the crash of 2008.

To continue reading: Federal Reserve Will Continue Cutting Economic Life Support

 

Home Alone—Trump Is The Kevin McCallister Of American Politics, by David Stockman

Having made an implacable enemy of the political establishment, and having then surrounded himself with team members who don’t have his best interests at heart, President Trump is all by himself in Washington. From David Stockman at lewrockwell.com:

It’s as if on election night the shocked and exasperated rulers of the Imperial City ordered Donald Trump to sleep in the White House attic. Unlike Kevin McCallister’s family in the movie, however, the establishment never stopped obsessing about his bratty insolence and never intended for him to rejoin the family the next morning—or ever.

Instead, the Washington political establishment and its collaborators in the main stream media are engaged in an unabashed and unconcealed campaign to remove the Donald from even the figurative White House attic where he now dwells with his Twitter account.

The evidence for that lies right in the threadbare and preposterous pretext for this de facto coup. Namely, the alleged Russian meddling and collusion campaign, which took another body-slam this morning in the form of son-in-law Jared Kushner’s written congressional testimony about the Trump campaign’s now endlessly ballyhooed June 2016 meeting with the “Russians”.

That this meeting was a giant nothingburger should have been evident enough from the politically illiterate email of the meeting’s arranger, Rob Goldstone. The latter was a former British tabloid journalist and Vodka-chugging music world pimp, who happened to be under contract with Emin Agalarov, the Russian pop star.

“Emin”, as he is known Madonna-style, also happens to be the son of a Moscow real estate billionaire who had provided the venue for Trump’s 2013 Miss Universe contest, and has since become a pal of sorts of Donald Jr. But as it happened, the promised dirt on Hillary was only the come-on for the meeting.

The real reason is plain as day. The elder Agalarov’s company, the Crocus Group, was having trouble with the Magnitsky Act and wanted its hired attorney-advocate, one Natalia Veselnitskaya, to make a pitch on the matter to the Trumps.

To continue reading: Home Alone—Trump Is The Kevin McCallister Of American Politics