The Fed’s Secret Loans, Europe’s Crisis, and the Boring Patterns of Statist Propaganda

November 29, 2011 · Posted in General Economics · Comment 

In response to recently published information about the Fed’s emergency loans, Bloomberg’s Felix Salmon was promptly ready to perpetrate this piece of grade A scumbaggery:

stanley.tiff

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what a lender of last resort looks like. What you’re looking at here are three lines. The black line is Morgan Stanley’s market capitalization, which tends to hover in the $40 billion range but which fell as low as $9.8 billion in November 2008. The orange line is the amount that Morgan Stanley owed to the Federal Reserve on any given day — an amount which peaked at $107 billion on September 29, 2008. And the red line is the ratio between the two: Morgan Stanley’s debt to the Federal Reserve, expressed as a percentage of its market value.That ratio, it turns out, peaked at some point in October, at somewhere north of 750%.

Many congratulations are due to Bloomberg, for extracting this information from the Fed after a long and arduous fight. It couldn’t have come at a timelier moment: if the ECB wants to avert a liquidity crisis, charts like this give a sobering indication of just how far it might have to go, and how quickly it might have to act.

The Euromess has everything to do with the fact that the ECB exists in the first place, and the fact that it enabled irresponsible bureaucrats to hide behind relatively responsible ones and borrow beyond their respective taxpayers’ means.

Almost 3 years ago I already said that if European government bureaucrats don’t quit the centralization of power which enables the above, things would only get worse and worse.

Then about 2 years ago I wrote:

The truth is very simple: The best that can be done for the people of Greece is to not provide one cent of assistance to its corrupt, bloated, and union-controlled government apparatus. A country’s bailout is like a corporate bailout, only many times worse! From this logically follows that the absolute worst Europe could do to the people of Greece would be to give their rulers any more means to continue their irresponsible policies.

The European Currency Union and the European Union itself are both such gigantic failures that it is already pre-ordained that the entire experiment will go down in flames sooner or later. Now is certainly not that time yet. What we are seeing are just a few more cracks emerging in the structure of the system. The European bureaucrats will come up with some sort of pseudo solution to paper over and patch the Greek problem for now.

Even if the Greek government were saved to the detriment of the people it tyrannizes, this won’t be the last time we’ll be having this discussion, and it sure as hell won’t get any better!

We’re having that discussion again now, and the time has run out for patchwork and pseudo solutions. The system is going down as predicted.

To say that the Euromess is caused by a lack of even more ECB intervention is to say that the heroin addict’s withdrawal pains are to be imputed upon a lack of an increase in his dosage.

I think that’s pretty lazy and irresponsible stuff to put out there and it genuinely hurts reading it.

Wouldn’t it make sense at some point to stop and think a little more carefully and precisely about the things we say in public discourse?

Bank of England governor King pointed out a few weeks ago: “This phrase ‘lender of last resort’ has been bandied around by people who, it seems to me, have no idea what lender of last resort actually means, to be perfectly honest. It is very clear from its origin that lender of last resort by a central bank is intended to be lending to individual banking institutions and to institutions that are clearly regarded as solvent. And it is done against good collateral, and at a penalty rate. That’s what lender of last resort means.”

And about the Fed having solved any problems in the US … are you going to say the same thing when the public debt burden, subsidized by QE1,2,3,4,5…, will have reached an amount where the government’s automatic spending cuts start to kick in and begin to impoverish more and more of the millions of people who have been made dependent upon government handouts?

Or better yet, are people going to be asking for the Fed and government to step in, grab more power, and regulate all these banks’ irresponsible speculation binges, because for some inexplicable, magical reason they don’t seem to have much of an incentive to conduct business prudently, to pay themselves reasonable salaries, or to lend responsibly, and not, say … invest in Greek bonds for example?

The pattern is simple and boring: Keynesian and other statist clowns out there will continue doing what they’re paid for. They will support one stupid ass government spending and expansion program after another, applaud one newly created government institution after another, be completely incapable of predicting the long term effects of those unsustainable policies, ignore or even ridicule those who are capable, and then when the inevitable crisis hits they will boldly “predict” that a tragic crisis is going to hit, should all those unsustainable programs not be sustained.

This is truly embarrassing to watch.

But at the same time it’s encouraging to see other people around the world wake up to the truth, and ditch the repetitive dronings and platitudes of entitled and state tenured ivory tower academics whose cumulative output will supply plenty of instructive and awe-inspiring entertainment for future generations.