“We’ve received sturdy monetary establishments…Our markets are the envy of the world. They’re resilient, they’re…revolutionary, they’re versatile. I believe we transfer in a short time to deal with conditions on this nation, and, as I stated, our monetary establishments are sturdy.” – Henry Paulson – 3/16/08
“I’ve full confidence in banking regulators to take applicable actions in response and famous that the banking system stays resilient and regulators have efficient instruments to deal with the sort of occasion. Let me be clear that through the monetary disaster, there have been buyers and house owners of systemic giant banks that had been bailed out . . . and the reforms which have been put in place means we aren’t going to do this once more.” – Janet Yellen – 3/12/23
With the latest implosion of Silicon Valley Financial institution and Signature Financial institution, the most important financial institution failures since 2008, I had an awesome feeling of deja vu. I wrote the article Is the U.S. Banking System Safe on August 3, 2008 for the Looking for Alpha web site, one month earlier than the collapse of the worldwide monetary system. It was this text, amongst others, that caught the eye of documentary filmmaker Steve Bannon and satisfied him he wanted my perspective on the monetary disaster for his movie Generation Zero. After all he was fairly unknown in 2009 (not a lot anymore) , and I proceed to be unknown in 2023.
The quotes above by the mendacity deceitful Wall Road managed Treasury Secretaries are precisely 15 years aside, however are precisely the identical. Their sole job is to maintain the arrogance recreation going and to guard their actual constituents – the Wall Road bankers. And simply as they did fifteen years in the past, the powers that be as soon as once more used taxpayer funds to bailout reckless bankers. Two hours earlier than the one answer the Feds know – print cash and shovel it to the bankers – Michael Burry defined precisely what was about to occur.
When Biden, Yellen, and the remainder of the Wall Road safety staff let you know the banking system is secure and so they have it underneath management, they’re mendacity, simply as I stated fifteen years in the past.
“Our economic system and banking system is so complicated and intertwined that nobody is aware of the place the subsequent shoe will drop. Politicians and authorities bureaucrats are mendacity to the general public after they say that every little thing is alright. They have no idea. Do you have to imagine a governmental company that desires the general public to stay at midnight to keep away from financial institution runs, or an unbiased evaluation primarily based upon stability sheet evaluation?”
Again within the days of The Big Short, earlier than the general public knew about poisonous subprime mortgages issued by prison bankers and packaged into derivatives given a AAA score by the grasping compliant score businesses, the Wall Road cabal knew time was rising quick, however that didn’t preserve the mendacity bastards like John Thain (Merrill Lynch), Dick Fuld (Lehman Brothers), Angelo Mozilo (Countrywide), Kerry Killinger (Washington Mutual), and others from pretending their establishments had been wholesome and worthwhile – proper up till the day they collapsed. Mendacity is within the DNA of each monetary govt, politician, authorities bureaucrat, and Federal Reserve hack.
The quote from Hemingway appeared pertinent in 2008 and is simply as pertinent right now.
There are various similarities between what was occurring in 2008 and what’s occurring right now. Bear Stearns went belly-up in March 2008 and was taken over by JP Morgan in an organized marriage by Bernanke and the Fed. The same old suspects assured the nation this was a one off state of affairs and the banking system was sturdy. The Wall Road banks had been reporting large income as a result of they had been hiding the large losses on their stability sheets. In the event that they didn’t foreclose, they didn’t need to write-off the mortgages. The poisonous debt simply stored constructing.
In the summertime of 2008 the banks began to report losses, however assured buyers it was solely a one time hit. All was nicely. The week I wrote my article Wall Road financial institution shares had soared 20% or extra as a result of their reported losses for the 2nd quarter had been lower than anticipated. My article lower via all of the BS being shoveled by the likes of Larry Kudlow, Jim Cramer, the Wall Road CEOs, and the supposed analyst specialists who nonetheless had purchase rankings on these bloated debt pigs. My evaluation was considerably opposite to the CNBC lies:
“I might estimate that we’re solely within the early innings of financial institution write-offs. The write-offs will at the very least equal the earlier peaks reached within the early Nineties. If a big financial institution equivalent to Washington Mutual or Wachovia had been to fail, it might wipe out the FDIC fund. If the FDIC fund is depleted, guess who pays? Proper once more, one other taxpayer bailout. What’s one other $100 or $200 billion amongst buddies.”
Merrill Lynch was reporting billions in losses and issuing new inventory to attempt to survive. They had been clearly in a loss of life spiral and I noticed the writing on the wall:
“How lengthy will buyers be duped into supporting this catastrophe? You possibly can ensure that the opposite suspects (Citicorp, Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual) will likely be saying extra write-downs and capital dilution within the coming weeks.”
By the top of September Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual had been gone. Merrill Lynch and Wachovia had been acquired for pennies, and Citicorp grew to become a zombie financial institution sustained by the Fed for years. My article was dire and my evaluation confirmed we had been in for years of ache and the worst drop in housing costs in historical past:
“There are $440 billion of adjustable mortgages resetting this 12 months. Which means that almost all of foreclosures is not going to happen till 2009. Which means that the banks will nonetheless be writing off billions of mortgage debt in 2009. The reversion to the imply for housing costs and the continued avalanche of foreclosures just isn’t a recipe for a banking restoration. Home prices have another 15% to go on the downside.”
“The buyer is being pressured to chop again on consuming out and buying. The marginal gamers will fall by the wayside. Large field retailers, eating places, mall builders, and industrial builders are about to seek out out that their large enlargement was constructed upon false assumptions, a basis of sand, and pushed by extreme debt.”
It appears I used to be fairly correct in my evaluation, as dwelling costs went down greater than 15%, not bottoming till 2012. This world monetary collapse introduced an finish to the large field enlargement section, as many went underneath, and the survivors targeting their current shops. We entered the worst recession because the Thirties. Probably the most attention-grabbing half in going again to my 15 12 months outdated article was the psychology of the gang revealed within the remark part. Regardless of my use of unequivocal info, I used to be branded a doomer, overly pessimistic, and an fool. Many commenters stated the Fed would save the day and it was time to purchase the dip. If that they had purchased the dip on the day of my article, they’d have misplaced 44% over the subsequent 8 months throughout a relentless bear market.
The query now could be whether or not the present state of affairs is best or worse than the state of affairs we confronted in 2008. There are some factual objects which can assist in assessing the place we’re. In August 2008 the nationwide debt was $9.5 trillion (67% of GDP). Right now it’s $31.5 trillion (130% of GDP). Whole family debt was $12 trillion in 2008 and stands at $17 trillion right now. The Fed’s stability sheet was $900 billion in 2008 and now stands at $8.3 trillion. Inflation was at a 17 12 months excessive in August 2008 at 5.9% and stands at 6.0% right now. GDP was rising at 3.2% in 2008, versus 2.7% right now. An neutral observer must conclude our financial state of affairs is much worse than 2008.
However all you hear is joyful discuss and false bravado from Wall Road analysts protecting their very own bancrupt trade. They always harp on the very fact mortgage lending is rather more threat averse and safe. After all the subsequent liquidity pushed disaster is rarely pushed by the identical actual components because the earlier liquidity pushed disaster. However the important thing components are at all times the identical. Free financial insurance policies by the Fed result in extra threat taking by grasping bankers, hedge funds, and company executives. Then one thing blows up and the billionaires get bailed out on the expense of the taxpayers who’ve been getting devastated financially by the inflation brought on by Powell and his printing press.
Up to now, this newest banking disaster “that nobody may see coming”, besides any sincere monetary analyst who understands math and historical past, is following the identical path as 2008. The narrative about banks not taking credit score threat and peddling unhealthy mortgages is being blown up as we communicate. As a substitute of the chance being centered on poisonous mortgages like 2008, the chance has permeated each crevice of the monetary system on account of years of 0% charges by the Fed. Nearly every little thing is overvalued by 30% to 50% as a result of low cost debt was accessible to everybody for every little thing. Extraordinarily low rates of interest led to excessive threat taking by bankers, companies, dwelling consumers, auto consumers, and politicians. The unleashing of inflation by Powell’s insurance policies has led to the tide going out and revealing who was swimming bare.
Whereas threat managers at banks internationally have been concentrating on variety and pushing woke agendas about transgender rights, local weather change and training ESG investing, they ignored the easy idea that bonds they acquired at 1% lose cash when rates of interest go to 4%. Simply because the banks in 2008 had been sitting on billions of unrealized losses from the poisonous mortgages on their books, the identical banks at the moment are sitting on billions of unrealized losses from the latest poisonous asset – U.S. Treasuries. Everybody is aware of it. It’s simply math. They’ve been relying on Powell to reverse course, however with reported inflation nonetheless at 6%, he’s trapped. Silicon Valley Financial institution and Signature Financial institution had been swimming bare and when depositors realized that truth a financial institution run ensued. Poof!!! Sudden Disaster.
The narrative being spun is this can be a regional banking disaster confined to smaller banks. This narrative is being spun by the large Wall Road banks and their captured media mouthpieces, with the intent that depositors at smaller banks would panic and shift their deposits to the “secure” Wall Road banks. The reality is that the Wall Road banks have large ranges of unrealized losses and desperately want deposits to maintain them from going through the identical destiny as Silicon Valley and Signature. These unrealized losses aren’t going away and should be realized within the close to future.
Credit score Suisse has been the loopy uncle of the monetary trade, stored within the basement for years. Their demise is a foregone conclusion, however that has been lined up and ignored by these within the know. They seem like the brand new Lehman Brothers, which can blow up the already bancrupt European monetary system and unfold a contagion of losses throughout the monetary world. These quadrillions in obscure derivatives are an unknown aspect within the coming meltdown. However you could be certain they received’t have a optimistic influence.
Each small and huge banks have little to no reserves left to lend. Debt issuance is the Potemkin ingredient in maintaining this farce of an financial system operating. With out debt to finance overextended shopper existence, funding wars in Ukraine, and the woke agendas of companies and politicians, the complete facade collapses.
Actual wages have been detrimental for 23 consecutive months. A banking disaster means banks will cut back lending dramatically. Shoppers have been pressured to stay off their bank cards for the final two years, as their financial savings dried up and their wages purchased much less. A deep recession is within the playing cards. Shoppers are already pulling again and spending much less. With credit score drying up and spending taking place, employers throughout the globe will begin laying folks off. As unemployment rises, folks will cease paying their monumental mortgage and auto loans. This may result in extra losses at banks, identical to 2008/2009.
Everybody will look to the Fed to avoid wasting the day. And they’re going to fake they’ve every little thing underneath management, however they don’t. Again in 2008 their stability sheet was solely $900 billion. Right now it’s 9 instances as giant. The relentless QE whereas rates of interest had been suppressed has left them with monumental unrealized losses on the mortgage and Treasury bonds they purchased. They let the inflation genie out of the bottle and now it’s ingrained within the economic system. Corporations who gave 2% annual raises to their workers for a decade at the moment are pressured to present 4% or extra as a result of Fed created inflation.
If the Fed slashes charges and goes again to cash printing via QE, the present 6% inflation price will skyrocket again to double digits. If Powell does nothing or continues elevating charges, the banking system will possible collapse. His selections are deflationary collapse or hyper-inflationary collapse. He’s caught between the proverbial rock and a tough place. Since he’s managed by Wall Road, he’ll slash charges, restart QE, backstop the bankers, and screw the typical American, as at all times. My conclusion reached in my 2008 article, simply earlier than the monetary system imploded appears, for essentially the most half, to use right now.
“The U.S. banking system is actually bancrupt. The Treasury, Federal Reserve, FASB, and Congress are colluding to maintain the American public at midnight for so long as doable. They’re making an attempt to purchase time and prop up these banks to allow them to persuade sufficient fools to present them extra capital. They’ll proceed to jot down off debt for a lot of quarters to come back. We’re at risk of duplicating the errors of Japan within the Nineties by permitting them to fake to be sound. We may have a zombie banking system for a decade.”
We by no means paid the piper and cleaned out the excesses of the earlier banking disaster. The monetary situation of the nation is much worse than it was in 2008. The monetary situation of the typical American is much worse than it was in 2008. The monetary situation of the Federal Reserve is much worse than it was in 2008. The monetary situation of the banking system is much worse than it was in 2008. Our leaders kicked the can down the street with a purpose to give the system the looks of stability, and we allow them to do it. We may have taken the ache in 2008 and let the system reset after purging all of the unhealthy debt and unhealthy banks, however we selected the unsuitable path and can now endure the implications described by Ludwig von Mises a century in the past.
“There is no such thing as a technique of avoiding the ultimate collapse of a increase led to by credit score enlargement. The choice is barely whether or not the disaster ought to come sooner as the results of voluntary abandonment of additional credit score enlargement, or later as a last and whole disaster of the foreign money system concerned.” – Ludwig von Mises
My recommendation 15 years in the past on the finish of the article was to scale back your deposit publicity in any respect monetary establishments, don’t put money into monetary shares, observe the writings of sincere truthful analysts and this last piece of recommendation, which is as stable now because it was then:
“If you see a financial institution CEO or a high authorities official let you know that every little thing is alright, run for the hills. They’re mendacity. They didn’t see this coming and so they don’t know the way it will finish.”
We’re initially of the subsequent world monetary disaster, not the top. Fourth Turnings don’t fizzle out. They construct to a crescendo of chaos and struggle. This monetary disaster will usher within the army battle that has been beckoning for the final 12 months. Time to buckle up and put together for the approaching storm.