Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

No Time for Utopian Anti-Interventionism

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • No Time for Utopian Anti-Interventionism

    No Time for Utopian Anti-Interventionism

    Anti-interventionist utopianism has no place in a financial crisis that is rapidly developing into a self-reinforcing debt deflation. The credit markets and this economy will not self-correct any more than a damaged ship that is taking on water will right itself. Righting a ship that is listing is expensive, but trying to raise one that has been allowed to capsize is vastly more so. After declaring victory yesterday over the defeat of the poorly conceived Paulson Wall Street bailout, it's time to get practical proposals in front of Congress now.

    My friends and readers know me as a Libertarian. My experience is as an entrepreneur first and investor second. Rest assured I am not I am not a socialist third: you will not find among entrepreneurs and capitalists anyone who promotes the idea that government is the driving force behind a dynamic and growing economy.

    That said, my libertarianism is practical not ideological. Markets determine prices and allocate economic resources better than governments can most of the time. But markets can fail, and when they do sometimes only government can provide a floor to stop their self-destructive, self-reinforcing collapse and get them moving again. A constructive, rational debate is over how to stop the collapse – and fast – not whether we should try to do so at all.

    Today Jeffrey A. Miron, senior lecturer in economics at Harvard University, represents the Libertarian fundamentalist perspective on the financial and economic crisis in an article Bankruptcy, not bailout, is the right answer for CNN.

    The essence of Jeffrey A. Miron's argument is this: "Talk of Armageddon... is ridiculous scare-mongering. If financial institutions cannot make productive loans, a profit opportunity exists for someone else. This might not happen instantly, but it will happen."

    He believes that eventually the credit markets and banking system will self-correct. The problem with this assertion - and it's a big one - is that there is not a single piece of historical evidence to support it and many to contradict it.

    No self-correcting debt deflations

    US economic policy-makers awaited a self-correction in the 1930s as did Argentina in the 2000s. The policy failed. The problem is the antecedents; our financial system is experiencing a debt deflation following a period of credit expansion that resulted in over-indebtedness. Credit and banking contractions following periods of over-indebtedness result in a self-reinforcing process of debt deflation.

    A summary of Professor Irving Fisher's theory of debt deflation, which was later more completely developed by Minsky, extracted from a lecture by Steve Keen Modelling Debt Deflation (PowerPoint file):

    1. Debt liquidation leads to distress selling and to
    2. Contraction of deposit currency, as bank loans are paid off, and to a slowing down of velocity of circulation. This contraction of deposits and of their velocity, precipitated by distress selling, causes
    3. A fall in the level of prices, in other words, a swelling of the dollar. Assuming, as above stated, that this fall of prices is not interfered with by reflation or otherwise, there must be
    4. A still greater fall in the net worths of business, precipitating bankruptcies and
    5. A like fall in profits, which in a "capitalistic," that is, a private-profit society, leads the concerns which are running at a loss to make
    6. A reduction in output, in trade and in employment of labor. These losses, bankruptcies, and unemployment, lead to
    7. Pessimism and loss of confidence, which in turn lead to
    8. Hoarding and slowing down still more the velocity of circulation. The above eight changes cause
    9. Complicated disturbances in the rates of interest, in particular, a fall in the nominal, or money, rates and a rise in the real, or commodity, rates of interest.” (1933: 342)
    10. With deflation on top of excessive debt, “the more debtors pay, the more they owe. The more the economic boat tips, the more it tends to tip. It is not tending to right itself, but is capsizing” (Fisher 1933: 344).

    The Libertarian fundamentalist "let the market take its course" prescription is not a real world option under the circumstances of a debt deflation. It is a misapplied Utopian vision that is guaranteed to turn into a Depression nightmare for the US much as in the 1930s.

    The key difference is that today the US is a net debtor versus a net creditor, making the circumstances of its debt deflation and financial crisis more similar to Mexico's in the mid 1990s and Argentina's in 2001.

    A recent Forbes article lays out the real world choices the US faces, Lessons from a Mexican bailout:
    "It's a long, complex road," said Carlos Nunez, head of equity consulting at Grupo Financiero Monex, a Mexico City brokerage. But while painful and expensive, the bailout was necessary to avoid inevitably worse consequences - like those seen when Argentina declined to shore up teetering banks in 2001, prompting a run and then a freeze on deposits, and ultimately, the world's largest-ever government default, he said.
    Which do we want? The Argentina 2001 financial crisis outcome or the mid 1990s Mexico financial crisis outcome? It's a two item menu – there is no real "sinking ships right themselves" choice. It's a myth, albeit an appealing one.

    Like it or not, those are our options. It is unfortunate that there is among our leadership no one left with any credibility to explain this truth of our circumstances, and that many of my fellow Libertarians are taking an ideological versus a pragmatic approach.

    Alternatives

    As an alternative to doing nothing or the Paulson plan I support the plan proposed by Bill King, author of The King Report.
    King Report Bailout Plan

    Premises:
    • The US credit system is broken.
    • The Paulsen-Bernanke Bailout Plan does not insure that those banks and brokers that receive bailout aid will increase lending. The reality is the market is hoarding liquidity and these banks are likely to do the same. More importantly consumer lending has been a small, often insignificant part of their business. They made money by trading and through securitization of debt.
    • It is necessary to create a new system parallel with the existing dysfunctional system in order to mitigate the inevitable economic and financial damage and to facilitate, as seamless as possible, the transition to a functioning financial system or new model of credit and banking.
    • The Wall Street model, securitization and extreme leverage, is obsolete.
    • US financial institutions need to recapitalize.
    • Hank and Ben assert that it is paramount to keep credit flowing to consumers; the bail out is a necessary adjunct.
    • Paulsen and Hank’s bailout plan is tantamount to bailing out Univac, Digital Equipment, etc, in the eighties, which would’ve retarded the development of Dell, Microsoft, Intel and other nascent technology companies.
    • It’s wasteful & foolish to put more money in an obsolete non-functioning system
    • Big banks and brokers made most of their earnings over the past several years in trading, not consumer lending. And now their derivatives are THE problem
    • If you want to get money to the consumer: the less middlemen, the better.
    • Decentralization of liquidity, lending and risk is necessary to refurbish the financial system. The illiquidity of a few large banks is collapsing the system.

    Basics of the King Report Bailout Plan
    • Directly recapitalize banks by the US government allocating $500B into a plan for community-type banks to increase their capital in partnership with the government.
    • The government would match existing or some percentage of existing bank capital. If it would be better, a separate bank could be created. Place a limit of say $1B per bank.
    • This would create $5 trillion of credit at conservative 10 to 1 leverage. This is more than the entire private mortgage market. It is a much better use of capital instead of absorbing $700B of losses with no means to discern resultant credit creation.
    • Give the banks a tax rate of 15% on consumer and commercial lending for 5 years and the right to buy out the government share of the operation at some premium.
    • Only banks that meet some metric, like a Texas Ratio of 50, are eligible.
    • To help the big banks, allow them to create a consumer & commercial lending facility with the 15% tax rate benefit. This should entice private equity and sovereign funds as well as Wall Street remuneration that was garnered over the past decade or so.
    • Prohibit trading, especially derivatives, in consumer & commercial lending operations. However, pure hedging would be allowed.
    • Immediately increase FDIC-insured bank deposits and money funds to $1 million per eligible account.

    Further considerations:
    • Foreign banks in the US could be included if they have respective funding from their government.
    • The real estate problem is due to the fact that American incomes do NOT support current prices. Easy credit allowed them to purchase homes they couldn’t afford.
    • Any solution to clear the real estate market must entail hiking income, which is very difficult, or allowing prices to drop to levels that the average American can support. This helps average Americans, not the big banks and investors stuck with overpriced mortgages.
    • No bailout for the imprudent and reckless but a means to directly help Americans and procure capital from private and sovereign sources because a new financial system must be implemented.
    • This is not likely to be the final model but it is a stop-gap measure that will resonate with average Americans. It’s a way to connect with Middle America because it benefits them directly and is not an exclusive Wall Street bailout.
    • The cause of our current financial morass is Big Government + Big Business = Crony Capitalism + Funny Money = concentration of wealth and risk + declining US living standards.
    • The solution is decentralization of the financial system, like the tech industry, which will lower systemic risk, foster competition and yield better ideas, services and companies.
    Non-intervention is not the answer. Congress needs to move quickly to draft legislation that conforms to the principles put forth in the King plan.

    iTulip Select: The Investment Thesis for the Next Cycle™
    __________________________________________________

    To receive the iTulip Newsletter or iTulip Alerts, Join our FREE Email Mailing List

    Copyright © iTulip, Inc. 1998 - 2007 All Rights Reserved

    All information provided "as is" for informational purposes only, not intended for trading purposes or advice. Nothing appearing on this website should be considered a recommendation to buy or to sell any security or related financial instrument. iTulip, Inc. is not liable for any informational errors, incompleteness, or delays, or for any actions taken in reliance on information contained herein. Full Disclaimer
    Last edited by FRED; 09-30-08, 05:44 PM.

  • #2
    Re: No Time for Utopian Anti-Interventionism

    I read the Miron article yesterday and thought of posting it as a perfect example of what's wrong with the "standard libertarian" response here. And the crux of everything that is myopic in Miron's analysis is that he suggests "doing away with Fannie and Freddie" as a (presumably) salutary step forward in healing the US credit bloat and proliferation of securitized debt.

    I could not believe what I was reading him suggest. This would be equivalent to ripping the heart out of a patient with chronic heart inflammation because the "heart is bloated". The article sounded eminently reasonable until I got to that observation and I suddenly realised I was reading the opinions of a superbly educated economist who was nonetheless curiously detached from reality.

    If this guy were a surgeon he'd have been fired long ago for gross incompetence in the intensive care ward.

    We can't let such people make us delay and deliberate too much longer.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: No Time for Utopian Anti-Interventionism

      Originally posted by EJ View Post
      No Time for Utopian Anti-Interventionism

      Anti-interventionist utopianism has no place in a financial crisis that is rapidly developing into a self-reinforcing debt deflation. The credit markets and this economy will not self-correct any more than a damaged ship that is taking on water will right itself. Righting a ship that is listing is expensive, but trying to raise one that has been allowed to capsize is vastly more so. After declaring victory yesterday over the defeat of the poorly conceived Paulson Wall Street bailout, it's time to get practical proposals in front of Congress now.

      My friends and readers know me as a Libertarian. My experience is as an entrepreneur first and investor second. Rest assured I am not I am not a socialist third: you will not find among entrepreneurs and capitalists anyone who promotes the idea that government is the driving force behind a dynamic and growing economy.

      That said, my libertarianism is practical not ideological. Markets determine prices and allocate economic resources better than governments can most of the time. But markets can fail, and when they do sometimes only government can provide a floor to stop their self-destructive, self-reinforcing collapse and get them moving again. A constructive, rational debate is over how to stop the collapse – and fast – not whether we should try to do so at all.

      Today Jeffrey A. Miron, senior lecturer in economics at Harvard University, represents the Libertarian fundamentalist perspective on the financial and economic crisis in an article Bankruptcy, not bailout, is the right answer for CNN.

      The essence of Jeffrey A. Miron's argument is this: "Talk of Armageddon... is ridiculous scare-mongering. If financial institutions cannot make productive loans, a profit opportunity exists for someone else. This might not happen instantly, but it will happen."

      He believes that eventually the credit markets and banking system will self-correct. The problem with this assertion - and it's a big one - is that there is not a single piece of historical evidence to support it and many to contradict it.

      No self-correcting debt deflations

      US economic policy-makers awaited a self-correction in the 1930s as did Argentina in the 2000s. The policy failed. The problem is the antecedents; our financial system is experiencing a debt deflation following a period of credit expansion that resulted in over-indebtedness. Credit and banking contractions following periods of over-indebtedness result in a self-reinforcing process of debt deflation.

      A summary of Professor Irving Fisher's theory of debt deflation, which was later more completely developed by Minsky, extracted from a lecture by Steve Keen Modelling Debt Deflation (PowerPoint file):

      1. Debt liquidation leads to distress selling and to
      2. Contraction of deposit currency, as bank loans are paid off, and to a slowing down of velocity of circulation. This contraction of deposits and of their velocity, precipitated by distress selling, causes
      3. A fall in the level of prices, in other words, a swelling of the dollar. Assuming, as above stated, that this fall of prices is not interfered with by reflation or otherwise, there must be
      4. A still greater fall in the net worths of business, precipitating bankruptcies and
      5. A like fall in profits, which in a "capitalistic," that is, a private-profit society, leads the concerns which are running at a loss to make
      6. A reduction in output, in trade and in employment of labor. These losses, bankruptcies, and unemployment, lead to
      7. Pessimism and loss of confidence, which in turn lead to
      8. Hoarding and slowing down still more the velocity of circulation. The above eight changes cause
      9. Complicated disturbances in the rates of interest, in particular, a fall in the nominal, or money, rates and a rise in the real, or commodity, rates of interest.” (1933: 342)
      10. With deflation on top of excessive debt, “the more debtors pay, the more they owe. The more the economic boat tips, the more it tends to tip. It is not tending to right itself, but is capsizing” (Fisher 1933: 344).

      The Libertarian fundamentalist "let the market take its course" prescription is not a real world option under the circumstances of a debt deflation. It is a misapplied Utopian vision that is guaranteed to turn into a Depression nightmare for the US much as in the 1930s.

      The key difference is that today the US is a net debtor versus a net creditor, making the circumstances of its debt deflation and financial crisis more similar to Mexico's in the mid 1990s and Argentina's in 2001.

      A recent Forbes article lays out the real world choices the US faces, Lessons from a Mexican bailout:
      "It's a long, complex road," said Carlos Nunez, head of equity consulting at Grupo Financiero Monex, a Mexico City brokerage. But while painful and expensive, the bailout was necessary to avoid inevitably worse consequences - like those seen when Argentina declined to shore up teetering banks in 2001, prompting a run and then a freeze on deposits, and ultimately, the world's largest-ever government default, he said.
      Which do we want? The Argentina 2001 financial crisis outcome or the mid 1990s Mexico financial crisis outcome? It's a two item menu – there is no real "sinking ships right themselves" choice. It's a myth, albeit an appealing one.

      Like it or not, those are our options. It is unfortunate that there is among our leadership no one left with any credibility to explain this truth of our circumstances, and that many of my fellow Libertarians are taking an ideological versus a pragmatic approach.

      Alternatives

      As an alternative to doing nothing or the Paulson plan I support the plan proposed by Bill King, author of The King Report.
      King Report Bailout Plan

      Premises:
      • The US credit system is broken.
      • The Paulsen-Bernanke Bailout Plan does not insure that those banks and brokers that receive bailout aid will increase lending. The reality is the market is hoarding liquidity and these banks are likely to do the same. More importantly consumer lending has been a small, often insignificant part of their business. They made money by trading and through securitization of debt.
      • It is necessary to create a new system parallel with the existing dysfunctional system in order to mitigate the inevitable economic and financial damage and to facilitate, as seamless as possible, the transition to a functioning financial system or new model of credit and banking.
      • The Wall Street model, securitization and extreme leverage, is obsolete.
      • US financial institutions need to recapitalize.
      • Hank and Ben assert that it is paramount to keep credit flowing to consumers; the bail out is a necessary adjunct.
      • Paulsen and Hank’s bailout plan is tantamount to bailing out Univac, Digital Equipment, etc, in the eighties, which would’ve retarded the development of Dell, Microsoft, Intel and other nascent technology companies.
      • It’s wasteful & foolish to put more money in an obsolete non-functioning system
      • Big banks and brokers made most of their earnings over the past several years in trading, not consumer lending. And now their derivatives are THE problem
      • If you want to get money to the consumer: the less middlemen, the better.
      • Decentralization of liquidity, lending and risk is necessary to refurbish the financial system. The illiquidity of a few large banks is collapsing the system.

      Basics of the King Report Bailout Plan
      • Directly recapitalize banks by the US government allocating $500B into a plan for community-type banks to increase their capital in partnership with the government.
      • The government would match existing or some percentage of existing bank capital. If it would be better, a separate bank could be created. Place a limit of say $1B per bank.
      • This would create $5 trillion of credit at conservative 10 to 1 leverage. This is more than the entire private mortgage market. It is a much better use of capital instead of absorbing $700B of losses with no means to discern resultant credit creation.
      • Give the banks a tax rate of 15% on consumer and commercial lending for 5 years and the right to buy out the government share of the operation at some premium.
      • Only banks that meet some metric, like a Texas Ratio of 50, are eligible.
      • To help the big banks, allow them to create a consumer & commercial lending facility with the 15% tax rate benefit. This should entice private equity and sovereign funds as well as Wall Street remuneration that was garnered over the past decade or so.
      • Prohibit trading, especially derivatives, in consumer & commercial lending operations. However, pure hedging would be allowed.
      • Immediately increase FDIC-insured bank deposits and money funds to $1 million per eligible account.

      Further considerations:
      • Foreign banks in the US could be included if they have respective funding from their government.
      • The real estate problem is due to the fact that American incomes do NOT support current prices. Easy credit allowed them to purchase homes they couldn’t afford.
      • Any solution to clear the real estate market must entail hiking income, which is very difficult, or allowing prices to drop to levels that the average American can support. This helps average Americans, not the big banks and investors stuck with overpriced mortgages.
      • No bailout for the imprudent and reckless but a means to directly help Americans and procure capital from private and sovereign sources because a new financial system must be implemented.
      • This is not likely to be the final model but it is a stop-gap measure that will resonate with average Americans. It’s a way to connect with Middle America because it benefits them directly and is not an exclusive Wall Street bailout.
      • The cause of our current financial morass is Big Government + Big Business = Crony Capitalism + Funny Money = concentration of wealth and risk + declining US living standards.
      • The solution is decentralization of the financial system, like the tech industry, which will lower systemic risk, foster competition and yield better ideas, services and companies.
      Non-intervention is not the answer. Congress needs to move quickly to draft legislation that conforms to the principles put forth in the King plan.

      iTulip Select: The Investment Thesis for the Next Cycle™
      __________________________________________________

      To receive the iTulip Newsletter or iTulip Alerts, Join our FREE Email Mailing List

      Copyright © iTulip, Inc. 1998 - 2007 All Rights Reserved

      All information provided "as is" for informational purposes only, not intended for trading purposes or advice. Nothing appearing on this website should be considered a recommendation to buy or to sell any security or related financial instrument. iTulip, Inc. is not liable for any informational errors, incompleteness, or delays, or for any actions taken in reliance on information contained herein. Full Disclaimer
      Is it not Utopian to think and expect the government to do the right thing? IMHO both sides of this argument are flawed, on one hand the non interventionist waiting for a market correction that will never happen (under historical evidence). Then u have the King Plan which sounds great, but your major flaw is assuming the government can do their job and make competent decisions, which we all know wont happen.

      I have no answers only observations. I thought that was what Libertarian stood for? Not looking to government to fix problems BECAUSE THEY ONLY FUCK IT WORSE IN THE PROCESS! i dunno, the King plan sounds like a great idea though!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: No Time for Utopian Anti-Interventionism

        Can we just start a war and get it over with? Sheesh...

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: No Time for Utopian Anti-Interventionism

          That is an excellent proposal that meshes nicely with most of the economic analysis on iTulip. It also moves us in the direction of solutions that are more in line with generalized American values which is the basis of positive bipartisan solutions.

          Coupla things:

          First, it would be helpful to articulate why this is a better model for a credit system in general, not just why it is a solution to the crisis. Most importantly, the proposed system reestablishes the link between the borrower and the lender. This is essential since it was breaking this link that enabled all the hanky-panky in the first place. It is clear that the model of abstracting and securitizing risk exacerbates and concentrates risk rather than distributes and mitigates it.

          The proposal is likely to result in a credit system that is more focused on meeting the needs of localities. Since revenue won't be sought for speculative purposes it could result in a lower fee structure. It is a system that values the synergies created by relationships that are personal. It also values the virtues of smaller-scale institutions. I guess one thing would be innovation, though I don't really see what there is to innovate in retail banking. It mostly works the way it has for two thousand years. I still like it being generally of the view that American capitalism is too heavily reliant on large organizations for the 21st century. In this sense, our capitalism is still very 1950s. A decentralized banking system would probably better serve smaller firms.

          Second, I think such a system is much more oriented to broadly shared values about markets: they should reward hard work and investment, not speculation. There is a long tradition of efforts to establish banking systems in the US that are more responsive to producers. As a society we used to understand the virtues of various sorts of banking systems quite well. We see the remnant of such intelligence on iTulip in the sophisticated understanding of central banking and currency on this board--many of the attitudes of iTulipers are echos of very specific political battles that date back as far as the American Revolution.

          Third, in many ways large banks were simply vehicles for speculation. Speculation has certainly been supplanting investment banking as the primary function of Wall St. But speculation doesn't really work that way any longer. When firms have spectacular speculative runs or spectacular failures it is usually just a couple of traders doing it. The only reason to house them in a huge investment bank is to give them more capital and leverage to play with. If traders are "de-banked" the damage they can do with their failures are probably lessened appreciably. At the same time, their own ability to make money, help make markets, etc. is not inhibited.

          One other issue. I do like how this proposal focuses with laser-like precision on the ostensible issue: access to credit for Main St. I am not entirely sold that this is the issue. I think the real issue is the solvency of American households. Until they are recapitalized I still see bad endings everywhere. Either they have to be deleveraged or their earning power relative to their debts has to increase. Any number of such scenarios have been run through on iTulip. Just sayin' that this takes Paulson's premise a little too seriously.

          Thanks for posting the proposal!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: No Time for Utopian Anti-Interventionism

            Are there Libertarians outside of the First World?

            I always thought of it as a First World luxury.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: No Time for Utopian Anti-Interventionism

              Eric, based on my read of Rothbard's 'Great Depression,' it is clear to me that Hoover was an interventionalist, big-time, over '30-'32, and that FDR merely amplified the radical interventions that Hoover took. Thus, there was no attempt at 'self correction' in the G.D.

              I do not have the stats on the post WWI wind down, but, purportedly, that was a big, big slowdown, which was painful, but short. It was painful, but short, because of little/no government intervention.

              I agree with your logic in steps 1-9. However, in step 10, do note that if there is no government intervention, non-performing debts will be written off, freeing debtors. Then, after non-performing debts are written off and bad lenders are eliminated, folks like me with savings will step into the void. But, I guarantee that I will not step in when the rules are rigged and changing, which is what we see today and would have with The Bailout.

              Let the banks fail, let the debtors declare bankruptcy, let soup lines flower and multiply, let attitudes about debt change (back to 'debt = bad'), then let the system regrow, properly.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: No Time for Utopian Anti-Interventionism

                i am cynical enough to believe that, although the king plan, or the roubini plan, or any one of a number of other plans make more sense, we are going to get a variant of the paulson plan, with a few bells and whistles to buy the necessary 12 changed votes.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: No Time for Utopian Anti-Interventionism

                  Too true. It is highly associated with the individualism that is only enabled by socially-generated wealth. Call it the libertarian blind spot...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: No Time for Utopian Anti-Interventionism

                    Kucinich letter to supporters -

                    Yesterday marked a day that will go down in history, when Congressional Democrats and Republicans alike took on full responsibility to protect the interests of taxpaying Americans, and defeated the deceptive bail out bill, defying the dictates of the Administration, the House Majority Leadership, the House Minority Leadership and the special interests on Wall Street.

                    Obviously Congress must consider quickly another course. There are immediate issues which demand attention and responsible action by the Congress so that the taxpayers, their assets, and their futures are protected.

                    We MUST do something to protect millions of Americans whose homes, bank deposits, investments, and pensions are at risk in a financial system that has become seriously corrupted. We are told that we must stabilize markets in order for the people to be protected. I think we need to protect peoples' homes, bank deposits, investments, and pensions, to order to stabilize the market.

                    We cannot delay taking action. But the action must benefit all Americans, not just a privileged few.
                    .
                    .
                    .
                    .
                    This is a perfect time to open a broader discussion about our financial system, especially our monetary system. Such a discussion is like searching for a needle in a haystack, and then, upon finding it, discussing its qualities at great length. Let me briefly describe the haystack instead.

                    Here is a very quick explanation of the $700 billion bailout within the context of the mechanics of our monetary and banking system:

                    The taxpayers loan money to the banks. But the taxpayers do not have the money. So we have to borrow it from the banks to give it back to the banks. But the banks do not have the money to loan to the government. So they create it into existence (through a mechanism called fractional reserve) and then loan it to us, at interest, so we can then give it back to them.

                    Confused?

                    This is the system. This is the standard mechanism used to expand the money supply on a daily basis not a special one designed only for the "$700 billion" transaction. People will explain this to you in many different ways, but this is what it comes down to.

                    The banks needed Congress' approval. Of course in this topsy turvy world, it is the banks which set the terms of the money they are borrowing from the taxpayers. And what do we get for this transaction? Long term debt enslavement of our country. We get to pay back to the banks trillions of dollars ($700 billion with compounded interest) and the banks give us their bad debt which they cull from everywhere in the world.

                    Who could turn down a deal like this? I did.

                    The globalization of the debt puts the United States in the position that in order to repay the money that we borrow from the banks (for the banks) we could be forced to accept International Monetary Fund dictates which involve cutting health, social security benefits and all other social spending in addition to reducing wages and exploiting our natural resources. This inevitably leads to a loss of economic, social and political freedom.

                    Under the failed $700 billion bailout plan, Wall Street's profits are Wall Street's profits and Wall Street's losses are the taxpayers' losses. Profits are capitalized. Losses are socialized.

                    We are at a teachable moment on matters of money and finance. In the coming days and weeks, I will share with you thoughts about what can be done to take us not just in a new direction, but in a new direction which is just.
                    Also - Protecting the public interest in any economic "bailout"

                    The U.S. government has been turned into an engine that accelerates the wealth upwards into the hands of a few. The Wall Street bailout, the Iraq War, military spending, tax cuts to the rich, and a for-profit health care system are all about the acceleration of wealth upwards. And now, the American people are about to pay the price of the collapse of the $513 trillion Ponzi scheme of derivatives. Yes, that’s half a quadrillion dollars. Our first trillion dollar compression bandage will hardly stem the hemorrhaging of an unsustainable Ponzi scheme built on debt "de-leverages."

                    Does anyone seriously think that our public and private debts of some $45 trillion will be paid? That the administration's growth of the federal debt from $5.6 trillion to $9.8 trillion while borrowing another trillion dollars from Social Security has nothing to do with this? Does anyone not see that when we spend nearly $16,000 for every family of four in our society for the military each year that we are heading over the cliff?

                    This is a debt crisis, not a credit crisis.
                    .
                    .
                    .
                    .
                    I will also insist that all of the following issues be considered in whatever Congress passes:
                    1. Reinstatement of the provisions of Glass-Steagall, which forbade speculation
                    2. Re-regulation of the finance, insurance, and real estate industries
                    3. Accountability on the part of those who took the companies down:
                      a) resignations of management
                      b) givebacks of executive compensation packages
                      c) limitations on executive compensation
                      d) admission by CEO's of what went wrong and how, prior to any government bailout
                    4. Demands for transparencey
                      a) with respect to analyzing the transactions which took the companies down
                      b) with respect to Treasury's dealings with the companies pre and post-bailout
                    5. An equity position for the taxpayers
                      a) some form of ownership of assets
                    6. Some credible formula for evaluating the price of the assets that the government is buying.
                    7. A sunset clause on the legislation
                    8. Full public disclosure by members of Congress of assets held, with possible conflicts put in blind trust.
                    9. A ban on political campaign contributions from officers of corporations receiving bailouts
                    10. A requirement that 2008 cycle candidates return political contributions to officers and representatives of corporations receiving bailouts


                    I am presuming that a lot of this came from Michael Hudson

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: No Time for Utopian Anti-Interventionism

                      Originally posted by phirang View Post
                      Can we just start a war and get it over with? Sheesh...
                      Are the two we already have not good enough for you?
                      In my day we were happy to have one war.
                      I've read in history books that there have been times with no wars. They call the gaps between wars "peace". Peace must be hell (but I wouldn't know).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: No Time for Utopian Anti-Interventionism

                        Yo, EJ:

                        Ever hear from CNBC's Dennis Neale again because of the recent turbulance in the stock markets?

                        If memory serves correctly, it was Kneale interviewing you about your Harper's magazine cover story. I think Kneale tried to get you to name some favorite investment areas to which you advised to "steer clear of the stock market". At the time it seemed a little rude as you weren't cooperating with Dennis' wishes. But now I'm wondering whether Kneale has put 1 & 1 together and is trying to tap your mind? I think Dennis should have you on again.

                        End of my two cents. Keep up the good work!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: No Time for Utopian Anti-Interventionism

                          I will paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen's famous comment (was it directed to Dan Quayle?) "You're no Libertarian", EJ.

                          US economic policy-makers awaited a self-correction in the 1930s as did Argentina in the 2000s. The policy failed.
                          This is so untrue that it is staggering and hard to argue with the rest of your essay. It is a Big Lie, not a little lie, and I am surprised that you can even say this.

                          The US did nothing but intervene. Let's see, spending staggering amounts of money on make-work programs, numerous "bailouts" of industry and control over industry, seizing gold, closing the banks, setting up bogus "deposit insurance" schemes, etc. etc. etc.

                          And Argentina, and Mexico...they did similar things, no? I mean, the whole reason for this crisis was moral hazard and money printing in the first place.

                          Bottom line, your solution is to continue the same thing, but do it with more "regulation." It is doomed not only to fail, but to lead the country and the world into a second Depression.

                          The *only* solution is to simply let assets plunge in value, take our medicine, and in a year or two things will be fine. Argentina worked out quite well because they had no choice. Domestic industries rose to replace imports. And a depression pulled asset values down until everything was a bargain.

                          Then things started to shape up.

                          That is *exactly* what we need right now.

                          The Libertarian fundamentalist "let the market take its course" prescription is not a real world option under the circumstances of a debt deflation. It is a misapplied Utopian vision that is guaranteed to turn into a Depression nightmare for the US much as in the 1930s.
                          Oh really? I think your "solution" is guaranteed to do that.

                          Irving Fisher is the same person who proclaimed famously that stock prices were at a "permanently high plateau" or some such quote, no? Just before the Crash of 1929. I am sure he was brilliant, but that doesn't make him right.

                          What we need is asset prices to fall.That is what is happening. Then a lot of banks go out of business. House prices fall. Everything falls. And credit becomes hard to get. Then people start saving, not hoarding. It's called saving and investing.

                          The FIRE economy is history. People buy up old factories and start making things to sell domestically. There is a depression but it lasts a year or two.

                          The "bailout" way will assure that the depression will happen, but it will last and last and last. Because government malinvestment will replace public/private malinvestment. Big public works and bailouts will be financed by scared investors so that money will not go into productive uses. We will still be stalled out in the FIRE economy, but nothing will be left in terms of capital surplus to invest in producers and consumers economy.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: No Time for Utopian Anti-Interventionism

                            For some time now I've been wondering why the government is only concerned with pumping money to the big banks. I thought it would be more reasonable to bypass them and go directly to the people who need the credit (the consumer and businesses). But recapitalizing the smaller banks would be much easier and more efficient. I like it!

                            It's a great compromise between the Libertarian and socialist in me.

                            Unfortunately, Jk is right on this.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: No Time for Utopian Anti-Interventionism

                              Originally posted by grapejelly View Post
                              I will paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen's famous comment (was it directed to Dan Quayle?) "You're no Libertarian", EJ.

                              This is so untrue that it is staggering and hard to argue with the rest of your essay. It is a Big Lie, not a little lie, and I am surprised that you can even say this.

                              The US did nothing but intervene. Let's see, spending staggering amounts of money on make-work programs, numerous "bailouts" of industry and control over industry, seizing gold, closing the banks, setting up bogus "deposit insurance" schemes, etc. etc. etc.

                              And Argentina, and Mexico...they did similar things, no? I mean, the whole reason for this crisis was moral hazard and money printing in the first place.

                              Bottom line, your solution is to continue the same thing, but do it with more "regulation." It is doomed not only to fail, but to lead the country and the world into a second Depression.

                              The *only* solution is to simply let assets plunge in value, take our medicine, and in a year or two things will be fine. Argentina worked out quite well because they had no choice. Domestic industries rose to replace imports. And a depression pulled asset values down until everything was a bargain.

                              Then things started to shape up.

                              That is *exactly* what we need right now.

                              Oh really? I think your "solution" is guaranteed to do that.

                              Irving Fisher is the same person who proclaimed famously that stock prices were at a "permanently high plateau" or some such quote, no? Just before the Crash of 1929. I am sure he was brilliant, but that doesn't make him right.

                              What we need is asset prices to fall.That is what is happening. Then a lot of banks go out of business. House prices fall. Everything falls. And credit becomes hard to get. Then people start saving, not hoarding. It's called saving and investing.

                              The FIRE economy is history. People buy up old factories and start making things to sell domestically. There is a depression but it lasts a year or two.

                              The "bailout" way will assure that the depression will happen, but it will last and last and last. Because government malinvestment will replace public/private malinvestment. Big public works and bailouts will be financed by scared investors so that money will not go into productive uses. We will still be stalled out in the FIRE economy, but nothing will be left in terms of capital surplus to invest in producers and consumers economy.
                              You are an anarchist, not a Libertarian.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X