Quote of the Day:
George Kaufman, a finance professor at Loyola University Chicago, is skeptical. "The last refuge of a scoundrel regulator," he says, "is to shout 'systemic risk.'" Usually, the alarm is false. He notes that aside from inter-bank lending, the credit markets were functioning tolerably well at the height of the crisis. Rates on 30-year mortgages actually dropped last week.
-- from a column by Steve Chapman, September 25, 2008
Subject: Do you know who the "Primary Dealers" are?
There's a lot of evidence that we've been scammed. Treasury Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke told us they needed to spend $700 billion of your money to buy supposedly toxic assets that were crippling major firms and for which there was no immediate market. This was a lie even when they said it, because . . .
Merrill Lynch was able to sell it's most troubled assets back in July.
If Merrill could do it, other firms could do it too. They might not have liked the price they got, but it could have been done. The Big Bailout was purposely designed to give favored firms a better deal than they could have gotten in the market.
We've also been told, constantly, that credit markets are frozen. We're still being told that today, constantly, around the clock, on the cable business channels. It wasn't true before, and it isn't true now. We could point you to many places for the evidence, but here's one great graph from the blog Carpe Diem to give you the evidence in one pretty picture.
The hysteria mongers would tell you that even if consumer credit is okay (and you would have to hammer them with the evidence to get them to admit it), commercial credit is still in big trouble. But that isn't true either. Here's a good summary from the great scholar Robert Higgs, at the Independent Institute . . .
"Looking at the data for the first four business days of the past week, I find that firms sold from $179 billion to $205 billion of commercial paper per day; the number of separate issuances per day ranged from 6,761 to 7,298. Both the total amount borrowed and the number of issuances per day increased steadily throughout the week (data for Friday have not yet been reported)."
Higgs goes on to compare the current numbers with past periods and finds NO CREDIT FREEZE!
But what about the stock market? Doesn't its fall tell us there's a crisis? Perhaps, until you consider what's causing stocks to fall.
The really big drops began when Paulson and Bernanke began peddling their fear to Congress. And since then, nearly every time some government official has opened his or her mouth, with some new claim or some new plan, the stock market has taken another nose dive. A good chunk of the decline appears to be driven by fear mongering. Want more evidence?
This is the season when firms report their earnings, and many companies are beating the estimates, but their stock prices are still falling. This is about fear, not fundamentals.
Who is responsible for this scam? Who are the con artists?
One big culprit in every supposed crisis is the media. They always blow everything out of proportion. Doing so is good for business. CNBC's ratings are soaring.
Another culprit is the politicians, who gain power from hysteria. In the last supposed crisis (terrorism) it was the Republicans who primarily benefited. This time it will be the Democrats, who have a decade of pent-up desires to re-engineer American society. These dreams may now become reality in the wake of the current fear mongering.
And last, but not least among the con artists, are a group of businesses with an official government relationship that earns them the designation of "Primary Dealers." Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the Primary Dealers . . .
"A primary dealer is a bank or securities broker-dealer that may trade directly with the Federal Reserve System of the United States. They are required to make bids or offers when the Fed conducts open market operations, provide information to the Fed's open market trading desk, and to participate actively in U.S. Treasury securities auctions. They consult with both the U.S. Treasury and the Fed about funding the budget deficit and implementing monetary policy. Many former employees of primary dealers work at the Treasury, because of their expertise in the government debt markets, though the Fed avoids a similar revolving door policy. Between them, these dealers purchase the vast majority of the U.S. Treasury securities (T-bills, T-notes, and T-bonds) sold at auction, and resell them to the public."
Who are the Primary Dealers? Look at this roster (which used to include Bear Stearns) . . .
* BNP Paribas Securities Corp.
* Bank of America Securities LLC
* Barclays Capital Inc.
* Cantor Fitzgerald & Co.
* Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
* Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC
* Daiwa Securities America Inc.
* Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.
* Dresdner Kleinwort Securities LLC.
* Goldman, Sachs & Co.
* HSBC Securities (USA) Inc.
* J. P. Morgan Securities Inc.
* Lehman Brothers Inc.
* Merrill Lynch Government Securities Inc.
* Mizuho Securities USA Inc.
* Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated
* UBS Securities LLC.
We should notice several things about this list . . .
* These are among the primary firms that collaborated with the government to create the housing bubble
* These are the primary firms that profit from the financing of the national debt and who are benefiting from the current explosion in the federal debt and the Federal Reserve's massive inflation of the money supply
* These are probably the primary firms that will work with the Treasury Department to manage the auction of toxic assets
* These are also probably the primary firms that have toxic assets to sell (they will be both sellers and brokers in the Big Bailout)
* And most of these firms have been made "too big to fail" through their business dealings with the government
These Primary Dealers are the primary players in the Big Bailout con-game. And they are part of the crowd who are looting the country.
You can sit back and accept the Big Bailout and the on-going Big Interventions as an accomplished fact, or you can rage and protest to Congress. If we fall silent then the con-artists will be emboldened to do more and more. We must not fall silent. We must protest constantly.
We've created a new generic campaign to oppose all government bailouts. Please use this campaign to send Congress another message. Ask them to reconsider the Big Bailout. Ask them to roll-it-back. Use your personal comments to mention some of the facts described in this article. You can send your message using our Educate the Powerful System.
You can also compete with the power of Primary Dealers, the politicians, and the media, by taking steps to expand your own political influence. Please take these additional steps . . .
* Get a Digg account and go to our blog to Digg this message.
* Spread this message by forwarding it to friends and by posting it on your blog.
* Make a contribution or start a monthly pledge so we can recruit more DC Downsizers. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.
Thank you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC army.
Jim Babka & Perry Willis
President & Communications Director