A look back to 2009: The U.S. Fed and ‘the greatest back-door Wall Street bailout of all time’

Andrew Huszar directed the Federal Reserve’s [QE1] $1.25 trillion agency mortgage-backed security purchase program which kicked off during March 2009.

Immediately below are his after-thoughts…or “confessions:”  

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Andrew Huszar: Confessions of a Quantitative Easer – WSJ.com       

“We went on a bond-buying spree that was supposed to help Main Street. Instead, it was a feast for Wall Street.

I can only say: I’m sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed’s first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing. The central bank continues to spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street. But I’ve come to recognize the program for what it really is:        the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time.

Five years ago this month, on Black Friday, the Fed launched an unprecedented shopping spree. By that point in the financial crisis, Congress had already passed legislation, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, to halt the U.S. banking system’s free fall. Beyond Wall Street, though, the economic pain was still soaring. In the last three months of 2008 alone, almost two million Americans would lose their jobs.

The Fed said it wanted to help—through a new program of massive bond purchases. There were secondary goals, but Chairman Ben Bernanke made clear that the Fed’s central motivation was to “affect credit conditions for households and businesses”: to drive down the cost of credit so that more Americans hurting from the tanking economy could use it to weather the downturn. For this reason, he originally called the initiative “credit easing.”

In its almost 100-year history, the Fed had never bought one mortgage bond. Now my program was buying so many each day through active, unscripted trading that we constantly risked driving bond prices too high and crashing global confidence in key financial markets. We were working feverishly to preserve the impression that the Fed knew what it was doing.

It wasn’t long before my old doubts resurfaced. Despite the Fed’s rhetoric, my program wasn’t helping to make credit any more accessible for the average American. The banks were only issuing fewer and fewer loans. More insidiously, whatever credit they were extending wasn’t getting much cheaper. QE may have been driving down the wholesale cost for banks to make loans, but Wall Street was pocketing most of the extra cash.

Trading for the first round of QE ended on March 31, 2010. The final results confirmed that, while there had been only trivial relief for Main Street, the U.S. central bank’s bond purchases had been an absolute coup for Wall Street. The banks hadn’t just benefited from the lower cost of making loans. They’d also enjoyed huge capital gains on the rising values of their securities holdings and fat commissions from brokering most of the Fed’s QE transactions. Wall Street had experienced its most profitable year ever in 2009, and 2010 was starting off in much the same way.

That was when I realized the Fed had lost any remaining ability to think independently from Wall Street. Demoralized, I returned to the private sector.

Where are we today? The Fed keeps buying roughly $85 billion in bonds a month, chronically delaying so much as a minor QE taper. Over five years, its bond purchases have come to more than $4 trillion. Amazingly, in a supposedly free-market nation, QE has become the largest financial-markets intervention by any government in world history.

And the impact? Even by the Fed’s sunniest calculations, aggressive QE over five years has generated only a few percentage points of U.S. growth. By contrast, experts outside the Fed, such as Mohammed El Erian at the Pimco investment firm, suggest that the Fed may have created and spent over $4 trillion for a total return of as little as 0.25% of GDP (i.e., a mere $40 billion bump in U.S. economic output). Both of those estimates indicate that QE isn’t really working.

Having racked up hundreds of billions of dollars in opaque Fed subsidies, U.S. banks have seen their collective stock price triple since March 2009. The biggest ones have only become more of a cartel: 0.2% of them now control more than 70% of the U.S. bank assets.”                                                                               _____________________________

The Leviticus 25 Plan levels the playing field by direct liquidity access to U.S. citizens – the same access that was so generously provided to Wall Street’s financial sector seven sort years ago.

America, it is time for a change. It is time for a bold, new economic plan.

The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 –  $75,000 per U.S. citizen                                                   The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 (1638)

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Jackson Hole 2016: Global bankers ‘plea’ for more government assistance

Central planning, as coordinated by world governments and Central Banks, has been a miserable failure.

Central planning has done nothing to prime the growth pumps for legitimate economic growth and prosperity.  It has done nothing to draw down global debt or secure financial health for millions of citizens at ground level.

And now the Central Bankers want more help – from global governments.

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Global central bankers, stuck at zero, unite in plea for help from governments  YahooNews 8-28-16 – excerpts:

By Howard Schneider

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. (Reuters) – Central bankers in charge of the vast bulk of the world’s economy delved deep into the weeds of money markets and interest rates over a three-day conference here, and emerged with a common plea to their colleagues in the rest of government: please help.

Mired in a world of low growth, low inflation and low interest rates, officials from the Federal Reserve, Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank said their efforts to bolster the economy through monetary policy may falter unless elected leaders stepped forward with bold measures. These would range from immigration reform in Japan to structural changes to boost productivity and growth in the U.S. and Europe.

Without that, they said, it would be hard to convince markets and households that things will get better, and encourage the shift in mood many economists feel are needed to improve economic performance worldwide. During a Saturday session at the symposium, such a slump in expectations about inflation and about other aspects of the economy was cited as a central problem complicating central banks’ efforts to reach inflation targets and dimming prospects in Japan and Europe.

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More ‘help’ from global governments?

Here is one recent example showing the competency of governments in ‘managing’ financial affairs:

August 26, 2016Japanese Government Squanders Pension Funds On Failed Stocks As Losses Reach $130 Billion In Past Year

What the world does need is decentralized, citizen-driven, free market economics – and economic liberty.

The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 –  $75,000 per U.S. citizen                                                   The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 (1635)

2016: It is time to re-target liquidity flows with a powerful new economic acceleration plan, The Leviticus 25 Plan

The U.S. economy, and other major global economies, are in a deflationary tailspin.  That is the current economic reality.

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How Long Can Economic Reality Be Ignored?   ZeroHedge 08/14/2016

Submitted by Paul Craig Roberts via Strategic-Culture.org,

Excerpts:

The cost of higher education has risen 137% since 2000. The Milliman Medical Index shows medical costs to have risen far above official inflation from 2005 to 2016. The costs of medical insurance, trash collection, you name it, are dramatically higher than the official rate of inflation.

Food, tuition and medical costs are major outlays for households. Add zero interest on savings to the problem of coping with major cost increases when real incomes are stagnant and falling. For example, grandparents cannot help grandchildren with their student loan debt when zero interest rates force grandparents to draw down their savings in order to supplement essentially frozen Social Security benefits during a time of high inflation. Savings are being taken out of the economy. Many families exist by paying only the minimum payment on their credit card balance, which means that their debt grows monthly.

Real economists, if there were any, looking at the real economic picture would see an economy collapsing into widespread debt deflation and impoverishment. Debt deflation is when consumers after they service their debts have no discretionary income left with which to drive the economy with purchases.

The reason that Americans have no income from their savings is that public authorities put the welfare of a handful of “banks too big to fail” above the welfare of the American people. The enormous liquidity created by the Federal Reserve has gone into the financial system where it has driven up the prices of financial instruments. There has been a stock market recovery but not an economic recovery.

In the past liquidity implied economic growth. When the Federal Reserve loosened monetary policy, the increase in consumer demand caused an increase in the output of goods and services. Stock prices would rise anticipating higher profits. But in recent years financial markets have not been driven by fundamentals, which are adverse, but by the liquidity that the Federal Reserve has pumped into the banking system in order to save a handful of over-sized banks and insurance giant AIG, all of which should have been allowed to fail. The liquidity had to go somewhere and it went into the prices of stocks and bonds, causing a tremendous asset inflation.

What sense does it make to have zero interest rates when high inflation is eating away the real value of money? What sense does it make to have high price/earnings ratios when the consumer market cannot expand? What sense does it make to have a stable dollar when the Federal Reserve has created far more dollars than the economy has created goods and services? What sense does it make to undermine the financial condition of pension funds and insurance companies with zero interest rates, leaving them with no fixed income hedge against the stock market?

It makes no sense. We are in a trap in which collapse seems the only way out. If interest rates reflected the real rate of inflation, the hundreds of trillions in derivatives would blow up, the stock market would collapse, unemployment could not be hidden with under-measurement, budget deficits would rise. What would public authorities do?

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There is one comprehensive economic acceleration plan that can get America up and moving again – with massive debt reduction across all sectors, dynamic free-market power, robust economic growth, vital social and societal benefits, and economic liberty for U.S. citizens.

The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 –  $75,000 per U.S. citizen                                                  The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 (1624)

The Leviticus 25 Plan vs Fed’s secret emergency lending programs

The Federal Reserve’s ‘secret liquidity lifelines’ for major banks:

Bloomberg LP filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on Nov 7, 2008  to gain access to information regarding special emergency lending programs that the U.S. Federal Reserve had been running to help borrower banks deal with cash shortages and collateral deficiencies. The Fed fought the lawsuit, but ultimately lost.

Bloomberg gained access to more than 29,000 pages of previously secret loan documents and Fed spreadsheets and published the highlights of those programs in late 2011.

According to Bloomberg, the top 15 recipients of Fed’s ‘secret liquidity lifelines’ were: Morgan Stanley   $107 billion                                                                                       Citigroup Inc.   $99.5 billion                                                                                                Bank of America Corp   $91.4 billion                                                                                 Royal Bank of Scotland Plc   $84.5 billion                                                                         State Street Corp   $77.8 billion                                                                                          UBS AG  $77.2 billion                                                                                                  Goldman Sachs Group Inc.   $69 billion                                                                                JP Morgan Chase & Co    $68.6 billion                                                                       Deutsche Bank AG  $66 billion                                                                                    Barclays Plc   $64.9 billion                                                                                                Merrill Lynch & Co Inc.  $62.1 billion                                                                                 Credit Suisse Group AG  $60.8 billion                                                                              Dexia SA  $58.5 billion                                                                                               Wachovia  $50 billion

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Meanwhile, here’s how Main Street America made out.

8.7 million Americans lost their jobs during the financial crisis years.

4.1 million American families lost their homes through completed foreclosures from September 2008 through December 2012, according to CoreLogic..

Real Median Household Income has not recovered.  It is, in fact, lower now than it was 8 years earlier in 2008.

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It is time to grant U.S. citizens the same liquidity access that was provided to Wall Street’s financial sector during the financial crisis.

The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 –  $75,000 per U.S. citizen                                                  The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 (1615)

Is this how big government central planning is supposed to work?

The U.S.Government and U S. Federal Reserve coordinated a colossal economic recovery plan to ‘liquefy’ Wall Street’s financial sector and certain other politically-connected business entities during the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2010.

Hundreds of billions of dollars were pumped out through targeted rescue packages and emergency lending credit facilities to the likes of Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Deutsche Bank, UBS, Wells Fargo, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, and scores of others.

So how has that big-government, central planning effort worked out?

U.S. economic growth has been positively anemic. A significant portion of what little there has been in GDP growth has come on the heels of increased health care costs due to the Affordable Care Act.

The U.S. population now includes over 94.7 million working age Americans ‘not in the labor force.’  The jobs that have been created are heavily centered in the service sector, not manufacturing.

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BLS Labor Force Statistics from Current Population Survey – August 16, 2016

Not in Labor Force
Labor force status:  Not in labor force
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

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Since 2014 The US Has Added 450,000 Waiters And Bartenders, And No Manufacturing Workers

ZeroHedge 05/06/2016

And here is the longer-term picture, going back to the start of the crisis in December 2007: please do not “peddle fiction” upon seeing this chart.

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America needs a new plan – a citizen-directed economic acceleration plan that ‘powers up’ the economy, generates balanced budgets, and restores financial health and economic liberty to U.S. citizens.

 The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 –  $75,000 per U.S. citizen                                                  The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 (1611)

 

 

IMF: $12 billion additional funding to shore up Egypt’s ailing economy

The NY Times reports: “IMF Lends $12 billion to Egypt to Fix Ailing Economy”            CAIRO — The International Monetary Fund has tentatively agreed to lend Egypt $12 billion in exchange for significant economic reforms, senior government finance officials said Thursday.

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The International Monetary Fund Members’ Quotas Report (August 12, 2016) confirms the U.S. quota of 17.51%, totaling $82.994 billion, to the most recent IMF annual budget:

United States3 82,994.2 17.51

On a pro-rated basis then, U.S. taxpayers are helping to shore up Egypt’s ailing economy to the tune of about $2.1 billion.

That $2.1 billion is just a little ‘drop in the bucket’ in light of past bailouts involving Greece, Ukraine, Egypt and many other nations with troubled economies.

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It is time for the government to grant U.S. citizens the same access to their own money that they have been freely providing to foreign citizens, through the IMF, in dozens of other nations (many of them ‘hostile’ to the U.S.) around the world.

It is time for a dynamic new economic acceleration plan for America.

The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 –  $75,000 per U.S. citizen                                                   The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 (1607)

 

Means-tested welfare ‘spiraling’ out of control

Means-tested welfare spending is now approaching $1.1 trillion per year.

We are on an unsustainable track – and no one in government has a credible plan (or the ‘slightest clue’) on how to deal with it.

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Welfare is the New Work  –  ZeroHedge, Aug 8, 2016                                             Authored by Stephen Moore, published Op-Ed at The Washington Tmes,   

Excerpts:                                                                                                                              The welfare state of mind has spiraled out of control in America…

The welfare/entitlement state of mind has spiraled out of control in America. No one is lifting a finger of opposition. The cost of welfare is now well over $1 trillion a year. Food stamps are so ubiquitous that they have replaced dollars as the new standard currency in many inner cities in America. Even in affluent areas with upscale grocery stores, food stamp recipients fill their carts with everything from cakes to lobster.

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By the way, disability rolls are growing even as worker safety has hit an all-time high. Shouldn’t safety and automation mean fewer disabled workers? The reality, as everyone in the welfare industry knows, is that food stamps and disability are the new welfare. Neither one of them requires work in exchange for benefits.

No one wants to admit that the ease of entry into the welfare state and the generosity of the benefits is one big reason why labor force participation has collapsed.  Why work?

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As a result, the Census Bureau tells us that most families that are in poverty have no one working. Poverty is still widespread in America not because wages are too low, but that fewer poor people have a job. If there are no wages earned at all, it is impossible to get out of the poverty trap.

Welfare incentivizes non-work in many other ways. Former George W. Bush economist Larry Lindsey reports that welfare recipients generally lose at least 50 cents of every dollar benefit they gain in wage and salary from working. Sometimes the benefits fall by 70 cents per dollar earned. So a $12 an hour job returns as little as $4 an hour of extra income. Why work?

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America’s one legitimate, comprehensive economic plan to lift people up out of poverty, re-incentivize work and restore the dignity of earning a living:

The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 –  $75,000 per U.S. citizen                                                   The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 (1603)

2016: Soaring U.S. entitlement spending – not ‘sustainable’

The U.S. government has set the nation on course for a brutal economic reality at some point in the not-too-distant future.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) offers this assessment in its Fiscal Outlook & The Debt::

The federal government’s debt as a share of Gross Domestic Produce (GDP) is growing unsustainably because revenue and spending are fundamentally imbalanced over the long term, according to GAO’s simulations of the federal fiscal outlook.

The increases in spending shown in the simulations are driven by an aging population, rising health care costs, and net interest.  Net interest is equal to the amount of interest paid minus the amount received.  The government pays and collects interest in various ways.  For example, net interest outlays are dominated by the interest paid to holders of federal debt securities that the Department of the Treasury issues to the public on the federal debt.

Further, the growing gap between revenue and spending will limit the federal government’s flexibility to address future challenges.

These key points are illustrated by GAO’s long-term simulations projecting federal deficits and debt under different sets of policy assumptions. A simulation is a hypothetical—a “what if?” Since 1992, GAO has periodically run two simulations of the federal budget that illustrate the potential implications of different policy choices.

GAO also publishes simulations of long-term fiscal trends for the state and local government sector, which likewise faces long-term fiscal pressures.

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Meanwhile, David Stockman offers these equally grim contributing factors:

US Government Entitlements – The Sixth Biggest Economy on Earth                   ZeroHedge – July 30, 2016

Excerpted from David Stockman’s forthcoming book “Trumped! A Nation On The Brink… And How To Bring It Back”,

Because the main street economy is failing, the nation’s entitlement rolls have exploded. About 110 million citizens now receive some form of means tested benefits. When social security is included, more than 160 million citizens get checks from Washington.

The total cost is now $3 trillion per year and rising rapidly. America’s entitlements sector, in fact, is the sixth biggest economy in the world.

Government-Asst-DPI-072816

Yet in a society that is rapidly aging to the tune of 10,000 baby boom retirees per day, this 50% dependency ratio is not even remotely sustainable. As we show in a later chapter, social security itself will be bankrupt within 10 years….

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America has a powerful economic option ‘up and ready to go.’

One that will fire up the economy and dramatically reduce dependency on government.

It will restore economic liberty by restoring resource allocation to U.S. citizens, thereby largely eliminating government-dominated ‘allocation distress.’

The Leviticus 25 Plan is a dynamic economic initiative providing direct liquidity benefits for American families, while at the same time scaling back the role of government in managing and controlling the affairs of citizens.  It is a comprehensive plan with long-term economic and social benefits for citizens and government.

The inspiration for this plan is based upon Biblical principles set forth in the Book of Leviticus, principles tendering direct economic liberties to the people.

The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 –  $75,000 per U.S. citizen                                                  The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 (1598)