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Jim Cook

 

RUNAWAY SOCIAL SYMPATHY

Every once in a while I switch the TV channel from Fox to CNBC to see what the liberals are saying.  After listening awhile I get a deep sense of hopelessness and foreboding for our country.  The most important thing for the left is giving money to people.  They are happy to see the growth of food stamps, disability payments, housing subsidies, free healthcare and all the other welfare benefits.  They utterly fail to see the damage it is doing to the recipients.  Whole cities that once flourished have deteriorated into rotting eyesores populated with shambling hulks of chemically dependent drones.  These people are no longer employable.  They have become incompetent and helpless and the liberals can’t see that it’s their doing.

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The Best of Jim Cook Archive

 
Best of Doug Noland
March 27, 2009
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Doug NolandMarket confidence in the vast majority of private-sector Credit has been lost. This Bubble has burst, and the mania in "Wall Street finance" has run its course. The private sector’s capacity to issue trusted ("money-like") liabilities has been greatly diminished. The hope is that Treasury stimulus and Federal Reserve monetization will resuscitate private Credit creation; that confidence in these types of instruments will return. I would counter that once government interventions come to severely distort a marketplace it is a very arduous process to get the government out and private Credit back in (just look at the markets for mortgage and student loan finance!). This is a major, major issue.

The marketplace today wants to buy what the government has issued or guaranteed (explicitly and implicitly). Market operators also want to buy what our government is going to buy. In particular, the market absolutely adores Treasuries, agency MBS, and GSE debt. There is no chance that such a system will effectively allocate resources. There is today no prospect that such a financial structure will spur the necessary economic overhaul. None.

There is indeed great hope policymakers will succeed in preserving the current economic structure. On the back of massive stimulus and monetization, the expectation is that the financial system and asset prices will stabilize. The economy will be, it is anticipated, not far behind. And the seductive part of this view is that unprecedented policy measures may actually be able to somewhat rekindle an artificial boom – perhaps enough even to appear to stabilize the system. But seeming "stabilization" will be in response to massive Washington stimulus and market intervention – and will be dependent upon ongoing massive government stimulus and intervention. It’s called a debt trap. The Great Hyman Minsky would view it as the ultimate "Ponzi Finance."

As I’ve argued on these pages, our highly inflated and distorted system requires $2.0 TN or so of Credit creation to hold implosion at bay. It is my belief that this will ONLY be possible with Trillion-plus annual growth in both Treasury debt and Federal Reserves liabilities. Private sector Credit creation simply will not bounce back sufficiently to play much of a role. Mortgage, consumer, and business Credit – in this post-Bubble environment - will not re-emerge as much of a force for getting total system Credit near this $2 TN bogey. In this post-Bubble backdrop, only government finance has a sufficient inflationary bias to get Trillion-plus issuance. But the day that policymakers try to extract themselves from massive stimulus and monetization will be the day they risk an immediate erosion of confidence and a run on both government and private Credit instruments. Also as I’ve written, once the government "printing press" gets revved up it’s very difficult to slow it down. This week currency markets finally took this threat seriously.

Doug Noland is a market strategist at Prudent Bear Funds. Their website is www.prudentbear.com.