Federal Reserve

European Bank Rescue Package May Be Announced This Coming Week

eurozoneThe planets are aligning for another round of debt monetization in Europe, backed up by the United States. Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, is reportedly looking at expanding the amount of Spanish government debt he can buy. He is also said to be considering another LTRO – Long Term Refinancing Operation, which is the mechanism the central bank uses to buy debt from private sector banks.

That Spain needs help is beyond doubt. The global bond market has been fleeing Spanish government debt as rapidly as it can, forcing yields to the 7.3% area, which is beyond the point where the Spanish government can continue to pay interest from its own revenues without severely cutting back on domestic expenditures. The same situation is playing out at the local level in Spain: Andalusia and other provinces have been besieging Madrid for help in meeting the interest burden on their own debts. There is also talk that medium to small size Spanish commercial banks are out of liquid collateral, and are unable to meet further collateral calls on the global markets.

Ron Paul's Last Stand - Audit the Fed

audit fedCongressman Ron Paul has been after the Federal Reserve for decades. His last great act before retirement, to audit the Fed, just passed the House of Representatives. All but one Republican voted for the bill with Democrats split down the middle. Our more corporate Democrats voted against the bill. Now the Senate has vowed to not take up the bill.

A senior Democratic Senate leadership aide said there are no plans to bring the bill up in the Senate, but didn’t rule out an attempt by Republicans to seek a vote on the measure as part of another piece of legislation. The Senate would be almost certain to defeat it given the Democratic majority in the chamber.

Dems are busy claiming an audit would politicize monetary policy:

"This bill would instead jeopardize the Fed's independence by subjecting its decisions on interest rates and monetary policy to GAO audit," said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). "I agree with [Fed] Chairman [Ben] Bernanke that congressional review of the Fed's monetary policy decisions would be a 'nightmare scenario,' especially judging by the track record of this Congress when it comes to governing effectively.

The Fed Keeps Twisting and Tells Us the Economy is in the Wind

twistThe Federal Reserve will extend their Operation Twist past the June 2012 deadline and downgraded the economic outlook. Originally Operation Twist was $400 billion in Treasuries that were maturity dates of 3 years of less turned into T-bills with maturity dates of 6 to 30 years.

Here is the twist details from the NY Fed:

Headlines Blare Americans Lose 40% of Their Wealth Yet Income Decline is the Real Horror Story

The Federal Reserve released a report, the 2010 Survey of Consumer Finances. This is a report on household wealth from 2007-2010, removing effects of inflation. No surprise, median net worth declined by 38.8% from 2007 to 2010 and is down to 1992 levels. Why this should be no surprise is due to the housing bubble and declining home values. A home is the largest asset many people have.

Bernanke: No QE3 Wall Street, Congress Get it Together and We Need Jobs

bernakeFederal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke gave testimony before the Joint Economic Committee and the doves fell from the sky. Bernanke cut short Wall Street's addict like demand for more quantitative easing and instead suggested a host of policies to boost hiring and real economic output.

On the labor markets, Bernanke's testimony validated our analysis, that one cannot blame the pathetic jobs market on the weather.

More-rapid gains in economic activity will be required to achieve significant further improvement in labor market conditions.

In fact, Bernanke suggested the next FOMC meeting discussion question will ask: Will there be enough growth going forward to make material progress on the unemployment rate?  This is good, Bernanke realizes the #1 threat to the U.S. economy is the jobs crisis.

The Fed Chair also warned on the ongoing sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone:

Saturday Reads Around the Internets - Over Half of New College Grads Can't Find a Job in 2011

shocknews Welcome to the weekly roundup of great articles, facts and figures. These are the weekly finds that made our eyes pop.

 

53.6% of New College Grads are Jobless or Underemployed in 2011

Dr. Andrew Sum crunched the numbers and for those graduating from college with a Bachelors we have some startling news. A whopping 53.6% of those under the age of 25 who have a college degree are either unemployed or unable to land a job in a field associated with their college major. Associated Press:

We Told Ya So - FOMC Minutes Confirm No Quantitative Easing

We told ya so, yet people don't listen. The Federal Reserve FOMC meeting minutes were released and showed no quantitative easing for you.

Here is the money shot from the FOMC minutes:

A couple of members indicated that the initiation of additional stimulus could become necessary if the economy lost momentum or if inflation seemed likely to remain below its mandate-consistent rate of 2 percent over the medium run.

The FOMC has 10 voting members. The news is clear, those in favor or more quantitative easing are now 8 to 2 and if and only if the economy goes further into the tank.

Nevertheless, the staff continued to forecast that real GDP growth would pick up only gradually in 2012 and 2013, supported by accommodative monetary policy, easing credit conditions, and improvements in consumer and business sentiment

We're sure some will hold out hope against hope that more quantitative easing will happen. After all there are two members of the FOMC leaving the door open on more quantitative easing if the unemployment situation gets worse. That said, the next time you see some major investment group claiming QE3 is sure to arrive, check their interests and why that group is making such a claim. Alternatively just read us, we sure knew QE3 was not gonna happen.

TBTF's Double Dip Dessert

doubledipWe all know Too Big To Fail Banks became even bigger from the financial crisis. We also know previous mergers and acquisitions along with financial deregulation allow banks to own, invest and advise, often on the same transactions or deals. We also know time and time again, this has led to strong conflicts of interest and disaster for shareholders, taxpayers and customers.

The latest is an acquisition deal of El-Paso, a natural gas pipeline operator, by Kinder Morgan, a competitor. Seems Goldman Sachs made off with a $25 million fee for advising El-Paso, all the while having a 19%, $4 billion dollar stake in Kinder Morgan, plus a couple of seats on the Kinder Morgan board to boot.

There is a clear conflict of interest on the El Paso-Kinder Morgan deal. The stink is so bad, Goldman Sachs even brought the wrath of Delaware Chancellor Leo Strine who called the deal tainted with disloyalty. Of course the acquisition of El Paso by Kinder Morgan goes through anyway, in spite of the court admonishment.

Wall Street's Selective Attention on Quantitative Easing Buzz

You've got to be kidding me. We have a strong case of what people say, what dogs hear. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave a speech today on the labor market. Surprise, surprise, the jobs market still sucks. Yet Wall Street didn't hear about the plight of working America. Nope, they only heard what they want to hear, the possibility of QE3, otherwise known as quantitative easing.
what people say what dogs hear
Ben Bernanke's speech acknowledged the pain and suffering endured by the United States worker. One would think the below quote would bring tears to Wall Street's eyes:

Those who have experienced unemployment know the burdens that it creates, and a growing academic literature documents some dimensions of those burdens. For example, research has shown that workers who lose previously stable jobs experience sharp declines in earnings that may last for many years, even after they find new work. Surveys indicate that more than one-half of the households experiencing long unemployment spells since the onset of the recent recession withdrew money from savings and retirement accounts to cover expenses, one-half borrowed money from family and friends, and one-third struggled to meet housing expenses. Unemployment also takes a toll on people's health and may have long-term consequences for the families of the unemployed as well. For example, studies suggest that unemployed people suffer from a higher incidence of stress-related health problems such as depression, stroke, and heart disease, and they may have a lower life expectancy. The children of the unemployed achieve less in school and appear to have reduced long-term earnings prospects

Pages