Hiding The Elephant: Fort Knox’s Vanishing Act - By Kal Kotecha (22/2/12) PDF Print E-mail
Kal Kotecha   
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 08:52

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How Greece Could Take Down Wall Street - By Ellen Brown (21/2/12) PDF Print E-mail
Ellen Brown   
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 09:24

CommonDreams

In an article titled “Still No End to ‘Too Big to Fail,’” William Greider wrote in The Nation on February 15th:

Financial market cynics have assumed all along that Dodd-Frank did not end "too big to fail" but instead created a charmed circle of protected banks labeled "systemically important" that will not be allowed to fail, no matter how badly they behave.

That may be, but there is one bit of bad behavior that Uncle Sam himself does not have the funds to underwrite: the $32 trillion market in credit default swaps (CDS).  Thirty-two trillion dollars is more than twice the U.S. GDP and more than twice the national debt.

CDS are a form of derivative taken out by investors as insurance against default.  According to the Comptroller of the Currency, nearly 95% of the banking industry’s total exposure to derivatives contracts is held by the nation’s five largest banks: JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, HSBC, and Goldman Sachs.  The CDS market is unregulated, and there is no requirement that the “insurer” actually have the funds to pay up.  CDS are more like bets, and a massive loss at the casino could bring the house down.



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“The Current Financial System Will Be Totally Destroyed“ - By Lars Schall (20/2/12) PDF Print E-mail
Lars Schall   
Monday, 20 February 2012 09:27

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Deflation's Inflationary Source - By David Howden (17/2/12) PDF Print E-mail
David Howden   
Friday, 17 February 2012 10:16

Mises Daily

A cry heard often today — both on the west and east sides of the Atlantic — is that inflation levels are dangerously low. While most central banks target a price inflation level of around 2–3 percent, general price indexes of most Western countries are falling below the lower bound of that target. A fear of deflation — apoplithorismosphobia, as Mark Thornton calls it — is setting in.

Without getting into whether deflation is good, bad, or benign, we should assess where deflation comes from. (The interested reader may consult George Selgin's Less than Zero: The Case for a Falling Price Level in a Growing Economy and Philipp Bagus's "Who's Afraid of Deflation?" to see the positive side of a falling price level.)

Strictly speaking, inflation and deflation can only stem from changes in the actual amount of money outstanding. Increases in the quantity of dollars causes, everything else being the same, an increase in prices. A decrease in dollars will cause the opposite effect. While bouts of inflation can occur under any monetary regime, deflation is constrained to a specific type — the fractional-reserve-banking system.



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MFGlobal Reveals You Are A Bank Counter-Party - By Barry Ritholtz (17/2/12) PDF Print E-mail
Barry Ritholtz   
Friday, 17 February 2012 10:09

www.ritholtz.com/blog

The esteemed former Fed Chairman, Paul Volcker, introduced a very simple regulatory concept that bears his name: The Volcker Rule [1]. It was part of the Dodd-Frank regulatory reforms [2] passed after the financial crisis of 2008-09.

There has been enormous pushback against what should be a simple piece of prophylactic rules on proprietary trading by depository banks (see this Jamie Dimon commentary [3] as an example). Why? The profits of speculation goes to banks, driving bonuses and compensation; but the ultimate risk of loss lay with the FDIC and taxpayer. If the banks blow up, someone else besides the banker pays.

Privatized gains, socialized losses.

I want to take a few moments to briefly explain why this rule is so important to taxpayers, especially following the collapse of MF Global and the loss of billions of client assets.



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