U.S. stocks slide anew as recession fears trump bailout hopes
No risk, high returns, no responsibility; the antithesis of freedom
By Craig R Smith
CEO, Swiss America
October 16, 2008
With a collective sigh of relief, millions of Americans woke up on Monday to a record setting advance on Wall Street. In one day the cries of “off with their heads” directed at CEOs changed to “fill my pockets”. Yet nothing has fundamentally changed.
Disturbing news about retail sales coupled with a very disjointed speech but Fed Chairman Bernanke provided the platform for large losses on Wall Street again today.
The Dow at the closing bell was down 733 at 8573. The S&P closed down over 7%, one of the worse in history. Gold, the king of stability, is still subject to volatility given the huge hedge fund liquidations in all areas of commodities.
Treasury Bills are basically yielding zero given the stampede to safety. Apparently the "tools" the government and Fed are using to save the markets are doing little to restore the confidence necessary that fiat currency based markets demand for smooth operation.
Well over one trillion dollars along with an unprecedented worldwide rate cuts have done little to sure up confidence, in fact, may be causing a loss of confidence given that all this intervention has had no impact on market conditions. Things appear to be getting worse and not better despite dramatic actions worldwide.
The future economic growth of America and the world is the big question.
Can the world grow at a rate that will keep pace with the last three years? The answer is apparent, thus smart investors are keeping their money safe from future deterioration.
Profits will be down, housing shows little to no sign of recovery and the billions pumped into the banks are not finding their way to willing borrowers.
The "safety" trade of SwissAmerica is proving to be the right trade. Safety, liquidity and profit is the model almost all traders and investors now feel comfortable with. Any other course is rocky at best and diastorous at worst.
Any rallies must be questioned and viewed as potential opportunity to get out and stay on the sidelines.
Last weekend the governments of the world went into battle mode to save the world and put a band aid on a gaping wound. A wound that cannot be healed in this way. A wound that will produce more government control of our lives and it is exactly what most Americans asked for.
Flooding the world with money is not a cure. It may be a great painkiller but it did nothing to address the real problem; excessive levels of debt. Debt that will now run until the world drowns in it.
Corporate, personal and government debt, over the last two decades, has reached unsustainable levels. When a small portion of the debt known as “sub prime” went from the milk and honey of the money changers to toxic waste, the whole system froze and revealed just how vulnerable it was and continues to be.
There is no doubt we may have, for the moment, avoided a second great depression but at what price? And equally important how can any of the corporations being bailed out generate the profits necessary to pay back the borrowed money?
How can companies founded on a free market business model now survive, no less flourish, under government-controlled financial socialism?
They can't. And most honest economists know it. But the citizens of the world don't want to face the truth behind the systemic problems. They want and demand unbridled, uninterrupted growth and accumulation of personal wealth. Wealth that is created, in many cases, without work. Wealth that is guaranteed to never drop in value.
So the government has been assigned the task by many uneducated citizens of making everyone in the world rich.
Soon we will witness what any society that subscribes to the belief that wealth without work or risk is a birthright…inflation. That is the only formula that will perpetuate the welfare state. And now that state includes Wall Street bankers and investors.
The demand for continuation of the game will cause governments worldwide to print money faster than it can be spent. Helicopter Ben Bernanke will be loading the chopper with $100 bills dropping them over the population at large. Many will think its great! I can see the masses in the streets getting their “fair share” of the wealth. Even Obama wants to “spread the wealth around”.
$250 billion of the $805 billion ($105 billion added pork) TARP program will now buy direct equity in American banks and possibly banks around the world. The government is now an investor with the taxpayer as the guarantor. Soon government will be in health care, automobiles, aircraft and Lord knows what else.
If these new government investments happen to fail who will save us then? The taxpayer will have already been bled dry from stopping the current failure. Has anybody planned ahead for if and, more likely, when this occurs?
If any American at this point doesn't see the lunacy of the current plan to “save” the system then they deserve the Socialism they will receive. I for one have taken steps to protect my family from the government mismanagement that is sure to come. They have done such a good job running the country that we are now placing private business in their hands? Have we reached that level of irrational panic?
October 13, 2008 will be the official day the final nail was driven deep into the coffin of free markets and free market principles. No longer is any responsibility required in business because government will always reward bad behavior and ignore bad decisions. Moral hazard is now thrown out the window. Apparently any behavior good or bad receives benefit.
Liberty was sold this week for the promise of wealth and prosperity. Apparently two cars, a home, a fat 401k and a life of ease are much more important than freedom and liberty. Liberty is based on personal responsibility and Americans want all the reward without any responsibility. Wall Street fat cats included.
Your government has replaced the greatest free market capitalist system in the world, one based on risk and reward; with a completely socialist financial system with the government at its foundation. There is only one question left to ask. Who will have the power to pick the winners and losers?
I doubt the average Joe will have the “w” on his side of the ledger given the track record of this government but this is what the people wanted. The pain got so severe we allowed our proven capitalist ideals to be reduced to nothing better than the socialist sludge all of Europe and the world have offered for years.
We will regret not biting the bullet and making the hard decisions. I am convinced future leaders will tax the people to death trying to pay for their foolish mistakes. That to me will create nothing more than a group of glorified slaves.
Karl Marx must be smiling from the grave. Today he has triumphed over Adam Smith and our founders for the heart and soul of the American people and their pansy politicians.
Read the FULL STORY in BAILOUT NATION: Truth AND Consequences