Het einde van de economie (2): analyse

wallstreet.jpgNadat deze website op 15 september het einde van de economie aankondigde is de voorspelling reeds drie dagen later uitgekomen. In opperste paniek heeft de regering-Bush -die de VS vlak voor de verkiezingen inderdaad geheel geruineerd achterlaat- de meest absurde beloftes gedaan om de total collapse for the time being uitgesteld te krijgen. Dat de beurzen als reactie op deze hokus pokus van Bush cs. de hemel in stegen, geeft alleen maar aan hoe de paniek -en het zusje van paniek, wishful thinking– alles en iedereen in de greep heeft. Obama en McCain kunnen hun campagnes intussen maar beter stopzetten. Want wie wil er nog een land gaan regeren dat door zijn voorganger het meest afschrikwekkende bankroet wordt ingedreven uit de geschiedenis? Daarnaast helpt Bush ook nog eens de hele Amerikaanse democratie -of wat daar nog van over is- om zeep door het Congres op de valreep van het weekeind te dwingen accoord te gaan met het besteden van wellicht een triljoen (een miljoen x een miljoen) dollar aan belastinggeld! Of de dames en heren representatives maar effe willen tekenen! Hieronder enkele quotes uit de New York Times en andere media (ik zal ze steeds aanvullen, ook de lezer wordt uitgenodigd goede quotes in te sturen) die de huidige situatie goed weergeven:

bushmba.jpgThe Bush administration, moving to prevent an economic cataclysm, urged Congress on Friday to grant it far-reaching emergency powers to buy hundreds of billions of dollars in distressed mortgages despite many unknowns about how the plan would work.

Henry M. Paulson Jr., the Treasury secretary, made it clear that the upfront cost of the rescue proposal could easily be $500 billion, and outside experts predicted that it could reach $1 trillion.

Democratic leaders immediately pledged to work closely with Mr. Paulson to pass a plan in the next week, but they also demanded that the measure include relief for deeply indebted homeowners, not just for banks and Wall Street firms. (Dat laatste kan nog leiden tot een politiek slagveld!)

According to notes taken by one participant in a call to House members, Mr. Paulson said that the failure to pass a broad rescue plan would lead to nothing short of disaster. Mr. Bernanke said that Wall Street had plunged into a full-scale panic.

He(Paulson) indicated that he wanted to buy securities only from United States financial institutions, a decision that could anger legions of foreign institutions that poured hundreds of billions of dollars into the American mortgage market in the housing boom, and have customers located here.

Basic questions remained unanswered as of Friday evening, including how much of the mortgage market the administration hoped to buy up. The broader economic questions were even more daunting. What were the dangers in letting the government borrow another $500 billion — which ultimately might have to come from foreign investors — at the same time the deficit was already skyrocketing?

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve and Treasury deployed additional tens of billions of dollars to prevent an investor panic and flight from the nation’s money market mutual funds.

But below the surface, a new sense of turmoil set in. When Washington changed the rules of Wall Street, winners were turned into losers and losers were turned into winners, and both camps were left fearful about what would come next.

But across Wall Street, many of the basic mechanisms of the marketplace broke down after the Securities and Exchange Commission announced on Friday morning that it would ban short selling in nearly 800 financial stocks.

Hedge fund managers who made vast profits betting against the nation’s financial titans called the ban unfair, and said the move would only prolong the financial crisis. Some traders said they were no longer betting on the intrinsic health of companies, but rather on what the government might do next. Others simply withdrew from the market.

“Some of my clients are literally closing their books and going on their vacation for two weeks — they can’t operate in this environment,” said Meredith A. Whitney, a financial services analyst. “You pack up and come back and play the game when you know what the rules are.”

Volgens Bair (Sheila Bair, topvrouw van de Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in de VS) is duidelijk dat de systeemcrisis zich niet zal beperken tot de VS.  “De wereldwijde financiële markten werken niet.” Ook in Europa moet men zich meer zorgen maken dan men tot nu toe doet, stelt Bair. „We zitten allemaal in hetzelfde schuitje.”

In Nederland houdt minister Bos (Financiën, PvdA) staande dat de situatie in de VS sterk verschilt van die in Nederland, al zullen de gevolgen ook hier merkbaar zijn. „De hele crisis betekent de definitieve teloorgang van een systeem dat is gebaseerd op hebzucht, onverantwoorde risico’s en perverse beloningen”, zei Bos gisteren.

Het bracht Fortis niet bepaald in rustiger vaarwater. Diverse marktwatchers noemden het concern deze week zelfs als volgend slachtoffer van de kredietcrisis. „Totaal niet reëel”, aldus Verwilst. Maar liever verwijst de bankier naar vergelijkbare uitspraken van minister Bos en DNB-president Nout Wellink en hun Belgische evenknieën. „Als de toezichthouder zegt dat er ja, gevolgen merkbaar zijn van de kredietcrisis, maar nee, klanten zich geen zorgen hoeven te maken, is dat veel vertrouwenwekkender dan als ik dat doe.”

So instead of having taxpayers buy the bad debt, the market should take care of it by itself?
“Sure, prices need to go down. Bad debt needs to be eliminated. The taxpayer ought to be protected. Taxes ought to be lowered…We are following the same routine that we did in the Depression, and that is artificially try to keep prices up. People were starving in the Depression and the only thing they did was try to keep wages artificially high and keep food prices high. We are doing the same thing now—we are trying to keep housing prices high. Low prices for houses mean poor people could buy a house. This is the most important part of a free market economy and that is free market pricing. Without free market pricing, the market can’t work. And this is in a way a major effort to price fix.”
(deze quote komt uit een interview met Rep. Ron Paul (Rep, Texas), een van de weinige afgevaardigden die zich openlijk tegen de plannen van Bush durft te keren).

How the economy can go from fundamentally sound earlier in the week to flat out meltdown mode where Hank Paulson had to not only use his bazooka, but also had to use his rocket propelled grenade with a nuke tip while jumping out of a window launching ninja stars and slapping the markets with brass knuckles is really amazing.
(Lees de uitstekende analyse van doctor Housingbubble)

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