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Taxpayers to Pay Trillions for Fannie and Freddie Bailout

Fannie and Freddie Seized…Cost to Taxpayer: Over $1 Trillion

Contrarain Profits
September 8, 2008

Uncle Sam has finally taken over Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM) and Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE). Yesterday, the Bush administration placed the mortgage giants under a conservatorship, putting billions of dollars of taxpeyers’ money at risk in the process.

The Treasury says it will stump up $200 billion to back the companies in exchange for a 79.9% stake in each. The government is now the biggest player in the US mortgage market.

Don Rich warns that the government’s bailout spells trouble for anyone holding US dollars. A major issue is that the Congressional Budget Office’s estimation of the costs of the bailout is far too conservative…

This from last Thursday’s Daily Reckoning:

A recent study from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has zero credibility. It pegged likely taxpayer losses in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts at $25 billion. For those with a sense of history, it is worth remembering that the S&L bailout had a $160 billion price tag. The numbers diverge so far from reality as to be laugh-out-loud funny. Funny, that is, except that the CBO estimate demonstrates a willful disconnect with the actual consequences of federal government actions.

As demonstrated below, the real cost of the bailouts will easily exceed $1.3 trillion. In fact, the real cost is likely to range between $1.3 trillion to $1.6 trillion, and is not unlikely to reach $2.5 trillion.

Between 2001 and 2007, Fannie and Freddie purchased or guaranteed $700 billion of Alt-A and subprime loans. Given the default rates on these loans – and the fact that the price of the housing that is the ultimate security of the loans will, for reasons demonstrated below, fall by at least thirty percent – this alone implies a loss for Fannie and Freddie on the order of $210 billion.

Fannie and Freddie acknowledge already-impaired loans on the balance sheet of $19 billion, which they have used creative accounting to avoid deleting from the shareholder equity account. This means that Fannie and Freddie have a maximum of $64 billion in capital remaining.

Given the inevitable losses on the Alt-A/subprime portion of their portfolio, it must be the case that if the federal government, as it is doing, guarantees Fannie and Freddie’s solvency, the difference between the loss and the capital to be made up by the government (i.e., the taxpayers) must equal, not $25 billion but $147 billion.

That alone would mean that the CBO is blowing smoke with their estimated cost figures, and if you think back to the S&L cost of $160 billion, this is not a surprising result. The real picture is so much worse that it is pretty obvious the CBO is flat out inventing figures just to get the politicians through November.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out how the government is going to get its hands on such money: the Federal printing press…

I don’t know what those people in Washington are taking to sleep at night after all their electorally driven accounting and finance exercises, but I can tell you what they will be doing to keep the government open for business: printing a whole lot of money.

Chairman Bernanke has the discount window open to any collateralization not worth the paper it is written on, so in effect he has the helicopters ready to drop hundred-dollar bills over Wall Street – as he once famously described the ultimate policy instrument of a fiat-money system.

Of course, if he does that, we will have to change his nickname from Helicopter Ben to Hyperinflation Ben, which answers the question of who picks up the tab of bailing out Fannie and Freddie: anyone owning dollars.

Produce a lot of something, and it becomes worth less. And given the losses at Fannie and Freddie, the taxpayer guarantee, and the ongoing initiation of Boomer retirement, only the inflation tax will work to pay for keeping Fannie and Freddie afloat.

Like it or not, we are about to enter interesting times, and it is too bad our supposed professional civil servants at the Congressional Budget Office have failed to tell the emperor the truth: that he is buck-naked bankrupt and getting ready to take a lot of people with him.

P.S Don Rich is an instructor of economics, finance, and political science at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, PA. He also teaches economics, government, and history at Delaware County Community College in Exton, PA. You can leave comments for Don on the mises.org blog.

 

Greenspan: U.S Economy in ’once-in-a-century’ financial crisis

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t6dLePtyXQ

 

U.S. Is “More Communist than China”: Jim Rogers

CNBC
September 15, 2008

The nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shows that the U.S. is “more communist than China right now” but its brand of socialism is meant only for the rich, investor Jim Rogers, CEO of Rogers Holdings, told CNBC Europe on Monday.

“America is more communist than China is right now. You can see that this is welfare of the rich, it is socialism for the rich… it’s just bailing out financial institutions,” Rogers said.

Stock markets jumped after the U.S. government’s decision to launch what could be its biggest federal bailout ever, in a bid to support the housing market and ward off more global financial market turbulence.

But Rogers said in the long term the move spelled trouble.

“This is madness, this is insanity, they have more than doubled the American national debt in one weekend for a bunch of crooks and incompetents. I’m not quite sure why I or anybody else should be paying for this,” Rogers told “Squawk Box Europe.”

Read Full Article Here

 

Soros Compares Mishandling Of Current Crisis To Great Depression

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
September 17, 2008

Billionaire investor George Soros has slammed US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson for behaving in the same manner as bankers in the 1930’s and mishandling a financial crisis that threatens a repeat of the Great Depression.

Soros told BBC Newsnight that the world was merely at the beginning of a financial storm and warned, “We mustn’t allow the financial system to collapse as it did in the 1930s.”

Referring to Hank Paulson, the US Treasury Secretary, Soros stated, “The way Paulson is handling the situation is reminiscent of the way the bankers handled it in the 1930s.”

He added: “The financial system has gone overboard and the financial engineering has grown to big, it takes up too big a share in the world’s resources.”

“Now it is shrinking. When it becomes regulated it will be less profitable than the last 25 years.”

Soros, a former member of the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, is ranked by Forbes as the 99th richest person in the world with a net worth of around $9 billion.

Ironically, Soros made his name by reaping the dividends of another financial meltdown when he “broke the Bank of England” by short-selling the pound sterling before the currency dropped out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992, landing Soros a profit of around $1.1 billion.

In 2006, the highest court in France upheld a conviction that Soros had practiced insider trading when he bought shares in French bank Société Générale after discovering that the bank was on the verge of a takeover.

Soros has repeatedly predicted fiscal armageddon, writing three books about a “superbubble” that is on the verge of collapse.

In response to those accusing him of crying wolf in an effort to panic financial markets and benefit from the fallout, Soros stated, “I have a record of crying wolf…. I did it first in The Alchemy of Finance (in 1987), then in The Crisis of Global Capitalism (in 1998) and now in this book (2008’s The New Paradigm for Financial Markets). So it’s three books predicting disaster. (After) the boy cried wolf three times . . . the wolf really came.”

Respondents to a Daily Mail article about Soros’ comments accused the financier of engaging in wanton hypocrisy.

“I don’t know why on Earth they interview Soros since he has been proven again and again to deliberately spread financial rumour for his own exploitation and gain,” wrote one, “Soros became a multi multi billionaire precisely through manipulating markets like this – if this man says that we are heading for a 1930’s style crash you can guarantee he already has plans to profit from it.”

Recent News:

China paper urges new currency order after “financial tsunami”
http://www.reuters.com/article/ousiv/idUSPEK4365020080917?sp=true

US authorities have now spent $900 billion to prop up the financial system
http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/..d=9736054&cKey=1221686585000&ty=ti

Central banks pump £100bn into money markets
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/m..2008/09/17/cncentral117.xml

Treasury announces debt auctions for Fed
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jnS9Vm..m4iAD938I1A80

Fed Pumps $70B Into Financial System
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080916/ap_on_bi_ge/fed_credit_..E44U6Xfx.Fe7GUOQ.D1v24cA

Run On The Bank? Americans Could Lose Their Deposits
http://www.prisonplanet.com/run-on-the-bank-americans-could-lose-their-deposits.html

Merrill Lynch seals future with Bank of America deal
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/bu.._finance/article4755438.ece

Rogers: Dollar To Lose World Reserve Status
http://www.prisonplanet.com/rogers-dollar-to-lose-world-reserve-status.html

Paulson: Congress Has No Authority Here
http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2008/09/paulson-congres.html

Goldman profit plunges 70 pct amid market slump
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080916/bs_nm/goldmansachs_dc

August home starts seen at lowest level in 17 years
http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN1638353220080917

Russia halts trading after 17.5% share price fall
http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles..ORTUNE5.htm

Dow closed down 450
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20..er=1;_ylt=Al5VvbZImvYKFj5hEtFaLktv24cA

Is Britain Heading For Worst Recession Since 1929?
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2008/09/15/bcnrecession115.xml

Washington Mutual Tumbles 30%
http://news.yaho..CZ6k2k2Rd38VKPgv6b.HQA

Now fear stalks British banks
Inflation rises to 4.7% and FTSE plunges ANOTHER 90 points as global markets tumble in wake of Meltdown Monday
Bush Claims Economy Can Weather Storm
Bailouts Will Push U.S. Into Depression

U.S. Economic Collapse News Archive

 


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