Tag Archives: corruption

Is A Better Bubble Inflating the Stock Market?

Many trillions of dollars have been invested by the United States in the financial industry during the last 15 months.  And the pace of the bailout continues to increase.  A lot of real money has been put into the economy.  But it seems to have disappeared.

Except for maintaining the lifestyles of upper management, the financial industry has not done what it is supposed to do with their economic stimulus monies.  It has hoarded all of that money.  And why not?  When prices for everything is falling, stagnating cash is a good investment.  But moving money is what drives the financial industry.  Rest assured that those managers are brow-beating the few employees they have not yet laid off to find a place to invest the real money given to them by the treasury and Congress.

Now a trend spearheaded by US stock markets is forming in stock markets around the world.  The values of stock markets in the Untied States are experiencing the most spectacular rises in their history.  That would be an inviting investment, at least in the short term, for the big bailed out financial industry.

Imagine all of those trillions of dollars of bailout and stimulus money suddenly being invested in stock markets again.  The value of US markets alone would rise at least several trillion dollars.  Financial institutions are leading the charge.  There is no other place, except T-bills…, for them to invest their bailout money.  Could this rise in stock market values simply be another bubble?

Unlike the previous bubble, this rush for stocks is backed by the US Treasury’s bailout funds.  The previous economic bubble, spanning several industries, has been funded by what is known as ‘leveraged’ investments.  That basically means the borrowed money is invested in hopes of making that money back and then some more.  Often money has been borrowed from a source that borrowed money from a source that borrowed money from a source… you get the idea.  The financial industry is at the top of that pyramid.  They can invest at least 9 dollars for every dollar deposited, or invested…, in their institution.  Many, such as Lehman Bros., have leveraged their investment by more than 100 to 1!  Now these financial institutions have real government money to invest.  Now they won’t need to sell to satisfy a calling creditor.

The market’s current inflation is due to the mutual investment of the Treasury’s cash by financial institutions in each-other.  But that money will do the rest of the economy little good.  Manufacturers don’t have customers.  So  they won’t get loans.  Higher stock prices in times like these only help companies that are willing to sell their own stocks for capital.  And that does not help their stock’s price.  The only stable increase in stock prices will be with financial companies that are investing in each-other.

Those of us who cannot afford to take advantage of this new bubble must be content to cheer on the financial superstars that can until this bubble pops too.  The government is going to be compelled to do it to satisfy fearful politicians.  Growing resentment combined with unemployment and a poor shopping experience is stirring up the voters.  Eventually the government is going to take back the bailout and stimulus money.  If that happens before the rest of the economy grows enough to support big financial companies again, then the bubble pops.

(Imagine the insider trading knowledge that federal politicians can peddle in that situation.  They are going to make a killing!)

New Democratic Congress

A bumper sticker I have seen said “Politicians, like underwear, need to be changed for the same reason”. The Republicans in Congress demonstrated the merit of that statement despite their “Contract with America”. Now they are being replaced with clean politicians… hopefully! So before this new Congress also becomes corrupted by the temptations of power we need to insist that they make some changes that protect the rest of us from their corruption.

An easy way for Congress to begin is by outlawing the use of Presidential signing statements to justify ignoring some laws. There cannot be proper respect for the Laws of Congress if executives don’t have to obey them even after agreeing to sign them.

Congress also needs to replace the so called “Patriot Act” with a good set of laws. As it is, that law gives government agents the right to snoop into our private lives to see if we measure up to their definition of being patriotic. That law is dangerous!

Congress should create it own agency that observes and reports to Congress inappropriate activities of the other branches of government. That means, for example, that the President would not be able to use secret government agencies to sneak around the laws of Congress or the Constitution!

And perhaps an example should be made of a President who may have done more harm to American liberty than Osama Bin Laden. Impeaching President Bush even after he leaves office may help to deter future leaders from taking advantage of a catastrophe’s chaos to loot American rights and taxes for the benefit of their biggest campaign contributors!