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One of the biggest lies told in Washington, D.C. is that fiscal and monetary policies are not designed to prop up the stock market. Rather, they are designed to support the economy, claim our leaders. Once again, utter balderdash. On Sunday, the White House and Federal Reserve moved to give the big mortgage firms, Fannie Mae and Freddic Mac, more capital. It was announced Sunday evening to reassure Asian markets, and U.S. markets when they opened Monday. When the Fed in March rescued Wall Street by subsidizing the salvation of gambling den Bear Stearns, it acted before the opening of Asian markets -- all the while insisting that it wasn't interested in propping up markets. In the new program, the Fed will open the discount window to Fannie and Freddie. That's not a bad idea. The federal government would like to lend to Fannie and Freddie: again, that's OK. But Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, a former Wall Streeter, will seek Congressional permission for the government to buy stock in Fannie and Freddie. This is a blatant market manipulation move. Initially, the stock market rejoiced, but now it is backing off (10:15 a.m. July 14) with Freddie stock down more than 17 percent and the overall market trending downward. Fannie and Freddie own or guarantee more than $5 trillion in mortgages, but have only $95 billion in capital. It is time for Paulson to admit what he knows: neither may have enough reserves to ride out the housing debacle. If they had to liquidate their assets to repay liabilities, both would be insolvent. It's OK to bolster their reserves, but why try to prop up their stocks, and the stocks of the whole market? Has Paulson ever heard of a free market? He preaches it all the time. Propping up stocks is not the job of either the government or the central bank.

Comments
52

Don, this is a joke.

I was pissed when Bear Stearns Co. was bailed out, and now this nonsense.

Take from the many, who are poor, and give to the rich few = a bailout.

BTW, I was shocked to learn the big 5 investment banks are leveraged at 26 to 1. And then when that leverage goes sideways the taxpayers end up with the bill. Private profits, socialized liabilities.

Now, in "Free Lunch" David cay Johnstone of the WSJ says that the hedge funds are leveraged as high as 300 to 1. Yes, you read that right-300 to 1! And that 1 dollar is from the investor- the rest from commercial banks. I am telling you right now-if one of these big hedge funds goes sideways the whole system could come down. Worldwide chaos.

July 14, 2008

Response to post #1: The big Wall Street firms are leveraged anywhere from 26-1 (Goldman Sachs) to above 30-1. I believe I heard today that Fannie and Freddie were 80-1. Or was it 800-1? It was horrific, in any case. Yes, hedge funds are leveraged that much. Remember, the Fed arranged a bailout for Long Term Capital Management in 1998, which may have been leveraged 1,000 to 1. I forget. Yes, it will be financial debt that brings us down. Consumer debt is right up there, too. Maybe it will be a combination of the two. The next big horror: credit cards, that are securitized the way subprime mortgages are. Mark my words on that. Best, Don Bauder

July 14, 2008

The only hope we have now is that the phony money presses burn themselves out from the overload because American currency is now valued lower than lead certificates while every politician in Washington has now betrayed “Made In America” and are kowtowing to Communist China.

July 14, 2008

Response to post #3: Each snippet of news suggests the printing press will run even faster. Where will the Fed get the money to loan to Fannie and Freddie? (It will print it.) Where will the federal government get the money to purchase Fannie and Freddie's equity? (The Fed will run the printing press.) Etc. Best, Don Bauder

July 14, 2008

I believe I heard today that Fannie and Freddie were 80-1.

Freddie and Fannie have 6 trillion in liabilty and 95 billion in assets, so about 60 to 1 leverage is about right (60 to 1, 80 to 1, 150 to 1, does it een matter with those numbers). Downright scary. They are essentialy BK on a cash flow basis, and absolutely BK on an asset/liability basis.

We need new leadership ASAP and we need to fix this sinking ship (It starting to sound like the nation has the exact same problems the City does).

In "Free Lunch" all the hedge fund info came from the Long Term Capital meltdown in 1998. The whole chapter is about them because when they folded all their dirty laudry became public.

What I would like to know is how commercial banks get away with lending so much cash to hedge funds......there appears to be no regulations on such risky lending. 26 to 1 leverage should be illegal, and certainly the kind of leverage the hedge funds are using should be illegal.

July 14, 2008

Response to post #5: We've been living in an era of deregulation, light regulation and no regulation. Had some regulator come along and told hedge funds that they could not get that leveraged, all hell would have broken loose, led by Alan Greenspan. I agree that financial instruments today are so complex -- deliberately so -- that regulators wouldn't be effective, but I also feel that if bank, investment bank, insurance regulators would just put down rules limiting leverage ratios that we wouldn't be on the brink. And we ARE on the brink. In short, ineffective regulation is better than no regulation. Best, Don Bauder

July 14, 2008

According to the website below which lists Charles Brandes' stock purchases, he took large positions in Fannie and many other financial stocks in late 2007 and is suffering staggering paper losses the likes of which have probably not been seen since the 1929 crash. It looks like Brandes went long on financials when he should have went short. Buffett is not doing that well either.

http://www.gurufocus.com/StockBuy.php?action=buy&GuruName=Charles+Brandes&p=0

July 14, 2008

the likes of which have probably not been seen since the 1929 crash.

When was the last time you saw a run on a BANK????

1929-that's when. There has not been a run on a bank in 80 years.

Seeing those people on the news today at lined up outside IndyMac in Pasadena -200 deep - scares the living daylights out of me. And there are several more banks that are going to fail soon.

Hopefully we won't get anymore Chuck Schumer type press releases coming out of the Senate scaring the hell out people and causing a run on other banks.

July 14, 2008

Reply to #7

Brandes has bought all the blow ups lately including GM, F, WM, WB, NCC, FNM, FRE, CFC, KBH, the Newspapers, RHD, IAR etc etc....don't tell me these will all come back and be patient. CFC got bought out for pennies on the dollar and they lost about $1 billion on the investment. You can get info on www.gurufocus.com

Want to see some staggering performance numbers from a value manager? http://www.brandes.com/Inv/Performance.htm

Down 40+ percent on U.S portfolios and 30% on International? WOW! If this doesn't tell you that the value approach is dead than nothing will. It amazes me that people so smart would have bought all this garbage in such huge quantities. Did they really believe the downturn was temporary?

This goes to show that no one way to investing works forever.

COLTON

July 14, 2008

Response to post #6: "We've been living in an era of deregulation, light regulation and no regulation."

Don't you get it Don, we are living in some weird time warp where the Communist Chinese have cobbled together some capitalism and American Capitalist Democracy has been sold out to Communist China by Washington.

Hell, even the U-T finally got an editorial right with "Lucrative rip-off" yesterday where they exposed Michael Shames and UCAN for committing judicially granted larceny of taxpayer funds with their outrageously obscene legal fees.

Only in San Diego, the city where citizens get screwed by our own corrupt judiciary, making San Diego the Firestorm capital of America literally and figuratively.

July 15, 2008

Response to post #7: Thanks for sending. As I have been reporting, Brandes also went long on newspaper stocks such as Gannett and McClatchy, and lost his shirt. Remember, he is the guy building a $60 million home (he says it actually cost less), the most expensive home ever built in the county. Best, Don Bauder

July 15, 2008

Response to post #8: Schumer should have changed the wording of that letter, but the real blame lies with IndyMac, not Schumer, the messenger. Best, Don Bauder

July 15, 2008

Response to post #9: Warren Buffett, the classic value investor, told his shareholders that he hoped the prices of some of his holdings would go down 50 percent so he could buy more. As I have been reporting for more than a year (perhaps two, actually), Brandes has been taking a beating buying up beaten-down shares. How long will his investors stick with him? Is he smart to show up in the society pages all the time with his lovely new wife? Is he smart to tout his $60 million home? The answer to those last two questions is a rousing "No!" Best, Don Bauder

July 15, 2008

Response to post #10: Shames is hardly bleeding Sempra. That utility needs a critic, and Shames, who is hardly overcompensated, is a good one. Best, Don Bauder

July 15, 2008

Response to post #8: Schumer should have changed the wording of that letter, but the real blame lies with IndyMac, not Schumer, the messenger.

Don, I am going to have to have a major disagreement with you on the Schumer letter.

Schumer caused a panic with that letter. Indymac may have been going under, may not have been, but the market should have made the ultimate decision, not a panic run on the bank from Schumer's letter.

That letter was the direct and proximate cause of the bank run in my book.

To me that Schumer letter was like shouting "fire" in a crowded theater-when there may in fact be a fire-a very samll fire that without panic could be put out-but once you shout fire panic ensues and there is no turning back.

July 15, 2008

Johnnyvegas, what exactly do you mean by a "run on a bank" Are you simply reffering to a bunch of people lining up to get their money out of a bank that's been taken over by the FDIC? It happens quite a bit actually. Their have been scores of banks that have failed with deposits ranging from a few million to several billion. As for people lining up to get their money, I would imagine it happens most of the time to one degree or another. And speaking from personal experience, when a bank I did business with in L.A. had problems about 5 or 6 years ago, the FDIC followed almost the same script; the state closed the bank closed on Friday, put it into receivership with the FDIC and it reopened for business on Monday. And I can tell you I was one of at least a couple of hundred people who were there when it reopened.I will grtant you that this is the largest and probably the most expensive bank failure, at least so far, but it is definately NOT the only "run" on a bank since 1929. As far as your "prediction" that "there are several more banks that are going to fail soon", I am guessing that you're just making another Johnnyvegas generalization based on the comments that their is some kind of "watchlist" of 90 banks that the feds are keeping their eyes on. If I'm wrong about that then tell us all which banks you, all knowing one, think are going to fail.

July 15, 2008

Response to post #35: The Reader has been covering this for more than a year. I like having the story to myself. I am surprised national media haven't picked it up. Best, Don Bauder

July 16, 2008

Johnnyvegas, what exactly do you mean by a "run on a bank" Are you simply reffering to a bunch of people lining up to get their money out of a bank that's been taken over by the FDIC? It happens quite a bit actually. Their have been scores of banks that have failed with deposits ranging from a few million to several billion. As for people lining up to get their money, I would imagine it happens most of the time to one degree or another. ===============================

Schumers letter spooked all the people who had money in IndyMac. He released the letter and for the next 13 days everyone ran to pull their money out, 1.3 Billion.

There have not been lines of people lined up to pull money out of a bank since the 20's. Not even with the S&L scandals of the 1980's.

As for your comment that tehre was a "run" on your bank in the 90's, name it. Im calling BS.

As for other banks failing and your lack of faith in me, that is exactly what Mike Milken said about Columbia, Centrust and Vernon back in the 80's.

There have been bank failures, and tons of S&L failures, in recent years, but there has never been a RUN on a bank since 1929.

July 15, 2008

Response to #13 Since the show up in the Society pages, the stocks and performance have both plunged. Coincidence?

How could a smart committee of analysts buy so much of this stuff? I am amazed and would imagine investors are scratching their heads. I mean, mom and pop Smith wouldn't buy some of this stuff let alone an expensive money manager.

This just proves no one way works over time. It just doesn't. The closest I have seen to being right on is Jimmy Rogers and he has fled the Country due to fear over the dollar collapse.

Best, COLT

July 15, 2008

Response to post #15: Again, I feel to blame Schumer entirely is shooting the messenger. Writing the letter may not have been wise, but IndyMac was going down anyway. Best, Don Baiuder

July 15, 2008

Response to post #16: If Johnny were to reveal the names of the banks that the government feels might fail, he would be doing the same thing he accuses Sen. Schumer of doing. Revealing the list would be a great boon to short sellers, too. Best, Don Bauder

July 15, 2008

Response to post #17: There was a run on Chicago's Continental Bank in the 1980s -- 1984, I believe. It was an institutional run. I don't think the public knew what was happening. It was caused by rumors, and the big institutions started yanking money out. The U.S. government deemed Continental too big to fail, and it was melded into some other institution, as I recall. Best, Don Bauder

July 15, 2008

Response to post #18: To my knowledge, I am the only one who has done work on Brandes's terrible investments and his concomitant emergence in the social swim. I did one story and numerous blog entries. I have focused most on the newspapers he has lost his shirt on: Gannett, McClatchy, NY Times. Newspapers are still profitable. They still have good cash flow. So using value techniques he might have felt that he was buying great cash flow at great prices. He lost big on Countrywide and Washington Mutual, too. I don't know what his rationale there was. I think he lost on Alcatel-Lucent, but I don't remember checking to see at what price he bought it. He has sold about half his McClatchy. He had more than 10 percent of both McClatchy's and Gannett's outstanding shares. He's now below 10 on McClatchy, but he has held his Gannett last time I looked. Best, Don Bauder

July 15, 2008

First of all pay attention johnnyboy. I said 5 or 6 years ago not the 90's. The only bs around this blog is coming from you vegas boy. As always you think your word is the final word and as in most cases you're wrong again. My bank was Southern Pacific Bank and I had an account for my daughter's college account at a branch in Torrance, close to where she was living with her mother at the time. If I recall correctly they had 4 or 5 branches and the FDIC lined up someone to take over pretty quickly. Nobody knew anything until someone called the news and told them that they went to their bank and it had been closed which of course got broacast right away. I found out from my ex as she saw it on the news. I believe that the state had been looking at the bank and brought the feds in.

July 15, 2008

response to post #20: I agree 100 percent with you Don that it would be irresponsible for johnny or anyone else to post this list. But thats kind of my point. How can johnny possibly have this list? It's confidential and the feds refuse to make it public, for good reason. So it sounds to me like johnny is just flapping his mouth, trying to sound like an authority when all he is really doing is regurgitating what he and everyone else has heard on the news.

July 15, 2008

Nobody knew anything until someone called the news and told them that they went to their bank and it had been closed which of course got broacast right away. I found out from my ex as she saw it on the news. I believe that the state had been looking at the bank and brought the feds in.

So in other words you're BSing.

Good job.

July 15, 2008

How can johnny possibly have this list?

I never said I had any list, I just said there are going to be many more banks failing.

In case you didn't notice we have had 1 of the big five Wall Street investment banks go BK, and another is almost BK-or 40% of Wall Street's major investment banks.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are BK, from cash flow to asset/liability. That is 6 TRILLION dollars of debt.

IndayMac is BK and for the first time in 80 years people/consumers were lined up 200 deep to pull out money from a commercial bank.

This is not rocket science, just common business sense.

Take it FWIW.

July 15, 2008

So exactly how is it I am bsing vegas boy? The fact that no consumers knew the bank was overleveraged until the state stepped in makes me a liar? I'm guessing that until Schumers letter spooked so many people, they had no idea either. Fact in point, I agree with you that Schumer's letter helped cause the panic run on Indymac. But also the fact remains that I was there on Monday morning 5 years ago with alot of other people wanting to know how to move my money. So you can believe what you want, but Indymac wasn't the only "run" on a bank since 1929. Regarding upcoming bank failures what you actually said was " And there are several more banks that are going to fail soon.". Since 2000, I believe there have been 37 bank failures with only 8 of those comes since 2004, including the 5 this year. This comes after well over 2000 banking companies failed in the 1980's and early 1990's. So how many is several, and what is soon? You have absolutely know more knowledge of that than I do. Once again, you are just speaking in conjecture, using the same information everyone else has seen or heard ,only you seem to be trying to make yourself sound like an authority on the subject. You make some very astute observations on some occasions, but more often than not, when contradicted such as this, you just come off sounding like someone trying to be a know-it-all @$$ hole. I'm sure you don't care any more about my opinion of you than I do of yours about me. But in this case I was there and you weren't. That's good enough for me. I hope you make more factual arguments than this when you're in court, for your clients sakes. Case Closed

July 15, 2008

Don, I was just a young pup in 1984 and didn't start my investment portfolio until about 1987 so I hadn't heard of Chicago's Continental Bank until you mentioned it. I found a pretty interesting piece on it: http://www.fdic.gov/bank/historical/history/235_258.pdf. I like one quote in particular from some bank employees; "[The only] differnce between Continental and the Titanic is the Titanic had a band."

July 15, 2008

Response to post #23: When a bank starts to go, it can go in a hurry. Word gets around. Best, Don Bauder

July 15, 2008

Response to post #24: Remember the list in Gilbert & Sullivan's Mikado -- the assassination list? "And that singular anomaly, the prohibitionist. Well I don't think he'll be missed....." and so many others to be hit. Best, Don Bauder

July 15, 2008

Response to post #25: I'll have to do more reading on just what happened. The NY Times has been doing a lot on it. Best, Don Bauder

July 15, 2008

Response to post #26: I didn't remember your saying you had the list. Best, Don Bauder

July 15, 2008

Response to post #27: I think we have to have a definition of a "run." Best, Don Bauder

July 15, 2008

Response to post #28: On the Titanic, the little orchestra was playing "Nearer My God to Thee." Best, Don Bauder

July 15, 2008

Reply to #22

Why do you think they are able to get away with such lousy investments without any comment? You would think the SD UNION would be storming down the doors looking for answers as to why the greatest money manager in San Diego's history (atleast as far as assets under management goes) is all of a sudden falling apart faster than you can say "Bear Market". With July's numbers, they are probably down 50% now on U.S. stuff. I think there is a huge story here but nobody seems to want to cover it. Blows my mind! If I were a reporter, this would be my beat. I would blow the lid off of this 800 lb. gorilla to see what the heck is going on. There has been some staggering sums of money lost.

Best, COLT

July 15, 2008

. This comes after well over 2000 banking companies failed in the 1980's and early 1990's.

Actually I do not believe a single bank failed in the 80's, it was 100% Savings and Loans, who Regean allowed to "invest" their money outside of the only investment they were alowed back then-home mortgages and trust deeds. So the notion that 2000 "banks" failed is pure nonsense. In the great depression there were 4000 bank failures-so by your numbers the 80's produced bank failures of 50% of the great depression-total 100% baloney.

When S&L were allowed to "invest" in other areas a massive corruption set in-MOST NOTABLY Vernon, Lincoln and Columbia, three of the most criminally culpable S&L's.

So Trussles, you know I am right, and that must really deflate your ego a bit... hence your cosntant harping about me....... sort of like VoSD all over again!

July 16, 2008

Response to post #37: In the 1970s, the S&Ls were initially undone by money market funds. Then the government wanted them to invest their funds in faraway markets; that's aways dangerous. Bankers should stick to their own areas, particularly in real estate. Best, Don Bauder

July 16, 2008

One other thing ego boy. I am not a frequent poster on the reader blogs. Since my profile says 33 posts I'll go with that. Thats probably 1/10th of what you post so I think your idea of "cosntant harping" is somewhat distorted by your own perceived self importance, like most of what you post. I do have to admit though, alot of us get a kick out of you. Sometimes you are just down right hilarious, although I doubt you intend to be.

July 17, 2008

Response to post #39: Those figures look in the ballpark and possibly dead-on. Best, Don Bauder

July 17, 2008

Response to # 37 Again try paying attention to what is written vegasboy. I didn't say 2000 banks failed in the 1980's. I said " well over 2000 banking companies failed in the 1980's and early 1990's". This came straight from the mouth of an FDIC spokesperson I saw on the news yesterday.That includes commercial banks, savings banks, or savings association as defined by the classification codes assigned by the FDIC. She was referring to the 2943 closings and assistance transactions that occured between Jan. 1 1980 ( BANK OF LAKE HELEN, FL) and July 28, 1995 (PACIFIC HERITAGE BANK in Torrance). Since March of 1996 there have only been 55 failures including Indymac. They are all considered failures by the FDIC. In the vast majority of these failures, the failed institution's charter was terminated and insured deposits plus some assets and other liabilities were transferred to a successor charter. This information comes directly from the FDIC website so take a look for yourself. All of my figures have come from FDIC websites, not pulled out of my @$$ like some of yours appear to be. Oh yeah, one other thing. It's trestles not trussles and I have never posted on vosd, I rarely even look at it.

July 16, 2008

Response to post #40: Johnny is one of our best contributors. He helps make the blog zing. Best, Don Bauder

July 17, 2008

Response to post #43: We'll put you folks in a room and let a fistfight settle this. Best, Don Bauder

July 21, 2008

One other thing ego boy. I am not a frequent poster on the reader blogs. Since my profile says 33 posts I'll go with that. Thats probably 1/10th of what you post so I think your idea of "cosntant harping" is somewhat distorted by your own perceived self importance, like most of what you post. I do have to admit though, alot of us get a kick out of you. Sometimes you are just down right hilarious, although I doubt you intend to be.

By trestles 1:27 a.m., Jul 17, 2008

LOL!..... I didn't see that meltdown coming.

July 21, 2008

Trestles and Johnny, you boys need to play nice!

One of the great things about the Bauder blog is it's a place for economically literate and concerned San Diegans to debate the issues.

I appreciate reading both of you bantering the numbers back and forth and I've been enriched in my understanding from the postings here.

But if you guys keep going down the "you're a poophead"..."no you're a poophead" route, we'll lose that.

What's next? We'll have to invoke Godwin's Law?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

(Full disclosure...I'm currently volunteering at the Wiki Media Foundation and sit near Mike twice a week.)

So please shake hands and agree to play nice, okay fellas?

Irregardless (one of my favorite non-words) of the past S&L debacle, we're on the verge of something far worse. I thought the policy makers would do their best to stave it off until after the elections, but it seems beyond their power to do even that.

2009 is going to be a very, very bad year. Anyone disagree?

Best,

Fred

July 21, 2008

Response to post #44: The biggest question today is whether America's obsession with consumption and debt is going to end ingloriously. It has to end. But will it be now? The U.S. overconsumes and underproduces, and is far too deeply in debt at all levels (federal, state and local governments), consumers, and corporations (which are the best off, but still too leveraged. Financial institutions are ridiculously leveraged.) Best, Don Bauder

July 21, 2008

Trestles needs to relax, it's only the Internet.

July 21, 2008

The U.S. overconsumes and underproduces, and is far too deeply in debt at all levels (federal, state and local governments), consumers, and corporations (which are the best off, but still too leveraged. Financial institutions are ridiculously leveraged.) Best, Don Bauder

The WS Investment Banks should not be allowed to leverage themselves as much as they have-because as Bear Sterns points out-they are not the ones that are going to be soaked when they fail-it is the taxpayer. That goes 100 times more for the unregulated hedge funds/private equity firms.

Private profits = private losses-not socialized losses!

July 21, 2008

Response to post #47: I take it you don't like being called "ego boy." One reason the Internet is coming on so fast, gobbling up newspapers, is that people let the invective fly. Best, Don Bauder

July 21, 2008

Response to post #48: Keep in mind, though, that while Bear was leveraged about 33 to 1, Goldman Sachs, supposedly Wall Street's best firm, was leveraged something like 26 to 1. In short, they all do it. And I agree with you: they can all go to Valhalla together. Fannie and Freddie are broke, but we should still prop them up, because their failure would cause an international crisis. But the big banks and Wall Street firms should be permitted to die. They fouled their own nests by gambling insanely with excessive leverage. If we save them, then the problem will only be worse in the future. This is the moral hazard question. Best, Don Bauder

July 21, 2008

Response to post #47: I take it you don't like being called "ego boy."

Hahah... that is a PG-13 comment for me-you see the OTHERS!

July 21, 2008

Response to post #51: Like so many things on this blog, I suppose "ego boy" has a meaning that I am not familiar with. Best, Don Bauder

July 21, 2008

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