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Stimulus, Bail Outs & Liquidity.

Published on: 19:20PM Oct 27, 2010

 Before I attack those issues, Oats, Beans & Corn are still generally upward bound, as everyone can see, and Wheat is mostly side ways.

 

Liquidity: Should the Feds and/or the Federal Reserve have moved to inject liquidity into the system back on 08? The US has had three major banking/liquidity crises in the past 110 years: 1907, 1930 & 2008. In 1907 there was no Federal Reserve; a bailout was organized by J.P. Morgan himself. That did not avert a depression, but in the view of most economists it did lessen the depth and duration. In 1930 the Federal Reserve and the government stepped in, as they did in 2008. Again, most economists agree that adding liquidity was prudent. Liquidity isn’t quite the same thing as "money." When banks are  unwilling to lend money because the fear of loss is high, adding money doesn’t add liquidity. The missing ingredient is trust. If the government guarantees the loan, whether to GM or to Joe, trust is restored and loans are made.

 

The Bailout: Was the bailout done properly? In my opinion, it was not. Both the Bush and Obama administrations underwrote huge guarantees for the very people who had caused the problem. My rant about AIG alone would go on for pages. I think the Swedes did it right. Failed banks were taken over by the government. No bonuses or golden parachutes were honored and all top management was fired on the spot. The Swedes then sold off the pieces that were profitable and undertook to reorganize the rest. In other words, big banks were made smaller so that the next time around, should there be a next time the Socialist Swedes could let the market butcher the pigs. Meanwhile, the Capitalist Americans (& Brits) made the big banks bigger so the government would have to bail them out again next time around. And the Americans made a "next time" more likely here than in Sweden. So how is it again that socialism is always bad, as the Republicans claim? Because it didn’t protect their buddies in high places & put more money in the politicians pockets, is that it?

Stimulus, Good or Bad? When the BS is done, (a) Keynes was the most astute and far seeing economist of the past 200 years; (b) what folks call Keynesianism are Keynes ideas simplified to the point of complete stupidity. That said, stimulus was a good idea. The question is how to apply it. Applying it to the big banks, as in bailout in the prior paragraph, was stupid unless you were a politician expecting the bankers to (continue to) contribute to your campaign war chest. Putting money into repairing infrastructure, which the administration also did, is a good idea. Not only do the jobs created thereby have a multiplier effect, but infrastructure keeps on contributing to the economy for decades, as we have seen in the federal highway system which originated with Ike.

So who should you vote for? If I had my way, ballots would have a "None of the Above" box which would force another voting effort if it got the most votes. A party of the people would be nice, but we don’t have one of those, either. If I could be elected dictator for a term of, say, 12 years, I’d say vote for me. That’s not in the cards. In general, the Republicans want to tell you that a free market is what you need. It isn’t. What you need is a competitive market, which generally means limits on the size of corporations. The Democrats don’t seem to have an organized body of ideas other than being "Not Republicans." In my state, the Republicans are pushing for tax breaks for anyone making over a quarter million a year (net before taxes), but want to reduce the minimum wage because waitresses make too much money. The lie they are trying to peddle – and the Reagan administration proved conclusively that it is a lie – is that some of the money will "trickle down" from the rich to the waitresses. That makes me voting D this year. But your state is different and your candidates are different. You need to vote for the candidate who will do the best job of getting Monsanto out of your pocket and ConAgra off your back.