Friday, August 7, 2009
In a brilliant piece of investigative reporting, Chris Martenson (original article here) has uncovered that the Fed, merely a week after issuing $28 billion in 7 year bonds (which Zero Hedge discussed previously) via its puppet, the US Treasury, of which $10 billion ended up being purchased by primary dealers, has turned and bought 47% of the primary allocated bonds in Open Market Purchases. This is undisputed monetization removed simply via one primary dealer and less than 5 days of temporal separation in order to leave no easy trace. As Martenson points out:
"A more honest and open approach would have been for the Fed to simply buy them outright at the auction but this way, using "primary dealers" and "POMOs" and all these other extra steps the basic fact that the Fed is openly monetizing US government debt is effectively hidden from a not-too-terribly inquisitive US press and public."
The question is did the Fed implicitly tell the primary dealers they are merely holding the treasuries for a flip, and that it would acquire them immediately. Absent this $4.8 billion in effectively monetized bonds, what would the Bid To Cover have been for the primaries? Would this have been the second practically failed auction for USTs after the deplorable 5 year auction results a day prior? One wonders if there would have been 62% indirect interest in these bonds (which the day before had a measly 32.5% indirect bid) if the purchasers were aware of the Fed's immediate prompt monetization of a large part of the directs' balance.
It is truly a sad state of affairs when the Fed has to manipulate public and media perception in this way, and has to cover up for the complete lack of interest in US Treasuries.
Here is the evidence Martenson dug up:
Martenson's conclusion needs no elaboration:
"The speed of the shell game is accelerating.
This immediate repurchase of newly auction bonds by the Fed tells us that demand for these bonds is not nearly as high as advertised, and that things are not quite as strong as represented.
And oh, by the way, don't expect any stock market weakness while so many billions are being shoveled out the Fed and into the pockets of the primary dealers. They'll have to do something with all that freshly minted cash....."
Zero Hedge salutes CM for this brilliant piece of sleuthing: now if only the MSM would have the guts to demonstrate the pyramid scheme that the US Bond and Equity markets have become.Submitted by Tyler Durden
Lead plaintiff Nancy Baird filled her contract with California to provide embroidered polo shirts to a youth camp run by the National Guard, but never was paid the $27,000 she was owed. She says California "paid" her with an IOU that two banks refused to accept - yet she had to pay California sales tax on the so-called "sale" of the uniforms.
The class consists mostly of small business owners, many of whom rely on income from government contracts to keep afloat. They say California has used them as "suckers" as it looks for a way to bankroll its operations while avoiding its own financial obligations.
"Instead of seeking funds through proper channels, the State has created a nightmare," the class says. "Many of these businesses will not survive if they are required to wait until October 2009 to have these forced IOUs redeemed by the State."
The class claims the state is violating the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. It demands that California be ordered to honor its own IOUs, plus interest. They are represented by William Audet.
An innovative new program in Saco, Maine, allows older residents to work off a portion of their tax burden instead of paying out of pocket.
Like many seniors, Arlene and "Murch" Murchison live on a fixed income.
They face a roughly $1,400 annual tax bill, but this year will be different thanks to an innovative new program that allows older residents in the city of Saco, Maine to work off a portion of their tax burden instead of paying out of pocket.
"And this is a great way because it helps pay your taxes…and you have that extra money to do those things that you need to do," Arlene Murchison said.
Twenty residents have been accepted so far, trading a variety of odd jobs and services for tax relief. Arlene is assigned as a greeter at Saco's new train station. Her husband tags along for the ride -- a two for one deal.
Participants must be at least 60 years old and make under $60,000. The abatement is capped at $750 per household.
The program costs the city about $15,000, a bargain Saco officials say.
"It certainly helps them financially, but I think it just lifts their spirits even more," said Daniel Sanborn, the city's tax assessor.
From painting equipment to filing papers at City Hall, retired residents of Saco are turning their talents into city services.
City officials say the program gives retirees a sense of purpose and provides a welcome tax break in tough economic times. Participants say the true value lies in the building of community.
"It's not so much the money," Sanborn said. "It's 'the town needs me'."
Taxpayers gave troubled mortgage giant over $44 billion since April, over $101 billion in total
Troubled state-backed mortgage firm Fannie Mae took a massive 14.8-billion-dollar loss in the second quarter, and asked the US Treasury for another 10.7 billion dollars in aid, the company said Thursday.
Fannie Mae and its fellow state-backed lender Freddie Mac have already received hundreds of billions of dollars as part of a virtual government takeover aimed at avoiding their collapse in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis.
“Today’s results bring the company’s cumulative losses over the last two years to $101.6 billion and will bring its total draw on the Treasury to $44.9 billion since April,” noted Bloomberg.
The latest loss for Fannie Mae came on the heels of a 23.2 billion-dollar loss in the first quarter.
“Fannie Mae said it expects the quality of its assets to worsen further and to continue accumulating losses as it executes President Barack Obama’s efforts to modify or refinance loans for as many as nine million homeowners,” Bloomberg reporter Dawn Kopecki continued.
“Due to current trends in the housing and financial markets, we expect to have a net worth deficit in future periods, and therefore will be required to obtain additional funding from Treasury,” the firm’s quarterly report said, according to The Wall Street Journal. “As a result, we are dependent on the continued support of Treasury in order to continue operating our business.”
The paper continued: “To deal with souring loans, the company said it reached workout deals on 41,000 mortgages during the quarter. Loan modifications made up 40% of the total. Fannie said it expects increased activity under the federal Making Home Affordable program as mortgage services gain experience with it. The company noted trial modifications jumped in July from the second quarter.”
“In one hopeful sign, Fannie Mae narrowed its quarterly loss to $14.8 billion, or $2.67 per diluted share, down from $23.2 billion, or $4.09 per share, in the previous quarter,” noted CNN. “The company lost $2.3 billion, or $2.54 per share, in the second quarter last year.”
“Credit losses from the housing crisis are still to blame for Fannie Mae’s dour results,” the television news network continued. “The company racked up $18.8 billion in credit-related expenses during the latest quarter. However, the company reduced its provision for credit losses to $18.2 billion, from $20.3 billion in the first quarter, because of a slowdown in the increase of estimated defaults and losses per default.”
By market’s close on Thursday, shares in Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) were trading at just 79 cents.By Stephen C. Webster
(The Market-Ticker) Remember the Dallas Fed’s Fisher saying that “The Fed will not become the handmaiden of Treasury”?
He was lying (The Fed already has), and now there is proof.
The upshot: The Fed bought nearly half of LAST WEEK’S 7 year Treasury Issuance TODAY.
Huh? Remember, after the 5 year auction that went badly (and which I wrote about) the 7yr auction went “well.” Rick Santelli (and a lot of other people) agreed - demand was strong. That made no sense to me at the time, coming one day after a near-failure in the 5 year.
Well now we know what happened: The Fed pretty clearly pre-arranged, either explicitly or by “suggestion”, that the Primary Dealers take up the auction with the promise that The Fed would immediately monetize half the issue!Folks, this is beyond bad - it is pernicious and outrageous conduct by The Federal Reserve in conspiracy with the Primary Dealers, both of which are now desperately trying to prop up the US Government Bond Market through subterfuge rather than just buying up the bond issue from Treasury when originally put to the market!
If you think the economy and credit markets are "on the mend" why would The Fed do something like this? It would not be necessary unless The Fed was told (by those very same Primary Dealers) that they were going to be unable or unwilling to take down any more Treasury Debt.
Folks, let me be clear: The United States HAS OFFICIALLY HIT THE TREASURY DEBT WALL and The Fed and Treasury are engaged in subterfuge and conspiracy in an attempt to hide this from the market.
There is no other explanation for what just happened.
This is likely what the market figured out:
When it sinks in to the market's consciousness - we had two failed Treasury Auctions last week, both 5 and 7 year, yet we intend to try to borrow ANOTHER $400 billion next quarter and nearly $100 billion this coming week - the consequences could be extremely severe.by harbinger
All those hundreds of TV channels may lead you that there’s a true diversity and variety in today’s television … but you’d be wrong. A handful of large companies control what you see, hear, and read every day.
Let’s take a look at who owns what on television – here are the TV channels owned by 6 of the largest companies in media, as depicted by their logos:
General Electric is a true behemoth: the conglomerate is the world’s third largest company with market capitalization of nearly $370 billion and annual revenue of $173 billion (2007). The company produces practically everything – from aircraft engine to locomotives to medical devices.
GE’s media holding includes television networks NBC and Telemundo, 27 television stations in the United States and many cable TV networks, including the History Channel, A&E, and Sci Fi Channel. It also owns the popular web-based TV website Hulu.
Update 7/8/08: A&E is co-owned by The Hearst Corporation and ABC, which in turn is owned by Disney.
Time Warner is the world’s largest media and entertainment company – it owns major operations in film, TV, print, Internet, and telecommunications. Time Warner has an annual revenue of $50.5 billion (2008) – the equivalent of the entire GDP of Luxembourg.
Like cartoons? Time Warner’s got you covered with Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. Classic movies? Check (Turner Classic Movies). And who can forget CNN and Headline News? Both are Time Warner properties. (Note: CW is co-owned by Time Warner and CBS).
The Walt Disney Company
You may associate it with amusement parks, but The Walt Disney Company has grown to be one of the world’s largest media and entertainment corporation since its founding as an animation studio by brothers Walt and Roy Disney in 1923.
The Walt Disney Company owns the ABC television network, with more 200 affiliated stations reaching nearly 100% of all U.S. television market, as well as dozens of niche cable networks. True to its cartoon animation origin, Disney captures its viewers early – it counts millions of young children as its audience with kids channels like the Disney Channel.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is a behemoth: it is the largest media company in the world by market capitalization ($38 billion). For most people, the conservative news channel Fox comes foremost to mind when asked what they think of Murdoch’s media empire – but the company’s holding is far larger: it includes Asia’s Star TV Network, the National Geographic Channel and even the iconic TV Guide network.
Don’t watch TV? Even if you prefer to browse the Internet, most likely you’ve visited News Corp’s property, which include Hulu (owned in partnership with GE through its subsidiary NBC Universal) and the social networking giant MySpace.
CBS (which used to stand for the Columbia Broadcasting System) is not sometimes called the Tiffany Network for nothing: the company is known for its high programming quality. It is currently the most watched television network in the United States, and reached more than 103 million homes in the country.
Both CBS and Viacom (see below) are owned by multi-billionaire Sumner “content is king” Redstone, through his holding company National Amusements.
Viacom stands for “Video and Audio Communication” – and true to that name, the company owns a large number of cable and satellite television networks (the company was split from CBS Corporation in 2005, though both have the same majority owner).
In 2007, Viacom filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Google and YouTube for copyright infringement and recently a federal judge granted Viacom’s request for data of all YouTube users. The blogosphere has since called for a boycott of all Viacom properties – so that means no MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon or – gasp – Comedy Central for you!
The effect (or goal?) of the Obama regime’s ‘cash for clunkers’ idiocy:
- People are going into debt in exchange for their fully paid-for vehicles
- The vehicles that are traded-in are required to be destroyed, eliminating a huge source of spare parts for other paid-for vehicles
- Shortages created in the low-cost used car market, thus driving up the cost of used cars, thus hurting the poor
Create debt-slaves; hurt the poor; create massive amounts of waste. Mission accomplished.