Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Wrong rhyming slang [updated]

A few weeks ago Deborah Hill-Cone mused over “whom leftists would throw their shoes at now Dubya has yahooed back to Texas.” Now she knows: it’s bankers.

Although I bet [Gordon Brown, Barack Obama], Polly Toynbee and all the rest were quite happy to take advantage of the boomtimes when their houses were increasing in value, one can't help but wonder if they are feeling some self-loathing now. When the party stops it is much easier to blame the bankers for getting us drunk than admit we are lushes.

And much easier for big-government worshippers like Polly, Brown and Barack to blame those private bankers who were simply doling out the punch, when the primary cause of the problem was the punch bowl being spiked by big-governments’ central bankers .

UPDATE: To get some idea of the role of central banks in the boom -- which has turned to bust in a big way -- and just how seriously they spiked the punch bowl, consider these three quotes from William Fleckenstein's book Greenspan's Bubbles,

Central bankers like Greenspan [and Bollard] aren't like bankers at all... Central bankers are actually central planners [with all the failures of that breed]. Like bureaucratic leaders of central-planned or command economies, they pick an interest rate to wthin two decimal places that they guess will be the correct one, and then they proceed to cram it down the throat of the banking system.

And there are people who call the failure of The Fed a failure of free markets!

So with what was the punchbowl spiked? What were the central bankers cramming down our throats?

Greenspan erred by continually picking an interest rate that was too low, then he solved the turmoil that resulted from that decision with another period of interest rates that were again too low.

Repeat process until finished, which is what Greenspan did -- and what we're now paying for. The last tranche of easy money that left the Fed was to 'fix' the bursting of the bubble in 2001, and we know where it all ended up ...

We will quote once more an amazing nugget of research from Asha Bangalore, economist at Northern Trust Co.: No less than 40 percent of new jobs since 2001 owe their existence, directly or indirectly, to the real-estate levitation.


  1. You are correct that the Federal Reserve and government are responsible for much of the blame BUT the bankers have played there part and they should be punished as well.

    The bankers have run there reserve ratios down to less than 1% in some cases and being the clever gnomes they are built a derivative house of cards between themselves worth 100s of trillions of dollars to insure themselves against losses. This has enabled them to run the system with no reserves! This is madness as when one card fell (Lehman) the whole house of cards came tumbling down.

    Sure its the government fault that 10% fractional lending wasnt enforced but the banking gnomes played apart via bribing the politicians etc that the system could be run in this way. The bankers and the government should be dealth with harsly.

  2. Yes, you're absolutely right that Fractional Reserve Banking on the level you cite was the chief means by which the Fed's easy credit was flushed through the system, and money supply expanded.

    And it's mainstream economics that claims this isn't fraud.

  3. Just got Fleckenstein's book. A very good primer.


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