[You are being forwarned – again – that Europe and the U.S. are now on a collision course with a second Lehman-type megashock….A snowball of events – bank runs spreading across Europe – are bringing us a few steps closer. What [can we expect] next? Let me explain. Words: 1795
So says Martin D. Weiss, Ph.D. (www.moneyandmarkets.com) in edited (marginally) excerpts from his original article*.
Lorimer Wilson, editor of www.munKNEE.com (Your Key to Making Money!), has edited the article below for length and clarity – see Editor’s Note at the bottom of the page. This paragraph must be included in any article re-posting to avoid copyright infringement.
Weiss goes on to say, and I quote:
This is not the first time we’ve warned you about an imminent financial megashock.
- In our Money and Markets of December 3, 2007, we [forewarned you] specifically naming Lehman Brothers as the next major firm to collapse on Wall Street. (See “Dangerously Close to a Money Panic.”)
- In our Money and Markets of March 17, 2008, precisely 182 days before its failure, we [again forewarned you] naming Lehman, making it abundantly clear that it could be the trigger of a financial meltdown. (See “Closer to a Financial Meltdown.”)
- Now, starting with last week’s edition, we are [fore]warning you of ANOTHER Lehman-type megashock.
A new telltale sign – bank runs, the final nail in the coffin of any modern economy – are spreading among the PIIGS countries of Europe — and possibly beyond.
- In Greece it’s already a tsunami — a desperate effort by millions of citizens to get their money out of danger before Greece is forced to leave the euro zone.
- In Spain, it’s quickly turning into a flood, as individuals and businesses — with $1.25 trillion in total bank deposits — wonder if their country will be the next to leave the union.
- In Portugal, Ireland, Italy or even France, banks are vulnerable to similar outflows and, once the stampede strikes more than two or three major countries, you could see bank runs all across Europe.
How Dangerous Are Bank Runs?
Bank runs are far more infectious, and dangerous, than investor stampedes – they spill out onto the streets and onto the airwaves and invoke frightening flashbacks to the Great Depression – and they immediately threaten the entire banking system.
According to the New York Times, “the havoc that a stampede might cause to the Continent’s financial system would greatly complicate efforts by European Union officials to fashion a longer-term plan to ease the debt crisis and revive Europe’s economy, because authorities would have to cope with the staggering added costs of shoring up banks – and a bank run can happen very quickly.”
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Just as I explained here last week, the Times points out that it “was a similar liquidity crisis on Wall Street in September 2008 — which started with nervous investors pulling money from troubled institutions, then quickly from healthier ones — that set off the financial crisis.”
I repeat: It was just last Monday that I showed you how Europe and the U.S. are now on a collision course with a second Lehman-type megashock and here we are today, only seven days later, with the snowball of events bringing us a few steps closer.
Will This Time Be Worse Than 2008?
Politicians and investors all over the world are now trying to prepare for the inevitable consequences. What they don’t seem to realize is that the next major megashock could be more severe than the Lehman Brothers failure.
Never forget the key differences between then and now:
- In 2008, it was strictly individual financial institutions that were on the edge of collapse. Today, entire nations are on the brink.
- In 2008, the U.S. federal deficit of the prior fiscal year was $161 billion. Today, it’s $1.327 trillion, or 8.2 times larger.
- In 2008, most of the megabanks at the epicenter of the crisis were in the United States. Today, although some U.S. megabanks are still taking excessive risk, it’s primarily the far LARGER European banks that are in the most trouble. In fact the weak European banks are so large, their total assets are greater than the total assets of ALL U.S. commercial banks combined.
- In 2008, governments had not yet deployed their “big gun” cures for the debt crisis. So they still had the firing power to squelch the crisis with a series of unprecedented rescues. Today, we have seen the rapidly diminishing returns — or outright failure — of nearly every possible stimulus plan, bailout deal or austerity measures known to man.
- In 2008, governments encountered little public resistance to major new policy initiatives. Today, millions of citizens are rebelling at the polls — or on the streets — in France, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and even Germany.
- Most important, until late 2008, central banks restricted their role to traditional manipulation of interest rates. Now, however, four of the most powerful central banks in the world (the Fed, ECB, BOE and BOJ) have departed radically from tradition and embarked on the greatest wave of money printing in the history of mankind.
What REALLY Happened During – and After – the Lehman Collapse?
Over a single weekend in mid-September 2008, the Fed chairman, the Treasury secretary, and other high officials huddled at the New York Fed’s offices in downtown Manhattan to sseriously considered bailing out Lehman, but they ran into two hurdles:
- Lehman’s assets were too sick — so diseased, in fact, even the federal government didn’t want to touch them with a 10-foot pole. Nor were there any private buyers remotely interested in a shotgun marriage.
- Foreshadowing the public rebellion that would later bust onto the scene in the Tea Party movement, there was a new sentiment on Wall Street that was previously unheard of: a small, but vocal, minority was getting sick and tired of bailouts. “Let them fail,” they said. “Teach those bastards a lesson!” was the new rallying cry.
For the Fed chairman and Treasury secretary, it was the long-dreaded day of reckoning. It was the fateful moment in history that demanded a life-or-death decision regarding one of the biggest financial institutions in the world — bigger than General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler put together. Should they save it? Or should they let it fail? Their decision: make a break with the past – let Lehman fail.
As in the prior Bear Stearns failure, America’s largest banking conglomerate (JPMorgan Chase) promptly appeared on the scene and swooped up the outstanding trades and, as with Bear Stearns, the Fed acted as a backstop. Lehman’s demise was unique, however, because it was thrown into bankruptcy and put on the chopping block for liquidation.[You were forewarned of that collapse ] exactly 182 days earlier, when we warned that it could be the financial earthquake that would change the world – and it was. Until that day, nearly everyone assumed that giant firms like Lehman were “too big to fail,” that the government would always step in to save them but that myth was shattered on September 15, 2008, when the U.S. government decided to abandon its long tradition of largesse and let Lehman go under -and that had major negative repercussuins:]
- A major U.S. money market fund, the Reserve Primary Fund, immediately suffered a direct hit in its portfolio from exposure to Lehman securities, pushing its share value below $1 — an unprecedented event that spread panic in the entire industry.
- Money funds, mutual funds and other institutions refused to buy the short-term IOUs (commercial paper) that thousands of companies rely on for ready cash.
- All over the world, investors recoiled in horror, abandoning short-term credit markets — the lifeblood of the global financial system.
- Bank lending froze.
- Borrowing costs went through the roof.
- Corporate bonds tanked.
- The entire world seemed like it was coming unglued.
“I guess we goofed!” were, in essence, the words of admission heard at the Fed and Treasury. “Now, instead of just a bailout for Lehman, what we’re really going to need is the Mother of All Bailouts — for the entire financial system.” The U.S. government promptly complied, delivering precisely what they asked for:
- a $700-billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), rushed through Congress and signed into law by President Bush in record time and, in addition, loaned, invested, or committed
- $300 billion to nationalize the world’s two largest mortgage companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,
- over $42 billion for the Big Three auto manufacturers,
- $29 billion for Bear Stearns,
- $150 billion for AIG, and $350 billion for Citigroup,
- $300 billion for the Federal Housing Administration Rescue Bill to refinance bad mortgages,
- $87 billion to pay back JPMorgan Chase for bad Lehman Brothers trades,
- $200 billion in loans to banks under the Federal Reserve’s Term Auction Facility (TAF),
- $50 billion to support short-term corporate IOUs held by money market mutual funds,
- $500 billion to rescue various credit markets,
- $620 billion for foreign central banks,
- trillions more to guarantee the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC’s) new, expanded bank deposit insurance coverage from $100,000 to $250,000,
- plus trillions more in bailouts and for other sweeping guarantees.
Governments of the UK and the European Union followed a similar pattern and everywhere, both inside and outside of government, apologists for these mega-rescues argued that it was “the lesser of the evils,” the only way to save the world from an even direr fate.
They were wrong, and we told them so on September 25, 2008 when Safe Money Report editor Mike Larson and I submitted a white paper to the U.S. Congress specifically documenting why the government bailouts would ultimately transform the debt crisis into a sovereign debt crisis. In effect, we argued, “Sure, governments can bail out big banks, brokers and insurers but when the next crisis strikes, who will bail out the governments?”…
Yes, with trillions in bailouts since the 2008 debt crisis, the governments of the U.S. and Europe were able to calm the waters and restore credit markets but no government anywhere can create wealth and prosperity with worthless paper, and no government can repeal the laws of gravity or change the laws of thermodynamics.
When investors sell bad government bonds, the value of those bonds must plunge, making it next to impossible for those governments to borrow. When savers run to safety, money must flood from the weakest banks to the strongest, making it impossible for the weak banks to survive. That’s what is happening now, and what will continue to happen in the weeks ahead, until (and unless) the authorities unleash a new wave of money printing that makes previous waves look puny by comparison.
Stand by for our team’s specific instructions on how to protect yourself and profit.
Good luck and God bless!
*http://www.moneyandmarkets.com/bank-runs-spreading-across-europe-what-next-49763 (To access the above article please copy the URL and paste it into your browser.)
Editor’s Note: The above article may have been edited ([ ]), abridged (…), and reformatted (including the title, some sub-titles and bold/italics emphases) for the sake of clarity and brevity to ensure a fast and easy read. The article’s views and conclusions are unaltered and no personal comments have been included to maintain the integrity of the original article.
I think it’s important that everybody has a reasonable allocation of gold in their portfolio because…we could be just a few months away from something that is really very scary, and if that happens, gold will go a lot higher.
For the past four years I have been covering the progression of the global economic crisis with an emphasis on the debilitating effects it has had on the American financial system. Only once before have I ever issued an economic alert, and this was at the onset of the very first credit downgrade in U.S. history by S&P. I do not take the word “alert” lightly. [Read on to to understand why I have issued an economic alert once again.] Words: 1904
The media is rife with misrepresentations and analysis of the EU. Here’s the real deal, no BS situation with Europe – and its BAD! Words: 900
The U.S. government has put us between the proverbial ‘rock and a hard place’. Cutting spending to improve our country’s financial situation would surely trigger rioting in the streets by those Americans most adversely affected yet not cutting spending will trigger much higher inflation – even hyperinflation – which will also result in rioting….Government cannot control how this ends. They may be able to tinker with the timing a bit and they still have the choice of poisons with which to destroy the country, [but] that the country is gone, that is no longer alterable. Words: 930
Europe may soon be choking on that plat du jour of government a la Hollandaise with the side of chopped Greek salad. The whole world, in fact, has got something like a giant hairball stuck in its craw. The hairball is composed of filaments of lies wound over a core of supernatural indebtedness. The lies are promises that the debt will be paid back. Words: 710
In this article I lay out precisely why the coming Crisis in Europe will be THE Crisis I’ve been forecasting for the last 24 months, why it will have dire consequences on the U.S. and why the Fed can do absolutely nothing to stop it this time round. Words: 1334
On the surface things may appear to be calm, but I don’t think the European crisis is anywhere near its conclusion. Losses still have to be taken from Ireland, Spain, Portugal and possibly even Italy…There are a number of ways out of Europe’s problems. One of them is higher inflation…[which] is going to be very positive for gold… because the central banks will be under pressure to print.
The implications for the elections in Europe likely portend what will happen in the U.S.. A similar revolt against incumbents [will] …sweep Obama…out of office but… the newcomers will be placed in the position of Sarkozy and other European incumbents. They will have to address the insolvency and eventual liquidity issues in similar fashion which will be viewed here as “austerity” or worse, “cruel and unusual” punishment. [So, how likely is that? Not very, because] politicians, by nature, are not courageous animals. Instead we will see more of the same: half-assed attempts to fool the people into believing that something is being done to solve the problems. [So what does the future hold for America?] Words: 631
The Federal government is gearing up for unprecedented social unrest (worse than Greece or Spain) when Washington is forced to impose “austerity” plans next year… [which will be deemed absolutely necessary to avoid] runaway inflation [that would otherwise occur] to pay for the country’s costly welfare programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps and massive unfunded liabilities. [Below are the preparations presently underway.] Words: 500
One of the problems with the debate over the “national debt” is that there’s no generally agreed upon definition of that term. Is it what the federal government owes, or what it owes foreigners, or what the whole country, private and public sector together, owes? Does it include off-balance-sheet items and contingent liabilities? There’s a hundred-trillion dollar gap between lowest and highest on this spectrum, which allows each commentator to confuse the rest of us by picking the measure that best suits their point of view. [Let’s try to decipher the true state of the nation.] Words: 1468
The definition of insanity is to continue doing something that goes wrong, without contemplating that there could be a different course of action…[and we] are heading deeper and deeper into insanity…we are just getting deeper and deeper into problems leaving our children and grandchildren with loans that could well take decades to finish (paying) off. I fear we are now stoking up the conditions, at some point in the future, for serious inflation.
With the U.S. election just nine months off, political pressures will mount to favor fiscal stimulus measures instead of restraint. Such action can only accelerate higher domestic inflation and intensified dollar debasement culminating in a Great Collapse – a hyperinflationary great depression – by 2014. [Let me explain why that is the inevitable outcome.] Words: 2766
Currency wars arise when a country steals growth from trading partners by cheapening its currency to promote exports. The new currency war began in 2010 when President Obama declared in his State of the Union address that it was the policy of the United States to double exports in five years. Since the U.S. would not become twice as productive in five years, the implication was the U.S. would severely cheapen its currency to achieve this goal. [Let me expand upon this.] Words: 666
The economy is now so manipulated by politicians, big bankers, and special-interest groups that making sense of the markets has become an almost impossible feat. Which is to say, it must push even harder on the levers of its printing presses, further setting the stage for the massive period of inflation we continue to see as inevitable… and for a stunning rise in interest rates. Words: 968