Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Hot Summer 2012 Looks Like Economic Annihilation

Holy canole, things are starting to slide.  Spain gave the world a gentle hint today that it can no longer borrow in world bond markets and would pretty please like Germany to put its good credit behind eurobonds. You'll have to speak up, Spain, because Germany is still pretending not to hear you give notice of default.  They get that way sometimes.

Germany is also going to get an earful from Greece, again.  The Greeks are one month away from going broke, again.  The death spiral of austerity has a firm grip on Greece and cuts in government spending are generating positive feedback loops that are sinking the economy and tax revenue.  I've had personal experience drinking German beer and Greek ouzo and can attest that both are sufficiently strong for the leaders of those respective countries to self-medicate their way through tough times.

Germany should stop listening to these deadbeats anyway.  Its economy is really hurting now that its client states can't afford to buy German-made stuff after implementing their austerity measures.  Oh well, less German beer exported means more German beer available at home for volks to self-medicate.

The G-7 pledged to do something.  Their finance ministers have burned up lots of frequent flier miles and free long distance minutes this year with no progress toward getting Europe off the floor.  I'll hazard a guess that they agreed to let the Fed do the heavy lifting since Europe can't get its act together.  The only things I need to know are the size of the Fed's dollar swaps with leading European banks and whether the U.S. will push some inflationary transmission mechanism onto the U.S.'s systemically risky banks.

Speaking of systemically risky U.S. banks (and you know that turn of phrase is one of my favorite segues), the TBTF banks still don't take risk seriously.  The OCC can't figure out whether JPMorgan's risk management controls are real or imaginary.  The controls are probably as real as you can get when writing them with a stick on a wet clay tablet.  TBTFs won't have much time for controls anyway if they get busy pushing hyperinflated dollars into weird new loan programs for Americans.  All the Fed needs to do is give the banks the "go" codes.  The Fed is already thinking about whether things are bad enough to require QE3, Operation Twist, or whatever.  Helicopter Ben can't wait.  The Fed's June meeting can't come soon enough for him.  Hyperinflation is the most likely policy option with Washington too paralyzed to enact the requisite tax and spending fixes.

I really have to hand it to those hedge fund managers who were stupid enough to go long the euro, European sovereign debt, European bank shares, U.S. sovereign debt, and U.S. bank shares in 2012.  These preppies take stupidity to a whole new level.