Monday, September 10, 2012

Financial Sarcasm Roundup for 09/10/12

I love it when I'm right, especially when I'm ahead of the rest of Wall Street.  I wrote a few days ago about the danger to the U.S. economy from the looming ILA strike at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports, and said strike now looks very likely.  I am not alone in noting the severity of what we can expect; Asian shippers are getting very concerned.  The financial analyst community needs to take a serious look at how re-routing container ships to the Port of Oakland leaves the U.S. economy exposed to a shutdown from as little as a few hundred Occupy Oakland idiot activists.  I do not feel sorry for any hedge fund managers who insist on ignoring fundamentals just to pick up nickels in front of this steamroller.  I want professional money managers to keep doing exactly what they're doing now, piling on one bad call after another by following each other in a herd over a cliff.

One thing I don't need cluttering my workspace is yet another prediction of monetary easing from the Fed.  These Captain Obvious statements are pointless in the face of Helicopter Ben's repeated statements of intent, plus the proclivity of every academic to spend their entire careers justifying a PhD thesis (go read Ben's "printing press" speech and his Princeton work).  Anyway, those economists are correct about further stimulus doing nothing but they're missing one thing.  Money velocity is at rock bottom.  Steroid injections go nowhere if blood isn't circulating.  That can all change in a heartbeat if politicians force banks to lend.  I am still convinced that some form of forced lending, like the HAMP mortgage modification program but much larger, will be one of the transmission mechanisms for a wage-price spiral into serious inflation.

Germany still wants to put the kibosh on the ECB's newfound willingness to destroy that country's credit rating with unlimited sovereign bond buying.  The German constitutional court may vote to block German contributions to European rescue funds.  That court needs to read Mario Draghi's speeches again, paying particular attention to the enormous caveats he put in about the austerity criteria any destitute country has to meet before getting a bailout.  No way are Greece, Spain, and Italy going to meet those criteria with their economies already in austerity-driven death spirals.  No way will they get more than token bailouts that temporarily prop up European stocks.  No way is the ECB going to save the euro.