Delusional banking

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Time to consider holding more of your money in cash: The International Monetary Fund said on Sunday that it now supports the idea of imposing negative interest rates on depositor money at some central banks.

In other words, steal the money, placed originally in the banks for safety from theft.

The following quote from the article, however, reveals how truly hopeless the situation really is:

Critics argue that the move to negative rates, especially in Japan where the central bank has failed to ignite growth or shift inflation upwards, are a sign of desperation. What is needed they say is additional government spending instead of more loose monetary policy. In addition, they charge that the move may damage the economy by inflating financial market asset bubbles and squeezing bank profit margins. [emphasis mine]

The idea that more government spending will solve the problem of too much government spending, which is why these central banks are in debt and need to steal the money of the depositors in order to become solvent again, is absurd. That the world’s economic experts can see no other solution, like maybe getting government spending under control so that reasonable taxes can pay the bills, tells us that no reasonable solution will be tried, and that eventually everything is going to crash badly.


  • Cotour

    On this subject, I just happened upon this video commenting on this very situation:

    And then I read this little ditty about the further destabilizing actions related to the housing and financial industry’s of the Obama administration.

    Put them together and what do you have? Real collapse. Another example of government intervention on a huge scale where capitalism is unable to clear out the old and rebuild the new. In the end there will be balance, put it off or try to avoid it, but there will be balance.

  • Wayne

    It remains unclear if the Federal Reserve actually has the legal authority to impose negative interest rates among their member banks, but… that’s never stopped them before.

    Tangentially– Holding cash makes it harder for The Man to control you>>

  • Wayne

    Well said.

    The whole negative interest-rate thing appears to be popular among the European union States as well as the IMF. Not at all sure how well that would play here, but crazier things continue to happen so I would not be surprised.

    Q: Anyone believe the inflation-rate (past 7 years) is as low as the Government claims? Personally- I’d put forth it’s closer to 5%, than it is to “zero.”

  • Cotour

    I would not be focused so much on the inflation rate, I would be more focused on the real unemployment rate. Because energy is now relatively very low that translates into lower costs for consumers / transportation, although food costs do seem pretty high and energy is not calculated in the inflation calculation (as I understand it). The unemployment rate is probably actually closer to 9% + than 5% ? Lies on top of lies on top of lies, the administration can do nothing else.

    (PS: Hillary’s email breach has not threatened our security in any way, the president said so. And let me remind you, you will be able to keep your doctor)

    The interest rates are kept low by the FED IMO because if they were to be raised the cost related to the debt would become unsustainable, if I understand it correctly (if thats possible). And the low rates translate into cheap money to the institutions that have access to it being injected into the market thus driving these high stock prices higher and higher.

    All of these manipulations are designed to accomplish one thing, stretch out time. You can accomplish a lot if you are able to stretch time. That is of course contingent on that during that time that you have managed to create that you are engaged in the proper policy’s that clear out what needs to be cleared out.

    If you are creating time but you continue to do the same stupid things that got you in the hole that you are in, like doubling down on requiring banks to make bad loans, there is only one eventuality to be realized, a deeper hole. With the now real potential for the walls to collapse and bury everyone. And this is all possible because the dollar is the reserve currency of the world, but that is also now in jeopardy.

    And whether by design or ignorance we all can agree that the people that we have hired to manage our account is actually our enemy because there is no sense of any fiduciary responsibility.

    IMO Obama and the people who run him, like Soros and his border less world are in the process of creating the American peoples legal obligation to pay on an infinitely large debt that can never be paid and that yolk of obligation is the modern form of slavery that gelds America and its power to dominate the world.

    What they apparently do not realize is that America, warts and all, is actually the only force that keeps the modern world together.

  • Edward

    Interesting that they should think that negative interest rates would work when they haven’t worked in Japan over the past quarter century.

    In the US, a 1% rate was only used once, before Obama, and it was considered by all the Fed chairmen, up to Bernanke, to be a panic rate. Bernanke considered it “the new normal.” That zero percent rates in the US (and negative rates elsewhere) have not worked during the past seven years should tell us something about the effectiveness of central banks at influencing economies. They obviously do not work. The central bank idea is a failure.

    Keynesian Economics — governmental spending to stimulate an economy — has never worked, either. It, too, is a failure. (7 minutes)
    “[Keynesians say,] ‘people won’t lend or borrow in a weak economy.’ But in that type of dismal economic environment, people are so fearful that they try to increase their savings, so the bulk of any so-called stimulus winds up in the banking system anyway.”

    Which is exactly what Obama has complained about in *this* dismal economic environment. Trillions of dollars have been printed, and Obama complains that those trillions of dollars are in banks, not circulating in the economy.

    The two times that we spent the biggest bucks trying to recover the economy, all we ended up with was greater debt. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. actually learned this lesson during the Great Depression, but he was ignored:

    “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong … somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises. … I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. … And an enormous debt to boot.”,_Jr.#Fiscal_responsibility

    As Joe commented, on another government spending brouhaha: “Why am I reminded of the windmill (tower?) in Animal Farm”?

    It is clear that government has not been working in the best interest of We the People for 85 or more years.

    A: The government conveniently dropped energy costs and food costs from their calculation of the consumer price index — rationalizing that they fluctuate too much — so two of our big costs of living (around half of our cost of living) have been dropped out of the equation. When your grocery (and restaurant), gasoline, and energy-utility bills go up, they are not considered in the inflation rate. Are you living on Social (In)Security? Too bad, because it does not consider half of your expenses in its cost of living adjustments.

  • Wayne

    Well said. (Especially the Morgenthau quote.)
    (Flat screen TV’s are cheaper every year, while we continue to turn 1/2 our corn-crop into alcohol.)
    Cotour: Yeah, agree– the unemployment rate is (probably) closer to 10% than 5%. Inflation is also a huge pent-up problem & a stealth tax on everyone.
    Yes– the Treasury’s cost of interest would sky-rocket if they had to pay anything resembling a “natural” rate right now. We’ve had generally anemic growth for the past 7 years & the Government can’t evade the inevitable “re-balancing” that must occur.

    Does anyone remember when mortgage rates were 18%?

  • Wayne

    Highly recommend:
    “The American Economy & the End of Laissez Faire 1870- World War 2,” Murray Rothbard.
    Fascinating history of our economic system.
    Specifically lecture 10, titled, “The Cartelization of Banking.” [MP3 file available]
    Very appropriate to this thread. (He has a 13 part lecture series on the entire book, in his own voice, available for free download at Mises. He covers the economic system of Colonial America to 1860, in a prior work.)

  • Cotour

    Goldman agrees to pay a $5 Billion fine for creating disastrous financial instruments based on BS mortgages that they were forced to make in the first place by the government who essentially provided a risk free environment for doing so. Why else would a financial institution decide to make bad loans?

    People, like Bernie, are outraged that Goldman would do such a thing. Goldman / Wall Street does what they do, business, the financial instrument business, and that business is not something that they pull out of their rear ends and call that a good idea. They do what they do as a function of the nature and the general rules of capitalism and general good business practices and the parameters that they live within are created by the entity that they exist at the pleasure of, government.

    I am not in any way making any excuses for Goldman, if they are not properly regulated they will certainly run themselves, and us, amok, as they have. Unregulated capitalism is just as dangerous and deadly as unregulated communism, their is no difference. But when the lines between government and business are blurred as they have been blurred in the example given, where government pushes too much social agenda, and business takes their “guidance” to heart and understands that their risk has essentially been disappeared then that is an unnatural situation. And it appears that we are now unable to voluntarily get out of it.

    I would really love to know what Hillary had to say on the subject, (while being paid $200K per 45 minute speech from Goldman) wouldn’t you? That has to be one hell of a frigin speech!

  • D K Rögnvald Williams

    Money, in theory, follows its most efficient use. With interest rates and bond yields at ultra low rates, people bid up stock prices chasing dividends. Of course, companies have to make profits in order to pay these dividends. Crony capitalism, for example, Solyndra, and governmental overregulation interfere with this. Health care stocks, in general, have taken a beating recently due to Federal policy. Same is true of banks, especially small, community banks, which are being forced into mergers largely to spread the cost of compliance with the Dodd-Frank law.

  • Jwing

    I remember learning about Greshman’s Law…”Bad money drives the good money out of circulation.” He proposed it to explain how money in the form of metal coinage, that was debased in its purity, caused people to hold (hord) the good quality gold and silver coins, and to freely circulate the newer minted debased coins that the King minted in his effort to increase his money supply.

    In today’s case, the “cash is king” and the electronic bank transfers deposits will become less desirable…Economics 101.

  • ken anthony

    There is no such thing as unregulated capitalism. Capitalism is regulated by consumers. All government can do is interfere with this proper regulation.

    What govt. could do is make information available. Otherwise they simply screw up a well regulated system.

  • Cotour

    Banks and financial institutions are regulated, they are creations of government, they exist at the governments pleasure. In our system there must be / are rules, if there were no rules and every individual made their own rules there would be chaos. So in the theoretical, capitalism is regulated by the consumer, but in the real world, our world, capitalism does exist within certain parameters of law and good practices.

    The mortgage for your house is issued and agreed upon through an established system of laws and rules of operation. The strength of America lies in the fact that these laws and rules that comprise our system of commerce create balance within the concept of capitalism.

    Full blown and “unregulated” capitalism and communism are essentially indistinguishable, they both result in slavery. Concepts become reality when rules are developed and applied in the real world. And as a general rule the fewer rules and laws the better. This subject is at the heart of much of what is posted on this web site, where is the balance point, when is too much too much?

    So in fact our American brand of capitalism is in deed regulated to the benefit of all involved.

  • Wayne

    Cotour opined, in part:
    “Full blown and “unregulated” capitalism and communism are essentially indistinguishable, they both result in slavery.”

    I have to say “no” on that thought. You make the complete mistake of buying into the left-wing disparaging characterization of Capitalism as something which must be “regulated,” or that it is inherently “evil,” unless controlled by the State.
    State Controlled Capitalism is quintessential “crony capitalism,” with no involvement by the major actors, the Consumer.

    Ken is correct– Capitalism is “regulated” by Consumers… but we haven’t allowed that to work since before the Civil War. (Endless State meddling into contracts between consenting adults.)

    Prior to the 1930’s, there was no such animal as a 20 or 30 year mortgage for a house. Historically, 5 year Notes with a balloon-payment, served to finance houses (and farms.) People lost their homes/farms during the Depression because they could not refinance their Note, precisely because the State intervened.

    Highly recommend:
    “History of Money and Banking in the United States: The Colonial Era to World War II,” Murray Rothbard.
    -free PDF and audio-book format available at–

  • “Banks and financial institutions are regulated, they are creations of government…”

    I must beg to differ. Banks are a purely private and capitalistic invention, and this is proven by U.S. history. The government arrived long after the banks were functioning.

    I am not arguing that some regulation by the government, preferable the states, is bad. On the contrary, it can be helpful. However, the 20th century attempt by our government, encouraged by the public, to regulate the banking industry so as to avoid depressions and bank failures entirely as only served to make those failures more disastrous when they occurred. In the 19th century depressions and bank failures occurred, but when they did they were relatively mild, involved only a handful of banks. Now, we can only have a total collapse, destroying everyone.

  • Wayne

    Mr. Z.:
    Well said!

  • pzatchok

    You can’t just take money away from people for the only reason being that they have money.

    The rich do not keep cash in banks. They invest almost all of it. Thus its not available to take.

    The rich would just move their ready cash to off shore accounts. And then use credit cards issued from those banks to pay for everything.

    Now you have to steal from the middle class instead. And they will just start keeping 90% of their money in cash at home.

    And you can’t take money from the poor because they are actually getting cash from the government. They have nothing to take.

    People are not stupid. (Mostly, normally) so at best you will be able to negative interest rate them one time and then they will learn to avoid it.

  • Steve Earle

    Not about the negative interest rate, but an interesting discussion between William Buckley and Milton Friedman about a negative income tax.

  • Cotour

    Our flavor of capitalism (my context is our American kind of capitalism not theory) IS regulated to everyone in the worlds best interests. Those regulations come in the form of laws and rules of best practices interpreted by OUR judicial system.

    “This subject is at the heart of much of what is posted on this web site, where is the balance point, when is too much too much?”

    Capitalist theory, 18th century, 19th century, 20th century banking………..I am commenting on our American system as a whole which do to its nature (laws and rules of operation) can be driven if not properly REGULATED and abused to run amok, and upon finding the proper degree of balance can create the most wealth that has ever existed on the face of the planet.

    So, our American flavor of capitalism certainly exists within regulation, on going and constantly adjusting regulation.

    ” Banks are a purely private and capitalistic invention”

    Banking may be originally an invention of the private sector, but read below and see what entity that American banking actually exists within today, and today and moving forward is my context. In my position I am lumping our banking system, our monetary system, our judicial system and our commerce system together and calling that our American flavor of Capitalism. Lets all get on the same page here.

    I provide a prime example:

    “The Clinton administration put the Community Reinvestment Act on steroids and boasted about doing so. But, the one event which probably contributed the most to the current housing mess came in 1999 when Clinton pressured Fannie Mae to lower “the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders”.

    When Clinton made that move, the New York Times warned:

    “In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of [subprime] lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980’s.

    That one move by Clinton – inspired by the Community Reinvestment Act – shifted to the tax payers ALL moral hazard associated with originating ANY bad subprime loan – whether directly covered by the CRA or not. From that day forward, ANYBODY could originate an excessively risky subprime loan, book the origination profits and then sell that risky loan to Fannie Mae or have Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or any other “too big to fail” entity insure that risky loan.”

  • Cotour

    Actually rereading what I wrote.

    ““Banks and financial institutions are regulated, they are creations of government…”

    Is technically incorrect I miss spoke, what I meant to say is that banks are not created by government but they are now regulated by it.

  • Edward

    Even under free-market capitalism, a small amount of regulation/rules/laws are desirable in order to make sure that everyone’s rights are protected. Cotour’s point about capitalism looking like communism may be due to the possible/eventual formation of monopolies that act like their own lawmakers; monopolies have a grip on their customers by whatever sensitive body part you prefer, because the alternative is to live without a valuable good or service. Alternatives include sending letters instead of making telephone calls; burning candles and wood to have light, cook meals, and stay warm; and going to the river with a bucket rather than turning on the faucet.

    Free-market capitalist societies require a limited amount of regulations/rules/laws, otherwise they stop being free-market societies. Too few, and monopolies develop; too many, and commerce becomes centrally controlled.

    Overregulation is an easy trap to fall into, as many people believe that all problems can only be solved by a strong central government regulating every small problem that may come along.

    Early banks were a safe place to keep money, instead of risking getting robbed at home. They looked a bit like Gringotts, in the Harry Potter books, with individual vaults for each account (but not as many dragons to protect the vaults). “Checking” started when banks provided a service of moving coins from one safe to another at the written direction of the first account owner. Eventually, banks figured out that commingling and tracking/recording deposits allowed for lending money — in a capitalist way — and the depositor was rewarded with part of the interest earned from the loan.

    The main factor of capitalism that distinguishes if from other economic systems is that individuals or groups use pooled funds in order to do more than any individual could do with only his own limited funds.

    When the corporation was “invented,” as used by the Dutch East India Company (corporations actually go way back in history — e.g. London is technically a corporation), it encouraged the rapid expansion of business. Limited liability protected investors and is still a reasonable tradeoff for creditors and customers in order to promote the goods and services (and earned interest) that would not otherwise be provided.

    Non-capitalist societies do not invent nearly as many products as capitalist societies, which is only one of the many reasons why free-market capitalist societies have higher living standards.

    Overregulation often ends up favoring some (or one) companies over others. For instance, requiring licences for opening a manicure shop tends to prevent newcomers from opening their own shops. Dodd-Frank overregulation has favored large banks over smaller banks, resulting in reduced competition and a less free market; the irony being that the law was passed under the hypothesis that large banks were not desirable.

    So much for the competence of lawmakers.

    Pzatchok wrote: “The rich do not keep cash in banks.”

    But businesses and the retired do, which is why Cypress became infamous, a couple of years ago, when their government confiscated from bank accounts the money that exceeded the deposit insurance maximum (there went the trust in banks — and government). The rich can hire companies to distribute their money up to these maximums at multiple banks (yes, this service exists), but saving in banks is not how the rich become rich, as pzatchok noted. The rich got rich through investment, innovation, entrepreneurship, or talent.

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