by Rodrigue Tremblay
Thursday, March 26, 2009
“Deficits in the, let’s say, 5 percent of GDP range would lead to rising debt-to-GDP ratios that would ultimately not be sustainable.” — Peter Orszag, Obama White House budget chief
“The [US] financial system is facing possible total losses of $7 trillion. …With the banks ‘effectively insolvent’, we’ve concluded that the only viable solution is nationalization.” — Matthew Richardson and Nouriel Roubini, American economists
“China is worried that the U.S. may solve its problems by printing money, which will stoke inflation.” — Zhao Qingming, Chinese financial analyst
“Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce.” — James A. Garfield, (1831-1881) 20th President of the United States
After ten years of wholesale financial deregulation, bad policies and unsound banking practices, and facing a worsening recession, over the last year and a half the U.S. government has been pumping trillions of dollars in order to deleverage and recapitalize banks that were on the brink of insolvency. But the banking crisis is of such a magnitude, and the damage done to the financial system so widespread, that each pumping of money into the system has never seemed to be enough. This is because numerous American financial institutions, and among the largest, have suffered multibillion-dollar losses, not only with subprime mortgages, but especially with large amounts of derivative products that have turned sour. Not the least of these are the famous gambling products called credit default swaps, (CDS), [which the Bank of International Settlements is reporting to be worth some $57 trillion.
For its part, ever since the collapse of the investment bank Bear Stearns on March 15, 2008, the Fed has pumped trillions of dollars, under various forms, into sick financial institutions in order to keep them afloat, or in order to merge them with other entities.