Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Looming Banking Collapse

Mon Feb 18, 9:09 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Banks in the United States have been quietly borrowing "massive amounts" from the U.S. Federal Reserve in recent weeks, using a new measure the Fed introduced two months ago to help ease the credit crunch, according to a report on the web site of The Financial Times.

The newspaper said the use of the Fed's Term Auction Facility (TAF), which allows banks to borrow at relatively attractive rates against a wide range of their assets, saw borrowing of nearly $50 billion of one-month funds from the Fed by mid-February.

The Financial Times said the move has sparked unease among some analysts about the stress developing in opaque corners of the U.S. banking system and the banks' growing reliance on indirect forms of government support.

(Reporting by Mark McSherry; Editing by Valerie Lee)

From Jim Kunstler, Clusterfuck Nation,
.... And after another while, the nature of money became so detached from anything real, so abstract, that its very existence became hypothetical. Even this "worked" for a while, in terms of the managers of this money being able to "cream" substantial amounts of this hypothetical money off the top of their notional operations and translate that hypothetical cream into Tribeca lofts, Gulfstream jets, and other real luxuries. The rest of the economic food chain -- and the social order that represented it -- got stripped of remaining asset value (and social value) until they had nothing left to trade with except debt, in one form or another, and this phase of the game turned out to have a short lifetime when the the only debts remaining to be monetized were the contracts on houses occupied by people with no hope of ever meeting their obligations -- and then the whole sorry racket started to go up in a vapor. This is roughly where we are, and where the banks stand today. They are pretending to have money and desperately cadging loans from all comers to keep appearances up, but the loans can't come in fast enough. The appearance of confidence is crucial (as it is, of course, in any "con" game) to keep the investors (depositors) at bay. If a bunch of investors (depositors) all got nervous about the solvency of a given bank, they might try to slip in there during business hours and withdraw or redeem their "money" and perhaps translate it into items of value like gold coins, bottles of vodka, or cases of 9 millimeter pistol ammunition. And if enough of this bunch showed up at the same time, we would see a phenomenon called a "run" on a bank. And after that started at one bank, the thing Franklin Roosevelt called "fear itself" could easily spread to depositers in other banks pretending to be OK... and that would be the magic moment that the USA discovered it was no longer a rich nation."

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The whole house of cards is poised to come down around our ears. McCain might get his hundred years war. Over food, fuel, shrinking land masses, religious fanatacism... the list grows and grows. Who in their right mind would want to be President?

Sweet dreams, catch you later.....

No comments: