“Markets Like Totalitarian Governments”

Zero Hedge
March 4, 2011

Wall Street’s shadow king, Blackrock’s Larry Fink who manages over $3 trillion, and is the world’s biggest asset manager, appeared on Bloomberg TV in an interview with Erik Schatzker, and the first thing he said is that the “market likes totalitarian governments.

Blackrock's Larry Fink

 

” That one statement explains everything one needs to know about the market performance over the past two years: there has hardly been a time in the past century when all the globalized regimes supporting stock markets and asset prices have been more “totalitarian” by Fink’s, or any other definition, than they are now. And while the plutocracy may welcome the advent of the Communist States of Iosif Vissarionovich Bernankestein, the common folk, as they always do, ultimately revolt violently against any such attempt at supreme government.

Zero Hedge regular Mike Krieger was quick to proclaim his condemnation: “This is how these elites think.  Even if markets did like totalitarian governments HUMANS DON’T.  This guy is pure scum and is exactly what is wrong with America and its policy today. This is also the guy that told us to buy dollars and treasuries yesterday…” But such are the ways of a dying ponzi regime. Everyone knows the end is coming and is inevitable. And while Wall Street’s self-anointed masters of the universe believe they will be able to avoid the ultimate unwind, they are wrong. Just like Gaddafi is finding out first hand right about now.

Larry Fink on the markets today:

“I believe the market has shifted from euphoria, from August through late January and now we are at a moment of reflection. I think this period of reflection will be sustained for some time.”

Larry Fink on whether he is a buyer or seller:

“If you believe that markets are efficient, some of that uncertainty has been priced in already. We’ve had an increase in oil; there has been no increase in demand in oil. It is that risk premium that has been priced into the marketplace. We’ve had a reduction in equity prices worldwide, especially in the emerging world, where everyone was so bullish one year ago and now money is being poured out of it. ”

“If you believe that all this noise, uncertainty will produce a better outcome, it is probably a buying opportunity. If you think the noise will create a more troublesome world, it may cause some developed economies to revert back into a recession, then we will have rough going for the next year.”

“I am more in the camp that this uncertainty will create a great amount of volatility, the marketplace is pricing this in, and if the market has a setback in terms of prices, I would be a long-term buyer.”

On Treasuries:

“I don’t think an 80 basis point increase in interest rates is a bear market. We have a possibility of rising rates. The outer limits could be 4.40%, on the ten-year. The market knows that the Federal Reserve will be completing its QE2 program by June. The markets are efficient. A lot of this is priced in.”

“We believe rates will creep up. We’re not calling that a bear market. The other issue we need to focus on…We all spend time focusing on the Treasury market but in the United States, we’ve had a collapse in the outstanding of debt.  Corporations, individuals have really pared down their debt. The amount of outstanding debt in America has shrunk…You cannot look at just the Treasury market alone. If you encompass all the cash sitting on the side and you look at how much debt reduction we have seen in the credit markets, I believe there will be a ceiling of how high rates can go. What can throw that out is if we start experiencing a persistence in inflation…If you believe we will have creeping, rising inflation over the next two years, of course interest rates will have to go higher.”

“Inflation will be more moderate. Until I see a labor market that is more robust and until I see factory utilization to be larger, I think inflation in this country will be more muted than what we see other countries.”

Larry Fink on whether he is a buyer of Treasuries:

“If rates creep up over 4%, I would be incrementally buying interest rates.”

“I would definitely be lengthening [duration]. I believe inflation may be a problem in the short run but in the long run, not. You would want to buy if the yield curve shifts upward on the longer end and take advantage of that. If your views of inflation is short, the long end will do the best.”

On European sovereign debt crisis:

“I don’t think [the European debt crisis is over].  I think we will have more volatility there. We still have not addressed the Greek problem. We are in the midst of reviewing what is happening in Ireland. We still have the banking system in Europe which is undercapitalized. You had the governor in Italy saying his banks need more capital. Spain and other countries are saying their banks may need more capital. You put this idea in, the need for more capital to the financial system plus the sovereign credit difficulties, which would probably cause a reduction in capital. We will still have more volatility out of Europe. It will probably be a negative trend.”

“I’m a big buyer of the U.S. dollar here.”

On reports that BlackRock is teaming up with KKR, Warburg Pincus, and others to buy Citi Financial from Citigroup:

“I don’t comment about market rumors…I will say, we do a lot of things for clients….Yes, we are not getting into the consumer-lending business. One should assume that if we are involved in this, it would be on behalf of clients, not for our balance sheet.”

On BlackRock making deals:

“It is not our intention to do another large deal. I don’t see a need for it. Whether regulators are inhibiting us or not, we have said publicly we are happy with our business model as it is today. We made to fill-in acquisitions in different countries or may do an acquisition for the BlackRock technology business, BlackRock Solutions. But it is not my intention to be doing anything large-scale.”

“I remind people and regulators that 100% of our business is a client-serviing business. We are in agent in all our businesses. This is not our capital. This is not our balance sheet. We don’t have leverage. What caused the credit crisis was leverage. We are a different animal. We are only an agent.”

On the Middle East:

“Saudi Arabia is probably the most troublesome country to answer. I think the government will manage the situation properly. They have offered a big infusion into the economy. It is a very wealthy economy with huge oil reserves and huge reserves. It is a very large population in the Gulf region. It is the largest population in the entire Gulf region. That is what produces the uncertainty. The world is dependent on their 8-9 billion barrels per day.”

“That is an uncertainty we have to factor in. If there is uncertainty around Saudi Arabia that produces a slowdown of oil production, then we will have severe issues in this world. That is probably one of the most difficult issues that we are facing today.

“In the short run, you could see oil prices going north of $150 if you had that type of oil shock. It could be $200 at any one moment. My view would be that this would be managed over a course of a period of time.”

On China:

“They are more uncertain. They are the biggest producer of products in the world today. We’re very much dependent on China. It is a similar way we are dependent on Saudi Arabia for oil.”

“I am very concerned about China. China has done a magnificent job about engineering its economy…They have 300-400 million people living at substandard levels. They are in the outer regions outside the river delta valley. They are in many ways minorities and Muslims. They want change…China, because of the size of its population and because the imbalances of standard of living in the country, is an issue. They have done a good job of navigating this but we should put that in as a factor of risk going forward.

“I am more worried about equities today because of this uncertainty. Five-six months ago, I said our economy is better than we thought it would be. I would argue today that we think the economy is better today than it actually is. The enthusiasm has increased dramatically. I think the market is pausing. We need to see how this all plays out. I am quite constructive on Northern Africa, that this will be played out in a positive way. In the short run, democracies are dirty and messy and we could see moments of time in which that uncertainty is a negative uncertainty.”

Goldman Sachs Defrauded Investors, sent bailout outside U.S.A

by Karen Mracek and Thomas Beaumont

Goldman Sachs sent $4.3 billion in federal tax money to 32 entities, including many overseas banks, hedge funds and pensions, according to information made public Friday night.Goldman Sachs disclosed the list of companies to the Senate Finance Committee after a threat of subpoena from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Ia.

 Asked the significance of the list, Grassley said, “I hope it’s as simple as taxpayers deserve to know what happened to their money.”

 He added, “We thought originally we were bailing out AIG. Then later on … we learned that the money flowed through AIG to a few big banks, and now we know that the money went from these few big banks to dozens of financial institutions all around the world.”

 Grassley said he was reserving judgment on the appropriateness of U.S. taxpayer money ending up overseas until he learns more about the 32 entities.

 SETTLEMENT: Goldman Sachs admits it misled investors, pays $550M fine

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 Goldman Sachs (GS) received $5.55 billion from the government in fall of 2008 as payment for then-worthless securities it held in AIG. Goldman had already hedged its risk that the securities would go bad. It had entered into agreements to spread the risk with the 32 entities named in Friday’s report.

 Overall, Goldman Sachs received a $12.9 billion payout from the government’s bailout of AIG, which was at one time the world’s largest insurance company.

 Goldman Sachs also revealed to the Senate Finance Committee that it would have received $2.3 billion if AIG had gone under. Other large financial institutions, such as Citibank, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, sold Goldman Sachs protection in the case of AIG’s collapse. Those institutions did not have to pay Goldman Sachs after the government stepped in with tax money.

 Shouldn’t Goldman Sachs be expected to collect from those institutions “before they collect the taxpayers’ dollars?” Grassley asked. “It’s a little bit like a farmer, if you got crop insurance, you shouldn’t be getting disaster aid.”

 Goldman had not disclosed the names of the counterparties it paid in late 2008 until Friday, despite repeated requests from Elizabeth Warren, chairwoman of the Congressional Oversight Panel.

 “I think we didn’t get the information because they consider it very embarrassing,” Grassley said, “and they ought to consider it very embarrassing.”

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 The initial $85 billion to bail out AIG was supplemented by an additional $49.1 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, known as TARP, as well as additional funds from the Federal Reserve. AIG’s debt to U.S. taxpayers totals $133.3 billion outstanding.

 “The only thing I can tell you is that people have the right to know, and the Fed and the public’s business ought to be more public,” Grassley said.

 The list of companies receiving money includes a few familiar foreign banks, such as the Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays.

 DZ AG Deutsche Zantrake Genossenschaftz Bank, a German cooperative banking group, received $1.2 billion, more than a quarter of the money Goldman paid out.

 Warren, in testimony Wednesday, said that the rescue of AIG “distorted the marketplace by turning AIG’s risky bets into fully guaranteed transactions. Instead of forcing AIG and its counterparties to bear the costs of the company’s failure, the government shifted those costs in full onto taxpayers.”

 Grassley stressed the importance of transparency in the marketplace, as well as in the government’s actions.

 “Just like the government, markets need more transparency, and consequently this is some of that transparency because we’ve got to rebuild confidence to make the markets work properly,” Grassley said.

 AIG received the bailout of $85 billion at the discretion of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which was led at the time by Timothy Geithner. He now is U.S. treasury secretary.

 “I think it proves that he knew a lot more at the time than he told,” Grassley said. “And he surely knew where this money was going to go. If he didn’t, he should have known before they let the money out of their bank up there.”

 An attempt to reach Geithner Friday night through the White House public information office was unsuccessful.

 Grassley has for years pushed to give the Government Accountability Office more oversight of the Federal Reserve.

 U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, a Waterloo Democrat, said he would propose that the House subcommittee on oversight and investigations convene hearings on the need for more Federal Reserve oversight. Braley is a member of the subcommittee.

 Braley said of Geithner, “I would assume he would be someone we would want to hear from because he would have firsthand knowledge.”

 Braley also noted that the AIG bailout was negotiated under President George W. Bush, a Republican.

 He said he was confident that the financial regulatory reform bill signed by President Obama this week would help provide better oversight than the AIG bailout included.

 “There was no regulatory framework in place,” Braley said. “We had to put something in place to begin reining them in. I’m confident they will begin to be able to do that.”

Cap and Trade: Polluting is allowed so long you pay the banksters

Kerry and Lieberman want the industry to pay bankers a fee for emitting.  In other words, they want to legalize unlimited pollution.  The results will be an end to industry at the local and regional levels, with massive, worse than ever before emission for anyone who can pay the new tax (Transnational Corporations).  The bill presented in May will also regulate how much energy citizens can use. It will also pursue the same failed green policies Spain is now abandoning.

CNSNews

Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said they are not worried that their cap-and-trade plan might harm

The Cap-and-Trade scheme is part of the largest transfer of money and resources from the poor and the middle class to the corporate Lords.

fellow Democrats going into the November elections, at a time when voters are more concerned about bread and butter issues such as the economy and the 9.7 percent unemployment rate.

The bill, the American Power Act,  was unveiled in May and would establish a nationwide cap-and-trade system that would regulate the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. In exchange, the bill would also extend various tax subsidies and credits in an attempt to make renewable energy sources relatively affordable.

Cap and trade basically means that a ceiling, a cap, would be placed on certain carbon-emitting manufacturers who would be allowed to exceed that cap if they purchase carbon credits (trade), the proceeds of which would be invested in alternative energy after the government collected a portion of those proceeds. (Some analysts describe the plan as “cap and tax.”)

CNSNews.com on Tuesday asked Sens. Kerry and Lieberman whether they were concerned that pushing such a low-priority issue so close to an election would reinforce the perception that Congress and its Democratic leaders were out of touch with the American people. (Lieberman, though an Independent, is a former Democrat who now caucuses with the Democrats in Congress.)

Lieberman acknowledged that the public is concerned with fiscal issues: “Deficit, debt is on the minds of the voters,” he said. “The American Power Act has been constructed to be deficit-neutral [and] we’re going to get the CBO analysis later this month or early next month.”

Kerry went on at length, saying that  Americans support many of the provisions in his bill: “When you put the worst arguments characterizing our legislation against the best arguments for energy independence — for jobs, for health, and cleaning up the environment — overwhelmingly Americans land on the side of a comprehensive bill,” said Kerry.

Kerry said that the debate going forward will not be about convincing the public of the veracity of global warming claims, but about trying to redefine cap and trade legislation as something that will benefit the struggling economy.

“Nothing that we do with respect to this bill rides on persuading people ultimately about climate [change],” Kerry said.

“Do Americans want to say no to anywhere from 250,000 to 540,000 jobs a year for the next 10-20 years? I don’t think so,” said Kerry.  “Do Americans want to let China take the lead in solar and wind technologies that we invented? I don’t think so. This is about getting America into the marketplace. This is a $6 trillion market with 6 billion potential users.”

Kerry and Lieberman, in an apparent nod to voters’ fiscal concerns, may have a steep hill to climb in convincing the public that their economic plan will lead to a better economy.

Polls show that Americans are not particularly taken with the issue of global warming, the driving force behind the Kerry-Lieberman effort. A March 2010 Gallup survey, for example, found that 48 percent of Americans thought that global warming claims were exaggerated.

That same survey found that 67 percent of Americans thought that global warming would not pose a serious threat to their well-being in the future.

Polls also have shown that global warming does not rank high on Americans’ list of concerns. An April 2010 Gallup survey found that Americans ranked environmental issues and global warming last when asked which issues they thought were the most important in determining how they will vote in November 2010.

Only 46 percent of Americans said that global warming was either “extremely” or “very” important to their voting decisions. By contrast, 93 percent said the economy was either very or extremely important to their voting choices. In fact, the economy was the only issue of the seven polled that a majority of voters, 53 percent, called extremely important to their voting decision.

Global warming was ranked as extremely important by only 22 percent of respondents.

The same March 2010 Gallup survey that showed skepticism of global warming also found that only 30 percent of the public thought that energy and climate legislation would either probably or definitely help the economy. Among those, only six percent thought federal legislation would definitely help.

Conversely, 48 percent thought that federal climate and energy legislation would either definitely or probably hurt the economy. The percentage of Americans who thought that federal energy legislation would either probably or definitely hurt the economy actually rose from one year ago, the survey found, while the number of people who thought the legislation might be beneficial declined.