Posts Tagged ‘private debt’

Where is Paulson going to get $700 billion for his bail-out plan from?

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

There’s news of a (yet another) tentative deal for Henry Paulson’s US$700 billion bailout Plan. There is a lot of public discontent and anger over the plan. After all, why should Main Street pay for Wall Street’s stupidity and greed? What about the millions of dollars of ‘golden parachutes’ for executives? The idea of the Plan sounds good in principle, but there are a lot of unanswered questions.

First, as Congressman Ron Paul grilled Ben Bernanke, if the free market has no idea how much these dodgy assets are worth, then how on earth can the Treasury and the Fed work out their value? Ben Bernanke gave a very unconvincing answer. As we explained in How much to pay for toxic debt?, if the government is too stingy in the price it pays (so as to act in the interests of tax-payers), then the Plan will become completely pointless. It’s an either all or never situation. Half-baked measures are worse then no measures.

This leads to another question. Even if it’s possible for the authorities to work out how much these toxic stuffs are worth in due time, where on earth did they come up with the figure of $700 billion? As this article reported,

“It’s not based on any particular data point,” a Treasury spokeswoman told Tuesday. “We just wanted to choose a really large number.”

In other words, that figure was just a ‘large’ number plucked from the sky.

Next, is that ‘large’ figure, $700 billion enough? We are doubtful. Total private debt in the US is a cool $41 trillion and that does not include the many trillions of dollars of public debt. Estimates of the US public debt that includes the unfunded medicare and social security liabilities ranges between $40 to $55 trillion (see How is the US going to repay its national debt?). Therefore, $700 billion is really chicken feed. Marc Faber estimated that $5 trillion is a more realistic figure.

Then, the next question to ask is this: where on earth is the money going to come from? If the US government issues new government debt, this will increase the debt-servicing burden of the US government, which in turn means that the tax burden of the American people will have to increase. But after listening to yesterday’s McCain-Obama debate, we couldn’t believe our ears when both of them were talking about tax cuts! With a national debt so astronomically high, nationalisations, bailouts and the Plan will increase it even further. How on earth could these two presidential hopefuls talk about cutting tax?

Regardless of the wrangling due to the Plan, this fundamental fact remains: the entire nation has no means to pay for its public and private debt. It’s either debt default or crushing tax for their current and future generations. If both outcomes are out of the question, then there’s only one way left. As we said before in Bush?s mortgage relief plan- who pays? back in December last year,

Bush could tax the American people to pay for his plan. But this will be politically impossible because in a democracy, the mob always want something for nothing. The next best alternative will be through stealth tax- ?printing? of money (see How to secretly rob the people with monetary inflation?). This way, the American people will pay through price inflation. That is, they will pay through the further loss of their dollar?s purchasing power.

Do you think the US will eventually resort to the monetary printing press?

How is the US going to repay its national debt?

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

As we all know, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were being nationalised a couple of days ago. The US government has put in $US1 billion of new capital (in the form of preferred shares) and says it might put in up to $US200 billion more. At the same time, it will take over the management of these two companies. Consequently, the stock market all over the world cheered this news in exuberance.

This is a farce.

There is a cost to this nationalisation, which as we said two months ago in How do we all pay for the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?,

The collapse of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will result in a colossal deflation. Can the US allow such an unthinkable to happen? If the answer is no, then inflation is the only path out of it, in which the road to hyperinflation hell begins. This is also unthinkable. Which road will the US take? If the US takes the latter route, all of us will be paying for their bailout via inflation.

Now consider the situation of the US government budget as reported in ‘Frannie’ bailout heavy with irony:

According to the US Government’s Accountability Office the national debt stood at $US4.4 trillion early this year. Unless the habit of deficit spending is arrested quickly this figure will double in the next ten years.

Meanwhile, the social security system faces an unfunded liability estimated by the Government Accountability Office at $US6.7 trillion and the unfunded liability of Medicare is $US34 trillion.

If the US government has to bail out more and more blow-ups in the financial system, there is only one way the level of national debt can go: up and up to the sky. It has come to a stage that the word “billion” is not enough to describe the magnitude of the debt- “trillion” has used instead. That level of debt is approximately $150,000 for every man, woman and children in the United States.

Is the US government going to pay all these debt by raising taxes? With rising unemployment, record levels of private debt and wobbly economy, do you think this idea can ever be entertained? If it is politically impossible to raise taxes, what else can be done? Default or print money?

Strangely, the market reacted to this news by bidding up the US dollar.