Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008


If you agree, call your Congressman today...

Federal Reserve Board Abolition Act (Introduced in House)

HR 2755 IH


1st Session

H. R. 2755

To abolish the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks, to repeal the Federal Reserve Act, and for other purposes.


June 15, 2007

Mr. PAUL introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Financial Services


To abolish the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks, to repeal the Federal Reserve Act, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `Federal Reserve Board Abolition Act’.


(a) In General- Effective at the end of the 1-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and each Federal reserve bank are hereby abolished.

(b) Repeal of Federal Reserve Act- Effective at the end of the 1-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Federal Reserve Act is hereby repealed.

(c) Disposition of Affairs-

(1) MANAGEMENT DURING DISSOLUTION PERIOD- During the 1-year period referred to in subsection (a), the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System–

(A) shall, for the sole purpose of winding up the affairs of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks–

(i) manage the employees of the Board and each such bank and provide for the payment of compensation and benefits of any such employee which accrue before the position of such employee is abolished; and

(ii) manage the assets and liabilities of the Board and each such bank until such assets and liabilities are liquidated or assumed by the Secretary of the Treasury in accordance with this subsection; and

(B) may take such other action as may be necessary, subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, to wind up the affairs of the Board and the Federal reserve banks.


(A) IN GENERAL- The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall liquidate all assets of the Board and the Federal reserve banks in an orderly manner so as to achieve as expeditious a liquidation as may be practical while maximizing the return to the Treasury.

(B) TRANSFER TO TREASURY- After satisfying all claims against the Board and any Federal reserve bank which are accepted by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and redeeming the stock of such banks, the net proceeds of the liquidation under subparagraph (A) shall be transferred to the Secretary of the Treasury and deposited in the General Fund of the Treasury.

(3) ASSUMPTION OF LIABILITIES- All outstanding liabilities of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks at the time such entities are abolished, including any liability for retirement and other benefits for former officers and employees of the Board or any such bank in accordance with employee retirement and benefit programs of the Board and any such bank, shall become the liability of the Secretary of the Treasury and shall be paid from amounts deposited in the general fund pursuant to paragraph (2) which are hereby appropriated for such purpose until all such liabilities are satisfied.

(d) Report- At the end of the 18-month period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Treasury and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall submit a joint report to the Congress containing a detailed description of the actions taken to implement this Act and any actions or issues relating to such implementation that remain uncompleted or unresolved as of the date of the report.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fox News Calls Ron Paul an Economic Genius!

Ron Paul: Greenspan, Bernanke Should Be Criminally Charged

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
Friday, September 26, 2008

Congressman Ron Paul says that the bailout bill is likely to pass, heralding a 10-year plus economic depression for America and the potential for martial law should civil unrest arise as the financial meltdown worsens.

Speaking on The Alex Jones Show, Paul said of the bailout, “They want dictatorship, they want to pass all the penalties and suffering on to the average person on Main Street,” adding, “We will have a depression or recession, it’s locked in place due to previous Federal Reserve actions.”

“When they say that if we don’t do exactly as they say and turn over more of our money and more of our liberties and exempt themselves from any court in the whole nation, they’re trying to intimidate us and lead us into doing the wrong thing,” said Paul.

The Congressman added that serious problems would arise if nothing was done to address the problem, but that more serious consequences would follow should the bailout be passed.

Paul warned that the only question was whether the meltdown would last one year or ten years and how much liberty would be lost in that time frame.

“It looks like from I see in Congress, that they’re opting for a decade plus of depression rather than saying let’s correct our ways, let’s balance the budget, let’s bring our troops home,” said Paul, adding that the same course of printing money would continue - prolonging the agony and preventing a necessary correction.

Asked if civil unrest was a possibility in the midst of an economic depression, referencing a recent Army Times report concerning the use of active duty military being brought back from Iraq for “Homeland patrols” and “crowd control,” Paul questioned, “Are we going to have martial law or are we going to have more freedoms? The more problems that we have, the more likely it is that we’re going to have martial law, so I do think they anticipate and they plan for these things.”

Asked if criminal investigations and prosecutions of individuals on Wall Street should commence, Paul agreed but said that the main target of criminal inquiry should be the Federal Reserve board itself because, “That’s where the fraud is.”

“They want to be lawless, they don’t want to be held accountable,” he added.

Paul said that grand juries should be convened to take on prosecutions rather than the FBI becoming involved, stating, “We have proper authority with that and experience with it and the Enron case is a good example.”

The Congressman said that Greenspan and Bernanke should be criminally charged but that such an effort would be largely symbolic. “Morally speaking, they’re the culprits,” said Paul.

Asked what his solution to the crisis would be, Paul said, “I think the most important thing to do is to send the message that we’re going to quit living beyond our means and the president can set the standard for that and he has the most control under the Constitution on foreign policy - he can say no more wars, we’re done with the wars, we’re not going to take on the Russians, we’re not going to take on people in Venezuela, we’re going to start talking to the Cubans and bring our troops home and save hundreds of billions of dollars - that would send a powerful message that the dollar would respond to and oil prices would come down.”

Paul said that Americans had to accept a new idea of government that harked back to what the founders envisaged and that the welfare state would have to unravel along with aspirations of building a geopolitical empire.

“In the meantime the policy ought to be - shrink the size of government, decrease regulation, work towards sound money, remove the authority of the Fed to create money out of thin air and get tax reduction,” stated the Congressman. Paul added that eliminating the income tax would mean everybody becoming a lot richer and more money would be ploughed into the economy.

“It will not solve the problem, it just delays the inevitable,” said Paul of the bailout, adding that he expects the bill to pass in a move that would, “Defy the American people.”

“I think they get to the point where they think they’re like God and can control everything and they don’t realize that the market really is more powerful than all the bankers and all the politicians….Ultimately the underground economy is the real economy and I think they could over step themselves and hopefully we could come out with a better world afterwards,” concluded the Congressman.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ron Paul Against the Bailout

Statement Before the Financial Services Committee, "The Future of Financial Services: Exploring Solutions for the Market Crisis," September 24, 2008

Mr. Chairman,

It is truly a shame that, less than two decades after the fall of communism, the lessons of price control are completely lost on most Washington power-brokers. The Treasury proposal before Congress is nothing more than a form of price control, an attempt to keep asset prices artificially elevated. The root of our recent economic boom, as in any other business cycle, was government intervention into the market under the guise of lowering the interest rate, which is itself a price. The function that prices play in the market in equalizing supply and demand, and the distortions that necessarily accompany each government effort at price-fixing, are forgotten by too many in Washington.

One of the primary causes for the length and severity of the Great Depression in this country was the federal government's attempts at keeping prices artificially elevated. A typical example of getting causation backward, the federal government assumed that falling prices caused the depression, whereas in reality the falling prices were the result of the economic depression, and were necessary to bring the economy back into equilibrium. In its attempt to keep agricultural prices high, the federal government began to pay farmers to destroy their crops, while unemployed people lined up at soup kitchens around the country.

A similar situation exists today, where many mortgage-backed securities and other similar assets are horribly overvalued. The market response would be to allow these assets to be sold on the market at whatever price they would bring. This would result in a shakeout of bad debt and a shorter, sharper correction than would otherwise occur. Unfortunately, the political will to allow banks to take the responsibility for their lending actions is at times lacking.

Many here in Congress are asking where the money for this bailout will come from, and indeed it is a good question. $700 billion does not just materialize out of the ether, but then again neither do the hundreds of billions of dollars that we spend every year to fund our imperial war machine. We must the face the fact that our country is dead broke, and not just that, we are facing over $10 trillion in debt, and tens of trillions more in unfunded liabilities. This $700 billion bailout will only increase that debt, and increase the amount of money we pay merely to service the interest on that debt. The end result of this is higher taxes on our children and grandchildren, and the full-scale destruction of the dollar.

The only viable solution to this financial crisis is to keep the government from intervening any further. The Federal Reserve has already loaned hundreds of billions of dollars through its numerous lending facilities, and the Congress has passed legislation authorizing further hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out Fannie and Freddie, yet each successive crisis event seems to be advertised as larger and more severe than the previous one. It is time that this Congress put its foot down, reject the administration's proposal, and allow the bust to work itself out so that our economic hangover is not as severe as it might otherwise be.


Statement before the Joint Economic Committee, "The Economic Outlook," September 24, 2008

Mr. Chairman,

I believe that our economy faces a bleak future, particularly if the latest $700 billion bailout plan ends up passing. We risk committing the same errors that prolonged the misery of the Great Depression, namely keeping prices from falling. Instead of allowing overvalued financial assets to take a hit and trade on the market at a more realistic value, the government seeks to purchase overvalued or worthless assets and hold them in the unrealistic hope that at some point in the next few decades, someone might be willing to purchase them.

One of the perverse effects of this bailout proposal is that the worst-performing firms, and those who interjected themselves most deeply into mortgage-backed securities, credit default swaps, and special investment vehicles will be those who benefit the most from this bailout. As with the bailout of airlines in the aftermath of 9/11, those businesses who were the least efficient, least productive, and least concerned with serving consumers are those who will be rewarded for their mismanagement with a government handout, rather than the failure of their company that is proper to the market. This creates a dangerous moral hazard, as the precedent of bailing out reckless lending will lead to even more reckless lending and irresponsible behavior on the part of financial firms in the future.

This bailout is a slipshod proposal, slapped together haphazardly and forced on an unwilling Congress with the threat that not passing it will lead to the collapse of the financial system. Some of the proposed alternatives are no better, for instance those which propose a government equity share in bailed-out companies. That we have come to a point where outright purchases of private sector companies is not only proposed but accepted by many who claim to be defenders of free markets bodes ill for the future of American society.

As with many other government proposals, the opportunity cost of this bailout goes unmentioned. $700 billion tied up in illiquid assets is $700 billion that is not put to productive use. That amount of money in the private sector could be used to research new technologies, start small businesses that create thousands of jobs, or upgrade vital infrastructure. Instead, that money will be siphoned off into unproductive assets which may burden the government for years to come. The great French economist Frédéric Bastiat is famous for explaining the difference between what is seen and what is unseen. In this case the bailout's proponents see the alleged benefits, while they fail to see the jobs, businesses, and technologies not created due to this utter waste of money.

The housing bubble has burst, unemployment is on the rise, and the dollar weakens every day. Unfortunately our leaders have failed to learn from the mistakes of previous generations and continue to lead us down the road toward economic ruin.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ron Paul Letter

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dear Friends,

Whenever a Great Bipartisan Consensus is announced, and a compliant media assures everyone that the wondrous actions of our wise leaders are being taken for our own good, you can know with absolute certainty that disaster is about to strike.

The events of the past week are no exception.

The bailout package that is about to be rammed down Congress' throat is not just economically foolish. It is downright sinister. It makes a mockery of our Constitution, which our leaders should never again bother pretending is still in effect. It promises the American people a never-ending nightmare of ever-greater debt liabilities they will have to shoulder. Two weeks ago, financial analyst Jim Rogers said the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac made America more communist than China! "This is welfare for the rich," he said. "This is socialism for the rich. It's bailing out the financiers, the banks, the Wall Streeters."

That describes the current bailout package to a T. And we're being told it's unavoidable.

The claim that the market caused all this is so staggeringly foolish that only politicians and the media could pretend to believe it. But that has become the conventional wisdom, with the desired result that those responsible for the credit bubble and its predictable consequences - predictable, that is, to those who understand sound, Austrian economics - are being let off the hook. The Federal Reserve System is actually positioning itself as the savior, rather than the culprit, in this mess!

• The Treasury Secretary is authorized to purchase up to $700 billion in mortgage-related assets at any one time. That means $700 billion is only the very beginning of what will hit us.

• Financial institutions are "designated as financial agents of the Government." This is the New Deal to end all New Deals.

• Then there's this: "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency." Translation: the Secretary can buy up whatever junk debt he wants to, burden the American people with it, and be subject to no one in the process.

There goes your country.

Even some so-called free-market economists are calling all this "sadly necessary." Sad, yes. Necessary? Don't make me laugh.

Our one-party system is complicit in yet another crime against the American people. The two major party candidates for president themselves initially indicated their strong support for bailouts of this kind - another example of the big choice we're supposedly presented with this November: yes or yes. Now, with a backlash brewing, they're not quite sure what their views are. A sad display, really.

Although the present bailout package is almost certainly not the end of the political atrocities we'll witness in connection with the crisis, time is short. Congress may vote as soon as tomorrow. With a Rasmussen poll finding support for the bailout at an anemic seven percent, some members of Congress are afraid to vote for it. Call them! Let them hear from you! Tell them you will never vote for anyone who supports this atrocity.

The issue boils down to this: do we care about freedom? Do we care about responsibility and accountability? Do we care that our government and media have been bought and paid for? Do we care that average Americans are about to be looted in order to subsidize the fattest of cats on Wall Street and in government? Do we care?

When the chips are down, will we stand up and fight, even if it means standing up against every stripe of fashionable opinion in politics and the media?

Times like these have a way of telling us what kind of a people we are, and what kind of country we shall be.

In liberty,

Ron Paul

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Creature From Jekyll Island (Federal Reserve)

Bernanke: Approve bailout or risk recession

WASHINGTON – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke bluntly warned reluctant lawmakers Tuesday they risk a recession with higher unemployment and increased home foreclosures unless they act on the Bush administration's $700 billion plan to bail out the financial industry.

Despite the warning, influential lawmakers in both parties demanded changes in the White House-backed proposal, and conservative Republicans recoiled at the prospect of federal intervention into private capital markets.

Six weeks before the elections, both major party presidential contenders also insisted on alterations in the administration's prescription for the worst financial crisis in decades.

Bernanke's remarks about the risk of recession came in response to a question from Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who seemed eager to hear a strong rationale for lawmakers to act swiftly on the administration's unprecedented request.

"The financial markets are in quite fragile condition and I think absent a plan they will get worse," Bernanke said.

Ominously, he added, "I believe if the credit markets are not functioning, that jobs will be lost, that our credit rate will rise, more houses will be foreclosed upon, GDP will contract, that the economy will just not be able to recover in a normal, healthy way."

GDP is a measure of growth, and a decline correlates with a recession.

Dodd later spoke disparagingly of the administration's proposal. "What they have sent us is not acceptable," he told reporters after presiding over a lengthy Senate Banking Committee hearing at which Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson urged swift action by Congress.

Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the panel's senior Republican, added, "We have got to look at some alternatives" to the administration's plan.

The legislation that the administration is seeking would allow the government to buy bad mortgages and other troubled assets held by endangered banks and financial institutions.

Getting those debts off their books should bolster the institutions' balance sheets, making them more inclined to lend and easing one of the biggest choke points in the credit crisis. If the plan works, it could help lift a major weight off the sputtering national economy.

The White House and key lawmakers have been in negotiations since the weekend on terms of the legislation. It was not clear what impact the new congressional complaints would have on the discussions.

"Nobody is happy" about the bailout request, said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., although he spoke of possible passage of legislation by the weekend.

"Nobody wants to have to do this," agreed Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, the Republican leader. He said he was hopeful of a quick agreement.

Presidential politics have become part of the debate.

Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, called a news conference to urge changes in what he called the administration's "stubborn inflexibility."

He said Wall Street executives must not be allowed to walk away from the mess with multimillion-dollar severance packages, taxpayers who are bearing the risk of the bailout must benefit if it succeeds and homeowners should be able to get relief from unaffordable mortgages.

Obama's Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, has also said he wants steps to limit the compensation of CEOs who leave financially wrecked firms.

The stakes were unmistakable.

"I understand speed is important, but I'm far more interested in whether or not we get this right," Dodd said at the hearing.

Later, he told reporters he hopes for legislation soon.

"But it is not going to be a blank check or a simple signing on to a bill that sends a blank check to this secretary or any other secretary." He noted that either Obama or McCain would probably be appointing a new treasury secretary after he takes over in the White House.

Across the Capitol complex, Vice President Dick Cheney and Jim Nussle, the administration's budget director, met privately with restive House Republicans, some of whom emerged from the session unpersuaded.

"Just because God created the world in seven days doesn't mean we have to pass this bill in seven days," said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas.

Added Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., "I am emphatically against it."

Still, prospects for legislation seemed strong, with lawmakers eager to adjourn this week or next for the elections.

Differences include a demand from many Democrats and some Republicans to strip executives at failing financial firms of lucrative "golden parachutes" on their way out the door.

The administration balked at another key Democratic demand: allowing judges to rewrite bankrupt homeowners' mortgages so they could avoid foreclosure.

Paulson, seated next to Bernanke at the committee hearing, objected strongly when Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., asked if $150 billion might be enough to get the program started, with a promise of more to come.

Paulson said that would be a "grave mistake," and would fail to give the markets the confidence they need to rebound.

Paulson repeatedly fielded questions from committee members asking why taxpayers should accept the burdens of a bailout.

"You worry about taxpayers being on the hook?" he replied at one point. "Guess what — they're already on the hook." Paulson suggested that the fallout from the credit crisis would hit everyone's pocketbook unless forceful action was taken. Moreover, a flawed and outdated regulatory system, which didn't catch abuses, needed to be overhauled, he said.

Despite the unresolved issues, President Bush predicted the Democratic-controlled Congress would soon pass a "a robust plan to deal with serious problems." He spoke before the United Nations General Assembly.

In his testimony before the Banking Committee, Paulson told senators that quick passage of the administration's plan is "the single most effective thing we can do to help homeowners, the American people and stimulate our economy."

But even before Paulson could speak, lawmakers expressed unhappiness, criticism of the plan and — in the case of some conservative Republicans — outright opposition.

"This massive bailout is not a solution. It is financial socialism and it's un-American," said Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky.

So far this year, a dozen federally insured banks and thrifts have failed, compared with three last year. The country's largest thrift, Washington Mutual Inc., is faltering.

The U.S. has taken extraordinary measures in recent weeks to prevent a financial calamity, which would have devastating implications for the broader economy. It has, among other things, taken control of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, provided an $85 billion emergency loan to insurance colossus American International Group Inc. and temporarily banned short selling of hundreds of financial stocks.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ron Paul on the the FED and the market

Fed, central banks move to boost global confidence

NEW YORK – Wall Street's biggest crisis since the Great Depression forced the Federal Reserve and central banks in other countries to pump billions of dollars into the world's banking system in an urgent bid to stop further damage.

The Fed plowed as much as $180 billion into money markets overseas. At home, the New York Federal Reserve acted to ease a spike in overnight lending rates by injecting $55 billion into the banking system.

Wall Street initially rallied, but it shed the gains and traded mostly lower by midday. Treasury securities and gold soared as investors fled to their relative safety.

Worries about even the safest investments intensified as Putnam Investments suddenly closed a $15 billion money-market fund after institutional investors quickly pulled out cash.

And the two remaining major Wall Street investment banks — Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley — were under siege.

President Bush canceled an out-of-town trip to stay in Washington and to huddle with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Bush pledged to do all that was necessary to stem the crisis, whose fallout threatens the already fragile economy.

"The American people can be sure we will continue to act to strengthen and stabilize our financial markets and improve investor confidence," Bush said.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain said that if he were president, he would fire Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox.

The move by the Fed and its overseas counterparts was aimed at boosting waning confidence and getting banks around the world to open their ever-tightening purse strings. Banks have been increasingly reluctant to lend to each other as distrust spread throughout the financial system.

A sharp rise in borrowing costs has worsened as bad bets on dodgy mortgage-backed securities claimed more Wall Street giants. The total amount of commercial paper fell by $52.1 billion for the week that ended Wednesday, as banks cut back the short-term loans companies from small garment factories to General Electric Co. depend on for their daily operations. At the same time, the interest rate on those short-term loans more than doubled, with rates for seven-day paper jumping to 4.5 percent from 2.5 percent.

Asian stocks closed lower. European shares rose, but struggled to maintain the gains.

Russia closed its stock exchanges for a second day Thursday as President Dmitry Medvedev pledged a 500 billion ruble ($20 billion) injection into financial markets to stem a dizzying plummet in share prices — and quash fears of a repeat of the country's 1998 financial collapse.

The Dow Jones industrials slipped about 25 points in whipsaw trading by early afternoon Thursday after dropping 450 points Wednesday when a Fed bailout of American International Group Inc., one of the world's largest insurers, failed to settle the markets' frayed nerves. About $700 billion in investments vanished and trading volumes set new records Wednesday.

Investors were dumping their money into 3-month Treasury bills, considered one of the safest investments around. Gold prices spiked to nearly $900 an ounce, up $45.

Demand for super-safe Treasuries surged Wednesday, sending the yield on the 3-month Treasury bill briefly into negative territory for the first time since 1940. That meant investors were willing to pay more for certain Treasury securities than they expected to get back when the investments matured, a rare event.

Putnam Investments said its board voted to close the Putnam Prime Money Market Fund effective at the close of business Wednesday. Putnam will distribute all fund assets to institutional clients. The fund had required a minimum $10 million initial investment.

Putnam says the closure is not linked to the credit quality of the fund's holdings, but is a reaction to "marketwide liquidity issues." The money manager said investors pulled out money en masse Wednesday, even though the fund has maintained a safety benchmark of holding at $1 in assets for each dollar invested.

Putnam says the fund has no exposure to the financial firms Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual or AIG.

Worries that other financial companies could fail cast a pall on the central banks' step, however.

Morgan Stanley's stock price plunged again Thursday as the investment bank scrambled to strike a major deal or raise more cash that will reassure investors and prevent more damage to its free-falling shares.

John Mack, CEO of the bank — now one of only two large standalone investment banks — reached out to China's Citic Group overnight about a possible investment, according to a person familiar with the talks. Morgan Stanley is also considering a combination with retail bank Wachovia Corp. and an investment from Singapore Investment Corp., one of the world's biggest sovereign wealth funds, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the discussions were still ongoing.

Goldman's stock was down nearly 15 percent to $98.40 in afternoon trading, having lost nearly 70 percent of its value in two weeks.

In Washington, the president was to meet with economic advisers, including Paulson, over much of the day. "Our financial markets continue to deal with serious challenges," Bush said. "As our recent actions demonstrate, my administration is focused on meeting these challenges."

Administration officials refused to attend a closed-door briefing with House Republicans Thursday morning, said Rep. John A. Boehner of Ohio, the GOP leader, leaving their congressional allies in the dark about recent actions to prop up insurer American International Group Inc. and whether further bailouts might be on the horizon.

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., the Banking Committee chairman, was peeved when Paulson twice canceled appearances he was to have made before the panel this week. Senators will have to wait until Tuesday to hear from the Treasury secretary and Bernanke on the financial meltdown.

A group of House GOP conservatives circulated a letter to Paulson and Bernanke calling on them to "refrain from conducting any additional government-financed bailouts for large financial firms.

Asked by lawmakers Tuesday if they could promise there would be no more government rescues of major financial institutions in the wake of the bailout for AIG, Paulson and Bernanke refused to commit, said several sources familiar with the conversation. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was private.

The Fed said it had authorized the expansion of swap lines, or reciprocal currency arrangements, with the other central banks, including amounts up to $110 billion by the ECB and up to $27 billion by the Swiss National Bank.

The Fed also said new swap facilities had been authorized with the Bank of Japan for as much as $60 billion; $40 billion for the Bank of England and $10 billion for the Bank of Canada.

All told, Fed action increased lines of cash to central banks by $180 billion to $247 billion.

For more than a year, investors around the world have watched with growing alarm as the U.S. economy, the world's largest, has struggled to right itself before being tipped over the edge by massive foreclosures, shrinking consumer spending and rising inflation.

The turmoil has swallowed some of the most storied names on Wall Street. Three of its five major investment banks — Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch — have either gone out of business or been driven into the arms of another bank.

After the government bailed out the insurer AIG and a money fund "broke the buck," investors were worried about the riskiness of most assets.

It was the fourth consecutive day of extraordinary turmoil for the American financial system, beginning with news on Sunday that Lehman Brothers, would be forced to file for bankruptcy.

The 4 percent drop Wednesday in the Dow reflected the stock market's first chance to digest the Fed's decision to rescue AIG with an $85 billion taxpayer loan that effectively gives it a majority stake in the company. AIG is important because it has essentially become a primary source of insurance for the entire financial industry.


Associated Press Writers Catrina Stewart in Moscow, Matt Moore in Frankfurt, Ellen Simon in New York and Julie Hirschfeld Davis in Washington contributed to this report.

(This version CORRECTS figure for Swiss National Bank in graf 29 to $27 billion, stead million.)


Monday, September 15, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Top Investor: Fannie/Freddie Bailout Serves “Bunch Of Crooks And Incompetents”

Rogers says move indicates U.S. is “more Communist than China”

Steve Watson
Monday, Sept 8, 2008

A leading investor has denounced the government seizure of two of the nation’s largest financial companies as “madness” and says the move will only serve to make the markets more volatile and see house prices continue to go down.

In an interview with CNBC Jim Rogers, CEO of Rogers Holdings, described the move by the Treasury to nationalize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as “insanity”.

The Treasury has pledged to provide as much as $200 billion to the companies, replace their chief executives and place them under a conservatorship, giving management control to their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA.

“This is madness, this is insanity,” Rogers said, “they have more than doubled the American national debt in one weekend for a bunch of crooks and incompetents. I’m not quite sure why I or anybody else should be paying for this.”

“America is more communist than China is right now,” Rogers declared. “You can see that this is welfare of the rich, it is socialism for the rich… it’s just bailing out financial institutions,” he added.

Rogers and other critics alike are concerned that American taxpayers, already facing the worst housing bust since the 1930s, will now be saddled with billions of dollars in losses from home loans made by the private sector, radically changing the nature of the crisis. Government officials have justified the move by stating that that the cost of doing nothing would be far greater.

“You’re certainly gonna see a huge jump in any financial institutions which owned a lot of Fannie or Freddie… because they don’t have to worry about going bankrupt all of a sudden,” Rogers said.

“Bank stocks around the world are going through the roof, that’s ’cause they’ve all been bailed out. You don’t see the homeowners in Kansas going through the roof ’cause they’re not being bailed out,” he added.

Other investors have criticized the takeover as a “stopgap” and a “band aid” aimed at keeping the companies going into 2009, leaving the next president and Congress to deal with the fallout.

Jim Rogers commented that neither of the presidential candidates has a solution to the crisis.

“This is a big huge mess and neither one of them has a clue what to do next year. It’s going to be a mess.” Rogers said.

Watch the interview with Jim Rogers:


Cost of the War in Iraq
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