8/12/2011

08-12-11 - The IMF in America

Quick recap of what the IMF does :

When a third world country gets into bad financial trouble, the IMF jumps in. The purpose is not to help them, it's to force them to accept terms that they never would agree to if they weren't desperate. Once the IMF money arrives, it's not allowed to go to social programs or price supports that would actually help the people in the ailing country, it goes to stabilizing the financial market of that country, and the rules they force you to accept ensure that capital can freely flow out.

The end result is that what the IMF does is ensure that western finance companies are able to get their money out of the ailing countries and recoup at least some of their losses. This is what happened with the Asian collapse, this is what happened with Ireland, etc. And of course the conditions ensure that the finance giants get to play freely in that country in the future.

It occurs to me that this is largely what the US Government has done with the Mortgage Crisis. Basically they are treating the average American as a separate 3rd world country that they don't really care about, and rather than doing something that would directly help the people who have been affected by the crisis, instead they are spending massive amount of money on propping up the financial markets so that the large financiers can get their money out and not take too much of a loss.

Imagine you had $3 trillion to help America out of the housing crisis. You could directly subsidize home owners' losses - buy their house from them at book value and sell it back to them at market value. You could do something in between, take the difference between book and market value and split it into a few pieces, subsidize part, make the home owner eat part, and make the mortgage holder eat part. Or you could directly subsidize the finance companies that hold the bad mortgages - buy the mortgage at book and some day sell it back at market.

Our government chose the last of these options. (there are some programs to do the intermediate option, but they haven't ever gotten off the ground, and even if they did their scale is so miniscule as to be irrelevant, something like $50 billion vs. the $2-3 trillion for the third option)

Obviously the claimed intention of the IMF is to prop up the failing economy to keep it on its feet. But they don't put in any restrictions against capital flight - quite the opposite, they *forbid* the government from stopping capital flight - so the result is highly predictable - the western investors save their own bacon.

The exact same thing has happened with mortgages. The claimed reason for propping up the mortgage market was that it would create confidence and keep the mortgage market working so that people would still be able to buy and sell homes, etc. Of course that hasn't happened, what has happened is that private MBS trading has trickled to near zero, and the banks have used the subsidized market to unwind their holdings and preserve their profits.

2 comments:

LogicalError said...

You might want to read this:
http://sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=9e2a4ea8-6e73-4be2-a753-62060dcbb3c3

Senators conducted an audit on the Federal Reserve, which handed out 16 trillion dollars to all kinds of banks with near 0% interest rates, including foreign banks.

Completely ignored by the mainstream media, which shows how controlled they are.

cbloom said...

Yeah, I linked something similar in one of the posts. It shouldn't be surprising, the conflict of interest has been intentionally engineered into the system to remove the teeth of oversight.

I think that Treasury choosing to cover AIG's CDS's but letting much less reckless banks like WaMu and Wachovia go down is a good example of where their interests lay.

old rants