Banksters, other financial criminals and the greedies

Key parts of the world’s financial affairs have been hi-jacked by self-serving financial organisations, bureaucracies, country leaders and individuals.   The outlook is dire.

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Ten signs we’re heading for economic Armageddon

Ten signs we’re heading for economic Armageddon  By Liam Dann, Herald News Business Editor, 11 February 2018

This week’s global share market bloodbath was “a small tremor before the big earthquake” as the world moves “ever closer to economic Armageddon”, a former Australian government economist has warned.

John Adams, a former Coalition policy adviser who last year identified seven signs that the global economy was heading for a crash — later warning the window for action had closed — believes the US$4 trillion wipe-out was just the opening act of his apocalyptic prophecy playing out.

“When the economic earthquake hits, don’t be surprised to see soaring interest rates, massive falls in asset prices [like] shares, real estate and bonds, higher unemployment and widespread bankruptcies,” he said.

Adding to previously identified economic indicators such as household debt and record low-interest rates, Mr Adams has expanded his list of warning signs to 10, including rising inflation — fear of which had a hand in the latest sell-off.

“Against a whole range of economic and financial metrics, the Australian and international bubble which I warned about in 2017 has continued to grow larger over the past 12 months,” he said.

“Australian household debt has never been higher — now at nearly 200 per cent as a proportion of disposable income — household savings have slumped, the US share market is now in a bigger bubble than 1929, risky derivatives are now being sold in significant quantities and global debt is $US80 trillion more than it was in 2008.”

Adams said those born after 1973 — people under the age of 44 — had never experienced a major economic downturn as a working adult and hence needed to ensure they didn’t succumb to “normalcy bias”.

“Australians should be concerned about what lies ahead for themselves and the country as a whole,” he said, predicting a collapse likely to be more severe than the 1991 recession and which may potentially rival both the 1890 and 1929 depressions.

Those concerned can take some precautions for hard economic times, he added, by reducing their personal spending, increasing savings and having more cash on hand, paying down debt, reducing their exposure to risky or overvalued assets and managing the risk of rising prices, including interest rate payments.

“We all must assume personal responsibility and take pre-emptive action to ensure that we are able to ride out harsher economic times that are coming to our shores.”

SIGN 1: RECORD HOUSEHOLD DEBT

“According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, Australian household debt as a proportion of disposable income continues to soar and reached an all-time high in September 2017 of 199.7 per cent as the Australian Bureau of Statistics recently included debt from self-managed superfunds into this statistic,” Adams said.

This has parallels in the local market, where New Zealand national debt topped half a trillion dollars at the end of last year, up 7.3 percent from a 12 months earlier.

The Reserve Bank figures (for the year to April 30) show household debt has topped $250b, driven by rising property prices and an increase in consumer borrowing.

That’s an increase of more than 60 per cent in 10 years.

SIGN 2: DECLINING HOUSEHOLD SAVINGS

“Coinciding with the rise in household debt, Australian household savings have fallen to their lowest level since the 2008 GFC,” Adams said.

“According to the ABS, the Household Saving Ratio (seasonally adjusted) has fallen from a high of 10.1 per cent in the December quarter of 2008 to 3.0 per cent and 3.2 per cent in the June and September quarters of 2017 respectively.”

Comparatively, New Zealanders have fared better in this regard with improved savings helping to offset total volume of debt.

However, the risks remain high.

For New Zealand households, the ratio of debt to income has now reached a record – 168 per cent, well above the pre-financial crisis peak of 159 per cent.

SIGN 3: CONTINUED RECORD LOW INTEREST RATES

“Despite foreign central banks raising interest rates, the RBA has continued to keep the official cash rate at 1.5 per cent,” Adams said.

“However, in December 2012 former RBA Governor Glenn Stevens warned that interest rates kept too low for too long would prove macroprudential controls ineffective in controlling systemic financial risk as people would be driven to over borrow given the cheap rates.”

Last week, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) held the official cash rate steady at 1.75 per cent, saying monetary policy will “remain accommodative for a considerable period”.

However, following the market uncertainty over the last seven days, acting Reserve Bank governor Grant Spencer warned that there could be more volatility to come.

SIGN 4: GROWING HOUSING BUBBLE

“Concentration of credit in the Australian housing market continued to grow by 7.23 per cent from June 2016 to June 2017. As of June 2017, Credit to Housing as a proportion of Australian Gross Domestic Product reached a 26-year high of 95.33 per cent compared to 21.07 per cent in June 1991,” Adams said.

“Over the same period, credit which has been directed at the business sector or to other personal expenses have remained relatively steady as a proportion of GDP.”

New Zealand has benefitted from a cooling housing market (particularly in Auckland), which saw the rate of credit growth ease last year.

In terms of housing credit growth, things “have definitely improved”, Spencer told the Herald last year.

 

SIGN 5: CONTINUED INCREASE IN GLOBAL DEBT

“Global debt continues to grow, driven especially by rapid growth of debt in emerging economies,” Adams said.

“According to the Institute for International Finance’s January 2018 Global Debt Monitor Report, global debt reached a record high of $US233 trillion in the third quarter of 2017 or 318 per cent of global GDP, representing growth in global debt of 8 per cent through the first three quarters of 2017.

“Global debt is now $US80 trillion higher than the end of 2007 with current interest rates substantially lower relative to the pre-GFC period.”

SIGN 6: MAJOR INTERNATIONAL ASSET BUBBLES KEEP GROWING

“The past 12 months has seen significant growth in major asset class values (particularly shares) across the world which has been fuelled by the significant increase in global debt,” Adams pointed out.

“For example, according to the PE Shiller Index, the US share market (as measured by the price of a company’s share relative to average earnings over the past 10 years for US companies in the S&P 500) is now at its second highest valuation level in history at 32.62, with the highest being the 1999 dotcom bubble.”

According to the PE Shiller Index, Adams said, the bubble in US share market is now bigger than the peak reached in September 1929 which was 32.54.

SIGN 7: INCREASING INFLATION

“In late 2017, inflation started to emerge in developed economies, beating the targets set by national governments and central banks,” Adams said.

“This emerging inflation was driven in part from rising global oil prices which increased by 51 per cent, along with increases in other commodities, over the past seven months.”

This has had a significant impact on a number of developed economies int he world.

“In 2017, the US Producer Price Index hit an annual rate of 3.1 per cent (a six-year high) and the US Consumer Price Index grew by an annual rate of 2.1 per cent whereas in the UK, inflation reached an annual rate of 3.1 per cent. In both the US and UK cases, inflation as measured by the CPI is above the stated 2 per cent target of the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England.”

The impact stretches well beyond the US and the UK, Adams warned.

“Other developed countries such as Canada and Japan also saw a notable pick-up in inflation during 2017. Higher rates of inflation will put pressure on the value of bonds and currencies, placing countries that do not deal with inflation through higher interest rates at a competitive disadvantage as investors make lower returns.”

 

SIGN 8: TIGHTENING MONETARY POLICY AND RISING GLOBAL INTEREST RATES

“Many foreign governments in the past year have been tightening monetary policy (either through reducing or ending quantitative easing or through ‘quantitative tightening’) as well as raising interest rates,” Adams said.

“During late 2016 and all of 2017, interest rates were raised in both developed economies such as the US (four times, or 1 per cent), Canada (three times, or 0.75 per cent), or the UK (one time or 0.25 per cent) as well as smaller and emerging economies such as the Czech Republic, Mexico, Malaysia and Romania.”

Adams added that interest rates are expected to continue to rise in 2018 as global economic growth and inflation continue to rise.

“Higher interest rates will make the ability to service global debt increasingly more difficult.”

SIGN 9: INVERTED AND FLATTENING YIELD CURVES

“The US Government bond yield curve has continued to significantly flatten over 2017. In early 2018, the difference between the two-year and the 10-year bond yield reached approximately 0.5 per cent, which is the smallest difference since 2007.

“The Chinese bond yield curve (i.e. the difference in interest rates between the five-year and the 10-year bond) briefly inverted twice in 2017 and is now approximately less than 0.1 per cent.

“Inverted yield curves (i.e. where long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the same credit quality) are known as a market predictor of a coming market crash or broader economic recession.”

SIGN 10: RETURN OF RISKY DERIVATIVES

“According to the Bank for International Settlements, the value of the over-the-counter derivatives market (notional amounts outstanding) remained high between June 2016 and June 2017 to stand at $US542 trillion,” Adams said.

“Many of these derivatives contracts (which are agreements that allow for the possibility to purchase or sell some other type of financial instrument or non-financial asset) are concentrated on the balance sheets of leading global financial and banking institutions, are bought and sold privately, involve significant complexity and carry significant counter-party risk that many institutions and government regulators struggle to understand.”

Adams’ concern is supported by research out of a major bank.

“In November 2017, a research report from Citibank reported that ‘Synthetic Collateral Debt Obligations’, which were one of the main financial instruments responsible for the 2008 GFC, were now back and are being sold to investors in significant quantities and is expected to top $US100 billion by the end of 2017, up from $US20 billion in 2015.”

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The Greatest Bubble Ever: Why You Better Believe It – Part 1 & 2

The Greatest Bubble Ever, Why You Better Believe It – Part 1 and 2  By  David Stockman via Contra Corner blog, ZeroHedge, 31 December 2017

Read Part 1 here…

During the 40 months after Alan Greenspan’s infamous “irrational exuberance” speech in December 1996, the NASDAQ 100 index rose from 830 to 4585 or by 450%. But the perma-bulls said not to worry: This time is different—-it’s a new age of technology miracles that will change the laws of finance.

It wasn’t. The market cracked in April 2000 and did not stop plunging until the NASDAQ 100 index hit 815 in early October 2002. During those a heart-stopping 30 months of free-fall, all the gains of the tech boom were wiped out in an 84% collapse of the index. Overall, the market value of household equities sank from $10.0 trillion to $4.8 trillion—-a wipeout from which millions of baby boom households have never recovered.

Likewise, the second Greenspan housing and credit boom generated a similar round trip of bubble inflation and collapse. During the 57 months after the October 2002 bottom, the Russell 2000 (RUT) climbed the proverbial wall-of-worry—-rising from 340 to 850 or by 2.5X.

And this time was also held to be different because, purportedly, the art of central banking had been perfected in what Bernanke was pleased to call the “Great Moderation”. Taking the cue, Wall Street dubbed it the Goldilocks Economy—-meaning a macroeconomic environment so stable, productive and balanced that it would never again be vulnerable to a recessionary contraction and the resulting plunge in corporate profits and stock prices.

Wrong again!

During the 20 months from the July 2007 peak to the March 2009 bottom, the RUT gave it all back. And we mean every bit of it—-as the index bottomed 60% lower at 340. This time the value of household equities plunged by $6 trillion, and still millions more baby-boomers were carried out of the casino on their shields never to return.

Now has come the greatest central bank fueled bubble ever. During nine years of radical monetary experimentation under ZIRP and QE, the value of equities owned by US households exploded still higher—-this time by $12.5 trillion. Yet this eruption, like the prior two, was not a reflection of main street growth and prosperity, but Wall Street speculation fostered by massive central bank liquidity and price-keeping operations.

Nevertheless, this time is, actually, very different. This time the central banks are out of dry powder and belatedly recognize that they have stranded themselves on or near the zero bound where they are saddled with massively bloated balance sheets.

So an epochal pivot has begun—-led by the Fed’s committment to shrink its balance sheet at a $600 billion annual rate beginning next October. This pivot to QT (quantitative tightening) is something new under the sun and was necessitated by the radical money printing spree of the past three decades.

What this momentous pivot really means, of course, is ill understood in the day-trading and robo-machine driven casinos at today’s nosebleed valuations. Yet what is coming down the pike is nothing less than a drastic, permanent downward reset of financial asset prices that will rattle the rafters in the casino.

This time is also very different because there will be no instant financial market reflation by the central banks. And that means, in turn, that there will be no fourth great bubble, either. Here’s why.

PART 2

As we explained in Part 1, the most dangerous place on the planet financially is now the Wall Street casino. In the months ahead, it will become ground zero of the greatest monetary/fiscal collision in recorded history.

For the first time ever both the Fed and the US treasury will be dumping massive amounts of public debt on the bond market—upwards of $1.8 trillionbetween them in FY 2019 alone—and at a time which is exceedingly late in the business cycle. That double whammy of government debt supply will generate a thundering “yield shock” which, in turn, will pull the props out from under equity and other risk asset markets—-all of which have “priced-in” ultra low debt costs as far as the eye can see.

The anomalous and implicitly lethal character of this prospective clash can not be stressed enough. Ordinarily, soaring fiscal deficits occur early in the cycle. That is, during the plunge unto recession, when revenue collections drop and outlays for unemployment benefits and other welfare benefits spike; and also during the first 15-30 months of recovery, when Keynesian economists and spendthrift politicians join hands to goose the recovery—-not understanding that capitalist markets have their own regenerative powers once the excesses of bad credit, malinvestment and over-investment in inventory and labor which triggered the recession have been purged.

By contrast, the Federal deficit is now soaring at the tail end (month #102) of an aging business expansion. And the cause is not the exogenous effects of so-called automatic fiscal stabilizers associated with a macroeconomic downturn, but deliberate Washington policy decisions made by the Trumpian GOP.

During FY 2019, for example, these discretionary plunges into deficit finance include slashing revenue by $280 billion, while pumping up an already bloated baseline spending level of $4.375 trillion by another $200 billion for defense, disasters, border control, ObamaCare bailouts and domestic pork barrel of every shape and form.

These 11th hour fiscal maneuvers, in fact, are so asinine that the numbers have to be literally seen to be believed. To wit, an already weak-growth crippled revenue baseline will be cut to just $3.4 trillion, while the GOP spenders goose outlays toward the $4.6 trillion mark.

That’s right. Nine years into a business cycle expansion, the King of Debt and his unhinged GOP majority on Capitol Hill have already decided upon (an nearly implemented) the fiscal measures that will result in borrowing 26 cents on every dollar of FY 2019 spending. JM Keynes himself would be grinning with self-satisfaction.

Moreover, this foolhardy attempt to re-prime-the-pump nearly a decade after the Great Recession officially ended means that monetary policy is on its back foot like never before.

What we mean is that both Bernanke and Yellen were scared to death of the tidal waves of speculation that their money printing policies of QE and ZIRP had fostered in the financial markets. So once the heat of crisis had clearly passed and the market had recovered its pre-crisis highs in early 2013, they nevertheless deferred, dithered and procrastinated endlessly on normalization of interest rates and the Fed’s elephantine balance sheet.

So what we have now is a central bank desperately trying to recapture lost time via its “automatic pilot” commitment to systematic and sustained balance sheet shrinkage at fixed monthly dollar amounts. This unprecedented “quantitative tightening” or QT campaign has already commenced at $1o billion of bond sales per month (euphemistically described as “portfolio run-off” by the Eccles Building) during the current quarter and will escalate automatically until it reaches $50 billion per month ($600 billion annualized) next October .

Needless to say, that’s the very opposite of the “accommodative” Fed posture and substantial debt monetization which ordinarily accompanies an early-cycle ballooning of Uncle Sam’s borrowing requirements. And the present motivation of our Keynesian monetary central planners is even more at variance with the normal cycle.

To wit, they plan to stick with QT come hell or high water because they are in the monetary equivalent of a musket reloading mode. Failing to understand that the main street economy essentially recovered on its own after the 2008-2009 purge of the Greenspanian excesses (and that’s its capacity to rebound remains undiminished), the Fed is desperate to clear balance sheet headroom and regain interest rate cutting leverage so that it will have the wherewithal to “stimulate” the US economy out of the next recession.

Needless to say, this kind of paint-by-the-numbers Keynesianism is walking the whole system right into a perfect storm. When the GOP-Trumpian borrowing bomb hits the bond market next October we will  already be in month #111 of the current expansion cycle and as the borrowing after-burners kick-in during the course of the year, FY 2019 will close out in month #123.

Here’s the thing. The US economy has never been there before. Never in the recorded history of the republic has a business expansion lasted 123 months. During the post-1950 period shown below, the average expansion has been only 61 months and the two longest ones have their own disabilities.

The 105 month expansion during the 1960s was fueled by LBJ’s misbegotten “guns and butter” policies and ended in the dismal stagflation of the 1970s. And the 119 month expansion of the 1990s reflected the Greenspan fostered household borrowing binge and tech bubbles that fed straight into the crises of 2008-2009.

Yet the Trumpian-GOP has not only presumed to pump-up the fiscal deficit to 6.2% of GDP just as the US economy enters the terra incognito range of the business cycle (FY 2019); it has actually declared its virtual abolition. Ironically, in fact, on December 31, 2025 nearly all of the individual income cuts expire—-meaning that in FY 2026 huge tax increases  will smack the household sector at a $200 billion run-rate!

But not to worry. The GOP’s present-day fiscal geniuses insist that the current business expansion, which will then be 207 months old, will end up no worse for the wear. The public debt will then total $33 trillion or 130% of GDP—even as the US economy gets monkey-hammered by huge tax increase.

Alas, no harm, no foul. The business expansion is presumed to crank forward through FY 2027 or month #219.

Needless to say, the whole thing degenerates into a sheer fiscal and economic fairy-tale when you examine the data and projections. But that hasn’t deterred the GOP’s fiscal dreamers.

Not only have they implicitly embraced an out-of-this-word 219 month business cycle expansion, but they have also insisted it will unfold at an average nominal GDP growth rate that has not been remotely evident at any time during the 21st century.

As shown in the chart below, the 10-year CBO forecast of nominal GDP (yellow line) is already quite optimistic relative to where GDP would print under the actual growth rate of the last ten-years (blue line). In fact, the CBO forecast generates $16 trillion of extra GDP and nearly $3 trillion more Federal revenue than would a replay of the last 10-years—and notwithstanding the massive fiscal and monetary stimulus during that period.

Still, the GOP/Trump forecast (grey line) assumes a full percentage point of higher GDP growth on top of CBO and no intervening recession and resulting GDP relapse.

Accordingly, the GOP assumes $30 trillion of extra GDP over the coming decade or nearly 23% more than would be generated by the actual growth rate (blue line) of the last decade; and consequently, $6 trillion of extra revenue.

That’s right. An already geriatric business cycle is going t0 rear-up on its hind legs and take off into a new phase of growth in the face of an epochal pivot of monetary policy to QT and a public debt burden relative to GDP that is approaching a Greek-style end game.

(Note: Figures in the box are inverted. First line should be 2006-2012 redux and third line should be Trump forecast.)

Stated differently, fiscal policy has descended into the hands of political mad-men at the very time that monetary policy is inexorably slouching toward normalization. Under those circumstances there is simply no way of avoiding the “yield shock” postulated above, and the cascading “reset” of financial asset prices that it will trigger across the length and breadth of the financial system.

As usual, however, the homegamers are the last to get the word. The unaccountable final spasm of the stock market in 2017 will undoubtedly come to be seen as the last call of the sheep to the slaughter. And owing to the speculative mania that has been fostered by the Fed and its fellow-traveling central banks, it now appears that the homegamers are all-in for the third time since 1987.

Indeed, Schwab’s retail clients have never, ever had lower cash allocations than at the present time—not even during the run-up to the dotcom bust or the great financial crisis.

But this time these predominately baby-boom investors are out of time and on the cusp of retirement—if not already living on one of the Donald’s golf resorts. When the crash comes they will have no opportunity to recover—-nor will Washington have the wherewithal to stimulate another phony  facsimile of the same.

The GOP-Trumpian gang has already blown their wad on fiscal policy and the Fed is stranded high and dry still close the zero-bound and still saddled with an elephantine balance sheet.

That is, what is fundamentally different about the greatest financial bubble yet is that there is no possibility of a quick policy-induced reflation after the coming crash. This time the cycle will be L-shaped—– with financial asset prices languishing on the post-crash bottom for years to come.

And that is a truly combustible condition. That is, 65% of the retirement population already lives essentially hand-to-month on social security, Medicare and other government welfare benefits (food stamps and SSI, principally). But after the third financial bubble of this century crashes, tens of millions more will be driven close to that condition as their 401Ks again evaporate.

That’s why the fiscal game being played by the Donald and his GOP confederates is so profoundly destructive. Now is the last time to address the entitlement monster, but they have decided to throw fiscal caution to the winds and borrow upwards of $1.6 trillion (with interest) to enable US corporations to fund a new round of stock buybacks, dividend increases and feckless, unproductive M&A deals.

 

Then again, what the GOP has not forgotten is the care and feeding of its donor class. That mission is being accomplished handsomely as it fills up the deep end of the Swamp with pointless, massive defense spending increases and satisfies K-Street with a grotesquely irresponsible tax bill that was surely of the lobbies, by the PACs and for the money.

At the end of the day, however, the laws of free markets and sound finance will out. The coming crash of the greatest bubble ever will prove that in spades.

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This Is What A Pre-Crash Market Looks Like

This Is What A Pre-Crash Market Looks Like  By Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse blog, 14 November 2017

The only other times in our history when stock prices have been this high relative to earnings, a horrifying stock market crash has always followed. 

Will things be different for us this time?  We shall see, but without a doubt this is what a pre-crash market looks like.  This current bubble has been based on irrational euphoria that has been fueled by relentless central bank intervention, but now global central banks are removing the artificial life support in unison.  Meanwhile, the real economy continues to stumble along very unevenly.  This is the longest that the U.S. has ever gone without a year in which the economy grew by at least 3 percent, and many believe that the next recession is very close.  Stock prices cannot stay completely disconnected from economic reality forever, and once the bubble bursts the pain is going to be unlike anything that we have ever seen before.

If you think that these ridiculously absurd stock prices are sustainable, there is something that I would like for you to consider.  The only times in our history when the cyclically-adjusted return on stocks has been lower, a nightmarish stock market crash happened soon thereafter

The Nobel-Laureate, Robert Shiller, developed the cyclically-adjusted price/earnings ratio, the so-called CAPE, to assess whether stocks are likely to be over- or under-valued. It is possible to invert this measure to obtain a cyclically-adjusted earnings yield which allows one to measure prospective real returns. If one does this, the answer for the US is that the cyclically-adjusted return is now down to 3.4 percent.

The only times it has been still lower were in 1929 and between 1997 and 2001, the two biggest stock market bubbles since 1880. We know now what happened then. Is it going to be different this time?

Since the market bottomed out in early 2009, the S&P 500 has been on a historic run.  If this rally had been based on a booming economy that would be one thing, but the truth is that the U.S. economy has not seen 3 percent yearly growth since the middle of the Bush administration.  Instead, this insane bubble has been almost entirely fueled by central bank manipulation, and now that manipulation is being dramatically scaled back.

And the guys on Wall Street know what is coming.  For example, Joe Zidle says that this bull market is now in “the ninth inning”

Joe Zidle, of Richard Bernstein Advisors, is arguing that the bull market has entered the bottom of the ninth inning.

“This is a late-cycle environment,” Zidle said on CNBC’s “Futures Now” recently.

“In innings terms, they’re not time dependent. An inning could be shorter or they could be longer. It just really depends,” the strategist said.

This bubble has lasted for much longer than it ever should have, and everyone understands that a day of reckoning is coming.

In fact, earlier today I came across an article on Zero Hedge that contained an absolutely remarkable quote from Eric Peters…

“We are investing as if 1987 will happen tomorrow, because it will,” said the CIO. “But we need to be long, or we’ll be out of business,” he explained, under pressure to perform. “So we construct option trades that are binary bets.” Which pay X profit if stocks rally, and cost Y if markets fall. No more and no less.

 

“What you do not want is a portfolio whose losses multiply depending on the severity of a decline.” That’s what most people have today. “At the last stage of the cycle, you want lots of binary bets. Many small wins. Before the big loss.”

Are we at the start or the end of the ‘Don’t know what I’m buying’ cycle?” asked the same CIO. “No one knows.” But we’re definitely within it.

“When their complex swaps drop 40%, and prime brokers demand more margin, investors will cry ‘It’s not possible!’ But anything is possible.” The prime brokers will hang up and stop them out.

In case you don’t remember, in 1987 we witnessed the largest one day percentage decline in U.S. stock market history.

When it finally happens, millions upon millions of ordinary Americans will be completely shocked, but most insiders know that the other shoe is going to drop at some point.

In particular, watch financial stock prices very closely.  Last month, Richard Bove issued a chilling warning about bank stocks…

One of Wall Street’s most vocal bank analysts is troubled by the rally in financials.

The Vertical Group’s Richard Bove warns that the overall market is just as dangerous as the late 1990s, and he cites momentum — not fundamentals — as what’s driving bank stocks to all-time highs.

“If we don’t get some event in the economy or in politics or in somewhere that is going to create more loan volume and better margins for the banks, then yes, they would come crashing down,” Bove said Monday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.” “I think that the risk in these stocks is very high at the present time.”

It isn’t going to take much to set off an unstoppable chain of events.  Our financial markets are even more vulnerable than they were in 2008, and the right trigger could unleash a crisis unlike anything we have ever seen in modern American history.

Unfortunately, most Americans keep getting fooled by the artificial boom and bust cycles that the central banks create.  Right now most people seem to have been lulled into a false sense of security, and they truly believe that everything is going to be okay.

But every time before when the market has looked like this a crash has always followed, and this time will be no exception.

*  *  *

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

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About Peter Senior

I'm a very experienced and pragmatic management consultant. I've reviewed and led the restructuring of many organisations - large and small corporations and Government Departments, much of the time as President of the New Zealand Institute of Management Consultants. Before that I was General Manager of a major NZ newspaper; earlier, an analyst for IBM UK. I gained an honours degree in engineering at London University, and studied management at Cambridge University. This wide range of experience has left me frustrated: I continue to see too many examples of really bad management. Sometimes small easily fixed issues; sometimes fundamental faults; and sometimes really tricky problems. Mostly these issues can be fixed using a mixture of common sense, 'management 101' and applying lessons from years of management experience. Unfortunately, all too often, politics, bureaucracy and daft government regulations get in the way; internal factors such as poor culture and out-of-date strategies are often evident. So what's gone wrong, and why, and most importantly, how to fix 'it'? I hope there are like-minded people 'out there' who will share their thoughts enabling 'us' to improve some significant management failures that affect the general public. If you just accept bad management, you don't have the right to complain! If you'd like to share thoughts on any aspects of management, send me an email to petersenior42@gmail.com . My latest project has the interim title 'You’ve been conned. Much of what you were taught and read is largely irrelevant, misleading or plain wrong – this is the REAL story of life: past, present and our possible future.' The working paper so far comprises 105 pages, many listing references and interim conclusions. The main problem is finding sufficient credible evidence, and realising the more Iearn, the more I realise I don't know!
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