Do you know why almost all coins in the world are Round shaped? Because money always roll. That is the nature, function or character itself. If a coin does not roll, it is not money.
The coins – from dollar to dime – are always Round. They have to roll. If they don’t, they stop and with that the life of all citizens comes to a screeching halt. That is what is known in modern parlance as “Stoppage of Economy”. Some call it Recession; some call it Depression if the stoppage is prolonged.
Some call this activity as “freezing of liquidity” or “Credit Freeze”. The money becomes in short supply, its real demand increases, the real supply does not match the demand, and it’s borrowing cost increases. The FED tries to revive the economy by pumping in trillions of dollars where only 5% would have been enough. But it is not. Fed’s disbursement is not target specific.
With interest rates narrowing to zero only on paper, no money is available in the market place. Even Goldman and GE borrow $ 8 Billions @ 10% from Warren Buffet.
The banks remain open with cash drawers closed. Jobs are lost; so the workers do not get recurring wages to spend. The whole nation comes to a standstill.
Where the money has gone? With over $2 trillions being printed by bearded Bernanke, the question arises where have they gone? They do not know the answer. Here is my explanation.
The liquidity is not only the quantum of money or Mass alone. It has speed, also called “Velocity”. When they get together, it is called “liquidity”.
If $ 1 million rotates or changes hand from one to another 12 times a year, the liquidity is $12 Millions. Instead, if $12 Millions are printed, but they remained in banks vault, or do not circulate, the resultant liquidity is Zero.
The first lean and mean $1 Million is more powerful than the subsequent fat and obese $12 Millions.
In short, Mass (Money in Quantity) x Velocity (the speed at which it changes hands) = Liquidity
If there is…… $ 1 Million (Mass) x 12 Velocity (Money’s speed)………… = 12 Units of Liquidity
If there are …$ 12 Millions (Mass) x 0 Velocity (Money is stationery)… = 0 Units of Liquidity
The recent mass printing of $ 2 trillions by reckless Bernanke has no effect. They have become a dead inventory. It has no storage cost, however. It is not real money which is called “legal tender” – they are electronic money or plastic money, changing not hands but the accounts in which they are credited. They are mostly book entry money.
If Bernanke had printed $ 2 trillions in physical paper, over 6 lanes High Way 500 Miles long would have been covered by $ 10 notes lying neck to neck or in bumper to bumper traffic in auto terms.
For over 2 decades, the “Physical Money” has been increasingly replaced by “Electronic Money “or what we call the Plastic Money. ATM Card, Credit card, debit card, insurance card, travel card, or name anything you like. While the real money or legal tender is issued by the Federal Reserve, the plastic money is being issued by any Tom, Dick and Harry bank.
Bernanke’s largesse of $ 2 trillions or $ 2000 Billions is sort of “blotter money” similar to “tissue papers”. There is so much of red ink in the large banks’ balance sheets, that the moment the Fed gives them these “Blotter Billions, they soak up the “red ink” in their balance sheets and become instantly useless. The new Bernanke and Paulson brand money act as “butt wiper” and goes down the drain.
Often you may have experienced the car skidding into a wet ground. The wheel rolls, but the car does not come out of the ditch. You need 2 or 3 persons or simple tricks to place a wooden plank in the front of the wheel and then need a gentle push from behind. There you are – the car is out of the ditch on the road again. The economy needs such deft handling.
Both Bernanke and Paulson are the greatest dumb heads America has ever produced. The universities that awarded them degrees should seriously consider recalling them from these mutt heads for causing chaos in the money markets with utter display of lack of common sense.
Look at these mutt heads. They would give $430 billions of assistance to bankrupt Citigroup, who then fires 75,000 employees, $127 Billions to AIG and billions of dollars to worthless banks or brokers. However, they would not give even $ 34 billions to Auto makers, who provide millions of jobs to the employees of auto industries, dealers and distributors.
How to disburse credits to needy and get the economy moving again?
1. Disqualify the commercial banks from receiving aids from Federal Reserve if they do not use at least 80% of new credits for new lending.
2. Make target specific reimbursement of credit needs of the banks as under:
a. Say, FED will lend $100 Millions to the banks @ 3% (or any rate FED may chose) for incremental housing credits. That is, if their housing finance increases by fresh lending, only that portion will qualify for refinancing at lower rates subject to Home Mortgage rates not to exceed 2% over FED refinancing rates. This will ensure that the benefits of lower credit costs are passed on to the consumers.
b. Say, FED will lend $100 Millions to the banks @ 3% (or any rate FED may chose) for Auto Financing in respect of incremental Auto financing line to the borrowers who buy the NEW automobiles made by 3 troubled Auto makers subject to Auto Financing Rates do not exceed 3% over FED refinancing rates in respect of incremental credits to Auto finance sectors.
i. This will serve two purpose – one, it will ensure cheaper Auto finance to the consumers direct
ii. And two, it will generate demand for new automobiles made by 3 Auto manufacturers who are facing sagging demand for their vehicles. This will save jobs in auto industry, ancillary industries, dealers and distributers ends.
c. Say, FED will lend $ 100 Millions to the banks @ 3% (or any rates FED may chose) for incremental credit in the form of fresh credit card advance subject to charged interest rates do not exceed 3% over FED refinancing rates for regular credit card advance and 5% over irregular credit card advance.
i. This will encourage fresh lending to consumers who are the backbone of the economy.
ii. Good borrowers with regular repayment records are encouraged by limiting interest rates to 3% over FED refinancing rates. If FED rates are 3%, the interest to consumers will be limited to 6% only.
iii. Worsening borrowers who are not able to repay in time, will be discouraged by making them pay higher rate of interest by extra 2% (or more). However, their outstanding under Credit Card do not get inflated by usurious rate of interest or hidden charges levied by the bank. This will serve as “automatic control” on bank’s lending practices.
iv. Defaulting borrowers, who are not able to repay their debt under credit card may be asked to pay higher rates than normal. Such defaulters take lot of management time of the lender. They should be compensated for carrying potentially bad advance. Exceptions may be made by the lender to convert the advance into MIL or Monthly Installment Loan if the borrower had lost the job and searching for new one.
3. Make target specific reimbursement of credit @ 3% of all incremental fresh credit lines to
a. Large corporate borrowers by way of direct loans, trade financing, bills discounting subject to such loans bearing interest rates 3% above FED refinancing rates.
b. Large corporate borrowers by buying their 180 days to 270 days commercial papers subject to interest rates not exceeding 3%, 4% and 5% above FED refinancing rates to A, B and C category borrowers.
c. SME and other smaller companies @ 3% provided the bank makes any kind of incremental loans, overdrafts or Cash Credits, secured or unsecured, at rates not exceeding 2% and 4% over FED refinancing rates for secured and unsecured portion of financing.
4. Extend the existing Mortgage loans period by 5 years by law on following basis:
a. Extend Interest only mortgage loans by 2 years on existing rates.
b. Extend Interest + Installment repayment by 3 years on existing rates and rework the installments
1. This will ensure that those facing Interest reset clause will be able to continue existing interest only loans by additional 2 years without inviting installment payment along with interest amount. Thus, there will be no pressure on borrowers to default. It is expected that in 2 years the economy will be on four cylinders again.
2. By extending overall mortgage period of repayment from say, 30 years to 35 years, the monthly installment amount will be brought down. This will reduce the probability of default.
5. Extend the funding to the State and Local Governments, who are in severe monetary squeeze, as under:
a. Buy new Bonds from SLG sector @ 6% on monthly basis to help them refinance the maturing obligations. Such bonds may be bought subject to monthly limit of 70% of their monthly deficits. This will keep the SLG moving and continuing to provide local services without causing major interruptions.
b. Such funding may be continued for 15 months only from Jan 2009, so that the state may raise other resources from the market when the credit market gets moving again. 15 months will be a cushion period.
c. Such bonds may be collateralized by future taxes or revenue of the concerned state as “last resort.”
i. This will inculcate some discipline into the SLG sector and a fear that if they default on these bonds on maturity, the local tax revenue will be paid to the federal government in discharge of their obligations.
ii. The “last resort” proviso ensures that Federal government will not interfere into the State affairs so long as the SLG honors its obligations on regular basis (such as Interest Payment on quarterly basis).
iii. The SLG may be required under the Debenture terms to set aside appropriate portion towards “sinking fund” as a measure to build its reserve on ongoing basis so that it does not face redemption pressure near expiration basis.
6. With all credit needs of Consumers, Small Businesses, Large Corporate, Industries, Commercial markets, and State and Local Government funding needs addressed, and also reducing burden of current Mortgagors by extending loan period under the law by 5 years, the credit freeze will start melting, and the economy will start flourishing again.
Of course, the entire range of problems of CDO, CDS and CLN may continue to haunt for some more time, there will be no further accumulation of new or existing credit related problems. There is no reason why should not this approach work. It will work with 100% guarantee.
Kalidas, Hong Kong
Ref: 0902-025 of 2009/02/19