Everything You Need To Know About Europe’s Dilemma In 4 Minutes
The current crisis of the Eurozone is a result of the imbalance of economic power between the core and the periphery but once one understands the non-economic and completely political strategy that is occurring, comprehending the at-times-incredible decision-making (or lack thereof) is at least easier to digest. Stratfor’s Adriano Bosoni provides a very succinct description of everything you wanted to know about Europe’s ‘situation’ but were afraid to ask in under 240 seconds.
“At the center of the debate lies the question of national sovereignty, the core and periphery of Europe will then have to decide how much (or how little) they are willing to compromise in order to find a way out of the crisis. The answer to this question will not be the result of an economic analysis – it will be the result of a political calculation.”
Forget that S&P 500 e-mini futures plunged to four-month lows at 1290; or Treasury yields crashed back to their record lows; or Gold and Silver’s surge today; or WTI’s plummet to almost a $90 handle; or Citi joining Morgan Stanley in the red year-to-date; or credit markets continuing into the red for the year; or IG9 10Y soaring further to 160bps – widest in 6 months; or VIX closing above 25% for the first time in 5 months (and decompressing to Europe’s pain). Today was all about one thing – the disaster that was/is/and will be Facebook – between late openings, overwhelmed systems, a dump to the syndicate bid and almost 600mm shares traded with the syndicate just soaking it all up at $38.00 early and into the close. Is it any wonder that every other social media stock plunged and how do they expect to ever get another internet IPO off again (at anything but a massive discount). No matter what correlation trick was tried to juice markets today – for the tenth day-in-a-row markets saw a BTFD turn into a STFR. Not a pretty end to the ugliest week in six month for the S&P 500 as it nears its 200DMA into the close.
At Christmas time, every home takes on a special beauty, a special warmth, and that’s certainly true of the White House, where so many famous Americans have spent their Christmases over the years. This fine old home, the people’s house, has seen so much, been so much a part of all our lives and history. It’s been humbling and inspiring for Nancy and me to be spending our first Christmas in this place.
We’ve lived here as your tenants for almost a year now, and what a year it’s been. As a people we’ve been through quite a lot — moments of joy, of tragedy, and of real achievement — moments that I believe have brought us all closer together. G. K. Chesterton once said that the world would never starve for wonders, but only for the want of wonder.
At this special time of year, we all renew our sense of wonder in recalling the story of the first Christmas in Bethlehem, nearly 2,000 year ago.
Some celebrate Christmas as the birthday of a great and good philosopher and teacher. Others of us believe in the divinity of the child born in Bethlehem, that he was and is the promised Prince of Peace. Yes, we’ve questioned why he who could perform miracles chose to come among us as a helpless babe, but maybe that was his first miracle, his first great lesson that we should learn to care for one another.
Tonight, in millions of American homes, the glow of the Christmas tree is a reflection of the love Jesus taught us. Like the shepherds and wise men of that first Christmas, we Americans have always tried to follow a higher light, a star, if you will. At lonely campfire vigils along the frontier, in the darkest days of the Great Depression, through war and peace, the twin beacons of faith and freedom have brightened the American sky. At times our footsteps may have faltered, but trusting in God’s help, we’ve never lost our way.
Just across the way from the White House stand the two great emblems of the holiday season: a Menorah, symbolizing the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, and the National Christmas Tree, a beautiful towering blue spruce from Pennsylvania. Like the National Christmas Tree, our country is a living, growing thing planted in rich American soil. Only our devoted care can bring it to full flower. So, let this holiday season be for us a time of rededication.
Christmas means so much because of one special child. But Christmas also reminds us that all children are special, that they are gifts from God, gifts beyond price that mean more than any presents money can buy. In their love and laughter, in our hopes for their future lies the true meaning of Christmas.
So, in a spirit of gratitude for what we’ve been able to achieve together over the past year and looking forward to all that we hope to achieve together in the years ahead, Nancy and I want to wish you all the best of holiday seasons. As Charles Dickens, whom I quoted a few moments ago, said so well in “A Christmas Carol,” “God bless us, every one.”
Note: The President spoke at 9 p.m. from the Oval Office at the White House. The address was broadcast live on nationwide radio and television.
Three years ago, Congress balked at the mere thought of giving Hank Paulson’s (so lovingly portrayed in Andrew Ross Sorkin’s straight to HBO Too Big To Fail) proposed TARP, which came in an “exhaustive” 3 page term sheet with limited bailout powers however with virtually unlimited waivers and supervision, and voted it down leading to one of the biggest market collapses in history. Curiously, a more careful look through Europe’s €500 billion (oddly enough almost the same size as America’s $700 billion TARP) European Stability Mechanism or ESM, reveals that in preparing the terms and conditions of the ESM, Europe may have laid precisely the same Easter Egg that Paulson did with TARP, but failed. Because at its core, the ESM is like a TARP… on steroids. It is a potentially unlimited liquidity conduit (only contingent on how much cash Germany wants to allocate to it – which in turn means how much cash Germany is willing to let the ECB print), with no supervisory checks and balances embedded, and even worse with no explicit or implicit liability clauses – in essence it is a carte blanche for its owners to do as they see fit without any form of regulation. As the following brief but must watch video explains, the ESM “is an organization that can sue us, but is immune from any forms of prosecution and whose managers enjoy the same immunity; there are no independent reviewers and no existing laws apply; governments can not take action against it? Europe’s national budgets in the hands of one single unelected intergovernmental organization? Is that the future of Europe? Is that the new EU? A Europe devoid of sovereign democracies?” Ironically even America’s feeble and corrupt Congress stopped a version of TARP that demanded far less from the taxpaying citizens. Yet somehow, Europe has completely let this one slip by. Is it simply to continue the illusion of the insolvent Walfare State for a continent habituated by zombifying socialism, or is Europe by now just too afraid and too tired to say anything against its eurocrat class? One thing is certain: when the people voluntarily give up on democracy, out of sheer laziness or any other reason, the historical outcomes are always all too tragic.