‘Americans are waking up to $150 trillion in debt’

Tuesday, July 6, 2010
By Paul Martin

Bob Moriarty
CommodityOnline.com

Economic rebound? Not with 22% unemployment. Banking reform legislation? Loaded with pork. Bankrupt nations? Rock-solid, lead-pipe cinch. “We need to start all over,” says the inimitable Bob Moriarty in this exclusive Gold Report interview. “And in the end, we will.” Meanwhile, he’s keeping an eye out for the few-and-far-between juniors that manage to get things exactly right.

The Gold Report: Just in time for President Obama to meet with the leaders of the G20 nations in Toronto over the last weekend in June, Congress finalized a sweeping bill to overhaul the banking system. These reforms are touted as the most ambitious rewrite of financials since the Great Depression. What impact will this legislation have on protecting us against another financial meltdown similar to 2008?

Bob Moriarty: Not a person I know, including myself, can actually say one thing of significance about this bill because no one actually understands what it says and what it does. Congress is voting for bills, while they have no clue as to what’s in them. Senator Dodd from Connecticut says, “Well, we’ll have to see what the effect of the bill will be.” Well, I’d like my representatives in Washington to understand the effect of a bill in advance of writing the damn thing. It’s going to be another bill totally loaded with pork, totally out of control. Accomplishing nothing.

Actually, what we need is another Glass-Steagall Act. We need to take banks back to being banks instead of casinos underwritten by the United States government and with their losses paid by taxpayers. If they actually reported their assets, you’d see every bank in the U.S. underwater financially.

The biggest of the big banks are doing something called High Frequency Trading. Basically, they are getting data a half second before the rest of the market and they are front-running their own customers. HFT is 70% of the market trading and it’s stealing. Congress didn’t even address the issue. Because they have been bought and paid for by Wall Street and the biggest of the banks. It’s all corrupt and nothing is going to get fixed until we demand an honest monetary system.

Banks are supposed to be conservative. When I go down to the bank and deposit a check, I want to know that money is going to be there a week from now. I don’t want those guys flying to Vegas shooting dice with my money. That’s what they’re doing. We are at a pivot point in world history. The people in Greece understand they’re being screwed by government. The Greek government made all these promises they can’t possibly keep. People in the U.S. are waking up to the fact that we’re $150 trillion in debt and we only have $50 trillion in assets in the U.S.

We need to go back to Economics 101. We need to put people to work doing real things rather than make-work. We need to get government off the backs of taxpayers. We need to declare bankruptcy. We need to reduce the size of government. We need a lot less government and we need to start all over. And in the end, we will. Individuals around the world understand that we are at a turning point in world financial history. Governments don’t.

TGR: You mentioned Greece. China came in and bought a bunch of its debt, helping bail them out. The government is also doing some massive restructuring and cutting.

BM: Have you ever seen the guys playing the shell game in New York? Shuffling the three walnuts and there’s supposed to be a pea under one of them? This is a shell game. Nobody is addressing the issue; there’s more debt in the world than money. It’s simple. It cannot be paid. It makes no difference who’s on the hook for it. There’s not enough money in the world to pay down the debt. Greece is bankrupt. Spain is bankrupt. Italy is bankrupt. Ireland is bankrupt. The UK is bankrupt. The U.S. is bankrupt. Japan is really bankrupt. Those are the issues we need to address—the issues for which governments are giving lip service. They’re just as effective at solving this financial disaster as they are the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

TGR: Is this a house of cards? Where finally one nation declares bankruptcy and others follow suit?

BM: Of course. This is an instant replay of 1931. An Austrian bank went bankrupt and, when it did, it took everybody else down. You can think about it as a circle with say 10 people in it. One guy has $1 million and loans it to the next person. He loans it to the next person. He loans it to the next person, and on and on. The last guy in line is a crack addict who goes out and blows the money. When he defaults, how many people lose a million dollars?

TGR: Nine others.

BM: Exactly. So we have this incredibly leveraged system that cannot possibly pay the debts down. When Greece or Spain goes, there’s going to be a cascading default and everybody is going to go. This is not a “prediction.” It’s a rock-solid, lead-pipe cinch. There’s no other possible alternative.

TGR: Where will the first card fall?

BM: It’s really hard to tell. A whole flock of black swans is circling and we aren’t exactly certain which one will land first. But who cares who defaults first? They’re all going to go in the end. I think 20 states in the U.S. are functionally bankrupt right now and are very near the point they tip over the cliff.

TGR: Some people say we’ve seen a rebound from the depths of the recession. Others are talking about a double-dip recession. Where do you stand on that?

BM: There was no rebound. You can’t have a rebound with 22% unemployment. In my entire life we have never had 22% unemployment. There was the appearance of fewer problems, which was total fiction. We’re in a depression.

You have to get to where government revenues equal government spending. Nobody wants to do it, but we’ll do it in the end because believe it or not the law of supply and demand does work. Economics 101 does work. Governments fight it tooth and nail, but you have to balance your books sooner or later.

TGR: Are we looking at decades of depressions while we transition from overspending to balanced budgets?

BM: It didn’t take very long in Iceland. The government will get very attentive when there are riots in the United States. When people understand their life savings have been destroyed, their pensions are gone and their jobs have all been exported to China, they’re going to be furious. Guys like Peter Schiff and Gerald Celente and I have been calling for it for years. When Americans understand how big a mess we’ve got down in the Gulf and the government isn’t doing anything about it, they will be furious.

TGR: The Gulf of Mexico—that’s obviously a situation that’s nowhere near under control.

BM: That’s an understatement. I went through flight training in Pensacola 45 years ago. It had the most beautiful 15-mile-long beach of gorgeous white sand. It’s covered with tar balls now. There is nothing you can do about it. It doesn’t make any sense to even clean it up, because nobody’s done anything about the spill.

TGR: What can be done?

BM: That’s where it really gets scary. Probably the best guy I know, the real expert in the business, is Matt Simmons. He says we need to do what the Russians did—go in and nuke it in the hopes that’ll seal the wellbore and it will stop leaking. Unfortunately, there’s a 40% probability that it won’t work; and if we pop off a nuke, we’ll have something that goes on for 10 years and we’ll be going four feet deep in tar balls in England. This is beyond stupid. This is truly catastrophic.

TGR: Was it stupid? Was it cutting corners? Was it just bound to happen at some point with deepwater drilling?

BM: They were on the edge of the envelope, they were cutting corners and there was greed and stupidity involved. The impotence of government is just laid out for everybody to see.

This is not just environmentally catastrophic. They may have to evacuate New Orleans, Pensacola, Tampa. What happens if they decided to evacuate Tampa? The U.S. would go into a third-world country literally overnight.

We’re talking about 100,000 barrels of oil a day. That’s 4.2 million gallons. It’s serious and it’s out of control. The knock-on effect to the economy? If we were in great shape financially this would cause a depression. BP doesn’t have the resources to pay for this.

TGR: What about the impact on future drilling?

BM: That’s a really interesting question because, obviously, we need more regulation—some effective regulation. We didn’t have it. In this situation, everybody involved was guilty. There will be far more rules on offshore drilling in the future and it will drive the cost of energy up.

TGR: That sounds odd coming from you. Normally you’re sort of an anarchist and oppose regulations. You’re anti-government—you call government impotent, useless and stupid. But in this case, if we’d had better regulations this wouldn’t have happened.

BM: If you want to live in a country with no government regulation, move to Zimbabwe. Government regulation is appropriate in some situations. But it has to be efficient. We are at an end of empire. It couldn’t possibly be any clearer—we are losing three and a half wars. We want to go nuke Iran, which is not the enemy of anybody, under the theory that they have nuclear weapons when 16 U.S. government agencies agree they don’t. It’s end of empire.

We are in a state of entropy. Entropy is when something physical degrades into a state of chaos. A tropical depression hitting Grand Cayman could turn into a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. We could be raining oil on Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida in a week. We could kill everything—all the crops, all the trees, all the fish in a half a dozen states in a week. If we don’t do it this week, we’ll do it next week or the week after. Oil, literally, is raining on Florida already. Continued…Here

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