Milton Friedman once said that "Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program." The central banks, as rogue private bodies exercising governmental powers a proving that axiom true yet again. The Federal Reserve claimed yesterday that we are in a recovery but none of their emergency programs can be rolled back.
Meanwhile, over in Europe, there is growing recognition that the bailouts have failed and that the money isn't going to be paid back. Instead of actually admitting anything of the sort, the ECB is now talking about effectively making the loans permanent. Sure, they SAY it's going to be a 30 year loan instead of 3 years but if Ireland and Greece can't pay the money back now and continue to run deficits, what makes anyone think they'll be in a better position to pay it back later?
... the Committee decided today to continue expanding its holdings of securities as announced in November. In particular, the Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its securities holdings and intends to purchase $600 billion of longer-term Treasury securities by the end of the second quarter of 2011.
The question sort of answers itself. The bailouts are throwing good money after bad as every one of these banks is so far underwater they can't even see the surface from here. Without honest accounting, we have no idea just how deep that hole is but it certainly looks like a bottomless pit from here. It's been stunningly clear for a while now that so much bad debt needed to be purged from the system but the central and TBTF banks have made every effort to PREVENT such a purge.
(Wall) Street Corner Hustle
The latest brainstorm from the ECB is exactly the same sort of shell game. Greece and Ireland can't pay the money back and they know it. Instead of acknowledging reality, we'll just convert it into a long-term "loan" so they don't have to pay it back within the term and maybe even the lifetime of the people making the decisions. It can't be paid back and it won't be paid back but maybe they can keep up the lies for a little while longer.
This is simply more Extend and Pretend so that they can keep trying to fool people into impoverishing themselves by overspending and taking on too much debt to keep up the illusion. That is the meaning of "prosperity" in a keynesian ponzi economy. You use inflation to convince people to eat their seed corn, making them feel better - for a little while. This is why central bankers place so much emphasis on "confidence" - in practical terms that measures the willingness of the population to deplete their capital and eat their seed corn due to the inflationary deception of the central banks.
The UDB gave us the biggest illusion of false prosperity the world has ever seen. The bankers are now trying to cover their tracks and delay the inevitable hoping you'll forget their complicity. But the best simple summation can be found from the creators of South Park: