The Final Destruction of The Middle Class
Joan Veon - September 15, 2008
The Great 2008 Transfer of Wealth
Americans are confronted with what appears to be the worse economic situation since the Great Depression. What will history say about the U.S. credit crisis turned global financial crisis? At every turn investors are faced with new problems, new crises, and less than desirable solutions which include debt, deflation and a transfer of wealth.
With regard to debt, the American taxpayer has been made the lender of last resort for international bank Bear Stearns and now the two Government-sponsored Enterprises-GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. On top of the $29B for Bear Stearns, Fannie and Freddie’s debt of $5.4T has been effectively transferred to the balance sheet of the USA. This is equal to the entire publicly traded debt of the U.S. which is also the same as the total of America’s mortgage-related assets. In addition to personal debt, every American now has a financial responsibility for Bear Stearns and Fannie and Freddie.
We, the people, have saved the foreign investors such as China which owns $376B, Japan which owns $228B, South Korea which owns $65B, Taiwan which owns $55B, and Australia which owns $33B, from losing faith in America. It is the stockholders, both common and preferred, that have been given the raw end of the deal. While large financial institutions such as JP Morgan, which owns $1.2B of Freddie and Fannie stock, said a complete loss would only erase one or two months of profits, contrast this to smaller banks such as the Central Virginia Bank in Richmond which has $20M in shares of Freddie and Fannie. That type of loss will put them in the same kind of trouble as Lehman Brothers, not enough capitalization. There are 15 other banks that hold 10% or more of their capital in shares of Freddie and Fannie.