Dear reader, I have been given access to shocking information regarding the upcoming G-20 Summit in Moscow. I am going to share with you the announcement that our leaders will be making at the end of the summit. Using the revelation soon to be provided in my commentary you will be able to adjust your portfolios and undoubtedly earn significant profits for yourself based on the inside information I will share worth you. [Since trading on inside information is illegal if your net worth is less than $100,000,000 dollars I must ask those of you with a net worth less than the prescribed amount refrain from acting upon the information I will provide.]
Shock and Awe
The announcement will shock and awe you with its sheer brilliance and innovation. Never before have our leaders displayed such imagination and determination to confront and conquer the economic challenges facing the world.
Only €20 million more to join the "Oligarch's club"
I became privy to this 'inside information' thanks to my close relationship with Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre, the Director of Statistical Creation at the European Central Bank [ECB] . Gustavo's ascension to this lofty position was earned the old fashioned way. While working in New York as a bookie and loan shark providing his services to discerning individuals such as myself, he had the good fortune of having a senior member of the ECB as his client. This individual had the misfortune of making a staggeringly large and incorrect bet on the outcome of the most recent World Cup. The only way the debt could be settled was to offer Gustavo an extremely highly paid tenure at the ECB. Gustavo was only too happy to move to Brussels and use his skill with numbers to aid the recovery of the global financial system and to enhance his personal wealth. Dear reader, as you are aware Gustavo and his fellow central bankers have to date, been unsuccessful at solving the "Rubik's Cube" that is the Global Economy but I am pleased to report that Gustavo only needs to accumulate another €20 million before he can officially be declared an Oligarch . [At his current rate of wealth accumulation through bribes, kickbacks, collusion, graft, skimming, theft, insider trading, tax evasion etc, Gustavo should join the club within the next three months.]
A Pulitzer Prize with my name on it
In any event, as I sat down yesterday trying to think of a topic for my next commentary I was pleasantly surprised to receive a call from Gustavo. "David," he said, his words somewhat slurred from the effects of an overindulgence of Cristal Brut 1990 champagne [$17,000 per bottle] part of the traditional 'Breakfast of Champions' enjoyed by Central Bankers around the world at their daily breakfast meetings where they grapple with the world's economic challenges such as poverty, unemployment, famine, wealth distribution and austerity. "I am going to make you famous; I know how desperately you want to win a Pulitzer Prize for your economic commentary. Here is your big chance. I am going to share with you the conclusions and economics plans that will be announced at the end of the summit.
Who has time to read all those boring and dismal reports about the economy?
"Gustavo", I replied, "while I am immensely grateful for your act of kindness, don't the leaders actually need to meet and discuss the big issues before they reach any conclusions and make any plans. I kind of thought the sharing of ideas and brainstorming was the whole purpose of these meetings." Gustavo sighed, "I don't know what gave you that idea David, between photo ops, Karaoke parties and group hugs, no one has time to read all those boring and dismal reports about the economy? Anyway, it is not like any central banker has experience or ideas how to control all the major inputs to the global economy."
So many crimes so little time
Despite my consternation about Gustavo's description of bankers and the activities at the G-20 summit my excitement was palpable. My mind was already preparing my acceptance speech for my inevitable Pulitzer Prize. Would Gustavo tell me that they were going to start sending bankers to jail for the 'Libor Scandal' ? Were bankers going to do the 'Perp Walk' , for the money laundering scandals ?
Can bankers do the 'Perp Walk' Gangnam Style ?
Were the credit rating agencies going to see their staff behind bars for the subprime ratings scandals ? Trillions of dollars had been lost by Main Street because of these nefarious activities. Would the world see individuals held accountable for these transgressions? Would governments finally admit that banks do not commit crimes; people who work for banks commit crimes? Would governments no longer fine the bank where the crime was committed, rather they would agree to start prosecuting the bankers who committed the crime? What a story this would be. Would politicians now be required to explain how $50 billion circuses such as the Sochi Olympics were an appropriate way to spend the public's money? Would the defense industry be required to justify $8 billion expenditures on aircraft carriers such as the USS H.W. Bush , or Canada's $100 billion purchase of planes boats and submarines?
Finally, answers for Main Street?
Finally, Main Street was going to get answers to questions such as why does a man in California who steals an I-phone , a television, and a vacuum cleaner in three separate burglaries go to jail for life while a banker who personally profits immensely while destroying the global financial system does no time in jail. [Note to the Pulitzer Awards committee, please have my full name etched on the trophy in this format, 'David S. Hague', Thank you,]
Protect the drug lord, prosecute the dealer
Imagine Main Street's satisfaction when it explained to them why an individual who sells a couple of grams of cocaine goes to jail for life while employees of a bank that launders money for drug dealers and criminals on a massive scale do not suffer any consequences. Would our leaders explain why brave NATO soldiers in Afghanistan are tasked with job of protecting drug lords/members of the Afghan Parliament while our local police forces at home are busy arresting drug dealers?
A failure to communicate
Dear reader my commentary will be read around the world and studied at universities for years. Imagine the impact on the global legal system when, thanks to Gustavo's insight I am able to explain why one goes to jail for murdering your neighbor but if you kill someone 30,000 miles away using a drone , that is merely considered effective use of ordinance. When does murder lose its negative connotation and morph into the more benign and palatable term 'collateral damage?' Were the G-20 leaders going announce a Global War on Government Corruption to stop the bleeding of precious financial resources [I won't offer a particular citation for this topic dear reader, I encourage you to Google this topic and at you leisure, and browse through the 21 million hits that Google will provide.] I shared my thoughts with Gustavo and eagerly awaited his comments on these topics. Gustavo groaned, "David, I think there has been a failure to communicate here".
Same old same old
Gustavo continued, "All I was going to tell you was that the G-20 summit leaders were going to announce that they are going to keep printing money, borrowing money, lending money, shuffling money from one country to another, you know, the usual stuff". My visions of a Pulitzer Prize quickly vanished. Same old same old was not going to win any awards. But wait, perhaps I could get Gustavo to provide additional thoughts that might be newsworthy. "Gustavo", I offered, "Are any central bankers concerned about the inflationary impact of all this money printing"? His response was stern, "That is the least of our worries, David. Since governments control the calculation of inflation rates we just make sure that we only measure the prices of things nobody buys and, if a price does actually rise we do not include it in our calculation we simply chalk it up to technological advances". I shared with Gustavo, John Browne's excellent explanation and analysis of inflation and its impact , hoping I might elicit a quote worthy response. "David any chump on Main Street who looks at their insurance bill, their food, electrical or gas bill, their medical expenses, day care you name it, knows that the true inflation rate is about 10%. However that number is unacceptable for publication. It would seriously exacerbate our current economic plight if we admitted that particular reality".
Plan A or Plan B
Hmm I tried another approach, "Gustavo don't our leaders think that our massive global government debt is a problem". Gustavo responded sharply, "Of course it is a serious problem David but it a problem for our children not for any politician currently in office. That is the beauty of democracy, you can sail the ship to the edge of the abyss and then retire and turn the tiller over to the next generation and let them sail over the cliff. I do not understand why you obsess about this topic". I felt thoroughly chastised. Perhaps I was being overly naive in my reportage of economic and social issues. "OK Gustavo I give up, debts, deficits money printing criminal banking conspiracies, ludicrous defense spending, social inequities, none of this matters, so where do the G-20 leaders see all of this ending." I asked. His response will not help you sleep at night. "Plan A is a belief that Greece will discover huge reserves of oil that will be their financial salvation. Spaniards and Italians will peacefully accept a 40 % decrease in their standard of living, for the greater good of a United Europe".
Their children's sad future is already preordained
Gustavo elaborated on Plan A, "Republicans and Democrats will put aside their differences. For the greater good of the country, Americans will accept a lower standard of living. They will not complain when they receive less Medicare and Social Security payments from the Government. They will endure a significant reduction in defense spending. Americans will peacefully 'bite the bullet' and stoically endure these privations to ensure a prosperous future for the grandchildren. They will accept that their children's sad economic future is already preordained. [This passive behavior will also ensure that Americans turn in their guns to a designated government agency making gun control laws redundant.] All around the world citizens will gladly accept these adjustments due to their confidence in their leaders and their belief in the wisdom of their governments."
"Holy @#%%, Gustavo, are all our leaders using 'Crystal Meth' for toothpaste? The citizens of G-20 countries will not peacefully accept that reality. What you are describing would cause either anarchy, chaos, or civil wars throughout the world. I hope there is a plan B." I was almost hysterical. Gustavo remained calm and responded. "Well David, there is a Plan B but it is a little more complicated. "Oh really, Gustavo, do tell". "Well please don't publish this in your commentary David, but the G-20 leaders recognize that democracy is not a permanent condition. If Plan A fails, Plan B involves an acceptance that Democracy will need to evolve into something more akin to an oligarchy, police state, or dictatorship." ["benevolent, of course", he laughed at that thought.] The new form of government will need a strong police force to ensure the civilian population behaves in an appropriate manner, meekly accepting the dictates of their new, all powerful, unelected leadership. Most countries already have the laws in place to suspend all civil liberties; in Canada it is called the 'War Measures Act', in the United States the 'Patriot Act'. In Russia laws suspending civil liberties are called Vladimir Putin. In Europe, the power of the people and their elected officials has already been ceded to the unelected and all powerful European Central bank and the International Monetary fund. It is only a matter of 'turning on the switch' for all countries to activate similar laws and programs to put an end to the messy and ineffective form of government known as democracy and usher in a smoother, more efficient, more effective form of government such as a dictatorship."
The people have a right to know but they also have a right not to care
"Gustavo", I responded quickly, "I cannot accept your request not to publish what you have just shared with me. The public has a right to know that their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness are in jeopardy." Gustavo yawned, "Go ahead David I dare you. The public may have a right to the truth but the public also has a surprising reluctance to accept the truth. Your commentary will be ignored." Dear reader your help and guidance will be appreciated I pondered Gustavo's comments. He is probably right. Perhaps I need to take a different route on my journey to the annual 'Awards Dinner' hosted by the Pulitzer committee.
Factoids and Factettes
Dear reader, I will ask you for your help and guidance. Below are a number of economic and social factoids and factettes. [A factette is something that is probably true] Please consider the information below and contact me on Twitter @david_hague with your suggestions as to how we can draw these issues to the attention of Main Street, the masses, the 99% or perhaps more simply, the people.
And the survey says
How many Americans are in jail for drug related crimes? Answer: 400,000
How many bankers went to jail for laundering billions of dollars of drug money? Answer: O
How many members of the NATO protected Afghan parliament are drug lords? Answer: most of them
How long must Bernie Madoff spend in jail for his $50 billion fraud? Answer: 150 years
How many bankers, lawyers, and accountants, have been convicted for the multi-trillion dollar subprime fraud? Answer: 0
What % of Canada's $605 billion national debt does Canada's recent $100 billion purchase of fighter jets and fighting ships represent? Answer: 16%
How many deeply religious individuals who passionately believe in the 'right to life' and the 'sanctity of human life' also spend their days working in the defense industry making weapons of mass destruction? Answer: a lot
How much has the Dow Jones Industrial average increased since WWll? Answer: It has increased from 206 to 14,000.
How much money have governments around the words borrowed since WWll? Answer: $49 trillion dollars
Is the increase in the Dow Jones Industrial Average related to the increase in global government borrowing? Answer: Yes
How many innocent people have been killed by drone strikes? Answer: as war has not been declared all individuals killed by drone strikes are innocent. You know what I mean, that whole pesky, innocent until proven guilty, jury of your peers thing etc.
In global finance who actually owes what to whom: Answer: It is really complicated but this chart helps
How much has the Global War on Terror cost? Answer: give or take, $5 trillion
How many bankers , economists and investment professionals understand the risk in the $1,200 trillion derivatives market ? Answer: 0
Can we find a time in history when unlimited printing of money by a government or governments did not end in disaster? Answer: No
How much does it cost to stage a three day G-20 summit? Answer: In 2010 Canada spent about $1 billion to host the G-20 summit in Toronto.
I await your help and guidance
Dear reader I look forward to your input. Do these factoids and factettes matter? Should they be studied more closely? What have I missed that needs to be said. Was Rhett Butler right when he said "What most people don't seem to realize is that there is just as much money to be made out of the wreckage of a civilization as from the upbuilding of one." Your assistance will help me on my quest to win a Pulitzer Prize. Perhaps we can improve the world. I patiently await your response @david_hague . Perhaps together we can prove my cynical friend Gustavo wrong