T Nation

WSJ: Mega-Banks and the Next Financial Crisis


"At the height of the housing bubble, hedge-fund manager Paul Singer was shorting subprime mortgages. By the spring of 2007, he was warning regulators on both sides of the Atlantic that the world was facing a major financial crisis.

They ignored him. Now the founder of Elliott Management says the biggest banks are headed for another credit meltdown. Among the likely triggers for the next crisis, Mr. Singer sees one leading candidate: Monetary policy "is extremely risky," he says, "the risk being massive inflation."

He specifically targets the Fed's "unprecedented" policy of sustaining near-zero interest rates and its exercise in money-printing, "Quantitative Easing 2," that has it buying medium- and longer-term securities from the Treasury. "In effect they're treating confidence in fiat moneyâ??in paper moneyâ??as inexhaustible, that it's a tool that's able to be used not just in the throes of crisis," but also as "a virtually complete substitute for sound fiscal, regulatory and taxing policy."

Fed officials, he adds, "really seem to think that inflation is something they can deal with very easily and very quickly. I don't believe they're right." He notes that, in the late 1970s, inflation was only in the high single digits yet curing it required interest rates of 20% and a collapse of the bond market.

Mr. Singer further warns that investors shouldn't misinterpret apparently bullish signals from a rising market. "Of course printing money is going to support asset prices," but "it's very dangerous" and is not a substitute for trade, tax and regulatory reforms that make America an attractive place for job creation."

All of this can be traced back to an error in Metaphysics -- that reality can be somehow denied or cheated. It cannot.

Who IS John Galt?


Singer is a bright guy and not to heed his warning would be foolish. But as the economy continues to improve the times will not be nearly as dire as he predicts.


Where and why do you think Mr. Singer's predictions sound more dire than they will actually be?