Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) failed on Friday and was shut down by regulators. It was the second-largest failure in US history and the first since the global financial crisis. Almost immediately, the calls for bailouts started to come in. (Since Friday, First Republic Bank has failed, and many other banks are facing collapse.)
In fact, on March 9, even before SVB failed, billionaire investor Bill Ackman took to Twitter to insist a federal “bailout should be considered” if the private sector could not save the bank. Hours after SVB officially failed, Ackman was still at it, and in a 646-word panicky screed, he demanded that the federal government “guarantee SVB deposits” and essentially backstop the entire banking industry to keep failing, inefficient, and poorly managed banks afloat.
Now, many readers might be saying to themselves, “I thought bank deposits were insured!” That, of course, is correct, but deposits are only legislatively insured up to $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Given that most normal people keep less than this in their bank accounts, that means the majority of bank users are not going to lose any of their money should their banks fail. Moreover, it is extremely easy to acquire deposit insurance on much more than $250,000 by simply keeping money at more than one bank. That $250,000 limit applies to the deposits at each bank where a depositor keeps funds. For customers with high liquidity needs, the financial sector offers tools for dealing with the risk of exceeding FDIC limits.
” … And do not harm the oil and wine” Revelation 6:6
Is the FDIC bailout a bailout? pic.twitter.com/MHuEsEe3Z1
— Peter St Onge, Ph.D. (@profstonge) March 13, 2023
In an illustration of the laziness and arrogance that so characterizes our modern financial class, however, many of the wealthiest depositors at Silicon Valley Bank couldn’t be bothered with managing their deposits, and they essentially ignored the deposit-insurance rules that even a ten-year-old understands when opening his first bank account.
As a result, many venture capitalists and other wealthy SVB customers stand to a lot of money. At least, they stood to lose a lot of money before Sunday evening, when the Federal Reserve announced its new “Bank Term Funding Program” (BTFP), which promises to flood the banking system with new money and shore up the personal finances of wealthy depositors.
This is part of a two-pronged effort to both make banks appear more financially sound, and to greatly expand FDIC payouts to depositors who have their funds in these banks.
The official propaganda coming out of the administration, and from the usual Fed fanboys, is that none of this is a bailout. That’s a lie. The new steps being taken by the Fed and by the Treasury Department’s FDIC are indeed ultimately bailouts for billionaires and other wealthy depositors. Moreover, this new program will require at least a partial return of quantitative easing.
There’s no way to guarantee such huge sums of money without having to fall back on inflationary monetary policy yet again. This also means price inflation won’t be going away. Here is why.
Propping Up Asset Prices with New Money
The first prong of the bailout plan is to use extremely low-cost loans to shovel more money at banks in order to make them look more financially sound. The idea here is to head off depositor panics over uninsured deposits before they start. The first indication that this scheme is a bailout comes from the text of the press release on the creation of the BTFP. It states that the new program will be
offering loans of up to one year in length to banks, savings associations, credit unions, and other eligible depository institutions pledging U.S. Treasuries, agency debt and mortgage-backed securities [MBS], and other qualifying assets as collateral. These assets will be valued at par. The BTFP will be an additional source of liquidity against high-quality securities, eliminating an institution’s need to quickly sell those securities in times of stress.
The key phrase is “These assets will be valued at par.” That’s important because these banks are facing huge unrealized losses, many stemming from losses on assets whose market prices plummeted as interest rates rose. Part of the reason these banks are in trouble is because their assets are no longer worth anywhere near par value in the marketplace:
Read the whole article @ Mises Institute HERE