Time and again, we’ve been told that the Great Crisis of 2008 has ended and that we’re in a recovery.
Indeed, earlier this year, we were even told by Fed Chair Janet Yellen that the Fed may in fact raise interest rates as early as next year.
If this is in fact true, how does one explain the following statement made by the Fed’s favorite Wall Street Journal reporter, Jon Hilsenrath?
One worry: As they move toward a new system, trading in the fed funds market could dry up and make the fed funds rate unstable. That could unsettle $12 trillion worth of derivatives contracts called interest rate swaps that are linked to the fed funds rate, posing problems for people and institutions using these instruments to hedge or trade.
So… the Fed may not be able to raise interest rates because Wall Street has $12 trillion in derivatives that could be affected?
Weren’t derivatives the very items that caused the 2008 Crisis? And wasn’t the problem with derivatives that they were totally unregulated and out of control?
And yet, here we find, that in point of fact, all of us must continue to earn next to nothing on our savings because if the Fed were to raise rates, it might blow up Wall Street again…
Simply incredible and outrageous.
What’s even more astounding is that Hilsenrath is in fact understating the issue here. It’s true that there are $12 trillion worth of derivatives contracts related to the fed funds rate… but total interest rate derivatives contracts are in fact closer to $192 TRILLION.
And that’s just the derivatives sitting on US commercial bank balance sheets. We’re not even including international banks!
So…the US economy is allegedly in recovery… the financial markets are fixed… and all is well in the world. But the Fed cannot risk raising interest rates to normal levels because Wall Street has over $12 trillion (more like over $100 trillion) in derivatives contracts that could blow up.
That sure doesn’t sound like things were fixed to us. If anything, it sounds like the stage is set for another 2008 type disaster.
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