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Gasparino: A New Economic Crisis Looms

By Dan Weil   |   Thursday, 12 Nov 2009 05:10 PM

CNBC commentator Charles Gasparino says another financial catastrophe is coming, thanks largely to President Obama’s flawed economic policy.

“A lot of people on Wall Street voted for him because they thought he was smart. They thought he was less erratic than John McCain,” Gasparino told Newsmax.

What those voters didn’t expect was socialized medicine, a $787 billion stimulus plan, and quick tax increases, he says.

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Get Charles Gasparino’s "The Sellout" at a Great Price from Amazon – Click Here Now.

Like Gasparino, his new book “The Sellout: How Three Decades of Wall Street Greed and Government Mismanagement Destroyed the Global Financial System,” is making waves.

In it, Gasparino traces the current economic crisis back to when Wall Street’s titans first embraced enormous risk as a business model.

He connects the toxic, boiler-room approach that became normal on the Street in the 1980s and '90s with a politically driven campaign from Congress to put anyone — and everyone — into a home.

The results were, in hindsight, predictable: Lehman Brothers collapsed. Supposed fortress banking firms including Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns scrambled into the arms of buyers, followed by huge bailouts at AIG, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, then even carmakers GM and Chrysler, as the economy imploded from within.

Gasparino warns Newsmax that the politicians are back at it, and they are as blind as ever, especially when it comes to the risks ahead.

“What (voters are) finding out now is that Barack Obama, for lack of a better word, is an ideologue. He’s not taking into account the economic ramifications of what’s going on.”

Huge problems will arise if unemployment, now 10.2 percent, reaches 11 percent, Gasparino says. And he thinks it will.

“You could have another banking crisis,” he argues. “There’s $7 trillion of stuff still on the banks’ books. And a lot of that stuff is related to the consumer.”

When unemployment hits 11 percent, consumers will start defaulting more on their mortgages and on other debts.

“That’s why this whole thing is such a folly, that we’re wasting our time with healthcare when unemployment is the real issue here,” says Gasparino.

Once their loans go bad, major banks will have to return to the government for more aid, he says.

Then the stock market drops — again. The Dow has recovered smartly, up more than 50 percent from its March low, but has begun to hit resistance above 10,000 points.

“This stock market run. . . it’s based purely on the fact that the investors and traders believe banks are getting healthier,” Gasparino says.

Once it’s clear that banks are actually getting sicker the stock market will start to tumble, he argues.

“When the Dow starts falling to below 9,000, and 8,000, then you really start having problems.”

Much of the woes stem from the ill-advised fiscal stimulus package, Gasparino contends.

“I’m a pessimist because I see unemployment consistently rising, despite the stimulus spending, and that scares me a lot.”

Another problem is that Obama’s economic experts don’t have much influence, Gasparino says.

He refers to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, National Economic Council Director Larry Summers, and Obama Special Adviser Paul Volcker, the former Fed chairman who slayed inflation during the Reagan era.

“What the economic policymakers are complaining about is that they really don’t have a seat at the table,” Gasparino says.

Instead, it’s the political aides who have the power. “The guys at the table are the Rahm Emanuels,” he said, referring to Obama’s White House chief of staff.

As for Summers and the others, “These guys are just there to recite the numbers. They’re not there to advise,” Gasparino says.

He blames both Wall Street and the government for the continuing financial crisis.

“The arrogance, the greed that reverberated. . . through the entire financial sector, between the Wall Street firms packaging all those mortgage bonds and putting them on their balance sheets (and) the banks just issuing mortgages to anybody in the world, people who could not have afforded it,” Gasparino explains, “that couldn’t have been accomplished — that incredible feat of destroying the economy — could not have been accomplished without the federal government enticing and prodding and being a co-conspirator, so to speak.”

Get Charles Gasparino’s "The Sellout" at a Great Price from Amazon – Click Here Now.

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