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Welcome to the "Wolf Creek Pass" School of Monetary Policy

I don’t know if you folks remember that hit ditty: a humorous tune about two truckers attempting to manhandle an out-of-control 1948 Peterbilt down the “other side” of Wolf Creek Pass – a death-taunting section of U.S. Highway 160 where the elevation drops a hefty 5,000 feet in a relatively short distance.

The song’s two characters – a truck driver named Earl and his brother, who’s his partner as well as the song’s narrator – are taking a flatbed load of chickens on a speedy trip down this winding, two-lane Colorado highway. After the narrator gives Earl the above-mentioned warning, the ancient semi’s brakes fail.

From there on down, the narrator tells us that the brothers’ trip “just wasn’t real pretty.” The truck careened around hairpins and switchbacks, and then raced at an uncontrolled 110 mph toward a tunnel with “clearance to the 12-foot line” – with chicken crates sadly “stacked to 13-9.”

The drivers and the runaway Peterbilt “went down and around and around and down ’til we run outta ground at the edge of town… and bashed into the side of the feed store – in downtown Pagosa Springs.”

Believe it or not, I started thinking about this funny old country tune the other night – right after I’d read a piece about QE3 and the U.S. Federal Reserve.

As zany as it first sounds, the parallels are striking.

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    Here's What Really Happened to Citigroup's (NYSE:C) Vikram Pandit

    The only big deal about Vikram Pandit "stepping down" as Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) CEO and his removal from the board is that it didn't happen sooner.

    The truth is he didn't leave voluntarily. He was given an ultimatum by the "new" board of directors: resign or be fired.

    Poor old Vikram. This was a setup from the start.

    He ended up at Citigroup when the mega-bank bought his Old Lane hedge fund for more than $800 million.

    Poor old Vik pocketed about $165 million in the sale and continued to run the fund, some say into the ground, until Citi shut it down.

    In 2007, my favorite Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE:GS) ex-CEO Robert Rubin (who after pandering to all the big banks in the country as Secretary of the Treasury in Bill Clinton's administration, then pimped himself to Citigroup after allowing Citibank to merge with Sandy Weill's Travelers insurance conglomerate (that owned Salomon Smith Barney) in an illegal deal that required Congress to kill prudent banking laws (Glass-Steagall) to make it legal actually handpicked Vikram to run the bank.

    Super rich-boy Bob Rubin, of course, had nothing to do with running Citibank after making it the mega-bank it became as a result of the merger; he was merely a special consultant to the board, or some B.S. like that.

    But here's what really happened...

    To continue reading, please click here...
    Read More...
  • ceo city bank

  • Why Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit Was Forced Out (NYSE: C) Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit announced today (Tuesday) he has made an abrupt departure from the troubled bank, the day after it reported third-quarter earnings that beat estimates.

    The story became more interesting as the day wore on after it was announced he was forced out by the board.

    The theories as to why Pandit would be asked to leave got juicier as the Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) CEO's exit was paired with the co-resignation of Citi COO John Havens, a long-time associate of Pandit.

    Mike Holland, chairman of New York-based Holland & Co, which oversees more than $4 billion of assets told Reuters, "It's not a shock that [Pandit] is no longer there, but the surprise is this is all happening very quickly. Why is he leaving so quickly? I'm not a Citi shareholder, but if I were I'd be disappointed that Havens is gone, in some ways more than Pandit."

    The timing hinted the two exits were not simply a natural transition, but instead related to some skeletons lurking in the bank's boardroom.

    Just as quick and startling was the immediate removal of Pandit's name and photo from Citigroup's Website.

    The swift announcement that Michael Corbat, previously chief executive for Europe, Middle East and Africa, would replace Pandit as Citi's CEO and board member also raised some eyebrows.

    So what could've caused this sudden changing of the guard?

    To continue reading, please click here... Read More...