by Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Wall Street on Parade
The question of just how much fiscal stimulus and COVID-19 relief payments are needed right now in order to prevent the U.S. economy from going off a cliff requires a recognition of what we do not know about the actual fragility of the U.S. economy over the next 12 months and the current fragility of the financial system of the United States.
We start from the factual premise that the current financial crisis did not originate as a result of the pandemic. The plumbing of the financial system broke on September 17, 2019, months before the first COVID-19 case was discovered anywhere in the world. We know this because this is the date that the Federal Reserve announced it would begin acting as lender of last resort to the repo loan market on Wall Street. (Repos are a form of borrowing where banks, brokerage firms, hedge funds and mutual funds engage in short term loans, typically overnight, which are collateralized with safe securities such as Treasury notes.)