Tuesday's Top 10 with NZ Mint: Greece's debt deflation depression; Italian cities nearly bankrupt; 'Nationalise the Too Big To Fail banks'; 'Better living through inflation'; Jon Stewart does HSBC; Dilbert

Here's my Top 10 links from around the Internet at 1.30 pm today in association with NZ Mint.

As always, we welcome your additions in the comments below or via email tobernard.hickey@interest.co.nz.

See all previous Top 10s here.

My must read today is number 7 on how to inflate away the world's debt. Easy, peasy.

1. Breaking a society on a wheel - Ambrose Evans Pritchard unleashes on the 'Troika' of the IMF, the ECB and the EU over the way it has handled the Greek crisis.

He says Greece had no hope of achieving its deficit reduction and growth targets while the 'Troika' was determined to pursue a policy of 'expansionary fiscal contraction'.

This is shorthand for expecting an economy to grow through structural reform while its government cuts spending.

It assumes workers and businesses immediately become more efficient and productive to make up the gap left by the departing government spending.

This may work in the long run with the right type of labour and tax reforms, but in the short run it just drives an economy into a Great Depression, as Greece has experienced.

One of the reasons the Greek situation is back on the front burner is its economy has contracted more than 12% in two years and hasn't met its targets. Some Germans are even saying the euro can survive Greece's exit.

Here's Ambrose:

The result of this Great Depression – as the Greek prime minister calls it – is in implosion in tax revenues. The budget deficit has remained stuck near 9pc of GDP despite draconian wage cuts and hospital closures.

Roughly speaking, the Troika has misjudged the scale of economic decline over three years by 12pc of GDP.

"That is a massive miscalculation," said David Bloom, head of currencies at HSBC. "The collapse has been exponential. Greek GDP is contracting faster than they can reduce debt. The Troika really has a duty to give Greece the next tranche of money," he said.

2. Italian bankruptcies - The Telegraph reports 10 Italian cities are on the verge of bankruptcy. The mafia get a mention.

"The situation is becoming worse by the day," said Graziano Del Rio, the president of a national association of municipal councils.

The warning came just days after Mario Monti, the prime minister, expressed fears that Sicily, which has a high degree of fiscal autonomy, was on the brink of a default.

Cities and towns in southern Italy have for years been plagued by mismanagement, corruption, the wasteful use of EU funds and infiltration by the Mafia. But the "black list" of cities at risk also includes some in the north of Italy such as Alessandria, in the Piedmont region.

3. Bankers wild - James Suroweicki from the New Yorker writes a useful summary here of just how bad the LIBOR scandal was and why it happened.

The most striking thing about this scandal is that it was predictable—the way LIBOR was designed practically invited corruption—yet no one did anything to stop it. That’s because, for decades, regulators and people in the financial industry assumed that banks’ desire to protect their reputations would keep them honest. If banks submitted false LIBOR estimates, the argument went, the market would inevitably find out, and people would stop trusting them, with dire consequences for their businesses. LIBOR was supposedly a great example of self-regulation, evidence that the market could look after itself better than regulators could.

But, if recent history has taught us anything, it’s that self-regulation doesn’t work in finance, and that worries about reputation are a weak deterrent to corporate malfeasance. To begin with, traders at a bank are typically rewarded according to how much money their trades make, not on whether they enhance the bank’s reputation. Bank C.E.O.s, meanwhile, are now paid so lavishly that even when they wreak havoc on a bank’s good name they can still walk away with immense amounts of money. What’s more, it’s not clear how good the market is at sniffing out and punishing bad behavior before serious damage is done. During the housing bubble, the stock prices of the banks that were making hundreds of billions of dollars in bad loans soared instead of falling. Once the crisis hit, the market did a great job of slamming the barn door. But it did nothing to stop the horses from escaping in the first place.

4. 'Too Big To Fail banks should be nationalised' - University of Maryland Political Economist Professor Gar Alperovitz writes at the New York Times that the Too Big To Fail banks should be nationalised because they're also Too Big To Regulate. He uses some surprising backers for this argument, including a bunch of Friedmanites.

Some would argue New Zealand's big four banks are similarly To Big To Fail (or 'systemically important' as Alan Bollard once told me) and therefore need to be broken up and/or nationalised. Luckily for them they didn't do the dumb and/or evil things that the Northern Hemisphere To Big To Fail banks have done (Lehman/AIG/JP Morgan/Barclays/HSBC).

Most liberals in Washington — President Obama included — keep hoping the banks can be more tightly controlled but otherwise left as is. That’s the theory behind the two-year-old Dodd-Frank law, which Republicans and Wall Street are still working to eviscerate.

Some economists in and around the University of Chicago, who founded the modern conservative tradition, had a surprisingly different take: When it comes to the really big fish in the economic pond, some felt, the only way to preserve competition was to nationalize the largest ones, which defied regulation.

This notion seems counterintuitive: after all, the school’s founders provided the intellectual framework for the laissez-faire turn against market regulation over the last half-century. But for them, “bigness” and competition could easily become mutually exclusive. One of the most important Chicago School leaders, Henry C. Simons, judged in 1934 that “the corporation is simply running away with our economic (and political) system.”

Simons (a hero of the libertarian idol Milton Friedman) was skeptical of enormity. “Few of our gigantic corporations,” he wrote, “can be defended on the ground that their present size is necessary to reasonably full exploitation of production economies.”

5. Why China will grow old before it gets rich - Leith van Onselen writes a useful analysis at Macrobusiness.com.au about how China's one child policy and its ageing population will slow its economic growth. It's certainly one for Australia and New Zealand to watch.

The comparions with Japan's age structure and dependency ratio (20 years advanced) are startling.

As written previously (here, here, and here), China will soon face an ageing problem that threatens to stifle its economy. Essentially, China’s ageing problem stems from its ‘one child policy’, which was brought into effect in 1979 and is credited with preventing around 400 million births from 1979 to 2010. This policy initially produced a population pyramid optimal to economic growth – that is, where the largest segments of the population were neither young nor old, but in the middle (i.e. working age).

However, the demographic blessing provided by the one child policy will soon turn into a curse, with the United Nations forecasting that the number of working aged people to dependents is set to almost halve over the 50 years to 2065, from a peak of 1.9 workers to dependents in 2015 to only 1.0 by 2065.

6. Moody's warns Northern Europe - Not that bond investors care, but Moody's has put the AAA credit ratings of Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg on negative outlook, given they may have to pick up the bill for any implosion of the financial markets in the Euro-zone.

Yet the 2 year Germany bund yield is negative....

Moody's cited an increased chance that Greece could leave the euro zone, which "would set off a chain of financial sector shocks ... that policymakers could only contain at a very high cost."

It also warned that Germany and other countries rated 'Aaa' might have to increase support for troubled states such as Spain and Italy that are struggling to finance their deficits. The burden of that support would fall most heavily on the euro zone's top-rated states, it said.

7. 'Just lift inflation to inflate away the debt' - Economists James Hamilton and Menzie Chinn write at Econbrowser that the indebted economies need to deleverage their debt through inflation. Trying to negotiate some sort of fair debt restructuring is way too politically complicated and time consuming.

They cite a study titled: "Trends: Better living through inflation". It says the following, which helps clarify many of the issues facing the world:

The politics of debt is, if anything, more daunting than the economics. A debt crisis typically degenerates into bitter political conflict over who will bear the burden of the adjustment. Some of the conflict may be among countries, with creditor nations trying to force debtors to pay off in full and debtor nations rebelling against measures that could conceivably make that possible. Other political battles take place within countries, as taxpayers, bankers, government employees, pensioners and investors jockey to avoid being saddled with the costs of working off the accumulated debts.

If we simply choose to wait for the world to find acceptable formulas for sharing sacrifice, we may be in for nearly a decade of snail’s pace growth -- a truly global lost decade. ...

8. The solution? - Hamilton and Chinn recommend conditional inflation targeting. They suggest targeting unemployment below 7% at the same time as inflation below 3%. Fair enough.

When nominal interest rates are kept below the rate of general price increases, inflation reduces the real burden of debts denominated in local currency. To put it another way, as prices rise and wages follow, debtors (households, businesses and governments) find it easier to service their debts and can more readily resume regular economic behavior.

The idea may seem radical, but it’s hardly unprecedented. After World War II, the United States inflated away a portion of the debt that it had accumulated in the war years -- and did so even though the economy wasn’t facing an actual debt crisis. An analysis by Joshua Aizenman (University of California at Santa Cruz) and Nancy Marion (Dartmouth) points out that the federal government came out of the war with a debt equal to 109 percent of GDP, substantially more than the debt-to-GDP ratio the country faces today. But all it took to (nearly) halve the ratio between 1946 and 1955 was a mix of reasonable economic growth turbocharged by relatively mild (on average, 4 percent) inflation.

9. Five steps to global catastrophe - Amanda will just luurve this from Nouriel Roubini via AFR.....

A significant equity price correction could, in fact, be the force that in 2013 tips the US economy into outright contraction.

And if the US (still the world’s largest economy) starts to sneeze again, the rest of the world – its immunity already weakened by Europe’s malaise and emerging-countries’ slowdown – will catch pneumonia.

10. Totally Jon Stewart on HSBC opening two bank accounts for someone called 'Taliban'

He suggests a few slogans for HSBC's next marketing campaign, including: 'HSBC - Helping people who want to kill you since 1991' or 'HSBC - Blood money? You had me at money' or 'HSBC - The S stands for ssshhh'


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Here's more detail on HSBC's lapses via Pro Publica

This is a must read from Jamil Anderlini at FT.com on Bo Xilai and the deeply corrupt and toxic political and business culture around Bo Xilai at least in China. Eyeopening stuff.

Just imagine if our Reserve Bank was as aggressive with our banks as Canada's is.
Here's more on the Canadian regulator.

The secret to success for Julie Dickson, the most-powerful woman in Canadian banking and watchdog for the world’s soundest lenders, is to assume Nouriel Roubini is always right.

“It wouldn’t matter if people gave me reassurance,” said Dickson, who is raising Canadian capital standards faster than others even as lenders such as Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) are hailed as industry bedrocks. “Some people are glass half-full types and some people are glass half-empty. In this role, I’m a glass half-empty type.”

Come on there Bernard....tell me where I'm wrong here...a faultless description I believe.
Just imagine our Reserve Bank had an opinion at all.....on anything.
Wheeler.....Bolly what should we do...?
Bolly ....lets wait and see..!
 Wheeler.....but didn't we do that last time and the times before ad nauseum..?
 Bolly....yes  I think we did.
 Wheeler....Soooo why don't we do something different..?
Bolly....because that's what we do here, we wait and see, and then we don't get caught out you see ...not waiting and seeing  I mean.
Wheeler...um I think so, er, so by doing nothing we can't be accused of having done anything  as if we hadn't waited and seen...?
Bolly....... exactly..!
Wheeler....so how will we know when to do something...?
Bolly.....Billy will call us to the office for a .............chat.
Wheeler......Oh , I see, oh um alright then.
Bolly..........you catch on fast, got the makings of a fine Govenor..!....now where's me crossword got to..? ahhh...eight letter word for organism ...that lives off a host...?

Now Ireland is opting to bulldoze empty property developments rather than try to finish and sell them.
About 1,850 housing developments, unfinished after the bubble burst in 2008, pockmark the Irish landscape, according to government figures. This week, Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency, the state agency set up in 2009 to purge banks of their most toxic commercial property loans, started the destruction of an apartment block for the first time.
“There’ll be some places where the most sensible decision that can be made will be to demolish,” Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan said in an interview in her Dublin office on July 10. “If nobody wants to live in them, then the most practical thing to do possibly will be to demolish what is there.”
The so-called ghost estates are the most visible scar left by Western Europe’s worst real-estate crash, which led Ireland to follow Greece in seeking international financial help. In all, about 15 percent of Irish homes are vacant, the country’s statistics agency estimates.

Quick tell Hughey.
Mighty median multiples in Munster.

Hughy,  they are saying no one wants to live in them, ergo there was no need to build them...so any planning limits that exist were mostly adequate.....I'd suggest you look beyond your greatly mistaken belief in it being substantially or all down to land prices....it isnt.
If we had allowed a build anywhere policy there would just be more empty shells we wasted time, energy and money on and the boom and bust would have been even bigger than it will be.
Also with your belief that municipals should pay for services that wouldnt be needed the existing rate payers would be left paying off the sums and interest.....many are OAPs who struggle with bills now....

Hugh has to fit every bit of info to what he pre-thinks.
A friend has just come back from Texas and Mexico - interesting pix. Acres to the horizon, of oil-based monoculture cropping. Urban sprawl forever, all reliant on water-towers at intervals, plastic-serviced. Meals always accompanied by a pile of plastic - no thought of recycling - rubbish. All double-cab V8's. The whole economy reliant on easy (but getting less) energy, and cheap labour just across the border (or cheap labour illegally on their side).
In a word, so far down the unsustainable track, that they have no chance to morph. They're buggered.

"All double-cab V8's."  and you missed the claims that its Obama's fault.....strange how brain washed some have become....
"They're buggered", I think many are, what worries me now is the jumping off the 1st class deck of the titanic into one of the few lifeboats (NZ) and being swamped.  So I expect more and more of the very rich to come here in the short future and expect to carry on living via their piles of (worthless) cash.....later I expect a lot of boat ppl as well....

It's not true Nationalised big banks won't need regulation.   There is a similar idea about insurance companies that if owned by the government they won't act badly.  But what about the ACC.

So you need more people for economic growth?
Then what?
Exponentially more people?
Preserve us from those who were taught?????? economics.
What happens when the houses and the people and the dairy farms are all shoulder-to-shoulder on every square metre of the planet, Bernard?
Or do you think we should stop before that? If so, where? Seems to me, it'll be less of a problem the earlier we stop.

It seems that population growth, hence GDP growth, via immigration is the one of the Gov'ts main responses to the GFC.  Most of Europe has been doing this for decades and look what a mess it got them into.  Obviously they think NZ will be different!

maybe if we did not opt for the easy answer of importing people we would value the ones we have a bit more.
A big change that has happened to us seems to me to have been a devaluing of the majority of us and the rediculous over valuing of a few of us.
500,000 for Bollard is simply silly money. you can halve it easily.

It seems the message is becoming more palatable PDK......Cassandra find some new shoes...?  <:}

Silly Billy : Of course you don't require a greater number of people for " exponential growth " ......
EG will occur without an increase in the world's population . That's a given .I'm sure we can all agree upon that .
...... but we've plenty of room in the basement , within the core , for all those XS ferals ( the few who still vote Labour ! ....... ha .. ) ...... into the centre of the planet with them ......
After we've removed some of that boundless supply of shale oil & gas , there'll be more cavities to squeeze the Morlocks ...... ooooops ! ...... I mean to squeeze the South Aucklanders & Central Wellingtonians into ......

Somebody should tell the Pope.
He's singlehandedly (it goes with the territory) responsible for much of the over-procreation, thus much of the poverty.

"EG will occur without an increase in the world's population . That's a given .I'm sure we can all agree upon that ".
Um, no, we don't.
The alternative is that the static population consumes exponentially more per-head. We're already at 7-day shopping, 3 bathroom houses, growing obesity. The next 'doubling' comes from?

HaHa. That conjures up a picture of semenary days visiting fertility clinics, plastic cups and straws.

America and Europe are not only loosing the finacial war and bogged down in debt but also loosing the tech war aswell.
APC mag July 2012
They can dramatically reduce research time, accurately simulate and model real-life systems, and help design products perfectly suited for their environment. Supercomputers are at the forefront of technology that's already changing the world.
It was therefore big news when China's Tianhe-1A, based at the National Supercomputer Centre in Tianjin, took the supercomputing crown from America's Jaguar system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in November 2010.
So says the July issue of APC magazine and goes on to say that
America could take some solace from the fact the Tianhe-1A was built from US tech.............That all changed when Japan knocked the US down to third place in July 2011 with its K Computer, built from Fujitsu's SPARC64 V111fx processors......................
A power shift
In October 2011, the rules changed again when China announced its newest supercomputer, the Sunway BlueLight MPP. Not because it was the most powerful - it's thought to be the 15th fastest machine in the world - but because it was built entirely from Chinese-made processors...............The Sunway realises China's dream to sever its reliance on US technology......................................Some commentators believe this is a sign that China is about to leapfrog its competitors with the next iterations of its own technology
And much more about their achievements in the mag.

uh, sparc is really Sun/Oracle so the roots of that CPU are really USA...not sure how the licencing etc works mind.
Maybe some bright spark in China should buy AMD, they get a pretty good CPU and graphics pretty cheaply.

This was an eye opener regarding the black market in NZ on Close Up last night;
Not one government authority (WINZ, Labour Department or IRD) gave a toss that the worker was getting paid in cash (when getting paid, that is).  Sounds like the employment black market is so big our authorities just can't cope with policing it anymore.

Given that the IRD don't seem that bothered about how Google, Vodaphone, Apple  etc , use a myriad of offshore entities to reduce thier tax bill, why should Joe Average in NZ feel obliged to care either?
Mr Average doesn't have the resources to set up a couple of Irish holding companies with a Dutch sandwich, based in the Caymans. So he pays the builder in cash instead, just commonsense really.

Good point....so its OK for the rich and for corps to dodge but not a NZer....sorry not on.

Gareth Morgan:
Markets won’t naturally generate “trickle down” benefits. Well-designed curbs and checks are needed, supplemented by taxes that redistribute from the rich to the poor. This was well known to the first modern “economist”, the philosopher Adam Smith, writing in the 18th century as an unfettered industrial revolution made the poor poorer.
However, these basic truths about modern market economies have been forgotten, pushed aside by an ideological tsunami which began in the late 1970s and centred around the ideal of freedom. The euphoria that accompanied this global movement affected not only politics (contributing to the break-up of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall) but economics – less regulation, lower taxes, less social support, increased globalisation and displacement of low and average wage jobs in developed economies. In spectacular fashion, the global financial crisis has reminded us that freedom in economics will only get you so far; it needs to be strategically curbed by regulation and supported by effective redistribution. Freedom to lend certainly has come to an ignominious end.


I am okay with Gareth Morgans redistribution/ transfer payments from rich to poor  ideas I just think it should not be for free, but soemthing should be done in return .
We know trickle down does not work as theorised , but those at the bottom should at least do something for the benefits they receive

Not so much benefits but low tax for workers.  For me the idea would be to drop the low rate band to say 10% for the first 30k....then there is a decent $ incentive to get off the dole.  I really dont think paying more benefits helps, in fact its arguably counter-productive. for me benefit should be bare bones survival. Want more, get a job, it should not be a lifestyle choice thats possible to make.

WORKING FOR BENEFIT Here's another off the wall idea . We all want fuller employment , why dont we have a WORKING FOR BENEFIT system and actually get some stuff done,stimulate the economy and give our youth something constructive and meaninful to do.
To get the benefit you would need to put in 20 hours a week
We could conscript unemployed youth to work a few hours a week for MAF cleaning up the beaches or the litter thats drfited to Rangitoto island, or local authorities cutting down alien Tobacco weed and Gorse on State or Maori land, or clean up the rabbits on the South Island , or the possums . DOC could ude them to repair tramping tracks , or build campsites.
LTNZ will tell you the road verges  need cleaning , and  water authotiries will tell you the drains and runoff systems in Auckland all need cleaning. I see the NZ Army is looking for reservists 

How would 20 hours per week in return for unemployment benefit work out as an hourly rate?  How would that compare to the minimum wage?

This has always been a ridiculous thing when you start to look. So what if say a private company is employing a small workforce and in comes WINZ with cheap labour?  bye bye company and those jobs.....what was gained?
The state now under this idea is bigger, and for such labour I suspect run badly, dont you want to avoid that?
How does weed stripiing get un-employed into good earning jobs? doesnt does it.
This idea seems to be run out time and time again and its neg impacts are huge.

What incentive would people have to do physical labour if the financial return didn't cover the extra costs incurred by doing the work: For example, would $230 dollars/wk cover the extra cost of:

  • Extra food needed if they were doing physical job.
  • Transport/fuel needed to get to job.

I like the idea, but in reality it just doesn't add up. They would get a better return sitting at home doing nothing. Perhaps a slightly larger payment would work?

Everywhere the "working for a benefit" idea has been tried it has worked out to be way too expensive to administer.  If you can come up with a scheme that produces enough bang for the bucks there's plenty of governments who would buy it off you.  The sentiment is fine, but the logistics are horrendous.

Well it's a fine old mess, Vera. The benefits are supposed to be enough to live on, topped up with various supplements. Trouble is the median wage is now on a par with benefit rates at $28,000 per year pre tax and once you take into account the add ons. Our median wage is insufficient to live on, get to work and maintain a house. Those unexpected costs - broken fridge, dental work, car repairs? Forget about it if your on $14/hour - and half the population don't even earn that much. Not helped by importing third world fruit pickers and taxi drivers - how dumb can we be?
Someone on a benefit gets all kinds of help which is OK I guess but where the hell is the incentive to get your butt out of bed and out to work.

dental on benefit is limited to $300 / year I think....
Are you sure you mean median wage? 

See reply below

I would disagree with you about living on $14 an hour, unless you are talking about someone with a family.
If you are a single person working full time for the minimum wage and you can't pay your bills, you are doing it wrong.
I am happy to provide details if anyone doubts this.
I agree with your points about the benefit discouraging people from getting a low-paying job.

Re 8: Cutting rates to the bone is not going to inspire inflation. Japan has been trying to generate inflation in this way for nearly 20 years....it hasn't happened. 
Targeting nominal GDP via direct government expenditure might kickstart things along. Targetting inflation measures (CPI and its derivatives) has been next to useless anyway, with all the damage being done by excess credit and house prices. 

Boatman, That's history repeating, in the 1970's & 80's it was called "Project Employment Programme" (PEP for short) run by the Dept of Labour. It was not compulsory, which it should have been, and participants received a little more than the dole. It was a good start and could have been developed but I think Jim Bolger killed it in 1990. DOC (then Lands and Survey Dept) were big users. It did not unduly interfere with private commerce. One flaw was that each person was time limited to 6 months work, then they went back to the dole. But whilst on the scheme they did have to turn up every morning at 8.00am. no bad thing and a good start.
Regards, Ergophobia

Being busy is good
being part of a team is good
being valued is good.
Being alone on the dole is not good for your soul.
hanging out with your mates also on the dole is not good for your soul
So we need to value our own people so much that we invest in them. We should not simply import someone else to do a job. We have to value our own people more.
There is no other way. Our duty is to our own nations children first before anything else.

Oh Dear with this lot on one side:
At a High Court hearing in Christchurch early this month Independent Fisheries, several Canterbury property developers and supermarket giant Progressive sought to overturn Brownlee’s post-quake redrawing of housing boundaries.
I now find myself on Gerry's side.
Progressive in particular annoy me. Can they please be broken up into smaller pieces along with foodstuffs under a real Commerce Commission that actually does something about competition , real free markets - that sort of thing.

Turns out The Printers did it- I never did trust those dirty printers, they are just rats.
The story is kind of funny though.

Clearly we should be encouraging immigration... I think people such as the woman recently appointed the Tamiki Project CEO in waiting are perfect... The more failed liberal, policy making (poll tax grabbing) leeches we can integrate into the local government offices throughout our wonderful country, the sooner we will be able to reach our hand out to the IMF!
No one knows the building act like a Brit huh!!
Interesting that some Italian cities/municipalities are going broke... Perhaps they want to, I bet investment would surge in those areas when regulation oversight dissipates??!!

so you are a flat eather in other words.....hint finite planet v infinite growth v peaked oil

The latest survey results from Statistics NZ (June 2011) show the median weekly income at $550/week.
That's from all sources of income, including benefits, the median for wage and salary earners is somewhat higher at  $800/week, 50% earn less than that.
Since about 75% of us are not on benefits there must be a huge number of low wage workers in that $500 to $800 bracket - half of all workers in fact. Like I say, not much incentive to go get an entry level job once you take into account the extra costs of working and the additional supplements to the non working.

Since about 75% of us are not on benefits
I think you are a bit out there - for example according to Gareth Morgan's research - 40% of all adult NZers receive some form of benefit (i.e. transfer payment from the state);

Fair enough, Kate. Perhaps I should have said 75% do not rely in benefits as their primary income.
What I wanted to point out is that wages for a vast swathe of Kiwis are at or near subsistance level - there's no upside to taking a basic job and foregoing the benefit plus all it's add ons. The Government talk about lifting wages for Kiwi workers and then do things that have the reverse effect - for example; high levels of unskilled immigration and trade agreements that force us to compete with the lowest wage economies on the planet. How's that going to help?

So we can safely say our typical Mum and Dad potential mixed ownership model investor is a myth concocted by spinmeisters to smooth the way to cream all of us with crony capitalism bullshit. 

Hahaha - well I'd say the "typical" ones would more appropriately be called Pops and Nanas - as opposed to Mums and Dads;
The fastest-growing segment of this age group is the group aged 80 years and over (80+). This group is growing at about twice the rate of those 65+ and about four times the rate of the total population in 1992. People aged 80+ now represent 26 percent of the older population (aged 65 years and over). The number of people in the 80+ age group is projected to more than triple from 158,600 in 2012 to 531,700 in 2052.
That aside though, the biggest winners will be the cronies - largely the same little mob that we taxpayers funded the return of their SCF stakes to ... and similarly the spinmeisters tried to say those beneficiaries of the state largesse were also largely these mythical 'Mum and Dad' investors.

And always the same inter-related families, I bet. 

I dont think I could have put it better.

You know could reverse the view that say LIBOR was a structural disaster waiting to happen to suggest for that disaster not to have happened until now is a testiment to the integrity of those running it - up until now.