Catherine’s childhood home: 503 S 48th Street in Philadelphia
Friday, 22 February 2002, 9:42 am
Column: Catherine Austin Fitts
By Catherine Austin Fitts
First published in the Narco News Bulletin
Originally Published Oct 2001
Narco Dollars For Dummies
Part 2 – Sam & Dave Do White Substances
Part 3 – The Ultimate New Business Cold Call
Part 4 – On Your Map
Part 5 – Getting Out of Narco Dollars
Part 6 – Georgie And West Philadelphia
Part 8 – Fast Food Franchise Pop
Part 9 – At the Heart of the Double Bind
Part 10 – Drugs as Currency
Part 11 – In Defense of American Drug Lords
Part 12 – We Have Met the Enemy and It is Us
Part 13 – The Real Deal: Americans Love A Winner
The Narco Dollar Double Bind:
Dow Jones Index Up, Solari (Popsicle) Index Down
As described in Part 1, the Solari Index is my way of estimating how well a place is doing. It is based upon the percentage of people in a place who believe that a child can leave their home and go to the nearest place to buy a Popsicle and come home alone safely. The Solari Index is about how safe you feel you and your neighbor’s kids are.
When I was a child growing up in the 1950’s at 48th and Larchwood in West Philadelphia, the Solari Index was 100 percent. It was unthinkable that a child was not safe running up to the stores on Spruce Street for a Popsicle and some pinball. The Dow Jones was about 500, the Solari Index was 100 percent and our debt per person was very low. Of course I did not think about it that way at the time. All I knew was that life on the street with my buddies was sweet.
Today, the Dow Jones is over 9,000, debt per person is over $100,000, and I think the Solari Index in my old neighborhood is 0 percent.
Life on the street ain’t sweet anymore.
To understand how this works, we need to understand “pop.”
It’s Not Just About Profit,
It’s About the Pop
Here is the part that is particularly hard for women. It took several times at our sheet of paper before Georgie understood what I was saying.
The power of narco dollars comes when you combine drug trafficking with the stock market.
The “pop” is a word I learned on Wall Street to describe the multiple of income at which a stock trades. So if a stock like PepsiCo trades at 20 times it’s income, that means for every $100,000 of income it makes, it’s stock goes up $2 million. The company may make $100,000, but its “pop” is $2 million. Folks make money in the stock market from the stock going up. On Wall Street, it’s all about “pop.”
The people who own a corporation make money on the stock going up. So a company has investors, with the most powerful investors typically being large institutions who are typically represented on the board of the company. The board is the group of people who decides what goes. The senior management officials who run the company day to day are also on the board. Most of the money they make comes from stock options that they get to encourage them to get the stock to go up for the investors. That means that what everyone who runs the company wants is for the stock to go up. The way to do that is to increase net income or to increase the multiple at which the stock trades.
So in the case of PepsiCo described above, if the management increases soda pop sales in a way that net income goes up by $100,000, the stock goes up $2 million. Now let’s say, the board and management do a whole series of things to attract new investors and improve the company’s image and, as a result, the stock starts trading at 22 times profits. Then, the stock value goes up even more. Whether increasing net income or increasing the multiple at which the stock market values the company profits, the board and the management are focused on making the stock go up. That is how their money works.
The winner in the global corporate game is the guy who has the most income running through the highest multiple stocks. He is the winning pop player. Like the guy who wins at monopoly because he buys up all the properties on the board, he can buy up all the other companies.
So if I have a company that has a $100,000 of income and a stock trading at 20 times earnings, if I can find a way to run $100,000 of narcotics sales by a few teenagers in West Philadelphia through my financial statements, I can get my stock market value to go up from $2 million to $4 million. I can double my “pop.” That is a quick $2 million profit from putting a few teenagers to work driving the Solari Index down in their neighborhood. Bottom line, I can make a lot of quick money on the stock going up and the Solari Index going down
OK, now what does this all mean for the Solari Index in Philadelphia? If I am a group of mothers in my neighborhood who want the Solari Index to go back up to a 100%, what’s stopping me?
Well, if the Department of Justice is correct about $500 billion-to-1 trillion of annual money laundering in the US, then about $20-40 billion should move annually through the Philadelphia Federal Reserve District.
Assuming a 20% margin for the BIG PERCENTAGE profits and a 20 times multiple on the stock of the companies that Dave and his investors and banking partners were using to launder the money, let’s look at how much of the stock market value would be “addicted” to the drug and money laundering profits flowing through the Philadelphia area.
The total stock market value generated in the Philadelphia area with $20-40 billion in narco retail sales would be about $80-160 billion. If you add all the things you could do with debt or and other ways to increase the multiples, and you could get that even higher, say $100-250 billion.
Assuming that there are 3 million people in the greater Philadelphia area, the total stock market value generated would average anywhere from $27,000-to-$85,000 per person. Imagine what would happen to the economy in Philadelphia if this stock market value suddenly disappeared because all the teenagers in Philadelphia stopped dealing or buying drugs?
Imagine what happens to your stock multiple if you are a Philadelphia corporate chieftain and you don’t run narco dollars or large purchases fueled by narco dollars through your financial statements and you don’t attract narco dollars to reinvest in your stock? What happens to your corporate income and your stock profit if the ones who invest narco dollars – accumulated over the last fifty years compounding at their magical compound interest – don’t like you? How is everyone in Philadelphia who loses money on your stock going down going to feel about you?
The Department of Justice says that we launder $500 billion -$ 1 trillion. Multiply those times a BIG PERCENTAGE cash flow profit margin. Now figure how much of that “income” gets run through the income statement of publicly traded banks and companies and multiply that number by the multiple of income at which their stocks trade.
Voila. I don’t know what your number is. All I know is that, as Ed Sullivan used to say, it is “really, really BIG.”
…come back tomorrow for Part 8 – Fast Food Franchise Pop
– AUTHOR NOTE: Catherine Austin Fitts, author of Scoop’s “The Real Deal” column, is a former managing director and member of the board of directors of Dillon Read & Co, Inc, a former Assistant Secretary of Housing-Federal Housing Commissioner in the first Bush Administration, and the former President of The Hamilton Securities Group, Inc. She is the President of Solari, Inc, an investment advisory firm. Solari provides risk management services to investors through Sanders Research Associates in London.
Anti©opyright Solari 2002