There Is No Plan

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Posts Tagged ‘Paulson

Stimulus Package. The Politics Of Panic.

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panic first. solve problems later.

here's a plan. panic first. solve problems never.

Who came up with the cockamamie idea of the ‘economic stimulus’? The Bushies. During the post Bear-Stearns policy meltdown, when Paulson and his merry band of idiots put together policy on the fly, all we heard was how we needed to stimulate the economy. Well, we did an awful lot of stimulating but we’re in deeper trouble now than we were then.

And yet, Obama, continuing his annoying tendency to shape policy through a Republican prism, is continuing with this absurd “got to rush through the package now before its too late” rubbish. Many of the changes in the package are going to take months or years to be seen but that doesn’t stop him from giving the poor, downtrodden American people hope (remember that word) that this is a quick fix. It isn’t, and by branding it as one, Obama is only setting up problems for himself. Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by coolrebel

February 20, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Some Bailouts Are Big Gifts. Some Bailouts Are Bad Loans.

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financialindustry1Maybe it’s the rise of the Internet that did it, but there are an awful lot of lemmings in the fourth estate these days. Once the zeitgeist gets hold of a word it’s everywhere fast. That’s especially true of catch-all terms that lose their meaning the moment anyone begins to dig even a tiny bit deeper into a story.

Take the term “Bailout”.

In economic terms it means ‘assistance to a financial or other institution in distress’. But assistance can mean anything from a loan that nobody else will give with very stringent terms to a total and utter gift.

There have been a ton of bailouts in the last few months. We don’t have to list them all, we’re just going to focus on two ‘institutions’, Citigroup and the Big Three Auto manufacturers.

Let’s look at what these two have in common. Both of them are vast with global reach and influence.  Both of them made awful business decisions in the short, medium and long term that led them to the brink of collapse.

Now let’s look at what people perceive they have in common, namely that both are “too big to fail”, another term of limited meaning. Citigroup is too big to fail because of the depth of its interconnected interests throughout the financial world. The Auto Industry is too big to fail because whole regions of the country depend on it for their economic welfare.

Finally let’s examine where they are different. Citigroup is a financial institution that buys and sells assets with client and depositor funds. It employs in the region 300,000 people worldwide. The Auto industry makes cars and trucks, is the backbone of US manufacturing and directly and indirectly employs around three million Americans.

It’s a tribute to how well the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate or FIRE sector has sold itself over the last twenty years of the Reagan Revolution that a bloated, shapeless and rudderless behemoth of a bank should be regarded so highly, while the jewel of America’s industrial crown should be treated as if it’s already on the scrapheap.

That contrast is perfectly reflected in the way that the United States Congress and the Administration has handled the ‘bailouts’ to Citigroup and the Auto Industry. Read the rest of this entry »

700 Billion is the New $7 billion

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viaducdemillau

a brand new bridge. this one's in france

Things are turned way around when Liberals are agreeing with quirky, flat-tax Steve Forbes, but when called Hank Paulson the “worst Treasury Secretary in living memory” there are few diehard progressives that would disagree.

But old Hank has at least done us one big, big favor. By steamrolling through the TARP at a cost of $700 billion and then doing precisely squat with it, he turned $700 billion into the new $7 billion. Suddenly, with the exception of the bailout for the once mighty now hopeless auto industry, fears of excessive spending seems petty next to the cost of TARP, the Citigroup, AIG, and Fannie and Freddie bailouts. We’re awash in borrowed money, and nobody seems to care. Another day, another dollar, or a hundred billion of them. Whatev.

So when Obama announced his massive public works program (let’s call it the New New Deal or NND) and didn’t even bother to mention a pricetag, the only Cassandra was the ever-predictable American Enterprise Institute. With the economy losing half a million jobs a month, the American people are ready for it. So don’t expect the whining from Club for Growth knuckle-draggers in Congress to be anything more than mumbled griping at worst. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by coolrebel

December 6, 2008 at 2:02 pm

The Fix Is In – Part Two

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it's always xmas on wall street

it's always xmas on wall street

Today, a distinguished board of economists said the country had been in a recession since December ’07, a statement that normally the markets would have discounted, because, yeah, like we knew that. But no, the market’s took a massive swoon, again, giving back all the hard earned gains of the past week’s rally.

Call it rank cynicism, but it just can’t be helped. It’s just too tempting a thought not to consider all this just a tad convenient. Last week the long guys had a party to celebrate a completely predictable new Secretary of the Treasury. This week the toilet beckons because we were told what we already know, and the short guys make a bomb. Coincidence? Perhaps. But if there was collusion between the traders, who after all work either a drink after work or a few desks apart, one could hardly be surprised. After all they’re just trying to make a buck or two with someone else’s money. Right?

Written by coolrebel

December 1, 2008 at 2:33 pm

I Can’t Take My Eyes Off The Dow…

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The Dow is up 56 points at 8956...

you're getting sleepy...

The Dow Jones Industrials are widely regarded as a pretty poor indicator of where the overall equity markets stand, let alone the real economy. As one hedge fund manager suggested, “equity markets are a zit next to the bond markets.” And let’s not even mention the vast trillions in the derivative markets which have damaged the global economy so profoundly.

And yet at the end of every radio newscast, on every Yahoo home page, on the ticker on every cable network, thereis the DJI, it’s not so shiny brand dancing around at the whim of some very silly people playing monopoly with other people’s money. It’s going up, it’s going down, it’s barely moved. Blah, blah, blah.

The truth is we’re worshipping a zit. Read the rest of this entry »

Treasury Runs Out Of Money To Give Away. Fed Rides In

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costello_keystone_cops1

paulson + bernanke

This is getting silly. Two days ago, Toxic assets were out. Then Treasury bailed out Citigroup’s…toxic assets. And now the Fed (they’re the ones who actually print all those T-bills) have taken over and pledged $800 billion to bail out all toxic securities built on consumer credit card debt. In one fell swoop that’s a bigger bailout than the one we haggled over during the campaign.

Crass incompetence is kind of quaint when we can chuckle about it in other parts of the world, but when it’s taking place here at home and hitting you hard in your pocketbook it’s not quite so funny. It only goes to show, you can only really judge the quality of government during a time of crisis.

By the time Obama rides in, we’ll be lucky to have an economy left at all.

Written by coolrebel

November 25, 2008 at 8:22 am

The Fix is In – The Long and the Short Of Wall Street

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Another bumper day on the Street. The Government bails out another basket case bank. Everything’s right with the world. Hurrah! Yet again, Wall Street proves it’s an utterly amoral, self-interested, club that has nothing whatsoever to do with you and me.

panic on wall street. or not.

panic on wall street. or not.

Massive market volatility, huge gains on the basis of nothing, followed by huge losses and back to gains. Is there a pattern to all this? Not on the surface, at least. The press loves reasons, and tacks on some or other reason for that day’s movements. Recession indicators, new appointment at Treasury, another baby for Angelina and Brad.

But maybe something else is in play too, something mysterious, something very, very fishy.

Traders either go “long” hoping a stock will rise, or they go “short” on borrowed stock hoping the stock will drop and they get to keep the difference on the sale. Long traders and short traders are not in competition, but supposing they were, even in some unspoken way, in collusion. Wall Street traders aren’t known for their mild-mannered approach to business, so could be…

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