Sunday, February 08, 2009

If it weren't so serious this would have devolved in farce long ago. Finally a little detail on the chickens panicking in Washington. Excerpts from the New York Times:
Wall Street helped produce the global financial and economic crisis. Now, as the Obama administration prepares to unveil a revised bailout plan for the banking system, policy makers hope Wall Street can be part of the solution.

Administration officials said the plan, to be announced Tuesday, was likely to depend in part on the willingness of private investors other than banks — like hedge funds, private equity funds and perhaps even insurance companies — to buy the contaminating assets that wiped out the capital of many banks.

OMFG moment. HEDGE FUNDS? What are they thinking? They want to introduce more leverage and debt?

The officials say they are counting on the profit motive to create a market for those assets. The government would guarantee a floor value, officials say, as a way to overcome investors’ reluctance to buy them.

Spine chills galore. "A way to overcome reluctance?" What, gold plate the turds?

Details of the new plan, which were still being worked out during the weekend, are sketchy. And they are likely to remain so even after Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner announces the plan on Tuesday.

Ahhh the announce that they will have a plan soon plan.

But the aim is to reduce the need for immediate federal financing and relieve fears that taxpayers will pay excessive prices if the government takes over risky securities. The banks created those securities when credit and home prices were booming a few years ago.

No, those securities created an environment of loose credit and house price inflation.

Besides devising a way to bring private investors into the bank bailout, the Treasury plan is expected to inject more capital into some banks and to give many homeowners relief from immediate foreclosures.

The worse keeps getting worser. Which of those are good ideas? Which in any way addresses the supposed problems?

It also is expected to increase financing for a Bush administration program intended to encourage investors to finance such things as student loans and credit card debt.

Student loans? Paid back with high paying jobs starting in the next few years?

The Treasury Department had intended to unveil the plan on Monday. But on Sunday Mr. Obama’s economic advisers said they would wait another day, to keep the focus on winning Senate approval of an economic stimulus program. Mr. Obama plans to promote the stimulus package in a televised news conference Monday night.

Let me translate. The Senate would balk if the details were known.

...After it turned out that the banks were in even worse shape than thought, the Bush administration decided it was more important to invest directly in the banks.

Well gee, shock surprise. It didn't work but this time for sure. Thus the accompanying graphic.

It was also unclear how the assets would be valued, raising political questions about whether the purchase prices would be fair both to the banks and to the taxpayers. But as those assets have remained on the banks’ balance sheets, they have continued to decline in value, producing more multibillion dollar losses.

And this stops the decline in value how? A "floor" is only risk limiting not value setting.

The securities are complex and hard to evaluate, and there is little public information about precisely which assets are owned by each bank. And some prospective purchasers say banks are not making many available for sale, or have refused to accept the prices being offered.

Another admission they are just guessing.


tj and the bear said...

Just gives you the warm fuzzies, doesn't it?

sm_landlord said...

What to short?

So many securities, so little time. :-)

Here's a list I found while wandering the tubes:

15 Companies That Might Not Survive 2009

Many of those are private companies, however. And I don't know how to short their debt.

If the Street rallies after the announcement on Tuesday, maybe just short the S&P and be done with it.

It's looking like a fun week for analysis of hot air and entrails from DC.

1.44MB said...

A 5 post weekend.

Manic phase kicking in huh?

spooq said...

The thing I don't get is why you think things are going to change.

Mr. Outspoken said...

I talk to my Japanese bosses, and they suggest that the problems will only be solved when America starts consuming again. I just don't see how that's going to happen. We've sold all our assets, we don't save any money, and we borrowed until the system collapsed. Unless the world will go back to financing our trade deficit again (and moreso) then that deficit has to start decreasing.

w said...

The Obama plan is crazy. Taxpayers will be left holding the bag and the system will stay broken. Just refi the homeowners at 2-3% for 40 years. Offer it to everyone.

Can anyone tell me what the cost of government loans at low rates would be? Can the governemnt issue that much money? Would the only consequences be inflation and devaluing the dollar?