Thursday, November 13, 2008

The great monthly flip flopping ritual

Former Goldman Sachs CEO and current Treasury Secretary Henry 'FlipFlop' Paulson is caught in a curious case of shape shifting. We are now able to soundly predict with a large degree of confidence the frequency with which the Treasury Secretary performs the flips and flops on the bailout package. Yes, the predictable recurrence pattern on plans to use bailout funds now happens monthly. See below.

In September: The $700,000,000,000.00 bailout bill was called TARP (or Troubled Assets Relief Program). It was sold to lawmakers as a mechanism to buy off troubled and toxic securitized assets off banks and lending institutions and thus ease the credit crisis sparked by the mortgage meltdown.

In October: Buying troubled assets was cast by the wayside and the Treasury decided to flip and put out a plan to buy equity stakes in American banks of their choice. Hank's alma mater Goldman Sachs saw a cash injection of $10 billion. Morgan Stanley got another $10 billion. Is it a matter of coincidence that both of them announced bonus pools of 7 billion dollars. No, I would not dare suggest that they used taxpayer money to pay their bonuses.

In November: Treasury flopped and now announces that they have decided that buying up equity stakes in banks are not working (or maybe worked just well enough for those banks to declare bonuses). The wizards yesterday announced that they are planning on using the remaining bailout funds to help companies that issue credit cards, make student loans and finance car purchases.

In December: Plans to unveil disbursement of as yet unknown cash injections to as yet unknown set of companies as Christmas gifts. Consumer retail stores, bodegas and kiosks might need to behave properly in line as they queue up to get a part of the largesse.

Curiously missing from the whole bailout equation was help for troubled and distressed homeowners.

United States Senator from the state of NJ Robert Menendez summed it up best:
In the month of August, over 9,800 homes entered foreclosure every day, if this statistic was that there were over 9,800 Wall Street executives that lost their jobs every day in August, we would have ended this a long time ago.
Sad but true...

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