A Trillion Dollars for the Banks: How About a Second Opinion?

Dean Baker, Truthout: "Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wants to have the government lend up to a trillion dollars to hedge funds, private equity, funds and the banks themselves to clear their books of toxic assets. The plan implies a substantial subsidy to the banks. It is likely to result in the disposal of these assets at far above market value, with the government picking up the losses. As much as we all want to help out the Wall Street bankers in their hour of need, taxpayers may reasonably ask whether this is the best use of our money. After all, the $1 trillion that is being set aside for this latest TARP variation is equal to 300 million SCHIP kid years. Congress has had heated debates over sums that were a small fraction of this size. To give another useful measuring stick, the Geithner plan could fund 1 million of the Woodstock museums that were the main prop of Senator McCain's presidential campaign."

//www.truthout.org/040609J



The Radicalization of Ben Bernanke

Simon Johnson and James Kwak, The Washington Post: "Timothy Geithner and his predecessor Henry Paulson have been the public faces of the US government's battle against the global economic crisis. But even as the secretaries of the Treasury have garnered the headlines -- as well as popular anger surrounding bank bailouts and corporate bonuses -- another official has quickly amassed great influence by committing trillions of dollars to keep markets afloat, radically redefining his institution and taking on serious risks as he seeks to rescue the American economy."

//www.truthout.org/040609N



Global Crime Wave? A Syndrome of Crime, Violence and Repression on the Way

Michael T. Klare, TomDispatch.com: "In all catastrophes, there are always winners among the host of losers and victims. Bad times, like good ones, generate profits for someone. In the case of the present global economic meltdown, with our world at the brink and up to 50 million people potentially losing their jobs by the end of this year, one winner is likely to be criminal activity and crime syndicates. From Mexico to Africa, Russia to China, the pool of the desperate and the bribable is expanding exponentially, pointing to a sharp upturn in global crime."

//www.truthout.org/040609O

--------

Scrap the Summers-Geithner plan

Boston Globe
by Laurence J. Kotlikoff

04/06/09

It’s one thing for the US Treasury Department to overpay banks for their toxic assets on the prayer that bank shareholders will do something besides pocket it — something that will help the economy. It’s another thing to set up a complex leveraged auction scheme to surreptitiously make the transfer. And it’s yet a third thing to set up a scheme that will lead the banks to overbid for their own toxics to garner even larger windfalls and end up with the toxics still in their hands. Suppose the government tells the market that it will match dollar for dollar bids to buy a toxic asset called Troubled from Seamy Bank. Absent the subsidy, Troubled would be worth $1 billion — only 20 percent of its $5 billion face value. With the subsidy, bidders will offer $2 billion since their net cost is just $1 billion, which is Troubled’s true value. Seamy Bank’s profit from the ’sale’ equals $1 billion (the $2 billion it receives less the $1 billion it hands over in the form of surrendering title to Troubled.)...

//tinyurl.com/dgyw29


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

--------

JEFFREY SACHS

The Geithner-Summers Plan: Even Worse Than We Thought

alternet.org — Insiders can easily game the system created by Geithner and Summers, costing taxpayers up to a trillion dollars or more.

//ga3.org/ct/k120pgF1TEPi/



MIKE LUX

When the Next Banking Scandal Hits?

openleft.com — The way Tim Geithner has structured the banking plan, the Obama administration will, sooner or later, almost certainly be facing another AIG bonuses type of outrage. Those of us who are opposing this bank plan, in part because we are worried about more of just these kinds of scandals, will need to refrain from doing too much I-told-you-so-ing, because we will need to be helping to save the Obama team from themselves.

//ga3.org/ct/9p20pgF1TEPP/



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