Must we help them rob us?
Next Up: The salvation and resurrection of General Electric will make Citigroup look like the opening act. AIG is still the closer. Meanwhile, auditors have "substantial doubt" about GM's ability to continue operations
and demanded to be paid before they would issue a report.
In Other Words: FDIC Chair Shelia Bair, faced with bankers who don't want to pay the cost of insuring their customers' money, warns that if they do not pony up, "... the deposit insurance fund could become insolvent this year." Don't worry, in the last resort you are self-insured - the taxpayer will pay.
Lies: The Treasury Department claims its mortgage relief plan will help 9 million homeowners
temporarily avoid foreclosure. What they really mean is that it will serve to trick these people in continuing to make payments while the house keeps losing value.
First Cut: ADP reports the loss of about 700,000 private sector jobs last month, up from 614,000 in January. What if they all had Citi mortgages?
Asked/Not Answered: When Geithner was asked if the US could actually sell sufficient Treasury bonds to finance the proposed deficit, he
declined to answer on the grounds it would panic the markets gave a three minute non-answer. Given a second chance, he talked for two more minutes without answering the question.
Quoted: "It would be nice to have all that money back from our Iraq misadventure. It would have been nice to have had eight years of competent federal leadership."
Gotcha Covered: AIG is losing tens of billions of our dollars because it guaranteed others' losses on mysterious derivatives. We are paying AIG to make good the losses these others suffered because Wall Street convinced DC that not doing so would cause a financial catastrophe. We've not only nationalized AIG, we've nationalized much of the financial industry's potential losses. Who are these folks? No one knows. Shouldn’t the US taxpayer get some reward for shouldering all the risk? You know, like in capitalism?
Did You Hear That? That strange noise was the Treasury strangling executive compensation limits and stuffing them under the couch.
Tectonic Shift: The White House may bundle its healthcare and energy reforms into the budget reconciliation process, thus creating an end-run around the GOP's ability to
rule the country by fearblock passage of the legislation. Reconciliation votes require only a simple majority to pass.
Someone Noticed: “Bill Gross En Route To Becoming 4th Branch of Government"
Hazard Pay: The latest Treasury plan is another attempt to drive up the public price of toxic assets through low-interest non-recourse loans. Heads they win, tails the taxpayer loses - a direct subsidy from the taxpayers to the banks.
BAC to the Future: S&P downgraded Bank of America's overall credit rating from A+ to A and threw most of its subsidiaries on the junk pile.
Clarity: Unfettered credit and the non-accountable accumulation of debt caused the sub-prime mortgage collapse and everything that came after. Twenty percent of US residential properties that had a mortgage on them were underwater at the end of 2008. Last month mortgage applications fell 12% ,while mortgage rates were at their lowest in decades. And the bell tolls for housebuilder Toll Brothers.
Outsourcing: There are now 150,000 civilian contractors in Iraq.
Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: Bernanke said the size the bank-rescue package would depend on the "stress tests" and Geithner said it may cost more than the current $700 billion to rescue the banks. When it comes to my money, I'm not a big fan of "mays" and "depends".
Bailout Where Bailout Is Due: The headline is sufficient: "‘Tidal Wave’ of Homeless Students Hits Schools". Proud to be an American.
Poorcast: Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas continue to suffer drought. Most of the winter wheat crop is in poor/very poor condition. Central Texas soil is bone dry 4 feet down, there is not enough moisture for germination. 70% of grazing land is in poor/very poor condition. 80% of the Texas oat crop is rated poor/very poor.
Porn O'Graph: The Irrational Exuberance matrix.