Taxpayers comment on bailout

Posted on September 22nd, 2008 by bile
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  • “NO NO NO. Not just no, but HELL NO,” writes Richard, a reader from Anchorage, Alaska.
  • “This is robbery pure and simple,” Anna from Denver posted on’s TalkBack blog this weekend.
  • “I’m tired of rewarding institutions and people for the bad decisions they have made,” said Dean from Madison, Wis. “Sure, it will hurt tax payers if/when some of these institutions fail, but perhaps we need to let that happen. We do not need more big government involved in our lives. Enough is enough.”
  • “Companies, like individuals, should be held responsible for their decisions,” wrote Jorge from El Paso, Texas. “This buyout does not address the other problems in the pipeline such as personal credit default and market slowdowns in most industries. No new jobs will be created.”
  • “It is time for the financial institutions of this country to be called to the mat. We should be expecting and demanding responsible and ethical business practice, not rewarding it at the expense of taxpayers.” Paul from Portsmouth, N.H.
  • “The government does not have $700 billion dollars. WE have $700 billion, and it is being taken from us. If this is passed then the next administration and the next will be extracting this one from the people who are supposedly being protected by this bailout.” John from Springfield, Va.
  • “Why not take the billions and … make funds available to home owners stuck in the loans these idiots created, marketed and sold,” asked Don from Coarsegold, Calif. “It will put the money where it should be with the little guy who made a mistake, instead of the big guy who created the problem.”
  • “Once I invested in something and lost money. Maybe I could just change the rules of investing so that my loss turns into a gain? Oh, I forgot only banks can do that!” Jordan from Charlestown, Ind.
  • “I will be watching to see which of our representatives vote for this bailout,” said R. Kidd in Troy, N.C. “Let the American people see how many we can fire come election time.”
  • “Call your Congressman. Stop blogging, posting comments, and call your congressman. This is the patriotic thing to do. Let them hear your opinion, show them this is still America and that you will not stand for this!!” Danny from Texas

Not everyone is upset about this though:

  • “I was opposed to the bailout at first, but realized that the scope of this thing is global and so massive that the entire global economy could collapse if nothing was done. …The priority has to be resolving the present crisis of confidence in our economy. Remember, if Wall Street collapses, Main Street will go with it.” Bill from St. Louis
  • “This money is not a handout to companies. It’s simply giving banks and mortgage companies loans, since the banking system itself is too unstable to raise this kind of capital. And no, the government cannot just use the $700 billion to pay back all the citizens that will be hurt by this. If the companies like AIG fail, the cost will be far far greater than $700 billion. Wake up!!” Andy from Chicago
  • “It’s NOT a bailout. The government is not handing out cash, they actually stand to make a great deal of money out of this, which will trickle down to YOU. First priority should be to try to control and fix the problem, then regulate sufficiently to make sure this NEVER happens again.” Surfta from Brooklyn, N.Y


bailout: n. A rescue from financial difficulties: corporate bailouts.

Any profit the government would make on this is going to be completely negated by price inflation and interest on the debt accumulated. There is no money to perform this bailout. The money will be borrowed or printed. If the market was allowed to unwind this those issues would not occur and recovery would be far faster. Malinvestment needs to be liquidated and prices recalculated… not arbitrarily inflated.

Ron Paul talks with Wolf Blitzer about the giant bailout

Posted on September 21st, 2008 by bile
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Cheap at twice the price: federal government unveils 700 billion dollar bailout

Posted on September 20th, 2008 by bile
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The Bush administration on Saturday formally proposed to Congress what could become the largest financial bailout in United States history, requesting unfettered authority for the Treasury Department to buy up to $700 billion in mortgage-related assets.

The proposal, not quite three pages long, was stunning for its stark simplicity. It would raise the national debt ceiling to $11.3 trillion. And it would place no restrictions on the administration other than requiring semiannual reports to Congress, granting the Treasury secretary unprecedented power to buy and resell mortgage debt.

A $700 billion expenditure on distressed mortgage-related assets would be roughly what the country has spent so far in direct costs on the Iraq war and more than the Pentagon’s total yearly budget appropriation. Divided across the population, it would amount to more than $2,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States.

“This is a good foundation of a plan that can stabilize markets quickly,” Mr. Schumer said in a statement. “But it includes no visible protection for taxpayers or homeowners. We look forward to talking to Treasury to see what, if anything, they have in mind in these two areas.”

In Florida, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the Democratic presidential nominee, said he would press for a broader economic stimulus initiative to be part of the bailout plan for financial firms.

Senator John McCain of Arizona, the Republican nominee, issued a statement on Saturday saying he was reviewing the administration’s plan. He also urged the administration and lawmakers to consider his own plan for creating a trust within the Treasury Department to aid ailing mortgage lenders and other financial institutions.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said in a statement: “This proposal is, and should be kept, simple and clear.” He added, “Simply put, now is not the time for partisan plans or pet projects.”

Some Democrats, including lawmakers like Mr. Frank and Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and the chairman of the banking committee, were adamant about including provisions to promote government action to stabilize real estate prices and help troubled borrowers refinance their mortgages.

Still another group of Democrats was pushing for a wider stimulus package that would direct help more directly and immediately to Main Street, perhaps including an increase in unemployment benefits and investments in infrastructure projects, including bridges and roads, that would help to create jobs.

A fourth, smaller group of lawmakers was highly critical and in some cases adamantly opposed to the plan. That group included including Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky, and Senator Bernard Sanders, independent of Vermont.

“The free market for all intents and purposes is dead in America,” Mr. Bunning declared on Friday. “The action proposed today by the Treasury Department will take away the free market and institute socialism in America. The American taxpayer has been misled throughout this economic crisis. The government on all fronts has failed the American people miserably.”


I have to laugh because otherwise I may cry.

The all powerful Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson speaks

Posted on September 19th, 2008 by bile
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Despite these steps, more is needed. We must now take further decisive action to fundamentally and comprehensively address the root cause of our financial system stresses.

To restore confidence in our markets and our financial institutions so they can fuel continued growth and prosperity, we must address the underlying problem.

OH OH! So the Federal Reserve is going to be dismantled?! Remove regulations which are only show or there to help those at the top already?

And this morning, we’ve taken a number of powerful tactical steps to increase confidence in the system, including the establishment of a temporary guarantee program for the U.S. money market and mutual fund industry.

The federal government must implement a program to remove these illiquid assets that are weighing down our financial institutions and threatening our economy.

First, to provide critical additional funding to our mortgage markets, the GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will increase their purchases of mortgage-backed securities. These two enterprises must carry out their mission to support the mortgage market.

Second, to increase the availability of capital for new home loans, Treasury will expand the MBS purchase program we announced earlier this month. This will complement the capital provided by the GSEs, it will help facilitate mortgage availability and affordability.

These two steps will provide some initial support to mortgage assets, but they are not enough. Many of the illiquid assets clogging our system today do not meet the regulatory requirements to be eligible for the purchase by the GSEs or by the Treasury program.

I look forward to working with Congress to pass necessary legislation to remove these troubled assets from our financial system. When we get through this difficult period – which we will – our next task must be to improve the financial regulatory structure so that these past excesses do not recur.

This crisis demonstrates in vivid terms that our financial regulatory structure is suboptimal, duplicative and outdated. I have put forward my ideas for a modernized financial oversight structure that matches our modern economy and more closely links the regulatory structure to the reasons why we regulate.

Damn! No.

More artificial risk reduction. This will only continue the distortion price signals and cause more malinvestment. More regulation that will either further enrich Wall Street at the expense of those on Main Street or will stifle their ability to do what they need to do.

Q: Mr. Secretary, what is the alternative here? What is the dire picture you painted for members of Congress last night to try and convince them to support this effort? What is the alternative?

PAULSON: This is what we need to do. Because for some time we’ve been saying that the root cause of the problems in our economy and our financial system is housing, and until we get stability in the housing market we are not going to get stability in our financial markets.

We’ve worked with Congress on a number of the steps, all of which were important, leading up to this. But this is the way we stabilize the system and get at the root cause.

The root cause is central control of the economy. Something every American child is taught is a bad thing. Look at what happened to those evil commies. While the message we received was hyperbolic it’s has some truth. Central control isn’t only inefficient. It’s an inherently flawed system doomed to failure. These neo-Keynesians just won’t give up on their desire to control or antiquated theories. I saw Obama talking about how the fundamental reasons for this crisis include: not spending enough on infrastructure, not spending enough on education, not spending enough on labor (wages), not taxing the rich enough, etc. Just because you spend capital on something does not mean it’s good. It does not mean that’s what should be done. It does not mean you’ll receive a positive capital growth from the deal. The cost of education has doubled in real dollars since the 1970′s with at best a static result. The fundamental problems are the distortions of the pricing signals due to regulation and primarily the Fed’s interest rate and money supply manipulation. If you make debt cheap, or give it away like it is now (interest < price inflation), individuals will fall into the moral hazard trap and over estimate. They will over consume. Over invest. The illusion of wealth furthers the problem.

I wonder what could be the best practical policy to get this information out. I’m not looking to turn everyone into economists… I just want the to recognize something I think everyone does to some degree but stops short of applying it equally across others and the market as a whole. Perhaps just putting Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson [pdf] in public places with Rothbard’s The Case Against the Fed [pdf] sprinkled about would help? I think after the recent happenings people would be happy to read through one of these while waiting for the doctor instead of reading People.

NJ town bands check-cashing stores and soon tattoo and massage parlors

Posted on February 12th, 2008 by bile
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HACKETTSTOWN | Town council Monday banned check-cashing stores on Main Street and took a first step to also ban tattoo and massage parlors on the street.”There are things happening downtown I’m not very happy with,” Mayor Michael Lavery said. “When the private sector doesn’t handle these issues, government steps in.”

The check-cashing ban was prompted by the announcement of such a store opening at 270 Main St. Anderson Check Cashing recently obtained a zoning permit from the town.

“That’s the worst thing that happened to Main Street since I’ve been here,” Lavery said. “It’s a disgrace.”

The check-cashing ban passed without any public opposition, except for one town resident who was concerned how the ban affected Western Union locations.

Existing Western Unions and check-cashing stores are grandfathered and allowed to stay in town, Lavery said. New Western Unions and other similar businesses will suffer the side effects of check-cashing stores moving into town, he said.

“Historically check-cashing happens to be a business that’s located in areas that are not safe, are crime-ridden,” he said. “We don’t want Hackettstown to go down that road.”

So this guy is saying that more check cashing businesses will lead to more crime? How exactly hasn’t the private sector handled this? In fact it’s the opposite. There is a demand for these businesses otherwise they’d not be seeking to open up. Once the market is saturated the openings will stop. If crime increases the town residents can move or attempt to solve issues which lead to crime. Seems to me given that they aren’t kicking out the existing check cashing places that they are just guaranteeing them a certain amount of business assuming the reasons for needing them stay relatively consistent. Given it’s NJ and we have such high taxes perhaps if the town wanted to curb the need for these places they could lower taxes, fees and other government required overhead to attract new business to the area. As the wealth of the town increases the need for banks will probably increase and check cashing places decrease. As for tattoo and massage parlors… seems to me these people are simply hostel to differing life styles. If those in the area agreed with those in power than very shortly those businesses would close shop.