Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mysterious Plans by Paul Krugman


At the top are a bank’s assets. Below are its obligations to various parties, with decreasing seniority from left to right. I’ve drawn it to embody a pessimistic assumption about the bank’s finances, because those are the cases we’re interested in: the bank’s assets aren’t enough to cover its debts. Nonetheless, the stock, both preferred and common, has a positive market value. Why? Because of the Geithner put: the bank is protected from collapse, keeping the creditors appeased, but stockholders will get the gains if somehow things turn up.

What Treasury now seems to be proposing is converting some of the green equity to blue equity — converting preferred to common. It’s true that preferred stock has some debt-like qualities — there are required dividend payments, etc.. But does anyone think that the reason banks are crippled is that they are tied down by their obligations to preferred stockholders, as opposed to having too much plain vanilla debt?

I just don’t get it. And my sinking feeling that the administration plan is to rearrange the deck chairs and hope the iceberg melts just keeps getting stronger.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Nationalizing Bad Banks to Save the Rest!


Use this Video Link not the Play Button above.

Yves Smith, editor of The Naked Capitalism blog, thinks it's just a matter of semantics and that nationalization is nothing new. "We already do nationalization in this country. It's called the FDIC resolving banks," she says on Fast Money.

And she tells the traders “nationalization could be a good alternative,” once the government clarifies what nationalization really means. But “we must fix the banks to get out of this economic crisis” and nationalization does the trick.

With nationalization looking more like a question of when – and not if – investors poured into Treasuries and gold briefly pushing up prices to $1000 an ounce before settling lower.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

How The World Almost Came To An End At 2PM On September 18

LiveLeak has caught a scary moment of previously undisclosed insight by Paul Kanjorski where he reveals some facts that have not been captured by the media previously. At 2 minutes and 20 seconds in the video below, Democratic Representative Kanjorski explains how the Federal Reserve told Congress members about a "tremendous draw-down of money market accounts in the United States, to the tune of $550 billion dollars." According to Kanjorski, this electronic transfer occurred over the period of an hour or two. And it gets worse. Kanjorski paraphrases the following disclosure by Bernanke and Paulson:

On Thursday (Sept 18), at 11am the Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous draw-down of money market accounts in the U.S., to the tune of $550 billion was being drawn out in the matter of an hour or two. The Treasury opened up its window to help and pumped a $105 billion in the system and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide. We were having an electronic run on the banks. They decided to close the operation, close down the money accounts and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account so there wouldn't be further panic out there.

If they had not done that, their estimation is that by 2pm that afternoon, $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out of the money market system of the U.S., would have collapsed the entire economy of the U.S., and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed. It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it.

We are no better off today than we were 3 months ago because we have a decrease in the equity positions of banks because other assets are going sour by the moment.

Interestingly, Kanjorski, and likely more and more Democrats, are starting to shift to the camp that more time is needed to make a correct decision this time (which may explain Geithner's decision to postpone the "bank-rescue" announcement by one day to Tuesday), instead of rushing into another half-baked plan. Very scary stuff.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Apture