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Old 09-22-2008
 
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Default U. S. Economy

I'm a little floored given the number of supposed economists here that there is absolutely nil in the way of discussion of the U. S. Economy. Should we bail out banks? Should we starve them? How'd we get here? Who's to blame? Does any particular candidate have a viable solution? Is the bailout plan effective? Ethical?
 
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Old 09-22-2008
 
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I heard some pundit explain it rather brilliantly on Sunday with a single sentence; "Capitalism on the way up, Socialism on the way down."

The problem, as I see it, is that our economy (myself included) is not fiscally responsible enough to endure a proper recession/depression. There would be a lot of suffering, in the form of suicides, crime, etc. The country would essentially implode in the inner cities.

Some would say we should let the natural course of events unfold, but as a business owner and a person that is quite comfortable in his current lifestyle, I would say that the bailout was a necessity. Were I independently wealthy, I might be more apt to let it ride.

And that's a layman's perspective.
 
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Old 09-22-2008
 
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I won't claim here that I have all the answers, but the current market is far too complicated to make any useful predictions about it. The biggest problem is the role the government and the federal reserve play in todays market.

the greenspan put
http://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/greenspanput.asp

According to theoretical finance models the return on investment depends on the amount of risk taken by market parties. If I will take more risk with my capital I want my reward to reflect it, else it would be useless to take more risk. The reward recieved is an expected pay-off. It could very well happen that the worst case scenario happens and you lose a substantial amount of money.

Wall Street has been used to the Government and the Federal Reserve bailing them out each time when the risk taken does not deliver the promised pay-off and the worst case scenario does happen. The traders and analyst are thus able to take more risk than they would rationally take. They know that there is no downside. If they are big enough, they will be bailed out.

I mentioned this in a different thread: after each downturn, you see companies consolidate, just as you see now. It will not take much time when in the future some companies will be too big to save. All we're doing now is postponing the inevitable.

If we're going to continue the same economic policies as today, there will be, at some point in the near future, a crash you won't be able to avoid.
 
 

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Old 09-22-2008
 
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Came across this yesterday; http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0908/13690.html

Quote:
In a change from the original proposal sent to Capitol Hill, foreign-based banks with big U.S. operations could qualify for the Treasury Department’s mortgage bailout, according to the fine print of an administration statement Saturday night.

The theory, according to a participant in the negotiations, is that if the goal is to solve a liquidity crisis, it makes no sense to exclude banks that do a lot of lending in the United States.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson confirmed the change on ABC's "This Week," telling George Stephanopoulos that coverage of foreign-based banks is "a distinction without a difference to the American people."
article:
n a change from the original proposal sent to Capitol Hill, foreign-based banks with big U.S. operations could qualify for the Treasury Department’s mortgage bailout, according to the fine print of an administration statement Saturday night.

The theory, according to a participant in the negotiations, is that if the goal is to solve a liquidity crisis, it makes no sense to exclude banks that do a lot of lending in the United States.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson confirmed the change on ABC's "This Week," telling George Stephanopoulos that coverage of foreign-based banks is "a distinction without a difference to the American people."

"If a financial institution has business operations in the United States, hires people in the United States, if they are clogged with illiquid assets, they have the same impact on the American people as any other institution," Paulson said.

"That's a distinction without a difference to the American people. The key here is protecting the system. ... We have a global financial system, and we are talking very aggressively with other countries around the world and encouraging them to do similar things, and I believe a number of them will. But, remember, this is about protecting the American people and protecting the taxpayers. and the American people don't care who owns the financial institution. If the financial institution in this country has problems, it'll have the same impact whether it's the U.S. or foreign."

The legislative outline that went to Capitol Hill at 1:30 a.m. Saturday had said that an eligible financial institution had to have “its headquarters in the United States.” That would exclude foreign-based institutions with big U.S. operations, such as Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS.

But a Treasury “Fact Sheet” released at 7:15 Saturday night sought to give the administration more flexibility, with an expanded definition that could include all of those banks: “Participating financial institutions must have significant operations in the U.S., unless the Secretary makes a determination, in consultation with the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, that broader eligibility is necessary to effectively stabilize financial markets.”

The major change in the suggested eligibility requirements is the biggest change that Treasury publicly made after a day of briefings and conversations with Capitol Hill, and is likely the first of many.

Aspects of the $700 billion, two-year proposal that are still under negotiation include what, if anything, will be added to the administration’s simple but sweeping proposal. And the parliamentary route, such as what committees or hearings might be involved, has not been finalized.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has a hearing scheduled for Wednesday that is likely to focus on the proposal.

Under what congressional officials called a likely scenario, the measure could go to the House floor on Thursday, with passage expected the same day.

The Senate could take the package up as soon as Friday and send it to President Bush for his signature, although the Senate schedule is less predictable and had not been determined.

Officials expect passage by huge margins in both chambers because Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke have told congressional leaders the country’s financial stability depends on it.

House Democrats plan to insist on adding protections for homeowners facing foreclosure. They also want to add a measure to help homeowners facing bankruptcy and an executive compensation restriction designed to prevent golden parachutes for the heads of troubled institutions.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who was supportive of the bailout concept in a statement released Friday, believes that “whatever gets done in Congress has to protect Main Street,” senior adviser Stephanie Cutter said on MSNBC on Saturday.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Paulson told Chris Wallace that he would resist the Democrats' desired limits on executive compensation.

"If we design it so it's punitive and institutions aren't going to participate, this won't work the way we need it to work," Paulson said. "Let's talk executive salaries: There have been excesses there. I agree with the American people. Pay should be for performance, not for failure. We've got work to do in that regard. We need to do that work. But we need this system to work. And so reforms need to come afterwards. My whole objective with the plan we have is to give us the maximum ability to make it work.”

And the secretary told NBC’s Tom Brokaw on “Meet the Press” that he doesn’t want new regulations simultaneously: “That's not doable to do that immediately. But we very much need new regulations.”

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) told Stephanopoulos on ABC: “If we’re going to spend taxpayer money to get rid of bad debt in these places, what is the reciprocal obligation … from the firms? … I think there’s going to be a strong interest to deal with the Main Street aspects.”

Appearing with him, House Republican Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio retorted: “We’ve already dealt with that, when we had the housing bill last summer. I didn’t vote for it, because it’s $300 billion bailout for scam artists and speculators and others around the housing industry. But there are a lot of tools in there to help the Federal Housing Administration deal with the foreclosure problem that’s out there. We need to rise above partisan politics … and deal with this as adults.”


First off, what the fuck. Why should our money be bailing out foreign banks? Do these people get to washington and then promptly lose half their common sense in the process?

There seems to be, literally, no reason at all not to take risks now, since apparently if you're large enough, the government will just bail you out. They call it a "loan" but what are we getting in return for bailing these companies out? Is AIG going to pay back every dollar they got to americans? (this would be something like 80,000 to each family or taxpayer?) No, probably not. I would bet they won't even be repaying it at all.

I heard a tin-foil hat theory somewhere about this being a precursor to someone saying "Hell, the dollar sucks, let's go with the Amero!"
 

Last edited by Neo; 09-22-2008 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 09-22-2008
 
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While I'm against the idea of the bailout fund in the first place, I actually think that letting the fund buy assets from foreign firms is a step in the right direction. We need to get off our stupid pro-nationalist frame of mind. Case in point: protectionism and pro-domestic subsidization does nothing to insulate our economy when one-quarter of US federal debt is foreign-owned, 47% of that by China and Japan. Remember this next time you hear someone advocating various forms of corporate welfare in order to establish oil "independence."
 
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Old 09-22-2008
 
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No we shouldn't bail them out, we should abolish the Federal Reserve which created this problem to begin with. Also Secretary Paulson should be fired, along with most members of congress and the president. No bail out using taxpayer dollars.

However, since that option is not politically feasible, I think Barack Obama and the Democrats have given the best plan, which is that if we are going to go through with the bail out then there should be caps on CEO severance pay.

Question to those who worship the wealthy and worthless CEOS: Why should a CEO be paid millions of dollars for running his company into the ground? You may answer for John McCain and President Bush also, who don't see a problem with this practice.
 
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Old 09-22-2008
 
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I have a better question: what business is it of yours or mine or the government's what contracts a company and an individual agree upon as to compensation for his services?

And the Fed is not the biggest reason this happened, the biggest reason is all these banks started selling each other credit default swaps left and right. Basically, Bank A lends Some Yokel two hundred grand to buy a house, Bank B sells Bank A "insurance" on that two hundred grand if Some Yokel can't make his payments. In 2000 there was like $400 billion tied up in credit default swaps, early this year it was $46 trillion. Yes that's with a t. These guys sold these things knowing that if even a small amount of them had to be paid out they wouldn't have the money to do it, but they kept on doing it anyway. The housing market slumps, millions of Some Yokels either stop paying or start paying way behind on their mortgages, Bank A goes to Bank B to cash in on the credit default swap, Bank B doesn't have the money because it was lending to Some Yokels by the fistful as well, and here we are today.
 
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Old 09-22-2008
 
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I am all for giving 700 billion dollars out, as long as the government gets 1.2 trillion in return. the extra 500 billion to go out to the rest of us who didn't make terrible financial decisions and were responsible for our money. it is the financially responsible citizen that this bail out is going to hurt the most. i don't see the government giving any of the people who lost money in bad investments on wall street any nice breaks and pick-me-ups.

i understand why the government is doing this, but i think there should definitely be some strings attached, especially to the tune of paying what they got back, with inflation factored in.


Quote:
No we shouldn't bail them out, we should abolish the Federal Reserve which created this problem to begin with. Also Secretary Paulson should be fired, along with most members of congress and the president. No bail out using taxpayer dollars.

However, since that option is not politically feasible, I think Barack Obama and the Democrats have given the best plan, which is that if we are going to go through with the bail out then there should be caps on CEO severance pay.

Question to those who worship the wealthy and worthless CEOS: Why should a CEO be paid millions of dollars for running his company into the ground? You may answer for John McCain and President Bush also, who don't see a problem with this practice.
actually, Bill Clinton kind of passed the laws that repealed many oversights the government had on financial institutions. The Clinton Administration has a large part in the blame for the current situation. And is it the government's job to regulate what INDEPENDENT NONGOVERNMENTAL INSTITUTIONS do for their out-going CEOs? If we start with financial institutions, whats to stop the government from setting rules for my father's construction business when he retires?
 

Last edited by Typhun; 09-22-2008 at 11:45 PM.
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Old 09-22-2008
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Typhun View Post
it is the financially responsible citizen that this bail out is going to hurt the most.
when has it ever not been that way with anything - yes, anything - the government does?
 
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Old 09-22-2008
 
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Meh I actually like the plan. It is one of the few things that I think is a great use of our tax money. There aren't much better things than helping out our country as a whole. That's just the way I see it I would think it would be our taxes that pay for things like this to keep up our life styles.
 
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Old 09-23-2008
 
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If you want to read a concise and convincing paper that resonates with my own opinion of recent events, and offers a more legal, more ethical, yet equally practicable solution to the current crisis, check out this essay from Luigi Zingales, a great guy over at Chicago. This paper has been lighting up blogs all over including the NYTimes - and like many things it's better appreciated if you have some basic understanding of accounting, game theory, and bankruptcy law, but it's a good and short read for anyone regardless.

http://faculty.chicagogsb.edu/luigi....n_is_wrong.pdf
 
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Old 09-23-2008
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaos View Post
I have a better question: what business is it of yours or mine or the government's what contracts a company and an individual agree upon as to compensation for his services?
Well for one thing we are talking about using taxpayer dollars to help pay these outgoing CEOs their multi-million dollar severance packages, so I would say it starts somewhere around there, wouldn't you agree?

Secondly, CEO's have a fidiciuary and legal responsibility to the shareholders; how exactly do the shareholders benefit from the CEO's being overpaid for driving their companies into the ground, and more importantly how does this benefit the corporation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaos
And the Fed is not the biggest reason this happened, the biggest reason is all these banks started selling each other credit default swaps left and right. Basically, Bank A lends Some Yokel two hundred grand to buy a house, Bank B sells Bank A "insurance" on that two hundred grand if Some Yokel can't make his payments. In 2000 there was like $400 billion tied up in credit default swaps, early this year it was $46 trillion. Yes that's with a t. These guys sold these things knowing that if even a small amount of them had to be paid out they wouldn't have the money to do it, but they kept on doing it anyway. The housing market slumps, millions of Some Yokels either stop paying or start paying way behind on their mortgages, Bank A goes to Bank B to cash in on the credit default swap, Bank B doesn't have the money because it was lending to Some Yokels by the fistful as well, and here we are today.
This wouldn't have been possible without the Fed and it's artificially low interest rates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by typhun
actually, Bill Clinton kind of passed the laws that repealed many oversights the government had on financial institutions. The Clinton Administration has a large part in the blame for the current situation. And is it the government's job to regulate what INDEPENDENT NONGOVERNMENTAL INSTITUTIONS do for their out-going CEOs? If we start with financial institutions, whats to stop the government from setting rules for my father's construction business when he retires?
The government can start setting rules when your father starts illegally cheating people. Does he have any shareholders in his company, and does he have a legal responsibility to them? To answer your question, if he takes his partners money and buys a mansion instead of investing into the company then they have every right to sue his ass.
 
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Old 09-23-2008
 
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Quote:
This wouldn't have been possible without the Fed and it's artificially low interest rates.
Wrong. The problem is that these investment banks and AIG sold these credit default swaps on anything and everything under the sun, not just mortgages. Almost any time somebody on Wall Street put money into something, there was someone else offering to sell them a credit default swap.

Quote:
Well for one thing we are talking about using taxpayer dollars to help pay these outgoing CEOs their multi-million dollar severance packages, so I would say it starts somewhere around there, wouldn't you agree?
|I say it would be far better to have a provision in the bill that bars any taxpayer money from being used for employee compensation. Far better than for the government to tell us how much we're allowed to be paid. The government has no business dictating salaries.

Quote:
Secondly, CEO's have a fidiciuary and legal responsibility to the shareholders; how exactly do the shareholders benefit from the CEO's being overpaid for driving their companies into the ground, and more importantly how does this benefit the corporation?
It doesn't, and it's irrelevant. If a corporation gives a CEO a huge salary and he runs the company into the ground, that's too bad. Their mistake. What you're saying is that you should be able to renege on a contract for poor performance. That isn't justifiable if the poor performance is caused by simple incompetence. It isn't a breach of the contract to do a bad job unless you do it on purpose.
 
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Old 09-23-2008
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenocideAlive View Post
Is the bailout plan effective? Ethical?
Nope and nope. They're just trying to stave off the impending economic armageddon that our insane fiscal policies and irresponsibly low interest rates/debt-based monetary system have brought upon itself.

We've got front-row seats to the econocalypse, and it's gonna get messy.


 
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Old 09-23-2008
 
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For once I can say with absolute certainty that Donald (D.E.) is correct and Chaos is wrong. If a company is going to be using my tax dollars to remain viable, it should absolutely be within my authority to dictate the terms of that arrangement including CEO severance packages, salaries, etc.

If they don't like it, perhaps someone else is willing to bail them out?
 
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