24 September 2008

Just one more!

Credit where it's due: for the first time, well, since 9/11, I listened to Bush speak and found myself nodding in agreement with much of what he had to say. Not too much credit to the man: he was reading words someone else wrote about a deal he was obligated to make, but for the first time he had the maturity or wisdom to make the compromise and get the job done, rather than stamp his feet and insist on "my way or the highway."

I know what I said earlier, but there are in fact a few redeeming qualities about this $700 billion deal, as far as available details can be understood:

  • The Treasury will essentially receive stock options (sort of) in companies they bail out, so that if taxpayers may receive a return on the investment in these companies.
  • The distressed assets will be purchased at their current fair market value -- a deep discount from their nominal value, as initially suggested.
  • With no need to leverage these assets further, the Treasury has the ability to wait and see if their actual value improves, which may be the case.
  • There's some fluff about executive compensation and bankruptcy protections for consumers which is irrelevant but nice symbolism, and the oversight requirement is apparently satisfied.
So, as I understand this, this package is not a simple giveaway to the investment firms, comes at some cost to these firms (and their execs), and has potential to return value to the taxpayers -- conceivably to turn a profit, though few expect that. Though the cash outlay may be in the high 12 figures (!) the actual cost after returns should be much much lower.

By the way, I may be fiercely liberal, but it may surprise you to learn that I am what used to be called a fiscal conservative (before that phrase was retired due to excessive irony), now I guess I would be called a deficit hawk.

On a snarkier note: did anyone catch the Palin trainwreck tonight? I had to feel bad for her, sent out there to claim that McCain was not a deregulation fanatic. She got crucified by Couric on that point, which made her look bad, but that wasn't entirely her fault: her marching orders were to claim something patently false. It's hard to put lipstick on that, er, um, never mind. But it was pretty inexcusable that she had no clue what their stance is on a foreclosure moratorium. That was pathetic.

It's no wonder that the McCain camp is trying to scuttle the VP debate. They must be terrified at the prospect of Palin having to face tough, unscripted questions. I was a little freaked about about Palin for a while, but it's becoming more clear every day that this choice was a gift for the Obama/Biden ticket.

OK, I swear, back to the medical stuff tomorrow!

2 comments:

  1. Am I a bad person? For 700 billion dollars, I want to see some pain, some suffering, some stockbrokers and investment bankers raining from Wall Street windows. They made all the money on this boondoggle, so shouldn't they be required to put on a show for the ticket I'm forced to buy?

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  2. ^I wish, but unfortunately, a lot of money is involved here, and when a lot of money is involved, things never turn out just.

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