Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Can Paulson "Create Confidence"?

In a word, no.

Since the Troubled Assset Recovery Program (TARP) passed, the Treasury Secretary has acted like a balky automobile.

First, full-speed ahead with purchases of some mortgage-backed securities.

Then full-stop.

Then full-speed ahead with purchases of Bank stock(!!!)

Then full-stop.

Now we read this:

After announcing a massive effort last week to jumpstart consumer lending, Paulson Monday said the program may be expanded to include other assets, such as securities backed by commercial mortgages and by residential mortgages not guaranteed by Fannie or Freddie

Which is supposed to "support the financial system."

That's on top of this:

...the Federal Reserve, announced it will purchase up to $500 billion in mortgage backed securities that have been backed by Fannie Mae (FNM, Fortune 500), Freddie Mac (FRE, Fortune 500) and Ginnie Mae, the three government-sponsored mortgage finance firms set up to promote home ownership. It will also buy another $100 billion in direct debt issued by those firms.

A day earlier, the Treasury and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said it would rescue faltering Citigroup (C, Fortune 500). It agreed to guarantee some of the firm's losses in its $300 billion portfolio of troubled assets. Also, Treasury will make a fresh $20 billion investment in the bank on top of the $25 billion it already injected into the Wall Street bank.

None of which has had any measurable effect on "confidence."

In fact, Henry, the term "No Confidence" might become your middle name.

2 comments:

Gretchen said...

Congress has been in a state of absolute madness for months now. I can hardly bear watching them step up to the microphone and announce with breathless anticipation some new bailout program. It's like watching a spendaholic use up their last credit card. Insane, and the press just reports it all with a straight face.

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