Archive for the ‘bailout’ Category

Euopean Union President: Obama “will undermine the stability of the global financial market”

March 25, 2009

As the President of the United States gets ready for his first trip to Europe, he’ll have to prepare humself for disunity over his budget and economic plan — from the European Union.

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek told the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, that Obama, ” talks about a large stimulus campaign by Americans.  All of these steps, their combination and their permanency, is a way to hell.”

Czech prime minister Mirek Topolanek addresses deputies at the European Parliament.

Czech prime minister Mirek Topolanek addresses deputies at the European Parliament.

The “biggest success” of the European Council so far this year is a refusal to follow the same path, he said.

“We need to read the history books and read with it the lessons of history,” Topolanek said.

But Britain’s Pime Minister, Gordon Brown, meanwhile, is trying to convince Obama to spend even more……

Here is how Gordon Brown faced the heat at the EU:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=94lW6Y4tBXs

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown reacts,  as he listens to ... 
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown reacts, as he listens to the debates, Tuesday March 24, 2009 at the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, eastern France. Brown called for global standards of financial regulation and insists every continent must pour enough funds into their economies to beat the crisis.(AP Photo/Christian Lutz)

****************

From The Telegraph (UK)

Mr Brown used a speech to MEPs in Strasbourg on Tuesday to exhort the European Union to take the lead in rehabilitating the world economy and forging a new “moral” capitalism. He called for an end to offshore tax havens, tougher financial regulation, and international limits on remuneration.

But his message risked being overshadowed by a warning from Bank of England Governor Mervyn King that Britain may not be able to afford further fiscal stimulus measures.

Mr King told the Treasury Select Committee that the UK’s deficit levels were already “very large”.

“I think the fiscal position in the UK is not one where we could say, ‘well, why don’t we just engage in another significant round of fiscal expansion’,” he added.

The remarks were seen as embarrassing to Mr Brown, who has successfully pressed the case for wealthy countries to bring forward significant fiscal stimulus packages to refloat the economy.

Read it all:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/p
olitics/gordon-brown/5047550/Gordon-Bro
wn-seeking-to-win-over-US-bankers-with-hi
s-vision-for-global-economy.html

************************

A top European Union politician on Wednesday slammed U.S. plans to spend its way out of recession as “a way to hell.”

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, told the European Parliament that President Barack Obama’s massive stimulus package and banking bailout “will undermine the stability of the global financial market.”

Associated Press

A day after his government collapsed because of a parliamentary vote of no-confidence, Topolanek took the EU presidency on a collision course with Washington over how to deal with the global economic recession.

Most European leaders favor tighter financial regulation, while the U.S. has been pushing for larger economic stimulus plans.

Topolanek’s comments are the strongest criticism so far from a European leader as the 27-nation bloc bristles from recent U.S. criticism that it is not spending enough to stimulate demand.

They also pave the way for a stormy summit next week in London between leaders of the Group of 20 industrialized countries.

The host of the summit, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, praised Obama on Tuesday for his willingness to work with Europe on reforming the global economy in the run-up to the G-20 summit.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/e
u_eu_us_economy

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/BU
SINESS/03/25/EU.topolanek.u
s.economy/index.html

On economic matters, Obama lacks a secretary of Selling It

March 24, 2009
Geithner & Co. may know policy, but they’ve proven less than adept at inspiring the public to accept tough medicine. Their most effective point man is in danger of being overused, one analyst says.
By Peter Nicholas and Peter Wallsten
The Los Angeles Times
March 24, 2009
Reporting from Washington — The first time Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner was sent out as point man to sell the Obama administration’s financial rescue plan, the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 382 points. And Geithner’s subsequent efforts as a center-stage spokesman were less than resounding successes.

On Monday, the administration took a different approach. Geithner largely confined himself to conducting a pen-and-pad-only news conference that excluded TV and effectively reduced the secretary from point man to staff briefer. The Dow soared nearly 500 points.

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationwo
rld/nation/la-na-obama-econ24-2009m
ar24,0,2138669.story

*****************

In a Congressional hearing today, Bernanke and Geithner are likely to once again call on Congress to enact legislation that would allow the government to safely dismantle a big financial institution, like American International Group Inc., to minimize any damage to the U.S financial system and the broader economy.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009032
4/ap_on_bi_ge/bailout_bernanke_geithner

Shelby: Geithner Needs “180 Degree Change” To Stay At Treasury

March 22, 2009

“We are on a fast road to financial destruction,” Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) said today.

Shelby, speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” said Mr. Obama was going to have to scale back his budget in light of the new estimates: “He’s going to have to. We’re on a — on the fast road to financial destruction, and I see a 20 billion — a $20 trillion deficit in the few years to come,” he said.

******************

The top Republican on the Senate banking panel says he doesn’t think the treasury secretary can survive in his job without a 180-degree turnaround.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is on “shaky grounds” these days with Congress and many in the country, according to the Senate Banking Committee’s top Republican.

Sen. Richard Shelby said Sunday he doesn’t think Geithner will last long unless he starts doing a better job.

Shelby, who voted to confirm Geithner, said he has less confidence in the treasury secretary each day — over the AIG bonus mess, solving the nation’s financial troubles and helping turn around the economy.

“I said competence brings confidence to anything. I don’t see a lot of things positively thus far that Timothy Geithner’s been involved in,” Shelby said Sunday on “Fox News Sunday.”

“He’s going to have to do a 180-degree turnaround, I believe, to be a successful treasury secretary,” he said.

But President Barack Obama has faith in Geithner. The president tells CBS’ “60 Minutes” that if Geithner offered to resign, the answer would be, “Sorry buddy, you’ve still got the job.”

While Shelby did not specifically call for Geithner to resign, at least two Republicans — Reps. Connie Mack of Florida and Darrell Issa of California — did.

White House economic adviser Christina Romer said those calls are “silly.”

“I think all of this discussion is — is really silly. Tim Geithner is an excellent secretary of the treasury. He has been dealt an unbelievably difficult hand to deal with. But he’s actually doing a fantastic job,” Romer said on “FOX News Sunday.”

From Fox News

Related from the New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03
/22/us/politics/22cnd-talkshow
.html?_r=1&hp

Toxic Geithner Almosts Ready With Toxic Asset Plan for Banks

March 21, 2009

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is putting the finishing touches on a plan to get toxic assets off the books of the country’s struggling banks, according to administration and industry officials. The plan could be announced as soon as Monday, they said.

By Martin Crutsinger, Ap Economics Writer

Geithner’s proposal will employ the resources of the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to make the government’s $700 billion financial rescue fund go further, these officials said Friday.

The Fed and the FDIC are being tapped for support because the prospects for getting additional money from Congress for the bailout effort have dimmed significantly with this week’s uproar over millions of dollars in bonuses provided to troubled insurance giant American International Group Inc.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about Geithner’s plan, said it will have three major parts. One part will be an effort Geithner spoke about last month which would be the creation of a public-private partnership to back purchases of bad assets by private investors.

A second part of the plan will expand a recently launched program being run by the Federal Reserve called the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF. That program is providing loans for investors to buy assets backed by consumer debt in an effort to make it easier for consumers to get auto, student and credit card loans. Under Geithner’s proposal, this program would be expanded to support investors’ purchases of banks’ toxic assets.

The third part of the Geithner plan would utilize the resources of the FDIC, the agency that guarantees bank deposits, to purchase toxic assets.

When Geithner announced the administration’s overhaul of the troubled financial rescue program on Feb. 10, it was widely panned by investors with the Dow Jones industrial average plunging by 380 points.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090321/ap_o
n_go_ca_st_pe/bank_rescue;_ylt=Auy8CbRdH
Qfepa.554ZbNdqs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTI1cWZy
YXJyBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMDkwMzIxL2Jhbmtf
cmVzY3VlBHBvcwMyBHNlYwN5bl90b3Bfc3
RvcnkEc2xrA3RveGljYXNzZXRwbA

A Democrat Did Something Good Today: John Lewis Says 13 Companies Took Bailout Money, Owe Taxes

March 19, 2009

Another nail in Geithner’s coffin.

Good going John Lewis!

***********************

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press

At least 13 firms receiving billions of dollars in bailout money owe a total of more than $220 million in unpaid federal taxes, a key lawmaker said Thursday.

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., chairman of a House subcommittee overseeing the federal bailout, said two firms owe more than $100 million apiece.

“This is shameful. It is a disgrace,” said Lewis. “We are going to get to the bottom of what is going on here.”

The House Ways and Means subcommittee on oversight discovered the unpaid taxes in a review of tax records from 23 of the firms receiving the most money, Lewis said as he opened a hearing on the issue.

The committee said it could not legally release the names of the companies owing taxes. It said one recipient had almost $113 million in unpaid federal income taxes from 2005 and 2006. A second recipient owed almost $102 million dating to before 2004. Another was behind $1.1 million in federal income taxes and $223,000 in federal employment taxes.

“If we looked at all 470 recipients, how much would they owe?” Lewis asked.

Lewis said the panel plans to review tax records from other firms receiving federal money, but he was unsure if it would look at every firm.

“We’re not done,” he said.

Banks and other firms receiving federal money were required to sign contracts stating they had no unpaid taxes, Lewis said. But he said the Treasury Department did not ask them to turn over their tax records.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20
090319/ap_on_go_co/bailou
t_delinquent_taxes

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/0
3/19/ugh-gop-minn-gov-pawlenty
-studying-mileage-tax-satellite-b
ased-tracking/

Pelosi, Rangel rushing to tax AIG and other bonuses 90%; This caused a revolution once…

Economic Recovery? “These guys are eating my lunch”

March 19, 2009

Obama, Geithner, Bernanke, Pelosi, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Harry Reid and every “lawmaker” : “These guys are eating my lunch.”

That’s from my friend who lost his job, will lose his home to foreclosure and has gained only a credit score that would bring Tiger Woods to tears.

He used “eating my lunch” instead of “breaking my heart” because he’s purchased a gun and a broken heart was getting him nowhere.

He’s getting kind of heartless.

“Eating someone else’s lunch is un-American, as Nancy Pelosi must know,” he told me. 

He has a lot of time to watch TV now that he lost his income and his job.

For those in the immigrant community that only habla Espanol, when the law is enforced at your door, that is the law, which most people, except for Nancy Pelosi, do not consider as un-American.  When someone eats your lunch, which is an idiom, it means to take advantage of you, as in “clean your clock,” cross the border illegally and stuff like that.

The President is eating my lunch beause he refuses to fire Tim Geithner — but now maybe he will rethink that after finding out that Turbo Tax Tim had many of the bailout recipients sign a form indicating, maybe even swearing, that they did not owe the federal government any back taxes — but Tim never asked the IRS to check.

Those that got billions in bailout money ate Turbo Tax Tim’s lunch and the lunch and tax money of every taxpayer.

But the president insists: “Nobody is working harder than this guy.”

My friend is working hard trying to get a real job: not a cushy do anything and get paid job.  Not a job with no accountability like Geithner’s job.  Not a job where you can lie like Dodd’s job.  Not a job where you can write a book and make $5 million, or get on Jay Leno, or fly in style like Obama’s job.

Bernanke is eating my lunch because his Fed action already caused the price of oil to go up and the value of the dollar to go down.

Every American lawmaker in Washington DC who did not vote against the stimulus ate my lunch because nobody read the stimulus and that is the law that allowed AIG to pay bonuses — while it gave away billions of dollars.

That’s not lunch money.  But maybe chump change to Obama: not to me.  I pay my taxes — and not with Turbo Tax — I hire a guy because that ensures it gets done better than Geithner can do.

And those “lawmakers” who gave billions of dollars to the likes of Obama, Geithner and Bernanke and a bunch of government agents who are eating my lunch and getting their clocks cleaned by those getting bailout money — I hate them all.  The entire lunch eating flock.

Barney Frank ate my lunch because he missed the looming failure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and missed the arrival of the recession.  Isn’t he the guy that stampeded many to create the rapid fire stimulus?  Isn’t his stimulus the law that legalized the AIG bonuses — the same bonuses he offers to tax at 90%? (Which may be unconstitutional?)

He ate our lunch for sure.

I’ll just throw Charlie Rangel in here for eating my lunch too.  He’s trying to rush a 90% tax on those that got bonuses like the AIG guys.  But hey, Charlie: that might be unconstitutional.  And hey, Chalie, can you go though an audit for us, pal?
.
Amnesia Chris Dodd ate our lunch and then lied about it: putting language into the stimulus to help his buddies at AIG to pay those now famous bonuses.

Then Judas Dodd threw his buddies at AIG under the bus.

Barack Obama hired Turbo Tax Tim and Joe Biden so he continues to eat my lunch every day.

As Biden says, “This was a stupid idea.”

“Give us a f &*^%$# ing break”

But the president wants ME, US, and YOU to be confident because that could help the economy improve.

No habla.  Habla Espanol.

Related:
Lawmaking by Stampede Made the Stimulus, Now We’ll Tax ‘Bonuses’ the Simulus Allowed?
.
Obama On Geithner Sounds Like “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”
.
Pelosi, Rangel rushing to tax AIG and other bonuses 90%; This caused a revolution once…

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/1
9/audio-comedy-gold-bozo-the-vice-pr
esident-is-looking-out-for-you/

 AIG Bonus Snafu: Boomeranging Into the Faces of Democrats?

“Dodd The Dodge” — Senator Weasels Away The Truth; And Not Artfully

Obama the centrist, pragmatic problem-solver is gone: now liberal spendathon, no accountability
.
News at eleven followed by Jay Leno and Barack on the National Barack Channel….

Obama, Pelosi: Anything to Win

Obama, Congress, Treasury, Fed: Shameful Mismanagement of Your Money, Recovery

Did Obama White House Fuel AIG Bonus Mess To Enact Tougher Rules With Public Support, “Outrage”?

Fed to pump another $1 trillion into U.S. economy “from thin air”

US President Barack Obama (R) stands with Treasury Secretary ...

Darkened shadows: US President Barack Obama (R) stands with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (L) as he makes remarks about AIG and his economic recovery package before departing for a trip to California from the White House in Washington, March 18, 2009. Obama on Wednesday assailed AIG’s hefty executive bonuses as an “inappropriate use of taxpayer funds,” saying the government needed tools to prevent a situation like AIG’s from ever again posing a risk to the financial system.  But Geithner paid those bonuses with taxpayers money….REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

http://conservativemeanderings.
wordpress.com/2009/03/19/oba
ma-received-aig-bonus-time-fo
r-him-to-resign/

Robert Reich: AIG,Transparency, Treasury, Fed: Lost?

March 19, 2009

AIG is rapidly becoming a nightmarish metaphor for the Obama Administration’s problems administering the bailout of Wall Street.

By Robert Reich

One central problem is the lack of transparency. According to some news reports, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner knew weeks ago that AIG was planning to issue the bonuses to executives in its notorious credit default swap unit, and felt it was contractually bound to do so. But even if Geithner discovered all this just last week, he faces an awkward question about why he didn’t know sooner. These bonuses in fact were only the latest if a series, and were not even distributed until last Friday. But it was not until Saturday, after the story leaked to the press,that Geithner went public to express his “outrage” about them.

Meanwhile, the Treasury has been readying yet another big multi-billion-dollar payout to AIG on top of the $170 billion already provided the company, because AIG has been hemorrhaging red ink. The company’s balance sheets have been deteriorating far more quickly than the Treasury had anticipated. But there’s been no clear exit strategy for stopping the flow of taxpayer money.

What’s particularly embarrassing for the current Administration is that it had promised to undertake the Wall Street bailout far more transparently and effectively than the way the Bush administration went about it. The Obama Administration had assured the public that, among other things, taxpayer money would no longer be used to backstop Wall Street bonuses. (It’s worth noting, in this regard, that the related plan put forward by the Obama Treasury to limit executive pay in Wall Street firms that received bailouts turned out to be riddled with holes.)

We’ve also learned that much of the 170 billion has been used by AIG to pay off AIG’s putative obligations to other Wall Street banks such as Goldman Sachs. Goldman has maintained that it got no bailout money from the Treasury. But in fact it received some $13 billion through AIG. More troubling is that the original plan to bail out AIG was concocted at a meeting held last fall, run by then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson who, before becoming Teasury Secretary, had been CEO of Goldman Sachs. Also attending the meeting was Lloyd Blankenfein, the current CEO of Goldman Sachs. Also at the meeting: Tim Geithner, then head of the New York Fed.

None of this would be nearly as awful if the Wall Street bailout were working. But here we are six months after it began and it’s still the case that almost no loans are being made to Main Street. This week the Fed is launching its own program to get loans to consumers financed by private investors, in effect by-passing the big Wall Street banks.

The Wall Street bailout is starting to look like the most expensive tax-supported fiasco in history. The problem for the Obama administration is that this bailout is near the very center of the President’s economic recovery program. It’s not possible for the economy to bounce back until credit markets are working again. Yet even though the bailout so far is a bust, Geithner still hasn’t decided — or told the public — how he’s going to use the remaining $300 billion of bailout money differently.

The President cannot afford to lose the public’s confidence that his administration is a careful steward of the public’s money. The public was willing to go along with a large stimulus package. But it won’t go along with a second stimulus, and certainly not another TARP. And until the public feels confident that its money isn’t being thrown down a rat hole, it may balk at other ambitious undertakings such as health care or education or the environment.

Bottom line: Before it can clean up Wall Street or do much of anything else, the Administration has to clean up the way it’s been trying to clean up Wall Street.

From Politico:
http://www.politico.com/arena/

Related:
Obama, Congress, Treasury, Fed: Shameful Mismanagement of Your Money, Recovery

Why AIG Can Legally Be Made To Repay Government

March 18, 2009

PRESIDENT OBAMA on Monday instructed the Treasury Department to “pursue every single legal avenue” to recover $165 million in bonus payments the insurance giant A.I.G. recently made to nearly 400 employees in its financial products unit. A.I.G. has, of course, received $170 billion in bailout funds and yet continues to incur extraordinary losses — some $62 billion last quarter alone.

By LAWRENCE A. CUNNINGHAM
New York Times Op-Ed

A.I.G. insisted it was legally obligated to make the bonus payments and that failure to pay would breach its contracts with employees and expose it to penalties under state employee protection laws. The company also warned that breaching the agreements would amount to defaulting on numerous other business contracts, at staggering cost.

Amid this standoff, there has been an explosion of outrage against perceived excessive compensation to those who precipitated the financial crisis. Some lawmakers have threatened to impose a 100 percent tax on the A.I.G. bonuses and Senator Chuck Grassley, Republican of Iowa, even wildly suggested that the company’s executives consider suicide for their culpability. But moral outrage and public rebuke do not provide legal grounds for backing out of a contract.

If the government is serious about finding a legitimate basis for abrogating these payments, officials must look to basic legal principles. And if A.I.G. is serious that it is legally bound to pay these bonuses, it must do more than say nonpayment would expose it to damages or penalties. Nor is it enough to invoke the sanctity of contracts, because our legal and business system recognizes plenty of valid excuses from contractual duty and even justification for breaching.

There are numerous issues both sides must contend with to evaluate whether A.I.G. was bound to or excused from its payment duties. First, the specific promises that employees made or conditions stated in their agreements must be examined. Determining what promises exist requires only reading the contracts; identifying conditions (which will likely offer more wiggle room in A.I.G.’s duty to pay) requires both reading the contracts and understanding any negotiations that preceded them.

Subpoenas issued by Andrew Cuomo, the New York attorney general, have put much of this vital information into the hands of government officials. Those officials would do well to compare the provisions in these contracts to the job performance of the employees who received bonuses. If employees did not meet stated performance goals, they would be in breach of contract and A.I.G. would not have to pay.

Likewise, A.I.G. has stated that these agreements expressly state that if employees are terminated for cause, they are not entitled to any bonus payments. It follows then that the contracts may preserve the company’s power to deny bonuses to employees who could be terminated for cause but have not yet been.

Apart from specific contractual terms, there are other reasons A.I.G. might rescind these bonuses. They include the nondisclosure of important material information — for instance, if an employee failed to be absolutely candid about the size and risk of trading positions taken on the company’s behalf.

Findings of fraud on the part of an employee would certainly also excuse A.I.G.’s duty to pay.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/0
3/18/opinion/18cunningham.html

Amid AIG Furor, Dodd Tries to Undo Bonus Protections He and Geithner Put In

March 17, 2009

Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on Monday night floated the idea of taxing American International Group (AIG: 0.9642, 0.1841, 23.6%) bonus recipients so the government could recoup the $450 million the company is paying to employees in its financial products unit. Within hours, the idea spread to both houses of Congress, with lawmakers proposing an AIG bonus tax.

By Rich Edson
Fox Business

While the Senate constructed the $787 billion stimulus last month, Dodd unexpectedly added an executive-compensation restriction to the bill. That amendment provides an “exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009,” which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are seeking to tax. The amendment is in the final version and is law.

Also, Sen. Dodd was AIG’s largest single recipient of campaign donations during the 2008 election cycle with $103,100, according to opensecrets.org. 

Dodd’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.

One of AIG Financial Products’ largest offices is based in Connecticut.

 Read  the rest:
http://www.foxbusiness.com/story
/markets/industries/finance/dod
d-cracks-aig—time/

Related:
Obama’s AIG Outrage: All Talk, No Action

Dodd Allowed AIG To Thrive in His State, Approved Bonuses: Now Throws Them Under The Bus

Fox News and other sources also said treasury Secretary Geithner worked with Senator Dodd and others to allow AIG the right to issue the bonuses — the same bonuses that caused President Obama “ourage” yesterday.  Obama told Geitherner to use all legal means to get the bonus money back….

Obama’s AIG Outrage: All Talk, No Action

March 17, 2009

In the middle of decrying the misdeeds of the financial firm AIG, President Obama cracked a joke. “Excuse me,” he said Monday, after coughing into the microphone. “I am choked up with anger here.” There were laughs all around the gilded East Room of the White House, because he didn’t sound angry at all.

By MICHAEL SCHERER / WASHINGTON
Time Magazine

The laughter, of course, did not fit the occasion, the latest in a seemingly endless stream of public events at which Washington’s political leaders work themselves into high dudgeon over the sins of financial wizards who, we are told over and over again, have messed up the world for everyone else. But then, you can only act outraged about the same thing so many times before it all starts to sound stale. These spectacles, the public rhetorical floggings, have become teleplays, as predictable as a daytime soap opera, as comforting as a wet rock.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/
20090317/us_time/08599188566800

Related:
Dodd Allowed AIG To Thrive in His State, Approved Bonuses: Now Throws Them Under The Bus