• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    bellecat on Does anyone believe…
    bellecat on Does anyone believe…
    Sweet Sue on Does anyone believe…
    ipotter on Does anyone believe…
    peep9 on Does anyone believe…
    bellecat on Does anyone believe…
    bellecat on Does anyone believe…
    peep9 on Does anyone believe…
    ipotter on Does anyone believe…
    Lady V on Does anyone believe…
    ipotter on Does anyone believe…
    ipotter on Does anyone believe…
    bcc on Does anyone believe…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Does anyone believe…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Does anyone believe…
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    January 2013
    S M T W T F S
    « Dec   Feb »
     12345
    6789101112
    13141516171819
    20212223242526
    2728293031  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Why I Write
      Once upon a time I wrote for very political reasons. Bush had invaded Iraq, I was upset, and I saw that if America and the world in general did not change their path we were going to wind up in an era of war and revolution and combined with climate and other environmental issues like […]
  • Top Posts

Read the latest Matt Taibbi article on the bailout

Secret and Lies of the Bailout

It’s got two very colorful opening paragraphs:

To listen to the bankers and their allies in Washington tell it, you’d think the bailout was the best thing to hit the American economy since the invention of the assembly line. Not only did it prevent another Great Depression, we’ve been told, but the money has all been paid back, and the government even made a profit. No harm, no foul – right?

Wrong.

It was all a lie – one of the biggest and most elaborate falsehoods ever sold to the American people. We were told that the taxpayer was stepping in – only temporarily, mind you – to prop up the economy and save the world from financial catastrophe. What we actually ended up doing was the exact opposite: committing American taxpayers to permanent, blind support of an ungovernable, unregulatable, hyperconcentrated new financial system that exacerbates the greed and inequality that caused the crash, and forces Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to increase risk rather than reduce it. The result is one of those deals where one wrong decision early on blossoms into a lush nightmare of unintended consequences. We thought we were just letting a friend crash at the house for a few days; we ended up with a family of hillbillies who moved in forever, sleeping nine to a bed and building a meth lab on the front lawn.

I haven’t read the whole thing yet but if Taibbi is consistent with Sheila Bair, Ron Suskind and Neil Barofsky, Tim Geithner is going to look pretty bad.  There was a point in Barofsky’s book when I finally realized the magnitude of the scam that just made my jaw drop and made me want to join the Doomsday Preppers.  It really is that bad.

There will be a quiz.

More…

This part is good.  I mean bad:

To guarantee their soundness, all major banks are required to keep a certain amount of reserve cash at the Fed. In years past, that money didn’t earn interest, for the logical reason that banks shouldn’t get paid to stay solvent. But in 2006 – arguing that banks were losing profits on cash parked at the Fed – regulators agreed to make small interest payments on the money. The move wasn’t set to go into effect until 2011, but when the crash hit, a section was written into TARP that launched the interest payments in October 2008.

In theory, there should never be much money in such reserve accounts, because any halfway-competent bank could make far more money lending the cash out than parking it at the Fed, where it earns a measly quarter of a percent. In August 2008, before the bailout began, there were just $2 billion in excess reserves at the Fed. But by that October, the number had ballooned to $267 billion – and by January 2009, it had grown to $843 billion. That means there was suddenly more money sitting uselessly in Fed accounts than Congress had approved for either the TARP bailout or the much-loathed Obama stimulus. Instead of lending their new cash to struggling homeowners and small businesses, as Summers had promised, the banks were literally sitting on it.

Today, excess reserves at the Fed total an astonishing $1.4 trillion.”The money is just doing nothing,” says Nomi Prins, a former Goldman executive who has spent years monitoring the distribution of bailout money.

Nothing, that is, except earning a few crumbs of risk-free interest for the banks. Prins estimates that the annual haul in interest­ on Fed reserves is about $3.6 billion – a relatively tiny subsidy in the scheme of things, but one that, ironically, just about matches the total amount of bailout money spent on aid to homeowners. Put another way, banks are getting paid about as much every year for not lending money as 1 million Americans received for mortgage modifications and other housing aid in the whole of the past four years.

It’s like the guys who made up these rules on the bailout never had to deal with children or adolescents.  I guess that kinda makes sense, given that they are all guys who probably have wives and nannies to do that stuff.

 

7 Responses

  1. Taibbi is full of it with statements like:

    once again, the bailouts were greenlighted with the aid of Democrats who fell for the old “it’ll help ordinary people” sales pitch.

    The one who falls for it is Taibbi who doesn’t get it. The Democrats are corrupt to the bone.

    • No, not all Democrats, just the top three.

    • So, after having read several books on the subject, I think the point that is being missed here is that no one expected that Congress would pass these bills with good intentions and that those intentions would be subverted by Tim Geithner again and again.
      That’s essentially what happened.
      Obama appointed him. Obama could have un-appointed him. Obama didn’t. At the end of the book, Barofsky, once an Obama fanboy, finally admits that the president is responsible.

  2. Anybody with two functioning neurons knew what Obama was, and Geithner for that matter. The only one doing time is Bernie Madoff, go figure.

    But then the Ignorant White Trash voters will gladly tell you the banks won’t lend out the money because Obama is going to declare himself president for life or some such.

    In a somewhat related note, because they had a hand in torpedoing Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, the NAFFASFA (North American Fresh Fish And Seafood Association) has issued an advisory that its member fish mongers not use the New York Times to wrap their product as it causes it to rot prematurely. It’s described as an odor similar to being downwind from the NYT Op-Ed staff.

  3. Matt Taibi did a story for RS a while back, about the SEC in bed with Wall Street. He might be a bit subjectively challenged, but does cut to the heart of the matter, (I wonder where he falls on the Myers-Briggs scale)

  4. I think it’s the Democratic Party leadership. The DNC, a clique of Senators, Governors and House members working in conjunction with the Party’s biggest donors. As party leader, Obama puts a pleasant face on this corruption. Obama was vaulted to the Presidency by the moneyed forces. It’s a self-reinforcing feedback loop.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: