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On October 13th, when the U.S. Treasury Department announced the team of "seasoned financial veterans" that will be handling the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street, one name jumped out: Reuben Jeffery III, who was initially tapped to serve as chief investment officer for the massive new program.

 

On the surface, Jeffery looks like a classic Bush appointment. Like Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, he's an alum of Goldman Sachs, having worked on Wall Street for 18 years. And as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from 2005 to 2007, he proudly advocated "flexibility" in regulation — a laissez-faire approach that failed to rein in the high-risk trading at the heart of the meltdown.

 

Bankers watching bankers, regulators who don't believe in regulating — that's all standard fare for the Bush crew. What's most striking about Jeffery's résumé, however, is an item omitted when his new job was announced: He served as executive director of Paul Bremer's infamous Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, during the early days of the Iraq War. Part of his job was to hire civilian staff, which made him an integral part of the partisan machine that filled the Green Zone with Young Republicans, investment bankers and Dick Cheney interns. Qualifications weren't a big issue back then, because the staff's main function was to hand over stacks of taxpayer money to private contractors, who were the ones actually running the occupation. It was this nonstop cash conveyor belt that earned the Green Zone a reputation, in the words of one CPA official, as "a free-fraud zone." During Senate hearings last year, when Jeffery was asked what he had learned from his experience at the CPA, he said he thought that contracts should be handed out with more "speed and flexibility" — the same philosophy he cited back when he was in charge of regulating Wall Street traders.

 

The Bush Administration has since reversed the Jeffery appointment, perhaps thinking better of giving a CPA alum such a central role in the Wall Street bailout. Still the original impulse underscores the many worrying parallels between the administration's approach to the financial crisis and its approach to the Iraq War. Under cover of an emergency, Treasury is rapidly turning into an economic Green Zone, overrun with private companies collecting lucrative contracts. Fittingly, one of the first to line up at the new trough was none other than the law firm of Bracewell & Giuliani — yes, that Giuliani. The firm's chairman, Patrick Oxford, could scarcely conceal his glee over the prospect of cashing in on the bailout. "This one," he told reporters, "is very, very big." At least four times bigger, in fact, than the post-9/11 homeland-security bubble, from which Giuliani and his various outfits have profited so extravagantly. Even bigger, potentially, than the price tag for the Iraq War itself.

 

In Iraq, the contractors were tasked with reconstructing the country from the mess made by U.S. missiles. After years of corruption born of no-bid contracts and paltry oversight, many Iraqis are still waiting for the lights to come back on. Today, a new team of contractors is lining up to reconstruct the U.S. economy — reconstruct it from the mess made by the very banks, brokers and law firms that are now applying for contracts. And it's not at all clear that America can survive their assistance.

 

See if any of this sounds familiar: As soon as the bailout was announced, it became clear that Treasury officials would hire outsiders to perform their jobs for them — at a profit. Private companies wanting to help manage the bailout were given just two days to apply for massive, multiyear contracts. Since it was such a mad rush — after all, the entire economy was about to implode — there was no time for an open bidding process. Nor was there time to draft rigorous rules to make sure that those applying don't have serious conflicts of interest. Instead, applicants were asked to disclose their conflicts and to explain — and this is not a joke — their "philosophy in fulfilling your duty to the Treasury and the U.S. taxpayer in light of your proprietary interests and those of other clients." In other words, an open invitation to bullshit about how much they love their country and how they can be trusted to regulate themselves.

 

The first major contract to be awarded in the bailout was for legal advice — and the choice Treasury made was Halliburton-esque in its audacity. Six law firms were invited to bid, but four declined, either because they didn't want the contract or because they had too many conflicts of interest. Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said the fact that so many law firms chose not to bid "shows that the guidelines are sufficiently rigorous."

 

Or it may just show that the bidder who won the contract — Simpson Thacher & Bartlett — takes a more relaxed approach to conflicts than its colleagues. The law firm is a Wall Street heavy hitter, having brokered some of the biggest bank mergers in recent years. It also provided legal support to companies trading mortgage-backed securities — the "financial weapons of mass destruction," as Warren Buffett called them, that detonated the banking industry. More to the point, it was hired to provide legal services to the Treasury in its negotiations to spend $250 billion of the bailout money purchasing equity in America's banks. The first stage of the plan involves buying stakes in nine of the country's top banks. Incredibly, Simpson Thacher has represented seven of the nine: JPMorgan, Bank of New York Mellon, Bank of America, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch.

 

According to its contract, Simpson Thacher has agreed not to represent any of the banks "against the U.S." when they negotiate with Treasury for the equity money. However, the firm has retained the right to represent banks when they apply for other parts of the $700 billion bailout not covered by its contract. (It has promised to erect a "firewall" to stem the flow of "confidential information" to those clients.) The firm will also continue to work for the banks on a range of other lucrative deals — and that's where the problem lies. Take Lee Meyerson, Simpson Thacher's lead lawyer on the bailout negotiations, who is specifically named in the contract as "essential" to the project. As the company's hotshot attorney, Meyerson has personally represented three of the nine banks that were bailed out in the first round, in addition to many others that will surely apply for cash injections. One of the bailed-out banks is Bank of New York Mellon, whose $29 billion merger Meyerson helped negotiate. Mergers like that can bill in the millions. Is Simpson Thacher able to put aside its loyalties to its biggest clients and negotiate deals for the taxpayer that could exact real costs from those very clients?

 

It might be possible to set aside concerns about divided loyalties if it were clear that Simpson Thacher is helping Treasury to wrangle the best deals possible for U.S. taxpayers. But the firm's first test — the deal to give $125 billion to the nine big banks to ease the "credit crunch" that is crippling the economy — wasn't exactly reassuring. Secretary Paulson promised that the banks won't just "hoard" the money — they will quickly "deploy it" through the economy in the form of badly needed loans. There is just one hitch: Neither Paulson nor Simpson Thacher got that "deploy" part in writing — nor did they put in place any mechanism to require the banks to spend their taxpayer billions. Apparently, the part about lending the money to homeowners and small businesses was sort of implied.

 

"There is no obligation for banks to lend the money one way or the other," Jennifer Zuccarelli, a Treasury spokeswoman, tells Rolling Stone. "But the banks have the understanding" that the money is intended for loans. "We're not looking to control their operations."

 

Unfortunately, many of the banks appear to have no intention of wasting the money on loans. "At least for the next quarter, it's just going to be a cushion," said John Thain, the chief executive of Merrill Lynch. Gary Crittenden, chief financial officer of Citigroup, had an even better idea: He hinted that his company would use its share of the cash — $25 billion — to buy up competitors and swell even bigger. The handout, he told analysts, "does present the possibility of taking advantage of opportunities that might otherwise be closed to us."

 

And the folks at Morgan Stanley? They're planning to pay themselves $10.7 billion this year, much of it in bonuses — almost exactly the amount they are receiving in the first phase of the bailout. "You can imagine the devilish grins on the faces of Morgan Stanley employees," writes Bloomberg columnist Jonathan Weil. "Not only did we, the taxpayers, save their company...we funded their 2008 bonus pool."

 

It didn't have to be this way. Five days before Paulson struck his deal with the banks, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown negotiated a similar bailout — only he extracted meaningful guarantees for taxpayers: voting rights at the banks, seats on their boards, 12 percent in annual dividend payments to the government, a suspension of dividend payments to shareholders, restrictions on executive bonuses, and a legal requirement that the banks lend money to homeowners and small businesses.

 

In sharp contrast, this is what U.S. taxpayers received: no controlling interest, no voting rights, no seats on the bank boards and just five percent in dividend payouts to the government, while shareholders continue to collect billions in dividends every quarter. What's more, golden parachutes and bonuses already promised by the banks will still be paid out to executives — all before taxpayers are paid back.

 

No wonder it took just one hour for Paulson to convince all nine CEOs to accept his offer — less than seven minutes per bank. Not even the firms' own lawyers could have drafted a sweeter deal.

 

The day after it met with the nation's top banks, Treasury announced that it had selected the firm that would receive the juiciest contract of all: that of "master custodian." The winning company will be to the bailout what Halliburton is to the military: the contractor of contractors. It will purchase toxic debts from Wall Street, service them and auction them off in the future — a so-called "end-to-end process." The contract is for a minimum of three years.

 

Seventy firms applied for the gig; the winner was Bank of New York Mellon. Describing the scope of the megacontract, bank president Gerald Hassell said, "It's the ultimate outsourcing — because the Federal Reserve and the Treasury do not have the mechanics to run the entire program, and we're essentially the general contractor across the entire program. It's going to cross our entire company."

 

This raises an interesting point: Has the Treasury partially nationalized the private banks, as we have been told? Or is it the other way around? Is it Treasury that has been partially privatized by Wall Street, its massive rescue plan now entirely in the hands of a private bank it is directly subsidizing?

 

Shortly after receiving the contract, Hassell told investors that his institution is now well-positioned to profit from the market meltdown. "There's a lot of new business that's going on even in this chaotic marketplace," he said, "and so some of those things have been very positive to us." Just how positive, we don't know, because Treasury has blacked out the 10 lines of the "master custodian" contract that reveal how much Bank of New York Mellon will be paid. Though Treasury says it will release the information eventually, the secrecy goes beyond anything the Bush administration attempted in Iraq. Even Halliburton's dodgy contracts came with price tags attached.

 

Still, when the terms of the contract do become public, they may turn out to be surprisingly modest. Goldman Sachs has apparently offered to fulfill at least one bailout contract for free. Altruism may not be their only motivation. The real money at stake in the bailout lies not in payment for the work but in how the work is done. Think about it: If you're the one selling your debts to the government, wouldn't you also want to help decide which debts are eligible and how much they're worth? "The financial firms with assets to sell are in many instances the same firms the Treasury will rely on to value and manage the assets it is buying," The New York Times observed. "That is an invitation for these firms to set the price too high or to indulge in other mischief at the taxpayers' expense."

 

Bank of New York Mellon has a bad record for mischief. It is embroiled in a $22.5 billion money-laundering lawsuit in Moscow and has been forced to pay out a $14 million settlement in a related case. Though the bank's "master custodian" contract with Treasury prohibits unethical conduct, the arrangement seems rife with opportunities for abuse. According to its most recent earnings report, Bank of New York Mellon holds $1.2 billion in subprime mortgage securities. That means that in addition to the $3 billion it will receive as part of the equity program, it will also be eligible to apply for taxpayer money from the program it is being paid to administer. Neither the bank nor Treasury would comment on this direct conflict of interest.

 

On the same day that he allocated the first $125 billion to the banks, Secretary Paulson announced the largest federal budget deficit in U.S. history. Buried in his statement was a preview of the next phase of the financial disaster. The deficit numbers, he declared, reinforce the need to "pursue policies that promote economic growth and fiscal responsibility, and address entitlement reform." He was referring to Americans who feel entitled to receive Social Security in their old age and Medicaid when they are sick. Those programs, Paulson implied, might not be able to survive the budget crisis he is currently creating for the next administration.

 

This is why the stakes of the bailout are so high: Unless we get a good deal, there will be nothing left over after the banks are done feeding to pay for the meager services now provided in exchange for taxation, let alone for the more ambitious initiatives promised on the campaign trail. The spiraling cost of saving Wall Street from its bad bets is already being used as an excuse for why we can't solve our many other crises, from health care to climate change.

 

There is a better way to fix a broken financial system. Treasury's plan to buy up the toxic debts never made sense and should be immediately scrapped — a move that would also handily get rid of most of the crony contractors. As for purchasing equity in banks, the next round of deals — and there will be more — has to start from the premise that the banks are bankrupt and will therefore accept whatever terms we choose to impose, including real regulatory oversight. The possibilities of what could be done if a chunk of the banking system were genuinely under public control — from a moratorium on home foreclosures to mandatory investment in green community redevelopment — are limitless.

 

Because here is what George Bush and Henry Paulson are hoping we won't figure out: When a society no longer has enough money to pay for its most pressing needs, there are worse things than discovering you own the banks.

 

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story.../the_new_trough

 

Unbelievable

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That doesnt surprise me in the slightest.

 

Watch Bush or some of his cronies end up on the boards of these institutions next year.

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Bush might start doing better once out of office, but he's a pauper at the moment. Only worth $20M.

 

Cheney can be a bit more brazen, so he's amassed $100M and Rumsfeld is about the same on $115M. Powell has $65M

 

The less well known cronies like Paul H. O'Neill are worth more, he's on $253M.

 

Mind, Condoleeza Rice is barely even a millionaire.

 

Clinton left office IN DEBT.

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The former chairman of the Nasdaq stock market has been arrested and charged with securities fraud, in what may be one of the biggest fraud cases yet.

 

Bernard Madoff ran a hedge fund which ran up $50bn (£33.5bn) of fraudulent losses and which he called "one big lie", prosecutors allege.

 

Mr Madoff is alleged to have used money from new investors to pay off existing investors in the fund.

 

His lawyer said he would fight to get through these "unfortunate events".

 

The 70-year-old has been released on a $10m bail.

 

'One big lie'

 

Mr Madoff founded Bernard L.Madoff Investment Securities in 1960, but also ran a separate hedge fund business.

 

According to the US Attorney's criminal complaint filed in court, Mr Madoff told at least three employees on Wednesday that the hedge fund business - which served up to 25 clients and had $17.1bn of money under management - was a fraud and had been insolvent for years, losing at least $50bn.

 

He said he was "finished", that he had "absolutely nothing" and that "it's all just one big lie", and that it was "basically, a giant Ponzi scheme", the complaint said.

 

Under a Ponzi scheme, also known as pyramid scheme, investors are promised very high returns on their investment, while in reality early investors are paid with money collected from later investors.

 

On Thursday, two agents from the FBI went to his apartment.

 

 

Investors have withdrawn from hedge funds amid market volatility

 

According to the complaint, Mr Madoff told them he knew why they were there, and there was "no innocent explanation".

 

Stunning fraud

 

If found guilty, US prosecutors say he could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5m.

 

"Our complaint alleges a stunning fraud - both in terms of scope and duration," said Scott Friestad at the SEC. "We are moving quickly and decisively to stop the scheme and protect the remaining assets for investors."

 

Dan Horwitz, Mr Madoff's lawyer, said: "Bernard Madoff is a longstanding leader in the financial services industry. We will fight to get through this unfortunate set of events."

 

Many investors have been pulling money out of hedge funds in an effort to reduce their exposure to risk.

 

"This is a major blow to confidence that is already shattered - anyone on the fence will probably try to take their money out," said Doug Kass, president of Seabreeze Partners Management, a hedge fund.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7779442.stm

 

 

Former chairman of the Nasdaq stock market.

 

And they insist crooks like this don't need regulation.

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The car worker union showing themselves to be complete cunts in trying to scupper their bailout deal. Expect Bush to come along and 'save the day'.

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The car worker union showing themselves to be complete cunts in trying to scupper their bailout deal. Expect Bush to come along and 'save the day'.

 

 

I find it funny that the Republicans used "socialist" as a smear on Obama to try and win but now seem happy to bail out an industry (other than banking obviously).

 

It won't happen but if Chrysler, GM and Ford all went tits up it wouldn't half be enterteaining to see the fallout - I'd imagine the European/Japanese car makers would be fucking laughing their tits off.

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The car worker union showing themselves to be complete cunts in trying to scupper their bailout deal. Expect Bush to come along and 'save the day'.

 

 

I find it funny that the Republicans used "socialist" as a smear on Obama to try and win but now seem happy to bail out an industry (other than banking obviously).

 

Bush is nearly out, the last thing he wants to do right now is be the man 'responsible' for the collapse of US car-making. He'll be happy to throw the money at them and seem like the good guy knowing that he won't be around to deal with the repercussions.

Edited by ewerk

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The former chairman of the Nasdaq stock market has been arrested and charged with securities fraud, in what may be one of the biggest fraud cases yet. .......

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7779442.stm

 

 

Former chairman of the Nasdaq stock market.

 

And they insist crooks like this don't need regulation.

 

To follow up...

 

Some of the world's biggest banks have revealed that they are victims of a fraud which has lost $50bn (£33bn).

 

Bernard Madoff has been charged with fraud in what is being described as one of the biggest-ever such cases.

 

Among the banks which have been affected are Britain's RBS, Spain's Santander and France's BNP Paribas.

 

One of the City's best-known fund managers has criticised US financial regulators for failing to detect the alleged fraud.

 

Nicola Horlick, boss of Bramdean investments, said US regulators had "fallen down on the job".

 

Mrs Horlick told the BBC: "I think now it is very difficult for people to invest in things that are meant to be regulated in America, because they haven fallen down in the job."

 

"This is the biggest financial scandal, probably in the history of the markets - $50bn is a huge amount of money," she said.

 

Banks and financial institutions across the world had investments with Bernard Madoff:

 

The Royal Bank of Scotland said on Monday it could potentially lose about £400m from the alleged fraud, if all its investments had to be written off.

 

Spain's largest bank, Santander, which also owns the UK High Street banks Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley, said one of its funds had $3.1bn invested in the firm run by Bernard Madoff

 

France's BNP Paribas estimated its exposure to be more than $460m

 

The French bank, Natixis, a subsidiary of Caisse d'Epargne and Banque Populaire, said it could potentially lose up to 450m euros (£402m; $605m)

 

Spain's second-largest bank, BBVA, said it could potentially lose 300m euros ($400m)

 

One of the world's biggest investment groups, Man, said it had invested about $360m through its RMF institutional fund of funds business, representing 0.5% of its total funds

 

Japanese bank Nomura said its exposure was relatively small, at about 27.5bn yen (£201m), and added: "We regard this as non-material, considering our capital base."

 

'Systemic failures'

 

Mrs Horlick said 9% of Bramdean's funds were invested with Mr Madoff, but she said even if the money was written off, the fund involved would be down just 4%.

 

"I just want to make it clear to investors that even after this, they they would have done extremely well, relative to anything else they could have invested in," she said.

 

In a statement, Bramdean said: "It is astonishing that this apparent fraud seems to have been continuing for so long, possibly for decades, while investors have continued to invest more money into the Madoff funds in good faith.

Nicola Horlick has heavily criticised the performance of financial regulators

 

"The allegations made appear to point to a systemic failure of the regulatory and securities markets regime in the US."

 

However, some argued that the fund managers should themselves have done more.

 

"City figures cannot call for light touch regulation yet at the same time complain that regulators missed risks that the industry failed to spot" said Simon Morris, a partner with City law firm CMS Cameron McKenna.

 

"It's the unequivocal job of the fund manager to check out the bona fides of whoever they chose to pass their customers' money onto," he said.

 

Correspondents say the case is likely to fuel uncertainty about the entire hedge fund industry.

 

US prosecutors say Mr Madoff, a former head of the Nasdaq stock market, masterminded a fraud of massive proportions through his hedge fund and investment advisory business.

 

Mr Madoff is alleged to have used money from new investors to pay off existing investors in the fund.

 

A federal judge has appointed a receiver to oversee Mr Madoff firm's assets and customer accounts, while the 70-year-old banker has been released on $10m bail.

 

High returns promised

 

Mr Madoff founded Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities in 1960, but also ran a separate hedge fund business.

 

 

According to the US Attorney's criminal complaint filed in court, Mr Madoff told at least three employees on Wednesday that the hedge fund business - which served up to 25 clients and had $17.1bn under management - was a fraud and had been insolvent for years.

 

He said he was "finished", that he had "absolutely nothing" and "it's all just one big lie", and that it was "basically, a giant Ponzi scheme", the complaint said.

 

Under a Ponzi scheme, which is similar to pyramid schemes, investors are promised very high returns on their investment, while in reality, early investors are paid with money collected from later investors.

 

If found guilty, US prosecutors say he could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5m.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7783236.stm

 

bona fides like being chairman of the Nasdaq?

 

:P

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The US government will provide $17.4bn (£11.6bn) in loans to the troubled US car industry.

 

President George W Bush said allowing the US car industry to fail would not be "a responsible course of action".

 

Carmakers will get $13.4bn in short-term financing from the $700bn Wall Street bail-out, and another $4bn will be provided later.

 

The government set a deadline of 31 March for the firms to become viable, officials said.

 

A $14bn (£9.4bn) rescue failed in the Senate last week, raising fears of job cuts and a possible industry collapse.

 

All car firms have announced production cuts as the economic slowdown has slashed car sales.

 

Chrysler, Ford and GM have repeatedly warned that millions of jobs could be lost if the government does not agree to a package of loans to support the industry.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7791999.stm

 

:aye:

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Ummm, what's the 31st March deadline about? If they don't become viable by then what do the government do? Ask for their money back from a compnay going down the shitter?

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aye, basically...

 

"If the firms have not attained viability by March 31, 2009, the loan will be called and all funds returned to the Treasury"

 

If they become viable they can keep the money?

 

:aye:

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All is not well in Obamafanland. It's not clear exactly what accounts for the change of mood. Maybe it was the rancid smell emanating from Treasury's latest bank bailout. Or the news that the president's chief economic adviser, Larry Summers, earned millions from the very Wall Street banks and hedge funds he is protecting from reregulation now. Or perhaps it began earlier, with Obama's silence during Israel's Gaza attack.

 

Whatever the last straw, a growing number of Obama enthusiasts are starting to entertain the possibility that their man is not, in fact, going to save the world if we all just hope really hard.

 

This is a good thing. If the superfan culture that brought Obama to power is going to transform itself into an independent political movement, one fierce enough to produce programs capable of meeting the current crises, we are all going to have to stop hoping and start demanding.

 

The first stage, however, is to understand fully the awkward in-between space in which many US progressive movements find themselves. To do that, we need a new language, one specific to the Obama moment. Here is a start.

 

Hopeover. Like a hangover, a hopeover comes from having overindulged in something that felt good at the time but wasn't really all that healthy, leading to feelings of remorse, even shame. It's the political equivalent of the crash after a sugar high. Sample sentence: "When I listened to Obama's economic speech my heart soared. But then, when I tried to tell a friend about his plans for the millions of layoffs and foreclosures, I found myself saying nothing at all. I've got a serious hopeover."

 

Hoper coaster. Like a roller coaster, the hoper coaster describes the intense emotional peaks and valleys of the Obama era, the veering between joy at having a president who supports safe-sex education and despondency that single-payer healthcare is off the table at the very moment when it could actually become a reality. Sample sentence: "I was so psyched when Obama said he is closing Guantánamo. But now they are fighting like mad to make sure the prisoners in Bagram have no legal rights at all. Stop this hoper coaster--I want to get off!"

 

Hopesick. Like the homesick, hopesick individuals are intensely nostalgic. They miss the rush of optimism from the campaign trail and are forever trying to recapture that warm, hopey feeling--usually by exaggerating the significance of relatively minor acts of Obama decency. Sample sentences: "I was feeling really hopesick about the escalation in Afghanistan, but then I watched a YouTube video of Michelle in her organic garden and it felt like inauguration day all over again. A few hours later, when I heard that the Obama administration was boycotting a major UN racism conference, the hopesickness came back hard. So I watched slideshows of Michelle wearing clothes made by ethnically diverse independent fashion designers, and that sort of helped."

 

Hope fiend. With hope receding, the hope fiend, like the dope fiend, goes into serious withdrawal, willing to do anything to chase the buzz. (Closely related to hopesickness but more severe, usually affecting middle-aged males.) Sample sentence: "Joe told me he actually believes Obama deliberately brought in Summers so that he would blow the bailout, and then Obama would have the excuse he needs to do what he really wants: nationalize the banks and turn them into credit unions. What a hope fiend!"

 

Hopebreak. Like the heartbroken lover, the hopebroken Obama-ite is not mad but terribly sad. She projected messianic powers onto Obama and is now inconsolable in her disappointment. Sample sentence: "I really believed Obama would finally force us to confront the legacy of slavery in this country and start a serious national conversation about race. But now he never seems to mention race, and he's using twisted legal arguments to keep us from even confronting the crimes of the Bush years. Every time I hear him say 'move forward,' I'm hopebroken all over again."

 

Hopelash. Like a backlash, hopelash is a 180-degree reversal of everything Obama-related. Sufferers were once Obama's most passionate evangelists. Now they are his angriest critics. Sample sentence: "At least with Bush everyone knew he was an asshole. Now we've got the same wars, the same lawless prisons, the same Washington corruption, but everyone is cheering like Stepford wives. It's time for a full-on hopelash."

 

In trying to name these various hope-related ailments, I found myself wondering what the late Studs Terkel would have said about our collective hopeover. He surely would have urged us not to give in to despair. I reached for one of his last books, Hope Dies Last. I didn't have to read long. The book opens with the words: "Hope has never trickled down. It has always sprung up."

 

And that pretty much says it all. Hope was a fine slogan when rooting for a long-shot presidential candidate. But as a posture toward the president of the most powerful nation on earth, it is dangerously deferential. The task as we move forward (as Obama likes to say) is not to abandon hope but to find more appropriate homes for it--in the factories, neighborhoods and schools where tactics like sit-ins, squats and occupations are seeing a resurgence.

 

Political scientist Sam Gindin wrote recently that the labor movement can do more than protect the status quo. It can demand, for instance, that shuttered auto plants be converted into green-future factories, capable of producing mass-transit vehicles and technology for a renewable energy system. "Being realistic means taking hope out of speeches," he wrote, "and putting it in the hands of workers."

 

Which brings me to the final entry in the lexicon.

 

Hoperoots. Sample sentence: "It's time to stop waiting for hope to be handed down, and start pushing it up, from the hoperoots."

 

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090504/klein?rel=hp_currently

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aye, basically...

 

"If the firms have not attained viability by March 31, 2009, the loan will be called and all funds returned to the Treasury"

 

Who'd have guessed. That turned out to be bollocks....

 

This week, the New York Times revealed that General Motors (NYSE: GM), in concert with the government's wishes, is considering filing for bankruptcy in the coming months. The company has fallen victim to the new patterns of energy consumption, which have changed the demand for automobiles, as to the lack of credit and the consequent slump in demand caused by the recession.

 

Both the new and the previous administrations agreed to use some of the stimulus package approved last year to support restructuring the company, without going to court. However, government funding, in the amount of $13.4 billion, was conditioned to the compliance with requirements, which were not met. This led, on March 31, to the resignation of the chief executive, Rick Wagoner and to his replacement by Fritz Henderson, who declared that the company is working on two tracks. Before the government set deadline of June 1st, if there is agreement mainly between bondholders and workers, one path can lead to restructuring out of court. If there is no agreement, the other path leads to filing for bankruptcy.

 

Both the new and the previous administrations agreed to use some of the stimulus package approved last year to support restructuring the company, without going to court. However, government funding, in the amount of $13.4 billion, was conditioned to the compliance with requirements, which were not met. This led, on March 31, to the resignation of the chief executive, Rick Wagoner and to his replacement by Fritz Henderson, who declared that the company is working on two tracks. Before the government set deadline of June 1st, if there is agreement mainly between bondholders and workers, one path can lead to restructuring out of court. If there is no agreement, the other path leads to filing for bankruptcy.

 

The solution depends from a complex set of mutual concessions granted by the main creditors, the bondholders, the workers, the pension plans and some of the main suppliers of parts. Anyway, both of these alternatives, either out of court agreement or bankruptcy, will require at least $70 billion in government financing. This time, what is good for General Motors may not be good for the United States.

 

http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/news/2009/..._to_fork_in.htm

 

Wahey! Another deadline.

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Everyone says how tough this week's budget will be, how enormous the budget deficit is and how few options chancellor Alistair Darling has. Which is all true, but only within the tenets of conventional thinking. For a government with vision, this should be a golden opportunity for a landmark budget that seizes the high economic ground. It could change the dynamics of Britain's finance-driven capitalism and try to constrain unemployment growth while preparing for the upturn that will eventually come. But don't hold your breath.

 

For this recession is palpably the result of the collapse of what was, in effect, a gigantic pyramid debt selling scheme. The City's rise was feted by politicians across the political spectrum, none more than Gordon Brown, confusing Ponzi finance as innovation and creativity. Now the British government has had to put an astounding £1.3 trillion in various guarantees and investments behind the banking system in order to avoid the consequence of its fall. It creates a once-in-a-generation political opportunity to challenge the terms on which Britain approaches both the structures of capitalism and its management. Let's at least get something back from the highest-ever peacetime budget deficit.

 

The desire to stick to orthodoxy, though, is very strong, even if it has ended in disaster. What is striking about the last 20 months is how unwilling bankers, regulators, officials and ministers have been to accept that the free market of the last 30 years is redundant, intellectually and financially. Markets, it turns out, do make mistakes. Public authority does have to shape and reshape the structure in which markets operate. Regulators have to look at system-wide stability rather than assume the market will take care of it.

 

Above all, the business model of banks is not just a matter for banks. It is a matter of the keenest public interest. Otherwise the bargain - bankers pick up profits while taxpayers pick up losses - is grotesquely unfair.

 

There were dissidents aplenty. Bob Bennett, the chief operating officer of Northern Rock, tried to rein in the marketing ambitions of its chief executive, Adam Applegarth. The bank was dangerously overdependent on the money markets for its funding. Paul Moore at HBOS tried to restrain the same ambitions of CEO, James Crosby, who used the same business model, but paid with his job. At Standard & Poor's in the US, Frank Raiter quit early because he felt he simply did not have the information to provide the credit assessments the credit rating agency wanted in the time available.

 

At the Bank of England, David Blanchflower, a member of the monetary policy committee, says he considered resigning last August because it seemed the only honourable course given the difference between his belief in the coming recession and an inflation report that did not mention the word. Chris Rexworthy, a former director of the Financial Services Authority, freely admits that the regulator did not understand the risks of banks and building societies that grew so reliant on the money markets for their funding. Nor did it try to anticipate the kind of shock that the collapse of US investment bank Lehmans in September 2008 would administer to the British financial system.

 

But none made any serious difference; the belief in the orthodoxies was very strong. The boom in securitised assets, the unfounded confidence of bankers that they had eliminated risk and the certainties of free market intellectuals were unassailable. And until at least the collapse of Lehmans, the policy response was based on the view that the difficulties were local to particular banks; that no systemic and comprehensive response to the crisis involving Europe, the US and UK was necessary; and that markets would ride out the difficulties with judicious injections of Bank of England cash, whatever the short-term dramas. As one top banker told me, that was the message he received from the governor of the Bank of England on the eve of the collapse of Lehmans. It was a colossal misjudgment.

 

Thus Northern Rock was not immediately taken into public ownership with its depositors cash guaranteed; we had to go through a bank run and five months of dither before the government finally got to the right decision. And thus in the US the authorities watched for 12 months while a freeze in the American money market first locked investment bank Bear Stearns in a "death spiral" and then mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It could only be a matter of time before other banks were hit at the same time.

 

The fateful weekend duly arrived on 13 and 14 September last year. The US government found itself simultaneously trying to save the investment banks Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers, along with its largest insurance company AIG. Once again, the approach was case by case, but when the Bank of England and FSA saved Barclays from itself by vetoing its planned purchase of Lehmans, the Americans had no plan B. Lehmans went bust, taking the crisis to a new level.

 

Britain felt the effect immediately, as it had a year earlier with the freeze in the money markets that pulled down Northern Rock. Yet still we were taken unawares, within days cobbling together a deal between Lloyds and the stricken HBOS that was plain daft. If it worked, we had created a bank with awesome market power; if it did not, we had the world's biggest zombie bank. Nobody had thought through other options; liquidation, break-up or even temporary nationalisation. That would have implied being pre-emptive, activist and imposing a public solution on private banks, obviously inferior to what the market would do.

 

Three weeks later and there was a turning point - the banks, and in particular Royal Bank of Scotland, being compelled to accept £37bn of taxpayer investment to bolster their capital. But by then the government faced the very real prospect of a systemic bank collapse. Four months later, the government went further still; it insured £600bn of toxic assets, some 25% of all new bank lending undertaken since 2000. It was an amazing indictment.

 

Yet the opportunity for a serious restructuring of the banks was not taken. Instead, we own them at arm's length while Barclays and HSBC are not part of the settlement. The orthodoxy is that they must be returned to the private sector, the state having done its job. Business as usual. In any case, Barclays' and HSBC's independence limits the extent of any reform. Nor have the bankers really learnt any lessons. In the US, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase want to pay off the US government's investment and get back to what they were doing, the state that created the crisis. So do their British counterparts.

 

The budget is the chance to create a new orthodoxy. We need to borrow more, even with the budget deficit this high, in order to create jobs. And yes, we need the state to build a banking system that supports enterprise and innovation, rather than making fortunes for its personnel from gigantic Ponzi schemes.

 

The old business model is bust. The government, under duress, finally did the right thing last autumn. It must not regress to old mistakes this spring.

 

• Dispatches: Crash: How the Banks Went Bust begins on Channel 4 on Monday at 8pm

 

That's now. :nufc:

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aye, basically...

 

"If the firms have not attained viability by March 31, 2009, the loan will be called and all funds returned to the Treasury"

 

Who'd have guessed. That turned out to be bollocks....

 

This week, the New York Times revealed that General Motors (NYSE: GM), in concert with the government's wishes, is considering filing for bankruptcy in the coming months. The company has fallen victim to the new patterns of energy consumption, which have changed the demand for automobiles, as to the lack of credit and the consequent slump in demand caused by the recession.

 

Both the new and the previous administrations agreed to use some of the stimulus package approved last year to support restructuring the company, without going to court. However, government funding, in the amount of $13.4 billion, was conditioned to the compliance with requirements, which were not met. This led, on March 31, to the resignation of the chief executive, Rick Wagoner and to his replacement by Fritz Henderson, who declared that the company is working on two tracks. Before the government set deadline of June 1st, if there is agreement mainly between bondholders and workers, one path can lead to restructuring out of court. If there is no agreement, the other path leads to filing for bankruptcy.

 

Both the new and the previous administrations agreed to use some of the stimulus package approved last year to support restructuring the company, without going to court. However, government funding, in the amount of $13.4 billion, was conditioned to the compliance with requirements, which were not met. This led, on March 31, to the resignation of the chief executive, Rick Wagoner and to his replacement by Fritz Henderson, who declared that the company is working on two tracks. Before the government set deadline of June 1st, if there is agreement mainly between bondholders and workers, one path can lead to restructuring out of court. If there is no agreement, the other path leads to filing for bankruptcy.

 

The solution depends from a complex set of mutual concessions granted by the main creditors, the bondholders, the workers, the pension plans and some of the main suppliers of parts. Anyway, both of these alternatives, either out of court agreement or bankruptcy, will require at least $70 billion in government financing. This time, what is good for General Motors may not be good for the United States.

 

http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/news/2009/..._to_fork_in.htm

 

Wahey! Another deadline.

 

Being someone closely related to the auto industry here in the States, I find it hard to believe that the government would insist that Wagoner step down and Fritz take the wheel. Not so much because I think Wagoner was a genius who was left holding the bag, but because none of the banks had their CEOs ousted throughout this process.

 

Maybe I'm naive, but I think any large company is poorly run just by it's very nature. We just never noticed it before because nearly all Americans drive to work everyday, and as such, need cars to get there. How in the world you can fuck that up is beyond me, but at the same time, how in the world can you fuck up as an insurance company? That shit is the biggest racket on the face of the earth. You pay and pay and pay for some shit that might happen, then when it does, you get a tiny percentage back on what you've paid in over the years.

 

I definitely wasn't a McCain supporter, but I also wasn't one of these moonies who was convinced that Obama was going to ride in on a lightning bolt and save us all from the big bad Bush. Clinton duped me with all his lies back in the first election I could vote in. It hasn't happened a second time.

 

The truth is, we did it to ourselves, and like Thom Yorke so eloquently sang, that's what really hurts. We took on loans we couldn't afford from banks who knew we couldn't afford them, but the ever increasing housing market in this country made it all seem like a can't-lose proposition. When the real estate bubble finally burst and people couldn't even afford the no money down ridiculous ARM loans on houses they couldn't hope to afford, it all went to shit.

 

Should the government have protected us from ourselves? In all honesty, no, but our government has transformed itself in my lifetime from necessary evil for the public good to babysitter and surrogate parent. It's all moot points though as this country was bought and sold when Nixon signed the HMOs into existence (at least in my opinion).

 

Frankly, it all makes me want to vomit, and the two-party partisan cockblocking and name-calling that passes for politics in Washington these days gives me the dry heaves.

 

To think I had family members die for this sham that passes for America these days is a fucking travesty.

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aye, basically...

 

"If the firms have not attained viability by March 31, 2009, the loan will be called and all funds returned to the Treasury"

 

Who'd have guessed. That turned out to be bollocks....

 

This week, the New York Times revealed that General Motors (NYSE: GM), in concert with the government's wishes, is considering filing for bankruptcy in the coming months. The company has fallen victim to the new patterns of energy consumption, which have changed the demand for automobiles, as to the lack of credit and the consequent slump in demand caused by the recession.

 

Both the new and the previous administrations agreed to use some of the stimulus package approved last year to support restructuring the company, without going to court. However, government funding, in the amount of $13.4 billion, was conditioned to the compliance with requirements, which were not met. This led, on March 31, to the resignation of the chief executive, Rick Wagoner and to his replacement by Fritz Henderson, who declared that the company is working on two tracks. Before the government set deadline of June 1st, if there is agreement mainly between bondholders and workers, one path can lead to restructuring out of court. If there is no agreement, the other path leads to filing for bankruptcy.

 

Both the new and the previous administrations agreed to use some of the stimulus package approved last year to support restructuring the company, without going to court. However, government funding, in the amount of $13.4 billion, was conditioned to the compliance with requirements, which were not met. This led, on March 31, to the resignation of the chief executive, Rick Wagoner and to his replacement by Fritz Henderson, who declared that the company is working on two tracks. Before the government set deadline of June 1st, if there is agreement mainly between bondholders and workers, one path can lead to restructuring out of court. If there is no agreement, the other path leads to filing for bankruptcy.

 

The solution depends from a complex set of mutual concessions granted by the main creditors, the bondholders, the workers, the pension plans and some of the main suppliers of parts. Anyway, both of these alternatives, either out of court agreement or bankruptcy, will require at least $70 billion in government financing. This time, what is good for General Motors may not be good for the United States.

 

http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/news/2009/..._to_fork_in.htm

 

Wahey! Another deadline.

 

What happened to all that let the markets decide bollocks?!

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aye, basically...

 

"If the firms have not attained viability by March 31, 2009, the loan will be called and all funds returned to the Treasury"

 

Who'd have guessed. That turned out to be bollocks....

 

This week, the New York Times revealed that General Motors (NYSE: GM), in concert with the government's wishes, is considering filing for bankruptcy in the coming months. The company has fallen victim to the new patterns of energy consumption, which have changed the demand for automobiles, as to the lack of credit and the consequent slump in demand caused by the recession.

 

Both the new and the previous administrations agreed to use some of the stimulus package approved last year to support restructuring the company, without going to court. However, government funding, in the amount of $13.4 billion, was conditioned to the compliance with requirements, which were not met. This led, on March 31, to the resignation of the chief executive, Rick Wagoner and to his replacement by Fritz Henderson, who declared that the company is working on two tracks. Before the government set deadline of June 1st, if there is agreement mainly between bondholders and workers, one path can lead to restructuring out of court. If there is no agreement, the other path leads to filing for bankruptcy.

 

Both the new and the previous administrations agreed to use some of the stimulus package approved last year to support restructuring the company, without going to court. However, government funding, in the amount of $13.4 billion, was conditioned to the compliance with requirements, which were not met. This led, on March 31, to the resignation of the chief executive, Rick Wagoner and to his replacement by Fritz Henderson, who declared that the company is working on two tracks. Before the government set deadline of June 1st, if there is agreement mainly between bondholders and workers, one path can lead to restructuring out of court. If there is no agreement, the other path leads to filing for bankruptcy.

 

The solution depends from a complex set of mutual concessions granted by the main creditors, the bondholders, the workers, the pension plans and some of the main suppliers of parts. Anyway, both of these alternatives, either out of court agreement or bankruptcy, will require at least $70 billion in government financing. This time, what is good for General Motors may not be good for the United States.

 

http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/news/2009/..._to_fork_in.htm

 

Wahey! Another deadline.

 

Being someone closely related to the auto industry here in the States, I find it hard to believe that the government would insist that Wagoner step down and Fritz take the wheel. Not so much because I think Wagoner was a genius who was left holding the bag, but because none of the banks had their CEOs ousted throughout this process.

 

Maybe I'm naive, but I think any large company is poorly run just by it's very nature. We just never noticed it before because nearly all Americans drive to work everyday, and as such, need cars to get there. How in the world you can fuck that up is beyond me, but at the same time, how in the world can you fuck up as an insurance company? That shit is the biggest racket on the face of the earth. You pay and pay and pay for some shit that might happen, then when it does, you get a tiny percentage back on what you've paid in over the years.

 

I definitely wasn't a McCain supporter, but I also wasn't one of these moonies who was convinced that Obama was going to ride in on a lightning bolt and save us all from the big bad Bush. Clinton duped me with all his lies back in the first election I could vote in. It hasn't happened a second time.

 

The truth is, we did it to ourselves, and like Thom Yorke so eloquently sang, that's what really hurts. We took on loans we couldn't afford from banks who knew we couldn't afford them, but the ever increasing housing market in this country made it all seem like a can't-lose proposition. When the real estate bubble finally burst and people couldn't even afford the no money down ridiculous ARM loans on houses they couldn't hope to afford, it all went to shit.

 

Should the government have protected us from ourselves? In all honesty, no, but our government has transformed itself in my lifetime from necessary evil for the public good to babysitter and surrogate parent. It's all moot points though as this country was bought and sold when Nixon signed the HMOs into existence (at least in my opinion).

 

Frankly, it all makes me want to vomit, and the two-party partisan cockblocking and name-calling that passes for politics in Washington these days gives me the dry heaves.

 

To think I had family members die for this sham that passes for America these days is a fucking travesty.

 

Totally agree that whichever party gets into power only maintains the status quo, the illusion of left and right wing policies is a charade perpetuated on both sides of the atlantic. The celebrations when their guy wins is baffling given that it's still exactly the same corporations that are running the show.

 

Not sure I totally agree we did it to ourselves though. I know the view of government is different in America where the idea is they should interfere as little possible. But the only people that took out loans they couldn't afford were those gullible enough to be hoodwinked by the banks and the extortionate rates they'd offer someone on the bones of their arse. I believe it's the place of government to protect those people from their own stupidity, not enable the strongest members of society to bleed them dry and make off with their ill gotten gains.

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aye, basically...

 

"If the firms have not attained viability by March 31, 2009, the loan will be called and all funds returned to the Treasury"

 

Who'd have guessed. That turned out to be bollocks....

 

This week, the New York Times revealed that General Motors (NYSE: GM), in concert with the government's wishes, is considering filing for bankruptcy in the coming months. The company has fallen victim to the new patterns of energy consumption, which have changed the demand for automobiles, as to the lack of credit and the consequent slump in demand caused by the recession.

 

Both the new and the previous administrations agreed to use some of the stimulus package approved last year to support restructuring the company, without going to court. However, government funding, in the amount of $13.4 billion, was conditioned to the compliance with requirements, which were not met. This led, on March 31, to the resignation of the chief executive, Rick Wagoner and to his replacement by Fritz Henderson, who declared that the company is working on two tracks. Before the government set deadline of June 1st, if there is agreement mainly between bondholders and workers, one path can lead to restructuring out of court. If there is no agreement, the other path leads to filing for bankruptcy.

 

Both the new and the previous administrations agreed to use some of the stimulus package approved last year to support restructuring the company, without going to court. However, government funding, in the amount of $13.4 billion, was conditioned to the compliance with requirements, which were not met. This led, on March 31, to the resignation of the chief executive, Rick Wagoner and to his replacement by Fritz Henderson, who declared that the company is working on two tracks. Before the government set deadline of June 1st, if there is agreement mainly between bondholders and workers, one path can lead to restructuring out of court. If there is no agreement, the other path leads to filing for bankruptcy.

 

The solution depends from a complex set of mutual concessions granted by the main creditors, the bondholders, the workers, the pension plans and some of the main suppliers of parts. Anyway, both of these alternatives, either out of court agreement or bankruptcy, will require at least $70 billion in government financing. This time, what is good for General Motors may not be good for the United States.

 

http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/news/2009/..._to_fork_in.htm

 

Wahey! Another deadline.

 

Being someone closely related to the auto industry here in the States, I find it hard to believe that the government would insist that Wagoner step down and Fritz take the wheel. Not so much because I think Wagoner was a genius who was left holding the bag, but because none of the banks had their CEOs ousted throughout this process.

 

Maybe I'm naive, but I think any large company is poorly run just by it's very nature. We just never noticed it before because nearly all Americans drive to work everyday, and as such, need cars to get there. How in the world you can fuck that up is beyond me, but at the same time, how in the world can you fuck up as an insurance company? That shit is the biggest racket on the face of the earth. You pay and pay and pay for some shit that might happen, then when it does, you get a tiny percentage back on what you've paid in over the years.

 

I definitely wasn't a McCain supporter, but I also wasn't one of these moonies who was convinced that Obama was going to ride in on a lightning bolt and save us all from the big bad Bush. Clinton duped me with all his lies back in the first election I could vote in. It hasn't happened a second time.

 

The truth is, we did it to ourselves, and like Thom Yorke so eloquently sang, that's what really hurts. We took on loans we couldn't afford from banks who knew we couldn't afford them, but the ever increasing housing market in this country made it all seem like a can't-lose proposition. When the real estate bubble finally burst and people couldn't even afford the no money down ridiculous ARM loans on houses they couldn't hope to afford, it all went to shit.

 

Should the government have protected us from ourselves? In all honesty, no, but our government has transformed itself in my lifetime from necessary evil for the public good to babysitter and surrogate parent. It's all moot points though as this country was bought and sold when Nixon signed the HMOs into existence (at least in my opinion).

 

Frankly, it all makes me want to vomit, and the two-party partisan cockblocking and name-calling that passes for politics in Washington these days gives me the dry heaves.

 

To think I had family members die for this sham that passes for America these days is a fucking travesty.

 

Totally agree that whichever party gets into power only maintains the status quo, the illusion of left and right wing policies is a charade perpetuated on both sides of the atlantic. The celebrations when their guy wins is baffling given that it's still exactly the same corporations that are running the show.

 

Not sure I totally agree we did it to ourselves though. I know the view of government is different in America where the idea is they should interfere as little possible. But the only people that took out loans they couldn't afford were those gullible enough to be hoodwinked by the banks and the extortionate rates they'd offer someone on the bones of their arse. I believe it's the place of government to protect those people from their own stupidity, not enable the strongest members of society to bleed them dry and make off with their ill gotten gains.

 

5 star hotels, comissions, Bentley's, Chateau Lafite are all more important dontcha know...? :D

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Not sure I totally agree we did it to ourselves though. I know the view of government is different in America where the idea is they should interfere as little possible. But the only people that took out loans they couldn't afford were those gullible enough to be hoodwinked by the banks and the extortionate rates they'd offer someone on the bones of their arse. I believe it's the place of government to protect those people from their own stupidity, not enable the strongest members of society to bleed them dry and make off with their ill gotten gains.

 

If Fop has said that this thread would already be on page 16. :D(it's true though) :razz:

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Not sure I totally agree we did it to ourselves though. I know the view of government is different in America where the idea is they should interfere as little possible. But the only people that took out loans they couldn't afford were those gullible enough to be hoodwinked by the banks and the extortionate rates they'd offer someone on the bones of their arse. I believe it's the place of government to protect those people from their own stupidity, not enable the strongest members of society to bleed them dry and make off with their ill gotten gains.

 

If Fop has said that this thread would already be on page 16. :D(it's true though) :razz:

 

Only because you'd never be so clear as to state your actual belief like that in the first place and there'd be 13 pages of people trying to get some sort of clarification from you as to what you were going on about.(Glad we agree though)

:razz:

Edited by Happy Face

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Not sure I totally agree we did it to ourselves though. I know the view of government is different in America where the idea is they should interfere as little possible. But the only people that took out loans they couldn't afford were those gullible enough to be hoodwinked by the banks and the extortionate rates they'd offer someone on the bones of their arse. I believe it's the place of government to protect those people from their own stupidity, not enable the strongest members of society to bleed them dry and make off with their ill gotten gains.

 

If Fop has said that this thread would already be on page 16. :razz:(it's true though) :razz:

 

Only because you'd never be so clear as to state your actual belief like that in the first place and there'd be 13 pages of people trying to get some sort of clarification from you as to what you were going on about.(Glad we agree though)

:D

 

Rubbish [/Rention]

 

:D

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aye, basically...

 

"If the firms have not attained viability by March 31, 2009, the loan will be called and all funds returned to the Treasury"

 

Who'd have guessed. That turned out to be bollocks....

 

This week, the New York Times revealed that General Motors (NYSE: GM), in concert with the government's wishes, is considering filing for bankruptcy in the coming months. The company has fallen victim to the new patterns of energy consumption, which have changed the demand for automobiles, as to the lack of credit and the consequent slump in demand caused by the recession.

 

Both the new and the previous administrations agreed to use some of the stimulus package approved last year to support restructuring the company, without going to court. However, government funding, in the amount of $13.4 billion, was conditioned to the compliance with requirements, which were not met. This led, on March 31, to the resignation of the chief executive, Rick Wagoner and to his replacement by Fritz Henderson, who declared that the company is working on two tracks. Before the government set deadline of June 1st, if there is agreement mainly between bondholders and workers, one path can lead to restructuring out of court. If there is no agreement, the other path leads to filing for bankruptcy.

 

Both the new and the previous administrations agreed to use some of the stimulus package approved last year to support restructuring the company, without going to court. However, government funding, in the amount of $13.4 billion, was conditioned to the compliance with requirements, which were not met. This led, on March 31, to the resignation of the chief executive, Rick Wagoner and to his replacement by Fritz Henderson, who declared that the company is working on two tracks. Before the government set deadline of June 1st, if there is agreement mainly between bondholders and workers, one path can lead to restructuring out of court. If there is no agreement, the other path leads to filing for bankruptcy.

 

The solution depends from a complex set of mutual concessions granted by the main creditors, the bondholders, the workers, the pension plans and some of the main suppliers of parts. Anyway, both of these alternatives, either out of court agreement or bankruptcy, will require at least $70 billion in government financing. This time, what is good for General Motors may not be good for the United States.

 

http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/news/2009/..._to_fork_in.htm

 

Wahey! Another deadline.

 

What happened to all that let the markets decide bollocks?!

 

Exactly my problem with the whole issue; it should be one way or the other. Either...

 

1. Don't regulate past basic stuff like you can't charge people 1000% interest and let the chips fall where they may, or

 

2. Regulate and bailout as necessary.

 

That's what's really screwing us in my opinion- we're sending this "Too Big to Fail" message and that's the wrong message.

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