Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How cute. . .

Hank is going to let Bush pretend he’s still in charge. . . .

The Treasury Department, in its boldest move yet, is expected to announce a plan on Tuesday to invest up to $250 billion in banks, according to officials. The United States is also expected to guarantee new debt issued by banks for three years — a measure meant to encourage the banks to resume lending to one another and to customers, officials said.

And the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will offer an unlimited guarantee on bank deposits in accounts that do not bear interest — typically those of businesses — bringing the United States in line with several European countries, which have adopted such blanket guarantees.

. . . .

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. outlined the plan to nine of the nation’s leading bankers at an afternoon meeting, officials said. He essentially told the participants that they would have to accept government investment for the good of the American financial system.

Of the $250 billion, which will come from the $700 billion bailout approved by Congress, half is to be injected into nine big banks, including Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, officials said. The other half is to go to smaller banks and thrifts. The investments will be structured so that the government can benefit from a rebound in the banks’ fortunes.

President Bush plans to announce the measures on Tuesday morning. . . .

Henry Paulson, who himself had to be dragged kicking and screaming to this equity injection plan, worked out the details in private with the biggest players on Monday. . . and then kept it on the QT so that Still President Bush could come out on Tuesday morning and make it seem like he had some role to play in all this.

He didn’t.

Truth is, Mr. Hanky didn’t much either. Democrats in Congress inserted the language (over Paulson’s objections) in the TARP bill that gave Treasury the authority to do this; Paulson then did nothing for ten days, until markets tanked, credit got tighter, and UK PM Gordon Brown got most of the Europe on board with a similar plan. Hank Paulson is just desperately trying to keep up.

Meanwhile, Hank’s old pals at Goldman Sachs have cut a deal with New York state to headquarter their newly configured full-service bank in New York City. So, they get more from the federal government, and a state tax break, too.

How cute.

(cross-posted on The Seminal)

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