Fórum da Saco Invest
HomeHome  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  RegisterRegister  MemberlistMemberlist  UsergroupsUsergroups  Log in  

Share | 

 Bailing out Wall Street - Again

Go down 

Number of posts : 440
Registration date : 2007-07-01

PostSubject: Bailing out Wall Street - Again   Sat Oct 20, 2007 9:39 pm

Bailing out Wall Street - Again

by Dean Baker

This article was printed in the following news outlets:

The Guardian Unlimited
, October 17, 2007

Z-Net, October 20, 2007

See this article on the original website

Twenty years ago the stock market experienced its
largest single-day dive in history, with the Dow falling by 22.6%. The
next day, Alan Greenspan, newly appointed as Federal Reserve chairman,
ensured his everlasting status as a Wall Street icon by engineering a
rescue of the market. Greenspan coordinated arrangements with the major
banks who stood behind the specialty brokers that make the market. This
restored liquidity to the market and brought Wall Street back to life.

This history is noteworthy now, not just because of the 20th
anniversary, but also because we seem to have a new bailout in the
works. According to press accounts, Treasury secretary Henry Paulson
has made arrangements for several major banks to form a bailout fund.
This fund will buy up debt instruments that are now illiquid as a
result of the fallout from the subprime crisis. Investors are shying
away from these debt instruments out of fear of incurring large losses.
Paulson hopes that a fund backed by several large banks will restore
confidence to the market and thereby encourage investors to hold bonds
and other assets backed in whole or in part by subprime mortgages.

This deal raises several important questions. First, there is an
immediate question about an implicit guarantee of taxpayer dollars.
Paulson has issued assurances that there is no such guarantee. This
seems hard to believe. If these banks lose tens of billions of dollars
because the losses on these mortgages are greater than expected, will
Paulson just say "sorry folks"? That doesn't seem likely.

To make his assertion more credible perhaps Paulson should write up
an explicit statement that says that no public money in any form
(either funds authorized by Congress or loans from the Fed) will go to
these institutions to offset potential losses on this bailout fund.

The second question is what message this bailout is sending
investors. The principle under which such a bailout would be reasonable
policy is if the price of these bonds are temporarily depressed because
of unfounded fear. Let's assume that this is in fact the case (as
opposed to their price being depressed because they really have lost
much of their value). The question then is under what circumstances
does the government move in to protect investors from unfounded fears.

My home may plunge in price because people wrongly believe that it
is in a bad neighborhood. Paulson will not organize a consortium of
major banks to support the price of my home in the face of this
irrational fear. When and why does the Treasury/Fed step in? Whenever
the big boys get in trouble? It would be nice to have a statement of
policy on this issue. And how about some payment from the financial
institutions for the insurance that they now get free of charge? The
selective and one-sided protection policy that appears to be in place
will simply encourage more irresponsible speculation in the future.

This raises the final and most important point. If the government
has an interest in protecting against an irrational run pushing down
the price of bonds or other assets, it follows that it also has an
interest in protecting against an irrational run-up in the price of
assets. In other words, shouldn't the Fed and Treasury take
responsibility for preventing the sort of bubbles that we have recently
witnessed in the stock and housing markets?

Irrational price declines are no more harmful than irrational asset
bubbles. An over-valued stock or housing market sends the wrong signals
to consumers and investors. For example, tens of millions of homeowners
will find themselves less well prepared for retirement than they
expected because they thought house prices would continue to rise. By
allowing the housing bubble to grow unchecked, the Fed and Treasury
undermined the public's ability to plan for the future. Similarly, the
unsustainable stock prices of the tech bubble caused many corporations
and governments to contribute too little to pension funds, leading to
huge underfunding problems following the crash.

It's nice that Treasury is quick to help its friends on Wall Street, but we need a real policy, not just ad hoc bailouts.

Dean Baker is the
co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). He
is the author of The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the
Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer
( ). He also has a blog, "Beat the Press,"
where he discusses the media's coverage of economic issues. You can
find it at the American Prospect's web site.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Bailing out Wall Street - Again
Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
» The Next ObamaCare Mirage (from Wall street Journal)
» One Up On Wall Street
» Wolf of Wall Street.
» Assault on Wall Street (2013) | ????? ????? ???????... (Film)
» US Does Not Need to Jail Wall Street Bankers: Remove the System Instead

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Jump to: