Monday, September 22, 2008

Please Respond Immediately Forthwith In Confidence

Dear American:

I cordially correspond today to request you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude which is most seriously important.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused urgent need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion USD. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gramm, lobbyist for UBS, who (God willing) will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a former U.S. congressional leader and the architect of the PALIN / McCain Financial Doctrine, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. As such, you can be assured that this transaction is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred. For this inconvenience you will be rewarded with grand fees of 1/1,000,000th of 1% of possible profits due to off shore laundering of skim funds due to reprinting of said funds.

Please reply with mother's maiden name, routing and account numbers of all of your bank account, IRA, 401K, pension funds, gold and silver accounts, serial numbers of any weapons you own, and college fund accounts and those of your children and grandchildren to so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Please Respond Immediately Forthwith In Confidence.

Yours Faithfully and Sincerely,

Minister of Treasury Paulson

h/t Melina and Richard.

Now, let's get real.

Here's Ian Welsh.

Chris Dodd Stares Down Paulson

So there was "Goldman" Hank, holding a gun on the economy and staring Congress down. "Give me the 700 billion, or the economy gets it!" he threatened. For two days it looked like he was going to get away with it, 700 billion dollars to spend on the Wall Street gang, the boys who'd already shot the economy up so bad it was in danger of bleeding to death.

Then Marshal Dodd came swinging through doors, shotgun in hand, and said "not so fast Hank. Put the gun down, and back away from the economy. We're going to do this my way."

For a moment calm reigned, then from off one side came a high pitched squeak, "you just put down that gun Dodd," said Bush as he leveled his blunderbuss "the Veto" at Dodd, "and you let my good friend Hank walk away with the money or I'll use this gun." He swivelled and instead of aiming it at Dodd, put its muzzle right against the economy's head. "I'll do it. Don't think I won't! I've killed an economy before!"

Hand still on the trigger, Dodd glanced over at Reid. The old man's fighting days, some said, were long gone. Dodd hoped Reid had one big fight left in him. If he didn't, the economy was done, and Paulson would get away, scot-free.

So yeah, the Dodd plan. Good plan. Buying up mortgages for 15% less than the current market value of the house, then reissuing a clean mortgage to homeowners helps the banks while still giving them a slight haircut (but only slight, odds are home prices will drop more than 15% before the slide is over.) It helps homeowners stay in their houses. It sets a market price so that banks know what mortgages are worth and thus what the derivatives based on houses are worth. And giving the mortgages bought to the FDIC, one of the few agencies that Bush didn't cripple, is genius.

Giving the government stock equal to the value of any bailout for the company is also only fair. If they get bailed out, taxpayers should have a chance to get their money back. If they don't like that, well, beggars, and they are beggars, shouldn't be choosers.

There's more...
If that wasn't enough, Ian kicks it again.

What the Dodd Bill Needs To Be Complete

As much as I think the Dodd bill is a significant improvement over the Paulson power grab, and I do, it is missing a number of important things.

First, as Kay Hagan points out, the review portion seems to be missing teeth. If the review board doesn't like what the Secretary is doing, what can it do about it? Also, she's right that it needs to meet once a week, not once a month. This crisis is moving too fast for once a month.

Second, there doesn't seem to be any provision for paying for this beyond praying it'll eventually pay for itself. I don't see any good reason not to add in Bernie Sanders suggestion of a 10% surcharge tax on the Americans who earn over a million a year. They're the ones who benefited from the last 8 years, who benefited from the policies which caused this disaster, they're the ones who should pay to clean up the mess.

Next, the bill (Section 10) allows for insurance of money market funds but doesn't appear to require that if they fail anyway, they be taken over by the FDIC. This needs to be a bedrock principle, if you blow up your business, the government gets it, you don't get to keep it when in a free market you'd be bankrupt.

I also don't see any real re-regulation of the industry in this bill. That needs to occur, and it needs to be in the bill, because once Wall Street has their bailout they will fight against being properly regulated tooth and nail. This needs to include very strict rules not allowing the use of default insurance any more, getting rid of most different types of swaps, regulations limiting the use of securitization and limits on how debt in general can be sold. (In particular, debt should probably not be able to be sold more than once, and originators should be forced to keep at least half on their books to avoid them selling stuff they know is crap.)

Dodd needs to add an organization which has the right to regulate banks. This needs to be in badly.

There's more...
Call your Senator. They flat out ignore emails and there isn't time to write. CALL. Call today.

Look, I know we ask you sometimes to write or call about this or that. THIS IS THE NEXT 20 YEARS OF YOUR LIFE, FOLKS.

FUCK the Presidential elections. Fuck the Supreme Court.

Right fracking now.

Thirty, forty years, some of us have waited. Here it is. Today. RIGHT NOW.
We screw this up, we are slave fucking labor working for the MAN.
I mean the words I'm using.

Get on the phone.
Call your friends.
Call your family.
Call everyone you know.

Tell them to tell their Senators and Congressman...

HOLD THE LINE. Do not give an inch to the Republicans.
No one fucking inch.
  • Support Dodd's plan.
  • They broke it. They lose control of what happens now.
  • No unelected official in charge.
  • The government owns what it pays for.
  • Middle-class people get their mortgages relieved also.
  • Bankruptcy Judges can grant mortgage relief.
  • People over $1 million can pay a 10% surcharge -- they've been making millions on our labor, fair is fair.
  • Congress has oversight ongoingly. End of discussion.
  • Screw up, go to jail. This is not "get out of jail free" boys. It's save the country, not you.
  • And no fucking golden parachutes for CEOs, no way, no how.
  • Make them pay.
Or your grandchildren will still be paying these Republican crooks.
Pick up the phone -- make the call.