Monday, March 17, 2008

It's A Pig, with Lipstick, and She Likes To Be Called Bear Stearns ...

Well, so much for our advice last Friday.

Kelly Evans, from the WSJ, speaking on MSNBC this morning, glossed over the failure and collapse of Bear Stearns as a "unique situation".


Just about everyone else writing or commenting on this believes this is the start of a conga line (hmmm, Prez Prado's Mambo No. 5 might be a good soundtrack) and we'll be reading about future financial institution failures like a baseball box score.

It took the Bush Grindhouse nearly a week to respond to devastation in New Orleans, brought by Hurricane Katrina, yet they snap into action - ON A SUNDAY - to bailout a corporate bandit like Bear Stearns.

Did they bury the footage?

Were investment bankers, mortgage officers, bond traders, standing on the roof of Bear Stearns, waving white sheets with "Help" scrawled on them?

Were masses of these greedheads huddled in the lobby of the Bear Stearns building, perhaps having gone for hours, without a cappuccino, or bottle of mineral water?

Maybe, to pass the time, they simply played cards.

Heaven forbid, one of the Bush Grindhouse's corporate cronies be inconvenienced.

If they had a television in the lobby yesterday morning, and were tuned into the Sunday news programs, their spirits would have been lifted by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

Paulson trotted from show-to-show, putting lipstick on the all the pigs, still singing a happy song.

From Gretchen Morgenson/NYT, yesterday morning;

"WHAT are the consequences of a world in which regulators rescue even the financial institutions whose recklessness and greed helped create the titanic credit mess we are in? Will the consequences be an even weaker currency, rampant inflation, a continuation of the slow bleed that we have witnessed at banks and brokerage firms for the past year?

Or all of the above?

Stick around, because we’ll soon find out. And it’s not going to be pretty."
This is a good read, as Morgenson goes on a blistering listing of Bear Stearns' failure, greed, arrogance, mismanagement, like a DA reading a long rap sheet.

As to Paulson, here's Krugman this morning;
"It’s true that Henry Paulson, the current Treasury secretary, still says that any proposal to use taxpayers’ money to help resolve the crisis is a “non-starter.” But that’s about as credible as all of his previous pronouncements on the financial situation."
And this;
"As I said, the important thing is to bail out the system, not the people who got us into this mess. That means cleaning out the shareholders in failed institutions, making bondholders take a haircut, and canceling the stock options of executives who got rich playing heads I win, tails you lose.

According to late reports on Sunday, JPMorgan Chase will buy Bear for a pittance. That’s an O.K. resolution for this case — but not a model for the much bigger bailout to come. Looking ahead, we probably need something similar to the Resolution Trust Corporation, which took over bankrupt savings and loan institutions and sold off their assets to reimburse taxpayers. And we need it quickly: things are falling apart as you read this.

$2 per share.

Yeah, J.P. Morgan got a steal, and likely that price was inflated, but we hope that Bear Stearns is held accountable, beyond the embarrassment of just ending up Penny Stock aisle.

And, no doubt, start counting the times The Bailout Commander, and his surrogate son, John McCain, call for making the Bush Tax cuts permanent.

Bonus Bailout Baloney

Scarecrow/Firedoglake: Bush Is Becoming Hoover; Where is FDR?

Cernig/The Newshoggers: Bush Says White House In Control Of Financial Rout

Jeff Fecke/Shakesville: Moral Hazards are for Poor People

Prairie Weather: Financial markets: "Like waking up in summer with snow on the ground"

Brilliant at Breakfast: But if you lose your job, do you think for one minute the government will help YOU

emptywheel/Firedoglake: Credit Crises

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