View From Table 9

October 31, 2008

The Math is not the Point

It’s amazing how quickly a good idea spreads, isn’t it?  Take the We Deserve it Dividend.  What started as a simple post somewhere has spread quite far.  Far enough of course that some have decided to nit-pick the concept – for instance revealing the mathematical error in the OP’s calculations that mean there would be a lot less going to each individual.  OK, but that’s not the point.

See, the problem with the whole bailouts and loans scheme cooked up by the Treasury is that pretty much no one has any idea how the deals proposed would address the problems at hand: namely the fact that the economy’s in the crapper, people are losing their jobs left and right, and now, just for special fun, they’re also losing their houses and even people who didn’t jump on the Happy Free Money Bandwagon are screwed (yes, Virginia, we really are a community and we are all affected at times by the actions of a few).

Unfortunately, they’re not, and of course we’ve been lied to yet again about not only that but how the loans we’re making are actually being used.  For instance, the NY Times did an article on what AIG has done with the $123 Billion they were loaned:

A.I.G. has declined to provide a detailed account of how it has used the Fed’s money. The company said it could not provide more information ahead of its quarterly report, expected next week, the first under new management. The Fed releases a weekly figure, most recently showing that $90 billion of the $123 billion available has been drawn down.

Of the two big Fed loans, the smaller one, the $38 billion supplementary lending facility, was extended solely to prevent further losses in the securities-lending business. So far, $18 billion has been drawn down for that purpose.

An estimated $13 billion of the money was needed to make good on investment accounts that A.I.G. typically offered to municipalities, called guaranteed investment contracts, or G.I.C.’s.

For $59 billion of the $72 billion A.I.G. has used, the company has provided no breakdown. A block of it has been used for day-to-day operations, a broad category that raises eyebrows since the company has been tarnished by reports of expensive trips and bonuses for executives.

Why should we care?  Because it’s our money that’s being loaned.  It’s not only ours, it’s the money of our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.  We have the right, in fact the obligation, to ensure that the debt we’re incurring is used as we intended it – not so that banks can buy other banks and make more money for themselves (without loaning a dime to anyone or re-negotiating even one mortgage) or so that Executives receive their good-job performance Bonuses that they don’t deserve.

Goldman Sachs, which is getting $10 billion US from Washington’s stunning $850-billion rescue plan to help prop up the battered financial system, is to pay out $6.85 billion in bonuses, according to media reports.

That’s $210,000 per employee. And that’s despite a 47% drop in its profit and 53% drop in its share price.

Goldman Sachs, by the way, also prospers from Washington’s $85 billion rescue of AIG, the world’s largest insurer — since it would lose up to $20 billion if AIG failed.

Morgan Stanley, which is also getting $10 billion from government, is doling out $6.44 billion in bonuses or $138,700 per employee, even though its profits tumbled 41% and its shares are off by 69%. And Merrill Lynch, which the Federal Reserve forced to merge with Bank of America, is paying out $6.7 billion.

Even employees at bankrupt Lehman Brothers are getting bonuses. And employees at Bear Stearns, which was bought by JP Morgan Chase after the Federal Reserve loaned it $29 billion, employees already got bonuses, according to reports.

How is it that the guys who created this mess get to use our tax dollars to give themselves bonuses for good performance?  Is it just me or is that insane?  That the White House is defending all this is just disgusting.  Clearly, they’re missing the real point:  We’d like for that huge debt to mean that things get better for us, not the White Collar Gangsters on Welfare.

Here IS the point:  How about putting that money where it really will make a difference?   Give it to every Citizen Taxpayer directly.   I think we’d all do better than these guys.  We could not do much worse.

1 Comment »

  1. Oh yeah. I know what to do with money. 🙂

    Comment by Brad — November 5, 2008 @ 2:37 am | Reply

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