Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Much Being Hidden from Public - Treasury Conference Call

From coyote of the Democratic Underground:

Treasury Conference Call

Various readers wrote us, and it was confirmed by a detailed report on the call at DealBreaker, that the Treasury Department held a conference call this evening for analysts on the bailout bill. A memo was evidently sent to SIFMA members; others may have been contacted by other means. But the report I got from one person who was on the call was the the questions came from financial services industry members. In other words, this was most assuredly not intended to be a call open to the public at large. If anyone from the media or other member of the great unwashed was listening in, it was by accident.

This is simply scandalous. To have a group of interested parties get a privileged briefing by government officials on a matter of keen public interest flies in the face of what a democracy is supposed to be about. The proper method would either be a published FAQ on the Treasury website or a briefing with the media included. But why should I be surprised? Favoritism has been a staple of the Bush Administration.

Update 12:30 AM: Have queued up recording of conference call but not yet listened to it. But reader and sometime contributor Lune provides a useful take. Hoisted from comments:

1) If even the Treasury is saying tranching is a formality, then it really is nothing. Not sure why Dems fought so hard for a fig leaf.

2) Waiting a couple of weeks because no one has any idea when or where the next bomb will blow up. In other words, all their doomsday scenarios about Black Monday were B.S. They screamed the check had to be written by Monday, but now they're saying they actually have a few weeks before they need to cash it. Plus, this will allow them to "seek guidance" from GS, JPM, and other selfless public servants about where the money should be funneled.

From conference call:

Q: Guy Moszkowski, Merrill Lynch: Is your goal with the pricing mechanism to inject as much liquidity and capital or is it to force recognition of losses and consolidation so we can see who will survive and who will die.
A: Hard to say either of those extremes. It's a balancing act.

Q: Mike Holt, Boston Company: when will the treasury start purchasing these assets? Wednesday? A couple weeks?
A: A few weeks, several weeks, once Congress passes bill
Q: But some people will fail before that?
A: We understand.

Q: Didn't catch the name, Davis Polk: When you decide to buy non,residential/commercial assets, do you have to ask for approval?
A: No, just consult with fed chair and send a note to congress

Q: Jeff, didn't catch firm name: Is there any way to ensure the purchased dollars are actually re-lent back into the system? will that be mandated?
A: No provision for that
Q: Can you add that?
A: We're always open and considering.
From Michael Moore: The Rich Are Staging A Coup This Morning (Swiping The Silverware On Way Out The Door)

More from Naked Capitalism.


Jack of all trades,  11:56  

Unbelievable! Why should we trust the people who caused this whole mess? They pulled $700 billion out of their ass! They have no idea what the worth of the securities really are.

One of the reasons they want to avoid bankruptcy of these massive institutions is that that would reveal the value which they know is far lower than has been reported. That in itself could be catastrophic.

It really sucks because we are dammed if we do and damned if we don't.

Roth's stepchild 22:49  

I agree. It puts us in the position of having to trust the "evil-doers", lol. I don't trust any of them, however, I also know lending greases the wheels of our financial system and if that comes to a screeching halt, we're all in big trouble.

You're right about the bankruptcy issue. If we find out what these poorly written, convoluted securities are worth...well, I don't want to think about it. Aside from the fact that there is no demand for them, I'm sure they're practically worthless.

Thanks again for your comment.

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