Wall Street Bailout

It is Insolvency Stupid!

The Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) deadline has been extended. This doesn't sound good but you can be the judge:

Today, the Fed delayed by two days the March 17 deadline for submissions of proposed packages of debt that investors can buy with Fed financing. No agreements have been announced yet for proposed securities. Brokers and investors have had difficulty agreeing over contract terms for the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, the people said.

After reading the article, I thought to myself is there an interest in or demand for such a facility present. Secretary Geithner is counting on TALF to unfreeze the credit markets. Look, I want to see him succeed and I hope I am wrong. But something tells me we should be focusing like a laser beam on the issue of solvency and dedicate our very limited resources to addressing this issue.

This Would Be Hilarious if it Wasn't Our Money

Ken Lewis, Bank of America CEO, continues his public relations campaign to convince people/investors that BofA is not insolvent. He is now claiming that it was a tactical mistake for BofA to take TARP money to purchase Merrill Lynch. What a crock!

The only reason why this guy still has a job is because no one else wants to command a sinking ship.

AIG: Give us another bailout or we'll declare bankruptcy

I've lost count. How many times have we bailed out this so-called insurance company?

American Insurance Group, the insurance giant that is 80-percent owned by the US government, is in discussions with the government to secure additional funds so it can keep operating after next Monday, when it will report the largest loss in U.S. corporate history, CNBC has learned.

Sources close to the company said the loss will be near $60 billion due to writedowns on a variety of assets including commercial real estate.

That massive loss is likely to spur downgrades in its insurance and credit ratings that will force AIG to raise collateral that it doesn't have.

In addition, if AIG's book value falls below a certain level, as it seems certain to do, it will trigger default in certain of its debt instruments, say people familiar with the situation.

ON FDL: Bad Bank or Nationalization: What will CDSs Cost Us?

On FDL, masaccio peers into the financial statements of Citi and Bank of America, to determine Bad Bank or Nationalization: What will CDSs Cost Us?masaccio. Suffice it to say that if the credit default swaps are honored, it's going to cost A LOT of money. Cram down, anyone? I think the answer is discussed in Institutional Risk Analytic's interview, The Big Banks vs. America: A Roundtable with David Kotok and Josh Rosner.

There is one notable quote from masacci, which is actually pulled from a Financial Times article:

Rush Limbaugh defends Merrill Lynch extravagance as stimulus

Hat tip to Bob Sackamento, who diaried on DailyKos this gem from wrong-wing blubberbrain Rush Limbaugh, by way of National Review Online:

Obama was angry that Merrill Lynch used $1.2 million of TARP money to remodel an executive suite. Excuse me, but didn't Merrill have to hire a decorator and contractor? Didn't they have to buy the new furnishings? What's the difference in that and Merrill loaning that money to a decorator, contractor and goods supplier to remodel Warren Buffet's office? Either way, stimulus in the private sector occurs. Are we really at the point where the bad PR of Merrill getting a redecorated office in the process is reason to smear them? How much money will the Obamas spend redecorating the White House residence?

Bailout now exceeds costs of every American war combined

The War against Wall Street bankers losing their bonuses has now dwarfed any other war America has ever fought.

The total value of the bailouts undertaken by the federal government in 2008 now exceeds the combined cost of every major war the United States has ever engaged in, according to a comparison of war costs calculated by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the value of the bailouts as calculated by Bloomberg News or Bianco Research.

According to CRS, all major U.S. wars (including such events as the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, but not the invasion of Panama or the Kosovo War), cost a total of $7.2 trillion in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars.

AIG unloads $16 Billion in credit default swaps on the Fed

It appears that the Fed's solution to the derivatives problem is to unload it onto the taxpayer.

American International Group retired $16 billion in credit default swaps, the contracts that almost caused the company's collapse, after buying the underlying securities with help from the Federal Reserve.

The fund created by the Fed and AIG to protect the insurer's customers from losses has now purchased collateralized debt obligations with a face value of about $62.1 billion, the firm said in a statement.

Bailout bought holdings dropping like a rock

This is what happens when you buy assets for reasons other than getting a return on value.

The government mounted a vigorous defense Friday of its massive bank bailout, responding to an Associated Press analysis showing that stock in the program intended to eventually earn taxpayers a profit has lost almost one-third of its value _ nearly $8 billion _ in barely one month.

Banks admit bailout won't work

Wow! Knock me over with a feather. I wonder if these guys get surprised when the sun rises every morning?

So much for that story. A few days ago, when Hank Paulson called the heads of the nine families to Washington and shoved cash down their throats, he announced that the banks would use this new taxpayer cash to lend. They won't, of course. They'll hoard it like a starving family who has just been given a grocery cart full of food.

And after a few days of silence, even the banks are finally admitting that.

NYT: , John Thain, the chief executive of Merrill Lynch, said on Thursday that banks were unlikely to act swiftly. Executives at other banks privately expressed a similar view.