What Did Bernanke & Obama really say?

No, this is not yet another read between the lines of the lines analysis of the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testimony or President Obama's State of the Union address.

Bernanke on nationalization of the banks:

Make sure we do not destablize the markets? Why? To keep this ponzi scheme going and not admit to insolvent banks?

Paul Krugman said it best in with this simple graphic:


preferred common shares TARP


At the top are a bank’s assets. Below are its obligations to various parties, with decreasing seniority from left to right. I’ve drawn it to embody a pessimistic assumption about the bank’s finances, because those are the cases we’re interested in: the bank’s assets aren’t enough to cover its debts. Nonetheless, the stock, both preferred and common, has a positive market value. Why? Because of the Geithner put: the bank is protected from collapse, keeping the creditors appeased, but stockholders will get the gains if somehow things turn up.

Krugman's Photoshop napkin sketch says it all, when one has that much debt, converted shares around isn't going to do much, so why reject nationalization wholesale?

During Bernanke's testimony, Rep. Brad Sherman commented that he hoped the term nationalization was not bastardized to mean protection for bond holders. This is a must watch video. Sherman does a Who's on First routine with mark-to-market rules.

I also want to point to a phrase in President Obama's speech.

And to respond to an economic crisis that is global in scope, we are working with the nations of the G-20 to restore confidence in our financial system, avoid the possibility of escalating protectionism, and spur demand for American goods in markets across the globe. For the world depends on us to have a strong economy, just as our economy depends on the strength of the world’s.

Have you heard anything protectionist to date beyond the concept of making a domestic workforce preferred for jobs in that domestic economy? I sure haven't.

On the other hand, the minute the business model of labor arbitrage is the least bit threatened, out come the corporate lobbyists trying to protect their ill gotten gains. What is the offshore outsourcing business in India now, about 5.7% of their GDP? Hey, not America's problem a country came up with a business model which involves screwing over the U.S. workforce and at the same time making profits on the backs of cheaper labor. And it's assuredly not unique to India, China has been working it for all it's worth too.