Archive for the ‘Bailout’ Category

>Western Tribune Column October 8 2008

October 8, 2008

>Welcome to Banking’s Musical Chairs

It makes you wonder: Who’s buying Wachovia? Maybe by the time this is printed we will know in this dizzying version of musical chairs.

First it was a solid bank. But it seems it was just waiting in line, as if only one financial institution per day could announce trouble. By the time Wachovia’s turn came around, they already had a suitor. They even had the help of the Feds, as the FDIC supposedly brokered the deal.

I didn’t think much about it at the time, but I thought the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation was in the business of insuring our deposits. Who knew they were brokers as well?

So the first deal was with Citigroup. Now Wells Fargo says they are buying Wachovia. Or part of it, who knows?

Wells Fargo? Do they transport their money in stagecoaches? In competition with the Pony Express?

Regardless of what my bank is called next week, or next month, I have a suggestion. I see that the Wachovia branch near UAB West on 9th Avenue is scheduled to close in November. The next day, the branch at Colonial Promenade Tannehill is opening.

What makes them think that the people who live near the Bessemer Super Highway will drive all the way to McCalla to cash a check? And do the many businesses near Academy Drive want to send employees that far to make their daily deposits?

Bessemer is large enough to have three branches of the bank with the largest presence in the city. I can just see the little stagecoaches triangulating the city.

One thing I feel sure about. The money we have in banks here in Alabama is safe. State banking officials have said so, and I believe them. And congress and the president are enacting the largest rescue in history. No need to run to the ATM machine.

Opinions vary on the rescue, and no one offering an opinion, including myself, has all the information they would need to predict whether the bailout will really stop the bleeding or prevent it from happening again.

But most people do believe that without it, things might get worse as far as credit and financing goes. And with a little luck, the bailout will turn into a profitable gamble, making us taxpayers some money.

Not that we would see any of it, but that’s no surprise, is it?

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>Uugghh. Congress. Cows.

September 30, 2008

>The economic crisis reminds me of Foot and Mouth Disease. No, I am not talking about Nancy Pelosi sticking her foot in her mouth, or John McCain sticking both of his feet and Sarah Palin’s in his mouth (that refers to him not allowing her to speak when he was explaining her answer to a voter’s question regarding Pakistan in a Pizza parlor the other day. I mean, muzzling the VP candidate is one thing, but muzzling her when she is sitting there beside you is sort of weird).

No, I am talking about the similarities of the fiscal crisis in America and the Foot and Mouth outbreak in England in 2001. If dollars were cows, well, congress just burned over a trillion dollars similar to the 10 million cattle and sheep that were killed because of the disease. In both cases, there is a big stink.

No one wanted to slaughter 10 million cattle and sheep in 2001 but it was necessary to save the rest of the livestock, keep the disease from spreading beyond the area it was contained in and to save the industry.

So public health officials and veterinarians made the decision to do what was necessary, even though people were screaming about it and protesting and all.

That is a picture of the FMD virus coating protein.

Likewise, no one wants to spend (or borrow, really, since it will probably be returned…with profit) 700 billion dollars to save the financial sector, but to keep the economic meltdown from spreading beyond the area it is contained in and to save the industry it will be necessary.

Ten million dead animals stink, no matter how you dispose of them, and a drop of 777 points in the Dow Jones stinks too. The public health officials dealt with the stink by wearing masks and such. All congress has to do is hold their nose and cast a vote. In some cases, a legislator does not have the luxury of waiting for a “perfect” bill to vote on. Sometimes you have to vote, and fix it later.

Let’s hope the “bench warming” Republicans (as they were referred to this morning) can quit pouting and vote to help the country next time. I say this, because majority whip James Clyburn said this morning that Republican leadership had said they could deliver 100 votes out of the 110 originally agreed upon. Twenty minutes before the vote he saw Roy Blunt, the minority whip and asked him how it stood. Blunt said they didn’t have a hundred, but could deliver 75 or 80. That would have been enough to pass the bill, and Clyburn told Blunt that would do because he had a cushion. They delivered 65 votes, and they blame Pelosi. I agree with Barney Frank, who said that changing you vote because of a speech is putting their hurt feelings above what is best for the country.

Come on children, play nice.