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Look like I
|| by jeff | friday, february 13, 2009 10:05pm | comments(574) | permalink | post comment ||

Motley Fool says Hurry Up and Nationalize the Banks, which is different by degrees from what I'm saying, but has the same core - quarantine the bad assets and address them directly, federally.

I said it first :)

Federal Lending Institution
|| by jeff | tuesday, february 10, 2009 11:59pm | comments(2) | permalink | post comment ||

I have a question:

Rather than lend this bailout money to financial institutions, where the government can’t possibly have tight enough control over how it is managed, spent, or repaid, why not start up a federal lending agency instead?

This way they would have all the control they need over how the money is spent, as well as fine control over the overhead costs. They could loan the money directly to the businesses that would help stimulate the economy the most; and they wouldn’t have to worry about defining executive pay caps and all this other nonsense.

The other side of setting up this lending agency is that the government could buy out all the “toxic” debt being held by the remaining financial institutions, getting it off their books and putting them back on a path towards normalcy. Then the federal lending agency could work with the debtors to come up with reasonable payment plans (with directly controlled interest rates and terms), in part sponsored by the bailout.

Loans that turn out to be profitable, either made directly to responsible businesses or rehabilitated debt based on the above programs, could be sold back to private financial institutions to help cover the cost of the bailout and that debt which is not recoverable. This would limit the overall lifetime of such an agency and encourage moving back to normal business over time. In a sense, the debtors would be directly responsible for paying back the budget deficit caused by the bailout as well.

As a small side benefit, this federal lending agency could potentially create new jobs or recover lost jobs as well.

Doing the above immediately attacks the problem at its source while setting up the existing financial institutions to live or die by their own chosen business practices moving forward.

The only enlightened argument I’ve heard about why this doesn’t happen is that either 1) it grants the federal government too much power or 2) it’s politically dangerous to someone who would propose such a plan (presumably because of #1). But at this time, we’re having issues specifically because the federal government does not have enough power to tackle this problem in its current state, and the money they’re handing over to private institutions is being misspent. I would also argue that this actually helps the free market in the end because it gives private institutions the chance to reset the clock and move forward with productive business plans and zero government intervention. Call it a one-time “get out of jail free” card for the guys that got us in to this mess. Seems like a win-win for just about everyone…

So, how did Bush do?
|| by jeff | tuesday, january 27, 2009 7:20pm | comments(1) | permalink | post comment ||

By the numbers...

The Dow went from 10580 to under 8000
   o Under Clinton the Dow more than tripled from 3310 to 10580
   o Source: any stock market web site
The NASDAQ lost almost half its value from 2770 to under 1440
   o Under Clinton the NASDAQ almost quadrupled from 697 to 2770
   o Source: any stock market web site
Unemployment went up from 3.9% to 7.2%
   o Under Clinton unemployment went down from 7.4% to 3.9%
   o Source
The National Debt went from ~$5.75 trillion to more than $10 trillion
   o Under Clinton it went from ~$4.5 trillion to ~5.75 trillion
   o Source
The price of oil more than quadrupled from $23.00/barrel to $99.65/barrel
   o Under Clinton it went from $16.75 ($24.62 when adjusted for inflation)
   to $23.00 ($27.59 when adjusted for inflation)
   o Source

But hey, he kept us safe, right?

Number of civilian deaths in US due to terrorist activity:
• Bush: 2,974 (on 9/11 alone)
• Clinton: 6 (1993 WTC Bombing) + 168 (Oklahoma City) = 174
• Source:

Number of military deaths due to hostile action or terrorist attack:
• Bush (not including 2007 or 2008 figures): 3386
• Clinton: 76

Of course the numbers don’t count things like Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, the USA PATRIOT Act, the Bush Doctrine, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Mission Accomplished, claiming he can go to war without the consent of Congress, the 9/11 Commission, the cutoff of stem cell research funds, “Political Capital”, Intelligent Design, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Halliburton, or anything else along those lines…