Treasury Plans to Outsource the Entire $700 Billion Bailout

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

There are a couple of stories regarding the $700 billion bailout today that really should raise the eyebrows of Americans who have lived through and witnessed the Bush years. Especially taking into consideration the over-reliance on private contractors, financial mismanagement, and loose accounting practices in Iraq and elsewhere with taxpayer money that have been a hallmarks of the Bush administration.

The NY Times reports Treasury sets timetable to pick managers. “The Treasury Department put its $700 billion bailout on a fast track on Monday, asking companies to submit bids for running the system by Wednesday and announcing its plan to select winners on Friday.”

Yes, the Treasure Department will take only one day to review bids before awarding contracts. Hey, at least Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson didn’t just announce no-bid award to, say, Paulson’s old company, Goldman Sachs. See if this sounds familiar —

Administration officials plan to outsource almost the entire project, which will largely rely on “reverse auctions” in which the government accepts bids from financial institutions that want to sell their troubled assets.

The Treasury said it intended to hire one company as a “financial agent” to set up the basic system, which would include running the auctions, keeping track of the various portfolios and overseeing all the operational issues.

The plan is to have the “subprime mortgages, mortgage-backed securities and derivative instruments like collateralized debt obligations” the government purchases will the $700 billion bailout money also be handled by private investment mangers. These managers would then be tasked with devising “investment strategies” and make trades that will involve possibly “multibillions of dollars… on a single day.” Private management, the Treasury Department, claims will “minimize the government’s losses and possibly generate a profit for taxpayers.”

With only one day planned to review the application, the Treasury Department is likely to make mistakes. Unless, of course, Paulson and friends have been planning this for months. The NY Times notes:

One of the biggest challenges will be preventing conflicts of interest. The Treasury is accepting bids only from experienced investment managers, almost all of which are likely to be either sellers or buyers of mortgage-backed securities.

So, on the face of it, it seems Paulson is asking for bids to mitigate the finacial crisis from the very same investment managers who helped create the money meltdown in the first place!

Yesterday, Paulson announced that Neel Kashkari, a former Goldman Sachs banker with only six years of experience in the financial sector, will be in charge of the $700 billion bailout.

The Treasury Department plans to have 24 government officials overseeing the all the work done by the private financial contractors and hold its first auction for “bad paper” in six weeks.

So, the Paulson “plan” is to put bailout management in the hands of private financial mercenaries. More than likely, Paulson and Kashkari will hire some of the same people who built and detonated this economic time bomb. Likely, they will hire more former colleagues cronies from Goldman Sachs. (No wonder, Warren Buffett had Berkshire Hathaway invest $5 billion into the Wall Street firm.) The Treasury Department is acting fast and Congress is effectively in recess for the November 4th elections.

Meanwhile in another related story, the NY Times reports the Federal Reserve announces a plan to buy short-term debt. In a “radical” new plan, the Fed will “buy large amounts of short-term debt in an effort to stimulate the credit markets”.

While the move will put more taxpayer dollars at risk, it underscores the growing sense of urgency felt by policy makers in a climate where lending has virtually dried up.

The Fed is willing to risk more taxpayer money because of the cratering markets. “The Fed’s plan to buy commercial paper was formulated amid cascading losses in global stock markets, as the banking crisis spread across Europe and investors feared dire consequences for the world economy.”

Instead of defending the taxpayers by decoupling American retirement from the markets by strengthening Social Security by removing the payroll cap and increasing payments to retirees, the Bush administration and the Fed wants to keep throwing money down the rathole.

Buying commercial paper could open the Fed to difficult conflicts of interest, because it would be juggling the goals of protecting its investment portfolio with its traditional goals of promoting stable prices and low unemployment…

The Federal Reserve has already stretched its resources to the limit by providing hundreds of billions of dollars in short-term loans to banks, Wall Street firms and money market funds.

America is being deliberately drowned in a sea of bad debt.

Meanwhile, The Guardian reports IMF urges rapid, coordinated international response to financial crisis. The International Monetary Fund raised its “estimate of losses to the US banking system to around $1.4 trillion… , 45% up from the $945 billion it estimated in April and reaffirmed just two months ago.” The IMF “also estimated that the major global banks need to raise some $675 billion in new capital in the next few years.”

Is the best way to protect Americans really to keep trying to keep the markets from correcting from the tricke-down, borrow-and-spend, deregulate, Reaganomics-Bush economic bubble? The bottomless pit keeps growing. Retirement, for one, needs to be decoupled from the markets. Since the banks need to large cash influxes, why are we not nationalizing them?

I believe we’re all in this together and I think we need to think about how we can help everyone, rather than save the very few.


Cross-posted to Daily Kos.



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  1. I’m just a taxpayer with a modest household income, a short-term mortgage, and tanking retirement investments.

  2. Yes, the Treasure Department will take only one day to review bids before awarding contracts. Hey, at least Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson didn’t just announce no-bid award to, say, Paulson’s old company, Goldman Sachs.

    This all sounds vaguely familiar.

  3. Happy happy Joy joy!!!!

  4. have been a clusterfuck of incompetence and corruption.

    Did anyone really expect anything other than more incompetence and more corruption at this point?

    January 20 can’t come quickly enough: and if McSlime steals the election, we can cheer for “Herbert Hoover again.”

  5. A new blog giving deeper meaning into the $700 billion bail-out plan. http://got700billion.blogspot….

  6. I’m submitting a bid, I’m sure I’m qualified. I could use a little bailout money. I promise to share, though.

    This is so fucked up.

    • Robyn on October 8, 2008 at 15:34

    …we have people skilled at choosing advisers and consultants to choose advisers and consultants to choose advisers and consultants.  (Rough quote of Pascrell from yesterday)

    This is just another level of advisers and consultants.  These guys don’t know what the hell they are doing, so they revert to form.  They’re business majors after all.

    • Robyn on October 8, 2008 at 15:38

    We have a bunch of gambling addicts who’ve come up with a “winning strategy”:  make bigger bets.

    multibillions of dollars… on a single day

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