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Re: What does everyone think of the Bailout?
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Posted on: 2009/9/16 7:43
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Re: What does everyone think of the Bailout?
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Here you have Arianna Huffington on the left and Ron Paul on the right agreeing that the bailout was a disaster (still in the) making. And here we have Pat Buchanan (on the right) and Robert Reich (on the left) saying the same thing.

Posted on: 2009/9/15 22:51
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If you care at all about what's really happening you must read this:

The Big Takeover: The global economic crisis isn't about money - it's about power. How Wall Street insiders are using the bailout to stage a revolution

Excerpt:

There are plenty of people who have noticed, in recent years, that when they lost their homes to foreclosure or were forced into bankruptcy because of crippling credit-card debt, no one in the government was there to rescue them. But when Goldman Sachs ? a company whose average employee still made more than $350,000 last year, even in the midst of a depression ? was suddenly faced with the possibility of losing money on the unregulated insurance deals it bought for its insane housing bets, the government was there in an instant to patch the hole. That's the essence of the bailout: rich bankers bailing out rich bankers, using the taxpayers' credit card.

The people who have spent their lives cloistered in this Wall Street community aren't much for sharing information with the great unwashed. Because all of this shit is complicated, because most of us mortals don't know what the hell LIBOR is or how a REIT works or how to use the word "zero coupon bond" in a sentence without sounding stupid ? well, then, the people who do speak this idiotic language cannot under any circumstances be bothered to explain it to us and instead spend a lot of time rolling their eyes and asking us to trust them.

That roll of the eyes is a key part of the psychology of Paulsonism. The state is now being asked not just to call off its regulators or give tax breaks or funnel a few contracts to connected companies; it is intervening directly in the economy, for the sole purpose of preserving the influence of the megafirms. In essence, Paulson used the bailout to transform the government into a giant bureaucracy of entitled assholedom, one that would socialize "toxic" risks but keep both the profits and the management of the bailed-out firms in private hands. Moreover, this whole process would be done in secret, away from the prying eyes of NASCAR dads, broke-ass liberals who read translations of French novels, subprime mortgage holders and other such financial losers.

Posted on: 2009/3/26 8:30
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Re: What does everyone think of the Bailout?
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Too spooky(scary).

California Farmers Idle Crops, Vegetable Prices May Rise

By TRACIE CONE and GARANCE BURKE
The Associated Press
January 25, 2009

Consumers may pay more for spring lettuce and summer melons in grocery stores across the country now that California farmers have started abandoning their fields in response to a crippling drought.

California's sweeping Central Valley grows most of the country's fruits and vegetables in normal years, but this winter thousands of acres are turning to dust as the state hurtles into the worst drought in nearly two decades.

--More--

Posted on: 2009/1/26 10:19
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those two guys are bigger whores than the girls they get to work for them. Anything to get attention.

Posted on: 2009/1/9 21:24
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Well why not? I mean if they are going to throw money at an industry that got the nation into this mess, and throw money at another industry that is obsolete, why not throw money into an industry that will help people through the economic apocalypse?

Posted on: 2009/1/8 20:56
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Re: What does everyone think of the Bailout?
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"Two porn moguls, including Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt, are seeking a $US5 billion ($A7 billion) bailout from Washington, arguing that the limp US economy has thrown cold water on the adult entertainment industry.

Flynt and Girls Gone Wild video series creator Joe Francis asked the newly convened 111th Congress "to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America" in a bailout move similar to the one set aside for US auto manufacturers.

"Congress seems willing to help shore up our nation's most important businesses, (and) we feel we deserve the same consideration," Francis said in a statement.

"In difficult economic times, Americans turn to entertainment for relief. More and more, the kind of entertainment they turn to is adult entertainment."

The pair were quick to admit that "the 13-billion dollar industry is in no fear of collapse, but why take chances?"

Francis, recently imprisoned for nearly a year on a prostitution-related charge after pleading no contest in a plea bargain, cited industry figures that show adult DVD sales and rentals decreasing 22 per cent in 2008, as people turn to the internet for adult entertainment.

"With all this economic misery and people losing all that money, sex is the farthest thing from their mind," Flynt said.

"It's time for Congress to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America. The only way they can do this is by supporting the adult industry and doing it quickly."

Flynt said people were "too depressed to be sexually active."

"This is very unhealthy as a nation. Americans can do without cars and such, but they cannot do without sex.""

Posted on: 2009/1/8 3:28
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Re: What does everyone think of the Bailout?
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Quote:
Pin-up dude for the working class stiffs

"Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff, accused of masterminding a massive investment fraud.

Madoff, 70, is under house arrest in his Manhattan apartment on a $US10 million ($A14 million) bail.

He is so far the only person charged in an alleged $US50 billion ($A72 billion) Ponzi, or pyramid scheme in which major banks, ultra-wealthy private investors, universities, charities and Jewish organisations were among the victims."


He's 70 and he's lived the high life. What's the worst that will happen to him? He'll spend the rest of his life playing golf in a minimum security prison. Or, worse yet, a second-tier security prison where white-collar criminals who couldn't pull off a scam as long as he did reside.

It sickens me that charities got taken. It's only a matter of time before we hear about more corruption.

Posted on: 2009/1/2 2:44
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Pin-up dude for the working class stiffs

"Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff, accused of masterminding a massive investment fraud.

Madoff, 70, is under house arrest in his Manhattan apartment on a $US10 million ($A14 million) bail.

He is so far the only person charged in an alleged $US50 billion ($A72 billion) Ponzi, or pyramid scheme in which major banks, ultra-wealthy private investors, universities, charities and Jewish organisations were among the victims."

Posted on: 2009/1/1 23:53
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Lehman creditors may have lost $75B

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

BY CHRISTOPHER SCINTA, LINDA SANDLER AND JEFF ST. ONGE BLOOMBERG NEWS

Lehman Brothers Holdings' chief restructuring officer estimates the firm's bankruptcy may have cost creditors as much as $75 billion, two people familiar with the information said.

Bryan Marsal, the executive from the turnaround firm Alvarez & Marsal overseeing the bank's liquidation, projected creditors might have recovered $50 billion to $75 billion more if the New York-based investment bank had been wound down in an orderly way, instead of hurriedly filing for bankruptcy protection, according to one of the people. The projected loss may change as more forensic accounting work is done, the other person said.

Marsal will replace Richard Fuld as Lehman's chief executive this week. Alvarez & Marsal, based in New York, said in November it would increase staff involved in the wind-down of Lehman to about 620 from 260 by Dec. 31. Most of the new workers will be dedicated to settling Lehman's derivatives transactions in an effort to increase creditors' recoveries.

Lehman, which has operations in Jersey City, filed the biggest U.S. bankruptcy in September, with assets of $639 billion. The figure, derived by the company from its balance sheet as of May 31, included about $269 billion of financial instruments. Collateralized holdings were $295 billion, consisting of securities borrowed and bought under resale agreements.

Lehman creditors have asserted about $200 billion in unsecured claims against the company, one person said. No estimate of creditors' recoveries has been calculated, one person said. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported Marsal's estimates.

Alvarez & Marsal has been gathering data since it was hired in September, and its findings will go to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Peck in New York "as a matter of public record," said Rebecca Baker, a spokeswoman for the firm. She declined to comment further.

Lehman's trading counterparties canceled 900,000 derivatives contracts as a result of the bankruptcy filing, including many deals that would have profited Lehman. A few extra weeks would have given Lehman time to unwind those trades and preserve more money for creditors, according to one of the people.

Lehman, in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan, received 101 objections after saying it would assume certain derivative contracts and reject others.

The bank, forced to settle disputes with trading partners including Barclays, said Dec. 16 it had resolved 65 objections and that 30,000 derivative contracts were still open.

The contracts represent "billions of dollars" in value to creditors, Robert Lemons, a Weil, Gotshal & Manges lawyer representing Lehman, said at a hearing.

Sales of assets, including Lehman's brokerage operations, brought in about $3.5 billion in cash, Harvey Miller of Weil Gotshal, the company's lead bankruptcy lawyer, said Nov. 20.

Lehman won court approval Dec. 22 to divest its money management units to managers of Neuberger Berman, the biggest unit, in a deal that transferred 51 percent of the stock to the executives for no cash. Lehman retained 49 percent of the equity plus dividend-paying preferred shares.

Sanford & Bernstein analysts valued the money-management division at as much as $7 billion earlier this year, before market declines eroded its assets.

Lehman's New York headquarters accounted for most of the $1.54 billion the company received from Barclays for its North American brokerage. Lehman said Dec. 9 it would sell its French investment bank to a unit of Tokyo-based Nomura Holdings for 1 euro ($1.40), in exchange for reducing liabilities.

Posted on: 2008/12/30 14:41
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I think this post is now very old and we need to move on with new topics....

Posted on: 2008/12/29 16:35
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[quote]
Br6dR wrote:
throwing our tax dollars down a rat hole via outsourcing.
quote]

Outsourcing does not the cost tax-dollars to be spent. If anything it's a tax dollar saver.

[quote]
Obama's intention of updating our infrastructure
quote]

Now that's an obvious tax dollar expenditure. And more than one economist considers this to be throwing tax dollars down a rat hole.

If President Dope accomplishes his stated intentions this country is going to hell in a hand basket. Goodbye long-term prosperity peppered with short-term downturns in the economy....Hello long-term economic stagnation and malaise.......

Posted on: 2008/12/29 15:01
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I'll take Obama's intention of updating our infrastructure (like our electrical grid for example) any day over Republicans throwing our tax dollars down a rat hole via outsourcing.

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Posted on: 2008/12/28 4:33
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ROFLMAO.....HAHAHahaha

You think the idiocracy of government spending/losing money was bad under Dumya, just wait until the Obammesiah gets up to bat!

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Posted on: 2008/12/28 3:53
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Well... Do the people who said the "bailout" was the only thing standing between this country and imminent collapse still think it was a good idea? I say the Bush Administration once again played on your fears and conned you. More money down a rat hole. Who knows why. The Bush White House is tetched from top to bottom. (The ever lame Democrats in Congress share the blame for going along with it in an election year but Bush's idiots are ultimately responsible for giving the money away with no strings attached.)

Posted on: 2008/12/24 0:57
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Posted on: 2008/12/23 14:51
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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081222/ap_on_bi_ge/meltdown_secrets

Where'd the bailout money go? Shhhh, it's a secret

By Matt Apuzzo
The Associated Press
December 22, 2008

WASHINGTON ? It's something any bank would demand to know before handing out a loan: Where's the money going?

But after receiving billions in aid from U.S. taxpayers, the nation's largest banks say they can't track exactly how they're spending the money or they simply refuse to discuss it.

"We've lent some of it. We've not lent some of it. We've not given any accounting of, 'Here's how we're doing it,'" said Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in emergency bailout money. "We have not disclosed that to the public. We're declining to."

The Associated Press contacted 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money and asked four questions: How much has been spent? What was it spent on? How much is being held in savings, and what's the plan for the rest?

None of the banks provided specific answers.

"We're not providing dollar-in, dollar-out tracking," said Barry Koling, a spokesman for Atlanta, Ga.-based SunTrust Banks Inc., which got $3.5 billion in taxpayer dollars.

Some banks said they simply didn't know where the money was going.

"We manage our capital in its aggregate," said Regions Financial Corp. spokesman Tim Deighton, who said the Birmingham, Ala.-based company is not tracking how it is spending the $3.5 billion it received as part of the financial bailout.

The answers highlight the secrecy surrounding the Troubled Assets Relief Program, which earmarked $700 billion ? about the size of the Netherlands' economy ? to help rescue the financial industry. The Treasury Department has been using the money to buy stock in U.S. banks, hoping that the sudden inflow of cash will get banks to start lending money.

There has been no accounting of how banks spend that money. Lawmakers summoned bank executives to Capitol Hill last month and implored them to lend the money ? not to hoard it or spend it on corporate bonuses, junkets or to buy other banks. But there is no process in place to make sure that's happening and there are no consequences for banks who don't comply.

"It is entirely appropriate for the American people to know how their taxpayer dollars are being spent in private industry," said Elizabeth Warren, the top congressional watchdog overseeing the financial bailout.

But, at least for now, there's no way for taxpayers to find that out.

Pressured by the Bush administration to approve the money quickly, Congress attached nearly no strings on the $700 billion bailout in October. And the Treasury Department, which doles out the money, never asked banks how it would be spent.

"Those are legitimate questions that should have been asked on Day One," said Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., a House Financial Services Committee member who opposed the bailout as it was rushed through Congress. "Where is the money going to go to? How is it going to be spent? When are we going to get a record on it?"

Nearly every bank AP questioned ? including Citibank and Bank of America, two of the largest recipients of bailout money ? responded with generic public relations statements explaining that the money was being used to strengthen balance sheets and continue making loans to ease the credit crisis.

A few banks described company-specific programs, such as JPMorgan Chase's plan to lend $5 billion to nonprofit and health care companies next year. Richard Becker, senior vice president of Wisconsin-based Marshall & Ilsley Corp., said the $1.75 billion in bailout money allowed the bank to temporarily stop foreclosing on homes.

But no bank provided even the most basic accounting for the federal money.

"We're choosing not to disclose that," said Kevin Heine, spokesman for Bank of New York Mellon, which received about $3 billion.

Others said the money couldn't be tracked. Bob Denham, a spokesman for North Carolina-based BB&T Corp., said the bailout money "doesn't have its own bucket." But he said taxpayer money wasn't used in the bank's recent purchase of a Florida insurance company. Asked how he could be sure, since the money wasn't being tracked, Denham said the bank would have made that deal regardless.

Others, such as Morgan Stanley spokeswoman Carissa Ramirez, offered to discuss the matter with reporters on condition of anonymity. When AP refused, Ramirez sent an e-mail saying: "We are going to decline to comment on your story."

Most banks wouldn't say why they were keeping the details secret.

"We're not sharing any other details. We're just not at this time," said Wendy Walker, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based Comerica Inc., which received $2.25 billion from the government.

Heine, the New York Mellon Corp. spokesman who said he wouldn't share spending specifics, added: "I just would prefer if you wouldn't say that we're not going to discuss those details."

The banks which came closest to answering the questions were those, such as U.S. Bancorp and Huntington Bancshares Inc., that only recently received the money and have yet to spend it. But neither provided anything more than a generic summary of how the money would be spent.

Lawmakers say they want to tighten restrictions on the remaining, yet-to-be-released $350 billion block of bailout money before more cash is handed out. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the department is trying to step up its monitoring of bank spending.

"What we've been doing here is moving, I think, with lightning speed to put necessary programs in place, to develop them, implement them, and then we need to monitor them while we're doing this," Paulson said at a recent forum in New York. "So we're building this organization as we're going."

Warren, the congressional watchdog appointed by Democrats, said her oversight panel will try to force the banks to say where they've spent the money.

"It would take a lot of nerve not to give answers," she said.

But Warren said she's surprised she even has to ask.

"If the appropriate restrictions were put on the money to begin with, if the appropriate transparency was in place, then we wouldn't be in a position where you're trying to call every recipient and get the basic information that should already be in public documents," she said.

Garrett, the New Jersey congressman, said the nation might never get a clear answer on where hundreds of billions of dollars went.

"A year or two ago, when we talked about spending $100 million for a bridge to nowhere, that was considered a scandal," he said.

___

Associated Press writers Stevenson Jacobs in New York and Christopher S. Rugaber and Daniel Wagner in Washington contributed to this report.

Posted on: 2008/12/23 10:53
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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081221/ap_on_bi_ge/executive_bailouts

AP Study Finds $1.6 Billion Went to Bailed-Out Bank Executives

By Frank Bass and Rita Beamish
The Associated Press
Dec 21, 2008

Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits last year, an Associated Press analysis reveals.

The rewards came even at banks where poor results last year foretold the economic crisis that sent them to Washington for a government rescue. Some trimmed their executive compensation due to lagging bank performance, but still forked over multimillion-dollar executive pay packages.

Benefits included cash bonuses, stock options, personal use of company jets and chauffeurs, home security, country club memberships and professional money management, the AP review of federal securities documents found.

The total amount given to nearly 600 executives would cover bailout costs for many of the 116 banks that have so far accepted tax dollars to boost their bottom lines.

Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services committee and a long-standing critic of executive largesse, said the bonuses tallied by the AP review amount to a bribe "to get them to do the jobs for which they are well paid in the first place.

"Most of us sign on to do jobs and we do them best we can," said Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat. "We're told that some of the most highly paid people in executive positions are different. They need extra money to be motivated!"

The AP compiled total compensation based on annual reports that the banks file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The 116 banks have so far received $188 billion in taxpayer help. Among the findings:

_The average paid to each of the banks' top executives was $2.6 million in salary, bonuses and benefits.

_Lloyd Blankfein, president and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs, took home nearly $54 million in compensation last year. The company's top five executives received a total of $242 million.

This year, Goldman will forgo cash and stock bonuses for its seven top-paid executives. They will work for their base salaries of $600,000, the company said. Facing increasing concern by its own shareholders on executive payments, the company described its pay plan last spring as essential to retain and motivate executives "whose efforts and judgments are vital to our continued success, by setting their compensation at appropriate and competitive levels." Goldman spokesman Ed Canaday declined to comment beyond that written report.

The New York-based company on Dec. 16 reported its first quarterly loss since it went public in 1999. It received $10 billion in taxpayer money on Oct. 28.

_Even where banks cut back on pay, some executives were left with seven- or eight-figure compensation that most people can only dream about. Richard D. Fairbank, the chairman of Capital One Financial Corp., took a $1 million hit in compensation after his company had a disappointing year, but still got $17 million in stock options. The McLean, Va.-based company received $3.56 billion in bailout money on Nov. 14.

_John A. Thain, chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch, topped all corporate bank bosses with $83 million in earnings last year. Thain, a former chief operating officer for Goldman Sachs, took the reins of the company in December 2007, avoiding the blame for a year in which Merrill lost $7.8 billion. Since he began work late in the year, he earned $57,692 in salary, a $15 million signing bonus and an additional $68 million in stock options.

Like Goldman, Merrill got $10 billion from taxpayers on Oct. 28.

The AP review comes amid sharp questions about the banks' commitment to the goals of the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), a law designed to buy bad mortgages and other troubled assets. Last month, the Bush administration changed the program's goals, instructing the Treasury Department to pump tax dollars directly into banks in a bid to prevent wholesale economic collapse.

The program set restrictions on some executive compensation for participating banks, but did not limit salaries and bonuses unless they had the effect of encouraging excessive risk to the institution. Banks were barred from giving golden parachutes to departing executives and deducting some executive pay for tax purposes.

Banks that got bailout funds also paid out millions for home security systems, private chauffeured cars, and club dues. Some banks even paid for financial advisers. Wells Fargo of San Francisco, which took $25 billion in taxpayer bailout money, gave its top executives up to $20,000 each to pay personal financial planners.

At Bank of New York Mellon Corp., chief executive Robert P. Kelly's stipend for financial planning services came to $66,748, on top of his $975,000 salary and $7.5 million bonus. His car and driver cost $178,879. Kelly also received $846,000 in relocation expenses, including help selling his home in Pittsburgh and purchasing one in Manhattan, the company said.

Goldman Sachs' tab for leased cars and drivers ran as high as $233,000 per executive. The firm told its shareholders this year that financial counseling and chauffeurs are important in giving executives more time to focus on their jobs.

JPMorgan Chase chairman James Dimon ran up a $211,182 private jet travel tab last year when his family lived in Chicago and he was commuting to New York. The company got $25 billion in bailout funds.

Banks cite security to justify personal use of company aircraft for some executives. But Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., questioned that rationale, saying executives visit many locations more vulnerable than the nation's security-conscious commercial air terminals.

Sherman, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, said pay excesses undermine development of good bank economic policies and promote an escalating pay spiral among competing financial institutions ? something particularly hard to take when banks then ask for rescue money.

He wants them to come before Congress, like the automakers did, and spell out their spending plans for bailout funds.

"The tougher we are on the executives that come to Washington, the fewer will come for a bailout," he said.

Posted on: 2008/12/22 10:51
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Now that we have elected Obama into office, what else can we do to save our country?

Posted on: 2008/12/12 10:53
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Re: What does everyone think of the Bailout?
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I agree but wish to add on: The cause is GREED. Greed of mainly polititions who get huge incomes then take BRIBES,
but also CEO'S, do same, as do almost every person or organization who can figure out HOW TO. Consider UNIONS-They began as the hope of the UNDERDOGS but are now the DEEP POCKETS instead. Their inflated salaries,exclude teachers union, cause prices to become inflated. It's a VICIOUS CIRCLE. The BAILOUTS are AMERICA'S LATEST JOKE ON THE MIDDLE CLASS, AND JUST A NEW WAY TO ENRICH THE RICH.

Posted on: 2008/12/4 0:35
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Re: What does everyone think of the Bailout?
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that was awesome when that Dem congressman (dont remember his name) called them on the fact that they all flew there on private jets...

Posted on: 2008/11/20 18:43
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I really hope the Dems don't give a bridge loan to the auto industry. If you think Americans are pissed about Wall Street people making dough, wait till they find out people straight out of high school are making over 6 figures driving a forklift.

I think they should let Chrysler fail, then Ford and GM should declare bankruptcy... reorganize so they don't have to worry about legacy costs. Those CEO's looked pretty idiotic asking for a combined 25 billion when they flew over in private jets (where the trip cost 20k). Wagoner said they were spending 5 billion a month, yet somehow this 25 billion dollar bailout (where they get around 8 billion) is going to save them? The Alabama representative made it easy to understand for the middle class, auto workers in Alabama that aren't part of the UAW make around $45/hr (which is still a lot! but a little more than half of UAW workers) and no health insurance yet their tax dollars might go to pay for the "Cadillac" health insurance of UAW workers?

Posted on: 2008/11/20 4:47
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Re: What does everyone think of the Bailout?
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Can the JC residents ask for a bailout from our crap administration ?

Posted on: 2008/11/19 22:38
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Re: What does everyone think of the Bailout?
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How to Bail Out General Motors Imposing tough conditions would improve the odds of success and discourage many other firms from seeking costly government handouts. Robert J. Samuelson NEWSWEEK So it's come to this: General Motors, once the world's mightiest industrial enterprise, is now flirting with bankruptcy. Ford and Chrysler may not be far behind. Car and truck sales have collapsed. GM is rapidly exhausting its cash reserves and may soon be unable to pay its bills. Here's the dilemma: GM and other U.S. automakers ought to be rescued to minimize damage to the economy, but the rescue should require tough conditions that neither the Democratic Congress nor the incoming Obama administration seems willing to support. In a booming economy, a GM bankruptcy might be tolerable and useful. It would remind everyone of the social costs of mediocre management and overpriced unionized labor. But far from booming, the economy is declining at an apparently accelerating rate. Confidence among small businesses has dropped to a 28-year low, according to a survey released last week by the National Federation of Independent Business. No one knows what further havoc a GM bankruptcy might inflict. A study by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) estimates that 2.5 million jobs would be lost in the first year. The logic: if any of the "Big Three" went bankrupt, many suppliers would also fail; because car companies share suppliers, all U.S.-based manufacturers would suffer crippling parts shortages. American production would virtually stop until new supplier arrangements emerged. "It takes 6,000 to 14,000 parts to make a vehicle," says Sean McAlinden, CAR's chief economist. "If you don't have one, you can't make it." This may be too pessimistic. In a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, GM would "reorganize." It would suspend many existing debt payments and continue normal operations. Perhaps. The snag is that even in "reorganization," GM would require new loans and these might not be available. "Historically, when companies go bankrupt, there's 'debtor in possession' financing?investors lend you money, but they get repaid first. That market has evaporated because of the credit crunch," says auto analyst Rod Lache of Deutsche Bank. No loans, no production. Another possible pitfall: worried about warranties and service, customers might shun a bankrupt GM's vehicles. Why run these risks when the 6.5 percent unemployment rate seems headed toward 8 percent and almost a quarter of the 10 million jobless have been out of work for six months or longer? Just to satisfy a purist "free market" ideal? It doesn't make sense. But neither does it make sense simply to heave taxpayers' money at automakers. The objective is not to rescue the companies or workers; it is to shore up the economy and improve the U.S. industry's competitiveness. A bailout won't succeed unless other things also happen. First, auto companies' existing creditors need to write down their debts. Even with federal aid, companies will shrink. Economist McAlinden estimates that the country has surplus assembly capacity of about 4 million vehicles, much owned by the Big Three and destined to be shut. GM will need a $25 billion government loan to get through the recession and cover closing costs, says Lache. But GM already has $48 billion of debt. Unless the old debt is sharply written down, GM would be overburdened and its rendezvous with bankruptcy would merely be delayed. Already, shareholders are essentially wiped out. Second, labor costs need to be cut. By Lache's estimates, GM's hourly compensation?wage plus fringe benefits?totaled $71 in 2007 compared with Toyota's $47. Health benefits for retirees (many in their 50s, having retired after 30 years) are expensive. These costs contributed to GM's massive cash drain, $31 billion since 2005. But the United Auto Workers opposes making concessions. Just the opposite. Government aid, says UAW president Ron Gettelfinger, is needed "so that auto companies can meet their health-care obligations to more than 780,000 retirees and dependents." The bailout should be more than union welfare. Finally, automakers need a consistent energy policy. Congress demands that companies produce more fuel-efficient vehicles (35 miles per gallon by 2020, up from 25mpg now). But politicians also want low gas prices. These goals are contradictory. To encourage consumers to buy fuel-efficient vehicles, Congress should mandate higher gas prices. Gasoline taxes could be raised gradually (say a penny a month for four years, possibly offset by other tax cuts). Wild swings between low and high fuel prices have crippled the U.S. industry by erratically shifting buyer preferences?to and from SUVs. In bankruptcy, a judge can modify a firm's labor contracts and debts. GM needs the benefits of bankruptcy without the uncertainties, but the political process?so far?resists that desirable bargain. The conditions that Democrats seem to be discussing are mostly rhetorical gestures against high executive compensation (already limited) and in favor of more fuel efficiency (already legislated). The lame-duck Bush administration hasn't helped the conversation. It rejects additional assistance without saying why; if aid is forthcoming, it doesn't suggest what might be useful conditions. We are now seeing the first political side effects of the open-ended $700 billion rescue of financial institutions. With so much money going to so many recipients, boundaries and rationales need to be established. When is public intervention justified? Who deserves support and why? Otherwise, political firepower will increasingly rule. The reason for imposing tough conditions on the auto industry is not only to improve the odds of success, but also?by the sacrifices required?to make the process sufficiently unpleasant so that countless other companies and unions won't demand similar handouts. In 1979, when it rescued Chrysler from bankruptcy, the Carter administration insisted on concessions from management, investors and labor. We should do as much or more. http://www.newsweek.com/id/169162

Posted on: 2008/11/19 22:22
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Re: What does everyone think of the Bailout?
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From our favorite "crypto-commie" rag:


Saving Detroit
From The Economist print edition

Politicians, business and the unions all want a bail-out of Ford and General Motors. That would be a mistake

DETROIT is running on empty. General Motors and Ford announced on November 7th that they had burnt their way through a total of nearly $15 billion of their precious spare cash in the third quarter. GM is on course to run out of money early next year; Ford a little later. Chrysler, 80% owned by Cerberus Capital, a private-equity firm, is less open about its suffering. But most people think it is already roadkill (see article).

Across American industry, politics and labour, rarely have so many been so united: Detroit needs saving. The carmakers think they need $50 billion of taxpayers? support to see them through. At a time when the government is throwing more than $1 trillion at the financial system, isn?t that only fair? Indeed, if it saves millions of jobs isn?t it a bargain? You never know, the state?s investment might even turn a profit.

Bailing out Detroit would be a bad use of public money. It would be bad in principle, because it would be an open invitation to companies everywhere to apply for aid to survive the recession. Banks qualify for help because the entire economy depends upon their services. They are vulnerable to sudden collapses in confidence that can spread to other banks that are perfectly solvent. A good car company does not face the same threat. And although Detroit employs a network of suppliers, which would suffer if production shuts down, nothing would sap a recovery and job-creating enterprise like locking up badly used resources in poorly performing companies.

America?s carmakers accept the principle, but they argue that in practice they too are a special case. After years of cutting capacity and renegotiating their costs with the unions, the carmakers argue that they are within a whisker of better times: with one last shove from the taxpayer, it will be alright.

There is something to this?but not because of what is happening in America. As our special report explains, the global car industry is shifting from the saturated markets of rich countries to the huge potential of fast-growing emerging markets. As recently as 2005, America bought 10m more cars than the total of the BRICs?Brazil, Russia, India and China. This year, sales of cars in the BRICs should overtake those in America.

Despite slower economic growth in emerging markets, there are reasons to think car sales will remain strong. America has nearly one car for every person of driving age; China has fewer than three cars for every 100 people and India fewer still. Once people have a roof over their heads, meat on the table and a good job, the next thing they want is a set of wheels. In the next 40 years, the world?s fleet of cars is expected to increase from around 700m today to nearly 3 billion.

Some greens and pedestrians may find that a terrifying prospect. But for today?s embattled carmakers it is an extraordinarily exciting one?and that includes the giants from Detroit. GM has been as nimble abroad as it has been flat-footed at home, an early-mover in China, Brazil and Russia, it holds strong positions in all three markets. Ford is not far behind.


The next Chapter
But is that justification for a bail-out? Not at all. The United States created Chapter 11 precisely to help companies that need protection from their creditors while they restructure their liabilities and winnow out the good business from the bad. If the North American businesses of GM and Ford filed for Chapter 11, their activities elsewhere would be largely unaffected. Even in North America, their businesses could continue to make vehicles as they shed costs and renegotiated contracts.

The carmakers retort that being in Chapter 11 will poison their business. Buying a new car is a long-term gamble on there being dealers, spare parts and a thriving second-hand market for your vehicle. Drivers overwhelmingly tell surveys that they would not take the risk when Mercedes and Toyota make perfectly good alternatives. But $50 billion is a lot to stake on a hunch. A wiser bet is that whatever consumers say today, the stigma of being in Chapter 11 would fade, obscured by price cuts, advertising and most of all news that the car companies were tackling their remaining problems. Remember that, in many ways, Chapter 11 is more stable and predictable than depending upon the government.

That is an unpopular message. It is almost certain to be ignored by Congress, which is itching to ?save jobs? and to counter the public-relations disaster of bailing out Wall Street. If the state is determined to keep the industry out of Chapter 11, it should set up a special fund and demand preferred equity to deter shareholders in other industries from asking for money. But it would still do better to let the car firms fail.

Posted on: 2008/11/19 22:13
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Dennis Kucinich: "Racketeering on a scale this country has never seen before."

Posted on: 2008/11/15 15:51
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Re: What does everyone think of the Bailout?
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Adonis wrote:
It should be noted that it was Republicans in Congress that voted against this bailout. Democrats and Obama voted for it. And now look what we got.


The Republicans only voted against it because the final compromise didn't give their cronies free money.

Posted on: 2008/11/13 16:16
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Re: What does everyone think of the Bailout?
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The DOW would be around 6,000 right now if they did not pass it. It's a necessary evil. Now we need someone to manage it. Don't know if Paulson is the guy, so Barack needs to appoint / find someone ASAP. Someone that the market would have confidence in.

Posted on: 2008/11/13 15:31
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Re: What does everyone think of the Bailout?
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Br6dR wrote:
With the bank bailout we were supposed to buy up the bad loans. Then we'd sell them at some point and get our money back. Maybe even make a profit. Well, as Paul Grugman predicted, we didn't buy the bad loans, we wrote them a blank check. Now the money's gone, we're not getting it back and the stock market is still tanking. Now they have their hands out for more. I don't know...



It should be noted that it was Republicans in Congress that voted against this bailout. Democrats and Obama voted for it. And now look what we got.

Posted on: 2008/11/13 15:26
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Require the automakers to merge. Give them some money and raise private capital and provide incentives and guidelines to produce fuel efficient automobiles. Near term (10 years) oversight is needed to ensure compliance

Posted on: 2008/11/13 14:39
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