Posts filed under “Bailouts”
As wee discussed Saturday, the details of the Fan-Fred bailout will be announced early Sunday at 11 am.
In my opinion, this is very consistent with the Fed focus on asset prices. I believe that focus is an error the Fed has consistently made since Greenspan took rates down to 1% to bailout the tech wreck of 2000-03. When the US announces a major piece of government legislation on a Sunday afternoon in order to goose Asian markets before they open, you have to question just what the priorities of the nation’s leaders are.
The U.S. Treasury is expected to announce early Sunday afternoon details of a plan under which regulators will effectively take temporary control over government-sponsored mortgage investors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The Treasury won’t necessarily make a large injection of capital immediately into the ailing companies, which provide the bulk of funding for U.S. home mortgages. But people familiar with the plan said the Treasury will stand ready to provide capital as needed, depending how quickly losses deplete the companies’ meager capital holdings.
More later . . .
Treasury to Outline Fan-Fred Plan
By DEBORAH SOLOMON, JAMES R. HAGERTY and DAMIAN PALETTA
September 7, 2008 12:42 a.m.
Jim McTague, a dyed in the wool Republican, is surprisingly negative on the McCain/Palin team. Recall that McTague forecast the GOP would retain both houses in 2006, based on a calculation relying on campaign fund raising. McTague sounds more like a Democrat than a Republican.
Note the discussion on bailouts at the end:
THE 2008 REPUBLICAN PLATFORM RELEASED at the party convention in St. Paul last week is a grandiloquent document, replete with Reaganesque calls for lower taxes, smaller government, and greater self-reliance. An honest librarian would file it in the fiction section.
I’m not a naïf. I appreciate that searching for candor among politicians is about as productive as shopping for a Rolex at the corner drugstore. All politicians make promises that they never intend to keep. You generally can wrest a straighter answer from 16-year-old teenager intent on deceiving you than you can from a campaigning politician.
Even so, this GOP document is so divorced from reality that it approaches parody. The authors should have penned the document in cuneiform, because it describes an ancient GOP, not the party of today.
One of the platform’s most monumental political principles is daily being trampled upon by the Bush administration, with the acquiescence of most GOP members of Congress. This is contained in a section devoted to the housing crisis that declares, "We do not support government bailouts of private institutions. Government interference in the markets exacerbates problems in the marketplace and causes the free market to take longer to correct itself. We believe in the free market as the best tool to sustained prosperity and opportunity for all…"
Democrats are depicted as the party of big, intrusive government, willing to "ignore fiscal problems while squandering billions on ineffective programs." The GOP, however, has no moral legs to stand on when it hurls such insults.
The Bush administration has bailed out Wall Street, and stands ready to bail out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — in the process abetting a slide into more intrusive government. If we are headed down the road to socialism, then the GOP can be credited with setting the pavers. (Emphasis added)
The GOP has lost its way.
Spinning a Grand Old Fantasy
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2008 D.C. CURRENT
Last evening, we asked what are the costs and consequences, as well as the market reaction to, the imminent bailout of Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE). Your responses were inspired and informative. (For a brief history of the GSEs, see this earlier commentary).
This morning, its page one news. Here’s what the major papers are suggesting is the likely outcome:
• Conservatorship: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be brought under government control; The assumption is this is a temporary measure (12-24 months);
• Management: will be kicked out, starting with Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd as well as Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron. (No word if Charlie Gasparino is defending the two on CNBC). The current Board of Directors would also be fired;no word on other senior management;
• Shareholders: Speculation is that most (but not all) of the common stock would be diluted but not wiped
out; Company debt and
preferred shares are likely to be protected according to the Washington Post. A variation comes The New York Times, which stated that both the common and the $36 billion of outstanding preferreds "would be reduced to little or nothing."
In a typical recapitalization, preferreds, which are equity, receive little if anything.
• Mortgages: held by FNM/FRE would be guaranteed by taxpayers. This is approximately $5+ trillion dollars, the vast majority of which are sound. (Remember, Fannie was not allowed to buy subn-prime). If 3% of these go bad — a historically high estimate — that would amount to ~$150 billion dollars;
• Legislation: President Bush signed the law that gave the government the authority to inject billions of dollars into the companies through investments or loans. At the time, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson said there were no plans to actually use the money, it was to help the firms raise capital.
• Foreign Holders: NYT: "With foreign governments increasingly skittish about holding billions of dollars in securities issued by the companies, no sign that their losses will abate any time soon, and the inability of the companies to raise new capital" forced the government’s hand;
Foreign central banks are key investors in Fannie and Freddie paper, and they have been losing confidence in the GSEs. Barron’s reports that "Fed data offer circumstantial evidence of, if not of a run, then of a steady walking away from Fannie and Freddie securities."
• Financial sector: With losses of about $500 Billion, and quite a few billion more to go, the hope is that the relief to FNM/FRE eventually finds its way to the entire sector.
Note that the Preferreds of both companies are primarily banks, many of which already are already suffering from the
effects of the credit crunch and mortgage debacle. A bailout of the Preferreds would amount to a $36 billion bailout of the entire financial
• Politics: With both conventions now over (were the GSEs even mentioned?) the Presidential election starts to heat up. The closer we came to November 4th, the greater the risk of political complications. Hence, the bailout sooner rather than later;
• Timing: Any Decision is likely to be announced Sunday, before Asian markets open. Some are speculating that this is an attempt to get out in front, rather than waiting for a "financial tipping point, as happened with Bear Stearns;" Delaying a rescue might also increase the "risks and costs."
• Insolvency: Armando Falcon Jr., who from 1999 to 2005 headed
the agency that oversaw the companies’ financial stability, believes the GSEs are already insolvent. "I would force the more accurate accounting of
their assets and liabilities, and that would show them to be
insolvent," Falcon said in an interview. He added that additional delay to receivership "only digs taxpayers into a deeper hole."
One more note: Anytime the government obtains authority to do
something — go to war, spend money on bailouts — it is identical to
actually authorizing the act. Meaning that yes, it will eventually occur. Claiming you are merely granting authority only serves to make the act more politically palatable, but don’t ever kid yourself — it is no different than the actual act.
In practice, the act of authorizing a fill in the blank (war, bailout, whatever) is the same as declaring (war, bailout). The two are identical.
More on the bailout to come . . .
As you add sources and links in comments, I will cull key data points and add above.
Full source list after the jump . . .
WTF is up with PIMCO ?
Strange things are afoot at the biggest bond fund in the world. A weird sense of panic seems to be emanating from the West Coast fixed income specialists.
I suspect it may have something to do with with the fact they are loaded to the gills with paper from Fannie & Freddie (FNM & FRE) — a trade that has worked out exceedingly well. Despite this — or perhaps because of it — the latest noise from the boys from Newport Beach is increasingly odd, even desperate sounding.
I do not know if they are genuinely terrified of a major meltdown in the global economy, or worried about their book. Maybe they are looking for an exit, and not finding one.
The WSJ noted about PIMCO:
The bond-management firm has posted good gains since the
credit crunch began last year, in part by betting big on mortgage debt
tied to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — whose implicit government backing
and relative safety compared with other securities has helped keep
their bond returns in the black.
Now as both entities show continued financial weakness and many
parts of the bond market remain pressured, a main challenge for Mr.
El-Erian, 50 years old, will be sustaining Pimco’s winning returns.
Then came the very strange commentary Bill Gross posted at the PIMCO site
– a weird, quasi-homage to Cramer, which then reiterated the
expected pain of a deleveraging and asset liquidation.
Gross: Please Bailout Frannie!
click for video