Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Miracles Happen Everyday

Here is a heartening piece from the WSJ:

The U.S. Treasury Department announced Tuesday that 10 of the nation's largest banks have met the necessary requirements to repay funds they received from the government's financial-rescue fund, making way for $68 billion to possibly be returned to Treasury.

"These repayments are an encouraging sign of financial repair, but we still have work to do," said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in a statement.

We don't need a pay Czar now, right Timmy?

The 10 banks are: J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, BB&T, U.S. Bancorp, American Express Co., Capital One Financial Corp. Bank of New York Mellon Corp., Northern Trust Corp. and State Street Corp.

I will be opening accounts with these banks today with my eight dollar tax cut. I might also by some G.M stock through Morgan Stanley as my brokerage firm. If my math is right I could afford 850,000 shares of "Government Motors."

This is my favorite blurb from the article:

Morgan Stanley said Tuesday that it is "pleased to be repaying its $10 billion in TARP Capital with an attractive return for taxpayers." J.P. Morgan Chase said Tuesday it plans to repay its $25 billion in TARP funds. Translated into non BS talk

Morgan Stanley said Tuesday that it is pleased " to be running as far as possible away from creepy Tim Geithner, the new PAY CZAR, and Joe Biden's douchebaggedness."

This should be a good thing, that we now have banks that are feeling comfortable enough with their capital situation and are able to raise private capital. It amazes me that private investors are willing to invest in these banks when they know that Chrysler and GM investors were bent over the barrel. But I digress. The street should be doing a dance today, no more government control, no pay czar, finally bankers can go back to Spago.

But then again will the FEDS let go and return TARP to the dungeon it belongs in along with wage and price controls:

In Tuesday's announcement, the Treasury said much of the money would be returned to its general fund and would "help to reduce Treasury's borrowing and national debt." Mr. Geithner has described plans to reuse TARP funds that come back into the fund, recently announcing that he'd open up the funds to smaller banks.

The announcements comes as large banks have eagerly declared intentions to repay government aid given the restrictions on dividends and executive pay that go along with TARP. Meanwhile, the public and Congress have shown greater signs of bailout fatigue, leaving firms uncertain about what new restrictions they'd have to face for tapping into the financial-rescue fund.

I don't like the " plans to reuse TARP funds that come back to the fund, recently announcing that he'd open up the funds to smaller banks." Me no likey. How about we suck that money out of circulation, or use it for small business tax relief. While things could be much, much worse I tend to fall under the skeptical heading. If this method, propping up zombie banks, or keeping that money available for the next failing institution, which will happen, how are these banks any more free to engage in non coercive market activity. We don't know all of the specifics yet but I think that the Presidents remarks are prescient.

"I've said repeatedly that I have no interest in managing these banks -- or running auto companies or other private institutions, for that matter," Mr. Mr. Obama said. "But I also want to say: the return of these funds does not provide forgiveness for past excesses or permission for future misdeeds. It is critical that as our country emerges from this period of crisis, that we learn its lessons; that those who seek reward do not take reckless risk; that short-term gains are not pursued without regard for long-term consequences."

TARP is not gone, it is only sleeping.

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