It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
(visit the link for the full news article)
Senior Bush administration officials, consulting with the Obama transition team, have prepared a plan to ask lawmakers for the second half of the $700 billion financial rescue package despite intense opposition in Congress, sources familiar with the discussions said.
"There have been discussions between the administration and the transition team on how to proceed should the president-elect determine that he would like President Bush to notify Congress on his behalf of the intent to use the remaining $350 billion so that it will be available early in the new administration," White House press secretary Dana Perino said. "No final decisions have been made."
Both Bush and Obama officials say gaining access to the balance of the rescue funds is crucial to turning the economy around. Without the money, it would be nearly impossible to offer significant help for homeowners facing foreclosure, stabilize the financial system or jump-start the credit markets so more consumers and companies can get loans. The latest sign of the economy's deep malaise was new jobless figures released yesterday showing that unemployment has soared to 7.2 percent, the highest rate in 15 years. (See story on page D1.)
For Obama, using a veto runs the risk of souring his relationship with rank-and-file lawmakers, especially if it is one of his first official acts in the White House. It carries less risk for Bush, who is leaving office in a matter of days.
But the threat of a veto could assure distressed financial markets that more help is on the way.
In September, when Treasury secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. proposed the rescue to Congress, the House at first voted down the plan. Global stock markets plummeted immediately. The initiative eventually passed both chambers and was signed into law in October.
Bush officials committed nearly all of the first half of the rescue funds on aiding the financial system and bailing out individual firms. But their programs angered lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Some were steamed that no help was forthcoming for struggling homeowners. Others said the effort failed to stimulate lending.
Even as senior Bush and Obama officials consulted about how to access the rest of the money, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, unveiled a bill on Capitol Hill aimed at forcing the Treasury to use the money in accordance with lawmakers' wishes.
Many of the measure's provisions are being coordinated with Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy F. Geithner, who is planning to expand the scope of the rescue program well beyond the financial system to help ordinary consumers and homeowners, as well small businesses and municipalities. Frank said in a news conference yesterday that his bill might not be needed if the Obama administration promised to abide by its principles.
Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Henry Paulson’s bank bailouts, done under “great stress” during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, failed to win for U.S. taxpayers what Warren Buffett received for his shareholders by investing in Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
The Treasury secretary made 174 purchases of banks’ preferred shares that include warrants to buy stock at a later date. While he invested $10 billion in Goldman Sachs in October, twice as much as Buffett did the month before, Paulson gained certificates worth one-fourth as much as the billionaire, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Goldman Sachs terms were repeated in most of the other bank bailouts
“We were not looking to replicate one-off private deals” in the transactions, made under the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, Paulson said in a Bloomberg TV interview yesterday.
“The market was under great stress and the private sector was extracting very, very severe terms. What we were attempting to do, which I think we did successfully, was design a program that would be accepted by a large group of healthy banks with terms that would replicate what you would get in normal market conditions,” he said.
Paulson’s warrant deals may give taxpayers less profit from any recovery in financial stocks than shareholders such as Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein and Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, owner of 4 percent of Citigroup Inc., said Simon Johnson, former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund.
The transactions are “just egregious,” said Johnson, a fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “You want to do it the way Warren does it.”
Paulson said “he had to make it attractive to banks, which is code for ‘I’m going to give money away,’” said Joseph Stiglitz, who won a Nobel Prize in 2001 for his work on the economic value of information.
“The worst aspect of this is that they were designed not to do what they were supposed to do,” he said in a telephone interview from Paris Jan. 7. “In many ways, it’s not only a giveaway, but a giveaway that was designed not to work.”