Obama’s Economic Recovery Program Is Failing – New Wave of Mortgage Foreclosures, Unemployment Continues To Rise, Automakers Prepare to Shut Plants – Layoff 10’s Of Thousands

As job losses rise, growing numbers of American homeowners with once solid credit are falling behind on their mortgages, amplifying a wave of foreclosures.

In the latest phase of the nation’s real estate disaster, the locus of trouble has shifted from subprime loans — those extended to home buyers with troubled credit — to the far more numerous prime loans issued to those with decent financial histories.

With many economists anticipating that the unemployment rate will rise into the double digits from its current 8.9 percent, foreclosures are expected to accelerate. [Remember, the Obama Administration predicted a maximum unemployment rate of 8.9 in its projections of economic recovery- McAuley's World]

That could exacerbate bank losses, adding pressure to the financial system and the broader economy.

“We’re about to have a big problem,” said Morris A. Davis, a real estate expert at the University of Wisconsin. “Foreclosures were bad last year? It’s going to get worse.”

Economists refer to the current surge of foreclosures as the third wave, distinct from the initial spike when speculators gave up property because of plunging real estate prices, and the secondary shock, when borrowers’ introductory interest rates expired and were reset higher.

“We’re right in the middle of this third wave, and it’s intensifying,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com. “That loss of jobs and loss of overtime hours and being forced from a full-time to part-time job is resulting in defaults. They’re coast to coast.”

Those sliding into foreclosure today are more likely to be modest borrowers whose loans fit their income than the consumers of exotically lenient mortgages that formerly typified the crisis. [Now that we have wasted 100's of Billions in tax payer dollars helping the reckless and those not qualified to be homeowners, where is the assistance for those who played by the rules? Mc Auley's World].

Economy.com expects that 60 percent of the mortgage defaults this year will be set off primarily by unemployment, up from 29 percent last year.

Over all, more than four million loans worth $717 billion were in the three distressed categories in February, a jump of more than 60 percent in dollar terms compared with a year earlier.

Under a program announced in February by the Obama administration, the government is to spend $75 billion on incentives for mortgage servicing companies that reduce payments for troubled homeowners. [The Obama Administration claimed the program would help 4 million home owners]. But three months after the program was announced, a Treasury spokeswoman, Jenni Engebretsen, estimated the number of loans that have been modified at “more than 10,000 but fewer than 55,000.” [Why can't the Government be more exact than this - a 45,000 mortgage gap between 10,000 and 55,000. Where is the $75 Billion in Taxpayer money going? If the "true number" of modified mortagges is 10,000,  the Obama program cost taxpayers $7.5 million per mortgage. Who is kidding who? Someone is robbing the US Taxpayer blind] 

In the first two months of the year alone, another 313,000 mortgages landed in foreclosure or became delinquent at least 90 days, according to First American CoreLogic.

“I don’t think there’s any chance of government measures making more than a small dent,” said Alan Ruskin, chief international strategist at RBS Greenwich Capital.

Last year, foreclosures expanded sharply as the economy shed an average of 256,000 jobs each month. Since then, the job market has deteriorated further, with an average of 665,000 jobs vanishing each month.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/25/business/economy/25foreclose.html?pagewanted=1&sq=May%2025,%202009%20Mortgage%20foreclosures%20&st=cse&scp=1

GM announces an additional 47,000 job cuts amid palns to shut 5 US auto plants.   (February 2009). http://www.wilx.com/home/headlines/39750882.html

U.S. to steer GM toward bankruptcy … The Obama administration is preparing to send General Motors into bankruptcy as early as the end of next week under a plan that would give the automaker tens of billions of dollars more in public financing as the company seeks to shrink and re-emerge as a global competitor, sources familiar with the discussions told the Washington Post. http://scoop.chrysler.com/2009/05/22/us-to-steer-gm-toward-bankruptcy/

Chrysler confirms 6 additional plant closings – May 2009. http://scoop.chrysler.com/2009/05/06/chrysler-issues-plant-closing-statement/ 

GM plans to shut 14 more auto plants, reduce employees by 20,000.  (April 2009) Gm announces planned cuts did not go far enopugh, additional cuts planned. http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/17/news/companies/gm_jobs/?postversion=2009041712

From the WSJ: Mortgage Defaults, Delinquencies Rise

… A spokesman for the FHA said 7.5% of FHA loans were “seriously delinquent” at the end of February, up from 6.2% a year earlier. Seriously delinquent includes loans that are 90 days or more overdue, in the foreclosure process or in bankruptcy.

The FHA’s share of the U.S. mortgage market soared to nearly a third of loans originated in last year’s fourth quarter from about 2% in 2006 as a whole, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, a trade publication. That is increasing the risk to taxpayers if the FHA’s reserves prove inadequate to cover default losses. http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2009/03/fha-mortgage-defaults-increase.html

 

 

Nobel Prize Winners Trash Geitner’s Plan For Toxic Assets

THE NEW YORK POST

Even the best and brightest brains in economics the Nobel laureates aren’t unanimous on whether the Treasury’s plan to rid banks of toxic assets will rescue the economy.

Debate arose yesterday among the more than 50 living winners of the acclaimed prize, with a lopsided ratio of 9-to-1 giving Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s plan a public thumbs-down.

Three Nobel winners Edward Prescott, president of the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis, and economics Professors Vernon Smith and James Buchanan stood by their joint statement months ago that Congress was playing in fantasyland with the huge bailout.

They call the rescue effort “a triumph of hope over experience to believe that more government will help the United States today.”

Nobel winner and Columbia University Professor Edmund Phelps said Geithner’s plan to buy toxic bank assets “is a non-starter” despite its warm reception on Wall Street.

Nobel economist Robert Aumann said efforts by Federal Reserve boss Ben Bernanke “weren’t smart.”

“The intervention by the regulators will lead to further bankruptcies of banks and insurance companies,” he said. “They are only encouraging institutions to take more risks.”

But economist Michael Spence, a co-winner of the 2001 Nobel, came out in support of Geithner, saying his plan “could work.”

“This program is crucially dependent on the private sector,” he said.

But Spence’s co-winner, Joseph Stiglitz, isn’t so sure.

“You can take the bad assets off the banks, but where are they going to go?” Stiglitz told Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, 2008 winner and Princeton University economist Paul Krugman said he’s so sure the Geithner plan will fail “that it fills me with a sense of despair.”

http://www.nypost.com/seven/03252009/business/nobel_laureates_trash_plan_for_toxic_ass_161158.htm

Obama’s Toxic Asset Plan – Taxpayers Left With The Risk – PIMCO CIO States $5 Trillion needed

Treasury’s latest plan faces pitfalls

Government seeks private partners, but taxpayers bear the risks

By John W. Schoen
Senior producer
msnbc.com
After months of speculation and false starts, the Treasury Monday announced a new plan to deal with the so-called “toxic assets” that have been weighing down the financial sector and clogging global credit markets. 

The announcement by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was greeted by a big rally on Wall Street but leaves unresolved some major hurdles that have plagued the rescue plan since October, when the Bush administration first floated the idea to deal with the troubled assets. And the new plan leaves unanswered the biggest question echoing from Wall Street to Main Street: Will it work?

With private investors still loath to step up and buy mortgage-backed securities and related assets, the latest Treasury plan shifts much of the risk to taxpayers. By partnering with the government, a few big investment funds will have a chance to profit off the toxic assets, sharing any proceeds with the government. But if the investments don’t pay off, taxpayers will bear most of the risk. [Who decides who gets to participate and have a shot at making a profit? Will politicians be rewarding their political cronies again?]

 

“There is no doubt the government is taking risks,” Geithner told reporters. “You can’t solve a financial crisis without the government taking risks.”

 

In addition to the risk of taxpayer losses, there is also the risk that the government could set such a low price on the toxic assets that it could actually worsen the credit crunch.

The new plan will draw on up to $100 billion in funds already approved by Congress under the  Troubled Asset Relief Program, as well as additional funding from the Federal Reserve. The government will match private investment dollar-for-dollar, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. will put up significant backing, up to $6 for every $1 invested, in exchange for a fee.

[The Government will provide 70% to 90% funding of the "toxic asset" purchases] 

The FDIC funding will be in the form of “non-recourse” loans, meaning private investors will be allowed to walk away from their investment if it goes bad, leaving the government with the failed investment and any losses on the loan.

[This isn't a "partnership" in a "partnership" all parties share in the "profit or loss" - generated from the relationship. This is simply a giveaway of Taxpayer Dollars under the disguise of "partnership"] 

After months of preliminary discussions with potential investors, the Treasury is now moving quickly; private firms have to apply by April 10, and the government will respond by May 1. Some of the nation’s biggest money management firms, including PIMCO and BlackRock, are considered likely candidates. The Treasury is expected to limit the list to a half-dozen firms at most. [Who deicdes who gets to participate? Blackrock or Blackrock Financial is a Hegde Fund or Holding Company. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BlackRock, Black Rock was involved with "no credit score" no "FICO" Mortgage Loans in California. http://www.blackrockloan.com/ . http://www1.blackrock.com/. PIMCO is a Bond Fund - http://www.pimco.com/Default.htm, http://news.moneycentral.msn.com/provider/providerarticle.aspx?feed=PZ&date=20090320&id=9715984 ]

What’s the ‘market’ price?
At the height of the housing boom, investors couldn’t get enough of the mortgage-backed bonds Wall Street was churning out by the boatload because these investments offered a good return for what seemed like little risk. [The Plan returns to the "source" of the problem and rewards the same actors].

But when it became apparent that sloppy mortgage lenders had doled out hundreds of billions of dollars to people who couldn’t pay it back, no one wanted to touch investments backed by mortgages. With no way to sell them, banks are now stuck with trillions of dollars worth of assets they can’t properly value. That’s clogging up the global flow of credit.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29839898/page/2/

Though roughly 90 percent of mortgage holders are still making payments, investments backed by mortgages are selling for only 30 to 60 cents on the dollar. The reason is that — with unemployment rising and home prices falling — no one knows which mortgages will be the next to default. So banks have been forced to write down the value of these investments and take huge losses to cover the write-downs.

 

The Treasury is hoping that by jump-starting the private market with a massive shot of government investment and lending, prices of these assets will stabilize and banks can either sell them off or assign them a more realistic value on their books. [Why would this happen - the asssets are being purchased with Government funding, the Government funding 70% to 90% of the pruchase. The Plan will simply create two classes of investment vehilces - Risky, Government backed Mortgage based securities and risky Mortgage backed securities not backed by taxpayer dollars. To imply both groups wil be treated equally in the market place is ridiculous. Fundamental change to the Government Programs that created the "bogus bad mortgages" is what is required if one wants to restore confidence in "mortgage backed securities". This proposal not only leaves the risk with the Taxpayer - it is a solution akin to blowing smoke away from a fire, it will give you a better look at the fire but won't put the fire out]

 

The plan still faces a major hurdle that’s dogged rescue efforts since the Treasury first unveiled a plan to buy mortgage-backed bonds last October. If banks in the deepest trouble need to raise cash by unloading their troubled assets on the cheap, much the way they’re dumping foreclosed houses at distressed prices, that “market” price for one set of bad loans could force other banks to take bigger write-downs on their holdings. [So the Congress and the Treasury can send more Taxpayer Money to the Financial Institutions - What a scheme] 

Banks may also have second thoughts about selling their “toxic” investments at any price, because bankers believe that most of these assets won’t be toxic forever. Since most mortgage holders will eventually make their payments, many of these investments should recover much of their lost value once the housing market and economy stabilize. If the Treasury purchase program sets a market price that’s too low, banks could decide to sit on these investments for years — producing the opposite effect the Treasury is trying to achieve. [Payments through the Mortgage Rescue Plan - Isn't it time to pause and let all of these programs catch up with each other, instead of pursuing this shot-gun approach that requires throwing Trillions of Taxpayer Dollars at every issue simultaneously] 

The Treasury’s buyback plan also could be affected by a proposal now working its way through Congress that would change the so-called “mark to market” accounting rules that force banks to take big losses on investments that may some day recover much of their lost value. [This writer is not advocating the elimination of Mark to Market - but if Mark to Market is about to be changed - wouldn't it be prudent to wait before Trillions of additional Taxpayer dollars are expended on what maybe an unnecessary fix?]  

With Congress in an uproar over bonuses paid to executives at bailout-recipient AIG, some potential private investors also have been reluctant to sign on for fear that the rules may change after the game has begun. The Treasury is trying minimizing that risk by promising firms that participate in the purchase plan they won’t be subject to executive compensation caps added to the original TARP plan.

But some on Wall Street fear Congress may yet enact rules that undercut the appeal of partnering with the government.

“The dark cloud on the horizon is this congressional hysteria against pay and redesigning the terms of a contract after they’ve been written,” said Steve Bartlett, CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, an industry lobbying group. “I think Wall Street is just sort of justifiably holding back because of that.”

[Consider the effect of "cram downs" on asset value - How do you value a mortgage if the mortgage price is subject to a bank "cram down" without definitive guidelines]   

As anger in Congress has risen, the odds have fallen on the possibility of additional bailout funding. But key portions of the Treasury’s plan don’t require congressional approval. That’s because the program draws much of its funding from the independent Federal Reserve and from the FDIC, which can draw on its own assets. [The whole program subverts the Constitutional Separation of Powers and prevents regualtion of the actions by Congress - so the same "guards" who were on duty when this mess started are in now charge and they get to choose who participates - Isn't this a sure formula of disaster for Taxpayers]

 

 Despite the unimaginably large pile of money being funneled into the financial system, some of those involved in the plan say that — even if it works — it’s only a down payment on the eventual solution.   

“Its fair to be optimistic; that’s the way Americans should be leaning,” said Bill Gross, chief investment officer at PIMCO, one of the nation’s largest bond funds. “But the hole here is a $5 trillion-plus whole in terms of assets and capital destruction.  I think we’ve only gone about half of the way and the will be additional programs to come.”

[How much of the $5 Trillion will be funnelled to PIMCO Clients?]

WOW – at least $5 Trillion in additional Government spending – $5 Trillion in additional Tax Dollars. When will it stop.

Obama Waffles Again – Administration Now “COOL” to AIG Bonus Tax

Remember This?

Obama tries to stop AIG bonuses: ‘How do they justify this outrage?’

“This is a corporation that finds itself in financial distress due to recklessness and greed,” Obama told politicians and reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, where he and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner were unveiling a package to aid the nation’s small businesses.

“Under these circumstances, it’s hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay. I mean, how do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?” 

 http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/16/AIG.bonuses/index.html?eref=time_us

After inflaming public sentiment what does Obama do …… waffles. Did someone remind him that he was the top recipient of AIG Political Cash and that AIG’s Derivative Unit, the Unit receiving the bonuses in question, are big  Contributors to the Democratic Party. Read about the “waffle” below …..    

Proposal to tax bailout bonuses draws scrutiny

White House is cool to bill; Could violate constitution

WASHINGTON – Days after President Obama pledged to explore “every single legal avenue” to recover $165 million in bonuses paid to executives at bailed-out insurance company AIG, administration officials yesterday shied away from an effort in Congress to heavily tax the bonuses.

Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden’s economic adviser, told ABC’s “This Week” yesterday, that a bill the House passed overwhelmingly on Thursday may go too far and could be unconstitutional because it uses the tax code “to surgically punish a small group.”

“That may be a dangerous way to go,” he said of the bill, which slaps a 90 percent tax on executives who make more than $200,000 per year at firms that have taken more than $5 billion in government funds.

White House chief economic adviser Christina Romer told CNN’s State of the Union that a tandem effort in the Senate which broadens the bill to include firms that have not taken federal funds may not be looked upon favorably by the White House.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2009/03/23/proposal_to_tax_bailout_bonuses_draws_scrutiny/

MSNBC DESCRIBES THE WAFFLE THIS WAY:

Obama signals opposition to punitive bonus tax

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama wagered significant political capital Sunday, signaling opposition to a highly popular congressional drive to slap a punitive 90 percent tax on bonuses to big earners at financial institutions already deeply in hock to taxpayers.

Obama defended his stance by saying the tax would be unconstitutional.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29815039

The bonus scandal is just a smoke screen to keep people from questioning why the AIG and Financial Institution Bailout Cash was channelled to Hedge Funds. The same Hedge Funds now being invited to “buy back” or repurchase “toxic assets” in the latest Government Program. The first round of “bailouts” paid 100 cents on the dollar for the “assets” – these same assets are now being “repurchased” by Hedge Funds for 10 cents on the dollar.

Who pays ….. The American Taxpayers.

SEE: http://mcauleysworld.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/hedge-funds-what-they-are-the-economic-collapse-how-the-funds-are-getting-our-bailout-dollars/     

Hedge Funds – What They Are, The Economic Collapse & How The Funds Are Getting Our Bailout Dollars

While the Polticians distract the American public with the Political theatre in Washington over the $165 Million in AIG bonuses, an even greater travesty, the theft of Billions of Taxpayer dollars, through the bailout program is going unnoticed.

Taxpayer money is being channelled through the AIG Bailout and into the pockets of the Millionaire Hedge Fund Managers that helped create the fraudlent “Real Estate Bubble” that has brought down the US economy. Yes, Hedge Fund Managers like Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford. Billions.   

Imagine the outrage – if the Public is upset over $165 Million in bonuses – what might happen if Washington had to answer for the Billions being taken out the AIG back door and paid to the Millionaire Hedge Fund operators.

Is this being made possible by simple incompetence? The Government’s continued failure to properly supervise the expenditure of Billions of Taxpayer dollars or is this incomepetence by design – a design that allows the Washington Bureaucrats  ready cover and plenty of opportunity to claim ignorance and shift blame.

BACKGROUND

We all know that the Congress and White House have entered into 4 separate agreements to “bailout” AIG and “recapitalize” the company or replace the money it lost on worthless subprime mortgages and, in addition to the mortgages, money lost on “other products” designed to “repay” AIG’s Client’s or “Trading Partners” for losses they may have sustained on their “bad bets” in the “mortgage marketplace”. Some of these “Client’s” may not have lost any money at all, they may have simppoly “bet” on the collapse of the “housing industry”. That is right …. read on.  

The Congress promised the American people complete transparency in these transactions – even to the extent of placing everything on line, “like a checkbook”, so the entire country could see who was being paid, the what and when.  As we now know this promise was a hollow one. The current Administration’s staffers (Staffers in both the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department) have appeared before Congress and refused to provide information identifying the who, what or where. AIG was equally uncooperative. News organizations, most notable FOX News, had to go to Federal Court and obtain a Court order to obtain what should of been “Public Information”. While the information disclosed so far is alarming, the investigating is far from complete. http://money.cnn.com/2009/03/04/news/aig.transparency.fortune/index.htm

Let me offer a quick primer on the language used in the articles below:

Hedge Fund: A hedge fund is an investment fund open to a limited range of investors that is permitted by regulators to undertake a wider range of activities than other investment funds. Hedge funds are typically open only to a limited range of professional or wealthy investors. This provides them with an exemption in many jurisdictions from regulations governing short selling, derivative contracts, leverage, fee structures and the liquidity of interests in the fund. The net asset value of a hedge fund can run into many billions of dollars, and this will usually be multiplied by leverage. Leverage – in addition to money invested into the fund by investors, a hedge fund will typically borrow money, with certain funds borrowing sums many times greater than the initial investment. If a hedge fund has borrowed $9 for every $1 received from investors, a loss of only 10% of the value of the investments of the hedge fund will wipe out 100% of the value of the investor’s stake in the fund, once the creditors have called in their loans. In September 1998, shortly before its collapse, Long Term Capital Management had $125 billion of assets on a base of $4 billion of investors’ money, a leverage of over 30 times. It also had off-balance sheet positions with a notional value of approximately $1 trillion. Hedge funds are exempt from regulation in the United States. Hedge Funds, first established in 1949. have never been subject to regulation in the US.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedge_fund  .

The most nortorious Hedge Fund Managers in the news today are Bernie Madoff http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/bernard-madoff/3834483/Bernard-Madoff-fraud-Hedge-funds-need-closer-supervision-ex-SEC-boss-says.html 

and Allen Stanford, both of whom are currently under federal indictment. Stanford operated his own set of Hedge Funds and he also was the exclusive sales manager for a Hedge fund operated by the family of Vice President Biden. http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSBNG36866620090224

THE GROWING SCANDAL

AIG Cash May Reach Hedge Fund’s Coffer – Update
3/18/2009

Wednesday, in a new twist to the ongoing saga of beleaguered American International Group, Inc. the Wall Street Journal said that a portion of the billions of dollars paid by the U.S. Government that provided a lifeline to AIG might, in fact, reach the hedge funds that ironically stand to gain by speculating on a fall in the housing market.

The report indicated that back in 2005, hedge funds identified trouble that would brew in the U.S. housing market in the long run. [TROUBLE? As is the fact that providing loans to people who could not repay them was not a sustainable business strategy]  In a bid to encash [make money] the same by going short against securities backed by mortgages to unworthy borrowers, the hedge funds signed up transactions with investment banks. [placed bets that the subprime market would collapse]

For their turn, investment banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank created and sold complex financial instruments to hedge funds that allowed hedge funds to bet that mortgage defaults would rise. The financial instruments were basically credit default swaps, similar to insurance that pays in the likelihood of a debt default.

Investment banks that sold those credit default swaps to the hedge funds wanted to remain unscathed in the eventuality of a down turn in housing markets. With a laser sharp accuracy, the investment banks were methodical in creating a perfectly legal way to stay in safe heaven.

The German banking major Deutsche’s securities division created a bouquet of offshore investment vehicles known as collateralized debt obligations or CDOs. The word “START” marked the names of those investment mediums, which stood for STAtic ResidenTial CDO. Deutsche neutralized its exposure to the speculation of hedge funds’ by purchasing swaps from START on the same securities its clients were betting against.

As per the Journal’s report, which claims to have reviewed the documents, START held assets from a series of failed lenders namely Bear Stearns, Countrywide Financial and New Century Financial who were part and parcel of the subprime crisis.

New York-based AIG, in 2005, became the scapegoat by offering to take a pie of the mortgage risks held by START. AIG’s derivatives arm consented to pay up to $1 billion under two of the START vehicles, if value of underlying assets deteriorated or the insurer’s own credit rating fell below a certain mark.  [So the Hedge Funds "bet" with the Investment Banks that subprime mortgages would collapse, the Banks "insured" their end of the bet with AIG - AIG lost the bet and now the American taxpayer "pays" AIG, AIG "pays" the Investment Banks and the Investment Banks Pay the Hedge Funds - so that is how the subprime mortgage scam worked - I want to know which Hedge Funds are being rewarded and who owns a piece of the action. Which members of Congress and the Adminstration are cashing in here - at Taxpayer Expense] 

In doing so, AIG was set to gain less than a penny each year for every dollar of protection it sold, or less than $10 million annually on the $1 billion in insurance. [Isn't this an indication that the "real money" wsa being made in some other fashion?]

A close look at the transaction reveals that AIG was gambling on a strong housing market. When the housing market went downhill, Hedge Funds rang the cash counters of bank who in turn called on AIG for compensation.                             http://www.rttnews.com/Content/BreakingNews.aspx?Node=B1&Id=886860%20&Category=Breaking%20News

As per the reports, AIG paid about $800 million to START after its credit rating was cut. The funds are held in the escrow and will be used to pay off Deutsche’s swap contracts if mortgage defaults if the portfolio rises above a certain level. Deutsche may pass on some of the bucks to the hedge fund clients.

AIG, in case of a recovery in the housing market, is set to receive back the cash it transferred to START. With the assets of START to which AIG provided cover being downgraded to “junk” status from triple-A by Standard & Poor’s, the outcome cannot be predicted. [See the articles below - the possibility of the American Taxpayer being completely repayed by AIG is just about "zero"] 

The report, citing people familiar with the matter, revealed that the mortgage pool “Abacus”, insured by AIG Financial Products, created by Goldman, have common features with START CDOs. [The Hedge Funds placed their bet with Goldman - Goldman "insured the bet, we, the American Taxpayers, lost and we didn't even get to cut the cards]   

These mortgage pools were also made up of credit-default swaps tied to individual mortgage securities. When the assets value deteriorated, AIG had to post collateral with Goldman. The report anticipates some of this money to reach hedge-fund clients of Goldman.

AIG and the government had paid $5.4 billion to Deutsche and $8.1 billion to Goldman under credit default swap contracts written by the insurer.

AIG had insured many of the assets linked to subprime mortgages. Following the collapse of high-risk mortgages, AIG had to place billions of dollars in collateral, mostly to the banks.

Thus, AIG had to sell its protection on securities backed by physical assets. The company also sold positions almost entirely backed by other financial bets.

The report, quoting a senior investment banker whose firm bought credit protection from the insurer, showed AIG as the single largest ultimate taker of risk in the subprime mortgage CDO space until 2006.

The irony is that the bail out money intended to limit foreclosures and fuel housing market may end up in the hands of those investors who had taken contra positions with respect to the housing prices and mortgage holders. [Individuals who bet on the collapse of the mortgage market or in some cases, individuals who actively undertook activities to promote a collapse in the mortgage market will not only be made whole but will also profit from their reprehensible behavior, all at the expense of the US Taxpayer]  

The report says that it is unclear as to how much government money might eventually flow to hedge-fund investors. The government has committed up to $173.3 billion to bail out AIG. Of that amount, AIG’s housing-related bets have cost U.S. taxpayers some $52 billion, the report suggested. [That number now excceees $125 Billion, with the Treasury and Congress having pledged an additional $75 Billion for a current total of $200 Billion committed to AIG's bailout]

The hefty losses were the result of AIG moving out of its primary business which is selling standard insurance policies to businesses and individuals. Martin Weiss of Weiss Research, an investment consultant in Jupiter, Florida said, “AIG’s financial-products division went heavily into the business of speculation and its gambling debts are what taxpayers are paying off right now.”

http://www.rttnews.com/Content/BreakingNews.aspx?Node=B1&Id=886860%20&Category=Breaking%20News&pageNum=2674_5367_5480_2

So the money trail looks like this – As yet unidentified Hedge Fund Managers approach what the Government and AIG describe as “AIG Trading partners” – These trading partners, a group composed of other financial firms like Goldman Sachs, Deutsch  Bank, Societe Generale of France and Barclay’s Bank. The Hedge Funds “purchased” certain contracts related to the Hedge Funds Mortgage Business, those contracts were later “sold to” or “insured” by AIG. Specifically, the bailout dollars are traveling from the US taxpayer to the US Government, from the Government to AIG’s trading partners and through those trading partners to the Hedge Fund Managers.

Additional Articles:  Where is the transparency? http://money.cnn.com/2009/03/04/news/aig.transparency.fortune/index.htm , 

 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29728732    “AIG likely won’t be able to pay taxpayers back. Ties to foreign partners siphoning off some of the $170 billion lent to it.  Pressure is mounting on the government to revise its bailout of AIG to ensure that taxpayers are repaid as much as possible of the $170 billion lent to the troubled insurer. Experts warn we shouldn’t expect to get much back. Mark Williams, a former Fed examiner and finance professor at Boston University, said the AIG wind-down inevitably will cost taxpayers money. And he thinks it will take much more money — perhaps an additional $200 billion [$400 Billion Total] — to finish winding down AIG’s financial dealings so its core businesses can be sold off.”No longer can we call it an investment,” he said. “We just have to call it what it is — and that’s sinking money in a hole.” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29728732/page/2/

NEW YORK, March 15 (Reuters) – American International Group Inc disclosed on Sunday that U.S. and European banks have been among the biggest beneficiaries of the up to $180 billion U.S. taxpayer bailout of the insurer. [Who have, in turn, passed the money on to Hedge Funds]  http://www.reuters.com/article/fundsFundsNews/idUSN1546365820090315

Time to Unravel the Knot of Credit-Default Swaps :  Credit-default swaps are insurancelike contracts that Wall Street created in the early 1990s.  In recent years, these contracts became a haven for speculators who were doing nothing more than betting on whether a debt issuer would survive.  The $150 billion rescue of the American International Group, for example, came about because of swaps the insurer had written on mortgage securities. And the $100 billion taxpayer backstop handed to Bank of America on Jan. 16 had a good bit to do with soured credit-default swaps that the bank inherited when it acquired Merrill Lynch.               http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/business/25gret.html?scp=1&sq=gretchen%20morgenson%20c.d.s.&st=cse                                                                                                     

I don’t support the payment of $165 Million in Bonus or Retention payments, however, I don’t want to dwell on that topic while the Congress shovels money in the front door of AIG to have Hedge Fund Managers sneak it out the back. For every dime of “bonus” paid by AIG the Hedge Funds are getting away with a $100 Bill. I want AIG to drop the dimes – but I also want Congress to ID the guys running of with the hundreds so we can get that money back too and while they are at it – I want Congress to shut that back door and lock it. It’s time to escort AIG to the Bankruptcy Court door steps.    

Contact your Senator and Congress Person and demand that the “true recipients” of the bailout cash be identified. Not one penny more for these Hedge Fund Managers.  http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

The relationship of  $1 Billion Dollars to $1 Million Dollars is the same as a $100 bill to a dime.  Lets not only focus on the dimes while they make off with the hundreds by the fist full.  

By the way – when the Government talks Trillions instead of Billions, it’s the same.  A Billion is a dime to the Trillion being a $100 bill.  The Government acts like it’s spending dimes, but they’ll be collecting our $100 bills.

FUTURE POST: Government “overpays” AIG Trading Partners

AIG was a hedge fund attached to a stable insurer, says Bernanke

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke was widely quoted as criticising AIG in a Senate hearing yesterday. “I think if there’s a single episode in this entire 18 months that has made me more angry, I can’t think of one, than AIG,” he said, according to various press reports. He added that was angry about the way AIG had strayed from its core insurance business and took unmonitored and unnecessary risks through its financial products unit, describing AIG Financial Products as a hedge fund attached to a large and stable insurance company.         http://www.creditflux.com/Structured/2009-03-04/AIG-washedge-fund-attached-tostable-insurer-says-Bernanke

AIG Cash Channelled To Hedge Fund Millionaires

While the Polticians distract the American public with the Political theatre in Washington over the $165 Million in AIG bonuses, an even greater travesty, the theft of Billions of Taxpayer dollars, through the bailout program is going unnoticed.

Taxpayer money is being channelled through the AIG Bailout and into the pockets of the Millionaire Hedge Fund Managers that helped create the fraudlent “Real Estate Bubble” that has brought down the US economy. Yes, Hedge Fund Managers like Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford. Billions.   

Imagine the outrage – if the Public is upset over $165 Million in bonuses – what might happen if Washington had to answer for the Billions being taken out the AIG back door and paid to the Millionaire Hedge Fund operators.

Is this being made possible by simple incompetence? The Government’s continued failure to properly supervise the expenditure of Billions of Taxpayer dollars or is this incomepetence by design – a design that allows the Washington Bureaucrats  ready cover and plenty of opportunity to claim ignorance and shift blame.

BACKGROUND

We all know that the Congress and White House have entered into 4 separate agreements to “bailout” AIG and “recapitalize” the company or replace the money it lost on worthless subprime mortgages and, in addition to the mortgages, money lost on “other products” designed to “repay” AIG’s Client’s or “Trading Partners” for losses they may have sustained on their “bad bets” in the “mortgage marketplace”. Some of these “Client’s” may not have lost any money at all, they may have simppoly “bet” on the collapse of the “housing industry”. That is right …. read on.  

The Congress promised the American people complete transparency in these transactions – even to the extent of placing everything on line, “like a checkbook”, so the entire country could see who was being paid, the what and when.  As we now know this promise was a hollow one. The current Administration’s staffers (Staffers in both the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department) have appeared before Congress and refused to provide information identifying the who, what or where. AIG was equally uncooperative. News organizations, most notable FOX News, had to go to Federal Court and obtain a Court order to obtain what should of been “Public Information”. While the information disclosed so far is alarming, the investigating is far from complete. http://money.cnn.com/2009/03/04/news/aig.transparency.fortune/index.htm

Let me offer a quick primer on the language used in the articles below:

Hedge Fund: A hedge fund is an investment fund open to a limited range of investors that is permitted by regulators to undertake a wider range of activities than other investment funds. Hedge funds are typically open only to a limited range of professional or wealthy investors. This provides them with an exemption in many jurisdictions from regulations governing short selling, derivative contracts, leverage, fee structures and the liquidity of interests in the fund. The net asset value of a hedge fund can run into many billions of dollars, and this will usually be multiplied by leverage. Leverage – in addition to money invested into the fund by investors, a hedge fund will typically borrow money, with certain funds borrowing sums many times greater than the initial investment. If a hedge fund has borrowed $9 for every $1 received from investors, a loss of only 10% of the value of the investments of the hedge fund will wipe out 100% of the value of the investor’s stake in the fund, once the creditors have called in their loans. In September 1998, shortly before its collapse, Long Term Capital Management had $125 billion of assets on a base of $4 billion of investors’ money, a leverage of over 30 times. It also had off-balance sheet positions with a notional value of approximately $1 trillion. Hedge funds are exempt from regulation in the United States. Hedge Funds, first established in 1949. have never been subject to regulation in the US.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedge_fund  .

The most nortorious Hedge Fund Managers in the news today are Bernie Madoff http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/bernard-madoff/3834483/Bernard-Madoff-fraud-Hedge-funds-need-closer-supervision-ex-SEC-boss-says.html 

and Allen Stanford, both of whom are currently under federal indictment. Stanford operated his own set of Hedge Funds and he also was the exclusive sales manager for a Hedge fund operated by the family of Vice President Biden. http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSBNG36866620090224

THE GROWING SCANDAL

AIG Cash May Reach Hedge Fund’s Coffer – Update
3/18/2009

Wednesday, in a new twist to the ongoing saga of beleaguered American International Group, Inc. the Wall Street Journal said that a portion of the billions of dollars paid by the U.S. Government that provided a lifeline to AIG might, in fact, reach the hedge funds that ironically stand to gain by speculating on a fall in the housing market.

The report indicated that back in 2005, hedge funds identified trouble that would brew in the U.S. housing market in the long run. [TROUBLE? As is the fact that providing loans to people who could not repay them was not a sustainable business strategy]  In a bid to encash [make money] the same by going short against securities backed by mortgages to unworthy borrowers, the hedge funds signed up transactions with investment banks. [placed bets that the subprime market would collapse]

For their turn, investment banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank created and sold complex financial instruments to hedge funds that allowed hedge funds to bet that mortgage defaults would rise. The financial instruments were basically credit default swaps, similar to insurance that pays in the likelihood of a debt default.

Investment banks that sold those credit default swaps to the hedge funds wanted to remain unscathed in the eventuality of a down turn in housing markets. With a laser sharp accuracy, the investment banks were methodical in creating a perfectly legal way to stay in safe heaven.

The German banking major Deutsche’s securities division created a bouquet of offshore investment vehicles known as collateralized debt obligations or CDOs. The word “START” marked the names of those investment mediums, which stood for STAtic ResidenTial CDO. Deutsche neutralized its exposure to the speculation of hedge funds’ by purchasing swaps from START on the same securities its clients were betting against.

As per the Journal’s report, which claims to have reviewed the documents, START held assets from a series of failed lenders namely Bear Stearns, Countrywide Financial and New Century Financial who were part and parcel of the subprime crisis.

New York-based AIG, in 2005, became the scapegoat by offering to take a pie of the mortgage risks held by START. AIG’s derivatives arm consented to pay up to $1 billion under two of the START vehicles, if value of underlying assets deteriorated or the insurer’s own credit rating fell below a certain mark.  [So the Hedge Funds "bet" with the Investment Banks that subprime mortgages would collapse, the Banks "insured" their end of the bet with AIG - AIG lost the bet and now the American taxpayer "pays" AIG, AIG "pays" the Investment Banks and the Investment Banks Pay the Hedge Funds - so that is how the subprime mortgage scam worked - I want to know which Hedge Funds are being rewarded and who owns a piece of the action. Which members of Congress and the Adminstration are cashing in here - at Taxpayer Expense] 

In doing so, AIG was set to gain less than a penny each year for every dollar of protection it sold, or less than $10 million annually on the $1 billion in insurance. [Isn't this an indication that the "real money" wsa being made in some other fashion?]

A close look at the transaction reveals that AIG was gambling on a strong housing market. When the housing market went downhill, Hedge Funds rang the cash counters of bank who in turn called on AIG for compensation.                             http://www.rttnews.com/Content/BreakingNews.aspx?Node=B1&Id=886860%20&Category=Breaking%20News

As per the reports, AIG paid about $800 million to START after its credit rating was cut. The funds are held in the escrow and will be used to pay off Deutsche’s swap contracts if mortgage defaults if the portfolio rises above a certain level. Deutsche may pass on some of the bucks to the hedge fund clients.

AIG, in case of a recovery in the housing market, is set to receive back the cash it transferred to START. With the assets of START to which AIG provided cover being downgraded to “junk” status from triple-A by Standard & Poor’s, the outcome cannot be predicted. [See the articles below - the possibility of the American Taxpayer being completely repayed by AIG is just about "zero"] 

The report, citing people familiar with the matter, revealed that the mortgage pool “Abacus”, insured by AIG Financial Products, created by Goldman, have common features with START CDOs. [The Hedge Funds placed their bet with Goldman - Goldman "insured the bet, we, the American Taxpayers, lost and we didn't even get to cut the cards]   

These mortgage pools were also made up of credit-default swaps tied to individual mortgage securities. When the assets value deteriorated, AIG had to post collateral with Goldman. The report anticipates some of this money to reach hedge-fund clients of Goldman.

AIG and the government had paid $5.4 billion to Deutsche and $8.1 billion to Goldman under credit default swap contracts written by the insurer.

AIG had insured many of the assets linked to subprime mortgages. Following the collapse of high-risk mortgages, AIG had to place billions of dollars in collateral, mostly to the banks.

Thus, AIG had to sell its protection on securities backed by physical assets. The company also sold positions almost entirely backed by other financial bets.

The report, quoting a senior investment banker whose firm bought credit protection from the insurer, showed AIG as the single largest ultimate taker of risk in the subprime mortgage CDO space until 2006.

The irony is that the bail out money intended to limit foreclosures and fuel housing market may end up in the hands of those investors who had taken contra positions with respect to the housing prices and mortgage holders. [Individuals who bet on the collapse of the mortgage market or in some cases, individuals who actively undertook activities to promote a collapse in the mortgage market will not only be made whole but will also profit from their reprehensible behavior, all at the expense of the US Taxpayer]  

The report says that it is unclear as to how much government money might eventually flow to hedge-fund investors. The government has committed up to $173.3 billion to bail out AIG. Of that amount, AIG’s housing-related bets have cost U.S. taxpayers some $52 billion, the report suggested. [That number now excceees $125 Billion, with the Treasury and Congress having pledged an additional $75 Billion for a current total of $200 Billion committed to AIG's bailout]

The hefty losses were the result of AIG moving out of its primary business which is selling standard insurance policies to businesses and individuals. Martin Weiss of Weiss Research, an investment consultant in Jupiter, Florida said, “AIG’s financial-products division went heavily into the business of speculation and its gambling debts are what taxpayers are paying off right now.”

http://www.rttnews.com/Content/BreakingNews.aspx?Node=B1&Id=886860%20&Category=Breaking%20News&pageNum=2674_5367_5480_2

So the money trail looks like this – As yet unidentified Hedge Fund Managers approach what the Government and AIG describe as “AIG Trading partners” – These trading partners, a group composed of other financial firms like Goldman Sachs, Deutsch  Bank, Societe Generale of France and Barclay’s Bank. The Hedge Funds “purchased” certain contracts related to the Hedge Funds Mortgage Business, those contracts were later “sold to” or “insured” by AIG. Specifically, the bailout dollars are traveling from the US taxpayer to the US Government, from the Government to AIG’s trading partners and through those trading partners to the Hedge Fund Managers.

Additional Articles:  Where is the transparency? http://money.cnn.com/2009/03/04/news/aig.transparency.fortune/index.htm , 

 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29728732    “AIG likely won’t be able to pay taxpayers back. Ties to foreign partners siphoning off some of the $170 billion lent to it.  Pressure is mounting on the government to revise its bailout of AIG to ensure that taxpayers are repaid as much as possible of the $170 billion lent to the troubled insurer. Experts warn we shouldn’t expect to get much back. Mark Williams, a former Fed examiner and finance professor at Boston University, said the AIG wind-down inevitably will cost taxpayers money. And he thinks it will take much more money — perhaps an additional $200 billion [$400 Billion Total] — to finish winding down AIG’s financial dealings so its core businesses can be sold off.”No longer can we call it an investment,” he said. “We just have to call it what it is — and that’s sinking money in a hole.” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29728732/page/2/

NEW YORK, March 15 (Reuters) – American International Group Inc disclosed on Sunday that U.S. and European banks have been among the biggest beneficiaries of the up to $180 billion U.S. taxpayer bailout of the insurer. [Who have, in turn, passed the money on to Hedge Funds]  http://www.reuters.com/article/fundsFundsNews/idUSN1546365820090315

Time to Unravel the Knot of Credit-Default Swaps :  Credit-default swaps are insurancelike contracts that Wall Street created in the early 1990s.  In recent years, these contracts became a haven for speculators who were doing nothing more than betting on whether a debt issuer would survive.  The $150 billion rescue of the American International Group, for example, came about because of swaps the insurer had written on mortgage securities. And the $100 billion taxpayer backstop handed to Bank of America on Jan. 16 had a good bit to do with soured credit-default swaps that the bank inherited when it acquired Merrill Lynch.               http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/business/25gret.html?scp=1&sq=gretchen%20morgenson%20c.d.s.&st=cse                                                                                                     

I don’t support the payment of $165 Million in Bonus or Retention payments, however, I don’t want to dwell on that topic while the Congress shovels money in the front door of AIG to have Hedge Fund Managers sneak it out the back. For every dime of “bonus” paid by AIG the Hedge Funds are getting away with a $100 Bill. I want AIG to drop the dimes – but I also want Congress to ID the guys running of with the hundreds so we can get that money back too and while they are at it – I want Congress to shut that back door and lock it. It’s time to escort AIG to the Bankruptcy Court door steps.    

Contact your Senator and Congress Person and demand that the “true recipients” of the bailout cash be identified. Not one penny more for these Hedge Fund Managers.  http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

The relationship of  $1 Billion Dollars to $1 Million Dollars is the same as a $100 bill to a dime.  Lets not only focus on the dimes while they make off with the hundreds by the fist full.  

By the way – when the Government talks Trillions instead of Billions, it’s the same.  A Billion is a dime to the Trillion being a $100 bill.  The Government acts like it’s spending dimes, but they’ll be collecting our $100 bills.

FUTURE POST: Government “overpays” AIG Trading Partners

AIG was a hedge fund attached to a stable insurer, says Bernanke

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke was widely quoted as criticising AIG in a Senate hearing yesterday. “I think if there’s a single episode in this entire 18 months that has made me more angry, I can’t think of one, than AIG,” he said, according to various press reports. He added that was angry about the way AIG had strayed from its core insurance business and took unmonitored and unnecessary risks through its financial products unit, describing AIG Financial Products as a hedge fund attached to a large and stable insurance company.         http://www.creditflux.com/Structured/2009-03-04/AIG-washedge-fund-attached-tostable-insurer-says-Bernanke

Obama Administration Prevaricates Again – GM/Chrysler Bailout Anti Increases By $5 Billion – Congressional Approval Bypassed Again

You may have seen or heard this news snippet:

GM says it doesn’t need more cash in March. General Motors Corp. says its restructuring plan is starting to take hold, improving the automaker’s fortunes at least to the point that it won’t need a US$2 billion U.S. government loan instalment that it had requested for March.”   http://www.autonet.ca/autos/news/2009/03/12/8727786-ap.html

This article goes on to state that,

“Chief financial officer Ray Young said Thursday that GM formally told the Obama administration’s autos task force on Wednesday that it wouldn’t need the money this month. But in an interview with The Associated Press, Young would not say when the struggling automaker would need more government money or whether it will reduce the size of its loan request.  “It seems like our company-wide cost reduction efforts are moving well, as well as we’ve been able to defer spending that we previously anticipated in January and February,” Young said. “I think that’s a positive development.”

So, no additional cash is needed this month. Wow, what a remarkable turn around. 

Wait a minute, when something seems to good to be true, it usually isn’t true. Why, could something “be rotten in Denmark”, or in this case “Detroit”. Might the Obama Administration be prevaricating again, say like feigning surprise over the AIG bonuses?

Auto suppliers to get $5 billion in aid – Government to provide financing for troubled auto parts suppliers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department, trying to stabilize the battered auto industry, said Thursday it will provide up to $5 billion in financing to troubled auto parts suppliers who are linked to Detroit’s carmakers.

The funds would be made available from the government’s Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, said members of the Obama administration’s auto task force. It would create a financial entity similar to a revolving credit to provide financing for auto parts that large suppliers have shipped to the Big Three automakers but have not yet been paid for.

U.S. automakers — General Motors Corp., Chrysler LLC and Ford Motor Co. — would have the option of using the program and would be required to pay a 5 percent fee of up to $250 million to join. The car makers would designate the parts suppliers who need financing and the suppliers would have to agree to terms of the government-backed protection and pay a small fee for the right to participate.

GM and Chrysler, which have received $17.4 billion in government loans, said they would use the program. Ford, which has not sought the government aid, said in a statement it would not participate “as we remain viable and expect no issue with continued payments to our suppliers.”

Members of the auto task force, who spoke on condition of anonymity because their discussions have been private, said the financing was a first step in restructuring the auto industry. The panel is expected to provide a framework for the revamping of GM and Chrysler by March 31.

The move was intended to help with the cash flow needs and stability of distressed auto suppliers, whose collapse could lead to the disruption of car production by the Big Three and lead to significant job losses.

“The program will provide supply companies with much needed access to liquidity to assist them in meeting payrolls and covering their expenses, while giving the domestic auto companies reliable access to the parts they need,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a statement.  

Officials said foreign automakers with U.S. operations would not be eligible to use the so-called “supplier support program.”  

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/090319/auto_bailout.html?.v=4

So if you work for one of the foreign owned, but domestically located auto plants, a plant that pays Local, State and Federal taxes in your Community – your employer and the Business that is a valuable member of your Community, will be put at a competitive disadvantage by using your private and that Companies Corporate tax payments to strengthen a competitor who made add nothing to your Community.

In addition, the Government will now make direct payment to the Auto Suppliers while GM & Chrysler will receive direct part shipments. I can’t wait to see the waste and cost control measures gone awry.

So now the Government will now make good on GM & Chrysler parts I.O.U.’s – payments that GM & Chrysler “deferred” so that the Government could make direct payment.

No GM did not need the $2 Billion March Bailout Money –  In it’s place the Government agreed to pay $5 Billion on behalf of GM directly to the GM parts creditors ….

Another payout at taxpayer expense – a plan with no plan – a bailout without an exit strategy – a public expenditure with no reasonable means of repayment ….

Isn’t enough … enough.

So GM doesn’t need any “March Bailout Money” 

What a sham! What a bunch of prevaricators!  

pre⋅var⋅i⋅cate

–verb (used without object), -cat⋅ed, -cat⋅ing.
to speak falsely or misleadingly; deliberately misstate or create an incorrect impression; lie.

evade, shift.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: