The Bailout of Greece – AIG & Credit Default Swaps – Are US Taxpayers On The Hook Again?

Please, tell me it isn’t so!

First, in case you missed it, the country of Greece is dead butt broke ….. flat busted.  The BBC has announced that Greece will receive an initial bailout of $146 billion US dollars from various parties, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8656649.stm , while the Euro Zone sets up a $1 trillion US dollar bailout fund. http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/germany-okays-trillion-dollar-euro-zone-bailout-plan/94028/on , http://money.cnn.com/2010/05/10/markets/dollar/?eref=aol .

Reminds me of AIG – really – an intial bailout – with a huge amount of “follow-on” cash a few weeks later. 

The initial cost to US Taxpayers is being estimated at something between $56 billion and $170 billion dollars. The estimates are based on the fact that the IMF or International Monetary Fund, will contribute $284 billion to start and may commit up to $1 trillion dollars. http://money.cnn.com/2010/05/10/markets/dollar/?eref=aol

At present the United States Taxpayer provides $54 billion annually in IMF funds. http://www.house.gov/jec/imf/11-18-03.pdf  The US pays, at a minimum, 17% of the IMF’s debts. 17% of $1 trillion is $170 billion.

Wait, this isn’t the worst of it.

The American Taxpayer maybe assuming the entire national debt of Greece.

Sounds crazy doesn’t it? I hope to heck it is crazy and not true. America simply can’t afford it!

AIG and the Greek Bailout

Enter AIG, the former international insurance giant currently owned by the American Taxpayer, thanks to the US Government and the US Government’s bailout programs.

AIG, American Internation Group, the international insurance giant was “nationalized” in September 2008 and given an initial infusion of $85 billion in taxpayer cash. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122156561931242905.html

Additional taxpayer cash was provided to AIG and at present the total amount “fronted to AIG” is at least $135 billion taxpapaer dollars.                                                         http://www.propublica.org/ion/bailout/item/how-big-is-aigs-bailout-really707  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122627437470412029.html

The amount “fronted” to AIG may be in excess of $180 million, it is hard to tell because the US taxpayer has not had a recent accounting of how much additional cash has been funnelled to AIG. http://www.propublica.org/ion/bailout/item/how-big-is-aigs-bailout-really-707

AIG used much of the money to pay off French & German banks who had invested in “toxic mortgage securities” or related securities sold by AIG called “Credit Default Swaps” or CDS. http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/economicsunbound/archives/2009/03/german_and_fren.html

In the initial payoff, French and German banks received $36 billion in US taxpayer funds, paid through AIG by the Obama Administration. The payout to the French and German banks took place in March 2009 during the first 3 months of the Obama Administration under the direction of Obama Treasury Secretary Geithner.  http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/economicsunbound/archives/2009/03/german_and_fren.html 

Almost $60 billion dollars of the initial US Taxpayer payout to AIG went to foreign banks. http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/economicsunbound/archives/2009/03/german_and_fren.html

You might remember that Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for the $700 billion financial bailout, reported to Congress that the Obama Administration had mismanaged the intial payouts, resulting in billions more than necessary being paid out to foreign and US banks and brokerages. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2009-11/17/content_8984419.htm

The whole issue of paying out US Taxpayer dollars in satisfaction of AIG’s debt was so “mucked up” that current Treasury Secretary Geithner first refused to disclose who got what and when, in the deals. Inspector General Barofsky faulted Secretary Geitner and the Federal Reserve for refusing at first to reveal which banks had received the billions of American taxpayer dollars supposedly intended to save AIG. Geithner and the Fed released the banks’ names and the amount of their payoffs only after the American Public demanded greater transparency and the US Congress responded to that demand.   http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2009-11/17/content_8984419.htm                  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/geithner-paulson-defend-182-bln-aig-bailout-2010-01-27

Is AIG at it again?

The international press has reported on how President Obama is pushing for a bailout of Greece’s new Socialist Government. http://www.businessinsider.com/now-obama-is-making-emergency-calls-to-merkel-over-greek-aid-2010-4

For years the Socialists in Greece’s Government have fudged the numbers concerning the Greek National Debt. “To keep within the monetary guidelines of the European Union, the government of Greece has been found to have consistently and deliberately misreported, in other words falsified, the country’s official economic statistics.[17][18] In the beginning of 2010, it was discovered that Greece had paid Goldman Sachs and other banks hundreds of millions of dollars in fees (CDS fees or “premiums”)  arranging transactions that hid the actual level of Greek borrowing.[19] The purpose of these deals …. was to enable them to spend beyond their means, while hiding the actual deficit from the EU overseers.[20]. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_European_sovereign_debt_crisis

“Speculation in the CDS market began after 4 October 2009, as the Greek Socialists celebrated their election victory. Two weeks later the newly-elected government informed its Euro-partners that the deficit for 2009 was going to lie at 12.7 percent of economic performance (GDP).”  “The new estimate for the budget deficit called onto the stage the first hedge funds, reports a London CDS-dealer working for a large American bank.http://www.eurosavant.com/2010/02/21/cds-just-another-evanescent-bubble/

Speculation in the CDS market? 

Now the Eurpoean Press is reporting that AIG is selling CDS or Credit Default Swaps once again. Only this time, AIG is “insuring” Greece’s debt with the instruments not “toxic mortgage securities”.

In any case, the CDS-wager has gone up because more and more true-believers in the Greek State have come to feel the need to insure their holdings. This rapidly-rising demand for insurance has been set off by the escalation of the debt crisis. But it is past Greek governments that have to answer in the first place for the exhausted budget situation. The higher demand for insolvency protection that has driven up the CDS price follows from the evidently poorer estimation of Greek credit-worthiness.”

Greek banks as insurers
On the other hand, whoever expected Greece’s rescue by Europartner countries would have had to position himself on the CDS market as an insurer, that is, as a seller of payment protection. The take in premiums from insurance protection sold provides increased revenue. But it’s on the seller-side that the weak points of the CDS market become evident. It’s still unclear who has sold insurance protection for Greece. In one study analysts from the major French bank BNP Paribas referred to market-rumors that Greek banks had insured a large sum by CDS. If this is correct, then the payment protection they have provided is worth nothing. Greek banks hold State debt of over 40 billion euros. This corresponds roughly to the entire amount of equity in the Greek credit market. A bankruptcy of the State would lead to a collapse of the banking system.”

“London investment bankers name AIG as a further CDS-seller. That company had to be nationalized during the financial crisis due to its having written insolvency insurance on American mortgages. This debt-load would have led to the collapse of the world’s biggest insurer. Prior to the financial crisis AIG is said to have widely held State credit-risk. If yet-larger insurance positions on Greece exist, then the American government would have a strong interest in preventing that country’s insolvency.”
http://www.eurosavant.com/2010/02/21/cds-just-another-evanescent-bubble/

Read the full article in Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung GmbH, the German equivalent of the Wall Street Journal. The original article, in German, can be read here: http://www.faz.net/s/Rub645F7F43865344D198A672E313F3D2C3/Doc~EC22CF3FE26F8487A9B4E8E99B0DA384E~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html

The english translation here: http://www.eurosavant.com/2010/02/21/cds-just-another-evanescent-bubble/ 

What might this mean to the US taxpayer? Well that will depend on several things.

First, Greece’s total National Debt is a bit of a mystery. The Politicans in Greece have been fudging the numbers for so long, that it is hard to accurately estimate the total debt and without knowing the total debt, it is nearly impossible to estimate how much may have been “insured” by purchasing CDS and how much of the CDS business may have passed through AIG. 

Surprisingly similar to the “financial collapse” isn’t it? 

A Greek Debt bubble, insured through AIG with CDS.

What is clear is this, if AIG is selling CDS to “insure” the Greek National Debt, the American people have not been told exactly why this is being done, nor have we been told how much we are on the hook for and who is making a buck off the deal. Two of the “usual suspects” are on the sceen, AIG & Goldman Sachs, two large and powerful players in the international financial scene and Democratic to their cores.   You can bet on one thing, the average Jack or Jill Taxpayer isn’t going to make a dime on these dealings.    

Meanwhile the Greeks Socialists and Anarchists are rioting in the streets over proposed and desperately needed budget cuts and the US is agreeing to bailout Greek workers while US workers run out of unemployment benefits.

Contact Your Congressperson today and insist that they investigate these reports. The US Taxpayer should not be “on the hook” for the Socialist Greek Government’s mismanagement of the Greek economy. Lets put our house in order before we try to prop up foreign Socialists Governments and their failed welfare states. 

Lets practice saying “NO” to California by saying “NO” to Greece first!

http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

See the March 2009 post on AIG’s collapse: https://mcauleysworld.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/the-story-behind-aigs-collapse-bad-mortgages-credit-default-swaps-accounting-irregularities/

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

Paulson To Oversee Auto Bailout – What The Hell Are They Thinking?

Paulson has Proved A Failure At Banking Bailout – Why Put Him In Chanrge Of A Second Bailout –

Are Powers Gratnted To Paulson Unconstitutional – Is Auto Bailout Circumventing A Proper Bankruptcy – Where Are Creditor Protections?

Where Are Taxpayor Protections? Where is the “NEW BUSINESS MODEL” for the “DETROIT 3”?

Bailout Watchdog: Where’s the Spending Plan?

Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren, the chairwoman of a congressional oversight panel, traveled to Washington Thursday to get answers on how Treasury is managing the unprecedented bailout.

 

The top congressional watchdog overseeing the nation’s financial bailout said Thursday she’s frustrated by the Treasury Department’s refusal to explain how it is doling out billions in taxpayer money.

Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren, the chairwoman of a congressional oversight panel, traveled to Washington to get answers on how Treasury is managing the unprecedented bailout.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the Democratic appointee said she doesn’t understand why it’s taken so long for the Bush administration to explain its plan. Warren said she doesn’t want to believe it’s because there never was a plan for spending $700 billion in taxpayer money to rescue banks.

“I don’t buy a winter coat without a plan,” she said. “I can’t imagine how someone could think they were going to repair a failing economy and undertake spending billions of dollars in taxpayer money without a plan.”

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson originally intended to use the money to buy risky loans from banks, freeing them to make new, safer loans. Shortly after the funds were approved, however, Paulson announced that $250 billion would instead be used to buy stock in U.S. banks.

“We’ve reversed directions more than once here, without any description of an overall strategy,” Warren said. “It’s not to say there’s not one, but I don’t think it should be such a well-hidden secret.”

Treasury spokeswoman Brookly Mclaughlin had no comment on Warren’s remarks. Treasury officials have said they are working toward several objectives, including stabilizing the financial markets, supporting the housing market and protecting taxpayers.

Nevertheless, the bailout has drawn criticisms from Republicans who oppose the huge new government program and from Democrats who want some of the money to be used to rework mortgages so homeowners can keep their houses.

The congressional oversight panel criticized Treasury last week for not saying exactly what problems they’re trying to fix or how the investments will fix them.

While Warren placed the blame squarely on Treasury for not laying out a clearer plan, she tempered any criticism of Congress, which placed few restrictions on the money as it hurriedly passed a law giving Treasury historic power to make multibillion-dollar decisions. Such requirements were omitted, she said, because the Bush administration pressured Congress to approve the bill quickly.

Paulson “was telling the Congress of the United States, ‘Do this right now,”‘ she said.

The five-member oversight panel is made up of three Democratic appointees and two Republicans. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky named outgoing Sen. John Sununu of New Hampshire to the panel Tuesday. Sununu has echoed Warren’s comments that taxpayers deserve to know how the money is being spent.

The panel is one of several entities monitoring the bailout, in addition to a special inspector general and the Government Accountability Office, a congressional auditor.

The GAO said in a critical report earlier this month that Treasury should toughen its monitoring of the bailout fund to ensure that banking institutions limit their top executives’ pay and comply with other restrictions.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2008/12/18/bailout-watchdog-wheres-spending-plan/

CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSPERSON AND TELL THEM TO END THE BAILOUTS: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF AMERICANS OPPOSE THE BAILOUTS – INSIST THAT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES ACT ACCORDINGLY.

“TARP” Bailout – Where Are Funds Going – Auditors fault oversight of bank bailout funds

The government must toughen its monitoring of the $700 billion financial bailout to ensure that banking institutions limit their top executives’ pay and comply with other restrictions, federal auditors said Tuesday in the first comprehensive review of the rescue package.

The Treasury Department has no mechanism in place to track how institutions are using $150 billion in taxpayer money that the government injected into the banking system as of last month, the Government Accountability Office concluded in its report to Congress.

The auditors acknowledged that the program, created Oct. 3 to help stabilize a rapidly faltering banking system, was less than 60 days old and has been adjusting to an evolving mission.

But the 72-page report was bound to feed congressional concern that banks and other institutions are not being monitored properly and are not using the money to increase lending.

Auditors specifically cited weaknesses in determining whether institutions that received bailout money are complying with limitations on executive compensation and dividend payments. For instance, some top executives at institutions that receive rescue funds must repay any incentives or bonus pay that was based on inaccurate financial statements.

“Treasury has not yet determined how it will monitor compliance with this or other requirements such as limitations on dividend payments and stock repurchases,” the report states.

Auditors recommended that Treasury work with government bank regulators to determine whether the activities of financial institutions that receive the money are meeting their purpose.

In a response to the GAO, Neel Kashkari, who heads the department’s Office of Financial Stability, said the agency was developing its own compliance program and indicated that it disagreed with the need to work with regulators.

“The GAO’s discouraging report makes clear that the Treasury Department’s implementation of the [rescue plan] is insufficiently transparent and is not accountable to American taxpayers,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.

So far, the government has pledged to pour $250 billion into banks in return for partial ownership. It also has agreed to provide $40 billion to troubled insurer American International Group. In addition, $20 billion of the money was invested in Citigroup, and another $20 billion went to the Federal Reserve to help ease credit stresses. [AIG HAS NOW BEEN GIVEN $152 Billion in Funds]

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. initially said the money would be used to buy distressed mortgage-related securities from banks. His switch in strategy drew criticism from lawmakers as a confusing mix of messages to the public and investors.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/dec/03/auditors-fault-oversight-of-bank-bailout-funds/

Billions In Auto Bonuses While Singin The Bailout Blues

First – The problem with the Detroit 3 is not new nor is it temporary. It is long term and systemic. It will not be solved by a bailout. Why are the “Detroit 3” looking for a bailout? It is not because the economy is in recession. It is because the Detroit 3 are badly managed and have been badly managed for so many decades that they cannot now obtain financing on the open market. The “international business marketplace” refuses to invest in the ‘Detroit 3″ so they are looking for a “public handout”. A “Bailout” with public funds will provide the UAW and Auto Exces one last chance to divide up one last “Big Payday” before they go under. Only after a bankruptcy and a wholesale change in both Mangement and Union Leadership will the Detroit 3 have a chance to survive.  

Secondly, to imply that GM, Ford & Chrysler LLC, are the “American” Auto Industry is disingenous. With global investing GM, Ford & Chrysler are no more American than Honda, Toyota or Hundai. Any American can invest in the “New American Auto” Industry as  the Wall Street Journal calls it – but Americans cannot invest in Chrysler LLC – it is a privately owned company and no one knows who actually “owns” Chrysler LLC because Cerebus Capital Management’s ownership is a closely guarded secret. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122608860916209213.html?mod=article-outset-box

The largest investors in GM and Ford are Capital Management firms, hedge funds and Mutual Funds. There is no way to determine whether the individuals who have invested in those firms are “American” or from “Communist China”. Communist China controls a significant interests in many of the remaining “American” banks and investment firms.                                                             http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/china-invests-3-bln-blackstone/story.aspx?guid={C8B110EC-2538-4461-97C8-0FD7F1CAEF15}&dist=hplatest            http://english.pravda.ru/business/103399-Citigroup-0                                            http://forbes.ccbn.com/conferencedetail.asp?client=forbes&event=1988907

Why do writers insist on calling these companies “American”. We don’t know who owns the stock or who the investors are. As for GM and Ford, either could be bought by a foreign corporation tomorrow the same way Chrysler was purchased, first by Daimler then by Cerebus. 

CHRYSLER LLC – CEREBUS Capital Management

Chrysler is owned by a private equity company – CEREBUS CAPITAL MANAGEMENT – Cerebus is named after the mythical three three headed dog that guards the gates of hell  http://www.hoovers.com/cerberus-capital-management/–ID__112328–/free-co-factsheet.xhtml?cm_ven=PAID&cm_cat=INK&cm_pla=CO1&cm_ite=cerberus-capital-management )

Cerebus is a private capital investment firm that owns shares in companies all over the world. Cerebus was formed in 1992. It has its own bank, a Japanese Bank not an “American” bank, named Aozora.

Cerebus’ Chairman is none other than former Vice-President Dan Quayle. http://www.vicepresidentdanquayle.com/biography.html

But who owns Cerebus – no one knows – it is a “private” and “unregulated” company. “It has come to this. A firm that made its name, and its fortune, feeding off companies in their death throes is demanding a government bailout.” http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2008/11/07/f-pittis-economy.html 

No one knows if Cerebus is anymore of an American Company than Daimler was or the China Investmant bank is.          http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/244378/cerberus_buys_chrysler.html                 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Investment_Bank                                             http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Construction_Bank                                             http://swfinstitute.org/fund/cic.php                                                      http://www.skadden.com/index.cfm?contentID=47&practiceID=33

The US government can’t own shares in Chrysler LLC and the Cerebus Investors have extremely limited liability for any bailout money we put in their pockets, “Chrysler is 81% owned by Cerebus Capital Management and 19% by Daimler AG. It is not a public company and you cannot buy or sell its stock. (It was a public company until last year when Daimler sold most of Chrysler to Cerebus.) An LLC is a corporate structure that limits the liability of its stockholders, similarly to a corporation.” http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/r-answers-a-20080114050334AA9ZyJk-k-stock+trade

Cerberus is headquartered in New York City with affiliate and/or advisory offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Baarn, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing, Osaka and Taipei. http://www.cerberuscapital.com/about_comp_prof.html

Cerebus was described this way, “Cerberus Capital Management is the very real private equity firm — one of the bidders in play for the Chrysler Group — that guards the privacy of its dealings almost as jealously. USA Today takes a look at the firm and reveals a company with a “fierce reputation” and “a combative, take-no-prisoners style.”The list of companies that are either owned by Cerebus or which the company has majority stakes include: Alamo and National rental car, Fila, Blue Bird yellow buses, Rafaella clothing, GMAC, Aegis Mortgage, auto suppliers CTA Acoustics and GDX Automotive, Remington Arms, Bell Canada, Tower Automotive, banks, mortgage companies, and property managers.” When it bought Chrylser, Cerberus instantly doubled its annual revenue, but revenue isn’t the prime concern for private equity firms — return on investment is. The issue is that no one knows how Cerberus would go about increasing return from Chrysler.” http://www.autoblog.com/2007/04/16/rare-info-on-chrylser-bidder-cerberus-reveals-a-fierce-reputati/                                                                                            http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/14/AR2007081401913.html     http://www.bcwf.bc.ca/documents/s=393/bcw1176303661611/  http://www.forbes.com/business/feeds/afx/2007/05/17/afx3731793.html           http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerberus_Capital_Management   http://iht.com/articles/ap/2007/03/29/business/NA-FIN-COM-US-Tower-Automotive-Bankruptcy.php                                                                                      http://www.cerberuscapital.com/

Now we know how they plan on increasing the return – a taxpayer subsidized bailout. “The UAW and the Canadian Auto Workers have publicly opposed the sale of Chrysler “to Cerebus or any other private equity group.” http://www.autoblog.com/2007/04/16/rare-info-on-chrylser-bidder-cerberus-reveals-a-fierce-reputati/
In 1984 Chrysler employed approximately 80,000 workers. (1984-09-01, Chrysler Corp. completed its 4-year employee stock ownership plan by distributing 1,661,691 shares of common stock to more than 80,000 employees, including 63,000 members of the United Auto Workers union.) http://resources.bnet.com/topic/chrysler+llc+and+stock.html
In October 2008 it was estimated that Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep combined employed 49,000.        http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=Ak0_ss1oGMILRC6Sai7xc3KmN3wV?p=Chrysler+LLC+Employees+2008&fr=att-portal&toggle=1&cop=&ei=UTF-8
http://www.sullcrom.com/offices/detail.aspx?office=3                                     http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2008-07/17/content_6854442.htm                         http://www.ml.com/index.asp?id=7695_7696_8149_8688_8558_6274
Chrysler is only a very small piece of the Cerebus pie. Why should the American taxpayers “bailout” a huge, private, mulitnational firm with hundreds of Billions of dollars in assests and dozens of companies under its control?
Cerebus would like to sell Chrysler, but Chrysler is so dysfunctional Cerebus cannot find a buyer.  If Chrysler is a bad bet for Daimler and Cerebus, it is a bad bet for the US taxpayer.
General Motors Corporation
For those who argue GM is the victim of a sudden economic downturn, let me remind you that GM’s largest individual shareholder at the time. Kirk Kerkorian, was reported to have said this in January 2006. “General Motors Corp must cut its dividend, executive salaries and brand structure if it hopes to return to profitability”. Jerry York, an adviser to investor Kirk Kerkorian’s Tracinda Corp, said GM is currently burning through 24 mln usd per day, Agence France-Presse reported. He said the automaker must change its mindset to operate in ‘crisis mode’ and recognize the challenges it faces in the coming months. But unlike a number of analysts who have warned that GM is at risk of bankruptcy, York expressed confidence in the automaker’s ability to create shareholder value even after its shares fell more than 50 pct in the past year.
Lets see; near bankruptcy, lost 50% of stock value in the last year, “must act in crisis mode”, and this situation wasn’t new in January 2006, GM had been facing the same issues for at least 8 years running. In November 2006 Kerkorian sold his GM stock, see below.  
As to General Motors, which is in business with Cerebus as joint owners of GMAC – what are they doing to improve their economic performance – stripping out their valuable subsidiaries and setting them up as private companies, “GMAC, the money-losing finance company, sold a reinsurance business to Maiden Holdings Ltd and plans to sell two insurance units to the Bermuda-based company, to bolster capital and add liquidity. Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP owns 51 percent of Detroit-based GMAC, while General Motors Corp owns 49 percent.” http://blog.pennlive.com/leftcoast/2008/11/chrysler_death_watch_week_thre.html
Who is running “Maiden Holdings” – former GMAC executives. The same Executives who led to these types of problems, “GMAC is shedding profitable assets after suffering $7.2 billion of losses in the seven quarters ended June 30. The lender has been hurt by soaring credit losses at its Residential Capital LLC mortgage unit and by write-down of leases on sport-utility vehicles that drivers no longer want. GMAC’s credit ratings have fallen deep into junk status.” http://blog.pennlive.com/leftcoast/2008/11/chrysler_death_watch_week_thre.html
Who owns GM? Just two years ago Renault & Nissan offerred to buy a “significant minority interest in the carmaker. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13630565/ Kurt Kerkorian, the Billionare American Investor, who owned 9.9% of GM through his Tracinda Corporation publicly favored the partnership. GM would not consumate the deal. In November 2006 Kerkorian announced he would sell 14 Million shares in GM, in a “private transaction”, at $33 per share. Later that month, Kerkorian “dumped” his remaining GM shares at $28.75 per share.
It was reported that Bank of America purchased the stock. It was unknown if Bank of America retained the shares (9.9% of GM) or re-sold them. Morgan Stanley owned 5% of GM in 2006. Morgan Stanley and Bank of America were, in turn, partially owned by the China Investment bank.  http://www.thestreet.com/stocks/automakers/10268781.html 
Three months prior to Kerkorian dumping his GM stock in November 2006, two other “Investment Firms” dumped GM stock in August 2006. The news reports stated, “Two Major Investors Sell Blocks of GM Shares”, “California-based investment firms that rank as the second-and third-largest institutional investors in General Motors Corp. have sold big blocks of the automaker’s stock, according to regulatory filings. Capital Research & Management Co. of Los Angeles, GM’s second-largest investor, sold 19.2 million shares, or 24% of its holdings in the company, according to second-quarter reports filed this week with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company’s third-largest investor, Brandes Investment  Partners of San Diego, sold 2.4 million shares, or 4% of its holdings. Neither company would comment, saying they do not discuss their investments.” http://articles.latimes.com/2006/aug/17/business/fi-gmstake17
These firms also guard the identity of those who control the money they are investing. This article went on to note that, “Credit Suisse bought 11.5 million shares to become the sixth-largest investor in GM” at that time.  Credit Suisse is a Swiss Bank/Holding Company.    http://articles.latimes.com/2006/aug/17/business/fi-gmstake17   
The point is, there is no way to tell who “owns” GM. Many of the shares are “held” by Banks, Investment Firms, Hedge Funds and Capital Management firms, but “who” owns the money invested by those firms is unknown. Investors from all over the globe are free to deposit their money with these firms.
If GM is a bad bet for Kirk Kerkorian and the International Investment Community, it is a bad bet for the American taxpayer. 
  
GM, the largest of the “Detroit 3” may employ as many as 123,000 or as few as 74,000 at present.  Analyst state GM needs to downsize by half. (Retaining 40,000 to 60,000 workers). Optomistic analysts report GM has already reduced its headcount to 74,000 after announcing 4 more plant closing and the elimination of an additional 10,000 workers in June 2008.
These cuts follow 30,000 job cuts in 2005, http://money.cnn.com/2005/11/21/news/fortune500/gm_cuts/
34,000 jobs in 2006,
and 30,000 more in 2007. In February 2008, after posting a $38 Billion Loss, Business Net noted the 2007 job cuts and stated, “After cutting more than 30,000 employees in the last round of restructuring, GM is now offering buy-outs to all 74,000 staff.”
During this same time period, “foreign automakers have built or announced plans to build five U.S. assembly plants, he said. In 2007, foreign auto companies employed 113,000 people in the U.S., a number McAlinden projects will rise to 152,000 by 2011.”   http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24947044
International Financial analysts have stated that GM’s future, even given a “bailout” looks bleak,  “An analyst forecast their price would fall to zero, saying that even if there is a government bailout of the auto giant, shareholders would not benefit. “We are lowering our target on GM equity to zero dollars,” the Deutsche Bank report said. “Even if GM succeeds in averting a bankruptcy, we believe that the company’s future path is likely to be bankruptcy-like,” it said.” http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081110/bs_afp/stocksusautocompanygm
Ford Motor Company
“Financier Kirk Kerkorian is pulling out of the stake he took in Ford Motor Co. just six months ago, selling 7.3 million shares at a fraction of his purchase price.” “Kerkorian announced in April that he had bought 100 million shares for an average price of $6.91. He then announced a tender offer under which he paid $8.50 a share for an additional 20 million shares. In addition he bought another 22.3 million shares between late April and mid-June at an average price of $6.54 a share, giving his total investment an average price of just over $7 a share.” “I don’t know if Ford’s North American operations are even going to profitable by 2010,” said Kevin Tynan, auto analyst with Argus Research.

Kerkorian sold his shares for a little more than $2 a piece, losing almost $5 a share and taking a Billion Dollar plus loss. If Kerkorian was willing to take a Billion Dollar loss to get rid of his Ford shares, why is Ford a good bet for American taxpayers?

Art Hogan, chief investment strategist at Jefferies & Co., said that Kerkorian signalling that he wants out of the auto industry is yet another nail in the industry’s prospects in the eyes of investors.”Do you need a good excuse to pull out of Ford? What you need is an excuse for getting in in the first place,” said Hogan. “It’s been in demise for a decade.” http://money.cnn.com/2008/10/21/news/companies/ford_kerkorian/index.htm?eref=rss_topstories

“GM, Ford stock sell-off contributes to Dow’s drop”, GM lost half of its value — or $2.7 billion — and Ford has lost 60 percent, or $7 billion. [The combined value of the Detroit 3 is estimated at 9.2 Billion, $2.7 Billion for GM, $4.7 Billion for Ford, 1.8 Billion for Chrysler]              http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081010/AUTO01/810100386&imw=Y

“Ford to sell $500m in new stock”, In an effort to secure more capital and reduce debt, Ford plans to sell $500m in new stock. Ford will use the cash infusion to buy bonds from Ford Motor Credit, which has been strugling with the slow economy and nation-wide credit crunch. Goldman Sachs is handling the stock sale, and Ford has given no timetable for when the stocks will enter the market. Ford has already exchanged debt for equity to the tune of $927m in the past year. With shares of Ford stock at under $5 per share right now, anybody can own a share of the Blue Oval for the price of a value meal.” http://www.autoblog.com/2008/08/15/ford-to-sell-500m-in-new-stock/  

Unfortunately, there were no takers, the International Investment Community is just not interested.  

 

In September Ford announced plans to close nine plants by 2008 and another seven plants after that, more than half of its U.S. hourly employees recently agreed to take one of the various packages to leave the company in the coming months.

PLANT CLOSINGS & LAYOFFS –

The New York Times reported, “Highly Rated Auto Plants Set to Close”, Some of the most productive automobile factories, as rated by an influential study released Thursday, are closing down or losing large numbers of jobs in the motor industry’s upheaval. “Among the factories scheduled to close are a General Motors minivan plant in Doraville, Ga., and the Ford Motor Company’s midsize pickup truck plant in St. Paul, both of which ranked first in their segments in this year’s Harbour Report on automotive productivity. The top-rated full-size pickup plant, a Ford factory in Norfolk, Va., closed a year ago, showing that even the best-run plants are not immune to cuts. Two of the top three large S.U.V. plants are closing, as is the second-ranked midsize S.U.V. plant. The plant that ranked fourth over all, where Chrysler builds compact cars and crossovers in Belvidere, Ill., recently lost one of its three shifts. G.M.’s plant in Orion Township, Mich., ranked last in the midsize-car segment, taking 65 percent longer to build each vehicle than the top performer, while its plant in Moraine, Ohio, ranked second in midsize S.U.V.’s. But this week G.M. said it would add a third shift in Orion and close the Moraine factory.” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/06/business/06auto.html

Plant closings are negotiated with the UAW.

SINGING THE BAILOUT BLUES – BONUS CHECK IN HAND

Ford Motor Company Happy With Profit                                                                Australian News.Net
Friday 25th April, 2008                                                                                      
The Ford Motor Company in the US has posted a US$100 million profit for the period from January to April. Most companies reported losses for the first quarter of 2008 due to the economic slump and the subprime mortgage crisis, but Ford has attributed its success to its job reduction scheme in North America and triple earnings in Europe. http://www.australiannews.net/story/352149

Chrysler leaders get millions                                                                  Automaker defends payouts amid looming bailout talks                                      As Detroit’s crumbling auto industry asks Congress for a bailout, Chrysler is in the awkward position of paying about $30 million in retention bonuses to keep top executives while the company cuts thousands of jobs.

http://www.freep.com/article/20081113/BUSINESS01/311130002/1014

HEAD OF FORD DEFENDS BONUS

DEARBORN, Mich., May 4 – Philip Caldwell, the chairman of the Ford Motor Company, today defended the large bonuses paid to auto executives last year …..

AN IMAGE PROBLEM FOR DETROIT

To some people, the decision of General Motors and Ford, the two largest automobile makers, to pay record bonuses to their executives while enjoying protection

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/companies/ford_motor_company/index.html?s=oldest&&query=BONUSES&field=des&match=exact

More UAW workers bankrupt                                                                                                     Autoworkers who used to thrive on overtime now find it tough to keep up their lifestyles. Oscar Gray achieved the good life during 28 years of hard work at Delphi Corporation — a six-figure income, a nice home in Holly and two vehicles. But as Michigan’s auto industry tanked in recent years, the forklift operator lost huge amounts of overtime pay and gradually sank into financial ruin. Saddled with $469,000 in debt, he declared bankruptcy last month. Gray didn’t lose his job. His health isn’t failing, and he is not going through a divorce — the typical reasons many declare bankruptcy. Gray has been losing overtime. His gross pay was cut $16,000 one year, sliding to $87,000, and may dip again …. Despite the loss of time-and-a-half pay, some Michigan autoworkers continue to live large. Many bankrupt autoworkers own two homes — one is usually up north — which means multiple mortgages. Most have two or more cars and sometimes a boat or snowmobile payment, according to information culled from cases filed by autoworkers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Michigan. http://www.detnews.com/2005/autosinsider/0509/18/A01-318432.htm

At the time this article was written, the median annual income (half above/half below) in Michigan was just under $40,000. The article doesn’t address the increases in Michigan’s personal and property tax rates that now make ownership of two homes extremely difficult ….. not only overtime been cut, but taxes on both income, sales and property taxes on homes have gone up. Michigan’s tax rates are not “consumer” or “business” friendly – rather than address those issues the proposed solution from the Michigan Politicans is for the rest of the Country to come up with a “Public Bailout” ………..   

Ford workers get $733M in profit-sharing checks. http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2001-03-07-ford-profit-sharing.htm

DETROIT, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co., is considering paying bonuses to managers for 2006, despite record losses and massive job cuts. Ford reported a record loss of $12.7 billion for 2006, during which its U.S. sales fell 8 percent and it announced plans to close 16 plants and cut over 40,000 jobs in a bid to restore profitability to its North American operations by 2009. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2528789420070125

Apparently, absenteeism at GM’s North American plants is such a huge issue that the automaker has to offer more than just a paycheck to get workers to show up. The new labor contract the General signed with the UAW includes an incentive for workers that go a full year without missing a day. Their reward is to be entered into a drawing that gives five lucky employees $15,000 to put towards a new GM car or truck. While the idea of offering an incentive for employees to do their job might be a surprise to the rest of us working stiffs, the auto industry’s hourly workforce has one of the highest annual absenteeism rates in the U.S. A 2004 study showed that about 10-percent of workers aren’t manning their positions during any one point in the year – three-times higher than other industries. Naturally, this has a massive effect on labor costs and quality control. http://www.autoblog.com/2007/11/12/do-your-job-at-gm-win-cash-for-a-car

“New” Auto Industry Plants Pay More Than “Detroit 3” –

UAW Losing Pay Edge: Foreign Automakers’ Bonuses Boost Wages in U.S. Plants as Detroit Car Companies Struggle – February 1, 2007 – The UAW is losing its edge in pay compared with non-unionized U.S. assembly plant workers for foreign companies, even as Detroit automakers aim for deeper benefit cuts to trim their losses. Workers for a foreign automaker for the first time averaged more in base pay and bonuses than UAW members working for domestic automakers, according to an economist for the Center for Automotive Research and figures supplied to the Free Press by auto companies. Toyota Motor Corp. gave workers at its largest U.S. plant bonuses of $6,000 to $8,000. Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. are not far behind Toyota and UAW pay levels. Comparable wages have long been one way foreign companies fight off UAW organizing efforts. http://www.aftermarketnews.com/Item/28594/uaw_losing_pay_edge_foreign_automakers_ bonuses_boost_wages_in_us_plants_as_detroit_car_companies_struggle.aspx

DETROIT 3 – CONDITIONS NO WORSE FOR THEM THAN ANY OTHER COMPANY

You may have read this headline, “Citigroup to cut another 53,000 jobs”, “The company said total headcount is being reduced by 20 percent from its peak of 375,000 at the end of 2007; the company had already announced in October that it was eliminating about 22,000 jobs from those levels. The total workforce reductions include thousands of jobs that will be lost when Citigroup completes the sale of Citi Global Services and its German retail banking business.” http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081117/ap_on_bi_ge/citigroup_jobs;_ylt=AvI.vrNuJO1e5AeczxKJB2Ks0NUE

Even after making these horrendous cuts, Citi will still employ 1 1/2 times the number of employees currently under contract to all of the “Detroit 3” combined. After the cuts Citi will employ approximately 325,000 to approximately 200,000 employees at the “Detroit 3”.

The Detroit 3 are not the only companies dealing with the economic slowdown, all business and all employers are forced to deal with this economy.

Throwing good money after bad at the Detroit 3 is no solution. The “Detroit 3” only accounts for 1/2 of 1 percent of the Gross National Product, slightly less than that produced by the “New Auto Industry Plants”.  The current combined “value” of the entire “Detroit 3” is something under $10 Billion Dolllars. Prior to the election Congress passed a $25 Billion bailout targeted at “retooling” at the ‘Detroit 3″ and the production of “green agenda autos”. That money is currently tied up in the Energy Committee in Congress. Detroit is now asking for an additional $50 Billion Dollars for a  total of a $75 Billion handout. $75 Billion is 7 1/2 times the current value of three companies combined and is equal to a payment of $375,000 for every employee under contract to the “Detroit 3”.

From a business point of view this proposal makes no sense. If the proposal is passed, it will be the biggest political payoff in the history of the Country.

Broken Bailout Promises -The Bailout Oversight Committee – The Positions Haven’t Been Filled

Remember the outrage when the Citizen’s found out that the Regulators at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were not only asleep at the switch but were actually fabricating accounting reports to make sure they made “bonus targets”? Where was the oversight?

Remember the outrage when the public was told that it would cost at least $1 Trillion Taxpayer Dollars to fix the mess and “buy” the “toxic mortgages”?

Remember the outrage when the Public found out that Congress had failed at its oversight responsibility? Remember how the Public was promised that the “Bailout” would be fully transparent, that like the Alaska Budget, all expenditures would be “on-line” and available for public view?  

Remember when the Public was promised that the “Bailout Money” wouldn’t be used to pay “Executive Bonuses” and “Dividends”?

Remember what you were promised?  

We were promised that the economy would colapse if the “toxic mortgage debt” was not “taken off the books.” Now we are told that the “bailout money” won’t be used to buy “toxic mortgage debt”.  http://kdka.com/national/paulson.bailout.meltdown.2.862368.html         http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2008-10-30-bush-banks_N.htm?csp=34

We were promised the “Bailout Cash” wouldn’t be used to pay “Bonuses” and “Dividends”. Banks and Wall Street Trading Houses are preparing to make year end Bonus & Didvidend Payments. Some Wall Street defenders claim that the Bonus and Dividend payments won’t come from ‘Bailout Funds”. These same defenders are silent when it is pointed out that the Banks and Wall Street Executives are taking “Bailout Cash” and putting in their “left pocket” while they take the “Dividend” and “Bonus Payments” out of their right pockets saying, “see – it is different cash”. Bottom line, without the “Bailout Cash” there would be no “Bonus” or “Dividends”.  http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2008-10-30-bush-banks_N.htm?csp=34         http://www.thestreet.com/story/10444961/1/new-york-ag-probing-bank-exec-payouts.html?puc  http://www.590klbj.com/news/article.aspx?id=481643

The promised transparency is nowhere to be found. There is nothing on-line, no one is working to put it on-line. The Fed has not made any of the activity available “on-line” and now refuses to disclose what it has done with the money. http://miami.indymedia.org/news/2008/11/12194.php                                          http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aatlky_cH.tY&refer=home

We were promised that the “Bailout” would be subjected to extraordinary Oversight. http://www.wshu.org/news/story.php?ID=6103  – audio of Sen Dodd.

“Close federal oversight key to bailout’s success” “Most important, Congress will require more oversight for how the bailout funds are dispensed.” http://www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081006/OPINION/810060306/1046

Bailout brings massive hiring, oversight challenges http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/1008/101008nj1.htm

Candidates urge bailout oversight  http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/nation/story/BC1A1AC217680120862574CD00106C2D?OpenDocument

Barney Frank [of Fannie Mae notoriety] was joined by Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., in telling “GMA” that they would insist that an oversight board be created to keep an eye on the country’s massive investment. “We will have a strong oversight board” that will report to Congress monthly, Frank said. http://abcnews.go.com/Business/Politics/Story?id=5855805&page=2

How then has almost 1/2 the “Bailout Money” been spent and Trillions in additional loans been made, without appointing a single member of the “oversight board” or hiring a single staff member. The only extraordinary thing, there is, literally and factually, no oversight.   

It is time to “SAY NO” to further “Bailout Money”.

Contact Your Congressperson & Senators here: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home

Stop The Bailout Fiascos – The Plan Has Changed – The Promises Ignored

On September 29, 2008 the original “Bailout Bill” was defeated in the House of Representatives. After adding an amazing amount of additional spending the revised “bailout bill” passed four days later.

http://www.thestreet.com/story/10440683/1/sweetened-bailout-bill-sails-through-house.html

The Bailout was passed without “Congressional Hearings” because it was said that a “dire emergency” confronted the Nation and that Congress needed to purchase the “illiquid assets from the financial system” or as they were later called “The Toxic Mortgages” that may destroy the economy.

Now forgotten is the fact that a group of 400 internationally respected Economists warned the “Bailout” wouldn’t work. 

https://mcauleysworld.wordpress.com/2008/09/29/200-world-reknown-economists-speakout-against-bailout/  http://faculty.chicagogsb.edu/john.cochrane/research/Papers/mortgage_protest.htm http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95215972 

These economists warned that an entirely different approach was needed to truly free up the credit markets. ‘At this point I cannot identify a single good reason to do the bailout,’ said Dean Baker, co-director of the Centre for Economic and Policy Research. ‘Much of the country’s political and economic leadership has been running around raising the prospect of the Great Depression and a breakdown in the banking system,’ Baker said. ‘These stories are absolutely not true,’ he added. http://ipsnorthamerica.net/news.php?idnews=1729

Current “Bailout” activities maybe having the same affect as “pouring gasoline on a fire”.

What few American’s know, not all Banks supported the Bailout, “Nine of the largest U.S. banks were essentially arm-twisted last week into signing on for the first $125 billion in capital infusions.” http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081024/bs_nm/us_financial_usa_banks 

Note that “Capital Infusions” were forced on these Banks, the Banks did not sell “toxic mortgage debts” to the FED as advertised.

The Bailout has failed. Between October 4, 2008 and November 12, 2008 the Stock market has dropped 2000 of the 5000 points lost since November 2007. Forty percent of the economic dive has occurred in the 5 weeks since the “Bailout” was approved. (From 13,300 on 12/7/07 to 8,300 on 11/12/08)  

http://www.mahalo.com/Dow_Jones_Industrial_Average     http://www.nyse.tv/stocks/archive/2007_11_01_archive.htm                    http://money.cnn.com/data/premarket/  (DJIA 8313 at 7:15 Am  11/13/08)             http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/node/5882

You might recall a promise by Congress that the ‘Bailout” spending would be posted on-line, providing the Taxpaying Public complete transparency and the ability to track where our tax dollars were being spent. Not only have we not received “complete transparency”, but the American public is being denied even the most basic information on where the money is being spent.

http://www.openthegovernment.org/article/articleview/342/1/115/?TopicID=  

One article noted, “The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in September they would comply with congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system. Two months later, as the Fed lends far more than that in separate rescue programs that didn’t require approval by Congress, Americans have no idea where their money is going or what securities the banks are pledging in return.”                                                                        

http://josh-of-arc.newsvine.com/_news/2008/11/12/2104122-fed-loans-2-trillion-but-wont-say-to-who

In other words, the Congress and the Administration are not implementing any of the “protections” they promised the public for their tax dollars.

BLOOMBERG.COM describes it this way, “Fed Defies Transparency Aim in Refusal to Disclose”,  The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in September they would comply with congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system. Two months later, as the Fed lends far more than that in separate rescue programs that didn’t require approval by Congress, Americans have no idea where their money is going or what securities the banks are pledging in return.                                                    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=ahdVHk_Ccoeg&refer=home 

 

In addition, few in the American Public realize the “Bailout” money is being used to pay for items never approved by Congress and vehemently opposed by nearly all of the American public during the pre-vote debate. A recent article titled, “Bail-Outrage: Misuse of Funds, Lack of Transparency a National Disgrace”, noted, “Many Americans are understandably outraged by the bailout fever that has gripped Washington this year. But even those who believe the bailouts are a “necessary evil” would have a hard time defending some of the bailout-related items that have come to light in recent days, including:

  • Financial institutions using TARP bailout money to pay executive bonuses. The firms, of course, say it’s “different” money and bonuses are key to retaining top employees. But if you need to come to the government for a handout, shouldn’t your executives forgo a bonus? Or shouldn’t the government make canceling bonuses a condition of getting aid, as is the case in Europe?
  • The Fed refusing to reveal who received almost $2 trillion in non-TARP loans, or what collateral it has accepted from “emergency” loans made to struggling firms, as Bloomberg reports.
  • The Treasury Department providing a tax break to banks involved in acquisitions that could amount to $140 billion. The Washington Post reveals the change to the tax code was issued on Sept. 30, while Congress was debating the $700 billion TARP bill.

The bailouts are bad enough. But this kind of chicanery and lack of transparency makes me recall a line from another time when fear and deceit dominated Washington: Have they no shame, at long last?

http://finance.yahoo.com/tech-ticker/article/125352/Bail-Outrage-Misuse-of-Funds-Lack-of-Transparency-a-National-Disgrace?tickers=GS,MS,JPM,BAC,C,WFC,XLF             

http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=249779

The only relief seen by the American public has come from private efforts made by the Mortgage Companies. An example is the recent announcements made by Citigroup, “Citigroup to Modify Terms for U.S. Mortgages” as reported by the Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122636776229916053.html 

Citigroup’s actions are unrelated to any bailout activity. Why is Citigroup doing this? Because it makes good business sense for Citigroup, that is why. “The push by the New York Company’s Citi-Mortgage unit marks the latest effort by a financial institution to help ailing homeowners, which also can help lenders reduce loan losses.” [In other words, Citigroup doesn’t lose money when homeowners can stay in their homes and make payments]. “The company ultimately expects to reach 500,000 customers whose mortgages it owns. Roughly 130,000 of those borrowers are likely to see a reduction in their monthly loan payments, Citi-Mortgage said.” Citigroup’s efforts have been matched by J.P. Morgan Chase & Bank of America. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122636776229916053.html

This is being done without the sale of “toxic debt” or “cash infusions”, it is being done by having the bank simply renegotiate its outstanding mortgages – it costs the taxpayer nothing

Contrary to what the public has been told, a very significant portion of Citigroup’s “bad mortgages” involve investment properties and not family residences. “Citi-Mortgage also is halting foreclosures for about 16,000 borrowers who are behind on their loan payments but are working with the company on a loan modification. About 10,000 of those borrowers live in their homes and are likely to get their mortgage terms reworked, while about 6,000 are investors, according to the company.” [Almost 40% of the mortgages in foreclosure are investment properties]. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122636776229916053.html

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Wednesday the $700 billion government rescue program will not be used to purchase troubled assets as originally planned …. He announced a new goal for the program to support financial markets, which supply consumer credit in such areas as credit card debt, auto loans and student loans……. The administration decided that using billions of dollars to buy troubled assets of financial institutions at the current time was “not the most effective way” to use the $700 billion bailout package, he said. ……. The announcement marked a major shift for the Administration which had talked only about purchasing troubled assets as it lobbied Congress to pass the massive bailout bill.”  http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/financial_meltdown

The Author of this article is showing their political bias when the fail to mention the roll of the Democratic Congress in this mess. 

The Democratic Congress is “leading the charge” for making the modifications.

The fact that the original legislation only allowed for, “H. R. 1424 As Amended; A bill to provide authority for the Federal Government to purchase and insure certain types of troubled assets” is not being discussed. The current change in direction was not authorized by the “Bailout Vote”.

The Washington Post was just one of the publications to confirm these facts, “Urgently shifting course …….  abandoning the centerpiece of its massive $700 billion economic rescue plan and exploring new ways to shore up not only banks but credit-card, auto-loan and other huge nonbank businesses. Democrats are pressing hard to include a multibillion-dollar bailout for faltering automakers, too, over Administration objections. Unimpressed by any of the talk on Wednesday, Wall Street dove ever lower.” http://washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov/12/paulson-says-troubled-assets-will-not-be-purchased/

So now the “Bailout” money will go to pay bonuses not just for Wall Street Executives but for overpaid UAW & Auto Industry Executives too. Whether “credit card”, “auto loans” or “student loans” should be included in the “original bailout” was discussed by Congress and the Senate just 5 weeks ago. After consideration, the Congress and the Senate rejected proposals to include those items, after being added to the Administrations original “Bailout Proposal” by Democrats in Congress, the items were deleted in an attempt to obtain the necessary Republican support in the House.  The items were added back in by the Democratic Senate. They were not authorized in the original legislation.      

The proposed bailouts to what the Wall Street Journal refers to as “The Old American Industry” will cost taxpayers $375,000 per employee. A $75 Billion Dollar “Bailout” of the “Old” American auto industry will not save it. Chrysler LLC is not even a publicly owned company. It is a privately owned company. So how do we know who will really get the money the Government is being asked to give to Chrysler?

https://mcauleysworld.wordpress.com/2008/11/11/stop-the-detroit-3-bailout-375000-cost-per-employee-to-taxpayers/ 

https://mcauleysworld.wordpress.com/2008/11/07/obama-granholm-pelosi-waxman-dingell-the-death-of-american-automobile-manufacturing/

Given all the falsehoods about the first “Bailout” package, how can anyone be sure that the money will get to where they say they will spend it.

As to GM, Duetsche Bank stated a “bailout” would be needed to avert a collapse of GM and that even if GM received “bailout funds” and  “… GM succeeds in averting a bankruptcy, we believe that the company’s future path is likely to be bankruptcy-like,” analyst Rod Lache said in a research note, essentially calling the company’s shares worthless with a price target of $0, reduced from $4.”  

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/Deutsche-Bank-cuts-GM-sell/story.aspx?guid={CAFEF63F-017D-42E2-874A-14146A6D20A5}

As to Chrysler, it has been reported that, “In the Chrysler-like approach, potentially 98% of the  company’s equity would be transferred to the UAW, VEBA, existing GM debt holders and the government,” Barclays’ analysts noted. VEBA is short for Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association, a trust set up for managing health-care benefits to be overseen by the United Auto Workers of America. That would leave little for shareholders.” http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/Deutsche-Bank-cuts-GM-sell/story.aspx?guid={CAFEF63F-017D-42E2-874A-14146A6D20A5}

 

Without private investment, how many more “cash infusions” will taxpayers be asked to make to reward bad business management? 

 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis motor vehicles, bodies, trailers, and parts represented less than 1% of the country’s entire gross domestic production in 2007. One half of that total is attributable to the “New Auto Industry” that isn’t asking for a “Bailout” nor is the “New Auto Industry” part of “Bailout” discussions.

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/Deutsche-Bank-cuts-GM-sell/story.aspx?guid={CAFEF63F-017D-42E2-874A-14146A6D20A5} . 

 

We are talking about Billions in bailouts for the “Old Auto Industry” that is responsible for less than 1/2 a percent of the Country’s Gross National Production. That is simply a bad bet for American consumers and the taxpaying public.

   

How many billions more will Congress throw at a problem they don’t know how to fix. Isn’t it time to stop “throwing good money after bad”. 

Is it time for the American taxpayer to say NO. Contact your Congressperson and Senator and demand that they schedule the hearings we should have had in the first place. CONGRESS IS NOT KEEPING THEIR PROMISES ABOUT THE BAILOUT. WHAT THEY ARE DOING IS NOT WORKING. WHAT THEY ARE DOING IS MAKING THINGS WORSE WHILE RUNNING UP YOUR TAX BILL.

Contact Your Congressperson & Senators here: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home

One Click Access –you only need your “Zip Code” in the “Find Your Officials Tab”

Why isn’t the bailout working? Because the Government has done nothing to correct what caused the financial collapse. What caused the financial collapse? A change in lending rules that gave money to people who could not pay it back. The loans (car, credit card and home mortgages) were then packaged and sold as securities in America and around the world. Mortgages were written at 140% of the “inflated value” of the homes. Individuals were encouraged to “roll over” credit card debt, auto and student loans into their “mortgages”. Now that the “pyramid scheme” has collapsed the Government has done nothing to prevent it from happening again. NINJA & LIAR Loans are still the “law of the land”. Why won’t banks loan, why won’t investors buy the securities? They don’t want to get stuck with another group of “bad loans” or “bad investments”. The bailouts are simply rewarding the bad actors and preventing the tough but necessary changes we need to get the Country back on the right track.

WHERE WILL THIS ALL END – CONSIDER THIS

AIG’S NEW BAILOUT – November 10, 2008

The U.S. government reached a deal Sunday night to scrap its original $123 billion bailout of American International Group Inc. and replace it with a new $150 billion package, according to people familiar with the matter. Under the terms ironed out late Sunday, the government would give AIG more money, including $40 billion from the U.S. Treasury’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. The $150 billion in government aid consists of a $60 billion loan, a $40 billion preferred-stock investment and $50 billion in capital.  

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122627437470412029.html 

AND THIS

City Council: Detroit needs $10-billion bailout

 

The Detroit City Council passed a resolution today calling for a $10-billion bailout for the city of Detroit. The council passed the resolution today 7-1. Council President Pro Tem JoAnn Watson sponsored the resolution to use the money for public service employment, to fund mass transit plans and to place a moratorium on home foreclosures for two years. The resolution specifically requests the council meet with Mayor Ken Cockrel Jr., Gov. Jennifer Granholm, the state’s congressional delegation, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and officials from President George W. Bush’s office and President-Elect Barack Obama’s transition team. “No city needs a bailout more than Detroit,”  http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008811120455

Mayors want part of auto bailout

The mayors of four large Metro Detroit communities on Monday called for a share of the federal bailout sought by Detroit’s Big Three automakers to help redevelop shuttered facilities and factories.

The mayors of Warren, Sterling Heights, Livonia and Dearborn met at the Sterling Heights Public Library for about an hour to discuss the proposal. The mayors were joined by representatives from Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s office, Michigan’s congressional delegation, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments and the Michigan Municipal League.

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008811120455

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