The Money Shot

A quick post: expect follow-ups on this. I’ve been watching the (selective) bailouts by the government, with my money, to “save” investment companies that have knowingly thrown themselves over the cliff. They’ve created the same derivative monster that shook the market back in 2001-2002, only this time with real dollars at risk. Taxpayer dollars. Now the current administration, knowing full well that whatever they come up with will fall to the next administration to execute, is preparing a gazillion-dollar bailout package, details, implications and oversight all to be determined. Some simple questions (which I’ll drill down on in the coming days):

  1. So… what if we let the chips fall where they may? Will I still be able to buy a loaf of bread?
  2. If they’re using taxpayer funds to purchase taxpayer assets, can’t the government just issue us stock certificates in the corporation that will have to own those securities?
  3. If I rip someone off, I get prosecuted. Wall Street execs, money managers, hedge fund gurus and their ilk in many cases knowingly ‘sold short,’ or packaged and hid bad debt in complex, multi-corporate moves (anyone remember Enron?). Where are the indictments? Where’s the FBI? I wanna see handcuffs! Lots of them!
  4. Even fiscal conservatives and free market freaks are talking regulation. Let’s start by doing what Bush did (badly) in Iraq: de-Baathification trials for all involved. Every executive with fiduciary responsibility for cleaning up this mess has to first prove that she or he was not part of making the mess. And furthermore, that they will not profit, other than salary, in cleaning things up. And not own stock in any company (except through double-blind trusts) during their work and for five years after completing helping with the bailout.

That would be a good start.