Sunday, November 16, 2008

G20 comes up with nothing

Nothing but nonsense at the G20 meeting this weekend, except that a "broader policy response" on rates and stimulus; and after March 31, 2009 we'll have another meeting to discuss what we discussed, and supervisory colleges will be filled with academics who know nothing about the markets, who supposedly will help bank regulators with oversight. What do you expect? These participants laud other Central Bankers policies in thier communiques as "bold and decisive." Have they actually done anything that has worked?

At least the FDIC tries do something on the economy. Last week they pushed a plan on mortgages despite Treasury's resistance. Retail sales sucked, and part of the blame is that consumers weren't buying gift cards because they were worried that the merchants selling them would go bankrupt. So the FDIC guaranteed the cards:

The FDIC's Board of Directors has approved the attached new General Counsel's opinion on the insurability of funds underlying stored value cards and other nontraditional access mechanisms. The new General Counsel's Opinion No. 8 replaces the previous General Counsel's Opinion No. 8, published in 1996.

From the NY Fed, on what a stored value card is:

Paulson's plan is just one giant gift card given to Wall Street to offset the "stored value" in Level 3 assets, SIV's and off-balance sheet arrangements where every bad trade has been stuck. And now we have synthetic derivatives that multiply the amount of the stuck bad trades by banks thinking they could offset their bad trades by buying insurance from patsies that were dumber than them, who insured that this synthetic garbage was actually worth something.

These same people probably still think credit card debt is a decent recievable! Why don't they just take a look at the NY Times this weekend, for a harbringer of what is to come:

Bankruptcy lawyers report that they have been having more consultations with middle-class families with six-figure incomes — including many who either bought a home during the boom or pulled out most or all of their available home equity just keep to up with the cost of living...

"There are a lot of foreclosures that haven’t taken place yet because people still have available credit,” said Jeffrey H. Tromberg, a bankruptcy lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “We don’t see them until they’ve maxed out their credit cards.”

Maybe these bankers think a credit card is a gift card! The consumer did, and they aren't paying it back!

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