A New Year But Same Old Story

A new year but same old story from the Obama Administration - more reports of coddling of the financial oligarchy and Wall Street. This time from Bloomberg: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished as Banks Seek Profits from Bailouts. This story of centers around the now infamous PPIP program. The one crafted by the financial oligarchy's biggest protector in the Administration - Timothy Geithner.

The supposed purpose of PPIP was to purchase, through government and private investors, some the bad debts that were the books of "troubled banks". Well, guess what. Financial conglomerates are not stupid (they may be incompetent when it comes to assessing risk):

Only months after it was started, the U.S. program designed to purge debts of no immediate discernable value from the balance sheets of troubled banks has helped transform the frozen debt into a money-maker as the bonds have rallied. Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc., who received 22 percent of the $418.7 billion American taxpayers loaned to troubled financial institutions, boosted holdings on their trading books of home- loan bonds that lack government guarantees while investors were raising cash for the program, according to Federal Reserve data.

Got that? According to Bloomberg reporters' analysis, the two biggest zombie banks actually went out and purchased more "toxic assets". But these two zombie banks were not alone:

The United States is Subsidizing China to purchase Toxic Assets?

The Big Picture is asking the question, Why is US Government Subsidizing Chinese PPIP?

This is in reference to the MSM headline, The China Investment Corp. is set to invest up to $2 billion in mortgage-backed securities:

China Investment Corp. (CIC) plans to invest soon in U.S. taxpayer subsidized investment funds of toxic mortgage-backed securities, which it sees as a safer bet than buying into the Federal Reserve's Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF).

No PPIP for Pimco

Considering Pimco was an originator of the idea of PPIP and it was well documented the massive fees PPIP would generate, the news Pimco pulled out of PPIP is surprising.

The U.S. plan to help buy as much as $40 billion in assets from banks got started almost four months after it was proposed and without Pacific Investment Management Co., the world’s biggest bond manager and an early supporter.

The U.S. Treasury Department picked nine money managers yesterday for the Public-Private Investment Program, or PPIP, including BlackRock Inc. and Invesco Ltd. Pimco, which in March announced plans to apply, said it withdrew its application in June because of “uncertainties” about the plan’s design.

Pimco & PPIP

The New York Times has a detailed interview & article with Pimco's Bill Gross in Treasury has Bill Gross on Speed Dial. While the article is a nice warm fuzzy on guy pulling himself up with his own bootstraps, outside the box brilliant business acumen etc., some very interesting pieces of information are revealed about Pimco, Bill Gross and the Treasury's PPIP plan.

First is this tidbit:

Last fall, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, run at the time by Mr. Geithner, hired Pimco — along with BlackRock, Goldman Sachs and Wellington Management — to buy up to $1.25 trillion in mortgage bonds in an effort to keep interest rates from skyrocketing.

PIPP - Psssss!

Know that sound of a ball deflating right in the middle of your game? Oops, it's time out on PPIP, Geithner's toxic asset plan.

The Financial Times reports the U.S. Treasury's plan to sell toxic assets, PPIP, is in trouble:

The controversial US toxic asset clean-up plan, aimed at clearing bad loans from US banks’ books to enable them to raise capital and lend freely, has fallen behind schedule, and may never be fully implemented.

The plan has fallen prey to concerns from potential investors and regulators and waning interest from the banks themselves. Investors fear that Congress may set caps on pay while regulators are beginning to doubt whether the plan is really necessary.

Banks want to sell to themselves Toxic Assets and have Taxpayers foot the bill

The Wall Street Journal is reporting, Banks are trying to sell toxic assets to themselves.

Banking trade groups are lobbying the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for permission to bid on the same assets that the banks would put up for sale as part of the government's Public Private Investment Program.

Banks want to sell themselves back their toxic assets (for a profit I will assume), via the PPIP program, which is (cough, cough) the gift that keeps on giving already. So, remember, the PPIP will have U.S. taxpayer subsidies available to clear the books from these worthless (i.e. toxic) assets many banks currently hold.

Bailouts create disincentives.

We are now in the eighth month of extraordinary efforts to reverse the financial crisis. Tillions of dollars have been spent or guaranteed with the stated goal of getting the banks to lend again. Many acronymic plans like TARP, TALF, PPIP and countless others have been devised to accomplish the goal. Yet, it seems that for all the efforts of the Fed and Treasury, little has been accomplished, other than reward bad behavior in the Financial Markets. The more they direct their efforts only toward the largest institutions, the better the hedge becomes for bondholders everywhere. This has been the achilles heel of all the bailout plans, going back to Paulson/Bernanke and right up until today.

I think Joseph Stiglitz has been out of the country for an extended period or we would have heard more from him about the PPIP. He was recently interviewed by Der Spiegel in which he makes a suggestion that is the antithesis of the governments efforts to date.

Bloomberg details the PPIP program - $1 trillion write downs

Bloomberg has discovered some of the details of the "private-public investment partnership":

U.S. regulators may force lenders including Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. to sell assets and write down as much as $1 trillion in loans, twice what they’ve already recorded, based on Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. auction data compiled by Bloomberg.

Banks failing Federal Reserve evaluations of loans this month may be ordered to make sales worth as little as 32 cents on the dollar, according to FDIC data. That would be less than half of the 84 cents on the dollar the Treasury Department suggested was a possible purchase price. Some of the bank- insurance agency’s auctions brought 0.02 cent on the dollar.

Geithner's PPIP - the Gift that keeps on giving....to certain people that is

Lord knows many financial experts as well as us regular folk bloggers immediately saw the flaws in U.S. Treasury Secretary's PPIP plan, now it appears from Bloomberg's headline Geithner’s Non-Recourse Gift That Keeps on Giving to Bill Gross the press is piping up too:

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s plan to rid banks and markets of devalued assets may be a boon for Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Bill Gross.