Tuesday, February 10, 2009

And now, a word from the economy

Investors have waited with baited breath the last few days to hear of what will become of the bank bailout plan. A go? No go? Give us something, government! All eyes were on Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner this morning, when he took the podium and delivered the highly anticipated bailout details.....aaaaaand the stock market plunged. Watching the indexes alternate between tiny rises and lower drops as Geithner spoke was like watching a heart monitor tied to an ailing pulse. Just. beat. harder. It turns out there is no quick fix or bandaid, and the fact that the process -- like most processes, actually -- won't be fast and easy dented the market today. If you missed Geithner's press conference, or started spacing out on his pointy, elf-like ears about three minutes into the speech, here's a quick runup of his solutions:

• The creation of a "bad bank": A joint Treasury and Federal Reserve program, insured by the FDIC and financed by private investors, that will buy up cruddy mortgage-related assets from banks.

• Expanding the Federal Reserve's existing $200 billion program to between $500 billion and $1 trillion in order to unfreeze the credit market. I smell higher taxes!

• Using the remaining $350 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program to inject ailing banks with capital, which, while it seemed like a bad idea on the first go-round, has become necessary since the banking system is basically insolvent.

• A $50 billion initiative aimed at stemming home foreclosures, the details of which will be announced later in the week. [Reuters via Daily Intel]

All of a sudden my "crazy" idea of moving to Italy and selling flowers out of a cart doesn't seem so crazy after all, hmm??

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