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View Full Version : Wall Street Benefits Twice from Bailouts - Bob Barr




Lucille
10-11-2008, 11:46 AM
Dig it, then Digg it!

Wall Street Benefits Twice from Bailouts (http://digg.com/political_opinion/Wall_Street_Benefits_Twice_from_Bailouts_2)


The Treasury Department has requested proposals for asset managers, and according to the Wall Street Journal, the government “wants large, established firms with significant assets to work for the government’s program.” That means managing at least $25 billion, and in some cases at least $100 billion, in private assets. There will be a lot of money in fees—typically 1 percent of the assets managed, which could come to as much as $7 billion a year or more if government purchases go past $700 billion, as is widely expected.

Wall Street is looking forward to milking this latest cash cow. Since government jumped into the investment business, the Journal tells us that “a range of firms—from large investment banks to boutique real-estate companies—have been angling to grab some of the advisory business.” Representatives of some companies showed up in Washington to lobby even before Congress approved the bailout. And who can blame them? The Journal reports that “sales, financing and other traditional forms of real estate business have dried up with the credit crisis.”

Of course, most of these firms helped cause that very crisis. Most of the companies bidding for government business are suffering big losses and preparing to unload lots of bad paper on the government. Bad paper that other big companies with big losses and lots of bad paper will manage.

And so the circle will go on endlessly, at taxpayer expense.

The only problem is potential conflicts of interest, since companies will, notes the Washington Post, “be managing the assets while also selling their own troubled securities to the government.” But officials say they will attempt to “minimize” any conflict. No doubt, Washington won’t let a little thing like ethics stand in the way of letting everyone on Wall Street profit.