Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Money is like manure

It doesn't do any good unless you spread it around.

Originally attributed to Dolly Levi in a conversation with Horace Vandergelder.

However, these words were recently spoken by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, urging the banks that get "injections" of capital to lend it out, or "deploy" it, and not "hoard" it:

“The needs of our economy require that our financial institutions not take this new capital to hoard it, but to deploy it,” Mr. Paulson said, who offered some details of the plan along with the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, and the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Sheila C. Bair.

We call all hope, boys and girls, that the Treasury does more than admonish the banks about their new funds, a la Dolly Levi. Or leave it up to the Invisible Hand! And here's the first round of banks that lined up for the depression flu injection:

On Monday, big banks agreed to take investments totaling about $125 billion. Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase will receive $25 billion each. Bank of America, which is acquiring Merrill Lynch, and Wells Fargo, which is acquiring the Wachovia Corporation, will receive $25 billion. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley will receive $10 billion each. And Bank of New York Mellon and State Street will get $2 billion to $3 billion.

The public treasury is, according to the article, getting preferred stock and warrants for common stock for its "injections."

The stock market apparently likes the plan. The TED spread, while still stratospheric, is down about six percent this morning.

This is the route that Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman has been promoting.

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