Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why TALF Has No Shot

My good friend, Vince Farrell, a regular on CNBC, has unearthed a true gem. Buried in a 247 page report from Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for TARP, is the statement:

"Fund managers who seek to be co-owners of P-PIP investment partnerships...might face pay limits."

P-PIP investments, for the unitiated, are exactly the investments proposed in the TALF program.

That's great. I bet Blackstone is dying to fall under the pay limits set by the US Treasury and Barney Frank. Guess what! For reasons that Geithner can't figure out (he says), practically no one is lining up to do the TALF, the long-awaited government response to the ABS lockup that has paralyzed financial markets. So far, the $ 1 trillion proposal has attracted $ 5.2 billion worth of activity. Perhaps our grandchildren will see the half way mark of this plan.

Why not just announce that anyone who participates in this program will be taken out and shot at dawn? That ought to attract a lot of folks as well. (After all, some people are suicidal!)

This Administration continues to shoot itself in the foot, with grace, it must be said. May as well look good, even if what you are doing is wasting a lot of time and a lot of money.

Incidentally, why doesn't the President set some limits on White House extravagance. Taking 500 people on five jets, first class all the way, is what President Obama recently did on his trip to the G-20 fiasco. Wonder what that cost? The night after night of White House parties. What do they cost? Are taxpayers picking that up? Why are government bureaucrats and politicians exempt from the pay rules? I noted that the Obamas listed $ 2.5 million in adjusted gross income on their 2008 tax return...pretty good for folks that spent the entire year campaigning...must be nice!