I keep hearing the president say he’s responsible for keeping the country out of a Great Depression. No, no, no, that was President George W. Bush and Hank Paulson.Mitt Romney • At a town hall meeting today. We’re no political strategists, but we’re wondering how helpful it is for a presidential candidate to make a statement now, in 2012, that’s both pro-George W. Bush and pro-bailout. TARP, for instance, is currently sitting with a net -13 approval rating. Not exactly a winning issue. source (via • follow)
» This is both the largest consumer protection fine ever levied by the Fed and the first time the institution has punished a bank for nudging customers into subprime loans. There’s more to come, too; in addition to the fine, the order also “requires that Wells Fargo compensate affected borrowers,” although it’s unclear how this will work. It’s better than nothing, but $85 million just seems a bit low; as a point of comparison, the bank made $2.5 billion in the first three months of 2010 alone.
» The American companies include: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Freddie Mac. Two of the top three companies on the list are Chinese. On the upside, the Treasury has as much money as Google, so that’s kind of a nice consolation prize.
» Not all is rosy in Bailoutville: One of the biggest issues we still face are the dual sinkholes of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have reportedly cost taxpayers $150 billion and we like to think of as dual sinkholes. And some legislators feel that the effect has set us up for having to bail out unsuccessful companies in the future.
So assuming that the banking sector doesn’t suffer another crisis in the next two years, taxpayers might be okay after all. Indeed, even if there is some loss on these guarantees, the assets would have to be pretty rotten to eat up the government’s entire $12 billion profit on the equity sale.The Atlantic associate editor Daniel Indiviglio • Offering some more context on the Citi bailout numbers. While the U.S. no longer owns any shares in Citi, we do have other stakes in the company – most notably, we’re still backing a lot of their debt right now due to a program called the “Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program,” which isn’t as easy to acronym as TARP. But by the end of 2012 at the latest, we’ll be off the hook for that. Still, though, the fact that we might make any money off of TARP is impressive. “Citi was viewed by many as the big bank with the most serious problems,” Indiviglio notes, suggesting that the profit would prove that their bailout in 2008 was warranted by panic and general FUD, not “too big to fail”-type concerns. source (via • follow)