Showing posts with the label PPIP

What happened. What now.

Commercial and investment banks used their size and money to make campaign contributions that allowed them to evade any meaningful effort to impose common sense and transparent risk controls in the public interest, known as regulation. One of the first regulations attacked dated from the Great Depression. This was the Glass-Steagall Banking Act, a law designed to separate commercial and industrial banking. Banks, commercial and industrial (the latter known as investment banks) could now combine operations to create products in fundamentally unstable ways.

Markets are ruled by two emotions: fear and greed, and these institutions got greedy, very greedy. They created financial products that served no real purpose, other than to generate profit for the bank. To keep customers (their only regulator) from understanding the bank’s true intent, they made these products horribly complicated. These products were, in part, simple bets. These bets were layered on top of each other until only th…

Public Private Investment Program (PPIP)

Treasury released details concerning the Public Private Investment Program (PPIP), the Administration's approach to dealing with "legacy assets", or the real estate loans and securities that caused the current financial crisis.

The approach relies, in large part, on the market. Unfortunately, these are the same institutions that created the problem. The issue is this: as the Fact Sheet Treasury released describing the PPIP Program notes,

"the financial system is still working against economic recovery." (No kidding.) As we noted in April, 2008:

"With the development of toxic (derivative and subprime lending) financial products, the relationship between investment banks and the economy has turned parasitic."

Further, the solution outlined by the Administration relies heavily on the assumption that "these assets create uncertainty around the balance sheets of.. financial institutions." This is a false assumption: the behaviour of financial manag…