Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tim Geithner, AIG, Goldman Sachs

Tim Geithner's inconsistent narrative on why AIG was allowed to pay off 100% to some of its creditors including prominently Goldman Sachs is getting more and more negative reaction across the nation.

Here is a very good line of enquiry on this issue, courtesy of a fellow blogger, Mish, on his Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis. I can't say it better:

...'Please consider The Question Geithner Can’t Escape: Why Pay Off AIG’s Partners?

The latest political clamor over AIG, poised to combust next Wednesday at a House hearing on backdoor payments to banks that made risky deals with the company, centers on the Federal Reserve’s effort to conceal details of those payments. But senior officials, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, have so far evaded a key question: Why were AIG’s trading partners fully paid with taxpayer money instead of being told to take a loss?

“They chose to pay some people off entirely,” Bill Black, an economics and law professor at the University of Missouri and a leading critic of the government’s bailout managers, said in an interview. “They have never given a coherent explanation of why those particular folks. Under their own logic, there was no reason to pay off these parties at 100 cents on the dollar.”

In November, bailout inspector general Neil Barofsky quoted Geithner as stating that AIG’s bank counterparties — including Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and 10 foreign firms — were not at direct risk if the troubled company defaulted on its debts. “The direct effects of that failure would not have been particularly significant,” Geithner reaffirmed last month during testimony on Capitol Hill.

In May, however, Geithner suggested that AIG could not have negotiated lower payments to its trading partners without endangering the health of the whole financial system.

“We have no option now to selectively diminish the value of those claims without taking risks that you would have a default,” he told Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.). Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) was told that “you can’t selectively allow the institutions to default on particular types of creditors without risk that the whole thing comes unwound.”

So which explanation is true: Were AIG’s creditors hedged against the risk of a default — as Goldman has argued — or not? And if the banks had already mitigated the risk of losing their deals with AIG, why didn’t that allow Geithner’s Fed to negotiate a cut in repayments?"....

I have been saying for some time that Tim Geithner has to be fired. I very much that would happen. And that's one reason why Obama's presidency is in deep trouble for it seems the President still does not understand how unfair and shady his entire Wall Street bailout package had been executed.

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