Thursday, February 12, 2009

Your money or your bank 

Simon Johnson provides this paragraph from a "�research� note from a major international bank" (emphasis in original):
One main stumbling block to the purchasing of troubled assets has been pricing, specifically how does the government price a diverse set of assets in a way that does not put the taxpayer on the hook. However, this should not be the standard by which we judge the efficacy of the plan, because a more prolonged deterioration in the economy will result in a higher terminal unemployment rate and a greater deterioration of the tax base. As such, the decline in tax revenues will crimp many of the essential services provided by the government. Ultimately, the taxpayer will pay one way or another, either through greatly diminished job prospects and/or significantly higher taxes down the line to pay for the massive debt issuance required to fund current and prospective fiscal spending initiatives. We think the government should do the following: estimate the highest price it can pay for the various toxic assets residing on financial institution balance sheets which would still return the principal to taxpayers.
Let me repeat this: You are not supposed to be happy to be bailed out. And you sure as hell shouldn't be issuing ultimata by deciding what the taxpayers' rate of return on your bailout should be.

You wouldn't be this cheeky in Sweden.