September 20, 2008

September 20, 2008
How are you this weekend? I hope you are having a good one especially considering everything going on in America right now.

The big new here in Jacksonville was the rally for Senator Obama at Metropolitan Park. The event which started with the gates opening at 12:30pm was free to the public. As would be expected, there were security checkpoints before entering the park with a ton of limitations on what participants were allowed to bring into the park with them. (No chairs, liquids, cameras with removable lens, projectiles, large bags, etc.) Luckily, it was an overcast day so the heat was not a major factor. I was impressed that free water was being given out to the attendees. (At the McCain event, all food and drink including water, were "for sale". My glass of water cost $3.00.) Senator Obama had a rally in Miami (Coral Cables) yesterday with us DWF/AARP advocates in front row attendance. So I was fortunate enough to get to hear him speak two days in a row. We were lucky enough to have overcast skies today which helped keep the temperatures down and bearable. There was a huge turnout as was expected. The admitted crowd was approximately 10,000 and the news said thousands were turned away after the park reached capacity. Senator Obama gave an eloquent presentation of which I have only one criticism. Tell me how you and going to change things and how you are going to pay for them. I am not saying he is making empty promises. But I have been dealing with politicians for over 25 years and have had more than my share of smoke being blown up my ass. So while I know who has my vote, I still have a lot of questions which will require concrete fiscal answers.

I spoke at great length yesterday about the way our President and politicians are making the average taxpayer help bail out the stock market and the rich in our country. I was hoping I was not the only one outraged about the situation. After doing some googling and investigating, I see a lot of aware Americans are outraged. Well, unless they are rich and being saved by the bailout.

Struggling to stave off financial catastrophe, the Bush administration on Friday laid out a radical bailout plan with a jaw dropping price tag a takeover of a half trillion dollars or more in worthless mortgages and other bad debt held by tottering institutions.

Biggest Bailout Ever: Did the Government Go Too Far?

After a few weeks of trying to stand tough in the face of demands for a wholesale rescue, Hank Paulson apparently couldn't take it anymore. So now we'll have the biggest bailout in history, including:

* A huge RTC-like government garbage can that banks can throw all their toxic balance-sheet waste into. (This time, the transfer will be made before they go bankrupt, unlike the case with the first RTC -a.k.a. the Resolution Trust Corp., a government agency created in the late 1980s to liquidate the assets of failed Savings & Loans)

* A temporary ban on shortselling. (With the unfortunate implication that shorts are the cause of all this)

* A federal guarantee on money-market accounts. (Including non-recourse loans to banks to buy high-quality commercial paper and meet money-market obligations.)

Not surprisingly, the market's up huge on this news. The moves should head off a run on money-market funds, restore liquidity to the financial system, and, as bank analyst Tom Brown puts it in the accompanying video, create a general "time out" for the panic to recede.

Paulson rejected Democrats' calls to include tighter regulations, corporate reforms or limits on executive compensation as part of the measure, Sherman said. "He's doing his best to paint a picture of the sky falling, and then he says, because the sky's falling, you have to do it my way."

So what are the costs? Almost certainly:

* Higher taxes

* Higher interest rates on government debt

* Bigger government deficits

When the alternative is the entire financial system going bankrupt, I guess these costs are acceptable. But I'm not convinced that that was the alternative. Also, numerous questions remain. The most pressing is "What price will the government buy the toxic waste for?" (This price will determine how much additional capital the banks have to raise to offset any losses.) Merrill Lynch shareholders are probably also wondering whether they can cancel the Bank of America deal. And Lehman would probably like to un-declare bankruptcy.

I also doubt that this move will prove the final bottom in the stock market. Unless the government makes a similar move on housing (which certainly seems more plausible, given this news), the housing problem won't up and go away. And until the housing problem works itself through the system, the consumer will still be under pressure. My biggest fear is assuming a huge debt for our future generations just to bail out the stock market and the rich. So what happened to all the personal responsibility Republicans were talking about during this election now? Are you not already leaving them a world much worse off than when we were born already? Amazing we are only suppose to help when it effects the rich. But for the poor or sick, personal responsibility. Makes one think does it not?

Tonight, I watched some tevo'd football games from earlier this afternoon. Saturday is college football! (For those interested high school football is usually on Friday nights and pro teams on Sunday.) The Florida/Tennessee game was a great one. The Florida Gators were in top shape form with Tebow leading the way. Tebow took command from the start of the first quarter with a lob pass touchdown during the opening minutes. Tennessee had a disasterous day with Crompton having at least four turnovers (one on the third yard line) and too many blotched plays to count. Definitely not the showing the Volunteers usually make with everything falling apart for them. But you have to give it to the Gators and Tebo because they were on their game and did not let up. The Florida Gators ended up destroying the Tennessee Volunteers 30 - 6.

I hope you had a great day also and an even better Sunday. Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

Big bear hug,

Daddy Dab