FAILOUT: $700 Billion Later, Global Markets Collapse, Paulson Wants To Feed The Beast ‘Unlimited Loans’


TIME:  Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and his team are starting to look like short-order cooks stuck in a perpetual lunch-hour rush. The worse the economic crisis gets, the more confidence- and liquidity-boosting measures they cook up, from the Bear Stearns deal last spring to the AIG bailout last month. Now the markets have devoured last week’s passage of the titanic $700 billion bailout package without a trace. By the end of Tuesday, the Dow had dropped 1,400 points in five days, the biggest point loss ever. As increasingly gloomy job numbers pile on top of the continuing problems in the credit market, it seems the U.S. government may be running out of economic hash to sling. But not yet. The indefatigable Paulson, along with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, this week unveiled a slew of new initiatives to try and restore confidence in the markets. On Tuesday, Bernanke unveiled a plan to try and gig the frozen market for commercial paper, offering to loan companies unlimited amounts of money three months at a time, sometimes with little or no collateral, a move unseen since the Great Depression. MORE

REUTERS:  American International Group Inc could get nearly $38 billion in fresh cash under a program announced by the Federal Reserve on Wednesday, as the insurer tried to fend off criticism of a lavish event held days after getting an initial $85 billion government loan. AIG had drawn fire in Washington on Tuesday for spending $200,000 on hotel rooms and $23,000 on spa services at an event, just days after it got the emergency loan from the government to avoid bankruptcy in the middle of the worst credit crisis since the Great Depression. As lawmakers grilled former top executives at a hearing, Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, said: “They were getting facials, manicures and massages, while the American people were footing the bill.” MORE

TIME: The mess caused by fast-and-loose mortgage lending in the U.S. has now blown into a perilous global crisis of confidence that has revealed both the scale and the limitations of globalization. $6.5 trillion in global stock-market losses on Oct. 6 and 7, as measured by Standard & Poor’s BMI Global, an index of major markets worldwide. MORE

NEW YORK TIMES: Law enforcement officers in Chicago will no longer evict residents from foreclosed properties, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart of Cook County announced Wednesday. The department was on pace to conduct 4,700 foreclosures this year, nearly triple the number from two years ago, Sheriff Dart said. Housing advocates said that they thought the measure was the first of its kind, but that in recent years, several sheriffs and judges around the country had taken other steps to slow foreclosure proceedings, like requiring lenders to produce titles proving they owned the properties in question. In Philadelphia this year, Sheriff John D. Green temporarily suspended sales of foreclosed properties. MORE

fdr2_1.jpgAMBASSADOR MARC GINSBERG: I believe now is the time for Obama to consider a bolder and more historic approach to the financial crisis by presenting to middle income Americans a step-by-step “big think” FDR-style New Deal program to add greatness and urgency to his economic recovery plan. Tough times call for urgent and big-think measures. Surely, we are in this era, once again. In 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt unveiled a landmark economic recovery plan that created a “New Deal” for America’s middle class and restored confidence to a hard-pressed nation. It was imaginative, bold and daring and lifted America up by its bootstraps and restored confidence and stability. It took several years, but it worked. MORE

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