Some banks want to return bailout money

Discussion in 'Politics & Law' started by Stab-o-Matic5000, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. Stab-o-Matic5000

    Stab-o-Matic5000 Cutting Edge in Murder

    Some Banks, Feeling Chained, Want to Return Bailout Money - New York Times

    A couple of interesting questions are raised by this news. First, does this news mean that the banks that are returning the money can live without the money, or are they choosing between failure and mounting restrictions? The second question being, are Congress and the White House putting too many restrictions on these banks to satisfy the voters?

    For the first question, I can't really attest to the answer, but I can imagine some of the ramifications of what the answer would be. If they can survive without the money, then great. That means that the money can be put to better use, like getting the budget on track, and that the banking situation is improving. If it's the latter, then it could go either way. If the banks are small ones, then they could theoretically fail and not have a horrific impact on the economy. Other banks could move in and take over their business. If they are large banks, on the other hand, then it could be a mess.

    For the second question, while I've always disliked big business, especially financial companies, I can think of at least one instance where I thought that the government was being hard on the banks just for the sake of being hard on the banks. Remember that whole debacle with a bank using TARP funds to buy a jet? Well, the company had ordered the jet before things went bad. At the time, the company was perfectly capable of paying for the jet. Then the economy went south, and the bank couldn't afford it anymore. When they got the TARP funds, they were then able to afford the jet. If they didn't buy the jet, they would have (and did) pay penalty fees. After all, it's not like private jets are like cars, they're not being made constantly in factories. They're made to order. The company had already built them a jet, and needed to cover the costs for materials and labor. Congress and the President call them out and say that it's unacceptable to buy a jet with taxpayer money.

    Now, here's my take on it. They were going to have to use that taxpayer money to pay this company no matter what. Either they pay for the jet and get a jet, or pay the penalty fees and get nothing. Wouldn't you rather see your money be used to actually buy something that the company can use for their business instead of having money that was supposed to help out failing banks not help the bank in any way, and instead go to a company who makes private jets who now has to accept the fact that they lost money by making this jet anyway? I mean, I know America wants a scapegoat, but isn't that going a bit too far? I personally think that there should be strings attached to the money, but within reason. I can see why banks would be leery of taking this money if Congress can throw any restriction they want at any time down the road.

    Your thoughts?

  2. Kazmarov

    Kazmarov For a Free Scotland

    Generally the banks involved think they can avoid insolvency- ones like Citi (which has received money but thinks they no longer need to) and Bank of America. The restrictions really aren't all that extreme- for example the executive pay restrictions are actually fairly susceptible to exploitation.

    Their money, their rules. If I gave you an allowance for lunch and you used it to go to Pebble Beach and buy Cuban cigars, someone would say there's something wrong with that. They agree to restrictions as a part of TARP, and if they don't like them they can leave, as we've been seeing.

    You're being apologetic in the jet example- yes they ordered it earlier, but they were going to pay for it with taxpayer money, despite the fact that it was not necessary to keep the company afloat.

    The penalty fees were not even close to the cost of the aircraft.

    And finally, it's not our fault they decided to cancel the order, pay the fees, then turn away the TARP money. They could have just turned away the TARP money and bought their damn plane.
  3. Stab-o-Matic5000

    Stab-o-Matic5000 Cutting Edge in Murder

    I'm not arguing against restrictions, as I said in my post. I completely agree that Congress can set whatever rules it wants when giving out the money. It doesn't mean that I have to agree with all of the restrictions that Congress puts on the companies.

    I actually looked around a bit, turns out Citigroup was going to pay for the new jet, that cost $50 million, by selling two jets for $27 million each. Not a cent of taxpayer money would have been spent on that jet.

    As far as "Why didn't they just give back the money and buy the jet in the first place?" goes, they simply couldn't. First off, Citigroup was more or less forced by the Bush administration to take TARP funds. Secondly, until last month, they couldn't give it back. Ironically, the same amendment they are upset with is the same amendment that gave them the ability to back out: Source (You'll have to scroll down to the bottom to see the part of the amendment I'm talking about.)

    So, I don't think I'm being apologetic at all. For one, I more or less hate the people who run corporations. However, I know bullshit when I see it, and Citigroup being shamed into paying penalty fees instead of buying a jet without the use of taxpayer money is bullshit.

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