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Notes to myself, possibly of interest to others.
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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Alternate views of the bailout. HCM Capital

From Michael Lewitt, HCM Capital, about 9/29/08

What Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke are desperately trying to explain to Congress is that America's leadership must immediately restore the world's confidence in American economic and political leadership. But the Paulson Plan was generated under impossible conditions. Were it to succeed, the best that could be expected at this point is a slow revival of the credit system. To hope for more is sheer folly. It is a certainty that America, and then the rest of the world behind it, is going to experience a severe recession the likes of which it hasn't seen for decades...

The details of how the plan will work are ultimately less important than whether the plan succeeds in rebuilding market confidence. In order to be successful, the Paulson Plan needs to be followed up by comprehensive regulatory reform that accomplishes the goals of convincing the public that the financial system will be fairer in the future than it has been in the past ... and that strong steps will be taken to prevent the oversights that led to the current instability from being repeated...

The government's plan must restore market confidence, give companies the time to heal their balance sheets, and prevent a recurrence of the most abject series of regulatory lapses in the history of Western financial markets...

The HCM Bailout Plan

* The government should announce that it will effectively stand behind the U.S. financial system against failure through some sort of guarantee or insurance program. The government has already done this with respect to money market assets.
* Mark-to-market accounting for financial institutions should be suspended for an indefinite period. Since nobody knows what these assets are worth, we should not drive the system into insolvency trying to place a value on assets that nobody is willing to purchase at the current time.
* The Federal Reserve should reduce the overnight interest rate by 75 basis points immediately. This will allow financial institutions to begin to earn more on their assets, which will begin the process of rebuilding their balance sheets.
* The Securities and Exchange Commission should announce the formation of a study group that will report back no later than December 31, 2008 on a comprehensive regime for regulating the credit default swap market...

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