Bush should stride down Pennsylvania Avenue with a goodish bayonet, and…..


…knife both Clintons in the chest. The Spectator takes apart the world’s monetary crisis, in spades, kicks arse, and names names.

David Davis (annoyed even more than usual with barbarian, bleeding-heart, fascist murdering GramscoMarxiaNazis.) (so I’m purple today instead.)

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2 responses to “Bush should stride down Pennsylvania Avenue with a goodish bayonet, and…..

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  2. How to solve the crisis

    * Robert Peston
    * 4 Oct 08, 04:22 PM

    It’s into the dangerous land of hubris that I’m going to stray today.

    I have a plan (perhaps better than a Baldrick-style cunning one) that might just ease the credit-crunch pressure in the UK and help to fill the UK’s yawning pensions hole, the humungous gap between what we as a nation save for retirement and what we should be saving.

    This first bit is not my plan, but part of the Treasury’s contingency preparation for the moment we reach Defcon 1 in the financial crisis (if we reach Defcon 1).

    What’s being considered by Chancellor and Prime Minister is that the public sector would inject new capital into our battered banks, to strengthen their balance sheets, and provide them with the muscle to start lending in a sensible way again.

    And I’m told that their officials and advisers have sensibly learned a thing or two from the world’s greatest investor, Warren Buffett, who recently bailed out Goldman Sachs with an injection of $5bn.

    For this succour, Buffett received preferred stock paying a fat dividend of 10 per cent and warrants to buy a further $5bn of common stock at below the prevailing Goldman share price.

    In other words he was being handsomely rewarded for providing Goldman with the resources to weather the storm and rebuild.

    Which is arguably what we as taxpayers should receive as our just deserts, if the Prime Minister were to issue the call to arms, in a financial sense, and decided to inject billions of our cash into banks.

    We too could take the stakes in our banks in the form of preferred stock with a warrants’ kicker – so that we as taxpayers received both a steady and generous stream of income, and a very generous share of any future capital gains.

    And I think, as I say, that if the worst came to the worst, that’s what the PM and Chancellor would do.

    Now, here’s my modification of the Treasury proposal, my twist on a conventional Government rescue.

    It’s about making the most of a new institution that the Government has already established, the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA), which is setting up a new national pensions savings scheme for launch in 2012.

    This will be a semi-compulsory, contributory pensions scheme for those not already in an occupational pension scheme – who number many millions, including a disproportionate number on low incomes.

    My suggestion is that the Government could lend, say, £50bn to the PADA, and it could then use that cash to buy cheap stakes in banks, to help them recapitalise, and also – perhaps – to pick up other distressed assets.

    Why am I excited by this idea?

    Well, for those with deep pockets – like Warren Buffett – now and over the next couple of years is the best possible moment to be investing.

    The best time to invest, always, is when everything looks gloomiest. That’s when the bargains are to be had.

    But normally those bargains are only available to the super-wealthy. Those on low incomes almost never have the money to invest when asset prices are low.

    However, if endowed with a jumbo loan from taxpayers, PADA could invest like Buffett on behalf of the low paid.

    It would be important that as and when employees and employers start putting their money into the scheme, in 2012, they should buy in at the effective price at which the stakes were built in banks and any other assets were acquired.

    What I mean by this is that contributors to the scheme at the off should receive any upside in the value of these investments that had already accrued – which would also be an incentive for them to invest, because savers would receive an automatic and instant uplift in the value of what they put in.

    And if by bad luck there weren’t any upside by then, well then those capital losses would revert to all taxpayers – but the risk of capital losses would, I think, be quite small.

    Anyway, the big point here is that for the past few years, there’s been a massive widening in the gap between the rich and poor, because it’s only been the rich and the super-rich who’ve been able to take advantage of the fabulous investment opportunities that presented themselves in the decade or so before the Crunch.

    But the boot is now on the other foot. Probably only governments, through the deployment of taxpayers’ money, can solve a financial crisis that was created in large part by the foolish financial risks taken by bankers and financiers whose common sense was wiped out by greed.

    If we as taxpayers are cleaning up the mess, there should perhaps be a dividend for those in low paid jobs and insecure employment, who are hurt most by the economic slowdown precipitated by this crisis.

    If PADA bought into the market for them over the coming two or three years, their retirement prospects should be that much improved.

    And if the PADA could become an institutionalised Buffett on their behalf – buying low and selling dear – well then a bit of natural justice might be restored to the financial system.

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    Cordially,

    Tony