The bailouts are being rolled out at such an incredible pace now, it's difficult to keep track of them all- and America's debt is growing by the second. Here's some "highlights " [If you can call them that] from yesterday's news in today's Guardian:
US treasury secretary Henry Paulson announced plans to pump $200bn into the consumer credit market after admitting that millions of Americans could not borrow any money last month. The Federal Reserve, the US central bank, also announced that it will buy up to $600bn worth of mortgage-backed assets in an attempt to free up the mortgage lending market and, it hopes, bring down the cost of home loans. However, another wave of dire economic data overshadowed the news as house prices tumbled by a record 16.6% in the third quarter and it was revealed that the US economy had performed worse than expected over the same period.
Pledging that the $200bn infusion was just the "starting point", Paulson said: "The market essentially came to a halt in October. As a result millions of Americans could not find financing for their everyday needs." The $200bn will be aimed at the credit markets underpinning car loans, student loans, credit cards and loans to small businesses, which effectively dried up in October.
If this is just a "starting point", the thought of what the endpoint must be is absolutely frightening. But that's not all for today. Today we get a two-fer.
The Federal Reserve and US treasury yesterday launched a sister to the Tarp called the term asset-backed loans facility, or Talf. It will be funded by a $20bn contribution from the Tarp that will be leveraged by the Fed to create a $200bn facility. Talf cash will be offered to holders of securities backed by car loans, student debts and credit card borrowings who, it is hoped, will open their lending books again.
For those of us who are having trouble keeping track of the number of zeroes that are now in the sum bailout total, Mish calculated that in a post yesterday:
By my count the government has now pledged $8.5 trillion in lending facilities with $5.55 trillion of that coming from the Fed, allowing $250 billion for the Citigroup Bailout Agreement. Taking into consideration Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's statement that $200 billion is just the “starting point” for the TALF asset-backed securities program, there is really no upper limit on pledges.
Curious about how this breaks down for all of us, our admin grabbed her calculator and some data from the Census Bureau.
There are about 300,000,000 million Americans, with an average of 2.61 people per household. That works out to approximately 115,000,000 households. When you divide that $8.5 trillion by the number of households, you get a figure of $74,000 per household. Remember that this isn't each household's share of the national debt- just the bailout. We also need to remember that Paulson says that this is just a starting point- and we haven't even got to Obama's stimulus plan yet! [And I read that it's going to be a doozy! ]
So what has all of this money gotten us so far? I believe the line in the song Sixteen Tons sums it up best:
Another day older and deeper in debt!
This begs the question, "What does the future hold for us?". As a Doom exclusive, we look into our fuzzy crystal ball and see the following press release:
February 1, 2009
(Washington D.C.) In an attempt to streamline the bailout process, the Treasury Department announced today that it will mail every American $10,000 in cash, along with a bill for $100,000.
"This is just a downpayment on a bigger bailout plan to be launched next month," stated President Obama.
We'd better start loading another sixteen tons–and that's just a starting point.