Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ribstein on TALF

"The government could just give the banks the money, but that would be a 'bailout,' and not too popular right now. The government also could buy the assets for the inflated values they're currently booked at. But that would be a bailout and not too popular right now. So we have an elaborate shell game. The government subsidizes private equity companies to buy the assets at inflated values. . . . Although most people don't understand this right now, they will come to understand that 'non-recourse' means that the buyers are exposed only for the minimal payments they're making on these hugely leveraged deals. . . . [and] taxpayers, who provided most of the money, will bear most of the loss."

-- University of Illinois law professor and corporate governance expert Larry Ribstein, writing about the Obama Treasury's toxic asset liquidation plan

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