I wonder whom we are saving here?
Treasury officials began canvassing banks and investment firms about the possibility of having the government buy stakes in them. The new bailout law gave the Treasury the authority to buy up almost any kind of asset it wanted, including stock or preferred shares in banks.
Industry executives quickly told Mr. Paulson that they liked the idea, though they warned that the Treasury should not try to squeeze out existing shareholders. They also begged Mr. Paulson not to impose tough restrictions on executive pay and golden-parachute deals for executives who are fired.
Mr. Paulson heeded those pleas. In his remarks on Friday, he carefully noted that the government would acquire only “nonvoting” shares in companies. And officials said the law lets the Treasury write most of its own restrictions on executive pay, and those restrictions can be lenient if they are applied to a set of fairly healthy companies.
Well, we have seen one three-page plan: “Give me the money, honey. I know what do to. Just don’t hold me responsible.”
Then we saw another longer plan: “Give me the money, honey. I will try to follow its fuzzy outline, but I want to be able to adapt to circumstances.”
Now we see another: “Well, maybe we should buy some shares. You know, be owners–but not influential owners. We can’t tread on any rich toes, gouty from all those sweets.”
Damn, Paulson thinks he is playing Hamlet, here. Cut to the chase, Hank. Either you know what you are doing or move aside.
Well, I want a voting share! And, since the largest shareholders are most probably the biggest crooks, I want to crowd them out. Let’s buy enough shares to control the firms, to nationalize them, with no prospect of selling them back at a discount to some rich dude that is looking to make a future killing.
As majority stockholder, my first vote is to fire the CEOs. Fire them the old fashion way. Let them take only personal mementoes–you know, the picture signed by Bush or Reagan or Cheney. And I want security watching in case they try to snatch something–or they make a move towards their computers. Security guards will escort them to the street.
I want banks to serve the public not private interest.