Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Hubbard’s New Nonsense

by cactus

Hubbard’s New Nonsense

The only thing that comes to mind after reading this from James Kwak (hat tip: Mark Thoma is WTF:

After seeing dozens of mortgage proposals emerge over the past several months, there are news stories that Larry Summers and the Obama economic team are converging on an unlikely candidate: the proposal by Glenn Hubbard and Christopher Mayer first launched on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal on October 2.

Without even getting into the specifics of the plan, Glenn Hubbard is about the last person who should be consulted on anything. And its not just that the economy performed dismally while he was chair of the CEA. Its that while he was Bush’s chief economic advisor, the administration was telling us in effect that they expected GDP would grow at a double digit rate in fiscal 2001. In other words, crazy #$!&. Whether they believed it or not, or whether it was just what they came up with later, at a bare minimum he was willing to keep his mouth shut when this bs was being shoveled upon us, and that’s in the highly unlikely event he wasn’t instrumental in producing the bs.

Kwak goes on, providing details of the plan. (Given the hallucinatory nature of Hubbard’s previous “work” I simply refuse to give Hubbard enough benefit of the doubt to conclude its worth wasting my time and reading the thing myself. Kwak’s failure to reach the same realization indicates clearly lacks sufficient cynicism and is probably way too nice a guy.) It seems Hubbard and Mayer feel that home prices have to be stabilized. They’ve fallen enough. Now, perhaps Hubbard feels his home has fallen in value by enough, but my wife and I are in the market to buy a house. We can afford to buy a home in the area where we live; if necessary, we could probably pay cash for most homes for sale in the neighborhoods (though it would require tapping what we’ve set aside for retirement plus what we’ve set aside to survive should our income dry up during this economic mess but I’m very reluctant to tap that) where my wife is interested in buying. But… we’re still renting because its still quite a bit cheaper rent than to buy. Quite a bit. Anyway, it seems Hubbard and Mayer provide some math to back up their statement, but once again, I’ve seen Hubbard’s “math” before and I refuse to look at it again. As Hubbard’s then boss has since remarked, “Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

Regardless, this seems to me be a more ambitious Glenn Hubbard than we’ve seen before; I don’t remember any talk of buying up Nortel stock back in mid-01 because it had already fallen too far, or that Pets.com needed saving.

Now, leaving aside the issue of whether or not we should try to stabilize home prices, the “how” is just as inane. Kwak tells us “Hubbard and Mayer argue that housing prices are mainly a function of real mortgage rates” and “the policy proposal is simple: force mortgage rates down to 4.5%.” Yeah, that’s right. Prices are falling because mortgage rates are too high. Sure, and the real reason people aren’t buying GM cars these days is, as the Big 3 tell us, that financing is hard to come by. It also must be the reason nobody wants to buy that bridge in NYC I have for sale. I can tell you this – if and when my wife decide its time to buy, sure, we’ll pay some attention to mortgage rates and try to get the best possible rate. But the mortgage rate isn’t what’s keeping us from pulling the trigger.

Think of it this way… even in LA, the median home price is now below 300K. So I went to google and found me a mortgage calculator. By coincidence, this one has as a default, a home price of $300,000 with a downpayment of $250,000. Seems about reasonable. According to that calculator, a 4.5% rate gives you a monthly mortgage of $1,631 a month. The default rate of 6.5%, which seems about right, is $1,944.75 a month. The difference – about $3,700 a year and change – is not what prevents people from buying homes. Sure, Hubbard might say the present value of that $3,700 difference every year for 30 years comes to about $60 K (assuming about a five percent inflation rate, and given how much money is going into the system, sooner or later we’re gonna have inflation, even if we get a spate of deflation first) which is real money for most of us, but that ignores one detail: most of us are concerned that Hubbard’s buddies have so screwed things up that job losses are going to get worse, leading to the economic mess getting worse and home prices dropping even more, regardless of what happens to mortgage rates. Put another way… mortgage rates aren’t what’s causing home prices to drop at this point; the problem is state of the economy, and in particular, the state of the job market. And mortgage rates ain’t gonna affect those things.

So basically, the plan amounts to taking steps that won’t work to fix a problem that isn’t there, peddled by a guy who sold snake oil to us before. If Obama and Company really are thinking of taking Hubbard seriously, as far as I am concerned they are forfeiting any claim on being treated with respect by the rest of us.
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by cactus

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2008 Financial Report of the United States

by Bruce Webb

2008 Financial Report of the United States Government (Report) provides the President, Congress, and the American people a comprehensive view of the Federal Government’s finances, i.e., its financial position and condition, its revenues and costs, assets and liabilities, and other obligations and commitments. The Report also discusses important financial issues and significant conditions that may affect future operations. This year’s Report gives particular emphasis to two key issues: The Government’s response in recent months to the financial market crisis, and the Government’s capacity to sustain the funding and pay the benefits of key social insurance programs, such as Social Security and Medicare.

Andrew Biggs once again tips us off to the release of valuable new Reports at his blog Notes on Social Security Reform. As it turns out the link was a little off, but anyone interested in Social Security owes it to themselves to read what Andrew has to say on the topic, if only to get a corrective to what you get here from me and Dale Coberly.

I have yet to read the Report and at this point in the evening am not likely too, still less comment on it. But here you have the GAOs 194 pg statement on the financial health of the United States including but not limited to Social Security/Medicare. Among other things it helps to understand some of the terminology used in budget discussions. In short this document gives you the economic world as the Bush Administration would have you see it. I present it to you unfiltered.

See you in comments.

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Ignorant Decision Makers

by cactus

Ignorant Decision Makers in the Public Sector, Ignorant Decision Makers in the Private Sector

I once had a rant about attorneys. I noted:

I remember something my father, a physicist, once said about Bill Richardson when Richardson was Secretary of Energy. My father doubted that Richardson could come up with a reasonable definition of the word “energy.” Looking at Richardson’s wikipedia entry right now, I suspect my father was right. Other than a law degree, it seems Richardson’s primary qualification to make decisions about, say, nuclear reactors, was studying French. His second most important qualification seems to be having played baseball in college.

The post goes on:

Even dropping out of law school can help get you somewhere. Witness Don Rumsfeld, apparently attempting to be the first American Secretary of Defense to lose two major wars, assuming he doesn’t get his way in the next few months (in which case he might lose a third one).

Which leads to two questions with which I’ll end my rant…
1. There are some positions that are clearly off-limits for attorneys, such as Surgeon General or Chair of the Joint Chiefs. These (at least the Surgeon General position) can’t possibly be any more difficult or critical, say, than sitting on the board of the Federal Reserve or head of the EPA or FEMA. What makes these positions so special that they are reserved for someone who at least appears to have some minimum expertise as opposed to an obvious ignorant political hack?
2. Why is it OK to have an attorney making decisions about nuclear power, or how to combat mad cow disease or scrapie, or whatever else, regardless of the attorney’s level of ignorance on the subject at hand, but not OK to have, say a physicist with no legal training on the Supreme Court or a biologist with no legal training as Attorney General?

Obama is doing much the same thing as his predecessors when it comes to cabinet picks: despite the appointment of someone to Richardson’s old job that actually can produce define a working definition of the word energy, he is selecting a cabinet that contains a lot of attorneys. That includes Richardson, doing yet another job for which one has to wonder: what the heck qualifies him for this?

So I still wonder about my two questions. And by the way – if being an economist, or plumber, or pediatrician gave one the same privileges, I’d have the same rant. But we ain’t gonna see an economist, or a plumber, or an ob gyn nominated to the Supreme Court any time soon.

I also note – this is not a gubmint thing. Much (though fortunately not all) of corporate America also values ignorance in decision making – its just that the requirements to get to be an ignorant person making decisions in the private sector are a bit different, though the two sets (i.e., ignorant decision makers in the private sector and ignorant decision makers in the public sector) do overlap quite a bit. In fact, if you’re an ignorant person in the private sector, you’re automatically qualified to be an ignorant person in the public sector, even if you aren’t an attorney. And with enough ignorance, one can actually jump back and forth between the public and private sectors and make it to the pinnacles of power in both.
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by cactus

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ataxingmatter Linda Beale asks the neglected question of the day

cross posted from ataxingmatter

Madoff’s ponzi scheme tax losses and union workers’ home losses

Wall Street has not had a good year (and of course, the taxpayers have borne the brunt of the resulting chaos). Credit default swaps, for several years the darlings of the industry, have become a giant albatross around taxpayers’ necks, especially through the AIG bailout. Stocks have plummeted, as financial institutions’ speculative hayday that funded unmerited, oversize executive bonuses (see, e.g., On Wall Street, Bonuses, not Profits, were Real, NY Times, Dec. 17, 2008) has crashed with the shaky mortgages at the foundation of so many CDOs and other securitizations, which of course means many individual homeowners are out in the cold.

And then there’s the Madoff scandal–a highly respected figure on Wall Street (he was once on the SEC advisory council) who has admitted to defrauding investors to the tune of at least $50 billion in a ponzi scheme that the SEC was warned about, investigated, and then decided, just a year ago, not to pursue. The SEC has egg on its face (not the first time under Republican-appointed pro-industry commissioners), and investors have pockets with big holes rather than lots of gold coins. See, e.g.,

* SEC Release 2008-293, SEC Charges Bernard L. Madoff for Multi-Billion Dollar Ponzi Scheme, Dec. 11, 2008;
* Berenson & Enriques, SEC Says it Missed Signals on Madoff Fraud Case, NY Times, Dec. 16, 2008;
* Scheer & Westbrook, Madoff ‘Tragedy’ Said to have Escaped Investigation by SEC, Bloomberg.com, Dec. 16, 2008 (no inspection of books since registration as investment adviser in 2006);
* Neumiester, Fallout over Madoff Ripples through Washington, Wash. Post, Dec. 18, 2008;
* Editorial, Swindle of the Century, Wash. Post, Dec. 17, 2008;
* Haughney, Madoff Scandal Shaking Real Estate Industry, NY Times, Dec. 17, 2008;
* Greenwell, Area Jewish Groups Take a Hit Financially, Wash. Post, Dec. 17, 2008;
* SIPC Chief: Madoff Falsified Books to Hide Losses, AP, Dec. 16, 2008;
* Reuters, FACTBOX: Firms Exposed to Madoff Fraud (lists major firms with losses);
* Reuters, Madoff Bad Omen for Fund of Hedge Funds Industry, Dec. 17, 2008.

And why, pray tell, can a guy who is caught stealing a piece of pizza go to jail for life in California on a “three counts and you are out” rule, while Madoff is not even in jail after stealing $50 billion even though he couldn’t put up the bail set by the judge? See Alex Berenson, Authorities Ease Madoff’s Bail Terms, NY Times, Dec. 17, 2008).

What’s the tax angle (gotta get that in somewhere, haven’t I?)? Investors who’ve lost money to Madoff get a chance for relief under the tax code. See Donmoyer, Madoff’s Victims May Recover Losses Through Tax Code, Bloomberg.com, Dec. 18, 2008.

Capital-gains taxes paid by investors [already too low, in ataxingmatter’s opinion] may be refundable for 2005 through 2007, lawyers said. In addition, they said investors probably can convince the Internal Revenue Service they are victims of theft, which would let them deduct losses from their income taxes dating back to 2005. Any unused theft losses could be used to reduce tax liabilities for the next 20 years.

In other words, investors–the darlings of the Wall Street world and the darlings of the tax code because of their preferential rate on capital gains and other provisions like the charitable deduction for untaxed value rather than just investment basis–have an existing remedy that will likely provide substantial relief. Another bailout, if you will, through tax code provisions–especially if the IRS permits the “theft” deduction. (Note that theft losses would be deductible against ordinary income, usually taxed for wealthy investors at the top rate of 35%, whereas investors have been paying only the very low preferential rates when they have tax gains–nifty, huh? Should the “theft loss” be able to trump the investment loss provision in this context to provide that benefit? Seems like an answer based on a coherent interpretation of the Code provisions should be “no” in this context.)

Once again, worth pointing out a few things here.

The country has spent a lot of money and a lot of time talking about shoring up Wall Street (oops, the financial system). There are various “escape valves” (such as the loss deduction) that provide relief of some sort for wealthy investors who have, undoubtedly, also lost money as financial institutions and other companies lose market capitalization and even go into bankruptcy. But the country hasn’t done much to get at the heart of the problem–providing relief to homeowners with mortgage debt that is driving them out of house and home, letting homeowners modify their mortgage loans in bankruptcy, and setting standards for the TARP money so that banks are not allowed to continue the high-falutin’ lifestyle of huge bonuses built on speculative bets in the financial markets but rather are required to modify some loans and use the money to find a way to refinance some loans on better terms for the homeonwers, and, in the cases of subprime loans that were pushed on people who should have been offered better terms, requiring the banks to “eat” the difference and modify the loans to reasonable terms.

For instance, bonuses, not quite as big as before but still extraordinary in scope, are still flowing on Wall Street.

Critics say bonuses never should have been so big in the first place, because they were based on ephemeral earnings. These people contend that Wall Street’s pay structure, in which bonuses are based on short-term profits, encouraged employees to act like gamblers at a casino — and let them collect their winnings while the roulette wheel was still spinning. See On Wall Street, above. (I might add–and let the taxpayers take the brunt of the damage in a nifty scheme for privatizing gains and socializing losses.)

Meanwhile, homeowners continue to lose homes. Here’s an anecdote to bring this down to the “real people” level. I spoke at length with a union member in Detroit two days ago who told me of a recent meeting of about 1300 union members. Of the 1300, only a handful said they were not in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure! More than half were already in foreclosure. Many were facing imminent default. And the rest were very worried that they would end up defaulting before 12 months passed, including the person with whom I spoke. He’d bought a modest home several years ago, prudently basing his mortgage on his base pay without taking into account the extra pay he often received for overtime. Yet he says most have already seen their take-home go down, and he expects their base pay to go down by at least one-fourth before this is over. And if that happens, he simply won’t be able to make his mortgage payments.

Let’s hope the new Congress reassesses the TARP program and makes modifications that should have been included in the beginning–harsher terms retroactively, along with much more stringent oversight, for the banks that get the money; much more consideration and problem resolution for the homeowners at the heart of the crisis.

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David Rose has an important article in Vanity Fair about Torture

lifted from Robert’s Stochastic thoughts:

David Rose has an important article in Vanity Fair about Torture

He argues, at very convincing length with extensive specific evidence, that statements extracted by torture are completely unreliable — what the tortured person thinks the torturers want to hear.

He definitely claims that José Padilla’s alleged dirty bomb plot was made up by Abu Zubaydah while Abu Zubaydah was being tortured. That was the issue which caused Bush to decide that the Bill of Rights and the Magna Carta were obsolete.

I have written fairly often about the hypothesis that the torture of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi contributed to the US decision to invade Iraq (not to convincing Bush of course but to convincing so many people to agree). Rose claims the same is true of the torture of Abu Zubaydah based on the claims of two anonymous sources.

David Rose writes:

“The tribunal president, a colonel whose name is redacted, asked him: “So I understand that during this treatment, you said things to make them stop and then those statements were actually untrue, is that correct?” Abu Zubaydah replied: “Yes.”

Some of those statements, say two senior intelligence analysts who worked on them at the time, concerned the issue that in the spring of 2002 interested the Bush administration more than almost any other—the supposed operational relationship between al-Qaeda and Iraq. Given his true position in the jihadist hierarchy, Abu Zubaydah “would not have known that if it was true,” says Coleman. “But you can lead people down a course and make them say anything.”

Some of what he did say was leaked by the administration: for example, the claim that bin Laden and his ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi were working directly with Saddam Hussein to destabilize the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. There was much more, says the analyst who worked at the Pentagon: “I first saw the reports soon after Abu Zubaydah’s capture. There was a lot of stuff about the nuts and bolts of al-Qaeda’s supposed relationship with the Iraqi Intelligence Service. The intelligence community was lapping this up, and so was the administration, obviously. Abu Zubaydah was saying Iraq and al-Qaeda had an operational relationship. It was everything the administration hoped it would be.”

Within the administration, Abu Zubaydah’s interrogation was “an important chapter,” the second analyst says: overall, his interrogation “product” was deemed to be more significant than the claims made by Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, another al-Qaeda captive, who in early 2002 was tortured in Egypt at the C.I.A.’s behest. After all, Abu Zubaydah was being interviewed by Americans. Like the former Pentagon official, this official had no idea that Abu Zubaydah had been tortured.

“As soon as I learned that the reports had come from torture, once my anger had subsided I understood the damage it had done,” the Pentagon analyst says. “I was so angry, knowing that the higher-ups in the administration knew he was tortured, and that the information he was giving up was tainted by the torture, and that it became one reason to attack Iraq.”

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A reminder of basics

rdan

Not forgotten, but set aside as a national concern. And many still do not know how the water gets to their faucet (for real, not a generic idea), and selling water rights goes on. We will be ‘surprised’ and ‘no one saw it coming’ comments will fill our ears.

Loss of water comes in many forms.

We never thought we’d see it. We never thought the lake would go this far down,” said Jane Davis, who built the marina from the ground up with her husband. “Everyone needs water, but Hartwell has finally given more water than it can take.”
Forecasters say there’s no telling when it will end.
“When you start looking at an area like that that’s been under duress so long, even one or two rain events aren’t going to completely wipe away the long-term problems,” said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center.
Hartwell has for decades been a source of water, recreation and electricity for scores of towns and thousands of residents on both sides of its ever-growing banks.
Now moldy boat shells, aging beer cans and even long-lost highways once deep underwater bake in the sun. Jagged islands once topped with buoys to ward off unsuspecting boats now sit uncomfortably 8 feet above water.
Some residents blame the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which sends millions of gallons of water from the lake each week downstream to the Savannah River to help supply Savannah, Augusta and other cities.
They also worry that the Corps and another federal agency, the Southeastern Power Administration, focus too much on generating electricity and too little on keeping the lake full.

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The Bailout Explained

sent by David Zetland

The Bailout Explained

Young Chuck in Montana bought a horse from a farmer for $100.

The farmer agreed to deliver the horse the next day.

The next day he drove up and said, “Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the horse died.” Chuck replied, “Well, then just give me my money back.”

The farmer said, “Can”t do that. I went and spent it already”

Chuck said, “Ok, then, just bring me the dead horse.” The farmer asked, “What ya gonna do with him? Chuck said, “I”m going to raffle him off.” The farmer said, “You can”t raffle off a dead horse!” Chuck said, “Sure I can, Watch me.

I just won”t tell any body he’s dead.” A month later, the farmer met up with Chuck and asked, “What happened with that dead horse?” Chuck said, “I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a piece and made a profit of $998.”

The farmer said, “Didn”t anyone complain?” Chuck said, “Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back.”

Chuck grew up and works now for the government. He was the one who figured out how to “bail us out”.

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Hedge Funds Get FED Aid

Robert Waldmann

You knew it was coming. Hedge funds are getting public help too. I’m not waiting for people who argued against regulation on the grounds that hedge funds are lightly regulated (except for the little rule that they can only take money in chunks of 100 million) and doing fine to uhm revise their views. For one thing, officially, the idea is to help hedge funds help the economy.

Krishna Guha reports in The Financial Times

The Fed said on Friday it would offer low-cost three-year funding to any US company investing in securitised consumer loans under the Term Asset-backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF). This includes hedge funds, which have never been able to borrow from the US central bank before, although the Fed may not permit hedge funds to use offshore vehicles to conduct the transactions.

Hedge fund failures will be difficult to arrange, since they can’t be in debt to anyone but their investors, who bear risk and can’t pull out their money quickly. This is not due to regulation, it is do to you would have to be a fool to loan to a hedge fund. I can’t borrow hundreds of billions either.

The head of the FED knows a lot more about banking than I do. Also The Financial Times is often alleged to be the worlds finest newspaper and would be expected to be rather good on finance. I find the logic of the FED as explained by the FT strange as I explain after the jump.

The Fed thinks risk premiums or “spreads” for consumer loans are much higher than would be justified by likely default rates, even assuming a nasty recession.

It attributes this to a lack of buying interest in the secondary market where the loans are sold on to investors. By making loans to these investors on attractive terms it aims to increase market liquidity.

Ahhh now I understand why people think liquidity leads to high asset prices. It turns out it means “buying interest” but not “selling interest”. That is a liquid asset is easy to sell for a high price not easy to sell for the current market price.

Well that sure explains why a decline in liquidity will cause prices to fall and why everyone is sure that more liquidity would be good for their balance sheets.

Look the FED and the FT have to distinguish between two different issues. One is the level of demand for assets. The other is liquidity — an asset is liquid if the *price elasticity* of demand for that asset is very high. If someone suddenly demanding a lot of some asset makes its price jump up, then it is not liquid. If it is very hard for say the Treasury to drive up the price of assets by buying some then they are just too damn liquid.

I’d tend to imagine liquidity is very closely correlated with trading volume. That doesn’t mean that high trading volume will cause a large increase in asset prices. It certainly doesn’t mean that innovation which causes increased trading causes a large increase in asset fundamental values.

“Making the scheme open to all US companies is a radical departure for the Fed, which normally supports financial market liquidity indirectly by ensuring banks have adequate liquidity to make loans to other investors.”

Now two other meanings of liquidity. The first, market liquidity, is not the liquidity of an asset but the amount of liquid assets in financial markets. And a fourth meaning “Banks have adequate liquidity” means, in part, investment banks have adequate capital and cash flows. It also means reserve requirements are not binding on depository institutions. Dealing with that is indeed standard FED policy. But standard FED policy has little to do with the FEDs view that risk premia are too high or too low.

Hedge funds were not borrowing from depository institutions (in fact I asserted above that they weren’t borrowing at all). We are not talking about loans which aren’t made because of reserve requirements. It is likely that we’re talking about loans which aren’t made because the lender expects to lose money, because the lender thinks that securitised consumer loans aren’t underpriced. Basically Bernanke thinks that he has a better estimate of the value of securitised consumer loans than the market, so he is subsising their purchase (note one can’t get a low interest loan in order to short securitised consumer loans).

Now I guess that is mainly fine by me. Basically, I think that, even if Bernanke doesn’t know best, he sures knows better than the market which is always grossly inefficient and is now panicked.

The article closes with incoherance

Since the credit crisis erupted, hedge funds have complained that they cannot get the leverage they need to arbitrage away excessive spreads and meet high hurdle rates of return.

“Demand is there for leverage but not supply,” said Sylvan Chackman, head of global equity financing at Merrill Lynch.

Huh ? The argument is that hedge funds can’t exploit miss-pricing of assets, because the asset they want to short (evidently their debt) costs too little ! It’s not arbitrage if you can only do it with public sector help.

Now there is demand for “leverage” uhm that means people want to borrow but no one wants to lend. Now I would have thought that supply and demand depend on prices, so the statement makes little sense to begin with.

The point is that no private agent is willing to accept securitised consumer loans as collateral for “low-cost three-year funding” which is not based on the full faith and credit of the borrower (that of hedge funds is worth little anyway as their balance sheets are secret).

There’s a lot of abuse of jargon trying to hide the fact that the FED has decided to move a market price other than the safe interest rate. Radical policy yes. More palatable if people try to hide what is going on by changing the meanings of words in mid sentence ? Not to me.

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Bonuses paid in mortgage backed securities

rdan
(h/t reader mcwop)

Clusterstock points a how to handle bonuses in an interesting way.

We’re shocked that nobody has suggested this before, but on its face this looks like a great idea… Credit Suisse announced today that bonuses for its top executives would be made in illiquid, mortgage-backed securities. Seeing as these guys are responsible for getting this stuff on the companies books, it makes sense to shove it back to them. And if the market gets liquid again, and the stuff goes up, that’s going to be a huge windfall for execs:

Bloomberg: The bank will use leveraged loans and commercial mortgage- backed debt, some of the securities blamed for generating the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, to fund executive compensation packages, people familiar with the matter said. The new policy applies only to managing directors and directors, the two most senior ranks at the Zurich-based company, according to a memo sent to employees today.

“While the solution we have come up with may not be ideal for everyone, we believe it strikes the appropriate balance among the interests of our employees, shareholders and regulators and helps position us well for 2009,” Chief Executive Officer Brady Dougan and Paul Calello, CEO of the investment bank, said in the memo.

Another bonus: This moves the stuff off of Credit Suisse’s books, while letting it hold onto its precious cash. Will we see any copycats?

Update: Reader Anna Lee adds “I saw this yesterday at another blog. One of the commenters suggested that the Congress critters receive their pay and bonuses the same way to shift risk from the TARP to shared risk. I enjoyed that picture in my head.” Let us try it out.

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