This is why we don’t believe the bailout will work the way you think it will (i.e., to increase lending):
Recently, securities rated AAA have changed hands for roughly 30 cents on the dollar, and most of the buyers have been hedge funds acting opportunistically on a bet that prices will rise over time. However, sources said Citi and BofA have trumped those bids.
Instead of using the bailout monies to lend, or even make their balance sheets more creditworthy, the firms have been doubling-down on the assumption that they will be fellated by Timmeh and Larry. (At least Bill Gross and PIMCO (h/t Robert) did it when there was still a chance of sane monetary policy.)
I take back part of what I said earlier: this isn’t comparable to hitting on 17 because you’re drunk; it’s hitting on 19 because you’re desperate and insane. As Barry R. closes:
If anything, this argues against bailouts and in favor of nationalization, firing management, wiping out S/Hs, zeroing out debt, haircutting bond holders, etc.
Some economists may need to spend less time reviewing brilliant analysis from Barry Eichengreen (link is to PDF) and more reviewing Friedman and Savage (link is to PDF) in the context of principal-agent problems.