Secretary Geithner’s PPIP Another Welfare Program

Real Clear Markets has an interesting article where it exposes the Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP) as fraudulent and calls it another welfare program for the big banks, funded by the taxpayer.

Here are a few excerpts:

“Suppose someone is willing to fund your gambling problem, and lend you $80 at zero interest. Better still, if you lose the bet you don’t have to pay him back. Under that scenario, the same gambler would pay $90 for the bet, giving him an even chance of winning or losing $10.

This is a microcosm of what the Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP) is intended to do: create an incentive for investors to pay $90 for a bet that is only worth $50. It is bad economics and bad public policy and it is probably fraudulent. Congress should act pre-emptively to halt Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s latest scheme.

We don’t have enough information from the FDIC about what it intends to charge for the 84% of the PPIP it is guaranteeing and we don’t know the exact mix of assets. But once these are revealed… the expected loss to the FDIC can be estimated with a reasonable degree of certainty.

Why is this particularly interesting? Many commentators have pointed out the obvious: that the PPIP is another welfare program for the big banks, funded by the taxpayer.

….[T]he legislation governing the FDIC does not allow it to take expected losses above its capital base, and that capital base is now just $30 billion. Against a $500 billion PPIP, it only requires a 6% overpayment to wipe out the FDIC’s capital.” [via RCM]

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