Global Investing

Not everyone a fan of the ‘Paulson plan’ to mop up toxic debt

Wall Street’s cheering the Paulson Plan – a multi-billion-dollar taxpayer-funded effort to contain the credit market crisis. But a backdraft is underway in the blogosphere. Strategist-blogger Barry Ritholtz lays it out here in The Big Picture:

We now see that the grand experiment of deregulation has ended, and ended badly. The deregulation movement is now an historical footnote, just another interest group, and once in power they turned into socialists.

paulson2.JPGComments rolling into Calculated Risk are uniformly negative, with the two presidential candidates coming in for some scorn for supporting the asset relief plan.

A temporary ban on short-selling from the SEC is drawing some arrows as well from Zac Bissonnette in BloggingStocks:

It’s clear why the SEC is now banning it: this isn’t about leveling the playing field or making the market more fair or efficient. This about the SEC using its power to manipulate the market upward.

What do you think of the ‘Paulson Doctrine’ ?

Some financial firms, but not all, will be saved. The pattern was set with Bear Stearns in March and repeated with Fannie,  Freddie and AIG this month — but not Lehman Brothers. Information Arbitrage lays it out this morning here.

“Unwittingly or not, Treasury Secretary Paulson has effectively created the Paulson Doctrine. The doctrine states that firms that he deems too big to fail (but we’re not exactly sure where the line is drawn: LEH? No. BSC? Kind of. MER? Maybe. AIG, FNM and FRE? Definitely.) get the U.S. Government (and the U.S. taxpayer) as new senior shareholders, while the others are either left to execute an orderly private markets Good Bank/Bad Bank restructuring (if they can, like Mellon in the late 1980s) or a hurried Chapter 11 Good Bank/Bad Bank restructuring (if they can’t: see BCS/LEH circa 2008).

Sure, the headline reads that the Fed bailed out AIG, but was anyone other than Mr. Paulson pulling the strings? I doubt it. So what of this doctrine, and what does it mean for the global financial markets, the integrity of the U.S. regulatory regime and the U.S. taxpayer?