James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

Doing the PPIP shuffle

June 30, 2009

A Treasury insider talk about the ever-shrinking PPIP (via Noam Scheiber):

If you had asked–I don’t want to speak for the secretary–what’s problem number one? I think he’d say capital. Problem two? Capital. Problem three? Capital. Everything was in the service of that view. The legacy loans program was meant to help clean balance sheets. It was not an independent good in itself. It was seen as friendly to equity raising. Now people say the legacy loans thing is not gaining as much traction, so is that a failure? But because we had a good outcome in terms of raising equity, they [the banks] were able to raise equity without shedding assets … you should be okay with that.

My spin:  This reminds me of an old Letterman sketch with Chris Elliott about a TV show where all you ever saw was the promos:

The Regulator Guy: A series of expensive-looking promos for a Terminator-like action character aired on “Late Night” over a period of several months, with Elliott incongruously playing the super-cool half-human, half-mechanical “Regulator Guy”, even speaking with a bad Schwarzenegger-esque accent. Repeatedly promoted during “Late Night” as “Coming soon to NBC!” the “Regulator Guy” appeared once and only once in an actual sketch on the show, but this appearance was a (deliberately) cheap and poorly-done affair, which ended with Letterman interviewing the new sidekick character, Ajax, while completely ignoring Elliott (much to his faux-chagrin).

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