Finance Sector and Economic Impact

August 31, 2009

By Padmini Arhant

When the Bush administration officially recognized the economic recession in late December 2007, the malignant cancer in the financial sector was widespread – originating from gross mismanagement, underhand dealings, some in breach of lenient SEC regulations… a scenario analogous to the health abuse by overindulging individuals submitting to a potentially terminal illness.

Upon diagnosis, the prognosis called for a radical treatment to prolong life. Hence, the former administration executed a series of financial bailouts commencing with Bear Stearns, AIG, including major and minor banks bailout to a tune of $700 billion TARP (Toxic Assets Relief Program) fund.

Incidentally, the former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson bound by vested interest and commitment to his alma mater Goldman Sachs let the comparable investment group Lehman Brothers submerge into insolvency.

Is cherry picking a coincidence or key Treasury representative fulfilling obligations to the dominant force Goldman Sachs in the finance industry?

Please refresh your thoughts after reviewing the blogpost ‘Bailout Debacle’ March 22, 2009 listed under Economy and Business category at

In this context, the cited article revealing facts behind the bailout is attention worthy.

According to – Thank you.

Published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI)

Who is Henry Paulson?

By Tom Eley, 23 September 2008

“Henry Paulson rose through the ranks of Goldman Sachs, becoming a partner in 1982, co-head of investment banking in 1990, chief operating officer in 1994. In 1998, he forced out his co-chairman Jon Corzine “in what amounted to a coup,” according to New York Times economics correspondent Floyd Norris, and took over the post of CEO.

Goldman Sachs is perhaps the single best-connected Wall Street firm. Its executives routinely go in and out of top government posts. Corzine went on to become US senator from New Jersey and is now the state’s governor. Corzine’s predecessor, Stephen Friedman, served in the Bush administration as assistant to the president for economic policy and as chairman of the National Economic Council (NEC). Friedman’s predecessor as Goldman Sachs CEO, Robert Rubin, served as chairman of the NEC and later treasury secretary under Bill Clinton.

Since taking office, Paulson has overseen the destruction of three of Goldman Sachs’ rivals.

In March, Paulson helped arrange the fire sale of Bear Stearns to JPMorgan Chase. Then, a little more than a week ago, he allowed Lehman Brothers to collapse, while simultaneously organizing the absorption of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America.

This left only Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as major investment banks, both of which were converted on Sunday into bank holding companies, a move that effectively ended the existence of the investment bank as a distinct economic form.

These bailouts have been designed to prevent a chain reaction collapse of the world economy, but more importantly, they aimed to insulate and even reward the wealthy shareholders, like Paulson, primarily responsible for the financial collapse.

Paulson bears a considerable amount of personal responsibility for the crisis.

Paulson then handsomely benefited from the speculative boom. This wealth was based on financial manipulation and did nothing to create real value in the economy. On the contrary, the extraordinary enrichment of individuals like Paulson was the corollary to the dismantling of the real economy, the bankrupting of the government, and the impoverishment of masses the world over.

Paulson was compensated to the tune of $30 million in 2004 and took home $37 million in 2005. In his career at Goldman Sachs he built up a personal net worth of over $700 million, according to estimates.

True Perspective: By Padmini Arhant

The entire economic meltdown ceremoniously attributed to the financial sector’s wayward unruly conduct in the absence of limited or no regulation. Typically, it’s a free market voluntarily surrendering to a free fall after skyrocketing profits in the pockets of privileged few in the society.

Who did the private enterprise otherwise the market system’s oligarchs approach for salvation?

It was none other than the taxpayers of the economy represented by the government.

It’s poignant to underscore the convenience for private sectors to seek the taxpayer i.e. government’s assistance when they are drowning and fleetingly dismiss the same government as an incompetent, redundant agency during the buoyancy like in the health care battle.

The day is not far when the health care and insurance industry configured to the obscene profit driven settings mimic their counterpart finance industry imploring the taxpayers/consumers bailout.

When the wealth management industry succumbs to their own greed ladened follies, can the health care and insurance industry sustain the malpractice at the economy’s expense?

If there is any respect for the laws of nature or ethical consideration, the key economic components such as the finance, health industry and others would realize that universally every substance has a limited potential to thrive and exceed performance level at any given time. The mankind periodically experienced catastrophic blows in the form of severe economic recession to ‘Great Depression’ due to the prevailing markets inertia.

Still, the lesson is never learned by the delusional segment forging permanency on this planet; choose to remain confined to the improbable cause in wealth amassment.

Now directing focus on the finance sector, the ‘artful dodger’, a nickname of the Charles Dickens’ melancholy character ‘Oliver Twist’ when turned down for more porridge, despite the courteous magic word ‘please,’ was never discouraged to maneuver the situation in personal favor.

Unlike the character ‘Oliver Twist’ a victim of severe socio-economic disparity…parallel to the modern twenty first century reality, the finance sector is well armed with tactics adherence to the rule of law in appearance but decisively biting the hands that feeds them, i.e. the consumers and taxpayers.

What are the latest strategies by the finance industry to clean up the mess on their balance sheets?

The current trend in the finance sector is adapting to the new age attraction i.e. presentation and mass appeal even if it is lacking in substance. If anything achieved from the domino effects by the financial sector, it is the mastery of unsavory techniques to impress shareholders at the consumers’ peril.

During the bailouts, both the prior and the incumbent administrations were unequivocally guaranteed instant revival of the lending activity, a predominant factor in the liquidity crisis exacerbating the economy until date.

It’s been nearly twelve to eighteen months since the infamous massive bailouts with no relief to the average citizen, retailers or the small businesses, crucial for the economic recovery. The economy deprived of the consumer spending flow because of the financial institutions’ stringent policy to hoard the taxpayers’ funds received in the form of bailouts at zero percent or nominal interest rate. Instead the taxpayer bailout is unabashedly used for extravagant bonuses to the architects of the financial calamity.

Although, the Obama administration recently capped the finance charges and interest rates on credit card borrowings to ease the extraordinary burden on average citizens, the industry leapfrogged Congress with discretionary interest rates not limited to atrocious 29.9% APR and threatening to increase further on default payments.

Another proactive measure by the banks in an effort to window dressing the balance sheet was minimizing risk exposure related to credit card and consumer lending. The industry defiantly targets the vulnerable groups like students, homeowners and the lower to median income consumers with abrupt cancellation of accounts in good standing.

The irony is noteworthy. It’s considered perfectly normal if the finance industry absconded their responsibility to the American taxpayers/creditors not barring any accountability to the oversight committee regarding the bailout investments. However, the then taxpayers/creditors as consumers/borrowers now subject to scrutiny and unprecedented means by the same financial institutions holding the mantle to lending and borrowing.

While the myriad of finance industry borrowed taxpayer funds at zero or negligible interest rate, the sector in return either withholding financing in most cases or lending at an exorbitant rate to the consumers who are also the creditors.

In the housing market, the situation synchronizes with the other lending areas such as credit card, personal loans etc. The reason for the agonizing slump in the real estate across the nation squarely falls back on the commercial banks reluctant to unleash the cash flow to qualified first homebuyers and responsible mortgagees/homeowners unable to purchase or refinance their homes. The stranglehold on consumer borrowing precipitates the foreclosures notwithstanding the vertical decline in home sales and values.

Again, the White House initiatives to restrain foreclosures and assist primary residence owners through TARP fund allocation need evaluation as the financial institutions are focused on ‘business as usual’ and not measuring up to the rigorous standard that exists for average consumers while the bailed out financial industry borrowers exempt from it.

The status quo is inadequate and compromises the high value homes in the government pursuit to rescue the conforming loans, i.e. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac toxic assets. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is a private company backed by government funds.

Not surprisingly, the illicit practice permeated to the commercial real estate affecting the prospects in that segment.

Home equity, the major and sometimes the only asset for overwhelming majority being inaccessible along with the spiraling health care and insurance costs for families, the overall economic impact is enormous forcing many to bankruptcy accelerated by the escalating unemployment rate.

Did the bailout beneficiaries show any evidence to qualify for funding?

Supposedly not, then why should they be allowed to run the economy into muck and handsomely rewarded with taxpayer bailout for the colossal failure in financial history?

Where are the taxpayer funds invested and why are they not held accountable thus far?
Is the financial market granted constitutional immunity?

And if not,

What is holding the legislators from intervening on behalf of the electorate to probe the public affairs maintained as private matter by the industry?

Meanwhile, the investment group, Goldman Sachs implicated for alleged insider information to high value investors through trade specialists deserve proper investigation and due process. The SEC regulations must apply to all without exception in absolute transparency.

With the holiday season approaching, the consumer spending is vital to expedite the stagnant economic growth. As stated above, the positive development in housing and job market intertwined with the investment pace, only possible through private sector faithful participation in lending and reactivating the economy.

Unless and until the finance sector across the board, the commercial, investment and insurance industries get their act together and relinquish the ‘subprime’ syndrome, the sagging economy will continue and eventually consume the source, the financial groups.

The financial sector is obligatory to the taxpayers as creditors and borrowers particularly with respect to the disproportionate bailouts.

Finally, with no further procrastination on the financial markets audit, it’s imperative for the Congress appointed oversight to obtain legitimate explanation on investments and lending abstinence. Any dissatisfactory response and non-cooperation by the industry must be pursued with mandatory judicial protocol.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Rescue Plan – Big 3 Auto Makers

December 8, 2008


The Federal Reserve and the Treasury department secured a $700 billion jackpot for the finance industry bailout.

Major beneficiaries –

The financial institutions comprising investment banks for bad decisions in the subprime mortgage debacle with a prominent mismanagement by Hedge Fund managers.

The insurance industry for navigating unchartered waters in search of profit from risky ventures with no guaranteed returns.

During the financial sector bailout bankrolled by the taxpayers, there were supposed to be preconditions to the bailout of the financial institutions.

Other than oversight and warranted regulations, they were,

The immediate recovery plan for the housing market – predominantly the stopgap measures on foreclosures.

Latest news articles and reports confirm otherwise.

That the foreclosures have been record high subsequent to the financial bailout.

As for other issues…

Treasury role in easing the burden on financial institutions with liabilities in the form of bad loans and securities were the reasons presented to secure the huge sum of $700 billion at that time.

Whatever has happened to accountability?

Where is the oversight?

Why foreclosures are soaring nationwide despite taxpayers’ investment in the financial sector to cure symptoms of this nature in the housing market that has contributed to the current economic recession?

It is apparent from the struggling and still volatile stock market that the financial sector has not met the requirements and honored the agreements with the taxpayer on all of the issues ranging from –

Reviving the housing market by temporarily freezing foreclosures and reassessment of payment plan programs with default homeowners.

Providing liquidity to commercial sectors to jumpstart the economy.

Last but not the least, transparency to the American public with their current lending practices.


As per

Street Talk – Thank you.

Who Got Bailout Money So Far?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 9:09 AM

"The Treasury Department’s $700 billion bailout plan, also known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), is one of the main U.S. tools to address the financial crisis.

The Treasury Department on October 14 set aside $250 billion of the program to buy senior preferred shares and warrants in banks, thrifts and other financial institutions.

Half that money was allocated to nine big banks, the Treasury Department has said.

Another $38 billion has since been earmarked for regional or small banks, according to statements from individual banks.

On Monday, the department announced its single-biggest TARP investment — $40 billion in American International Group — which the government said would not come from the $250 billion bank capital program.


The TARP has so far committed the following funding:

AIG $40 billion

JPMorgan $25 billion

Citigroup $25 billion

Wells Fargo $25 billion

Bank of America $15 billion

Merrill Lynch $10 billion

Goldman Sachs $10 billion

Morgan Stanley $10 billion

PNC Financial Services $7.7 billion

Bank of New York Mellon $3 billion

State Street Corp $2 billion

Capital One Financial $3.55 billion

Fifth Third Bancorp $3.45 billion

Regions Financial $3.5 billion

SunTrust Banks $3.5 billion

BB&T Corp $3.1 billion

KeyCorp $2.5 billion

Comerica $2.25 billion

Marshall & Ilsley Corp $1.7 billion

Northern Trust Corp $1.5 billion

Huntington Bancshares $1.4 billion

Zions Bancorp $1.4 billion

First Horizon National $866 million

City National Corp $395 million

Valley National Bancorp $330 million

UCBH Holdings Inc $298 million

Umpqua Holdings Corp $214 million

Washington Federal $200 million

First Niagara Financial $186 million

HF Financial Corp $25 million

Bank of Commerce $17 million

TOTAL: $203.08 billion



In addition to the TARP program’s $40 billion capital injection into AIG, the Federal Reserve is providing the company with up to $112.5 billion in separate loans and funds for asset purchases.

Aid to the huge insurance company came after counterparties and rating downgrades forced AIG to post large amounts of collateral for its credit derivatives positions.

Some other insurers are interested in cash infusions, but must own a thrift or bank in order to qualify under the terms of Treasury’s current capital injection program.



The TARP program set a November 14 deadline for smaller banks to apply for capital injection funds remaining in the pool of $250 billion. The deadline will be extended for non-publicly traded banks.

The government’s preferred shares will pay dividends of 5 percent annually for the first five years and 9 percent after that until the institution repurchases them. Participating banks must comply with Treasury restrictions on executive compensation, which limit tax deductibility of senior executive pay to $500,000.

They require bonuses to be "clawed back" if earnings statements or gains are later proven to be materially inaccurate and prohibit "golden parachute" payments to senior executives.


Struggling automakers General Motors Corp, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler LLC have requested tens of billions of dollars in Treasury aid under TARP. However, the Bush administration says the TARP program was designed by Congress to help the financial service sector, not the auto industry.



The remaining $350 billion in TARP funding can be accessed only after the White House formally notifies Congress. U.S. House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank has said that if the initial banks participating in the program do not use the money for lending, Congress could block authorization of the final funding."


Reality Check:

Despite the sizeable cash infusion in the financial sector to revive the stagnant economy, the results confirm the dismal performance in all quarters of the economy.

It is imperative for treasury and the Federal Reserve as the guarantors of the financial industry bail out to provide legitimate explanation to the American taxpayers in their failure to achieve the TARP purpose, prior to even contemplating to secure the remaining and final $350 billion amount.

Auto Industry – Crisis

Meanwhile, to focus on the pending national issue concerning the American workforce in the manufacturing sector of the auto industry,

It is important to shed light on the current unemployment status of our nation.

As per the recent reports…

Source: – Thank you.

US Unemployment Rate Touches 6.7%; Half–Million Jobs Lost in November; EmploymentCrossing Revs Up Efforts

Employers slashed 533,000 jobs in November, the most in 34 years, according to the latest US Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

Mind-boggling figures of job losses reported for the month are statistically the most since December 1974.

The unemployment rate of 6.7% was the worst rate since 1993. It’s only the fourth time in the past 58 years that payrolls have fallen by more than 500,000 in a month.

EmploymentCrossing, the leading job board in the US, agrees that the current job market has been increasingly ruthless on the employees, as widespread cuts attain a new high.



Obviously, it is a dire situation demanding immediate solutions to the burgeoning problems of the job market.

Delayed response in addressing the collapse of the major manufacturing sector will worsen the fragile economy already in recession.

There have been various good proposals from all corners and discipline presented so far for consideration by Congress.

Most proposals target similar aspects of the financial industry bailout like,

Oversight, strict regulations and accountability.

While, others include emphasis on fuel-efficient and/or hybrid cars to deal with potential energy and present environment crisis.

The Union role in the auto industry has been unfairly targeted in the outcry against protecting the manufacturing jobs.

Without Union existence and support, the outrageous trade practices by Corporate America towards the American workforce will be emboldened with an adverse effect on the middle and poor income groups.

Typically, such scenario will widen the pre-existing canyon between the haves and have-nots.

Rescue Plan with Clear Solutions:

First and foremost, the incumbent administration’s refusal to recognize the seriousness of the auto industry problem as an impending job market crisis is no revelation.

It is appalling that the same administration instantaneously reached out to the financial industry with the notoriety for poor judgment that triggered the entire economic crises.

Yet, it holds reservations for a sector seeking assistance with a pledge to comply with all and any legislative requirements to save the manufacturing jobs.

Moreover, unlike the financial sector, in this instance the taxpayer investment is secured with tangible assets upon default by the companies.

Given the grim unemployment status, economic recession and gloomy Retail forecasts for the holiday season, the auto industry jobs must be rescued at all costs.


As highlighted above, the purpose behind TARP to financial industry was to facilitate liquidity in commercial lending to various other sectors of the economy.

Referencing U.S. House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank,

“if the initial banks participating in the program do not use the money for lending, Congress could block authorization of the final funding.”

The comment is fair and valid.

Due to the breach of $700 billion agreement proposal by the financial institutions,

The entire sum of $75 billion requested by all three major automakers will be approved and allocated accordingly:

1. The unused $15 billion from the previously drawn amount of $350 billion financial bailout is to be utilized in the approval of the $75 billion to protect the auto industry jobs.

2. The remaining $60 billion will be derived from the final amount of the $350 billion financial bailout package through an emergency resolution by Congress.

3. The recommendation to tap into the $25 billion energy bill to assist the automakers would derail any progress aimed at clean energy programs in the future.

Therefore, the rescue package for automakers is to be appropriated from the excessive financial bailout fund.


Compliance by Automakers:

A. Besides the standard protocol for oversight, stringent regulations and executive competence, the manufacturing of hybrid models to satisfy the energy efficiency requirement is paramount to this deal.

B. Equally important are the recognition and improvement of labor laws, trade practices to benefit the American workforce and thereby increase productivity yielding expected profits for payoff towards the rescue plan.

C. Transparency and commitment to achieve pledged goals is vital to avert future crisis and maintain credibility with lenders.

D. In addition, exorbitant remuneration perks and bonuses to CEO’s of all three corporations will be eliminated from the package.


Congressional Obligation:

It is incumbent on Congress particularly with members across the aisles to address the serious challenge in the manufacturing sector currently facing the nation by putting partisan politics aside and prioritizing the needs of the American labor.

The nation is grappling with an economy saddled with —

Multi-trillion dollar debt

Financial crisis

Deteriorating housing market

Unpredictable stock market

All of the above factors threatening the stability of every industry and the fabric of the economic infrastructure.

Any more layoffs in any industry particularly the manufacturing companies will debilitate the economic recovery plans in process.

It is time to bid farewell to party bickering, earmarks and Pork Barell spending that have resulted in Washington gridlock on all matter of national interest.

Legislators must act diligently and promptly by approving the entire amount $75 billion from the suggested source for all three companies to protect American jobs and the ailing economy.

It is time for action and not procrastination.

Finally, people in a democracy elect representatives and entrust power to solve problems and safeguard their interests so,

National interest must supersede all other interests.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant