Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Peterson Institute plan

Just like mine.
A key component of the Treasury's bailout plan is the price it will pay for mortgage-backed securities (MBS). If it pays too little, banks will be insolvent, but setting the price too high gives taxpayer money to banks and their shareholders. Because of the difficulty of determining a price that will be both fair and effective, the Treasury should separate the transaction into two steps. First, it should buy these MBS at fair market value (FMV), appraising FMV through an auction to the private sector. With these MBS off banks' balance sheets, it will be easier to assess the solvency of banks; the Treasury can then inject capital by buying newly issued preferred shares in troubled banks. This two-part plan would not only enhance transparency but would ensure that the plan does not become merely a handout of taxpayer dollars to the banking sector.

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