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By Nov. 5, AIG had paid out $37 billion of their bailout funds to CDS counterparties including Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, UBS AG, and Deutsche Bank AG.

AIG 4

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

More after the jump:

As The Wall Street Journal reported in November, banks in the U.S. and abroad are among the biggest winners in the federal government's $170 billion bailout of American International Group Inc.

AIG Chart 2

Many banks that previously bought protection from the insurer on securities backed by now-troubled mortgage assets stand to recoup the bulk of their investments under a plan by AIG and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to buy around $70 billion of those securities via a new company. These securities are collateralized debt obligations backed by subprime-mortgage bonds, commercial-mortgage loans and other assets.

Banks in the U.S., Europe and Canada bought credit-default swaps on these securities from AIG, which in turn promised to compensate them if the securities defaulted.  Defaults haven't been a major problem, but the market  values of these CDOs fell sharply over the past year or so.  That enabled the banks to pry roughly $35 billion in collateral from AIG as a result of those declines and downgrades in AIG's own credit ratings. The banks that have sought and received collateral from AIG include Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co., UBS AG, Deutsche Bank AG and others.

"It's like a home run for some of the banks,"says Carlos Mendez, a senior managing director at ICP Capital, a fixed-income investment firm in New York. "They bought insurance from a company that ran into trouble and still managed to get all, or most, of their money back."

Under the plan announced Monday, the banks will get to keep the collateral they received from AIG, much of which came when the government made funds available to AIG in September. The banks also will sell the CDOs to the new facility at market prices averaging 50 cents on the dollar. The banks that participate will be compensated for the securities' full, or par, value in exchange for allowing AIG to unwind the credit-default swaps it wrote.

Bernanke

In Wednesday’s article by Declan McCullagh at CBS News, its suggested that allowing AIG to fail would be better for the market as a whole than propping it up.

A bankruptcy judge could have carved AIG up into chunks with sound components separated from unsound ones. Other companies would buy assets that had value. Shareholders would likely have emerged in better shape than they have after AIG's stock price fell from over $70 to 43 cents in a two-year period.

"Suppose AIG goes bankrupt, it is better that AIG goes bankrupt and we have a horrible two or three years than that the whole US goes bankrupt," legendary investor Jim Rogers, who co-founded the Quantum Fund with George Soros, told CNBC on Tuesday. "AIG has trillions of dollars of obligations, let them fail, let the courts sort it out and start over. Otherwise we'll never start over."

One aspect of the repeated AIG bailouts that deserves additional public scrutiny is how they enriched some of the company's counterparties at taxpayer's expense.  Those are the bailout's indirect beneficiaries, and they reportedly include Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, UBS AG, and Deutsche Bank AG. They knew there were risks to dealing with AIG; the financial world would not end if AIG defaulted. (As George Mason University economics professor Tyler Cowen put it this week: "No one wants to say it, but essentially the Fed has been bailing out European banks.")

For a primer on the role of the derivatives market on the financial crisis, see this previous diary.

(CNBC - Sept. 17, 2008)

(Counter-party risks in the credit markets hit an all-time high on Tuesday as credit default swaps soared. Michael Sheren from Calyon Corporate and Investment Bank considers whether the AIG bailout will affect counter-party risk.)

Guest: Some guys are making a load of money holding onto the collateral and not having any exposure to the rubbish.

Sheren: Certainly, there’s always going to be winners and losers.

Update: The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday additional details on payouts to AIG counterparties.

The Wall Street Journal in December, citing a confidential document and people familiar with the matter, revealed that about $19 billion of the payouts went to two dozen counterparties between the government bailout in mid-September and early November. As previously reported, nearly three-quarters went to a group of banks, including Société Générale SA ($4.8 billion), Goldman Sachs Group ($2.9 billion), Deutsche Bank AG ($2.9 billion), Credit Agricole SA's Calyon investment-banking unit ($1.8 billion), and Merrill Lynch & Co. ($1.3 billion), the Journal reported at the time.

2nd Update: In The WSJ on Saturday further AIG bailout beneficiaries were named.

The beneficiaries of the government's bailout of American International Group Inc. include at least two dozen U.S. and foreign financial institutions that have been paid roughly $50 billion since the Federal Reserve first extended aid to the insurance giant.

Among those institutions are Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Germany's Deutsche Bank AG, each of which received roughly $6 billion in payments between mid-September and December 2008, according to a confidential document and people familiar with the matter.

Other banks that received large payouts from AIG late last year include Merrill Lynch, now part of Bank of America Corp., and French bank Société Générale SA.

More than a dozen firms with smaller exposures to AIG also received payouts, including Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC and HSBC Holdings PLC, according to the confidential document.

Originally posted to The Anomaly on Wed Mar 04, 2009 at 11:45 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  They say Goldman Sachs made $50 bln on this... (7+ / 0-)

      "AIG Becomes the Fed’s Vehicle to Buy Toxic Assets"

      AIG Becomes the Fed’s Vehicle to Buy Toxic Assets
      Seeking Alpha
      by: Michael Steinberg December 28, 2008
      The Washington Post (from Bloomberg News) "With Fed's Help, AIG Unloads $16 Billion in Credit Default Swaps" reports that American International Group (AIG) retired another $16B face value of credit default swaps for $6.7B by purchasing the underlying securities and canceling the contracts. The insured (counterparties) were able to keep the more than $9B in collateral that AIG posted. The counterparties were taken out at par. So far, the Fed’s Maiden Lane III special purchase fund has purchased $62.1B face value of CDOs from AIG’s counterparties. The Fed has committed to purchase up to $70B face value of CDOs from AIG’s counterparties at roughly 50% of par. Each time the Fed is allowing the counterparties to keep all collateral.

      Why has the Fed completely removed the risk of AIG as a counterparty in CDS transactions? Perhaps the Fed views moral hazard as a foreword looking constraint and AIG is just trying to unwind past regrettable activities. More likely the Fed is viewing AIG as a conduit to funnel capital into favored financial institutions. By forcing counterparties to sell the underlying CDO securities in order to receive full recovery, the Fed is liquidating toxic assets and preventing pure speculators from participating. But by paying close to par, when posted collateral is included, the benefit of price discovery is missing.

      AIG told shareholders that the Fed would negotiate the CDO purchases on AIG’s behalf and AIG’s participation in any price appreciation would be limited. The implication was that the Fed would use its strength to be an advocate for AIG. Quite the opposite turned out to be true. Instead the Fed used its strength to force a weakened AIG to make whole its stronger counter parties.

      Let’s compare AIG’s "loss mitigation" on credit insurance with the monolines. Ambac (ABK), MBIA (MBI) and others have commuted some of the worst CDS and continue to negotiate the remainder. The transactions were always under par and the counterparties always retained the underlying CDOs. Collateral posted was always included as part of the price. The monolines still retained the right to recover their losses from the mortgage originators. The key difference is that negotiations led by New York Insurance Superintendent Eric R. Dinallo always held out the monolines’ solvency and the possibility of rehabilitation (receivership) as a risk. Counterparties had to consider that some payment was better than no payment.

      The New York Insurance Superintendent clearly strengthened Ambac and MBIA in the negotiations to commute CDO policies, while the Fed’s efforts on AIG’s behalf are questionable. If the Fed had AIG’s best interest at heart, they would have simply reinsured AIG for a fee. Instead, the Fed is contriving one way after another to profit from and execute policy objectives through AIG. AIG has become the Fed’s Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE). The Fed keeps pushing AIG to the brink. If they go too far, the Fed will lose their 79.9% investment, and might not even get paid back.

      As pure speculation, I think that the government’s relationship with AIG will change under President Obama. The Fed and Treasury created a multitude of opaque programs which on the surface appear to follow the free market mantra of President Bush. In January, true agendas will no longer have to be hidden and strengthening AIG, Fannie and Freddie as independent companies and large employers could be objectives. All three need to be viable, publicly traded stocks as an incentive to keep their best employees. While Paulson and Bernanke spoke of public mission superseding shareholder benefits, I believe that Obama understands that is not a viable path forward.

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 12:57:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Shareholders aren't the problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exmearden, NotGeorgeWill

    The statement that "Shareholders would likely have emerged in better shape than they have after AIG's stock price fell from over $70 to 43 cents in a two-year period," seems absurd on its face, since AIG wasn't facing a Chapter 11, but rather liquidation.  And it's a rare liquidation in which shareholders receive a penny.

    But beyond that, the problem wasn't shareholders.  The U.S. government is now by far AIG's biggest shareholder.  The problem was that a failure of AIG would have resulted in failure of many of the world's biggest banks, and that would have triggered the collapse of many smaller banks and other companies, and that might well have triggered an economic collapse that would have made the Great Depression look like a picnic on a nice spring weekend.

    •  the "would have" part is still (0+ / 0-)

      a possibility, no?

      The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope.
      Teilhard de Chardin

      by exmearden on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 12:09:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No doubt, but I think a less likely one (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        exmearden, NotGeorgeWill

        The question is whether one prefers the certainty of that kind of cataclysm, or the possibility of one with a chance of avoiding it.  I prefer the latter.

        •  the way forward for AIG (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          truong son traveler, jayden

          seems completely unclear.

          Doesn't this reveal a completely failed business model run amok?

          How does AIG make its profit in the future?

          AIG's investment house of cards is slowly and painfully unraveling. I can't see how the company's structure, even with the propping of billions, can continue to exist and support the institutions in a functional way, unless it continues to live off of Fed infusions.

          Perhaps I'm missing the overarching picture here.

          The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope.
          Teilhard de Chardin

          by exmearden on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 12:33:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The problems are just in the financial division . (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MJB, JG in MD

            the regular insurance business is still profitable.

            I believe what will happen is the older insurance divisions get spun off and purchased by other companies.  The money from the sale of the profitable divisions goes to pay off a percentage of the massive black-hole that is the financial services side of AIG.  Tax-payers get stuck holding the bag (and the losses) until the issue with the swaps gets cleared up.

            Essentially AIG has been nationalized and the government is buying it time to spin off its divisions that are still viable; the Fed will get the dollars from the sale of parts, and it will dispose of the rest of the company.

    •  AIG should open their books immediately (4+ / 0-)

      As a government owned company, we deserve some prompt sunshine & accountability.  Why the f%ck would we want to donate our hard earned cash to Goldman & friends?  I don't buy for a second the claim that the world will end if these @$$holes miss out on their year end bonuses.

      "Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem, and its solution is its own reward." -Sherlock Holmes

      by The Anomaly on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 12:31:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Whenever that is explained to me, and I am sure (0+ / 0-)

      you are right, the only thing I can imagine is a man in a three piece suit with a gun to the Statue of Liberty's head, screaming: "Gimme da money, or da broad gets it."

      You're right.  Maybe right now the best thing we can do is weather this storm, pay the man in the three piece suit and try to get our economy back from these people.

      But when the dust settles and our coffers have been devoured, then it will be time for a reckoning.  We must enact stringent regulations to make sure that this never happens again.  We're essentially being held hostage because of our own bovine sense that the market will take care of itself.

      Well- it certainly did.  It set itself up so that eventually we'd have to choose between bailing it out or suffering an economic neutron bomb.  But this, too, shall pass.  We need to be sharpening our knives for when it does.

      a consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions

      by electricgrendel on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 01:53:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  How do we unwind it all? (4+ / 0-)

    For average folks to have to make good the follies of the ultra-rich doesn't feel right.

    •  obscure reference required here. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      reflectionsv37, The Anomaly

      "Now we see the violence inherent in the system!"

      The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope.
      Teilhard de Chardin

      by exmearden on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 12:27:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  that's the no-win question Obama has, basically (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA

      The solution that intuitively feels best is to let 'em all fail by market mechanisms, a sort of "live by the sword, die by the sword" justice. But that has a poor track record: it's what Andrew Mellon tried as Finance Secretary after the 1929 crash, and it just led to an ongoing spiral, since everything's intertwined, especially with the very large firms. And since lots of people work for all these companies, them failing harms a lot more than just the CEOs.

      Of course in the long run stuff works out: failed companies eventually get replaced by new companies. But it'd be nice if that were as un-painful a transition as possible. Obama's solution seems to be along the least-bad lines I can think of: prop up some of the biggest problems to buy some time, and dump a whole pile of money into the rest of the economy to try to stimulate some new growth.

      "See a world of tanks, ruled by a world of banks." —Sol Invictus

      by Delirium on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 02:11:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I hate this as much as the next guy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, MinistryOfTruth

    But AIG is TOO wound up to fail.  The solution would only be to untie it so it doesn't happen.  I'm not sure if paying oodles of money helps in that aspect though it does help in preventing it to fail.  Unfortunately this'll have to be answered when the stock market looks more rosy.

    •  Let the banks holding CDSs bail out AIG (6+ / 0-)

      There's absolutely no reason any American taxpayer should be bailing out European firms like Deutsche Bank and UBS.

      "Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem, and its solution is its own reward." -Sherlock Holmes

      by The Anomaly on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 12:22:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  you are asking Peter for money (3+ / 0-)

        so that you can spin around three times, then

        -loan Paul half for fourteen days at 5% interest
        -give Mary a quarter of the remaining half for seven days at a 10% interest
        -loan John the remaining quarter of the remaining half at 15% interest
        -skim your profit
        -and then turn around and pay AIG back the original amount with the 2.5% interest they charged you.

        Oh. Right.

        That's what AIG tried. Paul, Mary and John  defaulted. Damn.

        Now both you and Peter are broke.

        The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope.
        Teilhard de Chardin

        by exmearden on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 12:40:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If Wall Street is broke its not my fu(k'n problem (0+ / 0-)

          They aint gettin a dime from me, loaned or otherwise.  These inv banks act like we need them, when the exact opposite is true.  I'd sleep much better if every zombie firm was wiped out and we let community banks and credit unions pick up the slack.

          "Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem, and its solution is its own reward." -Sherlock Holmes

          by The Anomaly on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 12:53:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  unfortunately, you are. (0+ / 0-)

            unless you don't pay taxes.

            I suspect that the only healthy way to go is to try and turn back the clock to community banking and unions. However, I'm not so certain that legislation and politics would be powerful enough to re-enact some of the legislation that we had stemming from the 30's.

            Most of that has been repealed, damaged, and/or weakened, and, well, we all see what's happened.

            The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope.
            Teilhard de Chardin

            by exmearden on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 12:56:53 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  TBTF = Too Big To Exist (4+ / 0-)

    F#@k this Congress and the limos they rode in on!

    by MinistryOfTruth on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 12:43:59 AM PST

  •  I guess I'm wondering why the banks are (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NotGeorgeWill, The Anomaly

    announcing losses?

    I understand that they are getting the collateral and then unloading their crap (or at least that's how I understand it), but why are they still booking such huge losses?

    If this is indeed what's happening and people find out, there will be hell to pay.

    It's time to break up Wall Street firms.  As bernie sanders said, if they're too big to fail, they're too big to exist.

    American overseas? Request your ballot at www.VoteFromAbroad.org

    by YoyogiBear on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 01:24:52 AM PST

    •  Because they are really bad business people (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YoyogiBear, JerichoJ8

      Even after getting the BILLIONS in windfalls from the bizarre CDS scheme they're loosing more BILLIONS because they couldn't actually assess the risks in their main line business -- lending money to customers.

      4255

    •  There's no physical assets behind many CDOs (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YoyogiBear

      The synthetic variety of CDO is merely a 3rd party odds bet on whether a series of companies will fail.  Like a Vegas wager, the investor (i.e. Goldman) owns neither the underlying companies nor the insurer.  However, it does claim the bet as an asset.  The default of companies bet against can trigger massive losses for the insurer (such as AIG).

      As opposed to regular CDOs, which contain actual bonds, synthetic CDOs provide income to investors by selling insurance against debt defaults, typically on a pool of a hundred or so companies or individual bonds. Given the size of the market, synthetic CDOs can have a large impact: By various estimates, they have sold insurance on the equivalent of between $1.25 trillion and $6 trillion in bonds.

      The problems with synthetic CDOs stem in part from the way they were made. In many cases, the banks that created the CDOs stuffed them with companies, such as Lehman and Iceland's Glitnir, that paid the highest possible return for their top-notch credit ratings. That made the CDOs more attractive, but also riskier, because they contained companies that the market perceived as more likely to get into trouble.

      Perhaps the weakest link in the market are specialized funds, known as "constant-proportion debt obligations," that work much like synthetic CDOs but with one important difference: They use borrowed money, or leverage, to boost the returns they can provide for investors, a strategy that also magnifies losses.

      CPDOs, for example, typically borrowed about $15 for every dollar their investors put in. They also contain safety triggers that force them to get out of their investments if their losses reach a certain level. Analysts estimate that most CPDOs reach those triggers when the cost of default insurance hits about the level where it is now.

      "Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem, and its solution is its own reward." -Sherlock Holmes

      by The Anomaly on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 06:39:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What about failure to disclose a preexisting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Anomaly, MKSinSA

    condition? These CDO's were garbage! AIG, oops USA shouldn't have to pay!

    Drug test Congress and Invade the Caymans.

    by JerichoJ8 on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 01:48:26 AM PST

    •  Refund their premiums - but screw the big payout. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Anomaly, MKSinSA

      They breached their fiduciary responsibility when they passed those CDO's off as AAA. My Ass!

      If I commit suicide my Life Policy doesn't pay out!

      If I use kerosene to start my fireplace up, I'm pretty sure I'm fucked.

      Drug test Congress and Invade the Caymans.

      by JerichoJ8 on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 02:03:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's because . . . (0+ / 0-)

        your life insurance policy explicitly doesn't cover suicide; it doesn't cover reckless use of a fireplace; and most importantly, as an individual you don't have the leverage to re-write the contract terms after the fact on some other basis.

        There are two issues at work here:

        1. Explicit legal prohibitions.
        1. Complications of a global financial market.
        1. There is no explicit legal prohibition against any of the activity that took place.  There were no cash reserve requirements for CDO contracts -- thanks to politicians.
        1. The ratings agencies could be subject to civil penalties -- not sure what the legal issues are.  Even so, there are consequences for the U.S. financial markets going forward if new investors to the U.S. market are burned because of nominal fraud -- e.g. China, UAE, Saudis).  I think this is the big over-riding concern for those in the Federal Government.  People are worried about what happens if major debt-holders of U.S. treasuries get wiped clean in the private financial markets.  What are the consequences of that screw-up going forward?

        It's a case where the idiot kid makes blatantly false warranties to the Big Customer when dad is out of the shop.  Ultimately Pops bears some responsibility for leaving the idiot kid in charge of the story.  Just at a practical level there will be consequences in losing Big Customer's trust.

        Of course, the good kid who also has a stake in the family store is going to be pissed about the whole matter too.

      •  Right, the premium is 1/2000 of the payout (0+ / 0-)

        The public has no obligation to payoff the speculative bets of global investment firms.

        "Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem, and its solution is its own reward." -Sherlock Holmes

        by The Anomaly on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 05:56:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  AIG operated in a legal environment . . . (0+ / 0-)

      that existed -- and exists -- because of elected officials.

      Those politicians were elected by voters.  Even if a person didn't vote for those politicians, they still abide by the consequences of elections -- for good or ill.

      That's not to say that the Feds can't negotiate better terms.  AIG though doesn't accumulate CDO contracts without the passage of the 2000 Commodity Futures Modernization Act.

  •  Why are we bailing out a chinese insurance co (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Anomaly, MKSinSA, lawboy, bamabikeguy

    and european banks?  UBS? Fuckers better open those mother fucking books.

    Drug test Congress and Invade the Caymans.

    by JerichoJ8 on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 01:55:33 AM PST

    •  see below-UBS says "NO" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerichoJ8

      my hunch is Gramm has a lot of his old Congress Cronies invested....

      "So oil companies and investors are stashing crude, waiting for demand to rise and the bear market to end so they can turn a profit later."

      by bamabikeguy on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 02:12:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "World Banking" (0+ / 0-)

      Why is the US responsible for the World banking system?  If we are propping up European and Asian banks via the AIG bailout, they should be involved in the bailout also.

      Also, I could care less if the hedge funds go under.  I realize that large institutions invested in these but so what.  The average person is frightened as hell.  These institutions are still not frightened enough.  They still think that they can go back to the good old days. Making them share in the pain of bailing AIG out will teach them a lesson that they may be able to remember for at least the next five years.  

      •  Part and parcel (0+ / 0-)

        of global free trade.  Particularly amusing, in a dark sense, since we were always told globalized free markets were good for America because we would make all sorts of money off "financial services".  Yes, we're definitely getting financially serviced.

        When official America talks of bipartisan compromise, it usually means the people are about to get screwed. ~ William Greider

        by ActivistGuy on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 05:59:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  T-Bills . . . (0+ / 0-)

      Federal debt.

      I agree though, open up the books.  The argument is that doing so would violate the contract was between AIG and the private party.  

      Well now, AIG is owned by the public.  By virtue of default we have become the other party to the contract.  We have a right to look at the books.

  •  JUST IN: (abc) UBS turned down request-account (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NotGeorgeWill, JerichoJ8

    names on the tax dodgers, "threat" of criminal prosecution by the US....

    (still developing)

    "So oil companies and investors are stashing crude, waiting for demand to rise and the bear market to end so they can turn a profit later."

    by bamabikeguy on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 02:10:28 AM PST

  •  As I plow through (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerichoJ8

    all of this mess, something hit my mailbox that has me stumped. Our local cable station, Time-Warner, is no longer honoring eBills. It makes me wonder if somehow all of this uncertainty is affecting the Automated Clearing House and our ability to make online payments to various entities.

    I know it seems a small thing, and it could be a manifestation of some sort of infighting, but whenever I hear of such "small" things, it puts me on edge of something coming on the horizon. This one, however, has me baffled.

    "The well of stupid is deep." - Kossack TexasDan

    by MKSinSA on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 03:00:06 AM PST

  •  All of your basis points (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Anomaly

    are belong to us.

    Meanwhile, small-town bond issuing season is almost upon us, and lots of town councils are worrying that with AIG in turmoil they won't be able to get insurance on their bond issues.

    When official America talks of bipartisan compromise, it usually means the people are about to get screwed. ~ William Greider

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 05:57:41 AM PST

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