Wednesday, April 02, 2008

David Freddoso on Bear Stearns Bailout on National Review Online

In short, this is the mother of all government subsidies — a non-legislative appropriation that doubles the size of all this year's congressional pork projects combined. Without so much as a vote of Congress, taxpayers are to buy securities of undetermined value for $29 billion — roughly Panama's GDP, or the Federal Reserve Bank's entire annual profit. They take this enormous risk so that JPM, a company worth $146 billion, has enough liquidity to make a major and profitable acquisition for next to nothing. JPM is more than happy to take on Bear's book of client and counterparty accounts — these were probably never in danger of being lost, and it's great business for JPM. The ones being rescued are Bear's bond-holders. They keep their shirts. The stockholders at least keep their socks. The profits from the good times are retained, and the losses are socialized.

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