Saturday, February 21, 2009

The $550 billion run on the banks

At 2:08 into the video, a quote from Rep. Paul Kanjorski:
I was there when the secretary and the chairman of the Federal Reserve came those days and talked to members of Congress about what was going on... Here's the facts. We don't even talk about these things.

On Thursday, at about 11 o'clock in the morning, the Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous drawdown of money market accounts in the United States to the tune of $550 billion was being drawn out in a matter of an hour or two.

The Treasury opened up its window to help. They pumped $105 billion into the system and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide. We were having an electronic run on the banks.

They decided to close the operation, close down the money accounts, and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account so there wouldn't be further panic out there. And that's what actually happened.

If they had not done that their estimation was that by two o'clock that afternoon, $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out of the money market system of the United States, would have collapsed the entire economy of the United States, and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed.

Now we talked at that time about what would have happened if that happened. It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it.

Listen to the entire 32-minute C-span interview, recorded on Jan. 27, 2009, here.


Zen Wizard said...

So they sorta kinda did the right thing. The problem is that the average citizen does not understand this--so it was not "sold" correctly.

We clearly need a PR Czar to explain to everyone that it is okay that we are now slightly to the Left of Che Guevara.

Also, the average citizen DOES understand spending circa $2-million to redecorate your office when you have almost destroyed Western civilization by making bad decisions. So we have learned that there should be things like caps on executive salary compensation for banks that receive aid.

Erin O'Brien said...

When all of this is done, I swear it's the deregulation--particularly that of leveraging--that will rise as the reigning villain in all this, although the evil sidekick in his pocket will be the COMPLETE IRRESPONSIBILITY of the Treasury and the SEC when it came to valuations. These guys were allowed to value nickels as hundred dollar bills and everyone looked the other way.

Maybe I can dig up that one article on that. Unbelievable shit.

Leveraging and overvaluation is why the banks are shitting themselves over having to show their books. They're insolvent. They did it to themselves out of shear arrogance and the government let it all happen.

We are so fucked.

(S)wine said...

We are fucked. And the shit is still coming. By the way, the Frontline was brilliant. We are fucking toast.

Anonymous said...


I find that one of the most ironic things about Che is that his image is still one of the most successfully marketed on the planet. I sometimes wonder how he would respond to that. Prolly take some bong hits like Michael Phelps and put the whole thing to bed.

Vive La Revolucion!


Kirk Jusko said...

Fred: (eyeing swanky apartments) Some barracks you got here. Hey, what are you, a retired bootlegger?

Al: Nothing as dignified as all that. I'm a banker.

--from the movie THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES

Kirk Jusko said...

This just in from the Huffington Post, there's been a break in the Chandra Levy murder case. Police are just days away from--

Wait a second. Today's topic is the economy, huh? Now, what else did I just read on the HuffPo?

Oh, yeah, Paul Volker said it could be worse than the Great Depression.

Erin O'Brien said...

I was just reading some criticism of this interview.


I looked at the associated links, some of which cite data I do not understand, but none of which cite one credible source calling Kanjorski's claim false. One of the links even states that Paulson never denied the $550B figure.

Seems like they just don't want to believe it, so they say it's a lie.

I've listened to most of the 32-min interview and Kanjorski comes off pretty solid to me. He criticizes the then-upcoming stimulus (although he ultimately voted for it).

Other news on rightie-websites? They're stocking up on toilet paper and ammo.

Christ awmighty.

Anonymous said...

Is there something incongruent about protecting against ass rash while holding an assault weapon?


VideoDude said...

This is one issue that is not Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative, Rich or Poor. Everyone is to blame, unlike the conservative talk shows who are blaming it all on homeowners not paying their bills. We all let it happen and we all are FUCKED!!!!!

You know it is bad when even beer sales are declining!!!!

Bill the Wrenchbender said...

Well, I am already fucked out, I can't get much more fucked, I know what it's like to have missed meal cramps. I have had PB&J sammiches for dinner everyday, sometimes without the J and very little PB.
I lost my house, car, and half my shit, because my job went away, and didn't come back, not because I overloaded myself with debt, I would have been fine, except the economy went to shit and so did my job.
I think the big pucker is coming to the assholes who got us into this mess, no sympathy from me, I would love to see some of the smarmy little elitists make $10 last a week, maybe even have to break down and do some real work for a change, dig some holes, haul some wheelbarrows around.
The shitheads on the bottom like myself won't see big changes, hell, I can live out of my truck in the summer, I can take a whores bath, I can fish, hunt, and fix just about anything, so I'll be just fine.
My only problem will be no internet, I'll have to work on that.

Zen Wizard said...

We blame Ford and Firestone (and not the driver) when people drive a top-heavy SUV 90 mph on the freeway, when the speed limit is 75.

On that same theory, I guess we should blame the banks.

The "actual cause" (or the Mrs. O'Leary's cow, if you will) in my opinion, is that we assumed that all the Ralph Cramden's out there would do everything--including a life of miserable, indentured servitude--to hold on to their precious 619 FICO score. The Ralph Cramden's of today, however, are not the same as they were 20-years ago: I guess not everyone is willing to sell roses on the side of the highway so their tombstone will say, "He kept his shotgun home in Bakersfield and his 619 credit score till the end..."

They just walked away from their upside-down house and their B-minus credit score.

Bill the Wrenchbender said...

That's a pretty broad generalization, one that I am quite frankly getting tired of hearing.
Yes, some people were irresponsible and took on loans they shouldn't have, but I guarantee you there was a real estate agent or bank manager right there telling them what they should do. Some of us were doing fine, and everything crumbled to shit around them, it's kinda hard to make ends meet when your income drops to 1/3 or less of what it was, when you went to work everyday and did nothing wrong.
There is plenty of blame to go around here, not all of it lies with the unwashed masses who go to work every day, not knowing how the fuck they are going to pay there electric bill, while the CEO of their company wallows in millions of dollar bonuses just looking for another call girl whose ass he will be doing blow of of that evening.
I'm fucking sick and tired of the whining Limbaugh/Hannity nutsack hangers who simply parrot vitriolic horseshit when they know nothing about the reality of the situation that faces us.

LoDoKid said...

Well, yunno it's easy for Rep Kanjorski to say that on 1/27/2009.. But you really have to look at it in context so that you have all the facts. If you simply look at this video from 9/15, you'll realize this is just a cover-up by the commie pinko liberals for their agenda to redistribute all the wealth.. Just like Joe the Plumber said...


Makes ya wish you had video of Phil Gramm on the day in question, huh? and Charles Keating...

Al the Retired Army Guy said...

Others have said it, so I'll recap:

1. People who couldn't afford to make payments on a house shouldn't have bought one in the first place.
2. Lenders shouldn't have given loans to people whose credit score was questionable.
3. CEOs who walk away with golden parachutes after driving their companies into extinctions are the epitome of evil (I have to agree with this one).
4. The Government (and I don't care which party was/is in power) didn't provide oversight over the financial institutions in this country and hold them responsible/accountable for the mess they created.
5. The auto makers weren't agile enough to adapt to changing tastes given oil prices and hence the price of gasoline. Now we're bailing them out (not sure if there is a better option since so many jobs depend on that industry).
6. Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are evil (I don't agree, but that's what we have here). So are Republicans/Conservatives (again, I don't agree - I'm a Republican and I've been called a lot of things, but evil isn't one of them).
7. Banks are afraid to show their books because it will certainly display that the "emperor has no clothes."
8. People should take responsibility for themselves and their actions and not blame their stupidity on others (the Ford and Firestone reference).
9. No internet is a bad thing.
10. We're all fucked.

Do I have it about pegged here?


P.S. Poached eggs are a pain in the ass, especially when doing multiple orders for Eggs Benedict and timing them with a hanger steak cooked medium, a vegetable hash with baked eggs, and a tempeh Reuben sandwich. And no, Erin, I'm not whining, just making an observation. The eggs got out, hot, and on time today with the other dishes.

P.S.S. Yes, Erin, I have secrets, but not that I can tell. I mean, I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you (with apologies to Tom Cruise in "Top Gun)! ;-)

Bill the Wrenchbender said...

Well, I for one never said all Repubs/Conservs are evil, that's just silly, although I would put Limbaugh/Hannity in that corner, most of the time.
I would never attempt a poached egg, the results would be less than stellar.
Did someone seriously quote Joe the Plumber, really? You must be joking.

Al the Retired Army Guy said...


My first poached eggs were less than stellar. Trust me. There's nothing like practice to get things right ... especially in the kitchen! ;-)


Erin O'Brien said...

and the bedroom--although some of us are naturals.


Al The Retired Army Guy said...


Well, that's why they call it practice .. you can never achieve perfection. If you could, there would be no reason to practice, right? In the kitchen, bedroom, or anywhere else ... ;-)


Velociman said...

Who caused that run on the banks? The Bush administration knows. And the Obama administration knows. I suppose they think we can't handle the facts. Who did it benefit? Certainly Obama in the short term. I think it was Soros and his pals. It's kind of his stock in trade. How he made his billions.

philbilly said...

Ax yerself these questions;

How long can my family live without electricity?

How long can we live without money?

What is it we can make that we now buy?

I am unconcerned. I believe that this global enema is the beginning of the new economy. Efficiency in the face of scarcity yields sustainable abundance in all organisms.

When I was a spectacularly shitty "businessman" in my yoot, and I use that term loosely, my colossal hubris did not allow me to go bankrupt. My people don't do that. No wife , no kids, so I took a vow of poverty. When it rained, I got wet.
I'm nearly rightside up again. I can live, today, on $3000/ year, and I'm quite the fat fuck.

We'll be okay. Get frugal, like greatgranpa had to be.

My old man used to lurch around the world fucking with commies before he was brought down by my mother's beauty. At some point, he had a set of pewter glass bottom mugs made. Kind of the bongs of his era, dontchya know.

You pour a can of shitastic beer in one of these vessels, and it kicks ass. Stella Artois is like smokin' hash. Get you a pewter mug, you'll be glad you did and glad you bought Milwaukee's worst. Use a push lawnmower, and drop the health club. You get the picture.

philbilly said...

Make that $6000/ year, at $3k I'd lose my churlish figure.

Aldi's, baby, avoid the meat. West Side Market for that.

Hal said...

Check out this article. I had a feeling that Kanjorski was stretching the truth a tad (which is what often happens when sensational claims like this are made), and as it turns out, he was.

Erin O'Brien said...

Hal, I read that criticism and the associated links. It's not very convincing to me.

It is the same copy referenced in my previous comment (via a different host) and damn near the ONLY criticism you will find on this interview.

Kirk Jusko said...

It's all coming down to my complicated, convoluted, byzantine gobbydegook verses your complicated, convoluted, byzantine gobblydegook.

Myself? I blame the Trilateral Commission. Laugh all you want, but those folks thought too much democracy and too much economic freedom was a threat to the social order. And they said it in plain English.

By the way, those of you afraid that you may no longer be able to afford the Internet, there's always the public library, where I happen to be at the moment.

Just make sure the librarian's not looking over shoulder when you click on "A Model Citizen"

VideoDude said...

Like I said earlier, as far as fault, we are all to blame. Greedy investment bankers, Banks giving loans to people who could not afford them, government deregulation of the banking industry and we, the American people, voted them in and allowed it to happen. WHAT A MESSS!!!!!!

Erin O'Brien said...

Financial institutions over-leveraging. I swear--that is going to come out in the wash as the largest contributing factor in this mess.

Don't believe me? Start reading about the Crash of '29 and the Great Depression. We took apart every precautionary measure the Gov. put in place to make sure it would never happen again.

And then it happened again.

See: the Glass Steagall Act, which underwent a decades long demise, and the SEC's 2004 Net rule change, which was the FUCKING HINDENBURG of financial decisions.

Now don't read this if you've got high blood pressure. I swear I want to chew Paulson's dick off.

philbilly said...

"We have met the enemy... and he is us"