UPDATED: “A brazen new era of government”

Dave Cribbin, quoted in yesterday’s WSJ:

In the Chrysler deal, the [United Auto Workers] were unsecured creditors and the Chrysler bondholders were secured creditors. The bondholders received 28% of the value of their $6.9 billion in bonds in cash; the Union will receive stock worth approximately $4.2 billion, and a note for an additional $4.58 billion, which represents 82% of the value of their claim. Either the government negotiators have dyslexia and have made a terrible mistake in their paperwork, or this is political payoff writ large. Is this not the equivalent of financial waterboarding? And thus we enter a brazen new era of government, when the White House is openly complicit in the theft of, as a matter of fact is directing, the looting of private property from investors. Welcome to the Rule of Man, or as the President calls it, change we can believe in!

Which reminds us what Gerald Ford once said:

A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.


Political risk is becoming a growing concern for investors in the United States as the government plays a larger and more controversial role in private enterprise because of the financial crisis.
State intervention in economic affairs is always closely watched by investors for what it means for their decisions on where to allocate money, although this is usually more of a worry in emerging markets than in developed economies.
Political risk is becoming more of a U.S. issue as some investors howl over what they see as arbitrary intrusion by the government in business affairs…
Investors concerned that politics could hurt them may demand a risk premium before they buy stocks or bonds or do a business deal. That could make the U.S. less competitive and money might flow elsewhere.
“There is a much larger political risk premium on investing in the United States than there has been in years,” said Sean West, an analyst at Eurasia Group, a research and consulting firm that studies political risks.
“What we’re seeing now in the United States is much more like what we see in emerging markets, where the government either by choice or as a result of circumstance is in a position to decide which companies or banks survive and which ones don’t,” he said. “These were almost unthinkable risks a year ago.”…
In assessing political risks in emerging markets, investors often look at factors such as the stability of the government and the soundness of its economic policies. In developed countries, they assess things such as proposed changes to the tax system and the resulting impact on corporate profits.
Risks in the United States include fears the dollar could dive because of the rapidly growing budget deficit and the potential for inflation because of radical moves by the Federal Reserve to flood the financial system with money.
But a bigger immediate concern, say risk experts, is that established rules governing businesses could be changed depending on the political winds…
The fear that rules can change midstream — and contracts investors thought were valid are no longer seen as sacred — can drive up risk premiums, experts say.
“Investors want to know what the rules are so they can determine whether opportunities are profitable or not,” said Jaret Seiberg, a financial services policy analyst at brokerage firm Concept Capital.

All this in just over 100 days. Lovely.
Originally disclosed here, the bullies in the White House have won the day.
Welcome to the new United States where contracts mean what they say…unless the Obama administration decides otherwise.
Isn’t this how banana republics are run?

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13 years ago

Which reminds us what Gerald Ford once said:
A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.
True of all enormous things. We can also say that a business big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.
The truth of the matter appears to be that both should be watched very carefully and regulated so as to curb their power.

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