Hank Paulson needs to go to a Dale Carnegie sales course. Half of you probably never heard of that but he needs to go to some sort of sales seminar to learn how to sell a program and not try to ram it down people's throats.
It clearly wasn't enough to say this isn't a bailout of Wall Street. It
a bailout of Wall Street. It also is, however, a bailout of Main Street, but of problems caused in large part by Wall Street. The American voter cannot be railroaded. Constituent mail was running overwhelmingly against the program. A deft, sensitive touch was needed and "The Hammer" Paulson, the Treasury secretary, for all his brilliance, didn't pull it off.
The administration needs to realize it can't risk another defeat. It needs to line up the few votes needed in advance. To get a few Republican votes, it needs to pull out all the lobbying stops it can. Outfits like the Chamber of Commerce have to get on the phone.
may not like it but it seems more than a few Democrats voted against the bill because it contained no bankruptcy relief for homeowners. Better craft a compromise that can pull a few votes over. If re-crafting the bill doesn't work in advance of a vote, go to plan B.
Plan B is to shelve the bill until after the election and do some or all of the following:
. Suspend mark-to-market accounting (if you can). I don't know how that would work, but it's a man-made accounting regulation that has played havoc with our financial system This wasn't a law handed down with the burning tablets. Change it and relieve the pressure of trying to mark assets to a market that isn't there.
should cut interest rates immediately.
, with Treasury backing, should accelerate buying mortgages.
. John Ryding of
thinks that a Treasury-backed asset-lending facility should be considered.
and/or the Treasury should consider a plan to recapitalize banks by buying mortgage-related paper in exchange for equity in the banks like Sweden did during its crisis. They have kind of done this with
should raise the guaranteed amount for bank deposits. If it is any way legal, the government should buy/guarantee commercial paper to get the system breathing again. Confidence needs to be restored.
I don't know what is doable and I don't know what is even legal. But I know that in crisis there is opportunity.
The stock market lost $1.4 trillion in value on Monday. That could have been two rescue plans of $700 billion each! The administration can't stay bound within its original proposal.
I like to say politics is the art of the possible. This is a flawed proposal to deal with a chaotic mess. There is no way it will be anywhere near ideal. But some plan is better than no plan.
Vincent Farrell Jr. is chief investment officer for Soleil Securities Group and a regular guest on CNBC and other national print and broadcast media.
Prior to joining Soleil in August 2008, Farrell was a principal of Scotsman Capital Management. Before that, he was chairman of Victory Capital Management of Cleveland and chairman of Victory SBSF Capital Management in New York. He was a founding partner of Spears Benzak Salomon & Farrell, which was acquired by KeyCorp in 1995. Vince held a variety of positions in his 23 years at SBSF, including chief investment officer, and he served as the portfolio manager on a number of the firm's largest client relationships.
Prior to joining SBSF, Vince spent nine years at Smith Barney as a vice president, sales.
Vince graduated from Princeton University in 1969 and received his MBA from the Iona College Graduate School of Business in 1972.