exercises in compound storytelling

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

This American Life, episode 365

I can't decide whether the notion of a stock-injection bailout plan is a good idea or not. It appeals to the part of me that likes a punishment paradigm for solving problems like this.

One problem is that it may prevent troubled companies from seeking help. Another is that it gives a company two values: one with distressed assets, another without: pre-bailout and post-bailout prices, if you will.

At first glance it's a better solution than just having the Treasury just guarantee it will purchase any and all distressed assets, since that effectively gives investment banks a reserve fund; they'll be able, for the life of the bailout, to gamble with taxpayer money and keep the proceeds.

Another problem is that it's possible for a company to be worthless, net of distressed assets, in which case the government wouldn't get good value for its money either way.

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