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Please take this letter, put it under your name and send it to your representitives. I have been working with Inslee's staff in DC to get this into the hands of someone that can get this moving. If you would like to help, please do so. Call Inslee's office at 202-225-6311 and tell them you like the FedUpUSA.org proposal and want to see it implemented. It gives Congress a "way out" of the current mess that Paulson and Bernanke have trapped them.
If you are in Norm Dicks' district, I encourage you to press his office. He is one of the most powerful members of Congress and he can get things done.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions. Due to the serious nature of this matter, I will have to pass on my normal snarky tone. I hope you understand.
The Honorable Jay Inslee:
By now, you have been thoroughly deluged by angry phone calls and letters from your constituents. They do not wish to pay Wall Street bankers trillions of dollars of their hard earned money for putting our financial system at this level of peril. You should respect their wishes.
However, you can’t leave without doing “something,” and that “something” always seems to come with a hefty price tag and an uncomfortable level of trust given to those, who for the last 18 months, have told us not to panic and that all is well. There is a solution that costs the government nothing, eliminates “moral hazard,” and ensures we never have to do this again. Any variation of the current proposal lacks all these features.
The solution is to fix the problem, not paper it over.
For the past 13 months, every “crisis” in the banking sphere has descended from three basic flaws in the current regulatory structure:
- Over leverage. The failures of the Bear Stearns, Lehman Bros., Merrill Lynch and various hedge funds descend directly from their level of financial leverage. At the present levels of leverage, one mistake and you are dead. Back when these financial institutions were regulated to carry no more than 12:1 leverage, we didn’t have banks blowing up every 13 weeks.
- Unregulated derivatives. This is what caused the trillion dollar insurance company, AIG, to be taken under by the Treasury Department. Financial service providers made billions writing insurance policies that were unregulated and carried no regulatory oversight that ensured they would be paid in the event they were triggered. No other category of insurance policies is unregulated in this manner. Warren Buffet refers to these instruments as “financial weapons of mass destruction.” The notional value of these numbers in the tens of trillions.
- Fictional Accounting. This is the precise reason that “short sellers” have pounced on the various financial institutions. The current accounting allows banks to intentionally produce fraudulent financial statements, regarding the value of various assets they claim as part of their net worth. The short sellers understand that the value of these stocks are grossly under their current price and act accordingly. Banning short selling does not change the fact that these companies are priced well above their value. You NEVER see short sellers attempt this with healthy, truthful companies.
The solution is to pass a comprehensive regulatory reform bill that:
- Reduces leverage to safe levels. This needs to happen over the next two quarters. Company reports shall be required to show that financial leverage is within statutory limitations, or enforcement action will follow.
- Put Credit Default Swaps on a regulated exchange. This ensures the insured party can be paid and prevents the nightmare scenario of a chain-reaction of defaults across the system. The equity options markets are a good example of how this needs to be structured. No company may be allowed to write these derivatives without the capital backing necessary for performance.
- End fictitious accounting practices. Every company must mark all of their assets to current market value on their quarterly and annual statements. Each asset must have its own accounting as to its value. This way, full transparency is brought to the marketplace and investors know exactly what they are buying. This will end the practice of hiding unhealthy companies within the larger herd of structurally sound companies, as is the current practice in the US banking system. Capital will immediately flow to the healthy companies and the assets of the unhealthy companies will be taken into the market and deployed to their most efficient use. The current practice only serves to cast a pall of doubt over the entire sector until it fails en masse.
Note that these proposals end the current “crisis” within two quarters. These proposals do not cost the taxpayer one dime. They fix the problem, and most importantly, they eliminate the enormous moral hazard that is present in any derivation of the current Paulson/Bernanke proposal. They establish the framework for building a healthy, stable, and useful financial system in the United States. “Bailouts” and dark-of-night enforcement changes are obviated.
The Congress retains all of its financial oversight and regulatory powers. The Administration is consigned to its enforcement role, as the Founders had set forth.
For more information, please go to:
We are a non-partisan organization dedicated to banking transparency and regulatory reform. Our proposal is simple, effective, permanent, and cost neutral. We are not coming to you at the last minute with some hideous scenario that we denied for 18 months.
We are giving you a way out of the present mess in a manner that the taxpayers you have been hearing on your telephones will cheer.
Please do the right thing. Do not give our money to Wall Street. Force them to take their marks like the rest of America.
Very truly yours,