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The Biz Roundup March 23

Heads you win, tails I lose.

The U.S. government will offer hundreds of billions of dollars in equity and loan guarantees to investors who bid against one another to buy troubled assets from banks, officials said today. . . .

Under the plan, the government and private investors will invest together to buy up between $500 billion and $1 trillion worth of real estate-related loans and securities from banks. The government will use up to $100 billion from the Troubled Assets Relief Program, matched by private funds, to capitalize the purchases.

(“Treasury Unveils Details of Plan to Relieve Banks of Toxic Assets,” Washington Post, March 23) It’s called socialized capitalism — privatize the upside, socialize the downside. And . . . it just may work.

At least China is on board with financing all our bailouts.

The nation will continue buying US government debt but pay close attention to possible fluctuations in the value of the assets, a vice-governor of the central bank said yesterday. . . .

The nation’s reserves hit a record $1.95 trillion at the end of 2008, the largest in the world and far exceeding those of Japan, the second-largest foreign exchange holder, which had $1.03 trillion.

Beijing is also Washington’s biggest foreign creditor, holding an estimated $1 trillion in government debt.

(“Purchase of US Treasuries to continue,” China Daily, March 23) And there’s 0% interest for the next six months on all billion dollar bailouts!

What happens when the news goes out of business, Michigan edition

(“Ann Arbor News to close in July,” Ann Arbor News, March 23) Three Michigan cities are losing their daily papers and Ann Arbor News, which dates back to 1835, is laying everyone off and closing its doors in July, to be replaced by a Web site and a twice-weekly newspaper. So by fall, Michigan will be well on it’s way to being the most job-free and most news-free state in the union.

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