no matter how much you polish a turd (see previous post)...
The Treasury Department is dramatically expanding the scope of its bailout of the financial system with a plan to take ownership stakes in the nation's insurance companies, signaling new concerns about a sector of the economy whose troubles until now have been overshadowed by the banking industry, government and industry sources said.the size of the bailout seems to grow exponentially minute-by-minute... pretty soon, pharmacy chains are going to be included because people are cutting down on refilling their prescriptions...
Insurers, including The Hartford, Prudential and MetLife, have pushed the Bush administration to include them in the plan. Many firms have taken losses from mortgage-related securities and other investments and are struggling to replenish their coffers.
Government officials worry that the collapse of a major insurer could further destabilize the financial system because of the crucial role the companies play in backstopping a wide range of financial transactions, although the direct impact on holders of car, life and other insurance policies would be modest, industry officials said.
The new initiative underscores the growing range of problems that Treasury is scrambling to address with the $700 billion allocated by Congress this month. The shape of the plan has changed repeatedly since Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. introduced it last month as an effort to rescue banks by buying their troubled mortgage-related assets. That original mandate has now been pushed aside by a plan to take equity stakes in banks and insurance companies, and other businesses are lobbying to be included.
The government has been forced to expand the plan partly because the federal guarantees previously given some institutions, such as banks, have put other companies and financial sectors at a disadvantage, making them less attractive to uneasy investors.
The government's power to choose winners and losers in the crisis was illustrated yesterday when the Cleveland-based bank National City was forced to sell itself when regulators turned down its request for a Treasury investment after deciding the firm was too weak to save, according to people familiar with the matter. Instead, the Treasury gave $7.7 billion to PNC Financial Services Group to help buy National City. It did not require that the money be used for new lending, the stated purpose of the government plan. PNC, which has a major presence in the Washington region, would become the fifth-largest bank in the country by deposits.
With the economy in crisis, people are cutting back on their prescriptions because they can't afford them.and then we'll bail out the restaurants because people can't afford to eat out as much...
A recent study says the number of prescriptions filled through August of this year is down compared to the same time period last year.
Labels: bailout, banking crisis, Congress, economic collapse, financial markets, financial meltdown, Henry Paulson, insurance companies, nationalization, Treasury Department
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