A little later this morning, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is scheduled to unveil how the Obama administration plans to handle the second $350 billion of the bailout. We'll have to wait for the curtain to go up to learn those devilish details, but courtesy of the major papers, we have an idea of the broad brush strokes.
- 1. Some sort of public-private partnership to buy toxic assets from the banks. Instead of the government actually buying these assets, it would somehow limit the risk for private investors to entice them. The details remain hazy and an "administration official" tells the Post that the plan "may not take final shape for several weeks."
- 2. Expanding a program by the Federal Reserve to lend to owners of highly rated asset-backed securities. As we pointed out yesterday, the program, which hasn't begun yet, has already triggered concern from a government watchdog about the possibilities for fraud and lack of transparency.
- 3. Capital investments in banks only after they've submitted to a thorough bank examination. It's unclear at this point which banks would have to submit to such an exam, but it seems from the Post and the Journal that only the largest banks would have to. We pointed out yesterday that Geithner's Treasury has continued the Bush administration's program to invest in the nation's banks, so these exams would likely only apply to banks returning for a second or third helping at the trough. Hopefully Geithner's announcement will shed some light on this.
- 4. A major foreclosure-relief program, using at least $50 billion. This program will apparently get a separate rollout in the coming weeks.
Also apparently still on the unclear list: It seems we won't learn any details about how the Obama administration will deal with the loans to the auto industry today, either.
We'll be back later when more details are available.