Saturday, June 13, 2009

“We're Not Happy!” - Iranians

The people of Iran (well, some of them, anyway) are not happy about the results of yesterday's elections. News reports are saying that many Iranians believe the election results were faked by the incumbent Ahmadinejad, and that the “reformist” candidate Mousavi actually won (and of course, Mousavi is claiming this). It would be nice to think that this presages some kind of internally-fomented revolution, but I think the mad mullahs are in firmer control than that.

Dang it.

Bumper Snicker...

The G8 Says “Undo It!”

The G8 finance ministers just finished their meeting in Lecce, Italy. As usual, they released a statement afterwards. Most unusually, the statement actually contained something very interesting and unexpected:
We discussed the need to prepare appropriate strategies for unwinding the extraordinary policy measures taken to respond to the crisis once the recovery is assured. These “exit strategies”, which may vary from country to country, are essential to promote a sustainable recovery over the long term. We asked the IMF to undertake the necessary analytical work to assist us with this process.
Whoa! The finance ministers want the G8 countries to unwind the remaining portions of the bailout programs once “recovery is assured” (a phrase that could be interpreted in all too many ways).

Unwinding is accounting-speak for "undo". In the U.S., the vast majority of the money from all the bailout programs has yet to be spent – and in some cases, it has yet to be borrowed. Unwinding these programs would mean repaying the borrowed money that has not yet been spent, and abandoning any future borrowing under these programs. In addition, unwinding would include converting any options, warrant, stock, etc. acquired by the government as part of the bailout (for example, the government's majority position in AIG) to cash, to repay the money borrowed to acquire them.

Dare we hope? Would the Obama administration have the good common sense to follow the G8's recommendations? Would they give back the money that they and the Bush administration stole from us?

My bet would be “No way, Jose!” But I would surely love to be wrong on this one...