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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

  • November 26, 2008 11:53 AM UTC by Liz Claman

    I'm Thankful Paulson Doesn't Have My ATM Card

    He’d take out all my cash and give it to his banker friends.  C’mon, I joke! But the emotional tide is turning just slightly against our Treasury Secretary as the TARP plan continues to morph like the Sandman from “Spiderman 3.”  The shape and form is altered nearly every day, and the original plan Congress approved resembles very little if nothing that we have today.  I’m worried about where all the money is going.

    BUT: Is that a bad thing to let opinions and edicts evolve?  Well, let me give you my favorite quote from famed British economist John Maynard Keynes (I can’t believe I have a ‘favorite’ quote from an economist, but, that said….)

    “When the facts change, I change my mind–what do you do, Sir?”

    My point is this: we’re not thrilled at all that huge piles of taxpayer cash are being thrown—literally THROWN—at investments banks and insurance companies that took outrageous and outright stupid bets on subprime mortgages, real estate in general, derivatives, etc.  However, isn’t it better to change a misguided, expensive plan if it was heading in the wrong direction?

    Can you tell me what YOU think about this? And btw, Happy Thanksgiving. I’m so thankful and grateful for you guys. I feel like I’m talking to each and every one of you every day over the (HD!!) airwaves. I hope you’re getting the connection.



    Web sites serve up savings on the fly.(Travel)

    The Boston Herald January 19, 2003 | Hobica, George Byline: George Hobica Special to the Herald More people are traveling at the last minute these days, thanks to the economy and geopolitics. So where do you go to find a great last-minute deal? The current king of last-minute package deals is Site59 (, as in the 59th minute – although, in truth, packages can be bought only up until three hours before travel. This discounter also runs the last-minute offerings of such sites as AOL Travel and Expedia. But how good are the deals?

    Recently, Site59 offered a last-minute package from Boston to Montreal for $423 per person including air and four nights at the four-star Omni Mont Royal. website bidding for travel

    How would that compare with booking such a trip on your own? Even on last-minute flights, the airfare alone would have been $886 round-trip. Had you planned with a week’s notice, it would go down to $206 round-trip. At the same time, I found a Web agency listing four nights at the Mont Royal (without the air) at more than $730.

    Some Site59 deals offer even more dramatic savings. But don’t assume every Site59 package is a good deal; you still have to do your homework.

    Of course, there are other ways to save on the fly. Sometimes the best way to get a last-minute lodging deal is simply to pick up the phone. If a hotel has an empty room and doesn’t sell it, hotel managers know they’ll never recoup the lost revenue. So some savvy travelers call the hotel directly (not the central toll-free number, if there is one) on the day of arrival and start negotiating. If the normal rate is $200 a night and you see Expedia selling it for $179, ask them to sharpen their pencils. How does $120 sound? Sure, it’s a Thursday night, but how about extending the weekend rate a day early? Some hotels may balk at lowering the room rate but will throw in free parking and breakfast, which still amounts to savings. see here bidding for travel

    If you get nowhere by phone, or even if you do, Priceline (, the “name your own price” travel bidding site, is another great resource for both hotels and airfare. Especially at the very last minute (as in, the hours before you plan to leave or arrive), the deals can be mind-blowing – easily 30 percent below the best deal you could otherwise get and often much better than that.

    Recently, I tried finding a hotel in Manhattan with six hours’ notice, specifying a four-star hotel somewhere in Midtown, and bid $130. I ended up with the NY Hilton, and probably could have done better had I been more aggressive. The price on Expedia for that same night: $199, the same rate I got on the Hilton Web site.

    Hobica, George


Yes, I am thankful for that too! I was against this from the start, too bad all of my phone calls and e-mails to my senators and congressmen were in vain. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that once they got their hands in the taxpayers pockets they would never take them out again. I wonder how many consumers are going to run out and buy a house or a car now that they know they are on the hook for all of this bailout debt, it just makes me want to hunker down more!

November 26, 2008 at 5:18 pm

John Sage

I do not care how much money they inject into the economy. If they did nothing at all we would not have products to buy. As it is, companies are holding onto our orders and asking us to pay for it up front before they get enough orders for them to make a profit.

November 26, 2008 at 4:37 pm

Chas Knightsbridge

G'day Liz Fox Business Reports Congratulations on your excellent daily market closing reports. Regreatably hear in Australia we are lead to believe that Australia is a player in the world markets! I would apprecaite if more info could be given on: . The workings of US Federal Reserve. It would appear that it just prints US $ and distributes it only the banking world! . Since Poulson started his pump priming of the US economy how much has actually been punped into the market since this sub prime mortgage disaster unfoulded. . Is there any any indication of the total value of the socalled derivatives that are still to be unearthed in the world markets - some reports say US$70 trillion! . There has obviously been a lot of totally unethical and against the law practices by these so called investment bankers. Is any criminal action being muted in the US to bring these criminals to account! Many thanks, happy Thanks Giving Day and I look forward to tomorrows report. Chas Knightsbridge Melbourne AU

November 26, 2008 at 4:22 pm

Michael Butler

I am a Resort Real Estate Projects turnaround specialist, and to be successful you must change methodologies and use plans, and be pragmatic in order to achieve financial oblectives and goals. Paulson does not set any performance parameters or establish any metrics for success!!! This is the problem, give them, ( the financial institutions) the money with no requirement to perform, or restructure their failed business model, and replace their inept corporate bureaucracy. Therefore, how would giving them MORE money bring about a change in an obviously flawed business model? The other problem is that the guys at Treasury, mainly ex Goldman finance types are clueless about what is needed to solve real world problems. "Throw more money at it" is not a problem solving strategy, merely a continued indulgence.

November 26, 2008 at 4:06 pm


They should just give us our money back, and let Wall Street fail, pick up the pieces and rebuild. It doesn't make sense to keep pouring money in, its like bailing a sinking ship with a coffee cup. Save that energy for swimming.

November 26, 2008 at 4:01 pm


Hi Liz If I remember correctly you have a CITI atm card so he did fund your account. I have to say though that all these bailouts have quick fixes but in the long haul it will be crippling. With that said all we can hope for is the best but plan for the worst. Have a Happy Turkey day. We are over the river and to the woods, we camp every thanksgiving and can't wait to smoke our turkey. Shawn

November 26, 2008 at 3:54 pm


I think Paulson is just looking out for his friends. What happened to Congressional oversite??? They screamed about the executive branch taking to much power in the war on terror. Now that the country's wallet is being picked by a bunch of greedy millionaires with the help of the Treasury Secretary, Congress doesn't want to know the details.

November 26, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Curt Jenkins

Liz, I believe in the free market system and these 'bail-outs' run contrary to markets taking care of themselves. But my major concern is INFLATION!! Why is no one talking about the astronomical inflation these trillions of dollars of giveaways is certain to come?

November 26, 2008 at 3:51 pm

John Sage

I don't care how much money gets thrown at this economy. If we don't do this, we may end up with no products to buy at our leisure. It is already getting to the point where when you go into a store to purchase companies are holding your order until they get enough money from us to buy the products for their own production.

November 26, 2008 at 3:50 pm


Liz, You are right on!! You're such an expert in the field and really know what you are talking about. I love watching you on the FBN!!!

November 26, 2008 at 3:47 pm


I think you're missing the "real" question. It's not a matter of whether the Treasury's plans on how it spends our money should change, but rather, should Treasury even be allowed to spend our money in the first place. We are constantly told that these institutions are too big, too important, too much a part of our lives to be allowed to fail. We're somewhere between $5 and $7 TRILLION dollars (actually spent or committed) into "making them successful", and all we hear is that giant sucking sound as our money, and our future is going down the drain. We need to sit back, take a breath and realize that success must come from within the companies themselves. Consequences force change, not bailouts. You want to change Citi, GM, Ford? Tell them the money's finished, figure out how to survive or die a spectacular, but in the long term, irrelevant death. Make room for new companies, well-managed new companies to take their inevitable place. Evolution works, even in business. In fact, it not only works, it's essential.

November 26, 2008 at 3:03 pm


Actually he does have your ATM card and every one elses as well. He just doesn't need your pin number or your ok to spend the our money. His card says TARP NO SPENDING LIMIT...NO AUTHORIZATION NO SIGNATURE REQUIRED.

November 26, 2008 at 3:03 pm

Listening in Texas

Liz, Is there a way to find out how much and how many stocks has been purchased by the Government "bailout" strategies? What has been the result of the government purchases in those companies in relation to their stock prices at the time of purchase by the government and today's value? What percentage of "REAL" investors have vacated the market and replaced with "UNCLE PAULSON" investment money? How many companies stocks have been purchased in what industries? IE; Banks, insurance companies, manufacturing industries and how many others....?? What is the REAL total commitment that this bailout has currently obligated itself? I hear it is somewhere around 9 TRILLION? Is this correct? If WE are INVESTING in these companies with TAXPAYER money... when do we reap the benefit of the "investment". If the government purchases stocks... say at $25 a share and that stock goes up to $35 a share... at what point will those stocks be sold and the "profit" which by a normal buyer would have to pay a tax on the "gain"; what is the governmnent going to do with all this now "surplus" money? And what would this do to the deficite? Will there be a "reduction" of the "approved" funds used to bailout companies or will this become a total "slush fund" to "bail out" other compaies? If so; where's mine? I would think your ATM card may be "safe" from Paulson; because he does not deal with anything under what $1 Billion dollars. Anything under that for him is not worth his time for even pocket change!! Now, Warren Buffett or Bill Gates might be concerned... but the average person doesn't have that type of liquidity for him to "bother" with. Now, they want to demand the banks lower interest rates for refinances. Ok, 5.5% is a great rate; now with "good credit" (an ambiguious term at best) and with significant equity in the property to be eligible. Ok, now with the average real estate market sliding an average of 16% LOWER; which goes against the equity in the property; how is this term now defined? Three years ago; I could get a 3 out of 5 clients qualified to purchase a house. Now, I am lucky to get 1 in 9. The credit market is a direct result of SHUTTING OFF THE SUBPRIME TAP!! Not continuing it. That was 30 to 35% of the market in several large areas and was the catalist for many other transactions. We were able to get a client qualifed with a credit score as low as 510 (yes, pretty low) on a 100% loan where the seller also paid 6% closing costs and those were structured as an 80 / 20 loan where there was a first and second loan on the property. Here is what has happened in the real estate market. It is not JUST the loss of the SUBPRIME market; it is a strangulation of the entire sector. Here is an example of what has happened to the housing market. These are some of the programs that are now GONE! Subprime market was for credit scores under 580 -- with the exception of FHA that is not supposed to be credit score driven; but is. Subprime market also had people who were self employed; who did NOT declare how much money they actually made but had overall GOOD credit over say 650 who would purchase on a "STATED" income. Basically, they told the bank how much money they made without a lot of documentation. IT was NOT just a program for people who "lied" on their credit application. The subprime market was also used for NON-CONFORMING loans. Loans that do not necessarily fall into an FHA, Conventional or VA "program" format. Second lien "seller carries" were eliminated. Seller's had significant equity in the property and COULD afford to take the risk of assisting the buyer purchase the property. This is also now gone. Down Payment Assistance programs (DAP) are now gone. The seller was able to pay for the buyer's down payment through this program; typically on an FHA loan of 3% through a charitable program such as "Genesis", "Ameridream" or some other similar type program. The seller's were able to pay up to about 9% of a buyer's closing costs; now this is limited to 3%. FICO qualifying scores have been raised to an "A" paper to around starting at 640. This is 130 points HIGHER than where we were able to do a transaction just 3 years ago. REFINANCING on the Subprime is also gone. Many of those SUBPRIME buyers would refinance when the interest rate went up. AT the same time; credit card companies have also LOWERED their available amount to their card holders. This has a negative impact on credit scores and lowers it because less credit is available to the consumer which would RAISE the buyer's debt to income ratios. Numerous other programs have been eliminated and thus; eliminating prospective BUYERS in the real estate markets. These programs have eliminated at LEAST 50% of prospective buyers from the markets. People still want to buy and sell; but now instead of having an inventory of home with of an average of 78 days on the market; we now have an average inventory of homes on the market in excess of 10.4 MONTHS. Meaning that if NO other houses come on the market; there is enough supply to last almost 1 YEAR. The shear amount of Foreclosed properties on the markets continues to decline prices in the retail side. If the lenders are anywhere serious about solving this issue or any other housing issue; then I offer the following solutions. 1. Bring back the DAP (Downpayment assistance programs) 2. Offer a Mortgage for FIRST time homebuyers equal to the amount of rent they have been paying over the past 24 months. REGARDLESS of credit score for other accounts. The housing has been good. 3. Offer a "rent to own" program for REOs for people who have a good rental history; and at a 12 months time frame and that the buyer makes ALL payments on time and show 24 months stability; 12 months rental prior history. Make the REOs purchased for only 5% interest for owner occupied properties and they MUST reside there for the entire term of ownership or they have to sell the property. The property CANNOT be used for a rental. Investors are NOT eligible for this program. This is FIRST time homebuyer program which they CANNOT have owned a home for the last 2 years. This way; there is AT least INCOME coming in on these properties which would LOWER the amount needed for further bailouts. Is there a risk side; sure; but no more than the banks leaving the properties vacant or taking further losses on the properties. 96% of people have been paying their mortgage ON TIME. Yes, 4% have had problems; it was not the credit issues over all; it was TURNING OFF the CREDIT markets TOTALLY that have caused this melt down. Which is more valuable.. a vacant house or one that has at least a tenant... or one that an owner resides? This is just a few questions and some suggested solutions to get a turn around in the markets.

November 26, 2008 at 1:16 pm


A mugging is still a mugging no matter what you call it.

November 26, 2008 at 12:18 pm

about this blog

  • Liz Claman joined FOX Business Network (FBN) as an anchor in October 2007. Her debut included an exclusive interview with Berkshire Hathaway CEO and legendary investor Warren Buffett.

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