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Live-Blogging The Treasury Call

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9:50-10:04: Apparently this is the Treasury's first time holding a conference call, which would explain why, instead of hold music, we've been listening to a guy cough, pant, and wheeze into the phone for the last 15.
10:05: Counselor to the Treas. Sec. Gene Sperling (sp?) and Matthew K. Baker in the hizzous.
"Today is simply announcing an other part of our liquidity piece."
Geithner always tells us, "you have to choose a viable alternative."
"We can't be passive."
10:12: We're doing 3 things:
1. We're maximizing the impact of each taxpayer dollar
2. Rather than take the full risk ourselves, we're designing a proposal that shares risk with the private sector. I want to be very clear-- we're not shielding the private sector, we're sharing with the private sector. The private sector is putting their capital at full risk, with nothing to protect them. (So who wants in?!).
3. Private sector price discovery.
Secy. Geithner likes to say..."If you had to sell your house tomorrow, and no one could get a mortgage, your house would go for a very very low price."
10:14: Matt K. Baker either just unzipped his briefcase, or pants.
"It's going to be a long road."
"The problem is across the system."
We had to deal with one of two problems-- the bad assets at the banks or the credit freeze.
10:17: We're expanding TALF.
We put out an application today for competent, longstanding asset managers. Nobody, like, too smart, but guys who know not to stick their dicks in pencil sharpeners, for sure.

Private equity manager: What are the qualifications to apply?
Baker: We said today on our website. How long have you been managing assets in this asset class? What's your track record like? Will you get women involved? Etc, etc etc.

Some Berkley professor named Brad DeLong is telling us how much knows about the history of the Bank of England.
Baker, with a SERIOUS tone in his voice goes, "Well, BRAD, I'm not going to take you on on your 1830 financial history."
Brad, who you know has been working on this line forever, asks, "Are you the Energizer Bunny of Treasuries? Are you going to keep on coming with money?" (Apparently Baker's not going to "use your cute little phrases").
John Carney of Clusterstock wants is worried that bids are so low that banks won't want to part with their assets. Wonders if anyone wants to comment.
Baker, getting a tone again: We can't guarantee participation. We're trying to change the dynamic in the markets.