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Bailout

The Takeaway

Loan modifications can be difficult for banks and homeowners

Thursday, February 19, 2009

President Obama's housing plan encourages banks to modify mortgages to help homeowners stave off foreclosure. However, the nation's 14 largest banks reported that more than half of the loans they modified last year were delinquent again after just six months. But several small mortgage companies, which have more experience with modifications, say that less than 25 percent of their modified loans became delinquent again. Vikas Bajaj wrote about this for our partner, The New York Times, in today's paper and he joins us now. For more, read Vikas Bajaj's article, Modifying Mortgages Can Be Tricky in today's New York Times.

Listen to our earlier segment on the housing plan with personal finance adviser Alvin Hall.

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The Takeaway

Exploring the global reaction to Obama's housing bill

Thursday, February 19, 2009

President Obama's plan to stave off foreclosures is reverberating in markets around the world, where the subprime mortgage crisis has left global financial systems reeling. For the global reaction we talk with the Financial Times' Michael Hunter in London and the BBC's Asia Business correspondent Juliana Liu in Singapore.

"I wouldn't look at the Chinese stock market as a barometer of how well the economy is doing. It's really more seen as a gambling den."
— The BBC's Juliana Liu on the worldwide effect of the economic crisis

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The Takeaway

GM plant closures send chills through small towns

Thursday, February 19, 2009

When GM and Chrysler announced their restructuring plans yesterday, they announced that thousands of jobs would be lost and at least five manufacturing plants would be closed, but they weren't clear on which plants would be shuttered. This vagueness left autoworkers on pins and needles as they worried about their jobs. Shivers also hit the towns that are the homes to GM plants. Joining us now is Cedric B. Glover, the Mayor of Shrevepoint, Louisiana, where GM manufactures its Hummer 3.

For more of The Takeaway's coverage of the crisis in the car industry,

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The Takeaway

Safe at home: President Obama announces his housing bailout plan

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yesterday President Obama unveiled his $275 billion plan to help millions of homeowners refinance their mortgages or avoid foreclosure. President Obama's plan claims to be simple, but it's not. Luckily we have Alvin Hall, personal finance adviser and Takeaway contributor, who has been up all night reading through the plan. Also joining us for his first-hand account is Carlos Saenz, a homeowner struggling to pay his mortgage in Orlando, Florida.

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The Takeaway

In restructuring, G.M. bids farewell to brands

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

As part of their grand reconstruction plan, GM announced yesterday it was ending production of four car brands, including Saturn. This would seem to go against GM’s entire marketing platform that has been in place since the 1920’s, where the brand of the car fits the car buyer. Is variety no longer the spice of GM's life? Joining us this morning to talk about GM’s limiting its image is Micheline Maynard, senior business correspondent for The New York Times.

For more, read Micheline Maynard's article, A Painful Departure for G.M. Brands, in today's New York Times.

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The Takeaway

Autoworkers get squeezed in GM and Chrysler repayment plans

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

General Motors and Chrysler presented their repayment plans to the Treasury Department yesterday. Unfortunately in order for them to make enough money to re pay their loan they are going to have cut 47,000 jobs and close five more plants. And the kicker is that GM needs another $30 billion to survive. President Obama's new auto cabinet (that doesn't really have a ring to it) has a lot of work ahead of them. To walk us through the reconstruction plans is Nick Bunkley, reporter for the New York Times.

For more, read Nick Bunkley's and Bill Vlasic's article, Automakers Seek $14 Billion More in Aid, in today's New York Times.

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The Takeaway

Reckoning day for General Motors

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Today is a big day for General Motors. They are preparing to announce how they plan to repay the $13.4 billion loan Congress doled out late last year. Workers at GM plants are anxiously awaiting to hear the detail of the plan, too, because their union is in the middle of negotiating a health care plan with the automaker. Nick Bunkley has been covering this developing story for our partner, the New York Times, and he joins us now.

For more, read Nick Bunkley's and Bill Vlasic's article, Union Talks Seen as Key as G.M. Makes Case for Funds in today's New York Times.

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The Takeaway

Is it debtor's prison for the nation's banks?

Friday, February 13, 2009

According to a sober assessment of the mountain of losses facing some of the nation's largest banks, the banks could be called insolvent. Calling for more direct government involvement in the banking sector, a group of economists and finance experts claim that without a cure for the bad assets, the credit crisis will linger and banks will not be able to resume the lending that is key to the economy. For what this means for the economy and the nation, we turn to Steve Lohr, a reporter for the New York Times.

For more, read Steve Lohr's article, Ailing Banks May Require More Aid to Keep Solvent in today's New York Times.

"Unless you solve this issue of these bad assets, we're not going to get the kind of lending we need to get the economy going."
— Steve Lohr of the New York Times on the insolvency of the nation's largest banks

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The Takeaway

With $2.5 trillion you can fix anything

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner went to Capitol Hill yesterday to announce his plan to rescue the country's economy. Geithner talked about flooding the financial system with $2.5 trillion dollars, with much of that money expected to come from China. Stephen Labaton, reporter for the New York Times, wrote a front-page article about the bailout plan and Geithner's vision and he joins us now.

For more, read Stephen Labaton's article, Bailout Plan: $2.5 Trillion and a Strong U.S. Hand in today's New York Times.

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The Takeaway

The response to the new bailout from Wall Street to Main Street

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Forget TARP and get used to F.S.P. That's the Financial Stability Plan that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unveiled yesterday and the markets had a clear response: They hated it. To find out what may be bothering the markets, we turn to Peter Morici, an economist and professor at the University of Maryland. But we are also curious how Main Street was reacting to the revamped bailout and we asked John Fetterman, the mayor of Braddock, PA to join us for his point of view.

ShovelWatch is a joint project of the non-profit investigative outfit ProPublica, the morning news program The Takeaway and WNYC, New York's flagship public radio station. With investigative reporting, interactive features and help from you, we're tracking the stimulus bill dollars from Congress to your community.

Follow the dollars online and tell us how the stimulus plan is playing out in your community. We're sharing your stories online and on air, and we'll continue the investigation with your help.

Timothy Geithner talks about the Financial Stability Plan at his recent press conference.

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The Takeaway

Call for transparency in spending of TARP funds

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Should banks be required to explain how they spend taxpayer dollars? That was the 700 billion dollar question the Bush administration struggled with last fall while constructing the TARP. Today as we anticipate the reworked version of the TARP, it seems the Obama administration has a whole new set of questions, like how to restore public faith in the bailout. David Barstow, a New York Times reporter covering the bank bailout, joins us this morning.

For more on this, read David Barstow's article, Calls for Clarity in New Bailout for U.S. Banks, in today's New York Times.

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The Takeaway

TARP take two

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Today Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will announce how the second half of the $700 billion Congress approved to bailout troubled banks will be spent. The Bush Administration's implementation of the so-called “Troubled Asset Relief Program,” or TARP, got plenty of criticism. Will Obama and his crew do better? Lizzie O'Leary, Washington-based reporter for Bloomberg News, and Tom McCool, Director of the Center for Economics at the Government Accountability Office, join Todd and Katherine to look at how TARP may be different the second time around.

"What they want to do is essentially provide a government guarantee against loss, but an incentive for private investors to do well on the upside if these assets turn around and start performing."
— Bloomberg reporter Lizzie O'Leary on the use of TARP funds

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The Takeaway

Sen. Ben Nelson works hard for peace in the Senate

Monday, February 09, 2009

Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb) has a long history of reaching across party lines to reach consensus on pressing issues in the Senate. His ability to bring together Republicans and Democrats to compromise on key policy has been instrumental to passing important legislation in the past. In the face of the partisan bickering over the stimulus, and the President's statement that he wants a bipartisan solution to the economic crisis, Senator Nelson finds himself in the center of the debate.

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The Takeaway

Making numbers make sense

Monday, February 09, 2009

To understand the economic crisis you need to understand numbers. But it can be difficult to think critically about the statistics used by politicians and journalists, especially when you're panicked about your job and your 401K. To take a step back from the hysteria surrounding financial facts and figures, Katherine and Todd talk to Andrew Dilnot, co-author of the book The Numbers Game: The Commonsense Guide to Understanding Numbers in the News, in Politics, and in Life.

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The Takeaway

Gov. Paterson fighting to keep New York solvent in face of Wall St. struggles

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Wall Street's woes have been well reported and as the White House looks to cap executive salaries and denounces bonuses, the nation has been keeping an eye on New York's financial center. But as earnings on Wall Street suffer, so does the budget of New York State. With a deficit of 1.6 billion looming, Governor David Paterson is fighting to keep the state solvent. He joins us now to talk about New York's efforts to survive the fiscal crisis.

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The Takeaway

Wall Street salary caps breaking ground, making waves

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Yesterday President Obama announced that companies receiving federal bailout money must cap their executives no more than $500,000 a year. Is a pay limit helping the economy? Or is it simply a PR move? Compensation experts Nell Minow, editor and co-founder of The Corporate Library, and Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, join Adaora and John to debate the merits of the measure.

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The Takeaway

Put Wall Street bonuses to work by rewarding the watchdogs

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Wall Street executives are getting plenty of criticism for handing out $18 billion in bonuses to themselves last year. But maybe there's a way to put bonuses to good use—by paying them to regulators who help keep the system in check. Andrew Ross Sorkin, chief mergers and acquisitions reporter for the New York Times, joins Adaora and Alvin Hall to talk about the idea of rewarding watchdogs with cold, hard cash.

For more information, read Andrew Ross Sorkin's column, What if Watchdogs Got Bonuses? in the New York Times.

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The Takeaway

What the stimulus could mean for California

Monday, February 02, 2009

California is hurting. Its budget deficit is larger than total expenditures in most states, it's got high unemployment, and the most foreclosures of any state. Stimulus money — an estimated $32 billion would go to the state under the House's stimulus plan — would of course ease some of the short-term pain. But economists and local officials are unclear on how to turn the windfall into long-term economic well-being for the state. New York Times reporter Jesse McKinley joins Katherine and Adaora from San Francisco with a look at how his home state might fare under the stimulus bill.

To see more items on California's wish list, read Jesse McKinley's article, A State With a Wish List for Stimulus Spending in today's New York Times.
"The counties have come forward with this grandiose wish list of things they'd like to have done."
— New York Times reporter Jesse McKinley on the distribution of stimulus funds in California

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The Takeaway

Waiting for the economy's big bounce

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Washington (okay, we might be too) is obsessed with stimulus plans and bailouts. But in this Sunday's magazine, the New York Times' David Leonhardt argues that the U.S. economy will eventually recover. David Leonhardt joins us to discuss how quickly the economy should grow as it bounces back.

"Consumption economy is going away no matter what. So the question is, can we build something like an investment economy?"
— New York Times reporter David Leonhardt on "the big fix" for the economy

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The Takeaway

Stimulus package passes the House

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed their version of the stimulus bill with a vote of 244 to 188. Despite President Obama’s calls for bipartisan support, not one Republican voted for the bill. Chris Hayes, Washington Editor of The Nation, joins The Takeaway to hash over the bill, the votes and exactly how the dollars are allotted.

"It's still going to be Barack Obama's bill, it's still going to be a Democratic Congress. Your only hope is that it fails and you can then say 'I told you so.'"
— Chris Hayes, editor of The Nation on the partisan vote on the economic stimulus bill

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