Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The tranche trance, and other thoughts today

TRANCHE (of french derivation, so swallow the "n" & say something like "twrawhsh"): I first heard it from Secretary Paulson, then Congress, next the Obama economic team, and now even TV newsreaders are using it to spice up their repertoire. It sounded so exotic, I figured I should look up how it pertains to treasury matters ...

Tranche: Certain securities, such as collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs), are made up of a number of classes, called tranches, that differ from each other because they pay different interest rates, mature on different dates, carry different levels of risk, or differ in some other way. When the security is offered for sale, each of these tranches is sold separately.

Wow, I feel so tranchy now (remember to swallow the "n")!

Other Thoughts Today ... A, A, B, B, B and V ...

A = Auto Industry: The Big Three upped their "bridge loan" request to $34 Billion today. It was $25 Billion last week before Congress asked them to submit a business plan. Well, preparation of business plans cost a lot ... $9 Billion in this case.

A = Auto Workers: The UAW says the Big 3 CEOs can agree to work for $1/yr and every union worker could agree to work for free, and it still won't save the american auto industry! This really floored me because it's pretty much an admission, by the guys representing the 3 million workers who are facing unemployment, that the Big 3 are going down no matter how much we throw at them. I hate to agree that Mitt Romney may have a point that perhaps the best solution for them is to reorganize under bankruptcy. Tough Love!

B = Bush (remember him?): Listening to "W" try to weasel his way out of analyzing his failures is such fun. Analysis would require introspection and we all know he doesn't do "do-overs"! So, he thinks the big failure of the Iraq War was that he fed himself bad intelligence?!? Cooked intelligence must taste like depleted uranium. He reminds me of Frank Sinatra singing, "Regrets, I've had a few, but then again, too few to mention".

B = Bill Richardson was formally named as Secretary of Commerce today. This cabinet post is ready for some vast expansion due to Obama's sweeping economic plan for job creation. If Congress confirms Richardson, it puts him in the cabinet and ready to move into another cabinet slot should things not work out with anyone already there (like Hillary or Gates). It's no secret he was very interested in Secretary of State. I congratulate him for not pitching a fit and for being ready to help wherever needed. I, too, liked Richardson's beard and was sorry to see it removed. So sue me.

B = Bank Story (a sad little story of how bad things are): I had banking business that had to be conducted INSIDE the bank last week. While sitting at the bank officer's desk, waiting and waiting for them to process my request, I notice that from my position, I can hear every conversation that the drive-up teller has with a drive-up customer. I hear a woman asking the teller to check the available balance in her account. The teller says "$2.48". I can hear a carload of kids screaming in the background. The woman then says, "how much can I withdraw and still keep the account open?" ... the teller says "$2.00" ... the woman is silent for a few moments (kids still screaming in background). The woman then sighs and says, "OK, then can I please get $2.00 cash now?" ... the teller processes her request and the woman & carload of kids drives away. This was right before Thanksgiving.

V (click to read) ... "What would happen to the Chevy Volt if GM failed?" ... The Chevy Volt is supposed to be available in 2010. It has been promoted as a revolutionary break-through in plug-in electric cars. This was all announced well before such technology was available for production at an affordable price, but apparently GM figured they would somehow be able to get the price down. Earlier this year, GM started making noises about problems being encountered in the plug-in concept. In October, Congress approved a $7500 rebate for purchasers of the first 250,000 Volts if they are plug-ins. Limited numbers of Hybrids like Prius already get smaller rebates. Toyota has said that they COULD produce a pricey plug-in, but why should they when their hybrids are so popular?

Would you personally be interested in a Chevy Volt at $35K? How about $25K? We are talking a 40-mile gas-free range between charges, no gas, no emissions. There will be a 400-mile overall range provided by a small gas engine whose only purpose is to recharge the batteries. The state of Hawaii is already considering setting up plug-in recharging stations, like in Wal-Mart parking lots. Would this affect your decision? The way I see it is if no one is interested or can afford The Volt, then there is no hope for the american auto industry.

8 comments:

an average patriot said...

Tranche! Funny but today thanks to Bush that is a fancy way of saying trash!

Cart said...

Tranche: We Aussies had to learn this word during the staged sell-off of our national telephone carrier Telstra.
Being the dumbass crowd we are, the ones who chased the French out in 1788, we pronounce it like ranch - n firmly in place.
The third tranche of Telstra has been indefinitely delayed, leaving the country with a mess manged by Gerge W's hispanic hit man Sol Trujillo.
Thanks a bunch George and John Howard!!!

Fran said...

You tranchy girl you!

A- That was quite the twist-- the Big 3 were to come back with a plan & their number came up higher- $25B changed the $28B, and now maybe $34B.
Is this a bailout or "Let's make a deal"???

A- This CEO takes $1/yr thing wreaks of showmanship. You mean someone who was making $2 million is now OK with one buck???
I think we are just playing word games here.... what is the full disclosure?? $1 salary, $2 million "stipend" or some such antic? I'm not buying the $1 salary routine. Something is fishy there.

B-Bush- yea, He's sorry alright.I can;t even stand to listen to him anymore. I've reached my saturation level.

B- Bill Richardson. This could be a tough job in a tough economy. Seems like all the presidential candidates are on board-- Hill, Bill, Joe Biden-
who next? Kucinich? Dodd, Edwards, Gravel???

B- That is a VERY sad bank story...let's hope the family had a savings account as well.

V- Why is GM dragging it;s feet to get an electric car out there... one that is affordable? They should have a clue about the economy by now.
The EV1 coud go 100 miles a charge on a shitty battery, even though they bought a patent for a better battery, they never put it in the electric car.... so now they are going backwards to 40 miles per charge?
I have to call BS on this. In the film Who killed the electric car, (back in 2003) one person in the fil said newer batteries could run 300 miles per charge. That was 5 years ago.
If anything, they could use the original design for the 100 miles per charge design, which works for 90% of the population.
GM is shackled to big oil, producing something inferior to a product that was better several years ago. Something is very wrong.

D.K. Raed said...

Avt Pat:
yup, trash for cash! (trawsh for cawsh) ...

Cart:
I was merely pointing out how it SHOULD be pronounced (thanks to the online dictionary audio feature). So far, I've only heard Paulson and some congressperson (Mary Landrieu from LA?) say it correctly. Everyone else is saying it TRAWNCH (audible "n" and hard "ch" instead of the soft "sh" end). Maybe this is just another way for us to piss off the French? And wow ... Trujillo ... haven't thought about him in ages!

D.K. Raed said...

Fran:
You are so funny, commenting by the letter!
A-Let's Make a Deal: Door #1 is $34B, Door #2 is UNLTD $, Door #3 is bankruptcy! Background music: bye, bye, american pie, drove my chevy to the levy & the levy was dry.

A-last night I heard Michael Moore say even $1/yr is too much for criminal incompetence. Why keep them on at all? For decades, their sole solutions to solving money problems has been to lay people off & cheapen up their cars. Clean house. We want better cars & we want the workers who build them to be able to afford to buy one.

B-but it IS kind of fun to watch Bush squirm as he heads out the door, all of sudden so worried about his friggin' legacy.

B-Gravel, OMG! maybe he could follow Palin around & give apology speeches as a fellow Alaskan.

B-no I don't think they had any other money at that bank or they wouldn't have settled for $2.

V-I had to go back & put add'l info & a link in the post to kind of address what you brought up. Rather than relive the EV1 car (which I agree GM DID kill in the most craven way possible, never allowing it to be sold, only leased, and then crushing them all at the end of their leases), I'm trying to concentrate on what they could provide now. The Volt will have an overall 400-mile range from an onboard small gas engine that only recharges the batteries, like a generator, but does not drive the car. This is something GM could beat Toyota at and make americans feel good about buying american cars again.

But if we want to talk about the past, considering the hybrid Prius' popularity, what has prevented GM from simply reproducing one themselves? It's not like no one in the industry has never simply knocked off a competitor's bestseller!

In their defense, I can only pass on what a car dealer in the family told me a couple yrs ago ... that EVERYONE who came into their dealership was looking for a big SUV, that they couldn't keep them in stock, and that no one was buying anything else. Instead of being a niche market, the big SUV became the whole market. He even laughed about Prius, pointing to their puny sales numbers (compared to GM) and said something like GM couldn't stay in business only selling to Ed Begley Jr and Larry David! That WAS their mindset! So, today's a new day & they need to retool & get with the program ... if they can get a "do-over", that is.

Fran said...

GM is not having the last laugh now-- once gas hit over $4.50 a gallon & diesel over $5, Toyota & Honda could not keep the Hybrids in stock. Plus the gvmnt offered great rebates, encouraging people to buy them .
But do I think it is wise for GM to be selling a car for $35K in a freaking recession? NO!

They have to make the car affordable for the bootstrap crowd. It's not just the car, it's insurance & whatever upgrades or adjustments it will take for electric car conversions to the consumer.

They can make fancier upscale models w more bells & whistles.... but they need a decent base model
somewhere in the league of 20K. The big 3 need to wake up & realize the recession. If they can put out a decent vehicle, the gvmnt gives a generous tax rebate, maybe people will buy them.
Duplicating a Prius hybrid could be an option, but really, they should just do better, because you know Toyota will just up the ante.

But a $35k base rate would be tying the knot in their own noose.

D.K. Raed said...

Fran:
I agree $35K is too high in a recession. That's why I wondered about $25K. This is where the govt could definitely help produce those "green jobs" & help save the auto industry by offering a rebate that gets the Volt net price down in the $25K range. Note they already just approved the biggest rebate for the Volt for the first 250K sold per year, if it's a plug-in, not a hybrid. The hybrids have been getting smaller rebates and only for the first 60K or so sold each year, per mfr. This is the kind of thing a govt interested in Fair Trade (screw Free Trade) can do. It's one of the reasons European countries are not failing in the same spectacular way we are.

It occurs to me that the public never knew what the total selling price of those EV1s would have been, since GM would only lease them. I wonder how that selling price would compare to today? And BTW, that's another thing GM could do with the Volt -- they could lease them to consumers, only this time, have a definite buy-out option at the end of the lease. Of course, leases aren't usually eligible for rebates ...

And oh yeah, I just found out that a 220-volt outlet will recharge an electric car twice as fast as a normal 110 (3-hrs vs 6-hrs), so guess what I'm making sure will be in our next garage? A 220 is already at the clothes dryer & oven/stove, so why not put one in the garage? And while we're at it, why not pre-plumb for hot water solar panels (Hawaii is now the first state to require this on new homes)? There are so many energy-saving things that if the bldr is required, could be done during construction for hardly any more cost to the homebuyer! Adding them later, as a retrofit, is much more pricey.

Fran said...

We are so behind the game w solar-- we should have some kind of solar panels on cars.... but yes every new structure should have some percentage of solar something or other.

Thinking ahead for the electric hook up in the garage.
One on each side & a solar panel on the roof of the garage and the car.