Is it weird that so many of the distressed financial institutions are ready and willing to repay the government's money so soon? I am not going to get into the debate over who needed the money and who didn't but clearly many of them do not need it now. Amazing how things magically turned around!
Just what did they do with the money, anyway? From what we read, they certainly have not lent it out to kick-start the economy. We read about boosting their balance sheets and other activities - anything as long as it gives them a better return - including not getting their credit ratings lowered or going under - than lend it out.
And the top banks come out stronger then before or so it seems. Meanwhile AMEX lays off 4000 workers.
I am no economist but to me it seems as if the government spent billions on PR, not economic kick-starts. My idea of the United States Bank funded with the hundreds of billions given to the banks and empowered to lend to businesses and consumers directly still looks pretty good to me. Let the esteemed managers who got us into this mess fall on their swords so the smaller, well-run financial institutions can take their place.
Bottom line - Don't be fooled by a bear market rally. The economy ain't healed yet - although a lot of banks seem to be fat and happy again.