Taking on the toxic assets

March 23, 2009 2:00:17 PM PDT
There's an old George Harrison song that goes, "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there."

You can view that quote in a couple of diametrically opposite ways.

As a Zen-kind-of outlook, it's positive and upbeat.

But the 180-degree way of looking at it reminds me of something my dad used to say: "Throw enough (expletive deleted) against the wall, and some of it's going to stick."

I thought of the Harrison song, and how my father would interpret it, when the President offered the latest in his ongoing series of proposals to try to save the economy from ruin.

Today's plan: Up to $1 trillion to buy the so-called toxic assets that started the banking industry spiral. This time it's not government money, which is to say our money. This time it's private investors - which the government is hoping will gobble up these properties and liberate them from the books of the troubled banks.

It's another throw-it-against-the-wall approach.

Private investors would put up $7 for every $100 in soured mortgages. A good deal for investors if it pays off. Not so good for taxpayers who are lending some of the money if it doesn't.

However, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner insists that ignoring the bad assets will prolong the recession. At this point, this is now all on Obama's watch.

The stock market certainly responded -- closing nearly 500 points higher.

But the new President - is he getting slammed for seeming overwhelmed by the scope and breadth of this recession? Or is he pulling out all the stops? Is he caving to Wall Street, or is he the Street's nemesis? Ask 20 people, you'll get 32 different opinions.

We'll have the latest on the economy, and the attempts to right it, tonight at 11.

We're also on the border tonight -- the Mexico border, where the government (and one wonders if the U.S. isn't at least a little bit behind this) is offering $2 million for information leading to the arrest of each of that country's 24 top drug lords.

For those not up on the currency exchange rates, that's 30 million pesos.

There are now six main drug cartels active in the country, and their reigns have been corrupt and murderous. More than 8,000 people have been killed in the past two years during the wars between the gangs and with the government that is trying to fight them. I say sometimes because there is no shortage of government officials in Mexico who, out of greed or fear, or both, have been bought off by the mobs.

The violence is now spilling across the borders into the U.S., from California to Texas.

And they are mob-like. Mexico has offered rewards for drug lords in the past - but never en masse like today.

Some of the targeted lords have named like "Tony Tormenta," "El Chapo," and "El Tio." It could be out of The Sopranos or The Godfather. Same organization, different country.

Tonight at 11, and all this week, Eyewitness News reporter Jim Dolan and photographer Joe Tesauro are at the border with Mexico, reporting on the drug wars and what's being done to fight them. You can also learn more about the Battle at the Border in a special section on 7online.com by clicking here.

Dolan's reports come just days before U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits Mexico, and a month before President Obama does.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Marvell Scott (in for Scott Clark) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.