Me too, Secretary Paulson!
Dear Secretary Paulson: I've looked over the fact sheet on the proposal to give the Treasury the authority to purchase "troubled assets," and although I have some doubts about the wisdom of the program, if there's going to be one, I want to get in on it!
With that in mind, I thought I'd sent you a quick list of some of my troubled assets, so that you can make sure the appropriate people know about them, when they start buying. (I have no doubt that others are doing much the same thing, so I wanted to be sure to get my request in early.)
I guess my biggest category of "troubled asset" is clothing that doesn't fit. Not only do I have quite a bit of money sunk into these assets--which are worth much less than I paid for them--but they've got my closet filled to the point where there's scarcely any room for my wife to store her wool! (She's a spinner and weaver, so she has lots of wool to store.) Because of that, I'd be willing to let my old clothes go for a substantial discount from their original cost. I don't know if the Treasury would have much hope of realizing a profit on these assets--but if the dollar goes on losing value, we might no longer be able to afford to import clothes from abroad, in which case, they just might have more value than I realize.
The next category of "troubled asset" that I'd like the Treasury to take off my hands are old books. I've got lots of them. Since the internet has made it easy to buy and sell used books, the value of most used books has plummeted! Check the prices of used books at amazon.com, and you'll see that many books are worth less than the cost of shipping them--even if you ship them book rate! (They call that "media mail" now, but I'm old enough to still think of it as book rate.) Anyhow, these assets are quite troubled. They are not only worth a lot less than what I paid for them, they're also (like the old clothing) taking up a lot of room--my book cases are completely full, and I've got stacks of books all over the place!
I wanted to mention those two categories first, because they're the most important to me. I understand, though, that you're mainly focused on financial assets. My own financial assets have held up pretty well so far, but I do have some stock in a certain former employer that's done quite poorly. I can't really say it's "clogging up" my balance sheet, but if the Treasury could take it off my hands and get the economy going again, it could be a win-win.
Thanks very much for your thoughtful consideration, Secretary Paulson, and I hope you'll let the appropriate people know so that my trouble assets can be included when you start buying. I want to assure you that my old clothes and books can be had for a tiny fraction of the $700 billion that you're talking about spending. I'll need much less than 1% of the money--much, much less! You don't have to worry about me hogging the program. And, thanks again.