Will the Feds Save CIT Group?

| Tue Jul. 14, 2009 11:14 AM EDT

Sub-prime lender CIT Group is in trouble and asking the Feds for help. Former chief economist for the IMF and current Baseline Scenario blogger Simon Johnson predicts that, on balance, a bailout is probably unlikely. Why?

CIT’s bailout possibilities are now in the realm of political choice... [T]he lack of strong connections between CIT’s CEO and senior Treasury officials looks like a weakness.  CIT seems to sit at the edge of the charmed circle, with regard to meetings, shared social engagements, and intellectual entanglements.  This is a close call, but I think it is just on the outside of the circle – in the sense that with the overall financial market situation more stable, the GM bankruptcy well-managed relative to expectations, and other credit support programs still in place, the balance of official opinion will tilt against CIT.

So then it all comes down to political donations.  At least in terms of what is in the public record, Mr. Peek has not been overly generous, but he did give money to John McCain – and not to any Democrats.  If this is in fact the limit of his recent contributions, I think you know the outcome.

So that's how they make these decisions. I thought it was something like this: