Economy

$23.7 Trillion Bailout - Will Justice Shoot the Messenger?

Neil Barofsky, Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (a.k.a. the SIGTARP ) caused quite a stir in Washington last week when he released a quarterly report that attempted to tally up the total dollar amount of federal government commitments related to the bailout. Those commitments include federal government programs that spend taxpayer money or issue loan guarantees in an attempt to rescue financial services institutions and support the economy. While the administration and the media have focused on the $700 billion in bailout funds explicitly authorized by Congress, Barofsky tried to bring a little transparency to the complex array of federal programs including those of the Treasury and the opaque Federal Reserve. His report put the potential outlay of taxpayer dollars of the combined 50-plus programs at an astonishing $23.7 trillion.

"Harry and Louise" Against Consumer Protection

The industry backlash against the Obama administration's financial reform plans -- especially the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency -- is taking shape. "A coalition of financial trade groups is brainstorming on how to sink the agency," reports Reuters.

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Big Business Fights Consumer Protection

Key to the Obama administration's proposal for financial industry reform is the establishment of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency. The proposed agency would "have a broad mandate to cover the spectrum of consumer financial products and to fill gaps in current regulations." Not surprisingly, big business is fighting back.

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AIG Told to 'Fess Up About Its PR

"House Democrats are investigating American International Group Inc.'s role in a campaign to discredit its former chairman and chief executive officer, Maurice 'Hank' Greenberg, in the wake of federal bailouts to the insurance company totaling $182.5 billion," reports Bloomberg.

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