Nine financial firms that received a total of $32.6 billion through the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) paid their top traders and bankers more than $5 billion in bonuses last year, even as those same firms lost $81 billion, according to a report released on Thursday by New York Attorney general Andrew Cuomo.
Just call it irony. The same day the value of the dollar plunged to a current-year low as measured against six other major currencies, and the same week in which the U.S. Treasury is in the midst of a record $106 billion debt auction, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke fielded a question on PBS’s “News Hour” from a man who touched on the problem:
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke must know he’s in trouble. This week he completed a “town hall”-style meeting for PBS television to promote the Federal Reserve and suppress what appears to be overwhelming congressional support for an independent audit of the Fed.
Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas W. Elmendorf gave a fiscal wake-up call to Senate Budget Committee members in testimony on July 16, noting that “the federal budget is on an unsustainable path — meaning that federal debt will continue to grow much faster than the economy over the long run.”
Congressman Ron Paul’s H.R. 1207, calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve, has attracted 270 cosponsors in less than five months. The Republican congressman's bill has received strong bipartican support, and approximately 100 of the bill's cosponsors are Democrats. Support for H.R. 1207 has frightened some of the Fed’s champions in the academic world, Fed officials themselves, and, of course, many of the Fed's friends in the financial world.