Commentary

GeithnerIt’s official: the Obama administration intends to nationalize the entire financial sector. If there were any lingering doubts as to the intentions of President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, they were dispelled by today’s announcement detailing the Treasury Department’s new “framework for regulatory reform.”

On March 19, 2009, President Barack Obama makes an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. AP ImagesPresident Barack Obama is in the middle of his national tour to convince the American public that “we’re doing everything we can to reduce that deficit.” President Obama has been on The Tonight Show, 60 Minutes, held town meetings in California and conducted the March 24 prime-time press conference on the economy. The problem is, he revealed in that March 24 press conference, that “everything” now means the same as “nothing.”

Timothy GeithnerThe American people are understandably outraged to learn that the American International Group (AIG), a corporate giant that has received almost $200 billion in total TARP/TALF funding, has recently paid $165 million in retention bonuses to its top executives. The fact that these payments were made to fulfill already-existing contractual obligations and that most of the recipients have reportedly indicated a willingness to return the money has not done much to quell the public anger. After all, a company in such dire financial straits to require vast infusions of federal bailout funds should not be giving its employees millions of dollars in bonuses, period.

GeithnerThe Obama administration’s long-awaited proposal to remove so-called “toxic” mortgage-backed assets from U.S. banks has finally been unveiled, to huzzahs across the globe. Stocks from Tokyo to New York rallied as investors expressed relief that finally, somehow, the U.S. government was going to take care of the problem. But just what does Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner intend to do, precisely?

AIGNewspapers are fixated upon $160 million in bonuses given to American International Group (AIG) executives. And it’s nice to know where the millions are going (note: the bonuses could have been cancelled had the federal government let the company go bankrupt, as officials should have). But where are the trillions in TARP, TALC and Federal Reserve Bank bailout funds going?

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