President 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.”
The 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.
The 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?
Newspapers 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?
A United Nations panel is about to recommend that the world abandon the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, according to a Reuters report. Next week, the UN will propose that the dollar be replaced with a “shared basket of currencies” similar to the old Ecu (European Currency Unit) of the former European Community (the predecessor to the European Union), which was replaced at parity by the euro in 1999. According to Avinash Persaud, a member of the UN panel, now “is a good moment to move to a shared reserve currency."