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aigOfficial Washington is an a tizzy over new revelations, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal and dutifully amplified by other news outlets, that as much as $50 billion of bailout money sent to ailing mega-insurer AIG was funneled to at least two dozen U.S. and European banks.

Detail of cost-of-living-on-the-edge cartoonIf the American taxpayers knew how much the federal government was actually costing them, there is no doubt that it would be much smaller than it is today. But the true burden of the federal government on the taxpayer is obscured in many ways.

Detail of Obama signing stimulus billWith the passage of the $787 billion Obama-Democratic Congress stimulus bill, the die has been cast for America's economic future. This, the largest appropriations bill ever passed by Congress, is being variously criticized and applauded from all sides.

Down Goes the DowDown, down, down goes the Dow (and all the other stock indexes), and how much further the markets are likely to fall before the recession bottoms out is becoming an increasingly vexed question. The Dow is now well below 7,000 for the first time in 12 years, and bearish market analysts are now wondering: is Dow 5,000 a reasonable expectation? 4,000? Or lower still?

economy“The only way to fully restore America’s economic strength is to make long-term investments that will lead to new jobs, new industries, and a renewed ability to compete with the rest of the world,” said President Barack Obama in his Address to the Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday, February 24, 2009.

This remark by President Obama sounds like something a concerned American citizen who is struggling to keep his financial head above water might say. A “hurray” moment? Maybe not.

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