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?
According to a new report released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the deficits to be generated over the next 10 years by the Obama administration's proposed budget will be much higher than the administration's estimates — unsustainably high, in fact. The CBO foresees an additional $9.3 trillion in red ink per year from 2010 to 2019, which by decade's end would exceed five percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). According to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), "We simply cannot continue to mortgage our children and grandchildren's future to pay for bigger and more costly government."
On February 4, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) introduced the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (H.R. 875) in the House. Its stated objective sounds rather benign — even beneficial: "To establish the Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services to protect the public health by preventing food-borne illness, ensuring the safety of food, improving research on contaminants leading to food-borne illness, and improving security of food from intentional contamination, and for other purposes."