Citigroup Chicago buildingWill the banks be nationalized? That question would have seemed preposterous prior to the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program to bailout major financial institutions. But with the TARP money comes federal control, and that  control could be strengthened to the point of full-blown nationalization, particularly if the already congressionally authorized $700 billion is deemed insufficient to “rescue” the banks.

Detail of Obama with Hoyer and PelosiAs the massive new stimulus bill, which President Obama is now preparing to sign into law, was undergoing consideration in the Senate, Americans wondered how much the final price would be. At one point during Senate deliberations, House Majority leader Steny Hoyer, responding to concerns that the Senate version was already tens of billions of dollars larger than the House version, sheepishly told reporters that "the objective is to have a bill of less than $900 billion." Yet less than 24 hours later, the cost of the Senate version of the stimulus package was well over $900 billion and continuing to rise.

NewsweekNewsweek magazine published the following headline on the cover of its February 16 issue: “We Are All Socialists Now: The Perils and Promise of the New Era of Big Government.” Of course, it’s hard to imagine that we have only now entered the era of “big government” — weren’t we there already? But there is no doubt that both money creation by the Fed and spending by the federal government are accelerating to finance the proliferating bailout and stimulus programs.

MoneyOn his January 29 TV show, Glenn Beck drew national attention to a relatively obscure graph of our nation's "monetary base" (a narrow definition of money supply, also known as M0) maintained online by the Research Department of the St. Louis Federal Reserve. The reason for the special attention was the dramatic hockey stick shape of the graph that developed during the last few months of 2008. Beginning about September the usually stable graph of monetary base vs. years shot virtually straight up for the remainder of the year.

GeithnerIn a speech in the Treasury’s Cash Room today, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unveiled yet another initiative to stop the financial crisis in its tracks. “Right now critical parts of our financial system are damaged,” Geithner told his audience, few of whom, in all likelihood, had any idea how America’s financial system works. “Instead of catalyzing recovery,” Geithner continued, “the financial system is working against recovery and that's the dangerous dynamic we need to change."