Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the TARP, informed Congress April 21 that he has opened 20 criminal investigations and six audits in connection with improper dispensation of bailout funds under TARP. The $700 billion TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) has a “great inherent danger” for fraud, and he says in his 250-page report to Congress that losses from fraud could end up exceeding $300 billion.

The BBC reported on April 14 that one city in Egypt, Damietta, still has zero unemployment in these difficult economic times. That’s surprising, but what makes this even more surprising is that the city specializes in manufacturing furniture, often high-end furniture, for export. This isn’t just micro-manufacturing in a small town either. It is estimated that there are over 60,000 furniture shops in the city.

Cover of April 27, 2009 TNASuppose we had conducted a national opinion poll a few months ago to canvass Americans on their opinions of the G20. Most respondents, it is probably safe to say, would not have had the slightest idea whether you were asking them about a new smart phone, the trendiest fashion footwear, or the latest fat-burner diet drink.

Obama gesturing while speakingITEM: An editorial entitled "The Federal Reserve acts boldly to ease credit conditions" in the Seattle Times for March 20 commented: "The Federal Reserve decision to pump another trillion dollars [more precisely: $1.15 trillion] into the economy still has the capacity to raise eyebrows."

Piggy bankAfter a record $192.3 billion federal budget deficit for March, the U.S. Treasury Department reported a $956.8 billion federal deficit for the first half of fiscal 2009 — already nearly $1 trillion. As the Treasury published the news of the deficit, President Obama told the press on April 10, “What we’re starting to see is glimmers of hope across the economy.”

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