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?
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?
If there were any lingering doubts as to where the Federal Reserve’s expansive monetary policies are leading, they were dispelled by yesterday’s shocking announcement that the Fed intends to purchase more than $1 trillion in additional debt, which it will pay for by printing new money.
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."
All of the feigned outrage in Washington over the millions that AIG has been doling out in bonus payments, and the tens of billions in bailout monies that it sent directly to major creditors, fails to impress. Beyond the smokescreen of How-dare-they’s, emanating from Republican congressmen and the Obama administration alike, loom larger questions which no one seems willing to ask: how dare our elected leaders give almost $200 billion taxpayers’ dollars to AIG in the first place? And how dare they presume to nationalize a private company like some two-bit cadre of Marxist putschists?
President Barack Obama has just recently released his $3.55 trillion fiscal 2010 budget, and already there's full employment among all the people who matter to officials in Washington, D.C. A front-page story for the March 2 Washington Post began: "President Obama's budget is so ambitious, with vast new spending on health care, energy independence, education and services for veterans, that experts say he probably will need to hire tens of thousands of new federal government workers to realize his goals."
If the talk at the G20 gathering in England is any indication, the hard-beset global economy is stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. From the American perspective, as articulated by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, what the global economy needs is the same sort of placebo the American government has been administering domestically, to the delight of the ruling classes but the muffled dismay of the middle-class tax base: more stimulus spending.
Official 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.
“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.
ITEM: The New York Times reported on January 28, 2009:
The stimulus bill ... is not just a package of spending increases and tax cuts intended to jolt the nation out of recession. For Democrats, it is also a tool for rewriting the social contract with the poor, the uninsured and the unemployed, in ways they have long yearned to do. With little notice and no public hearings, House Democrats would create a temporary new entitlement allowing workers getting unemployment checks to qualify for Medicaid....