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Happy July 4th!

Happy July 4th! It’s a great day for celebrating our nation’s founding and enjoying barbecues and fireworks with family and friends. It’s a good time to put aside the policy differences we discuss on the site and remember our shared commitment to the goals of government: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And here’s […]

Credit Default Swaps – Too Little Too Late

The horse is long out of the barn, but Congress may soon step in to correct this problem with credit default swaps. S. 961, introduced just yesterday in the Senate, would authorize the regulation of credit default swaps and other swap agreements. Really super – now that the market for credit default swaps has collapsed […]

Sorting Out How They’re Trying to Sort Out the Economy

We’re overdue here to discuss the big announcement this past week about how the government plans to sort out the “toxic assets” that have been preventing new lending and slowing down the economy. Now, first things first: “toxic assets,” which were first referred to as “troubled assets,” will now be called “legacy assets.” See? Things […]

Bailout Update – Your Family’s $3,000 Investment

The Government Accountability Office has a report out on the financial services bailout law and the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or “TARP.” As of January 23, the Treasury Department has disbursed about $293.7 billion, mostly to purchase preferred shares of 317 financial institutions. That’s a bit over $3,000 per U.S. family, just shy of $1,000 […]

Cost Estimates for This Week’s Bills

Cost estimates for bills on the floor this week have been published and incorporated into our database. H.R. 384, the TARP Reform and Accountability Act of 2009, saves the average U.S. family a little over $80. (Which is nice until you realize that the legislation creating the Troubled Assets Relief Program cost almost $3,000.) It […]

The Bailout Money is a Slush Fund

“[T]roubled assets from any financial institution.” That’s what the financial services bailout bill allowed the Treasury Department to buy: “troubled assets from any financial institution.” They were talking about bad mortgages. But then the money got used to buy pieces of financial institutions themselves. Some Members of Congress raised a stink when word circulated that […]

The “Big Two” Bailout – Let’s See the Bill!

Back when the bailout train was getting rolling, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi posted the financial services bailout legislation on her blog Sunday September 28th, 2008 at 3:12 pm. The House voted on the bill the next day at 2:07 pm. It was only 22 hours, 55 minutes later – not quite the 24 hours that […]

Did Voters Punish Vote-Switchers and Financial-Crisis-Causers?

Voters took a scythe to the Members of Congress who switched their votes to pass the financial services bailout legislation in October and those whose votes in 2000 set the stage for the financial crisis. Except . . . it was a very dull scythe. Maybe one without a blade. Of the 59 people featured […]

Dueling Bailout Law Violations

Make no mistake, if banks were to use bailout money to pay dividends, it would be an offense to the taxpayers who thought their money was going to be used for lending. And House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) is right to object to that possibility. But the statement he released Friday is […]

Presidential Candidates Who Didn’t Create the Financial Crisis

There were a lot of good reactions to yesterday’s post about candidates for federal office with responsibility for at least part of the financial crisis. We listed House members and Senators who either voted for, or didn’t object to, a law freeing up financial services firms to offer these wagers known as “financial derivatives” without […]