The graphic at right shows, in aggregate, the explosion of the Federal Reserve's balance sheet during the financial crisis. Today, thanks to the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill (exact provision here), we get to begin learning which companies benefitted from these subsidies, how much they got, when they got it, and what the Fed got/is expected to get in return. The law also asks for "the specific rationale for each such facility or program." Click through for links to dig in yourself or to find the best breaking analysis.Read Full Article Comments (2)
Rep. Ron Paul [R, TX-14], the most popular member of Congress amongst OC users, is in line next session to take control of the Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology subcommittee, oversees the Federal Reserve, among other things. Paul is well known for being critical of the Fed, having recently authored a book titled "End the Fed" and sponsoring legislation session after session designed to accomplish just what the book title suggests. He has inspired a powerful, Tea Party-aligned grassroots movement around his ideas of abolishing the Fed and changing the fundamental structure of the U.S. monetary system. With the Fed right now at the center of efforts to get the economy back up and running, having Paul take over Fed oversight right now could really shake things up.Read Full Article Comments (14)
The vote that best represents the general anger with Congress these days is passage of TARP, the taxpayer-backed bailout program that rescued the banks and car companies from bankruptcy, but did nothing to help the unemployed or foreclosed. Unfortunately, when asked, most people get the basic facts about TARP wrong. I'm not talking about the impacts of the policy or whether or not it was a good idea, just the basic, verifiable facts like who proposed it and who voted for it.
Given that this is still weighing on voters' minds, and that it's been more than two years since the actual vote, here's a quick refresher.Read Full Article Comments (9)
The real problem with too-big-to-fail is that in a post-Citizens United world there is virtually no limit to the amount of money these enormous companies can spend on making sure their favorite lawmakers get elected. Too big to fail is primarily a political problem. It's a self-perpetuating cycle whereby huge companies are allowed to grow indefinitely (i.e. not fail organically) because they have the financial muscle to buy-off the lawmakers in a position to protect them from regulation and bail them out when they get into trouble.
Not surprisingly, in this election cycle, companies that have taken money from the 2008 TARP bailout are focusing their political giving on candidates who support the bailout, oppose new financial regulations, and are most likely to be in positions of power in the next session of Congress.Read Full Article Comments (10)
On Friday I wrote about a vote in the Senate on an amendment to the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act that sets up the bill for a successful vote on final passage next week. Senate Republicans have been opposing a provision in the bill to create a $30 billion small business lending fund because, they say, it's too similar to the TARP big-bank bailout program that was pushed through Congress by the Bush Administration in 2008. But on Thursday evening, Senate Democrats, with the help of a couple wayward Republicans, were able to secure passage of an amendment to keep the small-business fund in the bill.
So, naturally, I wanted to compare Thursday's vote on the small business lending fund with the 2008 vote on TARP itself. As it turns out, a total of 22 senators voted both in favor of the TARP program, which leant $700 billion to the big banks to do pretty much whatever they want, and agains the small business lending fund, which would lend $30 billion to small banks to loan to small businesses for the purposes of creating jobs. Here's the list:Read Full Article Comments (61)
After passing the unemployment relief bill, the Senate this week finally made some progress on what will probably be the final job-creation measure to be considered this year -- the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010.Read Full Article Comments (1)
When the Senate whittled down a $174 billion jobs bill from the House to a mere $15 billion bill, one of the many ideas to hit the cutting room floor was a $23 billion fund to prevent layoffs in education. Last week, Sen. Tom Harkin [D, IA] revived the idea and introduced it as a standalone Senate bill.Read Full Article Comments (11)
The Senate yesterday gave the TARP a check-up. More than a year after its creation, they took a vote on an amendment from Sen. John Thune [R, SD] to prohibit the Treasury Department from giving out any more TARP money and require all funds that are paid back by the banks to be used for lowering the national debt. Click through to see how they voted.Read Full Article Comments (1)
The television and Internet are plastered with health care coverage, but there are other issues bound to move through Congress this fall. One issue that appears to be moving soon is a package of new financial regulations, which include the Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009 (H.R. 3126). House Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank has tentatively scheduled a vote in committee for the CFPA Act on September 23.Read Full Article Comments (2)
As you have probably heard, the House this afternoon passed a bill (H.R. 1586) to impose a 90 percent tax on bonuses to employees at financial institutions that has received bailout money. The bill would levy the tax on any bonuses from bailed out firms paid out in 2009 to individuals with incomes over $250,000.Read Full Article Comments (8)
By comparing the Senate version of the bill to the final conference version of the bill that was signed into law, Jane Hamsher shows that a provision to block bonuses retroactively on TARP contracts, inserted by Dodd in the Senate bill, was actually taken out by the conference committee.Read Full Article Comments (8)
In a symbolic vote yesterday afternoon, the House of Representatives voted against releasing the second $350 billion of financial bailout money for use by the Obama administration. The vote was symbolic-only for two reasons: (1) The Senate already voted last week to give Obama the funds, making it impossible for Congress to present Obama with a joint resolution of disapproval as spelled out in section 115 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, and (2) even if they could jointly approve...Read Full Article Comments (1)
Yesterday in the Senate, 6 Republicans joined 44 Democrats and one Independent-Democrat in voting to release the second $350 billion tranche of financial bailout money to be used by the incoming Obama Administration. They did so without attaching any new requirements as to how the money is to be spent or how information about the government's bailout activities are shared with the public.Read Full Article Comments (3)
This morning, I wrote about a bill from Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) designed to improve accountability of the remaining $350 billion of the financial bailout program known as TARP. Frank's bill would require bailed out firms to report how they have spent the taxpayer money,strengthen restrictions on executive pay, require the Treasury to use some of the money for foreclosure prevention, and much more.
But now Barney Frank seems to be backing away from passing his bill and, instead, is trusting that President-elect Obama will follow it even though it isn't required by law: