You are here

Business

The AIG Bailout Scandal

As Elizabeth Warren’s devastating Congressional report reveals, the Federal Reserve used taxpayer money to bail out the insurance giant, instead of forcing the major banks to clean up the mess they helped create. In so doing, the Fed may have set the system up for an even bigger fall in the future.

William Greider, The Nation

The government’s $182 billion bailout of insurance giant AIG should be seen as the Rosetta Stone for understanding the financial crisis and its costly aftermath. The story of American International Group explains the larger catastrophe not because this was the biggest corporate bailout in history but because AIG’s collapse and subsequent rescue involved nearly all the critical elements, including delusion and deception. These financial dealings are monstrously complicated, but this account focuses on something mere mortals can understand—moral confusion in high places, and the failure of governing institutions to fulfill their obligations to the public.

Three governmental investigative bodies have now pored through the AIG wreckage and turned up disturbing facts—the House Committee on Oversight and Reform; the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which will make its report at year’s end; and the Congressional Oversight Panel (COP), which issued its report on AIG in June.

More...

The battle over Elizabeth Warren, John Case, People's World

  • Real consumer protection against fraud and misinformation in financial services is something the "financial sector" has fought for years. The catastrophe that required a $4 trillion public fiscal and credit injection into the economy makes no impression on the people whose reckless, unregulated behavior caused it, and whose bread is now buttered with its spoils.
  • The Case For Elizabeth Warren


Section(s): 

The battle over Elizabeth Warren

  • Real consumer protection against fraud and misinformation in financial services is something the "financial sector" has fought for years. The catastrophe that required a $4 trillion public fiscal and credit injection into the economy makes no impression on the people whose reckless, unregulated behavior caused it, and whose bread is now buttered with its spoils.
  • The Case For Elizabeth Warren

John Case, People's World

Who is surprised that the banking industry is drawing a line in the sand to prevent the nomination of Elizabeth Warren to head the new consumer financial protection agency?

Sen. Chris Dodd - who wanted to leave a legacy as a pragmatic financial reformer - has begun a frankly humiliating process of damning with faint praise the one individual who has conducted herself with striking integrity throughout the entire bailout and rescue drama of the past two years. "Elizabeth would be a terrific nominee," said Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat who leads the Senate Banking Committee. "The question is, ‘Is she confirmable?' And there's a serious question about it."

This compares in spinelessness to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's termination of Shirley Sherrod, and his subsequent "acceptance of responsibility" - what does that mean exactly?

More...

Related:

The Case For Elizabeth Warren, Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation
Elizabeth Warren should be the top contender to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. After all, it was her brainchild, her baby.

Section(s): 

American-made streetcars: Portland company rebuilds lost industry

  • More than 65 U.S. cities are currently looking into implementing streetcars. Portland, though, is leading the way in public transportation.
  • Minneapolis City Council keeps streetcars on track

Jacob Wheeler, People's World

United Streetcar, a union company in Portland, Ore., and wholly owned subsidiary of Oregon Iron Works, has built the first American-made streetcar in over half a century. United Streetcar already has a deal in place to build thirteen of its streetcars for the cities of Portland and Tucson, Ariz.

The initial streetcar was unveiled in July 2009 in a ceremony attended by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who called Portland the transportation, streetcar and livable community capital of the United States. "I believe this is the dawn of a new era for public transportation in the United States," said LaHood. "A new opportunity to claim ‘Made in America.' It's a chance to generate good-paying union jobs right here in the region."

More...

Related:

Minneapolis City Council keeps streetcars on track, Hart Van Denburg, City Pages | MN
"Last Friday (April 2), the Council took a big step forward toward make sure we put modern streetcars where they belong -- along the commercial corridors in Minneapolis that used to have them." -- RT Ryback, Minneapolis Mayor

Section(s): 

A Tale of Two Spills

  • Want to know how long it will take to clean up the BP spill, and how little BP could end up paying? Take a look at the Exxon Valdez spill, 20+ years on.
  • To make BP pay, Obama must learn from his predecessors’ mistakes.


Antonia Juhasz, Dollars & Sense

On March 24, 1989, the supertanker Exxon Valdez spilled more than 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska, in what was until recently the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

More than 26,600 gallons of oil remain from the spill, readily oozing up on beaches. For its part, Exxon emerged virtually unscathed from the incident and is, today, the most profitable corporation the world has ever known.

In 1990, the George H.W. Bush administration indicted Exxon on five criminal charges, with potential penalties totaling $5 billion. It then gave Exxon a “get out of jail free” card: Exxon pled guilty to just three counts and agreed to a fine of a mere $25 million, or less than 1% of the total potential criminal fine, plus $900 million in civil fines to be paid over a 10-year period.

More...

Section(s): 

Pages