Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bailouts and public disclosures

Congress handed the banking industry a blank check earlier this year in response to Henry Paulson's doomsday-esque plea for a bail out of the financial sector. The banks readily lapped up OUR money like a junkie waiting for his next fix.

But now that questions are being asked about what those funds were being used for, the banking industry refuses to release that information to the taxpayers. What we know, so far, is that AIG continued to lavish its discredited executives with perks and that many other banks and brokerage firms showered their leaders with "retention" bonuses. Why anyone would want to retain the people who ran the companies into the ground is beyond my comprehension.

Loren Steffy, a business columnist for the Houston Chronicle summed up the hypocriscy of the financial sector with this column.

The men behind this financial farce have looted their clients, their stockholders and the taxpayers to line their own pockets. It's time for Congress to require the banks and brokerage firms to disclose how our money was spent. It's time for the banks and brokers to realize that when you borrow someone else's money, you have to play by their rules.

It's time the financial industry understand that beggars can't be choosers.

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