While the mainstream press has focused on the dubious notion that the Citibank bailout will turn out to be a good deal for taxpayers, the Center for Media and Democracy tallies up the real cost of the entire bailout so far: $4.6 trillion, with $2 trillion outstanding.
Most of that money comes from the Federal Reserve, not the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which amounts to a measly $700 million. The Fed bank dole is handled in complete secrecy, which is why Bloomberg News is suing to get the Fed to open its books, which got the WheresOurMoney treatment here.
As for Citibank and the supposed bonanza for taxpayers, Dean Baker takes it apart in this Beat the Press column. In any case, Citibank is eternally gratefully to taxpayers. Here’s how they’re showing it.
Get out the popcorn. Phil Angelides’ Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission is gearing up for another round of hearings April 7 through 9, this one on subprime loans and scheduled to feature former Fed chair Alan Greenspan, who before the bubble burst, used to take pride in being able to obfuscate any economic issue. If Angelides thought Goldman’s CEO was like a salesman peddling faulty cars, I wonder what he makes of Greenspan, who worshipped the financial deregulation that made the wreck not only possible, but probable.
Angelides meanwhile, appears to be playing down expectations for the FCIC, kvetching to the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board about the small size of the panel’s budget ($8 million) and short time frame (final report due in December).
While everybody was bowing down to Greenspan, they should have been listening to Harry Markopolos, the man who was tried to blow the whistle on Bernie Madoff but was repeatedly ignored by the SEC. Now he’s written a book. He doesn’t think the SEC has improved much. Russell Mokhiber has a good interview with Markopolos in his Corporate Crime Reporter.