Wanna’ know where are your hard earned tax payers’ money is going for the economic recovery?


Take a number, because you’re not the only one.  The Congress was stupid enough, lame enough, scared enough, bullied enough, inebriated enough, you choose the adjective, not to insist on over sight of its/our money and it’s really too late to ask questions now.

……….the nation’s largest banks say they can’t track exactly how they’re spending the money or they simply refuse to discuss it.

“We’ve lent some of it. We’ve not lent some of it. We’ve not given any accounting of, ‘Here’s how we’re doing it,'” said Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in emergency bailout money. “We have not disclosed that to the public. We’re declining to.”

*snip*

Pressured by the Bush administration to approve the money quickly, Congress attached nearly no strings on the $700 billion bailout in October. And the Treasury Department, which doles out the money, never asked banks how it would be spent.

We have managed to learn this much, despite the banking industry’s arrogance.

* The average paid to each of the banks’ top executives was $2.6 million in salary, bonuses and benefits.

* Lloyd Blankfein, president and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs, took home nearly $54 million in compensation last year. The company’s top five executives received a total of $242 million.

The New York-based company on Dec. 16 reported its first quarterly loss since it went public in 1999. It received $10 billion in taxpayer money Oct. 28.

This year, Goldman will forgo cash and stock bonuses for its seven top-paid executives. They will work for their base salaries of $600,000, the company said.

* Even where banks cut back on pay, some executives were left with seven- or eight-figure compensation that most people can only dream about. Richard D. Fairbank, the chairman of Capital One Financial Corp., took a $1 million hit in compensation after his company had a disappointing year but still got $17 million in stock options. The McLean, Va.-based company received $3.56 billion in bailout money on Nov. 14.

* John A. Thain, chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch, topped all corporate bank bosses, with $83 million in earnings last year. Thain, a former chief operating officer for Goldman Sachs, took the reins of the company in December 2007, avoiding the blame for a year in which Merrill lost $7.8 billion. Since he began work late in the year, he earned $57,692 in salary, a $15 million signing bonus and an additional $68 million in stock options.

For an industry that just a few months ago came to the federal government with their hat in their hands asking for public assistance, their ‘we’re not going to disclose that’ attitude gives meaning to the word chutzpah.  No wonder the New York Mellon Corp. spokesman who said he wouldn’t share spending specifics, added: “I just would prefer if you wouldn’t say that we’re not going to discuss those details.”

It was greed that killed the Beast


Fifty billion dollars to be stolen by ONE man is a lot of money.  How did he get away with that?!!?!?  It really boils down to that fact that Bernard Madoff played on the greed of his investors who forked over huge sums of money in hopes of even larger returns.  The old adage if it’s too good to be true means it usually is was ignored by many who saw visions of large dollar signs flashing before their eyes.  Madoff was a consummate con man, but his deceit didn’t fool everyone.

Hedge fund investment adviser Aksia LLC warned clients not to put their money with Bernard Madoff after learning of “red flags” at his company, including that its books were audited by a three-person accounting firm. Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC used Friehling & Horowitz, an auditor operating out of a 13-by-18 foot location in an office park in New York City’s northern suburbs.

New York-based Aksia urged clients last year not to invest with Madoff’s firm after learning the identity of the New City, New York-based auditor, according to Jake Walthour, head of advisory services at Aksia. Friehling & Horowitz included one partner in his late 70s who lives in Florida, a secretary, and one active accountant, Aksia said.

“Our judgment was swift given the extensive list of red flags,” Aksia wrote Dec. 11 in a letter to clients.

Aksia’s Jim Vos said he spent several months probing Madoff’s firm on behalf of clients, only to recommend against investing in it. Vos, who had an investigator stake out the New City office, said eight “feeder funds” invested about $15 billion with Madoff. Vos declined to name the clients.

“I’m shocked by how investors turned a blind eye to returns that were too good to be true, constant steady small positive monthly returns,” Vos said. “When something is too good to be true, it probably is.”

It’s interesting that red flags were galore but only now, amidst all the other bad economic news is this getting any play in the media.  in my wildest dreams the scenario playing out in my head is the corporate media is finally getting their revenge on a Bush administration which had so easily manipulated it for every conceivable illegal and immoral purpose, and like a woman scorned has decided to get back at its former lover with all the bad news a President concerned with his legacy cannot afford.  Possibly, however, something more sinister than that is at play with the release of all of the bad news at the end of a president’s tenure, but I can’t say what it is…..yet.