FROM Paul Kiel
Is the Bank Bailout Still Going On? Four years after the Toxic Asset Relief Program , America's twelve biggest banks are bigger than ever — and still protected by the guarantee of taxpayer money. Even a member of the Federal Reserve says they need to be broken up before increasingly risky investments provoke another financial crisis. TARP, supported by both the Bush and Obama Administrations, was supposed to provide foreclosure relief for abused homeowners, but a pending settlement is now being described as "another gift to the banks." We hear about the consequences, intended and otherwise, of government action to "save the economy."
Homeownership and the Fading American Dream In the aftermath of the housing market collapse and the sub-prime mortgage scandal, President Obama promised help for millions of homeowners trying to avoid foreclosures. That hasn't happened. We hear what's going wrong and what it could mean for the future.
Homeownership and the Fading American Dream Since the Great Depression, the US government has encouraged home ownership, most conspicuously with the homeowner's tax deduction. In the aftermath of the housing market collapse and the sub-prime mortgage scandal, President Obama promised help for millions of homeowners trying to avoid foreclosures. Now six million Americans are facing foreclosure, but new federal programs may be doing more harm than good. Instead of help with mortgage modification or refinance, desperate homeowners face a blizzard of paperwork and official errors with little or no supervision. Is homeownership all that it's cracked up to be? If not, what are the consequences for the economy and a cornerstone of American culture?
Conflict Between Congress and the Administration Escalates On Tuesday, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales underwent four hours of battering before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Even Republican Arlen Specter called Gonzales' credibility "breached to the point of being actionable." Today, Senate Democrats today called for a special counsel to investigate whether the Attorney General lied under oath. Gonzales is accused of deliberately misleading Congress about Justice Department opposition to the President's plan for domestic spying without warrants. Also today, a Democratic committee subpoenaed Karl Rove to talk about his role in firing US Attorneys. We update the ongoing political warfare between Congress and the White House.
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.