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"Astronomics!$"

By       Message Charles L. Riccillo       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink

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"No term exists to describe the current spiraling fiscal situation..."

The phenomenon of a 789 billion dollar stimulus package has quite simply outstripped our vocabulary and can't be adequately understood, so I hope you'll forgive this writer for coining the term "Astronomics$!."

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No, it hadn't yet existed in modern parlance, but I, like most Americans, am dwarfed by the idea of this stimulus package, with its unparalleled price tag.  It's way out there, in the Milky Way somewhere. And were it not from a great distance mentally, we couldn't possibly conceive of it at all.

I sat stunned watching the news, as CEO Vikram Pandit of Citigroup - which in the form of CitiMortgage owns the lien on my home - testified before testy Senators. They gnawed at him as if they were the old lady in the Wendy's commercial - so, "Where's the beef?"

And there's a beef all right, carnivorous in its intensity, angrily pervasive in this country of ours. Folks are hungry for help, but, politically and psychologically, and where their wallet is concerned, they're looking at accumulating lint. If they are nourished at all, it is with sarcasm, because they're all fed up!

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This sandwich, however, comes in the form of a sum hitherto unheard of -- a stimulus package. It boggles the mind of any who try to wrap themselves around it. It actually approaches a zillion dollars!

If you, like I, am used to rounding cents upward to dollars in your checkbook in the best of times when the budget allows, then you cannot fathom this ridiculously high amount of money.

My research took me to multiple sites, all with the information below a matter of public record. Just take a look of the summation below to see how the Treasury has thus far disseminated our tax, and as yet unearned, dollars:

TARP AID - Participants in Troubled Assets Relief Program

How Treasury has spent/committed the $350 Billion so far.

1)  $168 billion in varying amounts to 116 banks
2)  Committed another $82 billion to capitalize more banks
3)  Bought $40 billion in preferred shares of American International Group (AIG, Fortune 500) so the troubled insurer could pay off an earlier loan from the Federal Reserve
4)  Committed $20 billion to back any losses that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York might incur in a new program to lend money to owners of securities backed by credit card debt, student loans, auto loans and small business loans
5)  Committed to invest $20 billion in Citigroup on top of $25 billion the bank had already received
6)  Committed $5 billion as a loan loss backstop to Citigroup
7)  Agreed to loan $13.4 billion to GM and Chrysler to get them through the next few months.
8  )Invested $5 billion in GMAC
9  BofA to Get $20B More From TARP, Plus Backstop on $118B

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Loans to banks boil down to just six mega-banks when the various names are combined: Citigroup, Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs Group, and Morgan Stanley.

They've already gotten our money once, and are looking for more. Bucks we haven't yet earned, and yet have still invested in them.

In the first round of payouts, executives blatantly thumbed their noses at the American public, taking ridiculously high bonuses - many millions of dollars apiece. But none of this so far has caused them to loosen their grip on loan resources for John and Sally Q. Public. Now it remains to be seen if the current astronomically high amount of investment infusion will produce the desired results: more jobs, a revived economy, and the salvation of American home owners in danger of foreclosure.

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