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Should Bailed-out Banks Disclose What They Do With Money?


Out of the 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money, none would answer four simple questions posed by the Associated Press: How much has been spent? What was it spent on? How much is being held in savings, and what's the plan for the rest?

When asked, a spokesperson for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in taxpayer money, said: "We've not given any accounting of, 'Here's how we're doing it.' We have not disclosed that to the public. We're declining to." The $700 billion given to the Treasury Department to buy stock in banks is intended to encourage banks to lend money. Yet lawmakers put in no mechanism or consequences to make sure that happens.

Meanwhile, the AP also reports that the 116 banks that have received a bailout spent $1.6 billion on top-tier executive compensation in 2007. So while their banks faced impending collapse and a need for billions in bailouts, the leaders of the banks received millions in salaries. And now — they won't even tell us where our money is going! I think some executives, and lawmakers who let the bailout go through without any strings, have some explaining to do.

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