Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Hubble Space Telescope Records The Beauty Surrounding The Black Hole At The Heart Of The Circinus Galaxy.

Speaking of "Black Holes", The New York Times and a lot of us out here in flyover country want to know just who is getting bailed out of this financial Black Hole Wall Street and AIG find themselves in.

What no one is saying — the Bush folks wouldn’t, and the Obama team seems to have taken the same vow of Wall Street omertà — is which firms would be most threatened by an A.I.G. collapse. The Treasury and the Federal Reserve noted in their statement that A.I.G. is a “significant counterparty to a number of major financial institutions.”

That means that by enabling A.I.G. to avert bankruptcy proceedings, the taxpayer is also bailing out — whom exactly?

Not knowing is not acceptable. At this stage of a deepening crisis, no one is arguing that the government should let A.I.G. collapse into a disorderly bankruptcy. It is too interconnected. During the housing bubble, it used unregulated derivatives to insure mortgage securities that turned out to be toxic — without putting aside reserves in case it had to pay up. If it now went under, there could be a chain of catastrophic defaults among banks that hold the securities and related investments.

The A.I.G. bailouts fail the basic test of transparency: Who ends up with the money? Major financial institutions are not innocent victims of A.I.G.’s demise. They are sophisticated investors, and they should have known the risks being taken — and who profited mightily from the relationship before it all came crashing down.

Whomever the recipients are, they should be investigated for their roles in the crash and, to the extent possible, be made to pay for the bailouts.

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