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Financial Crisis: Viewpoints on the US Bailout

American congressional leaders say they've reached the broad outline of a deal to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into the stricken U.S. financial system. But the bailout is highly controversial. On 29 September the US House of Representatives voted to reject the $700 billion bailout bill 228 votes to 205. On 1 October the U.S Senate approved the deal.

 

Video clip: 'Great progress' at Capitol hill?






Joseph Stiglitz: Bail-out blues

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the United States' financial system – indeed, global finance – is in a mess. And now, with the US House of Representatives having rejected the Bush administration's proposed $700bn bail-out plan, it is also obvious that there is no consensus on how to fix it. The problems in the US economy and financial system have been apparent for years. But that didn't prevent America's leaders from turning to the same people who helped create the mess, who didn't see the problems until they brought us to the brink of another Great Depression.
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Martin Wolf: Worth risking depression

It is just over three score years and ten since the Great Depression. Judged by its rejection of the plan put forward by Hank Paulson, US Treasury secretary, Congress believes it is time to risk another one. That slump was, arguably, the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century: it was, among other things, responsible for the events that led to the second world war – not least Hitler’s rise. One can only imagine what horrors a depression might bring now?
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Nouriel Roubini: Not so much bail-out as rip-off

Whenever there is a systemic banking crisis there is a need to recapitalise the banking/financial system to avoid a destructive credit contraction. But purchasing toxic/illiquid assets of the financial system is not the most effective and efficient way to do this. Such government-led recapitalisation – via the use of public resources – can occur in a number of ways: by purchasing bad assets or loans; an injection of preferred shares; an injection of common shares; a purchase of subordinated debt; an issuance of bonds to be placed on the banks' balance sheet; an injection of cash; credit lines extended to the banks and government assumption of government liabilities.
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Ann Pettifor: Why the bailout won't work

Is Warren Buffett right? Will this bail-out halt the meltdown? I don't believe so. Here's why: First, this is a bail-out of a small number of shareholders and creditors with stakes in Wall Street financial institutions - people like investment guru Warren Buffett - and potentially some foreign banks. Almost as an aside, Section 23 of the Act requires that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson "take into consideration…..the need to help families keep their homes and to stabilize communities".
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George Soros: Recapitalise the banking system

The emergency legislation currently before Congress was ill-conceived – or more accurately, not conceived at all. As Congress tried to improve what Treasury originally requested, an amalgam plan has emerged that consists of Treasury’s original Troubled Asset Relief Programme (Tarp) and a quite different capital infusion programme in which the government invests and stabilises weakened banks and profits from the economy’s eventual improvement. The capital infusion approach will cost tax payers less in future years, and may even make money for them.
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Dean Baker: Congress for conservative nanny state

Most authors of books on politics or economics are happy when they get one or two prominent members of Congress to endorse their work. It looks like I’m about to get majorities of both chambers to endorse my book, The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer (free download available). There is no other way to describe Henry Paulson’s $700 billion bailout deal.
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The World Bank's Oily Failure in Chad / ILO/UNEP: The Transition to a Green Economy

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