Editorial comment ///

Fuzzy math, King Henry and the cost of ignoring root causes. Most folks think that US Treasury Secretary (a.k.a. “King”) Henry Paulson, Congress and President Bush agreed to use $700 billion of taxpayer money to bail out the Wall Street gambling parlors for making bad bets. Think again; there’s fuzzy math. There’s a sort of secret bailout that Bloomberg News recently uncovered. They are called “emergency rescue loans,” and they now top $2 trillion that the US Treasury quietly made to America’s biggest banks, investment firms and insurance companies. Taxpayers are not allowed, nor even Congress, to know who got their money, to “protect” the identity of “weak” corporations. “Trust me,” says the King. Then there’s Section 382, a tax-code provision passed by Congress 22 years ago that makes it illegal for big banks to play a shell game that uses dummy companies to dodge taxes. Strangely, King Henry used his monarchial powers to summarily repeal this tax provision, without mentioning it to Congress, seemingly illegally.

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