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Archive for Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bailout may expose taxpayers to losses

April 21, 2009

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— Taxpayers are increasingly exposed to losses and the government is more vulnerable to fraud under Obama administration initiatives that have created a federal bank bailout program of “unprecedented scope,” a government report finds.

In a 250-page quarterly report to Congress, the rescue program’s special inspector general concludes that a private-public partnership designed to rid financial institutions of their “toxic assets” is tilted in favor of private investors and creates “potential unfairness to the taxpayer.”

The report, which examines the six-month old, $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, is scheduled for release today.

Using blunt language, Inspector General Neil Barofksy offers a series of recommendations to protect the public and takes the Treasury to task for not implementing previous advice. The report also commends Treasury and the Federal Reserve for creating some safeguards.

The report’s warnings about the public-private plan’s potential for losses echoes alarms raised by some lawmakers and economists.

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