"This is the essence of AIG's latest proposal:You HAD heard that AIG was going to get ANOTHER $40BILLION in bail-out money, hadn't you? This occurs in the context of another piece of official fiduciary chicanery, with the news of which Benen begins his column today:Man walks into pawn broker. He says to the person behind the counter, "You know that watch I brought in two weeks ago? I know you lent me $85, but now I need another $50. And I will tell you why you will give it to me. I have a gun with me. I will blow my brains out here, right now. With your nice carpet, I guarantee it will cost you more than $50 to clean up your store. And that's before we get into the cost of keeping your store closed while you clean my grey matter off your walls and what my suicide might do to your store's reputation."
Oh, and we forgot to mention that the man in the story above pulled the same trick last week and it worked like a charm."
"The financial world was fixated on Capitol Hill as Congress battled over the Bush administration's request for a $700 billion bailout of the banking industry. In the midst of this late-September drama, the Treasury Department issued a five-sentence notice that attracted almost no public attention.THAT'S Waddahmtalkinabout! See, now, THAT'S how you do it; THAT'S how it works: While the rubes are lookin' one way, you just scoop up the silver-ware and split! And I am SURE everyone is shocked--SHOCKED!, I say--in a Naomi Klein kind of way...
But corporate tax lawyers quickly realized the enormous implications of the document: Administration officials had just given American banks a windfall of as much as $140 billion.
Did the Treasury Department have the authority to do this? "I think almost every tax expert would agree that the answer is no," said George K. Yin, the former chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the nonpartisan congressional authority on taxes. "They basically repealed a 22-year-old law that Congress passed as a backdoor way of providing aid to banks."
The change to Section 382 of the tax code -- a provision that limited a kind of tax shelter arising in corporate mergers -- came after a two-decade effort by conservative economists and Republican administration officials to eliminate or overhaul the law, which is so little-known that even influential tax experts sometimes draw a blank at its mention. Until the financial meltdown, its opponents thought it would be nearly impossible to revamp the section because this would look like a corporate giveaway, according to lobbyists.