Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bailout Czar Grilled On the Hill

Assistant Secretary of Treasury Neel Kashkari, the “bailout czar”, the man who Henry Paulson placed in charge of the bailout, went to Washington, DC, yesterday to testify before Congress. He sat down in front of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Oversight Committee — chaired by Rep. Dennis Kucinich. It was not a pretty picture. Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) excoriated the “bailout czar” as he brought up the reports that AIG has doled out $503 million to top executives.

Noting the financial troubles in his Baltimore district, Representative Cummings asked rhetorically whether his constituents would think Kashkari is a “chump” after learning of the AIG bonuses:

CUMMINGS: I’m just wondering how you feel about an AIG giving $503 million worth of bonuses on the one hand, and accepting $154 billion from hard-working taxpayers. You know, because I’m trying to make sure you get it. What really bothers me is all these other people who are lined up. They say, well, is Kashkari a chump?

“I wouldn’t want to be asking my friend for some money to stay afloat. … Then my friend, who can barely afford to go to McDonald’s sees me in a restaurant costing $150 a meal. There’s absolutely something wrong with that picture!” exclaimed Cummings.

Watch it:

Representative Kucinich questioned Kashkari as to why the Treasury has not focused more on helping homeowners facing foreclosure. When Kashkari replied that the Treasury Secretary is “passionate” about helping homeowners, Kucinich asked “He is? Where? What country?”

Watch it here:

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