“Crisis Fee” Good First Step, But Banks Owe Much More

Media Contacts
Jason Donofrio

Arizona PIRG

According to the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG), the “Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee” announced by President Barack Obama earlier today is a good first step toward paying taxpayers back for the money lent out under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
“The President should be applauded for taking these steps to make taxpayers whole,” commented Diane E. Brown, Executive Director for Arizona PIRG. “The $90 billion the administration projects the fee will raise over ten years represent a solid beginning, but only a beginning toward recouping the taxpayer cash that flowed out of various government coffers and into the vaults of big banks.”

Brown added that “before the big banks get back to their business-as-usual big bonus pay days, they should be required to pay back the taxpayers in total – a debt that far exceeds the $700 billion in TARP dollars. Banks could start by paying back all of the other backstops, sweetheart loans, and capital infusions.”

According to Arizona PIRG, if the top banks took their yearly $150 billion in bonuses, and applied it back to their debt for ten years – they could cover the Fed’s $1.5 trillion bill.

“Taxpayers should urge the President and the Department of Treasury to continue efforts to recoup ‘every single dime’ and counter Wall Street’s desire to put bonuses ahead of bailouts,” Brown concluded.

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