'Crisis Fee' Good First Step, But Banks Owe Much More

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Nicole Tichon
Tax and Budget Reform Advocate
Office: 202-546-9707 X 370
ntichon@pirg.org

'Crisis Fee' Good First Step, But Banks Owe Much More

WASHINGTON - 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,"
U.S.
PIRG Tax and Budget Reform Advocate Nicole Tichon
noted. "But the
banks got a lot more than $700 billion." According to CNN, taxpayers
have spent $3 trillion fixing the financial mess
, with the
Federal Reserve spending $1.5 trillion to date

"The
$90
billion the administration projects the fee will raise over ten years

represents 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," Tichon continued.

"For
instance, the $90 billion represents six percent of the $1.5 trillion that the
Federal Reserve chipped in to fix Wall Street," Tichon noted.

"And
all the taxpayer support worked - for the banking industry." In
fact, Wall Street and the big banks are expected to award
themselves bonuses totaling at least $150 billion for 2009
, according to
calculations by the Americans for
Financial Reform
coalition.

U.S. PIRG's Tichon today argued
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."
 

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
stand to gain from the President's action today. We should all urge him
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," Tichon concluded.

###

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.

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