The much-maligned TARP bailout expires Sunday, and it might actually turn a profit. “[T]he once-unthinkable possibility that the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program could end up costing far less, or even nothing,” according to the New York Times, “became more likely on Thursday with the news that the government had negotiated a plan with the American International Group to begin repaying taxpayers.”
Although the public still doubts the necessity of the bailouts, the Treasury believes that TARP will end up costing the government no more than $50 million. “This is the best federal program of any real size to be despised by the public like this,” said Douglas Elliott of the Brookings Institute, a Washington-based think tank. Best-case projections hope for a profit if AIG and the bailed-out auto companies can remain profitable, and the Treasury can sell its corporate shares for a profit. “Whatever the final losses from housing, auto companies, A.I.G. or smaller banks,” according to the Times, “those will be offset by taxpayers’ profits from the big banks that have been the focus of their ire since 2008.”
Yesterday, the Department of the Interior announced that the government is imposing stricter drilling and workplace safety rules for offshore drilling. “The drilling safety rule—which takes effect immediately—dictates specific procedures aimed at preventing a blowout,” according to the Washington Post, “including cementing and casing practices and the appropriate use of drilling fluids. It also increases oversight of mechanisms—such as the blowout preventer—that would shut off the flow of oil and gas in an accident, and it requires operators to secure independent and expert reviews of well design, construction and flow-intervention mechanisms.”
Energy officials believe that with the new rules in place, the moratorium on offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico can be lifted without consequence. However, environmentalists don’t trust that the new rules make it safe to just drill anywhere in the U.S. “The safest drilling of new places like the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, eastern Gulf of Mexico or the Arctic is no drilling at all,” said Michael Gravitz of Environment America.
Rebel police offers, protesting against cuts to police and armed forces benefits, physically assaulted Ecuadorian president, Rafael Correa. Protests also broke out across the country. “Correa went to a regimental barracks to try to negotiate with protesters but was surrounded and jostled and forced to flee after a teargas canister was fired at him,” according to the Guardian. “Some of those who shoved him were police in full uniform. TV pictures showed a man in a tan suit punching the president and trying to yank a gas mask off his face. “
Correa was brought to a hospital, where more protesting officers tried to break in. “They’re trying to get into my room, maybe to attack me. I don’t know,” Correa said. “But, forget it. I won’t relent. If something happens to me, remember my infinite love for my country, and to my family I say that I will love them anywhere I end up.” The government has labeled the revolt a coup and declared a one-week state of emergency. Peru closed its border with Ecuador, but Correa has gained the support of the majority of the South American states and the UN.
A massive rainstorm made its way up the eastern coast, from the Carolinas towards New England, yesterday. “Four people,” according to MSNBC, “including two children, were killed when their sport utility vehicle skidded off a rain-slicked highway about 145 miles east of Raleigh and plunged into a water-filled ditch, North Carolina troopers said. A fifth victim likely drowned when his pickup veered off the road and into a river that was raging because of the rain.”
The storm is the remnant of Tropical Storm Nicole, which fizzled out over Florida on Wednesday. There have been flashflood warnings throughout the northeast and widespread losses of electricity. Multiple reports of other non-fatal car crashes have surfaced as well. For some, the storm was a welcome change after a mostly dry summer in the Northeast.