HIGHTOWER: S&L Barons Get Another Bailout

Time for another Hog Report!Wait a minute ... I've seen these hogs before -- that's Ron Perelman, the corporate raider, and there's the billionaire Bass brothers of Texas. These are some of the infamous hogs from the S&L scandal of the eighties, who made a killing at the expense of us taxpayers. What are they doing back at the trough?Believe it or not, the S&L scammers want even more money from us. Here's their latest scam. As part of the bailout, those who scavenged the collapsed S&Ls not only got sweetheart deals from the government, but they also gained from an accounting trick that essentially let them turn the liabilities of the S&Ls they took over into assets. In 1989, Congress realized that this water-into-wine trick was an unwarranted giveaway to super rich S&L barons, so it was stopped.The barons squealed like stuck piggies and went running to the courts, claiming that it was unfair to strip this freebie from their fat fingers. Two years ago, our corporate-loving Supreme Court ruled in favor of the barons, and now the federal courts are about to begin the first payouts for the "losses" these barons sustained by having this hand-out taken from them. That's right -- they were given something they shouldn't have been given, then when it was taken away, they got the courts to give it to them again, retroactively.Since these flimflammers had already profited enormously from the earlier bailout, the industry feared that an outraged public might demand that the industry itself foot the bill for this retroactive giveaway. So S&L lobbyists quickly and very quietly got their Congressional henchmen to slip two little paragraphs into last year's massive budget bill. Bottom line: you and I will pay up to $50 billion more to these barons. That amounts to about $500 from each American household.This is Jim Hightower saying ... I can think of a lot of ways I'd rather spend $500 ... how about you?


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