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Obama mulls ‘fee on banks’ to recoup bailout costs: reports

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The Obama administration will “likely” propose a new fee or tax on banks in the federal budget to be tabled in February, several news sources reported Monday.

The fee, which will be music to the ears of critics who opposed Washington’s $700-billion taxpayer-funded bailout of major investment banks and insurers in 2008, reportedly will be an attempt to recover some of that bailout cash, and will be part of the administration’s strategy to discourage risky lending.

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While the White House has been vocal in recent months about finding ways to temper the banks’ often destructive instincts, it has been opposed to many concrete proposals for reigning in the banks.

As Politico reported when it first broke news of the bank fee Monday morning, the White House is critical of the approaches being considered in other countries. The European Union has come out in favor of a global transactions tax. (EU officials have argued it has to be implemented globally or multinational banks will simply move operations to where the tax doesn’t exist.)

European leaders have been far more aggressive than the Obama administration in efforts to rein in excessive spending and risky lending by banks. Both British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have implemented temporary taxes on bank bonuses. There is no indication that Washington plans to follow suit.

As the New York Times reports, the Obama administration is opposed to a global financial transaction tax because it “would simply be passed on to customers,” and it opposes the bank bonus tax because it “could be easily circumvented.”

In October, 2008 Congress — with the support of both presidential candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama — signed into law the TARP bailout, which devoted $700 billion of taxpayers’ money to bailing out ailing Wall Street institutions.

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Since then, many of the firms have begun paying back the money, and the US Treasury Department now estimates that taxpayers will be on the hook for some $120 billion when all is said and done.

Another method that can — and sometimes is — used to temper banks’ worst instincts is the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which provides insurance on bank deposits and can discourage risky lending by increasing the premiums it charges to banks.

The FDIC did just that, temporarily, last February when it filled part of a $65-billion hole in its funds by charging a temporary fee to banks totalling $27 billion. That hole in its budget was caused by a series of bank collapses in 2008 and 2009.

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Confederate battle flag banned — Marine Corps declares it a ‘threat to our core values’

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The United States Marine Corps banned the public display of the Confederate battle flag on Friday.

"Depictions of the Confederate battle flag are unauthorized in public and work spaces aboard an installation," the Marine Corps wrote in guidance to the troops.

The ban applies to bumper stickers, clothing and flags among other items.

"The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our Corps," the Marines explained.

"Our history as a nation, and events like the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, highlight the divisiveness the use of the Confederate battle flag has had on our society," the continued. "The presents a threat to our core values, unit cohesion, security, and good order and discipline."

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BUSTED: Police arrest Anthony Brennan III on assault charges after viral video of attack on teenage protesters

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On Friday, The Washington Post reported that authorities have arrested Anthony B. Brennan III, a man suspected of being the attacker caught on camera in Maryland attacking teenagers putting up posters protesting the death of George Floyd, and charged him with second-degree assault.

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Trump is ‘a soulless man with a broken mind’: George Conway calls out his wife’s boss in scathing op-ed

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George Conway, the prominent Republican attorney married to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, blasted his wife's boss in a new Washington Post op-ed published online on Friday evening.

"Until three brief months ago, President Trump never faced a serious crisis, at least one not of his own making. But now he has faced two, and is failing two, in short order: the covid-19 pandemic, with its concomitant economic devastation; and now social unrest, and rioting, stemming from the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody," Conway wrote. "Lacking in humanity, Trump has had no idea how to handle either one."

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