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The German Chancellor looks unimpressed by the growing unease in European markets

The German Chancellor looks unimpressed by the growing unease in European markets

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are both reporting today on the effects of the American credit crisis on European soil. It seems as though Monopoly Europe has just been released. More on the flip side.

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What a week it’s been. The $700,000,000,000 “bailout” or “rescue” package, the McCain/Obama debate, and now word that Citi Group has bought Wachovia has given the news networks just about reason enough to be 24-hour. As usual, though, Past & Prologue will try to dig through the noise. Today, the New York Times and Washington Post are both reporting on a story, we think deserves your attention and will warrant close coverage leading into the next administration – whoever that may be.

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Both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are reporting today that the Treasury’s bailout plan is pushing forward through Congress. The plan is not without its detractors, however. See the flip side for a quick rundown and some irresponsible predictions…

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$700 billion + $85 billion + $200 billion = the amount of money the federal government has launched into the nation’s financial system over the last two weeks. The Treasury and the Federal Reserve are playing Monopoly, buying up all the real-estate it can: $29 billion worth of Bear Sterns (so Goldman Sachs could buy the bank for fractions of pennies on the dollar), some $200 billion for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Feddie Mac, $85 billion for American International Group (AIG), and as of Saturday – $700 billion for whoever else needs some allowance money for the next few weeks. And as if that weren’t enough, some argue there is over a trillion dollars of bad debt mucking up the financial system – so the government has raised its debt ceiling from $10.6 trillion to $11.3 trillion.

So much for the numbers; it’s good to have a nice baseline – a clear understanding of just how many gold $500 bills you’ll need as the banker in this game. And make no mistake, as taxpayers, we are all the bankers in this game of Monopoly, we just happen to be playing against other bankers who’ve run out of money. Now, usually when someone runs out of money in the Parker Brothers’ game, they curse and run off or fetch some collateral from Grandma. But this is no game – this is real and Lehman Brother’s just lost their building on Boardwalk, in Midtown Manhattan, to British investment firm, Barclays. (more…)

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The fate of the world will be decided in less than seven weeks – McCain/Palin or Obama/Biden – the fat is in the fire, it would seem. Past and Prologue is slowly coming back to life, so be on the lookout for increasingly frequent, random updates concerning all things Election 2008, end-of-year government procurement, and some special comment on the apparent callapse of capitalism (or maybe just the callapse of Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, et al.)

The wheels are set in motion – check back on Monday, September 22 for updates galore!

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The US Coast Guard has been the focal point of many scrutinous eyes as of late. The highly anticipated and highly funded program, Integrated Deepwater System Program (Deepwater) is a 25-year, $24 billion program to integrate and modernize the fleet of aircraft, ships, logistics and command systems of the US Coast Guard. This program was started in 2002 and it has been a contentious program since the beginning.

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The Food and Drug Administration is so understaffed that, at its current pace, the agency would need at least 27 years to inspect every foreign medical device plant that exports to the United States, 13 years to check every foreign drug plant and 1,900 years to examine every foreign food plant, according to government investigators.

This stunning opener was the start of an article in today’s New York Times outlining how the FDA is at a breaking point between the services it is supposed to provide and those it actually can provide. This comes as Congress has announced the investigation of FDA officials for failure to properly inspect a product now on the marketplace. (more…)

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