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SEC’s IG: Review ex-counsel’s role in Madoff victims policy

SEC: investigate David BeckerThe inspector general at the Securities and Exchange Commission has recommended that the Justice Department examine whether to prosecute former SEC general counsel David Becker for helping shape the agency’s policy toward victims of Bernard Madoff’s investment fraud despite having a personal stake in the matter.

Becker was an heir to and executor of his mother’s estate, which included a $2 million account with Madoff. Months ago, a trustee trying to recover money for Madoff’s investors sued Becker to recover fictitious profits paid out when his mother’s account was liquidated.

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Wall Street protesters: over-educated, under-employed and angry

Wall Street protestsInspired by Tahrir Square, those who gathered in lower Manhattan are keen to mount a more permanent protest at corporate influence in US politics.

In the heart of New York's financial district, the marble and concrete floor of lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park was strewn with untidy clumps of people, gathered in small groups amid a jumble of sleeping bags, mattresses and home-made banners, protesting against the banks and institutions that towered over them.

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Census: U.S. poverty rate hit 52-year high in 2010

Poverty in the United StatesContinued high unemployment drove the number of Americans living in poverty to a 52-year high in 2010 and pushed the nation’s median household income down for the third straight year since the Great Recession first cast its ominous cloud over the nation’s economy.

More than a year after the economic recovery officially began in June 2009, 46.2 million people were earning below the poverty level in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009, according to new U.S. Census Bureau figures released on Tuesday.

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25 top companies pay more to CEO's than taxes

Verizon CEOAt least 25 top United States companies paid more to their chief executives in 2010 than they did to the federal government in taxes, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The companies — which include household names like eBay, Boeing, General Electric and Verizon — averaged $1.9 billion each in profits, according to the study by the Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal-leaning research group. But a variety of shelters, loopholes and tax reduction strategies allowed the companies to average more than $400 million each in tax benefits — which can be taken as a refund or used as write-off against earnings in future years.

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Congress Giving Millions of Foreclosed Homes To Wall Street Slumlords

Great news, everybody: After deliberately failing to help millions of American families stuck in vulture mortgages, the U.S. government is now giving those foreclosed homes to Wall Street for pennies on the dollar so that Wall Street can then rent the now-vacant foreclosures back to the same people pushed out during the Wall Street-caused housing bubble collapse. Wall Street stands to make an immense profit by becoming, overnight, the “largest improved real-estate owners in the world.” Who says capitalism doesn’t work, with a little help from the government by taking away the property of the working class and giving it to billionaires who pay no taxes? Who says that?

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Ex-Moody's exec: Ratings agencies corrupt

Mary Schapiro, Moody CE)U.S. credit-ratings agencies have conflicts of interest because they're paid by firms they're supposed to rate neutrally, an ex-Moody's Corp. executive said.

"This conflict of interest permeates all levels of employment, from entry-level analyst to the chairman and chief executive officer of Moody's Corp.," William Harrington, a former Moody's Investors Service derivative products senior vice president, said in a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which is considering new rules to reform the agencies.

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US Military Intervention in Libya Cost At Least $896 Million

The cost of U.S. military intervention in Libya has cost American taxpayers an estimated $896 million through July 31, the Pentagon said today.

The price tag includes the amounts for daily military operations, munitions used in the operation and humanitarian assistance for the Libyan people.  

The U.S. has also promised $25 million in non-lethal aid to the Libyan Transitional National Council, half of which the Defense Department has already on MRE’s (military lingo for Meals, Ready to Eat).

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