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Treasury could bail out any industry
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press

San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press, October 30, 2008
Posted: November 7th, 2008

As the list of ailing companies seeking government help grows, it is anybody's guess where the Treasury Department's largesse will stop. The $700 billion bailout bill is so vague that virtually any U.S. company could be eligible for government help. While the capital infusions announced this month will be directed only to banks, Treasury spokeswoman Brookly McLaughlin confirmed that the law allows the department to create other rescue programs "open to a broader set of financial institutions." As the bill is written, "financial institutions" don't have to be banks or financial entities. In theory, any company could declare itself a financial institution and ask the Treasury Department to grant it temporary aid if its rescue is deemed "necessary to promote financial market stability." "Talk about the barn doors being left open - it's like they left off the walls and roof, too," said Bert Ely, an independent banking consultant. He suggested that under the bill, an airline could transfer future revenue streams into a subsidiary and ask the government to buy shares in that new "financial institution." Representatives of the auto, insurance and other industries are already seeking government help, indicating they think they qualify because of their financing units. Airlines and home builders are lobbying for government help to prop them up through the economic downturn - either under the bailout bill or some other legislation. And if insurance and auto lobbyists succeed in their efforts to tap the bailout money, experts said other industries will probably follow.

Note: For extensive coverage of continuing revelations about the Wall Street bailout, click here.

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