What Are the Banks Doing With the Bailout Money?

I'm at the Phoenix airport waiting for my flight home after my seminar and thought I'd comment on some things I've seen about what the banks are doing with the money they got from the $700 Billion Bailout.

I had CNN on in my room the other night and a banner went by indicating how much in bonuses was going to be paid by several of the banks. Huh? Bonuses for messing up? And these were BIG numbers. I searched the internet and couldn't find any more information, even at CNN.

Then last night they were talking about how one of the banks used some of the money to buy another bank (probably one in trouble, right?). The question in my mind is why there were not more caveats attached to the use of the bailout money. I understand that we don't want the government running private banks, but come on, giving banks huge amounts of taxpayer's money and not putting restrictions on what they can use it for (I understand they did limit "golden parachutes," but I'm not sure to what extent) doesn't make sense to me. This was supposed to be for our benefit in some way, wasn't it? If they use the money in ways that don't directly benefit us who's to say the same people who mucked things up won't make poor decisions with this money?

Let me be the first to say I'm not well-read on the provisions in the Bailout Bill, and if someone is able to comment from a more well-read position, please do.

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