Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Money that was intended to boost lending in the wake of the financial crisis was instead used by bailed-out banks to repay TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) funds from the government. A new report from a government watchdog overseeing TARP noted that a number of community banks used small-business lending funds solely to repay the government. Special Inspector General Christy Romero, who authored the report, said that for some small banks, the small-business lending fund “turned out to be little more than a TARP exit strategy.”
A report issued Tuesday by the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program says the bailed-out community banks didn’t step up their loans to small business nearly as much as other small banks that weren’t rescued. Some banks that used the small-business lending fund to repay bailouts didn’t increase lending at all, while others increased loans to small business by 25 cents for every $1 from the fund.
Congress created the small-business lending fund in 2010 to encourage banks with less than $10 billion in assets to expand their lending to small businesses. At a time of economic distress, the aim was to help small businesses get capital that had become difficult for them to obtain. The loan program charged the community banks lower interest rates if they used the money for loans to small businesses.
The Treasury Department was authorized to spend up to $30 billion on loans to small banks under the program. Only $4 billion was spent, according to the report by Special Inspector General Christy Romero. Of that, a total $2.7 billion went to the 137 bailed-out banks, which used $2.1 billion of it to repay the higher-interest rescue aid they had received from the government.
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email firstname.lastname@example.org.More Natasha Lennard.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.