Bank of America now has a market capitalization less than half the value of the public money ($45 billion) it has received since October. Citigroup, too, is worth much less than has been pumped into it since then. American International Group's projected 2008 losses (more than $100 billion) are approaching 100 times its current market value. Deemed "too big to fail," it is failing in spite of $150 billion from the government.
The stimulus legislation, a.k.a. No Social Worker Left Behind, offers financial incentives for states to enlarge their welfare rolls. This looks like the beginning of a semi-stealthy repeal of the 1996 welfare reform. So it goes, as government, with a confidence disconnected from its current performance, toils to make more and more people more and more dependent on it.