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From Wall Street to Main Street to Skid Row

Mark Mardell | 21:15 UK time, Thursday, 15 October 2009

The politicians said that Wall Street had to be saved to rescue Main Street. But even as Wall Street makes profits, the loans don't seem to be flowing into Main Street.

The United States economy is about to pose an interesting political problem. As the Dow Jones industrial average hits 10,000 for the first time for over a year, unemployment hovers on the edge of the 10% mark.

As Goldman Sachs makes quarterly profits of more than $3bn, and ponders paying bonuses, for the first time in 34 years social security payments to Americans will not increase automatically next year. It is because inflation is so low, but it may not feel like justice to those not getting their expected annual increase while watching bankers get big bonuses.

One writer calls the planned payouts to bank executives "unseemly corporate welfare". Is he right?

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