Budget Gap Grows to $589 Billion

700 Merill Executives Received Bonuses

ft.com — Nearly 700 Merrill Lynch executives had cash bonuses of more than $1 million each for last year, New York's top law enforcement official disclosed. Andrew Cuomo, New York's attorney-general, called the bank's decision to bring forward nearly $4 billion of pay-outs a "surprising fit of corporate irresponsibility" that raised "serious and disturbing questions." Mr Cuomo said the bonuses for 2008 were "disproportionately distributed to a small number of individuals," with the top four recipients taking in a combined $121 million. Mr Cuomo launched an investigation into the payments at Merrill Lynch after reports that Merrill accelerated its bonus payment schedule in December, even as its losses were approaching record levels. He detailed some of the investigation's findings in a letter to the House financial services committee.

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Budget Gap Grows to $589 Billion

money.cnn.com — The Treasury Department said Wednesday that the federal budget deficit grew by $83.8 billion in January, bringing the total deficit for the first four months of the fiscal year to $569 billion. By comparison, the Treasury ran a cumulative surplus of $89 billion during the first four months of fiscal 2008. So far this fiscal year, which began in October, the 2009 deficit has already exceeded the $455 billion deficit for all of fiscal 2008. January's deficit was slightly larger than December's $83.6 billion shortfall, and is nearly five times the $17.8 billion deficit recorded in Jan. 2008. The deficit has increased dramatically in recent months as the government has spent billions to shore up the nation's shaky financial system.

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