Banks had failed, the economy had slumped and the country was waging a costly war abroad. Yet executives continued paying themselves princely sums, forcing the president of the United States to speak out:
Consumers jolted by sharp, sudden interest rate increases on their credit cards would get strong new protection from such surprises under legislation that appears headed for Senate passage later this week.
Largely unnoticed in last week's government report on the condition of the nation's biggest banks was the disclosure that five of them, topped by Bank of America, could lose $99 billion from the kinds of exotic bets that sank the global economy.
The Obama administration is digging deep into the tax code to find ways to help pay for its ambitious plans to cut taxes for middle-income families and small businesses while also overhauling the nation's health care system.
The White House on Monday projected 2009 and 2010 federal budget deficits far higher than it forecast just two and a half months ago, even as it continued to defy most experts and predict that the economy is headed for a strong comeback starting late this year.