A.I.G.’s cash needs could grow even further. Much of the cash it needs is being used to meet collateral calls from its derivatives counterparties, and the precise collateral triggers and amounts are not public information. In general, the derivative contracts cost A.I.G. more as the real estate markets decline. The company’s financial products division did a lot of business in that type of derivative, called credit-default swaps.

The Journal has a nice on-the-ground story from a vulture-fund conference.

A large exhibit area, called Preservation Hall, overflowed with six rows of vendors peddling liquidation services, bankruptcy advice and financial analysis. Those attendees that weren’t pocketing stuffed pelicans and shot glasses often crowded around tables where investors pronounced their desire to finance distressed companies.

They will have plenty to choose from.

I like that Bloomberg put out this story about Austin residents up in arms over $64 million in city tax subsidies to corporate retailers via mall giant Simon Property Group.

The prevalence of locally owned small businesses is part of the uniqueness celebrated by the Keep Austin Weird movement, including the Cathedral of Junk, Ginny’s Little Longhorn bar and the Museum of Natural and Artificial Ephemerata.

The mall has already been built, so it seem unlikely the backlash will succeed. But there’s not enough reporting on the corporate welfare out there, especially the kind that hurts small businesses, so thanks to the Berg.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.