The Next Six Bailouts?

Barry Ritholtz, the author of 2009's "Bailout Nation," says yes.

"AIG continues to be a problem child," Ritholtz said.

That's because it's taking a long time to wind down the company's portfolio of some $3 trillion in derivatives -- financial instruments used to make bets on the performance of assets such as mortgages.

"They're trying not to run things as a fire sale," he said, but that "creates this hurry-up-and-wait sort of approach."

In a statement to, AIG noted that it recently reduced its debt to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York by $25 billion by selling it to life insurance subsidiaries.

"AIG is committed to repaying taxpayers," the company said.

Citi and State

Citigroup: Citigroup recently freed itself of the tens of billions it owed to the federal government, but Ritholtz said it could return to the taxpayers' trough this year.

He said that the government pressure to relax the "mark to market" rule allowed Citigroup and other financial institutions to avoid writing down many of their poorly-performing assets. Citi, which Ritholtz said was among the most aggressive in embracing derivatives and investments into subprime mortgages, ultimately could pay the price for the flexibility allowed by the "mark to market" rule change, he said.

"They're carrying all this bad debt on their books," he said. "There's a strong possibility they'll run into problems."

Citigroup told that the bank would not comment on speculation from any one analyst, though it did emphasize comments made by its CEO, Vikram Pandit, last month.

"As I have stated many times over the past year, we planned to exit TARP only when we were convinced that it was prudent to do so,'' Pandit said in a Dec. 14 statement. "By any measure of financial strength, Citi is among the strongest banks in the industry, and we are in a position to support the economic recovery."

States: The Obama administration's 2009 stimulus package included $53.6 billion to help states avoid cutbacks and layoffs in education and public safety.

But that wasn't enough to stop some states from falling headfirst into budget shortfalls. Among the worst may be California's. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to ask the federal government for billions in relief to close a $21 billion budget gap, the Wall Street Journal reported.

There have been proposals to use money paid back by banks into the Troubled Asset Relief Program to provide new aid to states.

Such initiatives would be "spending neutral" because they supposedly wouldn't add to the deficit, said Aaron Smith, a senior economist at Moody's

But Smith said it's entirely possible that aid to the states would eventually outstrip TARP allocations and noted that some estimate state help could add anywhere between $50 billion and $150 billion to the deficit.

"State and local government aid is one area where the cost could escalate fairly quickly," he said.

"It tends to be more expensive" than other kinds of stimulus efforts, such as tax incentives, because "direct aid is doled out up front as opposed to tax incentives, which tend to get spread out over the year."

Pension Problems

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation insures the pensions of more than 44 million American workers. Even before the financial crisis hit, the PBGC was in trouble, Montgomery said.

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