Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wow. You would think that a non-sports journalist would cover something like this...

Remember T.A.R.P.? You should. It's a program to spend $700 billion of your dollars to buy toxic assets from troubled banks and financial institutions specifically designed to loosen up the frozen credit markets.

NOW do you remember?

What we now know is that T.A.R.P. was so hastily and frantically conceived and executed that much of the money was spent without accountability. Additionally, The New York Times reported that "few [banks] cited lending as a priority. An overwhelming majority saw the bailout program as a no-strings-attached windfall that could be used to pay down debt, acquire other businesses or invest for the future."

So much for freeing up the credit markets.

But wait! There's more!

A February 5 report by the Congressional Oversight Panel of the Senate Banking Committee has revealed that we purchased $176 billion worth of those toxic assets for, wait for it, $254 billion.

Nicely done. That's a shortfall of $78 billion for those of you keeping score at home.

Funny how words like "billion" and "trillion" don't sound so big any more.

Even funnier is that I haven't seen or heard this reported anywhere except in the February 10 Tuesday Morning Quarterback column at ESPN.com .

Gregg Easterbrook, author of the column points out a couple of juicy tidbits. First, $78 billion would be enough to fund universal health care for a year.

Further, and this should really burn...

Treasury officials had the temerity to tell Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren,
chairwoman of the bailout oversight panel, the mistake isn't quite as bad as it
sounds because the stocks purchased have returned $271 million in dividends to
taxpayers. So we threw $78 billion out the window but $271 million (three-tenths
of 1percent) blew back! In contemporary Washington, this is viewed as driving a
hard bargain.

Now just who do you think ended up with their filthy hands all over our missing $78 billion? Think it's the same scumbags who led us into this fucked up quagmire in the first place? Hmmm?

1 comment:

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