Whether from dishonesty, incompetence, or a bit of both, the big $700 billion “bailout bill” that Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson begged lawmakers to approve is falling apart. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
And now? The pulled-out-of-the-posterior “$700 billion” price tag has ballooned into the trillions. The “mortgage industry rescue” has expanded to banks, insurance companies, automakers, credit card companies, and possibly the entire national volume of consumer lending. Oh, and that vaunted “TARP” component, Paulson admitted this week, is nothing but a four-letter-word that rhymes with TRAP.
In September, Paulson offered his lofty pledge: “The ultimate taxpayer protection will be the stability this troubled asset relief program provides to our financial system, even as it will involve a significant investment of taxpayer dollars. I am convinced that this bold approach will cost American families far less than the alternative – a continuing series of financial institution failures and frozen credit markets unable to fund economic expansion.” Two months later, Paulson’s conviction melted faster than microwaved butter. “Our assessment at this time is that this is not the most effective way to use TARP funds,” he sheepishly told the nation Wednesday.
Hey, who died and put Emily “Never mind” Litella in charge of the economy?
Yep. The $700 billion that was supposed to be used to buy “distressed assets” (i.e. bad mortgages) from banks has now turned into a bit of welfare for the banks…. “Here, why don’t you make some acquisitions on the taxpayer’s dime.”
It’s hard to imagine how this whole handout could have been administered in a fashion any more incompetent than it is. The legislation itself was full of sweeteners for all sorts of special interests. We’ve got the fake call for transparency. We’ve got the selection of audit firms to provide “oversight” for the bailout that were auditing the financial statements of some of the biggest bank/investment company failures leading up to the bailout.
Now the latest is Paulsen admitting that he’s doing whatever he wants with the money, not following the intent of the legislation, and giving all taxpayers the finger because lawmakers gave him the power to do so.
I predicted fraud in this whole process from the start. (I don’t think it was too hard to predict, but I’ll take credit for that anyway.) And the fraud is even worse than I imagined. The entire TARP program has been a bunch of lies and the money of hard working taxpayers is lining the pockets of big banks and their executives. That’s how I see it.
And there’s more fraud and waste of taxpayer money to come. Lots of it. Mark my words.