First in a Series Reviewing the Big Bailout
There’s little time for accountability in the Obama Administration. That’s the message we citizens and taxpayers can take away from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s meeting this week with the Congressional Oversight Panel responsible for keeping track of the Troubled Asset Relief Program [TARP]. This is the new name for the Big Bailout legislation passed last September and then amended in February.
The Oversight Panel meeting was conducted like a Congressional hearing, with Geithner reading a prepared statement, followed by five minute allotments for each panel member to ask questions. Everyone talked very fast, and the meeting suddenly ended with expressions of regret that there had been no time to discuss several issues.
One wonders: Why was time so limited? To fund the “TARP” the government has borrowed $700 Billion, an amount equal to two-thirds of all the personal income tax collected by the IRS in the past twelve months. Why isn’t this vast sum of money worthy of more than an hour of the Treasury Secretary’s time to report to the panel that – we’re told – is responsible for oversight?
President Obama boasts of the “openness and transparency” of his Administration. Yet, after seven months, there is very little public information about how TARP funds have been deployed, and no information to demonstrate a link between any TARP expenditures and any tangible results in the economy.
The President tries to blame his predecessor for anything that goes wrong. But less than half of the $700 Billion had been deployed when the Obama Administration began. And, Secretary Geithner, as President of the New York Federal Reserve had been working closely with the Bush Treasury Dept. on the TARP program. Indeed, Geithner’s familiarity with the TARP was one of the reasons President Obama appointed him Treasury Secretary.