Nearly forgotten in the race to castigate the Obama administration for wasting the nation’s money in so-called bailouts is that last September the Bush administration asked Congress for $700 billion (TARP funds) to bailout Wall Street. Many recipients were so grateful that they promptly doled out huge bonuses and went on expensive junkets to exotic locations. In addition, Bush asked for several billions to keep the auto industry from bankruptcy, loss of jobs, negative impact on the economy, etc. These monies were granted in December in obeisance to the “too big to fail” theory.
So, what happened? Money was poured into Detroit and the two recipients, Chrysler and GM, subsequently went bankrupt, are now downsizing, laying off thousands of people, closing a few thousand dealerships, and shuttering many plants. What would they have done without bailout money? Well, they would have…—gone bankrupt, downsized, laid off people, and closed plants and dealerships. The only difference is that the executives (with minor exception) got to keep their jobs, perks, and bonuses. In other words, the auto industry got the axle and we got the shaft.
Much of the bailout funding to the auto industry and TARP not only did not have the desired effect, but will go down in history as a government boondoggle of massive proportions. What the Washington crowd does to us all the time (just as in football) is use misdirection—keep us looking the wrong way while they pull off their grand heist end runs. Just look at Iraq and Afghanistan. We were continually warned about terrorist threats, with the attendant colored threat levels, and taught to fear for our personal safety while Cheney & Co. handed out no-bid contracts to their cronies—you know who they are. The waste, misappropriation, and outright fraud of these adventures are slowly coming to light. The Obama administration and Congress is no less culpable for continuing the Bush/Chaney policies set in motion before his arrival at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
It is claimed that PT Barnum once opined, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” This seems to have become the political mantra for Washington that must be recited each day before going to work.