- Norman Mailer, Why Are We In Vietnam?
The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the program created by Congress to expend over $700 billion of our tax dollars to prevent a "meltdown of the financial system," is a "colossal failure." It's now official. Neil M. Barofsky, the man hired as TARP's special inspector general, has come clean.
Why is it a colossal failure? Because, Mr Barofsky says (1), the act passed by Congress "expressly directs" Timothy Geithner's Treasury Department to spend hundreds of billions of the TARP money to aid struggling homeowners with their mortgages.
This has not been done. Instead, as critics have pointed out ad nauseum , all this tax money went to high-wire-act financial institutions so they could regain their balance, "not only to survive but even to flourish." In essence, the bursting real-estate bubble was re-inflated with ordinary Americans' tax revenues. The argument went, for those at the bottom, we did it for your own good.
Before piloting the Treasury Department, the brilliant Mr. Geithner worked for Kissinger Associates, the International Monetary Fund and was president of the NY Federal Reserve Bank. He was also a pal of the previous Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who had headed Goldman Sachs. Geithner is, of course, very familiar with the financial Ponzi schemers whose institutions he saved because he's one of them.
Now, with Iraq and Afghanistan in mind, cut to Libya and the fine sentiments expressed by President Obama, Hillary Clinton and Samantha Powers about saving the Libyan people from a horrific fate painted for us with harrowing imagery. Certainly, bloodshed was in the offing, and I have no question the Obama team is well intentioned; at least, many Americans seem to see their intentions that way.
Similarly, I have no doubt all the crap about saving working Americans' mortgages was equally well-intentioned rhetoric at the time it was advanced, and surely our fine members of Congress when they voted for the TARP bailout expected the money they voted to go to working families to actually go to working families.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and a US bombing in Libya
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