The 6 Biggest Debate Promises Obama Failed to Keep

Warm up for tomorrow night's empty promises with some of 2008's forgotten pledges.

(Page 2 of 6)

2) Incredible Shrinking TARP Repayments

"[W]e've got to make sure that taxpayers, when they are putting their money at risk, have the possibility of getting that money back and gains, if the market—and when the market returns." 

Obama's if/when statement revealed plenty. Tripling of the monetary base has created a series of fool's rallies on Wall Street, helped keep real estate prices from reaching affordable levels, made grocery shopping a painful ordeal, and induced four years of stagnation. So has all that suffering at least allowed taxpayers to collect from firms that received funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)? 

Big no. While plenty of useful pundits have claimed TARP is being paid back with interest, the repayment actually follows a funny sliding-scale pattern: Every month or so you hear a figure about TARP profit, then a few months later you get a new figure that's lower than the earlier figure. Actual repayment has been limited almost entirely to the too-big-to-fail banks, which have gotten bigger and failier since 2008. There is little prospect that taxpayers will ever be repaid in full, let alone with interest. As the TARP Special Inspector General noted in a January report [pdf]: "TARP will continue to exist for years. TARP programs that support the housing market and certain securities markets are scheduled to last until as late as 2017, and the Treasury can spend an additional $51 billion on these programs during those years."

To be fair, Obama inherited TARP from the Bush administration (though as a senator Candidate Obama voted for it). But what about the part of the TARP disbursement the Obama Treasury Department brags about: the bailout of General Motors? GM still owes the taxpayers more than $23 billion in TARP money, has realized losses on more than $5 billion, and paid back another portion by borrowing from the other public funds.  

Next: Make the banksters pay! (Part II)

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Come on! No alt-text for that photo?!

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Damme, now my browser works....well done, well done indeed!

  • ||

    They have used it a few times...I think an entire article explaining what the fuck is going on is in order.

    alt-text will not cut it.

  • ||

    "Com'ere, youngster. Gimme some of that sugar."

  • Pro Libertate||

    Wouldn't it be easier to take all of Obama's promises and list the ones he kept? I've got one--he ran for the presidency and actually took office. Can't deny that.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Hey, Lo Pan! He may be my favorite villain ever.

  • ||

    Which Lo Pan? Little old basket case on wheels or the ten foot tall roadblock?

  • Pro Libertate||

    One and the same person, Episiarch.

  • Ice Nine||

    Not sure Lo Pan qualifies as a "person". Can we get a ruling?

  • Pro Libertate||

    If you substitute "Jack" for "Episiarch", I'm quoting the movie.

  • db||

    I am Episiarch's complete lack of surprise.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Episiarch Kennedy. Episiarching off.

  • ||

    Episiarch you, ProL.

  • Pro Libertate||

    No, no, you're doing it wrong, Episiarchass.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    household net worth [pdf] is still $3 trillion below where it was at the start of the recession.

    Why start there? That was six months before Obama took office. The housing bubble popped and home prices won't see bubble prices again for decades.

    And CEO pay? The TARP banks paid back their loans ASAP when their pay was threatened as wards of the state.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Hmmm, maybe you skipped this:

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Shrike rarely even reads the articles he sources.

    My favorite was him citing Warren Buffet's support for Simpson-Bowles as evidence of his desire to see the debt paid down, when in the same article Buffet said, "So you have to get expenditures, in my view, down to about 21 percent of GDP. And you have to get revenues up to 18 1/2 or 19."

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The big banks did pay TARP back meaning all nine that were forced into it by Hank Paulson. And they did it fast when their exec pay was threatened. Give Geithner his credit.

    The loan profit from just those nine was over $25 billion.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Fuck that tax cheat:

    WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) -- Regulators were under pressure to cut the biggest banks loose from the Wall Street bailout program, a federal watchdog said in a report issued Friday.

    Congress and regulators made it easier for the biggest banks to pay back tens of billions of dollars borrowed under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), according to a Friday report released by the Special Inspector General for TARP.

    The report zeroed in on regulators who ignored their original requirements to ensure eight of the weaker big banks had enough of a capital cushion when they exited TARP.

    The report suggests that if regulators had required Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500) and PNC Financial Services (PNC, Fortune 500) to raise as much capital as Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) had to, the banks may have been in a stronger position

  • ant1sthenes||

    You mean six months before he became President. Senator is pretty much the next level down in terms of power for elected officials.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Just for laughs.

  • ||

    Does it need to be said that these promices are so farcially stupid in the first place that we almost shouldn't even care if he kept them or not?

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Bush hurt us so bad. We were desperate.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    You know. Now that I think of it, Bush did a lot for the Democrats. I mean, Obama is at least as nutty as Gore or Kerry, but Americans weren't ready to buy the load of crap.

    It took 8 whole years of Bush to soften up Americans for the Dems to regain presidential power.

  • MoreFreedom||

    If Romney wins, it'll be a repeat of the big warfare/welfare state, the economy will remain in the tank, and Democrats will regain Congress (possibly in 2014) and then Democrats will control all branches in 2016. Followed by more Democratic thieving such as Obamacare.

    I say vote for Johnson (if not then Obama) as we'll have a divided government, and Republicans will be less likely to allow new spending increases.

  • mitch||

    We all know why Obama's plans have not all succeeded: the Republicans cock blocked him!

  • ||

    Godamnit, why won't you just give Obama a chance?! //deluded Democrat

  • MoreFreedom||

    Obama had his chance with his $800 billion stimulus (and he also voted for TARP and signed every spending bill). He increased the debt by over $5 trillion. That's not giving him a chance? If not, what does it take?

    Obama will say anything to get elected, but then so will Romney. One must look to their records (not their rhetoric) to see what they might do. And it's about the same, and they both offer more government.

    I'll be voting for less government. The only candidate with that record, is Gary Johnson.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Sure, Obama has merely followed the same pneumatic strategy employed by his predecessors – using every known policy tool to discourage savings and spur spending – and it would not have been realistic to expect any different. But his administration has continued to spin new fictions of fiscal responsibility, with Treasury Secretary Geithner repeatedly claiming that personal savings rates are higher than they were under President George W. Bush.

    This is one of the most egregious bits of double-speak by the administration, as the payment of household debt is counted as "savings" in the government lexicon.

    If the savings rate went up, it was primarily because people were vastly overleveraged and trying to reduce their debt profile.

  • Jerry on the road||

    Didn't Obama talk about proving the cynics wrong - whatever happened to that?

  • ||

    Something something obstructionist Tea Party terrorist Republicans.

  • ||

    At least he gave us Droney the Friendly Drone

  • Calidissident||

    This might be the best cartoon of all time

  • Romulus Augustus||

    None of this matters to most of the large bloc of women voters.
    He's dreamy, his wife is fabulous, and he's for free contraceptives.
    What else do you need to know?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I'm not laughing because it's funny; I'm laughing because it's true.

  • Hopfiend||

    I am laughing so I don't effin, cry

  • SIV||

    Pay reparations:

    $1.45 for every dollar a man makes. Lilly Ledbetter II. Comparable worth+ coming in Obama's second term.

  • ant1sthenes||

    They do realize that we can pretty much revert to caveman mode whenever we want, right? I mean, it'll have to be single guys with nothing to lose in terms of pussy to get the ball rolling, but once they do...

  • Barack||

    Yeah, but Romney's rich. and that's eviiilll now... Don't you pay attention?

  • Skip||

    I watched the first 2000 debate over the weekend and I had forgoten how much of a jackass Al Gore came off as. He was sighing and interupting all over the place! But I don't think any Democrat will give that bad of a performance in my lifetime.

  • Ayn Random Variation||


  • Brian from Texas||

    Since my man Gary Johnson isn't welcome, I'm paying the debate back in kind by not watching. I'll just watch a Beavis Butthead DVD instead. I'd rather watch two funny imbeciles than two unfunny imbeciles.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    I have a class tomorrow, and I plan on watching The Avengers when I get home.

    Tell me, will anyone who doesn't subscribe to the TEAM-sport political paradigm actually be interested in the debates?

  • FD||

    It's kinda cool that we don't have to watch anymore:

    (a) The right and left press predict how each player is going to perform.

    (b) And the right and left press tell us how well their player actually did perform.

    What's amazing is that they don't have to stay up late tonight to write (b).

    They've already written it.

  • Hopfiend||

    This makes me smile a little

  • EqualTime||

    Really? This is what you got?

    Wasn't the Fisker loan part of a Bush administration deal, not the Stimulus?

    Didn't Obama need help from Congress to reduce the deficit and create jobs? Didn't the TOP Congress reject the Jobs bill? WHere is the TOP Congress effort to create jobs? Didn't Obama push through the key benefit to the middle class - the payroll tax holiday - over Bohener's objection? Is a 3% tax break only good for Matt Lauer's $25 million annual income but not the bricklayer's $50,000?

    I agree it is ridiculous to me that not one bankster apparently did anything criminal in the 2008 meltdown. I would certainly take another look at that.

    Good luck with all that. We'll see how it plays out.

  • Sevo||

    Sarc? Stupidity?

  • 4thaugust1932||

    US/EU must peg Outsourcing/BPO/IT projects/jobs to Human rights/Caste system in CHINDIA.


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties