A panel charged with overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) is whacking the program's administrators like a soggy pinata: You keep hitting the thing, but it never quite offers up what you really want from the thing. From a report that is invariably described as "scathing" comes this sort of info:
The report noted that the Treasury Department initially said that it would invest funds in "healthy" banks, naming Citigroup among them and providing the bank with $25 billion. But less than a month later, Treasury gave Citi $20 billion in additional financing "apparently to avoid systemic failure." …
Though TARP originally was conceived as a bank rescue plan, the dozens of companies that have received preliminary or full approval for TARP funds include the credit card company American Express and insurance giant AIG.
The panel said that Treasury should "clearly identify the types of institutions it believes fall under the purview" of the rescue package.
"The question is how the infusion of billions of dollars to an insurance conglomerate or a credit card company advances both the goal of financial stability and the well-being of taxpayers, including homeowners threatened by foreclosure, people losing their jobs and families unable to pay their credit cards," the report said.
A massive government program that was hastily created in a couple of weeks time (tops) is doing a poor job? Or doesn't even know what its job actually is? And can't answer questions properly to its oversight body? Say it ain't so, Joe!
It's a good thing that there's a new sheriff in town, who is going to fix all this profligate and obscure funding with the "wisdom and discipline" the situation calls for. Wow, we sure dodged a bullet there, especially with an $800 billion (or whatever) stimulus package on the launchpad.