Transparency Not Needed for TARP Funds After All


The Washington Examiner reports exactly just how much the federal government has paid thus far for bank bailouts:

The federal government has devoted $4.7 trillion to help the financial sector through its crisis, a level of assistance equal to about one-third of the overall U.S. economy, a watchdog report said Monday.

Under the worst of circumstances, the report said, the government's maximum exposure could total nearly $24 trillion, or $80,000 for every American.

The figures are part of a tough new quarterly report to Congress from special inspector general Neil Barofsky, who accuses the Treasury Department of repeatedly failing to adopt recommendations aimed at making one component of the government financial rescue effort more accountable and transparent.

In that same report, Barofsky criticized the Treasury for not taking the steps to ensure accountability through transparency in how the TARP money is being used; something Obama promised numerous times during the campaign. "The very credibility of TARP (and thus in large measure its chance of success) depends on whether Treasury will commit, in deed as in word, to operate TARP with the highest degree of transparency possible," Barofsky told the Examiner.

The question now: As TARP is doled out to the banks, will Obama make good on his promise?

More from Reason about Obama's promise of transparency here.