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Back to the Blog Whatever Happened to All Those TARP Funds?

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Coffee and Markets

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Francis Cianfrocca joins Ben Domenech for the Monday, October 26th edition of Coffee & Markets, a series of brief morning podcasts on politics and the marketplace, now appearing as well on WashingtonTimes.com.

Today’s podcast focuses on Neil Barofsky’s IG report covering the uncontrolled ramifications of the TARP program, its lack of anti-fraud measures, and how much the taxpayers will end up paying for it all.

Items discussed include this DC Examiner editorial:

Congress put American taxpayers on the hook for $700 billion last year when it approved the massive bailout to paper over the imprudent lending decisions of nine Wall Street giants: Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, State Street and the Bank of NY Mellon. The bailout was essential to save the nation from a complete economic meltdown. Or so insisted President George W. Bush, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi…

In his 256-page report to Congress, Barofsky notes that the Treasury Department’s failure to implement anti-fraud measures, or even to require TARP recipients to report how they used the billions Congress and the Treasury Department gave them, makes it highly unlikely that the $317 billion outstanding — nearly half the TARP total — will ever be returned to taxpayers. Barofsky also threatened to subpoena documents relating to the Treasury Department’s “less-than-accurate statements … concerning TARP’s first investments in nine large financial institutions,” as well as its subsequent refusal to report what hundreds of other TARP recipients did with the funds.

So there you have it: Treasury officials lied to Congress and the public, and refused to demand even a basic level of accountability from TARP recipients while borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars that taxpayers will eventually have to pay back, plus billions in interest. Incredibly, just Wednesday, President Obama announced a new TARP-like program for small businesses and community banks. The madness in Washington won’t stop until the people completely clean house at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.