I’ve been a little remiss lately, but I’m energized by the flood of information about the woeful TARP plan. The New York Times on Sunday sketched out the results they’ve uncovered, which are abysmal. Isn’t it amazing that in the infinite wisdom of our Washington leadership that they’ve ploughed $350 million into a program full of promise but bereft of results?
First, there is no obligation that the financial institutions receiving the TARP money have to publicly disclose what they’re doing with the money. So much for transparency. The “let’s buy up bad mortgages” theme has deteriorated to self-preservation for the banks. The Times informal survey of 20 different banks uncovered two of the most common uses: “hanging on to the money as insurance against a recession” and “using it for mergers”. A review of investor presentations and conference calls by executives of some two dozen banks around the country found that few cited lending as a priority. An overwhelming majority saw the bailout program as a no-strings-attached windfall that could be used to pay down debt, acquire other businesses or invest for the future.
There’s more here if you need it.