Monday, August 10, 2009

Where's the bailout money?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 10, 2009 at 9:44 AM

Taxpayers deserve to know. The bailout money is, after all, our money.

As important, this is a test of President Obama's promise of transparency.

Here's what I think: If an average citizen has to spend more than an hour (let's be nice: an hour and a half) making phone calls and doing Internet research to get a question answered by our government, then the transparency test fails. We'll give our giant bureaucracy two hours if we have to come down to City Hall. (We'll work on efficiency later. Stop laughing.)

As things stand, even the experts don't know how the bailout money is being spent. That's a problem. Especially when there's constant news about lottery-level executive bonuses and better-than-expected bank profits.

Sorry, president: Simply listing which bank or company received the money isn't enough.

Think about it this way: If you or I were audited by the I.R.S. tomorrow and we gave them a list of deductions, do you think that would be enough? Hell no. They would want receipts.

What's the difference here?

We want to see your receipts, bankers.

Although hundreds of well-trained eyes are watching over the $700 billion that Congress last year decided to spend bailing out the nation's financial sector, it's still difficult to answer some of the most basic questions about where the money went.

Despite a new oversight panel, a new special inspector general, the existing Government Accountability Office and eight other inspectors general, those charged with minding the store say they don't have all the weapons they need. Ten months into the Troubled Asset Relief Program, some members of Congress say that some oversight of bailout dollars has been so lacking that it's essentially worthless.

"TARP has become a program in which taxpayers are not being told what most of the TARP recipients are doing with their money, have still not been told how much their substantial investments are worth, and will not be told the full details of how their money is being invested," a special inspector general over the program reported last month. The "very credibility" of the program is at stake, it said.

More from Charlotte.com.

Tags: , , , , ,

Pin It
Submit to Reddit
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Creative Loafing encourages a healthy discussion on its website from all sides of the conversation, but we reserve the right to delete any comments that detract from that. Violence, racism and personal attacks that go beyond the pale will not be tolerated.

Search Events

www.flickr.com
items in Creative Loafing Charlotte More in Creative Loafing Charlotte pool

© 2017 Womack Newspapers, Inc.
Powered by Foundation