Neil Barofsky is the man who tracks the historic bailout known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. The 39-year-old special inspector general monitors a dozen separate bailout-related programs that now account for nearly $3 trillion in financial commitments.
During an interview with the Huffington Post Investigative Fund, Barofsky made some striking observations. Among them were:
1. He found hundreds of banks capable of tracking their use of the TARP money - despite claims by the U.S. Treasury that the task was impossible. 2. If the purpose of the TARP rescue was to increase lending, it has failed
Ok. Not surprising. Boondoggle. We all knew it was probably going to be one, right?
But what the hell is this?
3. The U.S. financial system, now dependent on bigger and fewer banks, is shakier than ever.
We knew they were just throwing as much money at the problem as they could, forcing institutions to take it even if they didn't want it to obscure which ones were solvent and which ones weren't, with the idea that even though there would be tremendous waste and fraud, it would stop the avalanche and allow the system to get back on track. Naturally, one would have assumed that they would have passed serious financial reform immediately in order to prevent a similar problem from happening again and that the whole sector would sober up (at least for awhile) and behave like responsible citizens.
But instead, it's now "shakier than ever?" "Far more dangerous than it was before?" I guess that didn't work out so well, did it?
Of course that makes perfect sense if the masters of the newer, bigger financial institutions go right back to gambling like a bunch of video poker addicts at an Indian Casino, knowing that if they were too big to fail before, they are definitely too big to fail now. Why wouldn't they? The payoff is huge no matter what they do. Except the tens of million average working dopes whose dreams have been derailed and delayed, nobody paid any real price --- and who cares about them?
The good news is that the congress is finally on the case with much needed oversight --- they defunded ACORN.