Where’s My TARP Money?

I listened to the President’s State of the Union address tonight.  I noticed one thing in particular that he said: we have received back most of the money that we spent last fall through the “Trouble Asset Relief Program” bank bailout.  But in order to get back the rest of the money from the banks, the President wants to levy a fee on them.

His argument is that if these banks can afford to give out huge bonuses to their executives, then they can certainly afford to give bailout money back to the taxpayers.  So, Mr. President, I will be expecting my share of the TARP money whenever you get it from the banks.  Just make out the check to me, and write “TARP” on the memo line. 

…Oh, wait.  I guess I forgot that the word “taxpayers” can be used to refer, not to payers of taxes, but to the beauracratic juggernaut that forcibly collects taxes from payers of taxes known as the federal government. 

Maybe the taxpayers should turn Obama’s argument back on him: if the federal government can afford to shell out trillions of dollars in every direction doing who knows what, then certainly it can afford to give its returned TARP money back to the taxpayers.  And when I say, “give its returned TARP money back to the taxpayers,” I mean actually giving it back in the form of tax cuts.  I don’t mean spending it on something else.  Because spending it on something else is not really, you know, giving it back.

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One Response to “Where’s My TARP Money?”

  1. Luke A. Says:

    Aaron,

    I was a proponent of TARP when it was first proposed and, I guess I was a bit pollyannish about the integrity of our elected officials.

    Some of the TARP money HAS been repaid, and it looks like a great deal more will be. Something that was lost in the arguments last year was that TARP wasn’t a hand-out; it was a 5 year loan. Forget bank bonuses; if the banks are paying back the money on schedule, why should the Gov’t care how their day-to-day operations are run (except for populist reasons of course).

    However, the TARP money wasn’t spent exactly as planned. Some of it went to auto companies (which won’t be paid back anytime) and a lot went to institutions who, in all reality, probably should have been allowed to fail (such as AIG). The healthier banks are already on solid footing and are able to pay back the funds plus interest.

    However, my big fear now is that the money will not simply be returned. Rather, the Congress will see it as another “slush fund”, much like the Stimulus Bill was. If so, the money will NEVER be returned to U.S. Treasury (i.e. the taxpayer). They’ve already started talking about how they will spend the returned TARP money!

    That’s my big fear.

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