When a TARP isn’t a TARP

Last month, Congress approved the $700 billion, tax-payer financed bailout, known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.  The goal was to buy “toxic” assets from financial institutions to help restore their balance sheets.  We were told that some banks would still fail but this would help clear banks of their “illiquid assets.”

Also, in the TARP plan, Congress basically gave the Treasury Department unlimited power on how to use the $700 billion.  There was supposed to be oversight by Congress and transparency by the Treasury, but this merely leads to some meetings and Q & A sessions between Congress and Treasury chief Henry Paulson.

Today, Paulson presented to Congress his revised TARP plan which isn’t a TARP.  He says the most effective way to spend the taxpayer money is to invest directly in banks by buying stock.  

So, now the program that was lobbied for and sold to Congress and the American public has been switched on the whim of a former Wall Street CEO.  Do you really think his loyalties are to the US public at large?  Or is it to the Wall Street banks?  

We were told that some of the banks would still fail under the TARP program because they would just have too many bad assets.  Did Paulson realize that some of his buddies on Wall Street would go broke with the original TARP program?  Who really benefits from the Treasury buying stakes in Wall Street?  It’s definitely the banks first, then the American population.

This is the exact problem with one person, with unlimited power, without any checks and balances.  There is no control over his actions and what he can and cannot do.  Congress has been handing over more and more power like this to the central government for the last decade.  

Obama or the next President will not suddenly declare the US a dictatorship.  However, the power of Congress and the system of checks and balances written into the Constitution is slowly eroding away.  With every piece of legislation that hands power over to a Federal department, our rights of self governance are taken away.  

We need to stand up and stop the power-grabbing by our Washing politicians.  The Constitution was set up for a small, weak central government and we have strayed so far away from that goal.  It might take years to unwind the huge government programs, but the sooner we start the better our future will be.

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