Why Is The Administration Fighting Transparency On TARP?

from the this-is-not-good dept

We haven't written that much about the economy lately, as others seem to be doing a great job on it, but back when the TARP program first came about, we were quite concerned with the nature of the program, and specifically the lack of transparency. With the change in administrations -- especially to one that insisted transparency was a key factor, we hoped that things would get better. Now, it's no secret that we've been upset about some of the new administration's failure to live up to its own transparency promises. But there had been some evidence lately that it really was becoming increasingly transparent with how some taxpayer funds are being spent.

Apparently, that doesn't apply to the bailout, though.

Here's a disturbing story about the guy who's in responsible for being the independent watchdog over how the TARP money is being spent. While he's a long-term Democrat and Obama supporter (so his views aren't political), he's been quite critical of how the administration is not being at all transparent concerning how TARP is being used. He wanted the administration to force the banks to explain what they were doing -- and was told that was impossible. So he did it himself -- and asked the banks to let him know how the funds were being used, which they did. He used that and some other info to put out a report, suggesting that the funds aren't being used as was expected. That sounds exactly like what the independent watchdog should be doing.

But the administration (mainly the Treasury Department) has been fighting him, and is now trying to have it declared that the independent watchdog actually is under the control of the Treasury Department -- which would basically take away the whole "independent" part. That seems to go against the very concept of the transparency we were promised. It's great that this guy and his very small team of folks are actually monitoring what's happening with our taxpayer money (whether you agree with how it was used or not). It's not a good sign that the Obama administration is now trying to muzzle him. That's not transparency people can believe in.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), Jul 28th, 2009 @ 6:00am

    That's not transparency people can believe in.

    No, but it's the same crap we've come to expect.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      interval, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 8:21am

      Re:

      My "liberal' friend had been saying for years how evil the republicans are and that repubs are the tax and spend ones; he rested his laurels on the Clinton years and how he left office with a surplus. My friend's problem however is that I am older than he and I have seen a damn cite more than he. I kept repeating my usual mantra; "Nothing will change. That 'Change you can believe in' slogan is just that, a slogan, and spending is such that neither party will fix anything with the usual party philosophy. You simply have to cut spending; which neither party will ever consider. The gov. can only get bigger from here on out. Every fix that either party will propose will only make it bigger and cost more until complete federal collapse. Seems I was right.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 10:21am

      Re:

      D-D-DOUBLE ZING!!!

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Me@work, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 12:01pm

      Re:

      Obama is just like any other politician. They say what ever to get elected. There is defiantly no "change" in this administration. I just "hope" things do not get much worse.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      :Lobo Santo (profile), Jul 28th, 2009 @ 12:07pm

      Re:

      Q: "Has your government ever deceived you?"

      A: "No. I knew they were lying all along."

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    yozoo, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 6:06am

    Tell Me Something

    Tell me exactly how these guys COULD spend tax payer money (replacing thier own lost missmanaged private capital) without upsetting the American people. Give me a scenario where the information reported could be viewed as "good" by the American people . . . I dont see one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      hegemon13, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 8:05am

      Re: Tell Me Something

      Simple. Use it to provide credit, as it was supposed to be. Most Americans do not like that the bailout money is being spent, but most have also already accepted that it's purpose is to stimulate the free flow of credit. When the companies are increasing bonuses and not extending any additional credit, the people have right to be furious.

      Now, with that said, you aren't even arguing the point of the article. It even states "whether you agree with how it was used or not." The point is that the only guy trying to keep the program accountable is being told that he is not allowed to either investigate or publish results. That's a problem no matter how you cut it.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2009 @ 1:55pm

        Re: Re: Tell Me Something

        "Simple. Use it to provide credit, as it was supposed to be. Most Americans do not like that the bailout money is being spent, but most have also already accepted that it's purpose is to stimulate the free flow of credit. When the companies are increasing bonuses and not extending any additional credit, the people have right to be furious."

        The Banks of course claim they are doing both, what is the ratio of loans to bonus that you would find acceptable. (do you see my point at all yet?)

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 6:19am

    Let's just seize the government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 6:34am

    is anyone surprised? he's just as dirty as bush.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 28th, 2009 @ 7:02am

      Re:

      "is anyone surprised? he's just as dirty as bush."

      I know what you're saying, but consider this as perhaps a better way of stating it:

      What matter is it the differences between the puppets when the hands jammed up their rears are the same?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), Jul 28th, 2009 @ 7:06am

      Re:

      Obama is a dirty bush?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        interval, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 8:28am

        Re: Re:

        Given that Obama is a Democrat, and Bush was a Republican, yes, they're both cut from the same jib. Both have a way to 'fix' problems by spending our money. Neither (and this cuts to both parties, not just both men) have ever even remotely suggested (well, I suppose Bush has paid lip service to...) cutting back on federal spending or the size of the federal govmnt. as a solution to any problem or an action item in any list of things 'to do'. Both are guilty of not giving a damn about doing what's right. Only in perpetuating a self-serving leviathan that can only consume, never create. Yes, Obama is a evil as Bush. As long as we keep electing the same fuckheads from the same two sources, they will all be evil. You can't keep drinking the same poison from the same two wells and hope it will get better.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      TXCHL Instructor (profile), Jul 28th, 2009 @ 7:36am

      Re: Dirty as Bush?

      In 8 years, GWB *never* did or said anything quite as stupid as BHO did last week. (I'm not a Bush fan, and I did not vote for him either time).

      BHO has firmly established a "Culture of Corruption" worse than any other administration since Warren Harding. You can read about it in Michelle Malkin's "Culture of Corruption" Hardback version: http://bit.ly/c9KSl E-book version: http://bit.ly/4CNC5d
      --
      Thanks BHO, for the tremendous stimulus you have give *my* business! (http://www.chl-tx.com)

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 7:49am

        Re: Re: Dirty as Bush?

        "In 8 years, GWB *never* did or said anything quite as stupid as BHO did last week. (I'm not a Bush fan, and I did not vote for him either time)."

        "read about it in Michelle Malkin's "Culture of Corruption"

        You claim your were never a Bush supporter - then recomend getting information from Malkin . . come on, your either really stupid or a liar . . . and no body is that stupid!

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          JB, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 8:13am

          Re: Re: Re: Dirty as Bush?

          AC,

          That's like saying someone is stupid for finding value in the Qur'an whilst believing in the Bible, or the other way around. The intellectuals understand the benefit in seeing the debate from all angles. Based on the words of Sun Tzu, you should know yourself and your opposition to efficiently debate.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            AC, but not the above AC, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 8:28am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Dirty as Bush?

            he does not want a good and efficient debate, because he will lose. He wants someone he can bash and make fun of... just like in high school. Destroy what you cannot understand, right AC? I bet if aliens came to earth, because they were not in the bible, you would shoot them, so no one could know about them. Too bad we are too smart for you.

            As for BHO, I knew that he was just a puppet. The puppet master is unkind and ungrateful. Most of the time I think they would rather be the only ones left of this planet. But if they were the only ones, who could they make into slaves?

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            icon
            Derek Kerton (profile), Jul 28th, 2009 @ 10:30am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Dirty as Bush?

            Not sure the "intellectuals" gain a lot by tuning in Malkin. Same goes for Olbermann. Some hacks just spout lies to grow their audience and further their agenda, and Malkin is one of them.

            Yes, intellectuals will choose to get their info from diverse sources, and make their own conclusions. But they probably also are able to recognize outliers that only distort the statistical analysis. These outliers (as in statistics) are subsequently ignored.

            Wish I knew an intellectual...I'd ask them to see if I'm right.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 11:30am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Dirty as Bush?

            "That's like saying someone is stupid for finding value in the Qur'an whilst believing in the Bible, or the other way around. The intellectuals understand the benefit in seeing the debate from all angles. Based on the words of Sun Tzu, you should know yourself and your opposition to efficiently debate."

            The analogy is no good because those are books about "faith", frankly I would wonder about anyone who thinks they are factual. Political analysis should be fact based, Malkin is not, she is audience (or community based) in that she writes to sell to the sheep. Nothing can be learned from her, as her information is far too often and far too largely simply untrue.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 4:44pm

        Re: Re: Dirty as Bush?

        In 8 years, GWB *never* did or said anything quite as stupid as BHO did last week.

        Just because you agreed with him (GWB) didn't mean that it wasn't stupid. In fact, I'd say it probably meant just the opposite.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Stuart, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 8:10am

      Re:

      Worse than Bush. He will rape us of just as many freedoms as Bush. Then add a few more to the pile. Add to that the 13 "Czars" and counting and I think that he could not only have been a worse choice than McCain but ... Hell this guy might be bad enough to make me wish for Bush back. *Shiver*

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 6:58am

    Just more politicians, all the same, no point to vote for anyone because they all do the same crap just put a different name on it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Overcast (profile), Jul 28th, 2009 @ 7:31am

    So they can wrest more power, control, and money from the population - that's why.

    Tell me exactly how these guys COULD spend tax payer money (replacing thier own lost missmanaged private capital) without upsetting the American people. Give me a scenario where the information reported could be viewed as "good" by the American people . . . I dont see one.

    I'll tell you how - first off, back down on HOW MUCH they take. Then get rid of fly overs in New York with Air Force one. Quit giving out contracts to companies that cost billions for researching new ways of hying global warming and at the same time making new bombs that are even more destructive to further dirty up the environment.

    I'd say without question that 'governments' with their planes, boats, bombs, and big mansions are the WORST polluters on the planet. How much fuel is wasted on just military training? How much fuel is wasted on their limos and 6 SUV escorts? I bet any one single politician uses 10 times or MORE the resources than any of us do.

    That's why they hype global warming - it's not because they care, it's because they are paranoid us 'serfs' will use up all the resources that are "rightly" theirs!

    Then get rid of half the needless bureaucracy that's only reason to exist is to support the bureaucracy.

    Then maybe we could use a general fund for elections and not allow certain politicians to win only because they can raise more money than the next guy - all the while driving and flying all over the country to try and get elected - basically wasting fuel, paper, plastic, and more for no reason. At least when we drive, it's going to work or out with the family - not just to 'advertise'.

    That would be a start. It's not a matter of them *spending money* on things that are really important, it's about the huge, massive amount of waste. Both in terms of money and pollution these so called 'caring' governments put out.

    They consume, consume, consume. But they never put anything back - unlike 99% of the 'normal' population.

    It's funny how the 'world's largest consumer' complains at us incessantly to conserve isn't it?

    For Obama, Al Gore, and others to go on a 24/7 whine fest about global warming - when is the last time they got down on their knees in the dirt and planted a tree?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 7:45am

      Re:

      "I'll tell you how - first off, back down on HOW MUCH they take. Then get rid of fly overs in New York with Air Force one."

      One statement has nothing to do with the other? You do however prove my point perfectly. The reason treasurary is not eager for this information to come out, is becuase nothing beneficial can come of it. It will simply be used as part of larger political attacks (as this poster demostrates) and wont really provide much useful insight (cash is fungible - so what they use what money for is pretty irrelevent). Poorly managed financial instutions managed thier money badly (poor regulation allowed them to do this for far too long) and then they were given more taxpayer money to replace what they had lost (to prevent a complete collapse of the industialized world - supposedly). Tracing every dollar, even if possible, is somewhat pointless and is not going to make anyone feel any better about this situation.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Ryan, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 8:11am

        Re: Re:

        It will simply be used as part of larger political attacks (as this poster demostrates) and wont really provide much useful insight (cash is fungible - so what they use what money for is pretty irrelevent).

        This makes no sense, because this spending only occurred because of the bailouts. You would be right if you argued that it is a moot point to argue whether one's specific tax dollars went to bailouts or Medicare or abortions or whatever, but spending approved for bailouts/stimulus/bonfires measurably wastes hundreds of billions of money that could have been put to better use and now is owed back at interest.

        Poorly managed financial instutions managed thier money badly (poor regulation allowed them to do this for far too long) and then they were given more taxpayer money to replace what they had lost (to prevent a complete collapse of the industialized world - supposedly).

        And this is now something like the 500th time some dumbass has blamed lack of regulation for the world's ailments. Regulations caused this, if anything, as homeownership requirements created a huge bubble and monopolies handed to credit ratings agencies eliminated any independent assessment of risk. Not to mention that if an institution is managed poorly, that is its prerogative. The entire point of our economy is to let those institutions fail.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      reaperman0, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 9:09am

      Re:

      Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your weekly newsletter!

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Ian, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 10:11am

      Re:

      I agree with most of what you've written with the exception of your views of our military. The last thing we should be cutting funding to is the training of the people who keep us safe and the development of better equipment. The primary reason for the government is to protect it's people--you can't do that when you don't have a powerful military.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 28th, 2009 @ 10:35am

        Re: Re:

        "I agree with most of what you've written with the exception of your views of our military. The last thing we should be cutting funding to is the training of the people who keep us safe and the development of better equipment. The primary reason for the government is to protect it's people--you can't do that when you don't have a powerful military."

        Okay, what you say makes sense, except for one thing: there has to be a reasonable level of restraint on military spending. By that I mean that the statement can't be, "We need to have a powerful military so we're going to agree to all spending requests". It also can't be "We're going to just blindly spend away on most/all new projects/weapons proposed". There HAS to be a goal. I think a reasonable goal is to say, "We want to have the most powerful military and spend the most on our military budget". I even think it's a reasonable goal to say "We want to have 1.5 times as large a military as the 2nd place guy". But that isn't even CLOSE to how we spend on the military.

        -We spend 229% as much on military as THE ENTIRE European Union
        -We spend over 10x as much on military as CHINA, a country with between 5-6 times as many people as the USA
        -We spend almost exactly 1/2 of the entire WORLD'S military expenditure
        -Our spending represents 70% of the entire military budget for NATO

        I'm just saying, our military spending isn't even CLOSE to reality. Those that say there hasn't been a military industrial complex conspiracy going on within our budget since the days of WWII simply have their heads in the sand.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Albert Nonymouse, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 9:33am

    Someone should shine a light on this

    What we really need is some sort of person who would investigate this issue and communicate it to the rest of us so we know what is really going on. Some sort of ... reporter, if you will. This type of person would keep us informed of the facts so we could then take action if necessary. Such a person would be quite valuable in helping preserve the foundations of our democracy and should be compensated accordingly. I really wish such a role existed in society. It would really be worth supporting.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      John Doe, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 10:24am

      Re: Someone should shine a light on this

      I know you are being sarcastic but the sad truth is this role only exists in theory. Unfortunately, the reporters all have agendas of their own and are basically aligned with one party or the other. What is truly needed is a group of investigative reporters that actually try to separate fact from fiction and let the chips fall where they may. Instead, we have the biased media that try to portray the chips as conveniently falling within their own agenda.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Derek Kerton (profile), Jul 28th, 2009 @ 10:39am

      Re: Someone should shine a light on this

      Hey, good idea. These people could run a website, and each could bring whatever existing following they had to the website. Then they could grow their following by being high-quality, honest, and neutral.

      As their reputation spreads, they could develop a sizable audience and could choose to monetize two ways:
      - a paywall, which would reduce their audience
      - ad revenue

      If they go with ad revenue, they could sell directly to sponsors, but that might induce bias. If they just placed ads hosted by a neutral third party, say Google, they would be at arm's length from the influence of advertisers.

      They could thus pay the reporters with the ad revenues. This could work! Great idea! I sure hope there's no vested legacy business that would bitch, moan, and drag heels when this kind of great idea gets implemented.

      YOU wouldn't know of any such, would you, Albert Nonymouse?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    bob, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 11:16am

    If I Tell You What I Am Doing

    You wont let me do it.

    That's the basic operating principle of this current administration. These are the so called elites who are taking over the economy. They will tell you what to do and when to do it. Very simple, incredibly frightening.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 11:18am

    If I Tell You What I Am Doing

    You wont let me do it.

    That's the basic operating principle of this current administration. These are the so called elites who are taking over the economy. They will tell you what to do and when to do it. Very simple, incredibly frightening.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 11:39am

    I am trying to figure out what this has to do with a tech blog, besides someone trying to prove they are a republican't.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 5:34pm

    It matters not if displaying the information transparently would help or hurt the current administration. The President *promised* transparency. How may promises has he broken so far? Transparency? Lobbyists? Bi-Partisanship? Post-Racial? So far, President Obama is defining himself as merely a "bait-and-switch" artist.

    Perhaps the country needs to have it's nose rubbed in the mess we have created. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Regardless of how bad it is, the TARP info *should* be published for all to see. To support Obama without holding him to his promises is a fine example of hypocracy and we should know better. We wouldn't let Boooosh get away with it. Why should we give Obama a pass?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    weneedhelp, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 1:25pm

    Change....

    about three cents worth. America bought in to that change crap. No one did their homework. Even when presented with .gov links and explanations. Bahhhhh.....bahhhhh....bahhhh.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    sprearson81 (profile), Jun 9th, 2012 @ 6:35am

    Seeing your point loud and clear i think.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This