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.