The comment was thus:
All that TARP money everyone was harping about has been paid back with interest.We've been tossing ideas back and forth about the TARP and various government bailouts. My point is that the financial bailouts in toto are a bad idea because of the monetary cost and the long term cost of cultivating a culture reliant upon bailouts instead of sound business judgment.
Lodo's point is that, as a practical matter, the bailouts and stimulus plans are necessary to stabilize the economy. And whatever the risks happen to be, they're better than the certainty of a second Great Depression (I hope I've characterized the point fairly).
So, it's only fair for Lodo to point out that all of the TARP money has been repaid in full, with interest. I assume he's referring to a White House report that was released last month.
Now, I have no reason to think the White House would tell us something that isn't 100 percent true. What motivation, after all, could they have for not being completely forthcoming about a program as popular as TARP has been — especially in this climate where pretty much everyone is strongly in favor of doing all we can as a country to make sure that the poor banking executives make it through this trying time of tumultuous tribulation with their multi-million dollar bonuses intact?
I mean, what could they possibly gain especially since their party is poised to make such great gains during this election season?
But, out of habit I guess, I just had to do some double checking on this claim "fully repaid with interest." So I jumped over to one of the only journalistic enterprises I know of that still has any integrity left. The amazingly awesome website ProPublica.
ProPublica maintains a Bailout Scorecard website, where they track how much taxpayer money has gone to whom and how much has been returned. And incredibly, the numbers they have on their site show that not only has the TARP program NOT been repaid in full with interest, there is still almost $170 Billion in loans/investments outstanding.
I just found this almost impossible to believe. I was shocked, SHOCKED, to learn that there may have been a bit of fibbing going on from the White House.
I just assumed that perhaps the database at ProPublica may not have been quite up to date. So I fired off a quick email to one of the contact email addresses listed on the site…
Hey Paul,Within a few hours, Paul wrote back…
Let me first say how much respect I have for the ProPublica organization. It has become one of the only news sources I really trust. Thank you for your efforts.
My question is about the Bailout Tracker portion of your website (http://bailout.propublica.org/main/summary), specifically the information on TARP. When the White House recently announced that all TARP money had been paid back in full with interest, I thought I should really check with you guys before I believed them.
So I looked at your site and saw that, according to you, there is still quite a bit of TARP left outstanding. I just wanted to check to see if the numbers on your site have been updated recently.
Thanks again for the great work you guys are doing.
Thanks.So, there you have it. Don't take my word for it, I'm just a cave man. Take the word of someone who tracks this stuff for a living and who doesn't have a political interest in trying to make everyone feel like hope and change will get us out of this mess.
The short version is if you really listen to what the White House is saying, they’re not saying all the money has been paid back. They’re basically saying that they expect the money to be paid back eventually. Our database shows things as they currently stand (and yes, it’s up to date). Even if the administration is right and we’ll be paid back, that won’t happen for years.
Separately, you have to be careful when talking about this stuff whether you’re including Fannie and Freddie or just the TARP. We include Fannie and Freddie in our database because, even though it was a different pot of money, it’s still one of the big bailouts that was started in the fall of 2008. And as you can see from our site, that’s involved nearly as much money as the TARP, and it seems like it won’t be long before there’s more outstanding from that bailout than from the TARP.
Also, here’s a recent roundup post we did on the 2 year anniversary of the TARP: http://www.propublica.org/article/the-bailout-yearbook-the-stars-and-the-slackers
tagged: bailout, hope, change, TARP, ProPublica, White House, Goldman Sachs