Posts Tagged ‘Barofsky’

Taxpayers Now On Hook For $23.7 TRILLION In Bailout Money

July 22, 2009

I don’t know if I should be more scared than angry or more angry than scared.  Suffice it to say, I’m both angry and scared as hell.

The Obama presidency is just one giant nightmare.  And just like most nightmares, it’s going to keep getting scarier and scarier and crazier and crazier the longer it goes on.

While Obama has promised us unparalleled transparency, we have had the truth concealed from us, and we have been lied to.  And the TARP Inspector General’s report should wake up every American and

U.S. Rescue May Reach $23.7 Trillion, Barofsky Says (Update3)

By Dawn Kopecki and Catherine Dodge

July 20 (Bloomberg) — U.S. taxpayers may be on the hook for as much as $23.7 trillion to bolster the economy and bail out financial companies, said Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The Treasury’s $700 billion bank-investment program represents a fraction of all federal support to resuscitate the U.S. financial system, including $6.8 trillion in aid offered by the Federal Reserve, Barofsky said in a report released today.

“TARP has evolved into a program of unprecedented scope, scale and complexity,” Barofsky said in testimony prepared for a hearing tomorrow before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Treasury spokesman Andrew Williams said the U.S. has spent less than $2 trillion so far and that Barofsky’s estimates are flawed because they don’t take into account assets that back those programs or fees charged to recoup some costs shouldered by taxpayers.

“These estimates of potential exposures do not provide a useful framework for evaluating the potential cost of these programs,” Williams said. “This estimate includes programs at their hypothetical maximum size, and it was never likely that the programs would be maxed out at the same time.”

Barofsky’s estimates include $2.3 trillion in programs offered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., $7.4 trillion in TARP and other aid from the Treasury and $7.2 trillion in federal money for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, credit unions, Veterans Affairs and other federal programs.

Treasury’s Comment

Williams said the programs include escalating fee structures designed to make them “increasingly unattractive as financial markets normalize.” Dependence on these federal programs has begun to decline, as shown by $70 billion in TARP capital investments that has already been repaid, Williams said.

Barofsky offered criticism in a separate quarterly report of Treasury’s implementation of TARP, saying the department has “repeatedly failed to adopt recommendations” needed to provide transparency and fulfill the administration’s goal to implement TARP “with the highest degree of accountability.”

As a result, taxpayers don’t know how TARP recipients are using the money or the value of the investments, he said in the report.

‘Falling Short’

“This administration promised an ‘unprecedented level’ of accountability and oversight, but as this report reveals, they are falling far short of that promise,” Representative Darrell Issa of California, the top Republican on the oversight committee, said in a statement. “The American people deserve to know how their tax dollars are being spent.”

The Treasury has spent $441 billion of TARP funds so far and has allocated $202.1 billion more for other spending, according to Barofsky. In the nine months since Congress authorized TARP, Treasury has created 12 programs involving funds that may reach almost $3 trillion, he said.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner should press banks for more information on how they use the more than $200 billion the government has pumped into U.S. financial institutions, Barofsky said in a separate report.

The inspector general surveyed 360 banks that have received TARP capital, including Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. The responses, which the inspector general said it didn’t verify independently, showed that 83 percent of banks used TARP money for lending, while 43 percent used funds to add to their capital cushion and 31 percent made new investments.

Barofsky said the TARP inspector general’s office has 35 ongoing criminal and civil investigations that include suspected accounting, securities and mortgage fraud; insider trading; and tax investigations related to the abuse of TARP programs.

We were sold the stimulus (more commonly known to people who actually knew what was going on as ‘porkulus,’ and more accurately known as the Generational Theft Act) as a $787 billion package.  But it was actually no such thing.  The media kept talking about billions; but the actual figure was $3.27 TRILLION.  That’s right.  $3.27 trillion.  We were lied to.  Costs that were clearly part of the legislation weren’t disclosed to us, and now on top of getting far less than what was advertised, we are paying far more for the privilege than was advertised.

Now we find out that Obama and his gang of thieves has done much the same with TARP.  Somehow, while we weren’t looking, “TARP evolved into a program of unprecedented scope, scale and complexity.”  And by the same people who promised us an “‘unprecedented level’ of accountability and oversight.”  And lo and behold, TARP has exploded under all the darkness into a mushroom cloud of government obligations that dwarf anything imaginable.

And all that’s coming out of the Obama administration is some stumbling excuse from the Treasury Department’s spin doctor that it really isn’t as bad as the inspector general scrutinizing TARP says it is.

What we are getting from the Obama administration is an unceasing projection of rosey-colored scenarios that have no connection whatsoever to reality.  When they are forced to offer some sort of excuse, they claim they didn’t realize the economy was so weak (even when they were fearmongering it into comparisons of the Great Depression to sell their stimulus package) – and then they immediately offer up yet another mindlessly and freakishly rosy scenario in their very next breaths!!!  And then, of course, based on these projections, they are racking up insane spending atop insane spending.

Wall Street analyst Meredith Whitney, who gained a reputation of credibility after boldly predicting doom when everyone around her was seeing roses last year, is now predicting 13% unemployment and a very tough future for banks due to the continuing mortgage meltdown.

The White House is refusing to release its own annual midsummer US budget update because it doesn’t want the American people to see how bad things are until after they’ve passed their massive health care boondoggle.  Many now believe that budget release accounts for Obama’s frenzied push to pass health care before the August recessHow’s THAT for “unparalleled transparency”?

As said, Meredith Whitney is predicting 13% or higher unemployment.  What you may not know is that we are already at Great Depression levels of unemployment right now, and that our current 9.5% unemployment rate would be nearing 20% if it were calculated the way it was in 1980.

Unemployment

Note: The SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated “discouraged workers” defined away during the Clinton Administration added to the existing BLS estimates of level U-6 unemployment.

We face a future damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t dilemma: the only reason interest rates aren’t shooting skyward is because the market is in such a doldrum.  But the moment recovery begins to rear its head in Barack Obama’s game of economic Whack-a-Mole (where he whacks down small businesses and private-sector employment), hyperinflation due to our massive indebtedness will likely attack us.  The prospect of a jobless recovery, followed by Zimbabwe-levels of inflation looms very large in our future.

We’ve set ourselves up for hyperinflation.  We have massively increased our money supply even as our GDP has plummeted.  We have an increasing lack of confidence on the part of investors that we will be able to maintain the value of our currency (and see here), forcing demand for higher and higher interest rate payments on future bonds.  Those were the conditions of the Wiemar Republic; those were the conditions of Zimbabwe; and those are the conditions in the Late Great USA.

Pretty soon, we will be facing the Sophie’s Choice prospect of whether we want massively high interest rates, or massively high inflation – or best of both worlds – both massive interest AND hyperinflation.  We’ve got experts such as Johns Hopkins Professor of applied economics Steve Hanke and National Bureau of Economic Research economist Anna Schwartz seeing the inflation bogeyman rearing its genuinely ugly head.  And we’ve got investors beginning to start betting big on a coming hyperinflationary economy.

The thing is, we have a giant mega-trillion ton anvil cued over our collective heads.  And it is just waiting to drop.

So you see massive debt exposure to US economic structures.  You see higher unemployment.  You see historically low levels of tax revenue.  You see terrible recent mortgage default rates now turning “markedly worse.” You see all kinds of indicators that our debts are getting larger and larger even as our ability to repay them becomes smaller and smaller.

And it is with that backdrop that we should contemplate the massive, mind-numbingly enormous numbers hanging over everything this administration has done, is doing, or is trying to do.  With the debt he’s accumulating going up by the trillions, Obama issued the petty promise to cut his spending by a measly $100 million.  And he couldn’t even fulfill that insignificant budget cut.  All he knows how to do is spend and spend and spend.

So get scared.  Get angry.  And get ready for the beast.

We voted for “No, no, no.  Not God bless America.  God damn America!”  And now we’re going to get to see what “God damn America” looks like.