Tuesday, March 31, 2009

We Could Be On The Hook For $7 Trillion

Obamamessiah, have you been listening to your underlings. The Treasury Department has not resolved its problem with giving and getting an accounting relative to the TARP funds. According to ABCNews.com

"Our concern right now is that we do not seem to be a priority for the Treasury Department," the Congressional Oversight Panel's Elizabeth Warren told a Senate Finance Committee hearing today. "We have sent letters. We have requested that there be someone named so that we can get technical information. And so far, we have not been a first priority."

"I'm talking about accountability in a very real sense of this word," she said later. "As I see it, you really have two options here. Either you get Treasury to get some religion on this point -- and put their own standards in place, or Congress is forced to step in. We will do everything we can on your behalf, as your congressional oversight panel, but what we can best do for you now is to identify and pinpoint that this is precisely where the problem starts. And then the problem has roll down effects all the way through the system of lack of accountability, complexity that no one can figure out what's going on, so that we never identify the place where we need to start the solution."

Neil Barofsky, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief ProgramB also expressed concerns because his office now has to monitor nearly $3 trillion.

"$2.9 trillion is just short of what the entire federal government spent in fiscal year 2008," noted committee chairman Max Baucus. "It's like having a second United States government budget dedicated solely to saving the financial system, and that is truly surreal."

Baucus cautioned that this number could skyrocket to $7 trillion when other measures are added, such as $3 trillion in Federal Reserve programs, Treasury's $400 billion support for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the administration's budget request for a placeholder worth up to $750 billion.

"If all these additional amounts materialize, taxpayers could be on the hook for a total of more than $7 trillion," Baucus said. "This is a huge, unprecedented financial commitment. It strains the comprehension of taxpayers and policy-makers alike."

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