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Tim Geithner: Anything but Transparent

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 20, 2009 3:14 PM |

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner

Tim Geithner is anything but transparent. In fact, Geithner exemplifies what is wrong with government today.

Government officials who would not treat your money as they would their own are a VERY dangerous breed. These political animals come in both Democratic and Republican stripes. Despite what Geithner or other officials may say, there is mounting evidence of our government allocating funds, making fiscal decisions, and not promoting transparency in the process. It is no surprise that there is seemingly limited regard for our long-term fiscal deficit.

The public level of exasperation over this mounting deficit is growing and is reflected in regular polling data.  Even today, I see more evidence of this fiscal imprudence which should be SHOCKING to the American public if it were properly highlighted and exposed.

The Wall Street Journal reports, Government Tab for Crisis Could Hit $23.7 Trillion, Official Says:

Government support aimed at cushioning the effects of the financial crisis in the U.S. could reach $23.7 trillion, a special inspector general overseeing U.S. bailout efforts planned to tell Congress on Tuesday.

In prepared testimony for a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Special Inspector General Neil Barofsky said the figure included spending and commitments for several agencies that have implemented programs aimed at supporting the economy and the U.S. financial system.

Last I had checked, the figure associated with Uncle Sam’s fiscal spending and commitments ranged in the $10-12 trillion range. Where and how might Treasury double that figure? Where is the transparency in the process?

The Huffington Post reports TARP Watchdog To Deliver Harsh Testimony on Treasury’s Lack of Transparency:

Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) is set to deliver much anticipated testimony on Tuesday before the House of Representatives. Judging from a look at his prepared remarks — provided by a congressional office to the Huffington Post — the message won’t be a good one.

Barofsky is set to testify that the Treasury Department, while making improvements since this past spring, continues to operate with far too little transparency when it comes to the handling of the TARP.

“[Treasury] has repeatedly failed to adopt recommendations that SIGTARP believes are essential to providing basic transparency and fulfill Treasury’s stated commitment to implement TARP ‘with the highest degree of accountability and transparency possible,” Barofsky will say.

While Obama and team have talked about transparency, Treasury Secretary Geithner is not practicing what Barack is preaching. Why am I not surprised? The fact is when dealing with the size and scope of these programs, a robust review can and will be problematic. Why? The American taxpayer is being stuck with an ever larger bill. The HuffPo continues:

In particular, SIGTARP highlights four specific areas in which recommendations for making the financial industry bailout more accountable and open, have gone unheeded. Treasury has not committed itself to providing taxpayers with updated information on the financial performance of its TARP investments, according to Barofsky’s prepared statement.

Sense on Cents highlighted on June 30th that “The TARP Has a $159 Billion Loss.” Why haven’t major media outlets run with that story? Great question!!

Additionally, Treasury:

has not acted on a recommendation that [Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility] borrowers who fail to repay their loans be identified. It has not required the disclosure of “all trading activity, holdings, and valuations of assets of the PPIF” on a timely basis. And perhaps most significantly, Treasury has declined to require all TARP recipients to report on the actual use of TARP funds — notwithstanding a few agreements with Citigroup, Bank of America and AIG.

Why isn’t Treasury being transparent? Very simply, when you do not have anything good to say, such as the TARP loss, then shut up and pretend you can’t hear the calls for greater exposure.

For those interested in transparency on these topics, check out The Financial Bailout at our link, Subsidyscope.


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