A month and a half ago, on October 3rd, our Congress opened the gate and led our country down the path in it’s first steps toward socialism. The Great Bailout of 2008 was touted as the “rescue plan” that would save our country from certain economic demise, while giving our government control it should not have. The measure passed handily with a majority of Senators (including both Presidential candidates) and Representatives attempting to assure the American people that this path was the only way out.
Leading up to its passage, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke lobbied heavily for the plan. They both said we had no other choice. They both said if we did not act quickly, we were doomed. It turns out, they were wrong. Apparently we didn’t need to venture down this path.
To date, $290 billion has been committed by the Treasury Department. $125 billion has gone to the nation’s nine largest banks and investment banks. Another $125 billion has gone into regional banks, and $40 billion was added to the original AIG bailout. Under the terms of the Great Bailout, the Treasury Dept. can spend up to $350 billion before asking for an additional $350 billion more from Congress. That leaves $60 billion to spend, and today we learned that the original bailout plan isn’t going to work.
They told us this plan was the only way to solve the problem. They told us if this plan did not pass, we were going to lose more than our shirts. Does this mean we have lost our initial $290 billion? What do they mean it’s not going to work? Does this mean we are heading for hell in a hand-basket?
On September 16th, 2008, the United States government agreed to ‘bailout’ American International Group (AIG). The reason given to taxpayers for this decision was to “save financial markets and the economy from further turmoil”. Since that day in September, all we have seen are sluggish financial markets and economic turmoil. The American taxpayers have been left wondering if they really needed to bail out AIG in the first place.
AIG is the world’s largest insurer, and we were told that allowing the company to fail would have had a detrimental affect on financial markets. Over the past few months, the government has bailed out big companies like Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG, yet they allowed one of the largest investment banks, Lehman Brothers, to go belly up. How did they decide which companies were worth saving and which ones were not? We have no way of knowing how each decision was made, but it’s clear that the government was not interested in spending money on every business that needed help and we are to trust that they made those decisions in the name of financial market stability.
Less than a month later, the U.S. Congress passed the “Great Bailout of 2008”. That bailout, unlike the others, required congressional approval, but like all the others, was passed with the promise to restore confidence in the credit industry, stabilize the market, and save us from even greater financial ruin. Only this time it cost a heck of a lot more than all the others combined.
When Congress passed the Great Bailout the American people were re-assured there would be transparency so they would know how much of their money was being spent, and where that money was being spent. So far, that hasn’t happened.