No accountability? Then no more bailouts
"The only time these people respond is when their collective stupidity is pointed out to them and then they scramble to hide the evidence.They give our money away to their friends and contributors without any means of accounting just where it goes !"
Through the blind generosity of Congress and the Bush administration, some of the nation's largest banks have been bestowed with billions of dollars from taxpayers. So is it too much to ask banks for an accounting of how such largesse is being used?
Yes, says an Associated Press survey of 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in federal money.
The AP reports that not a single bank would provide specific answers. What's worse is that they don't have to. There is no process to compel the banks to disclose how they're spending the money.
A congressional oversight panel can't get the administration or Treasury Department officials to explain what it's doing or its strategy in giving out the nearly $350 billion released so far for the program.
Granted, the $700 billion bailout is unprecedented. However, Congress and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who refused to accept any checks and balances in the hastily written legislation, promised taxpayers transparency and accountability.
Paulson intended to buy risky loans from banks, freeing them to make better loans and pump cash into the economy. But after the funds were approved, Paulson announced that the money would instead be used to buy bank stock, hoping that banks, in turn, would issue loans and revise mortgages to help homeowners avoid foreclosures. That hasn't happened.
Congress now wants to impose restrictions on the second half of the money, giving lenders financial incentives to do what it hoped they would do in the beginning. However, without vigilant rules and public bookkeeping, there's no way to know if the money is being used prudently and effectively.