06 March 2011

The TARP Roosters

The latest e-newsletter from the Office of Speaker Boehner triumphantly announces that the House of Representatives will begin shutting down TARP (the controversial "bail-out" fund program), "saving taxpayers $8 billion in mandatory spending--with more savings to come."  Personally, I'm all for phasing out TARP so long as it's done responsibly.  Speaker Boehner, if the beneficiaries of TARP begin laying off and firing people because they weren't ready for this, those unemployment benefits will be on you.  Not Congress in general, nor the House you lead.  You, personally.

My favorite part of the e-newsletter paraphrases from Rep. Diane Black (R-TN):
"...the path to prosperity lies in liberating our economy from the shackles of big government and out-of-control spending."
Let me get this straight.  Large companies insisted that government regulation and oversight prevented them from properly growing the economy, so the federal government under President George W. Bush de-regulated as many industries as they could.  We found out that not having to play by sensible rules was not, in fact, good for the economy because it was the lack of proper oversight that got us into this mess.  And when those high risk gambling fat cats were faced with the consequences of their actions, they threatened to shut down whole corporations, costing thousands--even millions--of Americans their jobs and homes.  The federal government--under President Bush, mind you--began to offer emergency funding to keep those irresponsible businesses afloat, with the premise that they would not toss thousands of workers into the unemployment line and that they would repay the loans.

I'll gladly grant you that the federal government had a hand in this debacle, but it wasn't in interfering with how businesses operate and it wasn't in paying ransom money to ensure that Joe Q. Public got to keep his job when his boss's boss's boss screwed up the books.  It was in allowing the wolf to guard the hen house in the first place.  Remember that Chris Rock bit about how employers view minimum wage hatefully?  ("If I could pay you less, I would!")  That contemptuous perspective goes beyond pay.  Government regulation--as proved by the economic collapse and several safety-related failures--is often the only thing between reckless, selfish and short-sighted "job creators" and absolute ruin.

Chris Rock understands how employers view employees.
Why can't Speaker Boehner?
But by all means, Mr. Speaker, use the opportunity to shill for your big business benefactors.  You call them "job creators" (because they're the only ones with the resources to employ other people) and legislation that could possibly rein in their otherwise unchecked shenanigans "job-killing bills."  Was TARP a "job-killer," Mr. Speaker?

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