Not to math up the joint or anything, but let's take a quick review of how that $700 billion bailout (aka TARP, the troubled asset relief program with a heart of gold) is going…
* $700 billion is equivalent to a gazillion dollars. This has been divided into two installments. The first installment of approximately $350 billion has already been put to work.
* $250 billion was set aside for the banks, because they're banks.
* $40 billion for AIG, because if they went down they'd take everyone else down with them.
* An extra $20 billion for Citigroup, so it can invest in potholes.
Now it looks like Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will ask for the second installment of $350 billion, perhaps as early as next week, to minimize time for political wrangling…
While Mr. Paulson wants to steer more funds to financial institutions, Congress has its own ideas, including aid for the auto industry and troubled homeowners — two ideas Mr. Paulson has resisted.
Lawmakers are also unhappy with a new Government Accountability Office report that says TARP lacks regulation and oversight, which means the banks are doing (TBD) with their rescue funds. Oh yeah, and TARP lacks staff to operate the bailout…
The problems are due in part to the rapid implementation of TARP and a lack of staff for the program. The report said about 48 employees had been assigned to TARP as of Nov. 21, only a quarter of the 200 full-time employees the GAO said may be needed to properly implement rescue efforts.
Yikes! Treasury needs to find 150 number-crunching types who aren't hung up on compliance nonsense, stat.
I hear there are some investment bankers looking for work these days.
Tags: Economy, Henry Paulson, TARP