On Wednesday, November 28th The Common Good hosted former TARPSpecial Inspector General Niel Barofsky for a candid discussion of the bank bailout and aftermath and why citizens should not only feel shortchanged about what was supposed to be done with the billions spent on TARP, but the system vulnerabilities that still remain.
About Neil Barofsky and “Bailout”
Neil Barofsky, in his new book, Bailout, writes that the American people “should be enraged by the broken promises to Main Street and the unending protection of Wall Street.”
“Whether it’s LIBOR, whether it’s HSBC ignoring money-laundering laws, whether it’s Citi’s recent settlement… these are all symptoms of the banks that are also too big to jail.”
From December 2008 to March 2011, Barofsky, a formal federal prosecutor and lifelong Democrat, served as special inspector general of TARP, charged with protecting against abuse and fraud in the program.
According to Barofsky, TARP did meet one of its primary objectives, which was to help prevent the entire collapse of our financial system. The other goals, which have more of a focus on helping Main Street institutions and individuals and businesses definitely small enough to fail — those goals all came up short.
TARP was supposed to be used by the banks to restore lending to individuals and businesses to pump that oxygen into the lifeblood of the economy, and it just didn’t happen. TARP was also supposed to help homeowners, with an original goal of helping up to 4 million homeowners, but today only around 800,000 homeowners have been helped— 20 percent of that goal.