Monday, December 31, 2012


I'm watching the book talk about "Bailout" by Neil Barofsky and I've had a few thoughts that I would like to share.

About the author (BookTV description):
From 2008 to 2011, Mr. Barofsky was special inspector general in charge of oversight of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). He is currently a senior fellow at New York University School of Law. 
Some thoughts:

1. Barofsky identifies himself as a "lifelong Democrat" and yet the Bush administration appointed him to be the inspector general of TARP; his was a "merit appointment.".  I have heard of several people appointed to political roles, who were democrats, by the Bush administration because of merit.  I have yet to hear of one case where the Obama administration has appointed a republican to a political role because of his/ her merit.  (If you want to point to Chuck Hagel's possible appointment to become Secretary of Defense, then I'd like to point out that Hagel is too moderate a republican even for John McCain.)

2. Barofsky has interacted a little with our Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner.  The Treasury Secretary was apparently uninterested in knowing how well TARP was implemented.  Barofsky says he was literally cursed at by the Treasury Secretary, in their only one on one meeting, because he had the nerve to suggest that Tim Geithner is anything other than the most transparent Treasury Secretary ever.  He also mentioned numerous information leaks, from the Treasury Department, under Geithner's watch.

3. Barofsky gives the implementation of TARP an "F."  He say that all it did was save large banks, which were not good, and has made them worse.  He predicts that we will have another economic slowdown because of the bad decisions that were made "in 2008, 2009, 2010."

4. He says he is a "lifelong democrat" and contributed to Obama's 2008 campaign.  I wonder how many people are lifelong members of either party and never bother to figure out if the party that they support does what they want it to do.  And let's look at the results.

5. When asked about the "fiscal cliff" he says it is over dramatized about this particular point in time.  He says that an economic slowdown is the time to "strengthen our safety nets."  I wonder how many democrats support the people because they think the democrats care about the poor and think that the republicans think that the poor can rot.  I think that more voters should reconsider my fourth point above.  (He says the government should help the poor more; look at how well that has worked.)

6. He predicts that we'll get some sort of "fiscal cliff" deal that delays the problem for a few months, when we'll get to deal with it again.  I agree.

(I'm skipping commenting on some of his comments, even if I disagree, because I don't find them new or particularly interesting.)

7.  He says there was a bill that would have been the law instead of Dodd-Frank, that had bipartisan support, but the President opposed it and so we got Dodd-Frank instead.  Barofsky thinks there were some small good points in Dodd-Frank but it failed to successfully regulate the banks, which was its main purpose.  (I think that Dodd-Frank is all kinds of awful.)

8.  Multiple times Barofsky has said things that make me wonder if his does not think less of Obama since he has been actively involved in Washington politics.  I have no doubt that he voted for Obama twice, but I think that he should have looked at my point number four.  (I was trying with this point to look at the president from Barofsky's point of view.  I am surprised at how often he seems to be at odds with Obama's administration.)

9. Callers to talk shows, and speech questioners, are almost always colossally awful.  Almost all.

10. He watched, firsthand, how badly TARP failed.  He watched, firsthand, how badly our government failed to prevent, and he even thinks that the government helped to create our current economic situation.  He said that he thinks that the decisions made by our government in 2008-10 will hurt us in the near future.  He said that the big banks that got bailed out got to design their bailout.  And yet, despite all of that, he thinks that the government is capable, with more regulations, of preventing, or minimizing the damage from, the next economic disaster.

There may be something in the water in Washington that makes the people there think that if only the right people are in place, if only the right rules are in place, then the government will give us nothing but sunshine and rainbows.

Oh, and by the way: Point four! Point four! Point four!

How much failure would it take before people realize that the government is always incompetent?

11.  He repeated my points one, three, and eight during an answer to a caller's question.

My final thoughts on the book talk, and I'll write it simply so that small minds (that means democrat voters) will understand:

1. The government made things worse.
2. The government always makes things worse.

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