Bailout Not Well Planned
Now the Government Accountability Office is telling us that the Department of Treasury's bailout of the financial system is not well planned and could lead to a lot of mismanagement and waste or, presumably, worse, according to a story by The Post's Amit Paley.
Is that a surprise? Perhaps not. But Government Inc. thinks its worthy of ongoing discussion.
After all, there's a lot of taxpayer money -- $150 billion, as of Nov. 25 -- and the future of our capitalist system at stake.
You'll recall that the government is hiring contract auditors and such to run what's been dubbed Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.
No puns here, for now, about the symbolic meaning of TARP. (Is that musty already?)
"GAO recognizes that TARP has existed for less than 60 days and that a new program of such magnitude faces many challenges, especially in this current uncertain economic climate. However, Treasury has yet to address a number of critical issues, including determining how it will ensure that CPP is achieving its intended goals and monitoring compliance with limitations on executive compensation and dividend payments. Moreover, further actions are needed to formalize transition planning efforts and establish an effective management structure and an essential system of internal control."
We can do better people. Right?
"In a response to the report, the Treasury agreed that it needed to do more to develop internal controls over the plan but emphasized that less than 60 days have passed since the legislation authorizing the bailout took effect.
"'We believe that Treasury has made significant efforts to ensure transparency and good communication,' Neel Kashkari, the head of the department's bailout program, said in a letter, "'but more can and will be done in these areas."
Here's the full report. Government Inc. likes the title: Additional Actions Needed to Better Ensure Integrity, Accountability, and Transparency
By the way, a regular reader has this to say about the accounting contractors hired to help Treasury operate the TARP program:
"The firms will be auditing and setting up internal financial controls. As a matter of fact, Treasury has gone out of its way to assure the Congress that Treasury will be running the program. Hank Paulson's made it clear who's calling the shots."
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