Photo from WhiteHouse.gov
Barack Obama has asked President Bush to submit a request to Congress for the second half of the $700 billion TARP fund so that it will be available to him shortly after his inauguration. Obama promises changes in how the funds will be used, missing the point entirely that it's the very use of the funds in the first place that is egregious and off-putting to the American people, who overwhelmingly opposed the bailout's passage. Even more alarming however, is how the president-elect says he plans to spend the money:
Separately, Larry Summers, Obama's choice for National Economic Council director, said the new president intends to broaden the goals of the remaining bailout package...
Obama intends to use the Troubled Asset Relief Program to help community banks, small businesses, consumers and homeowners as well as large financial institutions.
Excuse me, but that's illegal! It is clearly and plainly contrary to the legislation. As I noted in December when Bush illegally used TARP funds to extend loans to GM and Chrysler:
The Troubled Asset Recovery Program passed by Congress to bail out the financial industry set very clear guidelines for its money's use and the White House has blatantly violated those guidelines: "The bailout statute defines 'financial institutions' eligible for the bailout as 'any institution, including, but not limited to, any bank, savings association, credit union, security broker or dealer, or insurance company.'" Does it sound to you like automaking companies qualify?
I'm sorry but consumers, homeowners, and small businesses do not qualify under the guidelines of the law passed by Congress (unless the small business is specifically a finance business). Even if Obama will use the money better than Bush did (which is very possible, considering that its use has not been well-accounted for by the financial institutions that received it), that's beside the point. It's illegal and unconstitutional, illegal because it breaks the law, unconstitutional because it's the president defying Congress and ignoring the Constitution's clear separation of powers.
I'm getting so sick of this! This is not a partisan rant against Obama, as I have been just as vocal in my denunciation of Bush for the same exact thing. Violating the law and the U.S. Constitution is just a matter of course now for politicians in both major parties. This is yet another out of many examples to illustrate that our country's leaders no longer care about the rule of law. And what sickens me even more is that Americans sit idly by, not knowing or caring that this is happening.
Do you care? Are you an exception? I would love for you to prove me wrong and show me that Americans do care that our leaders do the right thing. Start spreading this around. Start getting angry! Hold Obama accountable -and Bush! -and Congress! Make phone calls, send e-mails, and ask questions. Let's make sure our leaders know that we take liberty and law seriously.