The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and foreign aid.
What do these two things have in common? Popularity ratings that would make even Congress blush. Foreign aid is among the first things U.S. taxpayers would cut from the federal budget (see discussion from today’s “Morning Joe” here); and less than half of Americans polled believe TARP actually helped the economy.
Today the Congressional panel overseeing the TARP bailouts will issue a new report noting that while U.S. taxpayers shouldered the entire financial burden, foreign banks received significant funds from the TARP. Take the case of AIG (the American International Group), which received at least $70 billion in TARP funds: The Associated Press reports 43 of the 87 banks and financial entities that “indirectly benefited” from the U.S. bailout to AIG were foreign.
A larger issue is transparency. Elizabeth Warren, chair of the congressional panel overseeing the bailouts, said, “The point we make forcefully in this report is that there were no data about where this money was going, no information about where this money was going.”
According to The Washington Post, the panel’s report “urges regulators to gather more information about the international … flow of rescue funds.”
We couldn’t agree more.