Breaking: Obama administration reverses course on TARP

posted at 10:47 am on December 9, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Once again, the Obama administration reveals either incompetence or dishonesty in its economic policies this week. On Monday, when Barack Obama announced an effort to push a jobs package (but don’t call it “stimulus”!) through Congress, he said that he would end the controversial TARP program to fund it:

President Barack Obama announced his support for a new jobs program funded by money left over from the Wall Street bailout.

Obama on Monday said he would press Congress to pass legislation to pay for additional infrastructure works, tax breaks for small businesses and incentives for consumers who weatherize their homes. …

“But with a fiscal crisis to match our economic crisis, we also must be prudent about how we fund it. So to help support these efforts, we’re going to wind down the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP — the fund created to stabilize the financial system so banks would lend again.” …

Obama said he would work with Congress to approve legislation that would allow the use of TARP funds for other purposes.

Today, however, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner announced that the White House would extend the TARP program:

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the administration is extending the financial bailout program until next fall.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders, Geithner says the extension is “necessary to assist American families and stabilize financial markets.” …

Geithner says the program will be extended until Oct. 3, 2010.

So “wind down” is the Obama version of Orwellian Newspeak for “extension”?  Less than 48 hours after Obama pledged to “wind down” TARP and use the leftover monies for job stimulus, his Treasury Secretary announces the exact opposite policy.

There are only two possible explanations for the contradiction.  Either Obama lied on Monday, or he had no idea what Geithner had in mind for TARP.  And frankly, I’m not sure whether I should be more worried about a flat-out lie or gross incompetence. (hat tip HA reader Geoff A)

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How quick we forget:

Obowma quotes:

“he was a guy who lived in the neighborhood, who I barely knew, who bombed the pentagon when I was 8 years Kenya;)” on Bill Ayers.

“I went to that church for 20 years and never heard him preach that hatred” on Rev. Wright.

” I could not disown Rev Wright for what he said, just as I could not disown my own grandma” before disowning Rev Wright and his own grandma.

“it is above my pay grade” to Pastor Rick Warren on support for abortion as the FIRST BILL Obowma signed was to allow abortion funding BY AMERICAN’S for other countries abortions.

Obowma IS a serial LIAR and narcissist and as he gets further in over his head, he will explode on us all.

He is dangerous as leader of the free world.

dthorny on December 9, 2009 at 1:12 PM

Why the hell do they have Blackberrys on their belts? I thought they were high tech braniacs. How hard is it to drop one line to each other. That’s all I ask.

“Tim, TARP $ gone. BO”

meMC on December 9, 2009 at 12:46 PM

George Soros has a dial out only phone.

dthorny on December 9, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Number of times Obama has said one thing and done something completely opposite…4,387,264 and counting.

Wyznowski on December 9, 2009 at 1:30 PM

“And frankly, I’m not sure whether I should be more worried about a flat-out lie or gross incompetence.”

you got the trifecta, Ed.

He’s a liar. He’s grossly incompetant. And he’s an enemy of the country.

notagool on December 9, 2009 at 1:30 PM

There are only two possible explanations for the contradiction. Either Obama lied on Monday, or he had no idea what Geithner had in mind for TARP. And frankly, I’m not sure whether I should be more worried about a flat-out lie or gross incompetence.

You missed option 3. Scary option 3. The one where Treasury sees another looming collapse in the credit markets which would necessitate a TARP to backstop the financial sector again.

elduende on December 9, 2009 at 1:34 PM

I’m beginning to think that purchasing that prison in Illinois is a good idea. Not for the Gitmo detainees or to let the Dems in charge of the state get out from under a pork project they never should have built in the first place (with the added promise of federal jobs to Ill). No, the Thompson Correctional Facility should be turned into a place where we can detain all the criminals, liars, and thugs of the Obama administration…… That is if we can’t put them in those swank facilities at Gitmo that are useless now that the filthy lying coward in the White House has all but freed the terrorists.

highhopes on December 9, 2009 at 1:54 PM

tarpon on December 9, 2009 at 11:21 AM

Down right unconstitutional, even!

Al in St. Lou on December 9, 2009 at 1:56 PM

Maybe they’re walking it back because they have figured out it would be illegal for them to convert TARP funds into a (not)stimulus package. They’re supposed to use leftover funds to pay down the deficit, but I’m sure we know THAT won’t happen so why not just plow ahead with more meddling in the financial markets?

NoLeftTurn on December 9, 2009 at 10:57 AM

That’s how I understand it, too. It looks like Obama had planned to convert the leftover TARP funds as you mentioned, but was shot down by legal constraints. So, for Plan B, he decided to just roll the new stuff under the TARP umbrella, and smugly say “what leftover funds?”

I’m not sure what can be done about it, because it almost becomes a matter of semantics (just add TARP to the name of the new stuff, and apparently all is well), but I am sort of glad that his weaselly, conniving is becoming more transparent.

This, to me, is an almost perfect analogue of the ‘kid taking his toys home because he’s lost too many games’ scenario.

BlueCollarAstronaut on December 9, 2009 at 2:04 PM

Does this have anything to do with this ?

J_Crater on December 9, 2009 at 3:53 PM

What possible difference could it make what they call it? They have so little respect for the law that if one doesn’t fit, they’ll pass another that does the same thing. Only the Supreme Court can stop this debacle of the Feds creating and spending fiat money until the country is past the point of no return, and there’s no evidence they’re even inclined to care.

JDPerren on December 9, 2009 at 4:18 PM

There are only two possible explanations

Nope, Ya forgot one!
How does that old saying go?

If ya can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with Sull Bhit.

DSchoen on December 10, 2009 at 4:47 AM