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)