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    Shocking, Just Shocking

    12/29/2008

    It seems that the quasi-constitutional TARP that has given money to institutions outside its legislative bounds, has exceeded it's Congressional authorized limit.  This comes as a surprise to just about no one.

    This morning it was reported that Pres. Bush decided to throw a little more on top of the $17.4 billion hand out he's giving to GM and Chrysler.  This will be an additional $6 billion for a total of $23.7 billion.  A majority of these funds will be going to GMAC - a financing arm of GM under the guise of "helping people buy more cars."   The Washington Post has a confusing story about the deal describing how GM will be both investing $1 billion more in the institution whilst simultaneously cutting ties with GMAC, and how GMAC may or may not become a bank (thereby skirting some of the already murky legal waters surrounding TARP?).

    According to CQ this means that Treasury Sec. Paulson will definitely need the other $350 billion from the bailout fund.  Heritage points out that this additional $6 billion means that the Treasury has surpassed the $350 billion it was originally authorized to distribute.

    To recap, the Bush Administration’s latest $6 billion bailout of GMAC, bringing the first round of the GM bailout total to $23.4 billion, pushes the total money committed by the Troubled Asset Relief Program past the initial $350 billion authorized by Congress. In other words, TARP now has now made specific promises to spend more money than it actually has the authority to spend. The bailout is now in need of a bailout.

    Paulson better hurry up and get his money because more people are lining up for their government handout one way or another via TARP or any other economic "rescue" package.  Rails to Trails wants in on any future funds.   And AmTrak would certainly never say no to more money.   At this rate, the news isn't who wants a bailout but who doesn't.

    Although Paulson has requested that the other $350 billion in TARP funds be authorized, it is unclear whether the White House has formally requested them yet. It seems inevitable, each week has been rumored to be the week, but apparently it hasn't gone through yet.

    Which is awesome.

    Because as soon as the formal request comes, Rep. Virginia Foxx's House Resolution 101 springs into effect.  The original TARP legislation included language that allows Congress to "disapprove" the allocation of the second $350 billion.  In a Congress that allowed this to happen in the first place, It's probably wishful thinking that this payout could be stopped, but maybe after Paulson's muddling and game-plan changing Congress might see the light.  At any rate, it's nice to see some legislators aren't going to let taxpayer funds be thrown away without a fight.