Remember that $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program? asked Will Bunch in the Philadelphia Daily News online. Well, “heh heh, this is kind of funny”—Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson just “decided not to buy any Troubled Assets after all.” Paulson’s new plan—to directly bolster the financial markets, in part by helping creditworthy borrowers get loans—may actually work much better, but it highlights TARP’s total lack of transparency, oversight, or accountability.
Give Paulson “some credit for being willing to admit he made a mistake and change course,” said Andrew Ross Sorkin in The New York Times online. The original TARP law was thrown together hastily, and there were bound to be “holes in it.” He’s now trying to fix them, and while “it’s easy to call it a flip-flop,” at least he’s turning in the right direction.
Maybe, but by “turning on a dime,” Paulson is making the investor class dizzy, said Robert Stein in Connecting the Dots. With all this “fumbling” for the right plan, it’s no wonder “the stock market keeps going down, waiting for a signal about where all this confusion is heading.” Barack Obama’s Treasury chief can’t take office soon enough.
“All the fury” surrounding TARP, said Elizabeth Moyer in Forbes online, misses the larger picture—the government’s total response to the credit crisis has already put us “on the hook for some $5 trillion,” and counting. That makes TARP a “downright puny” part of the puzzle. Paulson hasn’t unfrozen the credit markets, but it’s not for lack of trying.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
- What the Middle Ages can tell us about the GOP's big charity myth
- Why is the Pentagon stuffing caves in Norway full of tanks?
- The most sensible GOP alternative to ObamaCare comes from a Senate candidate who is almost sure to lose
- 10 things you need to know today: October 23, 2014
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The uncomfortable truth in The Giving Tree
- The U.S. government is actually trouncing Ebola. When will it get credit?
Subscribe to the Week