Tuesday, December 02, 2008

S.L.I.M.E. indeed

Back in September when the "bailout" of the failing financial sector was first being pushed at Congress by Treasury Secretary Paulson, my financially literate friend labeled the exercise the the S.L.I.M.E. Act, the "Successful Looting and Investment Manager Employment Act."

The Government Accountability Office, the non-partisan investigative arm of Congress, said today she was right to be worried. According to the Washington Post,

... the Treasury Department has yet to impose necessary internal controls or decide how to determine if the bailout program is achieving its goals.

A billion here, a billion there -- a vacation home for a banker somewhere -- pretty soon you can go through a lot of billions.

The Treasury official charged with administering the program, Interim Assistant Treasury Secretary Neel Kashkari, responds with the typical whine of faltering management: we're trying...we work really hard.

"We believe that Treasury has made significant efforts to ensure transparency and good communication," Neel Kashkari, the head of the department's bailout program, said in a letter, "but more can and will be done in these areas."

This guy may end up being glad his appointment is a short term one.

TPM Muckraker is going over the report, page by page. They point to nuggets like
  • Reporting procedure? The Treasury Department does not know how, or whether, it will require banks receiving bailout cash to report what they do with the money.
It sounds pretty slimey to me.

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