Imagine the following scenario: A friend comes to you in desperate need of a loan. That friend spent his own money, but a medical emergency has occurred, which is why he needs the loan. Now imagine that, after you have loaned money to the friend, he or she doesn’t use it for that medical emergency, but instead spends it elsewhere. Imagine how you would feel.
That is why I find it appalling that Democratic congressional leaders last night passed a bill to use unspent and repaid TARP funds to help pay for another stimulus. Remember, in October 2008, Congress authorized — against the wishes of millions of Americans, including me — a $700 billion Wall Street bailout. This emergency bailout supposedly was needed to stabilize the financial markets and prevent an economic meltdown. Whether or not we actually needed a bailout, the funds were approved and the federal government committed to borrowing $700 billion from American taxpayers.
Common sense dictates that when the government no longer needs the unspent and repaid TARP funds, it should return those funds to the taxpayers. Americans expect this of their government. They do not expect their government to borrow money from taxpayers under the guise of averting a banking meltdown, only to use that money for some other purpose.
Cynics would argue that this type of bait and switch is merely politics as usual. But after listening to many who have expressed their frustration with our government and the way it spends taxpayer dollars, I would argue that tolerating this type of fraud is unacceptable.
I believe that we should have allowed TARP to expire at the end of this year, and that we should return all unspent and repaid TARP funds to American taxpayers by using those funds to reduce our public debt. This would send a message that our government can be honest about its use of taxpayer funds.
– Rep. Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) is chief deputy whip for House Republicans.