Neil Barofsky, author and former prosecutor and TARP Special Inspector General is coming to meet with the Occupy Alternative Banking Group next Sunday, Dec. 16th at 3 PM.
Neil just wrote a book “Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street”. In it, Barofsky says that Treasury Secretary Geithner was happy to screw underwater homeowners in order to bail out the megabanks. He also says that Geithner was not particularly concerned that the programs were rife for fraud. They actually squelched Neil’s office’s attempts to put in simple controls to protect taxpayer money on the grounds that the banks wouldn’t participate in the program if there were measures to keep them from stealing.
TARP was a major component of the Wall Street bailout. Officially the Troubled Assets Relief Program but perhaps more accurately the Taxpayer Assistance to (Extremely) Rich People infused almost $1 trillion to banks, investment banks and other financial firms such as AIG. When it was enacted, Congress required that there be oversight. It created the SIG-TARP (Special Inspector General for oversight of the the Troubled Asset Relief Program).
Neil Barofsky was appointed to this crucial but thankless job. But, when he tried to do his job, he quickly ran into resistance from Sec. Geithner and many others.
Neil continued to insist on doing his job. He was so recalcitrant that the head of TARP (and former head of Merrill Lynch) Herb Allison felt compelled to point out explicitly to Neil that getting in the way of shoveling money to the big banks was a bad career move. It seems, Allison thought Neil was too dumb to understand this. Apparently, it didn’t occur to Allison, former head of Merrill Lynch that Neil was obstructing his plans to allow fraud because Neil was honest and principled.
Since leaving Washington, Neil has expressed his righteous anger at the “bungled bank bailout” and overall degree of collusion between Wall Street and Washington. He notes that
“Only with this appropriate and justified rage can we hope for the type of reform that will one day break our system free from the corrupting grasp of the megabanks.”
We look forward to hearing more from Neil when he meets with us Sunday, Dec. 16th at 3PM. You are encouraged to join us.
As always, the comments here are those of the author. They do not necessarily represent OWS, Alternative Banking Group or anyone else.