The IRS scandal that revealed targeting of conservative groups by the Treasury Department has reopened speculation that the Obama-orchestrated auto bailouts unfairly targeted Republican-leaning dealerships for closure. Republican Congressmen Mike Kelly (PA) and Jim Renacci (OH) have penned a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew requesting documentation so that an investigation can determine what criteria was used to shutter dealers that appear to have had one thing in common: their political affiliations.
I recently wrote about how government-owned Ally Financial was the only big bank that failed the Federal Reserve's stress test and how that ties in to General Motors' operations. The bailed-out bank formerly known as GMAC received about $17 billion of taxpayer money as part of the auto bailout (aka bankruptcy) process. It is now possible for GM, which relies on the auto lending unit of Ally Financial, to buy back the best segment of the bank on the cheap after taking advantage of the taxpayer largesse that saved the lender.
A watchdog for the government's bailout program, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), has hit the US Treasury Department with a hard combo of critique regarding some of the Administration's actions since pumping billions of taxpayer dollars into bailed-out companies like General Motors and Ally Financial (formerly known as GMAC). SIGTARP issued a report lambasting Treasury for allowing excessive pay for executives at GM, Ally Financial and AIG and followed that with statements that scrutinized Treasury's continued refusal to exit its stake in Ally Financial, which is currently 74% owned by the government.
When is a government watchdog not really a watchdog?
When he rolls over and lays at the feet of his master rather than sink his teeth into a program that he’s been tasked to guard.
Such appears to be the (unsurprising) case with Herbert Allison, Jr. (pictured), a former Wall Street executive (Merrill Lynch and TIAA-CREF) until he was appointed president and CEO of Fannie Mae in 2008, after it was put into conservatorship. Subsequently President Obama named (and the Senate confirmed) him as overseer of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the $700 billion asset acquisition fund that bailed out Wall Street financial institutions. He served in that role for about 15 months, until September 2010.
When JPM Chase reported that it had lost $2 billion recently on risky derivative trades, the predictable call came from the Obama Administration to increase regulation on banks. The hypocrisy of the politically motivated proclamations becomes evident when you compare the JPM trades to Treasury's continued gamble on its taxpayer funded stake in General Motors, which has suffered an approximate $5 billion loss in value over the past year.
According to a WSJ report, "people familiar with the situation" said on Tuesday that the Obama Administration has put on hold its decision to sell the taxpayers' stake in General Motors. The article also states that "Treasury officials had anticipated GM's share price would increase following its public stock offering last November at $33 a share." It would seem that Treasury anticipated wrong.
In the coming weeks we are sure to hear a lot of hype over the upcoming General Motors IPO. As we approach the November elections, it is a certainty that the Obama administration will tout the government intervention and nationalization of a major US industrial corporation as a huge success. Claims have already been made that the American economy and millions of jobs have been saved by bailing out GM. There are many people, including the Mom and Pop investors that financed GM through their bond purchases, who see a less savory side to the bankruptcy process and view it as a model of corruption and cronyism.
Call it a paradox. The U.S. economy officially has been out of recession for 15 months. The stock market enjoyed a record-high September; durable goods orders are up; and consumer spending is growing. Yet homeowners continue to lose their properties at a frequency not seen since the Great Depression. And this is despite - and possibly to some extent, because of - an emergency federal program in place for the past year and a half designed to stave off foreclosures. Call it instead, then, a consumer bailout. But don't expect it to end soon.
ShoreBank’s capital deficiency worsened in the second quarter, according to newly submitted financial results to regulators, and the Chicago-based lender now needs to raise at least $190 million just to meet targets set out in March by state and U.S. banking regulators….
The bailout of Chicago-based ShoreBank has hit a serious snag as the Federal Reserve and Treasury drag their feet on whether to provide funding to the ailing South Side lender, sources close to the situation say….
The Treasury is deferring to the Federal Reserve. One source said some at the Fed want ShoreBank to raise more private dollars before it gets government money.