Commentary: Bailout money being spent in unintended ways

This editorial appeared in the Bradenton Herald on Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008.

Remember the original bailout bill, sold by the Bush administration to Congress as a way the government could soak up the toxic mortgage debt crippling banks, thus unclogging the credit market and rescuing the economy?

That notion looks downright quaint now.

Only $100 billion out of that $700 billion bailout measure has been set aside for that purpose this year. So where’s the rest going?

The government just decided to pump $250 billion into buying equity stakes in banks, again with the idea that our money would flow into loans to boost business and the economy.

Somehow, this veered off track — with bankers reportedly looking at the prospect of purchasing other banks, paying dividends and even doling out salary increases and executive bonuses.

Citizen outrage over eye-popping Wall Street bonuses when the financial meltdown began surely will bubble back to the surface.

Whatever happened to the alleged safeguards enacted in the final bailout bill?

Now comes word that Congress did not write anything in that law to prevent banks from spending taxpayer money in this manner.

Appalling. Congress failed us again.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Bradenton Herald.