What’s the big secret?

So, the Treasury Department, under the threat of subpoena, finally agrees to release the contracts for institutions that are receiving bailout money or TARP funds to a senate subcommittee (link). But, Carl Levinson, the chairman of the Senate subcommittee on investigations, has made it known that he doesn’t plan on exposing them to the public but has yet to give a reason. Considering that the TARP program was meant to stimulate the financial sector and encourage increased lending, which hasn’t been happening, I do believe that it makes sense for the public to be aware of the conditions that these institutions are supposed to be held to.

See also TPM Muckracker.

Unanswered Questions

As the rushed bailout negotiations unfold before our eyes, it seems there are some key questions that have gone unanswered.

I certainly hope these questions are being asked and answered.

* Where did Hank Paulson and the Treasury Department come up with the $700 billion figure?

* Is there a simple spreadsheet the department could release over the Internet that would allay our concerns about the enormity of the number?

* What kind of return can American taxpayers expect for this investment?

* Will there be interest charged to firms that accept public funding?

* What sorts of prevention measures are being outlined?

I know that will be a separate process, likely to take place later on down the road. But, Congress better get about the business of admitting the crux of the problem and set about fixing it so it doesn’t happen again.

Why the rush?

The speed with which this deal is being pushed is breathtaking.

Perhaps there is rational explanation. Thus far, however, the explanation (mainly pushed via the president’s bizarre address to the country last night) has been little more than fear mongering.

We all have a stake in this bailout. It’s time for Congress and the president to level with the American people.