Yesterday, President Obama announced our proposed Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee on the country's largest banks:
"My commitment is to recover every single dime the American people are owed. And my determination to achieve this goal is only heightened when I see reports of massive profits and obscene bonuses at some of the very firms who owe their continued existence to the American people...We want our money back, and we're going to get it."
The fee would recover every penny loaned to Wall Street during the financial crisis and stop the reckless abuses and excesses that nearly caused the collapse of our financial system in the first place.
By "every penny", of course, they mean all the money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). My response was:
Yeah, great. Are you getting the other $23 trillion back, too? Are you ready to insist on audits of the Federal Reserve?
As Bloomberg pointed out back in July, TARP is really only a small part of what we taxpayers are on the hook for:
U.S. taxpayers may be on the hook for as much as $23.7 trillion to bolster the economy and bail out financial companies, said Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.
The Treasury’s $700 billion bank-investment program represents a fraction of all federal support to resuscitate the U.S. financial system, including $6.8 trillion in aid offered by the Federal Reserve, Barofsky said in a report released today.
U.S. Rescue May Reach $23.7 Trillion, Barofsky Says (Update3)
So, as usual, the Obama Administration's talk is bigger than its actions.