Open Forum (10/26- )

By Dave Fratello | October 26th, 2009
A year and a trillion or two, or three, dollars after the 2008 financial crisis, we're all feeling a little better off, no?

So why was the federal government's TARP watcher saying this last week:
I do think because of the moral hazard, because of some systemic risks that are associated with making these institutions bigger and bigger ... systemically we may be in a more dangerous place even then we were a year ago.
More dangerous?

Didn't we just rescue the financial system and nationalize or quasi-nationalize whole industries? (And by "we," we mean to include the outgoing administration of free-range capitalists that came before the guy they call a socialist now.)

Didn't we get people buying cars and homes and equities again?

Didn't the Dow just hit a new high for the year?

Still, the TARP watcher's statement was no off-the-cuff crack. A giant, comprehensive and scathing report came out of special inspector general Neil Barofsky's "SIGTARP" office last week. (Click to see more, directly from the source.) In short, TARP's $700 billion or so has sullied the Fed and the government, failed to prevent future crises and maybe postponed a reckoning with last year's meltdown. Uh-oh.

Related: Calculated Risk reports (via others) that the homebuyer tax credit ($8k), believed to have revved up home sales this year, will die slowly, under a Senate proposal:
The credit would be $8,000 through the end of Q1 2010, and decline $2,000 per quarter after that ... ($6,000 in Q2, $4,000 in Q3, $2,000 in Q4 2010)
That's a little more free candy, a lot more taxpayer money and then...

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