Trying to Shine Light into our National Money Hole
“Throwing money down a hole” is a cliche phrase we can all relate to. For example, boat owners are fond of describing their watercraft as a “hole in the water” into which you throw money. (I should know. Mrs. ToughMoneyLove and I own a couple of those holes in the water.)
With our history as big spenders and small savers, American consumers have excavated gigantic money holes for themselves. The holes were started with a few scrapes using credit cards. The hole was deepened using a variety of innovative sub-prime lending tools. Then the housing bubble blew up, throwing huge chunks of financial stability into the air and leaving many consumers with their our own rather large personal money pit.
Obviously, the continued enlargement of the national money hole has created much debate in the media, including this one recently captured on video (If you are reading this in a feed reader or email, you may have to click through to my site to see the video. You should do it.)
OK, that was an amusing video and I thank the Onion for sharing it. (Did you recognize the guy from the Sonic commercials?) However, to me it is a form of gallows humor because there is so much hard truth associated with it. Congress and the Treasury are indeed digging a big money hole that all taxpayers will be called on to re-fill.
This brings me to the more serious component of the discussion. It seems that Bloomberg News had the audacity to send a formal request to the Secretary of the Treasury in which they asked two silly little questions: (1) Where exactly have you been sending the $2 trillion in taxpayer money in the form of loans and rescue funds as recently authorized by Congress or as directed by the White House; and (2) who is supplying data on collateral for the loans?
The Treasury apparently resented being probed in such fashion and declined to provide answers. So Bloomberg sued under the Freedom of Information Act. And now we wait.
To summarize, our government continues to enlarge the national money hole and now won’t let us look into it. The rationale stated by the Treasury for its refusal is that disclosure of the recipients might create further instability in their financial condition. And I say, so what? With consumer, investor, and taxpayer confidence shrinking to new lows, we need transparency more than ever. If a business is in such poor condition that it needs taxpayer money to survive, all of us deserve to know that. If we choose not to invest in or buy products from that business based on that knowledge, that is our right.
If our government wants to prevent us from seeing into the national money hole, then it needs to stop throwing taxpayer money into it.
What is your reaction to this development?