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An Open Letter to the United States Senate: Save Taxpayers $300 Billion and Eliminate TARP!
November 17, 2009
On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write to urge you strongly to cosponsor and work to enact S. 2787, the "TARP Sunset Act of 2009." Introduced by Senators Thune, Bennett, and Vitter, this bill would put an end to the disastrous $700 billion Wall Street bailout, better known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). By preventing extension of TARP after the end of this calendar year, this legislation would save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars and substantially reduce future deficits.
TARP was the first of several massive pieces of legislation that opened the floodgates of debt. According to recent estimates, the federal deficit for 2009 will be nearly as large as the entire federal budget from 1995. The Congressional Budget Office has calculated that the current budget outline would lead to nearly $9.3 trillion in additional debt over the next decade alone, roughly equal to the total amount incurred from 1791 through February 2008.
In addition, the "crisis" during which TARP was hastily conceived no longer exists. While the economy remains in very poor shape due to mounting job losses and an unemployment rate over 10 percent, the "lending freeze" we experienced at the end of 2008 has thawed significantly. There is no ongoing crisis to justify the expenditure of more than $300 billion in additional funding, most of which will be borrowed or simply created out of thin air.
Unfortunately for taxpayers, TARP is most notable for many absurd abuses of taxpayers' dollars. From hundreds of millions of dollars paid in bonuses to failed financial institution executives to an appalling lack of transparency in disbursements, TARP is an embarrassment. Congress should recognize its mistake and eliminate the program as soon as possible.
NTU strongly supports S. 2787, the "TARP Sunset Act of 2009," which would prevent extension of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Any roll call votes on this legislation will be significantly weighted in our annual Rating of Congress.