Comments about ‘Robert Bennett: A happier ending than I anticipated, AIG pays back TARP money, 17 billion in interest’

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Published: Monday, Dec. 17 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

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Casa Grande, AZ

Those that opposed TARP should at least be in favor of going back to limiting consumer and commercial banks from merging. Commercial banks can take as much risk as they want - with their own money and no planned or unplanned government backing.

But governing banks seems to be a one party ideal now.

Brigham City, UT

Mr. Bennett, we miss you; why can't other Utahn Congressman be positive and cheerful? The government, just like business, makes money; nothing wrong with that.

Far East USA, SC

I guess sometimes SOCIALISM can be very profitable.

Does that make up for the Solyndra?

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Unfortunately, some will greet any news regarding govt. success as failure when seen through a different lens. They want no evidence. Only talking points.

Something to think about
Ogden, UT

I appreciate Mr. Bennett's honesty in this matter. I wish more people in Washington were 'pragmatic' in their assessments, as Bennett appears to be on this issue.

Salt Lake City, UT

Utah Republicans, you could have had Mr. Bennett, as solid a conservative as you'll ever hope to see, representing you in the Senate.

But no. You let the Tea Party jerk you around and now we're all stuck with that monumental embarrassment, Mike Lee, who is making a name for himself by being simultaneously doctrinaire and breathtakingly incompetent.

Kamas, UT

What Bennett fails to acknowledge (and always did as a sitting Senator), is the debilitating precedent TARP established when the government was allowed to begin picking winners and losers. At the time I warned what would ensue when government could continue to be more oppressive and more omnipresent in every facet of our society, and now we see the fruition of the dangerous trajectory that began with TARP. He's right, both parties participated, and so it is - those who favor big government solutions to everything in what was once a free market economy have now achieved their aims.

And yes, I would have preferred a worldwide financial meltdown as opposed to what we have inherited as the natural consequence of TARP and everything that came afterward. The debt and deficits designed to provide stimulus to the economy have proven to be disastrous, and have only delayed the economic recovery. Keynes was wrong. I believe in optimism, but hailing TARP as a success as he does in this article speaks volumes about why Bob Bennett is now sitting on the outside of Washington looking in.

He will find no justification for his defeat by claiming victory for TARP.

Durham, NC

"Utah Republicans, you could have had Mr. Bennett, as solid a conservative as you'll ever hope to see, representing you in the Senate."

Ah, to many Bennett and conservative are mutually exclusive of each other because he was open to that radical concept promoted by out founding fathers - compromise. Despite the fact that TARP has been successful - what is missing from this opinion piece is that FIAT has announced they will buy more Chrysler stock.

It was a program started by a republican, and implemented by a Democrat. And it worked. Who would have thought.

one old man
Ogden, UT

We need more Senator Bennetts. Unfortunately, it won't happen. At least not in the current GOP.

Durham, NC

"The debt and deficits designed to provide stimulus to the economy have proven to be disastrous, and have only delayed the economic recovery."

I have seen this talking point so often - minus any facts to support it - it has become silly.

@Goatsnotes.... ok... provide some study that details how a global banking lending meltdown would have been a better solution to what was done. Anything. Show us all how cutting off credit to most every business, would have been better. How having no working capital would have provided a better solution. How in the world was this worse then the great depression where financial systems did fail.... show us all how this was a worse outcome... please.

Cottonwood Heights, UT

Senator Bennett's between the line message - I told you so. And I agree, Sen. Bennett you were right. We should have listened.

As a state delegate I held Mr. Bennett, a member of the banking committee, responsible for failing to recognize the risks derivative trading posed to the country's financial sector. 700 billion in loans was enormous. Hank Paulson admitted he didn't know how much he needed so he just said 700 B because that was a lot. I was shocked by the apparent recklessness. However, I will now eat crow if the bailout was not a bailout at all, but a short-term stabilizing loan. There were no socializing losses and privatizing profits.

Unfortunately the consequence, as mentioned above, is new stimulus and TARP step-children every year.

Is this article an explanation for why so few people went to jail for the collapse.

Steve C. Warren

Thanks, Sen. Bennett, for an informative article. I'm no economic whiz, so I particularly appreciated the paragraph below:

"The details of TARP were not widely understood and it was widely opposed. Those leaders who did understand how serious the problem was, and how well TARP was designed to deal with them, did the right thing and moved ahead anyway."

This is exactly how a republican form of government should work. Leaders must work hard to understand the issues, then make the best decision, regardless of politics and polls.

By the way, I think the media have done a poor job of telling us how successful TARP has been.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Let the GOP witch-hunt of political purity continue.

They will continue to purge and burn any all so-called RINOs until they are extinct.

Reminds me so much of the ignorant villagers in Monty Python's Holy Grail.

"We did do the nose, and the hat...but she's still a Witch!"
"She has got a wart."

BURN her anyway!

Sen. Bob Bennett was burned by his own village idiots.

Kamas, UT

As the debt ratio increases, the exchange value of the dollar may fall. Paying back debt with cheaper currency could cause investors (including other governments) to demand higher interest rates if they anticipate further dollar depreciation. Paying higher interest rates could slow domestic U.S. growth.

Higher debt increases interest payments on the debt, which already exceed $430 billion annually, or about 15 cents of every tax dollar for 2008. According to the CIA Factbook, nine countries have debt to GDP ratios over 100% for 2010, the largest of which is Japan at approximately 197.5%.

Further, a high public debt to GDP ratio may also slow economic growth. Economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff calculated that countries with public debt above 90 percent of GDP grow by an average of 1.3 percentage points per year slower than less indebted countries. The public debt-to-GDP ratio in March 2010 is about 60 percent of GDP; CBO projects it will reach 90 percent around 2020 under policies in place in 2010. If growth slows, all of the economic challenges the United States faces will worsen.

That's why debt and deficits will kill America, Mr. Bennett.

Kamas, UT

Providing “for the common defense” is one of the primary reasons our Founding Fathers ordained and established the Constitution. Moreover, they clearly wanted the defense imperative to be unmistakable, so they put it in the Constitution’s very first sentence, the Preamble. Later, in Article I, Section 8, they gave Congress the power “to lay and collect taxes” and “to borrow money on the credit of the United States” in order to fulfill the imperatives.

In short, we have gone far beyond the original intent language, and we continue to gut the meanings based on "modern contingencies" not foreseen as justification for unlimited borrowing, advocated now by Geithner and Obama. The Founders told us to defend America then told us how to pay for it (tax, and borrow on credit). Could the founders have made it any clearer? Maybe, just maybe, if they’d said it something like this: “The president and the Congress must defend this country; to do that properly, Congress must maintain the country’s good credit, and must tax and borrow as necessary.”

Excessive debt is an existential security threat to us.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

There are still laws in place that prevent the merger of different types of banks. Your classification of “consumer” banks and “commercial” banks is unknown in the industry. Can you explain, please, what types of banks you mean? Do you mean investment banks and commercial banks?

As evidenced by the debate over TAG extension, dudd-frank failed miserably in its goal of ending too-big-to-fail.

Actually, the TARP that passed the dem house and senate would have been a miserable failure had not Paulson modified how the funds were used. The dem congress said to buy the bad assets, though no price was established and there was NO market. Paulson used the funds to invest in bank capital – which has been / is being repaid with interest.

Geithner is reducing the profit the treasury could be making on TARP by converting the 5% – 9% paying preferred stock to common, and then dumping it for less than treasury paid for it. Geithner’s actions make no economic sense.

Where we will lose money from TARP is the housing and auto bailouts – beyond Paulson’s control.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

Thanks, Senator, for the update. Unfortunately, the Republicans have turned TARP into just another myth that they use to test for political purity. When will the GOP come back to reality? Can't see it happening in the foreseeable future.

Murray, UT

Banks motto: private profits and public risk

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

We miss you, Senator Bennett. How refreshing to hear a politician say 'I was wrong.' How encouraging to see someone privilege evidence over ideology.

Salt Lake City, UT

Goatesnotes: "And yes, I would have preferred a worldwide financial meltdown as opposed to what we have inherited as the natural consequence of TARP and everything that came afterward."

Really? You'd prefer global economic failure? 25% unemployment within developed nations? Widespread disruptions of food production? Millions of Americans losing their homes? Massive global political upheaval?

Do you have some kind of "Road Warrior" post-apocalypse fantasy in your head? I think you must, because that's exactly what "worldwide financial meltdown" would create.

I swear, Democrats don't need to pay consultants to devise strategies for running against Republicans - all that's required is to just remind voters of what Republicans go around saying out loud.

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