Bailout Anger Boiling: "Is Kashkari A Chump?"

Neel Kashkari
Neel Kashkari

I want to talk about anger. Anger may just tank the TARP. It’s everywhere, from the measly pages of my blog, to the hallowed halls of Capitol Hill.

The TARP money isn’t going directly to bail out the housing market, and let’s just say a lot of folks are PO’d.

Look at the responses to my blog regarding the Hope for Homeowners programinitiated last month and the Hope Now program that Fannieand Freddieare now joining with their new “Streamlined Modification Program (SMP)” :

HOPE-less Program
$300 Billion Bail-out Catch 22
$300 Billion Bridge to Nowhere
Hopeless for Homeowners

The argument is that a lot of folks don’t qualify, there’s a 3% upfront fee on the FHA insurance, a 1.5 percent fee for the duration of the loan, and a lot of lenders still don’t want to write down principal, as is required by the program.

So then we get to the Hill this morning, and what I can only describe as a skewering of Neel Kashkari, the Treasury’s Interim Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability. Congressman Dennis Kucinich of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform took Mr. Kashkari to task for changing the rules to the game of Monopoly, TARP edition. In fact, here’s a little montage with Kashkari, Kucinich, Cong. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and Cong. Darrell Issa (R-CA), just the best bits from the testimony:

Kashkari: The secretary is very passionate about this as well-

Kucinich: Passionate about what?

Kashkari: Helping homeowners, congressman -

Kucinich: wwww- he is? in what country??

Cummings: You're on TV. You’re the man. I don't know how much we're paying you, but you're our employee...

Issa: Y'know, we could go ring around the rosie here, but you are here because Congress feels you played a bait and switch game...

Kashkari: I don’t think it's a good use of taxpayer money to put taxpayer capital into an institution that's going to fail-

Kucinich: Boy y'know, that statement you just made, you will hear about for the rest of your career.

Cummings: Is Kashkari a chump?

Not sure what else I could possibly add.

Questions? Comments?