Another day, another earnest report finding that the Treasury has messed up the bailout.
A new GAO report on issues of “transparency and accountability” in the TARP program finds that Treasury lacks “a clearly articulated vision” for TARP and “has made limited progress in … communicating an overall strategy” for it.
From a summary of findings:
Treasury has continued to develop a system for detecting noncompliance with key requirements of the program but has not yet finalized its plans. Further, Treasury has made limited progress in formatting articulating and communicating an overall strategy for TARP, continuing to respond to institution- and industry-specific needs by, for example, making further capital purchases and offering loans to the automobile industry. In addition, it has not yet developed a strategic approach to explain how its various programs work together to fulfill TARP’s purposes or how it will use the remaining TARP funds. While GAO does not question the need for swift responses in the current economic environment, the lack of a clearly articulated vision has complicated Treasury’s ability to effectively communicate to Congress, the financial markets, and the public on the benefits of TARP and has limited its ability to identify personnel needs.
Several previous reports, some from TARP’s Congressional Oversight Panel have had similar findings.
So it’s not like we didn’t know any of this. But it’s worth being reminded, as often as possible, just what a mess of this program the federal government has made so far.