"The Banks Still Hold Guns to our Heads," Say Former TARP Director

Last night, Jon Stewart interviewed Neil Barofsky, the former overseer of the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and author of the new book Bailout

According to Barofsky, TARP turned into a colossal betrayal of the American people, a disaster aided by the corrosive and defensive environment in Washington.

“Everybody was more concerned about looking out for themselves, the next newspaper report, rather than the giant financial meltdown that we had walked into,” Barofsky said. Barofsky was appointed by President Bush in 2009 as Special Inspector General to TARP, but resigned in 2011.

Part of the $700 billion was supposed to help homeowners, but only an infinitesimal portion ended up actually going to families struggling under the weight of toxic, ballooning mortgage payments. In particularly, the home mortgage modification program (HAMP) was completely corrupted to aid Wall Street while ignoring homeowners.

“There was almost no effort," said Barofsky. "The justifications for not doing the right thing, among them was, ‘Oh well, we can’t help an undeserving homeowner. It would be terrible if we did that,’” Barofsky said. “Meanwhile, the financial institutions that drove this country into the ditch … those guys, ‘let’s not only get them their money, but let’s make sure their still able to pay their million dollars in business.’”

Barofsky and Stewart also discussed how unless the “too big to fail” exemption for Wall Street, our broken financial system will continue to screw over everyday Americans.

“A lot of the biggest banks did and still do hold the guns to our heads,” said Barofsky.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.