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Romney: I Was For The Bailout Before I Was Against It

Secretary Paulson’s TARP prevented a systemic collapse of the national financial system. Secretary Geithner’s TARP became an opaque, heavy-handed, expensive slush fund. It should be shut down. ~Mitt Romney

Via Chris Dierkes

This is the same line that Thune uses now. This is a ridiculous position to take. One can either recognize that the original TARP was always potentially an opaque slush fund to be used for whatever purpose the executive branch wanted, and it was therefore an outrageous measure that ought to have been defeated, or one can accept the abuses of the TARP that inevitably followed from the absurd way it was designed. Even though the TARP was unnecessary and misguided, Thune and Romney want to get credit for supporting something they claim saved the day, but they don’t want to pay the political price for supporting something that has become play money for whatever strikes the administration’s fancy. Romney supported and Thune voted for a measure that made possible the slush fund they denounce.

Supporters of a policy or piece of legislation do not get to receive credit for the supposed benefits and avoid blame for the negative consequences. Thune and Romney supported a corrupt, unconstitutional giveaway of public funds to be used in an unaccountable way for arbitrary purposes. Lack of accountability and arbitrariness were built into the measure from the beginning. The problem of the original “troubled assets” for which the funds were intended has never been solved, and the TARP funds have never been used for the purpose for which they were appropriated. Naturally, Romney would like to have it both ways, but his distinction between Paulson’s TARP and Geithner’s TARP is specious and meaningless.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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