I have heard quite a few reports lately about Obama mulling over using repaid TARP money to fund a new jobs program. God forbid we actually use it to pay down our debt, since we had to borrow the money in the first place. This one started with President Bush who said "I've abandoned free market principles to save the free market system," in reference to his decision to implement the TARP. I'm not going to harp on this poor decision that Bush made, even though I could, because Bush isn't the president any longer. Obama is the president, and he has the power to chart a new course. Unfortunately, he is taking the deficits that the Republicans racked up during the Bush years and injecting levels of steroids far worse than all of the MLB players combined!
We have already had the $787 billion "stimulus" plan, billed as an effort to jumpstart the economy and create jobs, and on that basis it has been an overwhelming failure. So what is Obama going to do? He's going to waste even more money in the name of creating jobs. I have already explained that he is not creating jobs, only work. People need jobs, not work. All of this is old news, however. The main point I want to make is that it is downright illegal for Obama to use the TARP funds for a new jobs program. That money was appropriated by Congress for one purpose, to purchase bad assets from banks. Going back to the Bush Administration, they didn't even use the money for that purpose. Hank Paulson, the Treasury Secretary at the time, ended up using it to buy equity stakes in the banks. While this may have served the same purpose of aiding the banks and been a better tactical decision, the money was not appropriated for that specific reason, and he should have asked Congress to pass a new law. Now Obama wants to take the money and use it for a different purpose entirely.
Here is the danger in this situation. We have a government that is printing obscene amounts of money (love him or hate him, look at this chart that Glenn Beck walks through here for a good illustration). We have a national deficit that is out of control. Meanwhile, we have tens of billions of TARP dollars (that are part of the deficit) being repaid to the government, and what are we going to do with it? Spend it..... illegally.
Nope, we're not going to pay down the deficit like we should. We are going to do exactly what myself and many others feared we would do once the money was repaid: waste it away on some ineffective program. The bottom line is that this sets a very dangerous precedent (actually, the precedent has already been set, because the government has done this before) of completely ignoring our laws. However, we've already been doing that for years by trampling on the Constitution. Clearly the Speaker of the House doesn't care, as she aptly demonstrated when asked about the constitutionality of the health care legislation. If we are going to pass a law saying one thing and then do an entirely different thing then why pass laws at all? Let's just put all of the money in the Treasury in one big room and let members of Congress and the President grab what they want. Wait, it pretty much works that way already. Obama, while he and Congress have the chance to truly change things, is just making the situation worse.