The Wall Street Journal reports:
The Obama administration, under pressure to show it is serious about tackling the budget deficit, is seizing on an unusual target to showcase fiscal responsibility: the $700 billion financial rescue.
The administration wants to keep some of the unspent funds available for emergencies, but is considering setting aside a chunk for debt reduction, according to people familiar with the matter. … On the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, the administration is considering a change that may appear to improve the fiscal situation. Agreeing not to spend a certain amount of TARP money will enable the White House, in its budget projections, to assume less money out the door and, therefore, less debt issued.
Foregoing any chunk of the remaining TARP funds would be a blessing. But budgeting rules aside, pledging not to spend additional money is not a real reduction spending. These promises are completely worthless if the administration insists on keeping “some of the unspent funds available for emergencies.” TARP was not created to be a White House slush fund.
End TARP. All of it.