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$200 Billion Bucks

Pete Springer/OPB

Tuesday morning, President Obama is scheduled to give a speech about the economy. He talks on the heels of good news: Today, the government says it will be losing much less bailing out banks than experts thought just a few months ago.

A couple hundred billion dollars less, as a matter of fact. The president says the money could go to small business loans, job creation, or straight to paying down the federal deficit. It’s a hot debate: At least one influential Republican who helped negotiate the bank bailout says may even be illegal to use TARP savings elsewhere. Others say spending those savings on jobs could help the stimulus package — a separate program — where it fell short.

Does TARP’s better bottom line represent a found money boon that should be available for more lending? Or the end of a program that performed as it was supposed to?

As for the stimulus package, if that money fell short, where and how?

The country’s biggest single recipient is Washington’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation, where reportedly it’s helping pick up the pace of cleanup. Another federal program to improve the economy by lowering the number of foreclosed homes is just getting underway in parts of Oregon. But some reports say stimulus money still isn’t going where it’s needed.

We’ve checked in on this periodically — soon after passage, a few months later, and at the end of the summer. How, at this point, is federal spending to boost the economy affecting you? What do you think should be done with the “savings” of the bank bailout?


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