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August 14th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Pres. Obama's transparency promise on bailout & stimulus $?

 When it comes to stimulus and bailout money, has Pres. Obama kept his promise of transparency?
When it comes to stimulus and bailout money, has Pres. Obama kept his promise of transparency?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Pres. Obama has been promising the American people transparency ever since he was on the campaign trail.

And, when it comes to the $700 billion dollar bank and auto bailouts, known as TARP, and the $787 billion economic stimulus package, the president vowed an unprecedented level of openness.

A lot of information has been made public through websites like recovery.gov and financialstability.gov. The administration calls these sites "pioneering" compared to how government worked in the past.

But we're talking about almost $1.5 trillion dollars here – and there is key information that the public doesn't know about how and where this money is being spent.

For example, the Treasury Department doesn't require banks that have gotten TARP funds to show how they're using the money or who the bailed out banks are lending to.

Also, taxpayers won't have any idea if they've lost or made money on government investments in companies like General Motors, AIG, Citigroup and Bank of America until the government sells its stakes.

As for the spending of stimulus dollars, the government accounting only goes as far as the first tier recipients from the states. So it's not known which and how many companies down the line are getting work.

It's not enough. We deserve the transparency that was promised us. Otherwise it's just another example of government lying to us in order to get us to go along with something. Does the Iraq war ring a bell?

SO HERE'S THE QUESTION:When it comes to stimulus and bailout money, has Pres. Obama kept his promise of transparency?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Tom from Illinois says:
Once again, campaign rhetoric turns out to be pure blather. New administration, same old b.s. Being from Illinois, I'm not surprised that the results differ from the promises of this crew.

Peggy says:
Hey Jack. Are you taking a page from Fox News Channel now? This president has shown more transparency in his first six months in office than his predecessor did in his entire term. Cut him some slack, for crying out loud. He's out there actually working. Pick on someone else about transparency.

Martin from Pittsburgh says:
I voted for Obama and I still have faith in his success, but I am disappointed there has been a lack of transparency. When he promised that he was going to change Washington and make transparency one of his main goals, it made me and other voters feel like we would have more control over our government, even if it does grow. Now I feel like it’s all the same.

Jim says:
Perception is everything. If I was to give a trillion dollars away, how long would it take me to figure out if the money was actually spent the way I wanted it to be? Reality says it takes more than a month or two. Yes, President Obama is doing what he promised. Maybe not at the speed we would like, but progress that counts is seldom fast.

Alex from Atlanta says:
Jack, It's not a question of transparency. Anyone with a computer can easily access all the information he needs. The issues are the abject laziness of most people and the muddy, fuzzy filters through which special interest groups pass the facts.

Jillian from Orleans, California says:
Transparent? More like opaque. I am highly disappointed in the administration because things are more obscure than ever. At least when Bush was president, we knew he was screwing us over because it was so overt.


Filed under: President Obama • Stimulus
soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. Jack Kramer in California

    No, he has not. This stimulus is an embarrassment. They rushed it through so fast they they would not even take the time over the last weekend to read the bill. Chris Dodd got caught in a lie about the AIG bonuses. This was a big pork bill, and not an actual "stimulus."

    August 14, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  2. Paul Austin, Texas

    I think he is trying and is being as transparent as possible in his possition. You see Jack when you have so many people working for you things be come cloudy.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  3. MIKE FROM CHICAGO

    Why he certainly has if his promise was to ram things through congress before the citizens realize whats going on and keep the bonus payouts on the dl as well

    August 14, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  4. Brian

    Jack,

    The thing is, transparency only matters if someone is looking. Right now everyone is so caught up trying to find clever ways to call the President a socialist or a Nazi that they've forgotten all about the money he spent on the bailouts...and how much those bailouts have done to save the country.

    Brian
    Boise, ID

    August 14, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  5. John from Alabama

    Jack: I believe President Obama is keeping his promise, but the transparency is not there yet. I do believe there is a concerned effort to provide transparency for the health care reform and energy plan. The White House is working hard to get more of its vision on the internet and air waves.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  6. Jackie in Dallas

    As much as he can, yes I think he is.

    What people are forgetting is that the TARP was passed under the BUSH administration, pushed through by the President himself, and didn't require accountability. And that was the fault of both the Executive branch and the Congress (both sides of the aisle!). In the stimulus bills and the bailouts, there is accountability.

    Now, do I believe that the greedy corporate pigs who got that money are PROVIDING that accountability? No. And the President is only the President, he cannot legislate, he cannot force the Congress to do anything. His powers are limited, since President Obama actually studied the Constitution and is abiding by it, unlike Cheney. He is not ruling by fiat or Executive Order, he is governing by law.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  7. Tom from Philly

    UMM considering we still dont really know what Bush/cheeney really did, i would say president obama is livin in a glass house...........

    August 14, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  8. Paul Martin

    Hurst, Texas

    Jack,

    I like the guy and I'm pulling for him.

    BUT, Make no mistake!

    Oxymoron:
    political transparency

    August 14, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  9. Tina Tx

    As best as he can. Everyone changes for the worst when the arrive for their jobs in Washington. You start out a fairly decent person and it does not take long before the reek of slime to take over.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  10. Candy West Virginia

    Compared to bush, President Obama has been more than forthcoming. The republicans complained a while ago we were seeing him too much. The President keeps us informed, ha regular town halls and has made everything available on the government website.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  11. Mark in OKC

    President Obama has NOT kept his promise about transparency, in fact he is just as secretive as President Bush or even more so. He obviously doesn't want us to know squat about his prescription for our ailing health care system.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  12. Stephen Madaras

    From San Diego. There is NO transparency AT ALL. The FED and other central banks have set up a Ponzi scheme where their friends get all the benefit and the society pays for it.

    This country is bankrupt, but the whole system is an illusion. We need to focus on the intelligent management of resources to provide the necessities of life for everyone and eliminate the corrupt monetary system.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  13. john ........ marlton, nj

    Has he been transparent? Yes, said the blind man to his deaf son...

    August 14, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  14. Simon/Orlando

    Absolutely not. The only thing that is apparently transparent is that the majority of the bail out money has gone into districts (like Detroit) and organizations (like ACORN) that support the Democratic party. It's just one big pay off for votes.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  15. Kevin from Montebello CA

    I don't know Jack. I haven't been paying attention. I just want to find a job.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  16. Molita in TX

    No he certainly has not. There is more govt, lobbyist & our freedoms are about to get a death choke – transparency? Obama is a true politician, nothing more. He has lied to the AMerican people and refuses to address the real issue of illegal's in this country. The employers who hire them should be stiffly fined and/or shut down. The hospitals that provide free medical care need to change their policy and offer free medical ONLY to US citizens.
    Jack, I am very concerned that this administration has not only gone into the banking bs and selling cars, they want to poison us with vaccines, poison our food with pesticides (organice is better!) and then tell us to shut up when we complain at a town hall meeting. We are living in a dangerous time – is martial law next?

    August 14, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  17. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Anyone who actually bought those transparency lines in the first place is gullible.. The truth is the government really is not lying. They don't really know where the money went. They rushed these blls through Congress loaded with pork-barrel nonsense, without reading it because: a) the car companies are too big to fail and chapter 11 will not work, b) the banks are too big to fail so we have to loan them tons of cash so they continue lending (to who?) but we won't require them to actually account for the money or fordbid them from buying other banks and paying bonuses instead, and c) because if we don't get this stimulus passed we won't be able to keep unemployment under 8.5%. Gee, and you think the transparency thing makes the President a liar?

    August 14, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  18. Independent Joe

    Jack,

    The answer"no' is spelled out in your article. I don't think they are liars Jack, they just don't tell it all.
    What amazes me is that this administration is managing to quadruple our national debt since the election. Is anyone else out there becoming alarmed at where they are taking this great nation?
    Now we want to provide health care for all! Jack, we can't afford to provide everyone with bandaides.

    Joe Mussell (Brainerd,Mn)

    August 14, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  19. Lucy

    I would also like to say, though, that I'm sure being the President of the USA looks a lot different when you're actually holding the position as opposed to when your campaigning for it. I think the job lends itself to breaking promises and a fair amount of deceit.
    Lucy
    SF, CA

    August 14, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  20. Matthew Enthoven

    You can't expect for government money to remain transparent when it's handed over to private organizations. Obama has done an incredible job at keeping his spending as transparent as possible. The real question is if he will be able to maintain that transparency during the remainder of his term.

    – Chicago, IL

    August 14, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  21. Billy in Las Vegas

    let's not forget, Jack that it was a Republican Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson that threw almost a TRILLION dollars to his former associates on Wall Street with NO questions asked. at least the Obama administration has put some curbs on TARP fed financial company bonuses and other foolishness.

    and as for GM, have people forgotten back in the 1980's when the government bailed out Chrysler? THAT turned into one of the most profitable investments the govenment ever made.

    my only complaint about the stimulus is that they need to do more infrastucture work NOW. a program like "Cash for Clunkers" should be the model for how to spend the money. it's simple, easy to understand and WORKS.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  22. Melissa

    President Obama has been more transparent than any President in history. Yes, he has. Just because he doesn't tell us absolutely everything whenever we demand it doesn't mean he hasn't been transparent. As usual, he just doesn't quite go far enough for some hateful right wing nuts who are looking for reasons to spread their division.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  23. Eric

    I think it is obviously not transparent enough. We bailed out automakers and too over GM by firing their CEO. On top of that, we gave billions in a Cash for Clunkers program to subsidize auto sales. The financial bailouts are even more confusing. If it were completely transparent, does it matter? I don't think anyone would be able to understand it!

    August 14, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  24. Eric

    I think it is obviously not transparent enough. We bailed out automakers and took over GM by firing their CEO. On top of that, we gave billions in a Cash for Clunkers program to subsidize auto sales. The financial bailouts are even more confusing. If it were completely transparent, does it even matter? I don’t think anyone would be able to understand it!

    August 14, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  25. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    I wish he had. I don't believe he really knows where all this money goes, just as I do not believe he read this health care reform package he is trying to sell us. People voted Obama because he promised a change, but we are getting the same only wearing a different suit. People are now getting tired and you can see it on all the town hall meetings lately.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  26. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Jack–
    He hasn't if you were expecting complete transparency, but I feel that any logical and thinking American would realize that we certainly have access to more information that we ever did during the Bush years. He could do more–quarterly reports on stimulus and economic progress would be nice.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  27. David in Natchez

    At best he has been translucent. They don't even know where all the money went so how can they tell us.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  28. bobwhite in Kansas

    I believe that some efforts to be transparent are made. And the whole idea of transpancy is a big change from the previous administration. However, there is certainly no transparency where TARP is involved. And now we hear that "Clunker" money is not being used so much for improvement of milage or to address ecological concerns as it is to just sell more big cars and trucks. And administration obstacles to transpancy have been put in place, even tightened, with regard to the commission of crimes by the CIA and Justice Dept. under the Bush Administration. Justice delayed in justice denied. And not much real transparancy is taking place.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  29. Larry, Ohio

    Jack,President Obama has been about as transparent as a lead lined safe that keeps the kryptonite safe from Superman.It is just one more example of it is easier to run for office and promise things on a whim, than it actually is to be Chief Executive and to keep those promises!

    August 14, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  30. Terry, Chandler AZ

    I think he has tried to keep his promises. However TARP and the other bailouts have grown into a giant program so huge that most likely nobody knows everything. It is impossible to be transparent. Don't you just love big government Jack?

    August 14, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  31. Michael Odegard, Portland, OR

    Obama is going down in history as the second worst US President–and its too late for him to change it. Obama has gone back on everything he has promised. He did not increase taxes on the rich, he practices borrow and spend economics, his foreign policy is more similar than dissimilar to previous administrations, he is working more for lobbyists (banking and big auto) than for the American people. I'm not voting for him, another Democrat or a Republican again. I feel robbed, oppressed and in every way insulted by what can only be described as the baby boomer establishment–they are thieves, Obama included.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  32. Tom Mytoocents Fort Lauderdale Florida

    Jack

    President Obama has all the tranparency of Monte Hall.
    While Americans choose between Door # 1 Door #2 or Door #3 we really don't know what we are buying. It's an art of polltics. When the votes are cast for the mortgage bailout somehow it's transformed into free money for corporate welfare.
    Even though that's not what we voted for. What you see is not what you get.becomes painfully obvious. A lesson we should have learned from the deceider Bush .
    When the stimulus was up for vote all the rhetoric was jobs jobs jobs. Some small discussion of free broadband internet, renewable energy etc. Like the election; jobs were told it's comming!!!!!

    August 14, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  33. Frank from Peterborough

    Well Jack Corporate America are masters of smoke and mirrors with creative financing and foreign investment a forensic accountant would likely not be able to follow the money.

    My guess what transparency that exists today is about all the factual information the government can extract from these masters of deception who know full well under present deregulation are too big to fail.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  34. Pamela holt

    If president Obama was going to keep his promise of transparency, he should have informed the American citizens about how the credit card companies, the auto co. And even life insurance co.are includindMg a clause in their contracts that take away the right of u.s. Citizens to go to a court of law and sue if they are wronged by them. Not only that, but when president obama was worried about the auto co.suing and gave into their demands, why didn" t he just use the same claus in their contracts, like they are using on we citizens. This is just one untransparent, if that"s a word that is being kept from us. Ihad to do a lot of small print reading to find this out, but I" m sure that president Obama,being a lawyer, know it when he was finnegiling all that tarp money.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  35. Joy in Texas

    Jack,
    I truely belive the President is doing his dead level best to honor all the promises and pledges he made when he was running for office and since becoming President. I do think that some of the people who have been put in charge to oversee some of the stimulus programs are not keeping up with or tracking what is going on with the money that has been given out to the banks, car companies and so forth and its a big problem. This definately needs to be addressed. But, I trust our President and I think he is doing a fine job...I think it will all work out in the end and we will look back over these troubled times and be thankful that we had a man of honor at the helm. At least I pray it is so....

    August 14, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  36. Ken, MI

    You gotta be kidding. There has been absolutely NO transparency to this point. What happened to his campaign promise to post the bill on the Internet 5 days prior to the vote. Oh I remember, Pelosi delivers the bill at 3 a.m. and asks for a vote before the end of the day. She seemed to skip the part about 5 days and Internet and bi-partisanship. The real transparency is that she's running the show and Obama's going along with it. How sad, that he allows her to override his promise for change.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  37. hank, montreal

    It's probably misplaced trust on the part of the President, but even HE is kept out of the loop and is now a simple passenger in this economic run-away train. When it comes to stimulus and bank bailouts the duo of banksters Geithner and Summers, along with Fed chief Bernanke PRESIDE over all aspects of the Treasury and Wall Street, and good luck to you if you think you'll ever get an ounce of truth from any of them.
    For all the money given to banks and others, there would have been enough to PAY OFF all existing mortgages, credit card and medicare debt ......instead Wall Street got the money and kept it, and the taxpayer got nothing! And that's Economics "à la Geithner"

    August 14, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  38. bob, oshawa, ontario

    Jack, it is difficult to have transparency when the government announced that some institutions and industry are too big to fail. With that premise in mind, these agencies control the government to a large extent and live by their own rules and need not answer where they allocate their taxpayer funding. If they get into financial trouble again by mismanagement or bad market decisions they will receive another bailout. The concept of a self-correcting free market exists only for those small businesses not under the umbrella of government protection.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  39. Laura, Boston

    Hi Jack..happy Friday.

    The answer to your question is a simple one, No! President Obama hasn't kept many of his promises including the one of being transparent in all dealing with the people. You would think that he would definitely try to keep this promise especially after 8 years of being kept in the dark after the previous administration.

    I guess it's easier to make promises than to keep them when you are President.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  40. JD, Greenville NC

    Obama should be more explicit with the details of how and where funds are being placed. When it happens, please don't let that story get buried by a something like Michael Jackson's death.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  41. Sherri-Illinois

    I really don't care about transparency right now. I more concerned with finding a job after 10mos of being unemployed. Sure don't remember the media asked for transparency with the Bank Bailout from President Bush.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  42. Gene

    Hey Jack

    I don't know if this is really a matter of transparency. Really, aren't we blaming Obama for what others are doing? He's only one man. He can't keep tabs on how every company spends every dollar of the bailout money that has been distributed, especially with so many other issues he's trying to deal with at the same time.

    I do believe that the companies receiving this money should be providing statements and receipts showing how that money is being distributed.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  43. Michael

    Jack, yes absolute transparency, none of us can see where the heck its all gone !

    Michael
    New Marlborough MA

    August 14, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  44. Vinnie Vino

    Jack,

    Let the sunshine in, he has been more open then any of his fellow predecessors, come on people open your eyes Mr. Bush's mess left us in the economic darkness...

    Vinnie Vino
    Central Islip, N.Y.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  45. martin

    I think this is just like what Bush did with Iraq. I voted for Obama and I still have faith in his success but I am disappointed there has been a lack of transparency. When he promised that he was going to change Washington and make transparency one of his main goals, it made me and other voters feel like I have more control in our govt, even if it does grow. Now I feel like its all the same.

    Martin, Pittsburgh, PA

    August 14, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  46. Tommy Martin

    Tommy ; from Tulsa,
    It is cloudier than ever. There is so much of a smoke screen being put up, out there. It is still big government as usual! Nothing has changed and nothing ever will, until term limits are put in place! Congress has been allowed to stay in office for too many terms. I am not saying our President is behind this. He is only one man. He may want everyone to know exactly what he is doing, but there are too many others who don't!!!

    August 14, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  47. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Absolutely not! He has given leventy seven thousand speeches since taking office and I see no results, no clarity and no transparency. He has not materially kept any of his promises as far as I can see. Indeed, he has gone in the opposite direction – back to the Bush regime.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  48. Chris, Philadelphia

    Everything is relative Jack. Pres. Obama can only be as transparent as we allow him to be (for example.. townhall meetings- we see how those are going!) We, the people and the media, cannot yell foul without understanding all of the variables and how the dots connect. Perhaps we can't handle the truth! Are we mature enough for a President to really be transparent without people throwing tantrums like spoiled tots? Scary and embarassing.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  49. Jim

    Jack, Interresting question. I remember Larry Cudlow crowing the praises of UBS on TV. He had a thumbs up for the brokerage firm doing the most to attract rich wealth. Little did we know that the "bait" was a connection to the Swiss Banks to shelter investment income from United States Taxes. There is a fog between Treasurery and State with "treaties & the IRS". To let ANY of the 55,000 accounts at UBS "outsourced" to Swiss Banks for unethical and criminal intent go unreviewed is initself criminal. UBS & the Swiss Banks should be sued big time even if "wiser minds" don't have the guts for it. You want transparency? Here is the biggest opportunity of the decade.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  50. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    I'll have to give him a D- on that promise, anytime you deal with billions of dollars the thieves all come out of the wood work and that includes the members of congress, they just can't resist helping their lobbyist buddies.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  51. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS.

    All I want to see or read about is who is benifiting from all these so called good deeds that thePresident has so graciously offered.
    I don't care if I'm not one of the beneficiary's as long as it helps the truly needy, like the poor and the middle class who will soon be poor.

    I must be dreaming. Money goes to money. I fear that the only people who will make out are the rich.
    I can just see it now, thank you Mr President, instead of losing $20 million, I only lost $2 million.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  52. C.K. of Colorado

    Jack, I have to say that my faith in Obama is dwindling fast. I kept defending him in his first few months of office, while the world criticized him. But now it seems that money is dissapearing fast with no oversight, and we're all feeling the effects. I'm now questioning his judgement. Of course, I'd rather have him in office over someone like that nutjob Palin anyday, but I'm hoping we see some improvement and fast.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  53. Jeff in Glen Carbon IL

    TARP: I am not aware that anyone thought there was any lack of transparency on the LOANS given to prevent collapse of the entire financial system.
    STIMULUS: I don't know how they can report on the ultimate spending as it is given to federal agencies to create programs that often give to intermediary federal or State entities that give to direct service governmental units and NFPs that will spend it. My organization is near the bottom of that list and we were told the probable amount, the probable date (October) and only a clue as to what will and will not be eligible. My budget and layoff list is due to the Board in two weeks and I am not sure what to tell them.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  54. Eduardo from Los Angeles California

    The president has completely broken his promise of transperacy the bailout money can be used to buy toilet paper for coorperate restrooms and we wont even notice

    August 14, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  55. Michael Sullivan from Lafayette, California

    Jack - I'm a big Barack supporter, but the answer to your question is in a
    word, "No" - the main problem, as I see it, is that the Treasury Department did not require TARP banks to show how they're using the bailout funds nor to whom they're lending - my question is, "Why was/is
    this the case?" - something definitely smells fishy here!

    August 14, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  56. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    No, that's why we want Bush and Cheney back so we don't have the right to ask any questions about anything.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  57. Glenn

    YES, ABSOLUTELY YES. Obama is being transparent. He has told you where the money has gone to and what it was used for. It is not his fault that the banks, corporations, and projects that he has given the money to are not tellin gyou what they are doin gwith the money. How far do you want it to go? Yes, he gave some money to a governer to build a bridge. That is true, and you can see it on the recovery.gov website. Do you want to know the name of the man and his children working on the bridge, and then what they have used it for? College, groceries? That is going too far. His transparency has been first and second tier, not 'follow this dollar for a year' kind of transparency. He is the President, not God.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  58. Diane in PC Florida

    Compared to Bush and the Republicans, President Obama has been a wide- open door when it comes to transparency. Also, George Bush was the one that brought about TARP, not President Obama. Obama can't promise transparency for something he did not do. Also, remember, Cheney met behind closed doors with the petroleum industry mogels to develop our national energy policy. Further, this financial fiasco we are facing is a direct result of the dismantling of our financial industry regulatory framework by Bush and his rubber-stamp Congressional Republicans that turned ours into a PonzI Economy requiring the stimulus and auto industry takeovers.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  59. Dee in Florida

    I think we first have to look at who set uyp the deal on the TARP funding and other bailouts. Did President Obama set it up? If so, and we do not have the information we need to see what is happening to our money, then, NO, he is not being tansparent.

    HOWEVER, if the deals were made by Congress and the Treasury Department, and if President Obama has no more clues than the rest of us, then maybe YES, he is telling us what he knows.

    I am fairly sure that a LOT of stuff gets done in DC without the knowledge of the president. The only thing is, he should have the authority to find out. But I am betting that the entrenched bureaucrats in the various agencies would not tell all if they were threatened with jail time, so what exactly can Obama do?

    August 14, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  60. Emma, San Luis Obispo, CA

    The Bush Adminstration's Treasury Department made the deal with the banks that doesn’t require banks that have gotten TARP funds to show how they’re using the money or who the bailed out banks are lending to. Remember Congress failed at convincing the Whitehouse to do this, so it's was a done deal and it was Paulsen's deal that allowed his cronies at Goldman Sachs to wheel and deal a great deal for themselves in the way of non disclosure for the grand total of 20 billionb dollars which he lost for them when he worked there..........
    TARP was not negotiated by the Obama Administration.

    When some of the banks repaid their bailout money it was posted all over the various media how much in interest we (americans) earned.

    The facts are not yet in on the GM or Chrysler but I am confident that we will see the proof of interest on our loan to them shared with the american people. Too bad we Americans are so conditioned to want results immediately instead of letting the process work first.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  61. Chuck Fogland

    Trying to quash the independence of the TARP inspector by the Secretary of Treasury is hardly working towards transparency.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  62. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Jack,

    one part of the stimulus is in people own pocket. The second part is aid to States where people also have the responsibility to ask better transparency and equality from their States and the third is for infrastructures, innovation funds and jobs creation that needs to be posted on recovery.gov.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  63. Brian in VA

    If transparency means being able to see right through lies, I would have to say yes.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  64. Roland

    No.

    Like most government anything, the Washington 2 step has the truth hidden until the people forget the question.
    What exactly was the Whitewater investigation???

    August 14, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  65. cora

    yes, he has jack and futher more he has brought us out of the recession what else has he get to do, you have the jackals on the side that's trying to stop him in everything he does, that find wrong in every thing he does,you have the party of no that want vote on any thing he subjects, so yes he has been transparent and honest and i hope he stays that way.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  66. Karl from SF, CA

    He is doing the best he can. The American people can only comprehend so much detail of the monies distribution. Besides it has to be simple enough for Republicans to understand, doesn’t it? I bet John Boehner and Mitch McConnell know where every cent of their states stimulus funds went and they are bragging to their constituents on how they got it for them. We can see through that, too.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  67. Ruie - Brownstown, MI

    Dear Jack: In regards to the bank bailouts, it is my understanding that Secretary Paulson and President Bush made a deal where we would not know where and how that money was divided. Since President Obama was not part of that deal, I'm not sure he should be or could be held accountable for that one. However, I agree, anything after that, we should have transparency. Transparency to me is the White House and his cabinet members sending out the information to us and NOT just allowing news organizations to "glean" it. He needs to make an effort to improve this!

    August 14, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  68. David Gerstenfeld

    The spending' transparencies have developed 'cataracts'.
    David, Las Vegas

    August 14, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  69. Carnell

    So Far In My Opinion, The President Has Been Transparent And Up Front With The American People About All Three Subjects That You've Mentioned. However If There's More Information That Needs To Be Known About The T.A.R.P. Stimulous, And Bailouts. Then I Believe The President And The White House Should Be More Forthcoming. See, I'm Willing To Give The President The Opportunity And Chance To Keep His Word.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  70. Darius.. LA

    The President has done a fine job. I doubt anyone could do the job better. The stimulus helped my family out, and we are contributing more to the GDP than ever. When I was laid off, the subsidy to unemployment insurance helped tremendously. My father will reap the rewards of the lower cost medicine for seniors. I'm thinking of tradiing in my explorer for the cash for clunkers program (15 mpg) for something thing that gets 10 mpg better. whaat some dont get is that I then have to turn around and spend additional to cover the balance of the vehicle. i think the program works fine.

    proponents need to use the energy they have fighting the government to work harder in their jobs, teach their kids and send them to college, and become more diligent functional human beings. i worked my ass off through school , through student loans, and perseverance has me doing fine.

    grumble all you want people at the end of the day the president gets my vote and the majority of americans. so if you dont like it, move to canada or something.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  71. Kevin Washington

    Yes he has kept his promise,unfortunately the people and corporation that required the bail out are the ones who is suspect.
    The same old practices are being used in business and corprate
    They need to monitor the stimulis packages.

    Kevin CA.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  72. Farah

    No.

    It seems he set the standard too high for himself... at the end of the day he is a politician... one I admire and respect... an intelligent and capable one... but a politician nonetheless. And don't tell me he is more more transparent than the Bush administration... what kind of a standard is that!

    August 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  73. Josh Trump

    I think that as far as being transparent President Obama has been as crystal clear as possible considering past Presidents. Although you could argue more transparency would be nice I think a certain level of secrecy is important to the retain a governments security and the general safety of us Americans.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  74. james adee

    TARP ain't Obama's baby! That was Bush's gift to Goldman Sachs. I wouldn't want people thinking I was responsible for TARP if I was Obama. Maybe thats why the transparency is lacking as far as that program is concerned.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  75. Frank

    Put it like this, Compare the transparency now to the one we had in 2002. I think we ought to be grateful to the administration's effort to relay all neccessary information to the public. We might not hear all we want but we hear most of it.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  76. ed in nj

    As in the past with many administrations, there is only the amount of information that they want you to hear and what gets thier point across. Obama is just the latest in many presidents that do that. many promises have been broken by him, this just being another one. We as the public can not get the correct information, so we guesstimate.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  77. Susan from Twin Falls Idaho

    Hard to tell, but one thing for sure. The GOP will open every can of worms possible to let the populous know any time he stubs his toe. No one is perfect and sometimes a leader has to back track to keep all the ball in the air.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  78. Bill

    You're kidding right?How can they be transparent,when they don't have a clue as to where it all is?

    August 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  79. Bill in Florida

    Jack,

    I believe that President Obama is doing everything he can to be transparent. In fact, he may be doing it to a fault. Here's my complaint. Why aren't the states taking advantage of the stimulus funds? We've all heard what Sanford and Palin tried to do about the stimulus funds. But even states that didn't take an open position agains the stimulus aren't taking full advantage. My state is one of them. Florida has come in last in stimulus spending out of 51 states (including the District of Columbia). There are many excuses being given for dragging their feet, but I think our state leadership has let us down, not Barack Obama.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  80. Larry (SF Bay Area)

    These entities should be help accounatable for their spending just as much as anyone esle is. We have a right to now how OUR money is being spent. The problem is, banks don't want to tell anyone how they spend the money because to many people would be outraged at the waste.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  81. Guy

    Where is the czar in charge of the stimulus (Besides VP Biden)?

    He should be the one talking
    Guy

    August 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  82. Ray Victory

    It seems so to me. I have followed the web sites and other sources. After all we are only a few months into an unprecentedly large enterprise. As information becomes available in greater detail I have the full expectation that it will be incorporated into the reports to the American people.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  83. Tim Horodyski

    I think he is trying his best to keep his promise. When other people get involve things tend to get complicated, its not his fault that the government is filled with morons and people who can do their jobs correctly.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  84. Jim Cripe

    Perception is everything. If I was to give a trillion dollars away how long would it take me to figure out if the money was actually spent the way I wanted it to? Realty says it takes more than a month or two. Yes President Obama is doing what he promised. Maybe not at the speed we would like but progress that counts is seldom fast.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  85. DeeDee

    I think the President wants to do the right thing. But reality has set in. Changing things in Washington is like moving a herd of elephants.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  86. Matt - Ft Worth

    Considering that the TARP, AIG and the Auto Bailout were orchestrated by the Bush/Cheney administration, I'd be surprised if anyone can figure out where the money went. Now as far as transparency about the Stimulus, I think Obama has been very up front so far showing where that money is going... considering only about 10% of it has been spent so far, it's not that hard to track.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  87. Jamil

    I think He has done much better job in this field than previous administrations, it will take some time to change the corrupt system.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  88. Michael Shaffer

    Jack,

    He clearly has NOT been transparent...it is very clear when you listen to Robert Gibbs (not political crap) evade issues you really don't need to ask....do you?

    August 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  89. Patnap/Georgia

    He has been more transparent than any other President. Yes, I would like to know where all the money is spent but Obama is the only President where you can go on line and see where it is going. For the amount you mentioned, I guess I don't know but it does not affect what I think or feel about him. I know there are many sites that you can go in to ask a question and if I am interested , I can go to one of them and hopefully get an answer to that question. Anyway, it is not possible to please everyone all the time and I think the President is trying to do with this transparancy and sometimes it can backfire.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  90. Dave, Vancouver

    Americans, like the good citizens of all democracies, are confused and baffled by transparency. If you think the wheels of government grind slowly now, try telling everbody everything. The present Healthcare wars would look like Sunday tea by comparison. President Obama is being as transparent as his constituency is capable of absorbing.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  91. Jon from CA

    its as transparent as the companies want it to be. they dont want the taxpayers to know what theyre actually paying. probably a gas guzzler and the best doctors.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  92. Jerry

    Jack, I thought this guy would be different, I voted for him, Now I see this stimulus money is not going to take effect until 2011, Then the new jobs will fourish,just in time for election. Using taxpayer money for a timed stimulus just to get him and the democrats reelected in 2012. Playing politics with our money. In the mean time Obama hopes the best for the unemployed.
    Their all just schmucks. Jerry / Iowa

    August 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  93. Shellie, Texas

    Yes, Jack, as far as is possible with these vast amounts of money, President Obama has kept his promise. The banks have not come clean with full disclosure, but I don't believe that was his fault. Somebody dropped the ball in the way those loans were made. Unlike any other president in my lifetime, and I'm almost 70, this man is trying to be honest with the American public. I trust him, and I'm grateful.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  94. Alan

    Jack: I have been around for a lot of Administrations, I can remember back to Truman. I belive this is the most transparent Admin. I can recall. President Obama could be doing business at some peoples ketchen table and that would not be good enought.
    I do belive news media could do a better job in reporting facts, and leave big deal tabloid agenda out of this.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  95. Howell from Glendale Heights, Ill

    Remember Jack Nicholson when he said, you can’t handle the truth? The truth is that we are a great people, wanting to do great things, plain and simple. Today the President talked about how you have Bears, Moose and Elk in Montana and in Washington there are only mostly Bulls. When you think about everyone that’s been effective by this recession, losing about 700 hundred jobs a month. Now, we are starting to see recovery return, extended unemployment and cobra benefits along with other helpful things, this is what recovery is all about. Has it been perfect, no? However, you must way the good against the bad, and to me things are going in the right direction. It has become quite clear that we aren’t seeing all the good and great things going on all around America. Finally, the President said “through the grace of god there go I”, and thank God we have someone who thinks of the welfare of all individual, and not only a chosen few.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  96. Keith Connes

    I don't think you're being fair to Obama on the transparency issue. The fact that the banks can do what they like with the TARP money was part of the giveaway deal by Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (who should have been led away in handcuffs), and how is the Government supposed to know what the bailout securities will be worth when they are sold in the future?

    August 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  97. Tony

    Transparency? Transparenty? Jack, I have good tranparency of our stimulus money at work....let me explain. Our city, a couple months ago, aquired a "team" of workers provided through our local "Workforce Developement" program. The whole thing is paid from stimulus money and they have hired on about 30 people. For the last two months, daily, I've seen 25 people sitting around in the shade, under bridges, under trees, smoking cigarettes and watching 5 people doing the work. After I criticized the directer, I was told he HAS to spend the money up and keep their paychecks coming, which is minimum wage. Jack, I think this is where "share the wealth" comes in, but it's my tax money that is being shared and I am SICK OF IT! Sometimes we don't want transparency for what it truly shows.....

    Wabasha,
    MN

    August 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  98. Albert

    I think he is trying to handle too many things at once and the goverment does not have resources to do it. You need to check your resources first before you even start planning it. Also to promise something is one thing, to be able to excute it is antoher thing. These crisis are beyond his control. He needs to have the priority list and to be able to control the spending. The American people are saving the money, why the government keep spendning money? It is out of the control. The basic principal is the same from individual, family, local government, federal government, the D.C., when you are in deep debt, you got to control your spending and save as much as possible.
    Eventually, our next generations will be suffering for the mounting debt.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  99. Pearlie Strother-Adams

    Yes, Obama has been transparent in reference to the stimilus and bail out. This president has really tried. Unfortunately, however, he did not make sure that the people he bailed out were honest with him. Obama thought putting this money into these financkal entities would create a major turn around. I am not sure these people haven't contributed to making sure jobs are not created to make Obama look bad.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  100. Deb P

    The huge companies, banks, etc., got the stimulus money supposedly to avoid going broke. As soon as they received the cash, they filed for bankruptcy, and in most cases, it was allowed. This is far from transparent, as the people who have not been in business probably don't understand that filing bankruptcy makes a large portion of the debt "go away". The American people will be in debt longer and pay more money to the government in taxes, because debts don't just "go away". Our grandchildren will still have them. My husband and I are professionals and are independent voters. Vote out all of the incumbents and start over. Maybe we will get America back!

    August 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  101. James

    Yes he is. Obama is being held to a much higher standard. There is only so much transparency people would even be able to comprehend. Do we really want to spend more money paying lawyers and elected officials to make every policy and action more transparent? Legislation would come to a crawl having to explain every detail so that every concerned American was happy. No matter how much detail the critics would never be satisfied and someone would have something to say. He has shown more leadership in 6 months compared to 8 years of Bush.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  102. Derek

    Obama has made strides towards transparency, but they are futile. Whenever Ben Bernakie is questioned on CSPAN he looks like a scared man. What does the Federal Reserve have to hide. The Constitiution grants Congress the power over money and the Federal Reserve acts like a fourth branch of government without any checks and ballances.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  103. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Absolutely NOT and I was not counting on it.Its business as usual in the beltway.They gave all our money to the crooks on Wall Street and gave us NOTHING but talk.
    David

    August 14, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  104. Daniel

    If you're talking about lack of transparency look no further than the Federal Reserve. This secretive government entity completely controls monetary policy in the United States but has very little oversight from Congress. Why are we worried about the transparency in TARP and stimulus funds when they only amount to a fraction of money the Federal Reserve seems to create out of thin air? But when transparency of the central bank is discussed and supported by a majority in Congress, the Administration is the first to denounce such a "radical" action from the legislature. President Obama has now appointed some 40+ czars who are accountable to no one besides himself. And now you're telling me that the TARP and stimulus funds aren't as transparent as we had thought. Welcome to Bush 2.0 my friends.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  105. Willa

    Hi Jack, Like any aquarium, especially one where it,s big enough to walk under, you can't watch everything all at once. Not even the sharks.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  106. Brian

    Yes, as much as he can. People need to remember that it is congress, not the president, who writes federal law. The democrats and Obama should not expect anything out of the republicans in congress. Except for just a handful of reasonable statesman like Sen. Arlen Specter, the rest are completely brainwashed and un-workable. They won't ever support this administration, would like to forget the last one, and blame everyone else except themselves. Fear-mongering and downright lies are what republicans have to offer this nation. Hank Paulson insisted we had to pass the TARP and even George Bush agreed. What exactly do these people think would have happened if we would have just let the "MARKET" take it's course. The republican party should change it's symbol from an elephant to a mastedon. Political extinction is where it's headed.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  107. Bev Coop-TX

    You know I have to agree with Pearlie. The President put money back into the Finacial Market to stimulate the economy and provide jobs for the unemployed. However, there is SO many evil deeds going on out there until I am beginning to wonder if the only jobs that will be stimulated will be in the hands of those that would prefer letting the country fail before they would offer employment. SO SO sad! What a Sick Bunch of individuals. But you know, because I believe the latter is true, I will VOTE for HIM again no matter what! I believe that this Guy is Sincere about doing what is best for the Country and the People within. He is holding Strong against these Obstacles and that is what we need in a Good Leader "Strength" to stand up to what is good for ALL no matter what the opposition throws his way! God Bless You Mr. President with your Beautiful Heart! It Shows!

    August 14, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  108. Gus

    Wait a minute Jack, Wasn't TARP passed in September?
    straightening out the Bush debacle on TARP is going to take some time. So far Obama has done what he said he was going to do. Correcting a mess 8 years in the making takes time. 7 months is a little quick to render judgment, just thank God Bush stopped taking Cheney's advice or it might have been worse,

    August 14, 2009 at 5:51 pm |