8.29.2011

Treasury Department’s losses are the sensationalized media’s gain


US Treasury Symbol

Article By: Scott Hall
The United States fought for its independence from tyranny in the hopes of building a better world for its citizens, including ,a wisdom from the founders of this government, in support of a need to manage finances in the face of wars and growth.  With no way to levy taxes or procure money to help finance America’s earliest battles for independence, two men were initially charged with developing a system that could procure the funds (around 75 million dollars) and help to give America a picture of its overall financial health.  Michael Hillegas, regarded as the first “Treasurer” (1775-1789) and Robert Morris, regarded as Superintendant of Finance (1781-1784) were the first to take on what continues to be the undaunting task of America’s wealth and debts.   The Treasury underwent many changes within the first few years of its development, eventually landing in the hands of Alexander Hamilton.  Hamilton nearly set congress on its ear when he insisted on a dollar for dollar repayment for debts.  Hamilton’s financial ideas influenced the government to invest in the Bank of America, which acted as the governments financial agents (treasury.gov).  With all this thought put into creating the Treasury Department, when headlines pop up of missing money within the confines of the Department, a series of questions come to mind, including “How does a group charged to monitor and reveal the financial status to congress, misplace or lose up to 9 trillion dollars?”  This article will explore why the notion of missing money is unacceptable in not only the citizens eyes, but should be in the Executive Branch of government, an error without excuses.


              When we hear the word, treasurer, we immediately think of someone who oversees some sort of finances.  By definition (dictionary.reference.com) a treasurer is: an officer of government, corporation, association or the like, in charge of the receipt, care and disbursement of money.  Logic tells us that with as large as the finances have become over the past 200 years in the United States, surely this task is not left to just one person, rather it should be overseen by a multitude of persons who perform checks and balances to insure that the government’s financial programs are able to function and operate smoothly.  Churches have treasurers, many business or professional organizations also have them and they all have one goal in mind, balance and maintain a satisfactory budget of money and accurately track that money.  The Treasury Department’s mission states: Maintain a strong economy and create economic and job opportunities by promoting the conditions that enable economic growth and stability at home and abroad, strengthen national security by combating threats and protecting the integrity of the financial system, and manage the U.S. Government’s resources effectively (treasury.gov/home/about/role of treasury). 

            In order to satisfy such a task it is safe to say there must be lots of employees on hand to account for the large flow of invoices to assist in promptly paying those debts and keeping track of spending, in essence helping the Executive Branch of government understand the fiscal health of our nation in order to make more sound spending decisions.  According to the Treasuries web site, 100,000 employees across the nation make up this department and with 250 different areas to work in lots of opportunities for bright minds exist.  Looking into a more pertinent position, research uncovered a basic position of Accounting Technician, Financial Systems.  Some of the requirements to hold this position include having one year of specialized experience in various accounting techniques and understanding recurring errors and corrective actions.  In the pretext of this article, it is mentioned that up to a staggering 9 trillion dollars cannot be accurately explained as to where it was spent.  Finding a path that may point in the correct direction is certainly warranted especially with such fiscal responsibility upon a department that has this specific self proclaimed accountability.

            The Federal Reserve, a part of the Department of the Treasury, was audited by the Office of the Inspector General and during the audit, several transactions came to the forefront of attention, and suddenly the United States had bailed out several foreign banks in an effort to prevent collapse of world markets in an all inclusive loan that potentially added up to more than the GNP/GDP of our country by more than 2 trillion dollars, no wonder our congress and president needed a debt ceiling raise.  According to an article found online (sanders.senante.gov) the net result of this audit was precisely that staggering amount scattered over several areas.  Let’s take a moment to review, Department of the Treasury fiscally responsible, Federal Reserve part of the Treasury, experience and education of specialized nature as job requirement and now overspent limits and inappropriate funding.  We need to look a bit closer as to what all the rhetoric is aside from the staggering dollar amounts that seemingly left our homeland without congresses approval, which has to approve the federal budget.

            The widely accepted theory of the downturn from our economy came at a time when our housing and economic markets took such a surge as to make mortgage payments that were once within reach, so costly that many home owners struggled and even foreclosed upon a majority of those debts, thereby leaving the majority loaning companies (Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) holding on to dead debts they could not recover, thus causing banks to buckle and the FDIC and Treasury Departments,  looking for ways to prevent the loss of investment into America.  A relief package to offset those debts so that lenders could continue to survive came in the form of government approved stimulus, under emergency conditions from The Federal Reserve’s guidelines and ultimately having to be approved by our Congress, or have we already forgotten the “TARP” program?  An all inclusive loan, which was supposed to stimulate our economy through supporting our infrastructure as well as foreign banks that adds up to a minimum of 9 trillion dollars and the Office of the Inspector General, whom was charged with finding that money, “does not know at this time” where the money was allocated.  This type of error should be outraging not only the Congress, but every single citizen of the United States, as this means every single man, woman or child has the approximate of 1,439 dollars of their money lost in the global economy.

            As we look into the whys of our quest for knowledge, we begin to see a series of fiscally irresponsible actions based on the need for an emergency or urgent response from the world’s leading financial super power, The United States.  The parties responsible for insuring that these errors are monitored and corrected, The Department of the Treasury, FDIC and Federal Reserve.  While each one represents a portion of our collective monies, at the very least, they should be communicating and upfront about all things related to the taxpaying citizens of the USA.  A lawsuit filed by Bloomberg under the Freedom of Information Act asking for disclosure of these details is underway.  A video that has been posted on youtube.com in regards to the 9 trillion dollar oversight would lead us to think that no one really knows to whom this magic money went to and that maybe some conspirators are behind this from the “Masonic” order (some video’s point out a lapel pin that has the “all seeing eye” of the mason’s upon it), even I myself at first thought, “What idiots would lose 9 or so trillion dollars and not know where it went?” and as I researched further a more appropriate question comes to mind, “Who is overseeing all this besides a politically charged organization?”  The obvious answer, no one, as if there were, the answers would be spelled out in neat 1500 page binders and brought before the committee to review, as has been the case of all the investigations that congress performs.

            Haste makes waste.  Never a truer statement can be said about what in essence happened to our “missing” money.  It is increasingly evident, that because of financial irresponsibility, the already hurt economy suffered heavier and heavier devastation as one urgent financial crisis unfolded and gave way to several others at a rate that simply must have overwhelmed and pressured 3 different agencies to react incorrectly, not incoherently.  When we balance our checkbooks, any discrepancies are usually noted and we work to uncover where it went or whether or not the bank is accurate in assessing the error and if need be try and secure a loan to aid in proper care over our debts.  Our Federal government’s fiscal responsibility is really no different in that if they see an error, according to their mission, they work to correct it and when they need to borrow money, there are standards to adhere to when the money is worth billions in assets and trillions in value.  With correction has to come a certain understanding of where the money trail is and for anyone in a position to know that information starts to be defensive or reactive or ignorant of its whereabouts, they too should be held accountable.  Many citizens will research this subject and see the losses, the lending to foreign banks in all sorts of countries, the seemingly unanswered pressing issue and the stuttering of those we see as “in charge” and wonder why those persons are in those offices, without actually taking a moment to realize haste truly did make waste.

            In relation to haste making waste, the free press has a way of uncovering certain aspects of most anything that goes on in our world.  Sometimes a biased opinion is born from what the sensationalized press releases or focuses upon and causes a lot of misguided information to be cross interpreted by the simple press of a channel changer.  This is not to say that we would be better off without our media and the vast range of outlets that comes with it, but should say point blank, stop the sensationalizing of news and world events just to get higher marks or ratings, please just report on what is actually happening.  Looking at this article in particular, cutting through the “mustard” of rhetoric, we see that our financial crisis is just that, our financial crisis.  Our Federal financing officials are not perfect and yes subject to making errors in judgment, but the headlines that go with the actual problems we most often see are “worst ever in history” “total economic crashes” “housing market in trouble” “feds bail out failing big business”.  These headlines are overheard in conversations at the water cooler and over the loud callings of our fellow cell phone users as well as over our internet streaming media and in truth, have no place other than to attract a reader base. 

            As a younger person, my father taught me a simple principle that can be applied to obtaining education as well as life experience, “Never take a test without first doing your homework.”  In this article, a bit of homework was needed when the item of money loss was pointed out by an outraged citizen.  The test was multiple choice, Answer A: the Treasury lost money, it’s their fault.  Answer B: The Federal Reserve lost the money and can’t explain who it was paid to, it’s their fault.  Answer C: It’s a conspiracy by some organization to tear down our country. Answer D: The collective minds, in an effort to save the country from a perceived major economic collapse, when unemployment was on the rise and housing markets were bleeding money, passed emergency measures to combat those conditions and did not scrutinize closely, it’s their fault.  Answer E: The media influenced a misguided panic based on a series of information and diagnosis that was hyped up and made out to be more than it actually was, it’s their fault.  There will never be a correct answer so long as there are minds to debate, but there will always be a truth within the debate.

            In a conclusionary overview, we see that our leaders of fiscal management are charged from the birth of this country, to insure our economy thrives both domestic and abroad.  The numbers over 200 years went from a meager 75 million to help finance the revolutionary war, to well over trillions of dollars to manage not just defense or military might, but also to stimulate our economy, which will require securing loans to assist with operating a nation and to try to provide some sense of security in knowing our money is somewhat protected and our leaders are spending it accurately or to the best of their ability in order to protect the American dream.   When faced with fight or flight in the nature of such a strained economy, in order to try and preserve the public’s interest the financier’s of our economy were faced with a horrendous decision, walk away and let the giant companies and world bank’s collapse or attempt to stimulate the toxic wounds of an out of control market.  Given the parameters the funds were allocated, without close scrutiny, which now has lead to debate, financial unrest, economic uncertainty and a touch of desperation that is driven by a frenzied media, in attempting to seek out the truth and to regain a foothold over a financial crisis.

            Where the missing money went will almost certainly not ever be fully disclosed as the Federal government wouldn’t want us knowing about the 1000 dollar hammer or its specific interest in assisting another country in becoming a free nation as our USA once did, however, when such items are revealed to the American public, it should be no surprise many will catch the obvious errors, while others will finger point and still others will scratch their heads in the wonderment of it all as they watch the news misrepresent or speculate on potential outcomes, which the majority of the public perceives to be factual when in all of these cases all parties are “accountable” for their actions.

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