Government Ownership Exit Plan

Too bad ideas like this aren’t getting more public attention. On June 11, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) introduced the Government Ownership Exit Plan, which prescribed a written fiscal exit strategy. The plan:

Prohibits the federal government from acquiring, directly or indirectly, any ownership interest in a troubled asset described in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) that was purchased from a financial institution by the Secretary of the Treasury. Requires the Secretary to divest the government of any such interest not later than July 1, 2010, with exceptions allowing ownership interests of not more than six months if:

(1) divestiture would have a significant adverse impact on taxpayers; and
(2) there is a reasonable expectation that a waiver would allow recovery of the cost of acquiring such interest.

Earlier this month Sen. Thune reiterated the importance of an exit plan for the billions the government has invested in “more than 600 U.S. financial institutions and banks, as well as two auto makers, an international insurance conglomerate, and numerous other businesses.” He also writes that TARP “was never intended to become a $700 billion slush fund for whatever business experiment the administration sets its eyes on. This dangerous mixture of politics and industry is bad for business, bad for the economy, and bad for the American taxpayer. TARP has run its course. The time for ending it is now.”