The first bailout is known as the TROUBLED ASSET RELIEF PROGRAM (TARP) (clickable link to see a brief explanation). I won't go into a lot of details about the particulars. I'm sure everyone has heard enough about for about three lifetimes.
These funds are basically in two parts although the first part was broken up into an initial $250 billion and then $100 billion for a total of $350 billion. The total package is slated to be $700 billion. This bailout was to buy bad mortgages as taxpayer expense. YOU AND I NOW OWN BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF "BAD DEBT." As we all know, "bad debt" is debt that can't be collected. So the bottom line is that YOUR MONEY AND MINE is being used to eliminate that losses of FANNIE MAE , FREDDIE MAC, LEHMAN BROTHERS, AIG, and others. The cause of this crisis was giving mortgages to people who had no business having them in the first place. If you visit Fannie Mae's website, for example, you'll see their purpose is to make home ownership possible. Problem is, mortgages were extended to people with bad credit or otherwise high risk. A tremendous amount of pressure was put on lending insitututions by the Federal government starting with the CARTER ADMINISTRATION and continued through the CLINTON ADMINISTRATION including a lawsuit led by ACORN that Barack Obama, then an attorney with the lawfirm of David, Miner, Barnhill, and Galland, forced Citigroup to make SUBPRIME MORTGAGES. And one of the chief problems identiified as being one of the major causes of this crisis? Subprime mortgages. Now, you don't have to understand what subprime mortgages to see the hypocrisy here. The proverbial chickens have come home to roost. Now the Federal government is using US the taxpayers to pay for this mess. The politicians in Washington didn't listen to us, the voters. EIGHTY-EIGHT PERCENT of the American public was AGAINST the bailout and extremely angry over this. I totally agree with the 88%. The Democrats' attempt to find a Republican to blame completely failed. That's because there was no Republican to blame. The vast majority of the American public didn't go for it. Amercia said very loudly, "NO!" Yet, as we all know, they did it anyway. I hope the 88% doesn't forget, and remembers those who voted for this bailout during upcoming elections.
Now, here come the U. S. automakers while the Washington politicians are in the handout mood. I have a few of problems with this. Other than the obvious socialism involved here, in my opinion, from having lived through the '70's, the Federal government once again shares a large part of the responsibility. It was during the '70's that I saw the foreign automakers allowed to export their vehicles to the United States with no restrictions whatsoever. Now before anyone yells "protectionism" here, I'll go ahead and say "you betcha." Although I don't support massive protectionism, I think a certain amount was in order here to protect American industry. There have always been many, many other industries directly tied to the U. S. automakers. But, Washington did nothing. So the market was swamped by foreign imports produced by non-union labor and therefore could be sold at a much lower price. After a time, Washington finally placed some import tariffs on foreign imports. Then the foreign automakers started building plants here, shipping the parts from overseas, and started building their cars in the U.S. to bypass the import tariffs. Washington was again very slow to respond, but it was too little too late. The damage had been done. And speaking of the Federal government, I don't think I have to go into the massive Federal regulation of the automotive industry. As with any set of Federal regulations, only about 20% are really meaningful. The rest just drives up the cost to John Q. Consumer.