The Reagan-era fairy tale about the “welfare queen in the Cadillac” has been firmly replaced by the very real welfare CEO in a stretch limo.
Today’s case exhibit is Bank of America. After doing who-know’s-what with the last $25 billion dollars in government dough (according to press reports they used it to buy up Merrill Lynch and Countrywide, but there’s still no official accounting of TARP handouts) B of A just received another $20 billion infusion to back up the bad debt on the company’s books. The latest infusion of government cash (plus guarantees to absorb the bulk of future losses from bad debt) come after repeated public statements by CEO Kenneth D. Lewis that the company was in fine shape.
The latest payout means that $380 billion of the $700 billion TARP funds will have been disbursed before Barack Obama takes office (as of today, anyway).