A Bailout Too Far?

A Reuters story from Wednesday on the Citigroup bailout caught my eye.  The reporter interviewed commuters at New York’s Port Authority bus terminal for opinions on the recent government support program for Citi.  While only a random sampling, there was a great deal of hostility toward the initiative.  This is particularly surprising since Citigroup is the second largest employer in New York City.

The huge sums thrown at Wall Street, the vision of a bailout for Detroit, and the prospect of a potentially endless stream of industries with their hands out, is all starting to alarm taxpayers.   I think “Bailout Fatigue” is setting in rapidly.   By and large, this is undoubtedly a good thing.  The Federal government may (or may not) need to inject more money into the economy, but any future infusion should not be biased towards assisting the weakest companies and industries.  The initial TARP package may have been necessary, but that doesn’t mean it was a “good” thing — just necessary.  Extending assistance in cases where it is not an absolute necessity is just a bad idea.  The American taxpayer understands this — will our policymakers?

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