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Bailoutmania: Not “permanent.” Just forever…

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 20, 2009 01:53 PM

A telling exchange this afternoon between staunch fiscal conservative Sen. Jim DeMint and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, via WaPo:

Geithner was hammered by a Republican senator decrying Treasury’s growing power over the American economy. “This is not mission-creep,” said Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). “This is a stampede of any traditional understanding of constitutional boundaries.”

DeMint called Geithner the chief executive of the American economy. And he didn’t mean it in a good way.

DeMint complained that “we hear very little talk about exit strategies.” He asked Geithner how much of the $700 billion government bailout will be returned to Treasury’s general fund within five to six years.

“That’s hard to say right now,” Geithner said, deflecting: “If we are successful, that money will come back with substantial interest.”

Geithner added that the way the bailout was designed, for each $1 that is paid back, $1 can be lent back out.

“So it’s your understanding that you have $700 billion to use permanently as you see fit?” DeMint asked incredulously.

Geithner wouldn’t take the bait. “I’m not quite sure ‘permanently’ is right,” he said.

Not “permanent.” Just indefinite. Perpetual. Never-ending.

Whatever word you want to use, “temporary” government handouts are forever.

Wish more Republicans would get it through their heads.

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