Friday, December 12, 2008

The TARP Deal Is Not Done

Media reports and Wall Street investors are now assuming the Treasury will put up $15 billion in TARP money to keep the Detroit carmakers out of bankruptcy. But my sources tell me that the TARP deal is not done — not by a long shot.

At a minimum, it’s going to take the Treasury several days to walk through the financial numbers and gather all the facts before it takes any action. The Treasury wants to see the cash-flow data and get to the truth about GM and Chrysler. (Ford doesn’t need the money.) And nothing will happen until these numbers are properly crunched. And the Treasury may well want to arrange for a built-in monitor — something that might even look like a car tsar — if any TARP money is dispersed.

Senate sources tell me that any TARP-money allocation might include the very same conditions proposed by Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker in legislation that broke down in a marathon session in the Senate list night.

So folks shouldn’t count their TARP eggs before they're hatched. And nothing is expected to be announced today.