You can call it a deal, a settlement, a bailout...
I'm talking about the foreclosure settlement announced between the states and Wall Street.
Whatever you want to call it, make sure you include "mess".
Federal and state officials along with five of the largest mortgage lenders in the country agreed to a $26 billion deal.
This was in response to the robo-signing scandal and the faulty paperwork affecting millions of homeowners across the country.
The majority of that money will be used to refinance home loans and even to write down loan principals. Controversial enough since the damage to these homeowners in most cases is that they got to stay in their homes without paying their mortgage while the terms of this deal were hammered out.
But tonight, we'll focus on the $2.5 billion in the settlement heading to the states.
According to reports, Attorneys General may use the money for foreclosure relief, counseling, legal assistance, mediation initiatives and other housing programs. Pretty specific anyway.
But as is often the case with these things, the money is not always going where it's supposed to... Not always going to homeowners.
Here are two examples:
Let's start with Missouri; a recipient of more than $41 million from the settlement.
Only about a million dollars is being used as it was intended.
The governor instead is sending the remaining $40 million to the state's public colleges and universities.
He recently cut funding for these institutions by 40%.
And then there's Wisconsin, which is getting more than $31.5 million.
Only $6 million is going to housing programs.
Instead, the $25.5 million remaining will be used to pay off the state's $143 billion budget gap.
If you don't follow up, If there's no oversight, Money is going to be misspent.
It's the nature of the beast.
Nothing is a better example of this than what came to be three years ago today.
On this day in 2009, President Obama signed into law his massive $825 billion stimulus law that was supposed to save our economy, and bring unemployment back below 8%.
Clearly that never happened. But the other problem was with the money that was handed out. No one really paid attention to where it was going.
According to a report from the Senate a year after the bill, a half million dollars was given to a visitors center in Washington State to fix the windows, but the building had been closed since 2007.
Nearly $7 million went for repairs to a 19th century fort on an island off the coast of Florida that no one can actually get to, and $89,000 to replace relatively new sidewalks in Oklahoma that are no where near any houses or businesses. In fact, one leads to a ditch.
These are all examples of mishandling by our government.
There's no accountability... No responsibility....
If politicians get their hands on money, they will do with it what they want. A lesson learned far too often.