Forbes Intelligent Investing: The Troubled TARP

August 13, 2009

The Congressional Oversight Panel has concerns about the still very much present troubled assets on banks' balance sheets.


  • John Osbon, Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Osbon Capital Management; and 

  • Bill Singer, Shareholder in the Securities Practice Group of the law firm Stark & Stark and Publisher of and

    Bill Singer: We are in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and much of it was caused by folks who put together sophisticated tools for financing that were new in their conception, new for the regulator's consideration and new for the public to which they were marketed. It reminds me of the old line about Christopher Columbus that when he left in 1492, he didn't know where he was going; when he got there, he didn't know where he was; and when he returned, he didn't know where he had been--yet they called him the admiral of the Oceans and the discoverer of America.

    Pointedly in reply to your question, just what the hell did everyone expect? Few folks understood the toxic garbage dumped on our markets and apparently even fewer regulators understood the systemic risk these explosive devices were poised to cause. That didn't stop investors from buying what they didn't understand, nor did it stop brokers from selling product that was beyond their comprehension. Frankly, it's a pathetic mess bordering on a disgrace.

To read the entire Intelligent Investing Panel interview, visit: