Refusing to participate in a program that he says has put “many of the people it’s supposed to be helping…in a far worse place than they would have been had this program not existed,” Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for TARP, has announced that he will be stepping down in March of this year. He believes that TARP has been troubled as a whole, but the Obama administration’s foreclosure prevention plan, the “Home Affordable” programs (HAMP and HAFA) “had the opportunity to have a really, really meaningful impact on millions of families, and it’s an opportunity that’s lost.” Barofsky added that while HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) was supposed to help as many as 4 million Americans stay in their homes, “we’re not going to come anywhere close to that number” and that “it is absolutely heartbreaking the number of families that are not being reached by this program.”
Barofsky, along with many other experts and analysts, believes that HAMP is doing far more harm than good thanks to difficulties determining just exactly who is eligible for help. Many people emerge from HAMP with destroyed credit ratings and depleted savings, still facing foreclosure in far reduced circumstances than when they started out. Barofsky has faced much criticism for his repeated warnings that while he believes that TARP as a whole has been successful, that “key aspects of the bailout remain flawed”. He believes that in addition to problems with HAMP, the “too big to fail” problem of Wall Street reform has not been solved and represent a “recipe for disaster.”
Sources say that Barofsky has said that his departure indicates his belief that “it was a good time to move on amidst a desire to return to leading a normal life.”
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