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Anyone remember that $700 billion?

That would be the $700 billion bailout bill where we were all told that if Congress did not act immediately, the economy would completely collapse to a point that would make the Great Depression look like a pleasant walk in the park. The one pushed by Hank Paulson, our Treasury Secretary and rich former banker to bail out a bunch of rich bankers.

Well, about half of the money has been spent. That amounts to $350 billion. The problem is, no one seems to know where all the money went. The Congressional panel charged with keeping track of the money tried to ask the Treasury Department where it went. Treasury seemed to think the issue was "beside the point". Now the Congressional panel is stepping up its criticism of the department, saying that Treasury has no real strategy and has done nothing with all this taxpayer money to help homeowners facing foreclosure.

Treasury Department officials don't even seem to be trying. They have responded to the oversight panel's questions with canned responses copied and pasted from previous documents and web sites. Treasury officials keep saying their goal is "to stabilize the financial markets." The oversight panel, in a classic masterpiece of understatement, has said that this answer is "vague" and that there are "significant gaps" in the government's ability to find out what happened to the money.

So, where's our money? Is it being used to help banks repair their balance sheets? Is it being used by big banks to buy other banks? Do banks intend to lend out the money or use it to help people facing foreclosures, even though there's no sign of anything like this happening so far? Is all the money just sitting in a vault somewhere?

The truth is, we simply don't know.