Friday, October 1, 2010

Bipartisan Program Works!

TARP costs smaller than Ireland's

Tim Geithner projected yesterday that the final cost of the $700 billion TARP program — as unpopular as ever — will be under $50 billion*, and Jackie Calmes writes that it "could conceivably earn taxpayers a profit."
A reader sends over another story from today's Times to put that in perspective: Ireland just took over a bank in an intervention that will put the total tab for propping up the banking sector alone at $68 billion. That's for a country with a population of 4.5 million — a bit more than 1 percent of the population of the United States.
The government obviously took a range of actions and spent a lot of money around the financial crisis. But it is increasingly hard to argue that TARP should be seen — as it still is — as some kind of original fiscal sin.
This was considered by one article (source forgotten) as the most recent bipartisan program.  And it worked great.  Well, it worked to stave off economic collapse.  It failed politically--that politicians have gotten heaps of blame even though it will net a small cost or even perhaps a gain.  There is no reward for prevention.  We knew that, but this situation will provide a glowing example for the next generation of politicians--better to cower in fear of a reaction than do something that is costly in the short term but beneficial in the medium to long term.

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