Monday, October 11, 2010

Five myths about TARP, according to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner

The Troubled Asset Relief Program officially ended last week, and many Americans are wondering about how the money was spent. To clear up misunderstandings surrounding the program, Treasury Secretary has personally penned an article for the Washington Post on 5 common myths about TARP. You can find a segment of Geithner’s article below.

Born at the peak of the financial crisis in 2008, the Troubled Asset Relief Program expired last week, ending what was perhaps the most maligned yet most effective government program in recent memory. Despite new evidence about the low ultimate cost and positive impact of the TARP, there is still a chasm between the perceptions of the program and its overwhelmingly favorable effect on the U.S. economy.

The TARP was doomed to be unpopular from inception, because Americans were rightfully angry that the same firms that helped create the economic crisis got taxpayer support to keep their doors open. But the program was essential to averting a second Great Depression, stabilizing a collapsing financial system, protecting the savings of Americans and restoring the flow of credit that is the oxygen of the economy. And it helped achieve all that at a lower cost than anyone expected.

As we put the TARP to rest, let's also put to rest some of the myths about the TARP.

The TARP cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.

1. The true cost of the financial crisis will always be measured by the devastating losses of jobs, homes, businesses, retirement savings and fiscal revenues. But the cost of the TARP, which succeeded in reducing the overall economic damage, will be considerably lower than once feared. In fact, the direct budget cost of the program and our full investment in the insurer AIG is likely to come in well under $50 billion -- $300 billion less than estimated by the Congressional Budget Office last year. And taxpayers are likely to receive an impressive return (totaling tens of billions) on the investments made under the TARP outside the housing market.

Continue reading at Washington…

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