David Kirkpatrick

October 2, 2009

TARP turns one — a birthday with no candles, no cake from me

TARP, the original bailout jammed through in a blind panic, turns a year-old tomorrow. Its expiration is scheduled for the end of the year unless Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner decides to keep it rolling.

From the link:

As of Saturday, it will have been a year since the U.S. Congress created the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, originally intended as a bailout just for the financial system.

Emphasis might be placed on the word “Troubled,” as TARP has been plagued by controversy since conception. For the past year, the Bush and Obama administrations have used the program as a bailout smorgasbord, with entrees for the auto and mortgage industries, the securitization market for consumer goods, American International Group (See “What AIG Really Owes Taxpayers”) and the banking sector at large. Toxic assets remain on bank balance sheets, Congress is still busy plugging TARP’s holes on executive compensation limits and the program is a significant part of the country’s projected $1.6 trillion deficit for 2009.