TARP, originally some $700 billion, will cost the American taxpayer approximately $25 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. (That last bit of money could be recouped with a handy bank tax, but, you know, Congress.) TARP, for all of its moral and mechanical problems, has turned out to be a relatively cheap way to keep the financial system functioning through a crisis. It’s too bad that failures to address some of the problems in the financial sector that created a need for TARP, and hold more people accountable for those problems, have been attributed to this program.
— Tim Fernholz