Tim Fernholz is a former staff writer for the Prospect. His work has been published by Newsweek, The New Republic, The Nation, The Guardian, and The Daily Beast. He is also a Research Fellow at the New America Foundation.
I wasn't impressed with the EU's rescue of Ireland -- it simply doesn't share enough of the costs with the private-sector lenders, putting all the (unsustainable) financial pressure on Irish taxpayers. Matt Yglesias has a good post on the politics behind this.
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.
... and I can tell you that before reading the final report, officially released at 9:30 this morning. Why? The members of the commission released their plan today but are going to vote on its recommendations Friday -- meaning that the whole report is now one big trial balloon. Remember that the point of the fiscal commission was to isolate the budget-making process, allowing the members to agree on a grand bargain and bring the tablets down from the mountain, so to speak.