The Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubles Asset Relief Program released their final report, here. The document is a critical overview of TARP and recommendations for better administration next time (gulp). It provides a nice overview of the programs. As opposed to the taxpayers view of the cost of the bank bailouts, this critical review states: “Most of the TARP programs hold at least the potential for the taxpayers to make a profit. So far, those programs have earned a profit, net of losses, of $30.3 billion.” Now of course, the occasional lottery ticket is a great investment. When the investments were made, they had large subsidies when evaluated at market prices. If those prices were “right,” then we earned a high return that covered these subsidies because we took risk are we were lucky the bad outcome did not happen. If those prices were not right (stressed markets, fire sale prices, etc.), then we the government/taxpayer faced a win-win opportunity: a good investment that at the same time stabilized our financial system. Questions dodged by the COP, but of central interest to economists and policymakers.
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