It’s A TARP!

Leon notes over at RedState that the government basically doesn’t know what it did with the TARP money and doesn’t expect to get it back.
Leaving aside the blow-by-blow of how the voting went down, much of which involved appalling levels of political cowardice and fecklessness, I remain very ambivalent at best as a policy matter about whether I should have opposed TARP instead of supporting it, which I did at the time (the unfolding of events almost always leaves me living to regret taking anything other than the strict conservative position when I do). There’s no question in my mind that I would have opposed it if its actual operation had been described and set forth in the bill, rather than what Paulson’s original plan was (i.e., the government buying and most likely holding to maturity securities for which there was no liquid market but as to which a large majority were still expected to pay off). And it’s still all too easy, as happens with these things, to discount what might have happened without TARP. But certainly the whole experience is an object lesson in the fact that when government gets involved in the economy, it tends almost invariably to (1) shovel money out the door without adequate controls and (2) bring about loads of unintended consequences (in fact, these are also both true to a large extent of more traditionally straightforward government functions like the military and law enforcement; we just live with the mess because those are truly things only the government can do).

One thought on “It’s A TARP!”

  1. I supported TARP as proposed also. Though it went against everything I believe, the lure of cheap bonds that might actually accrue to the benefit of the taxpayer instead of speculators (like me) held powerful appeal.
    Shoulda known better.

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