That's right, the much-hated TARP program is currently projected to cost taxpayers a mere $50 billion, and may even cost nothing or potentially turn a profit. Shouldn't we be dancing in the streets at this news? Taxpayers should be cheering one of the most successful government programs ever designed. Everyone should be grateful that we avoided financial catastrophe that could have been comparable to the Great Depression.
One reason we are not dancing in the streets, of course, is that unemployment is still high, housing prices are still low, and the recovery is still shaky. People do not feel much like dancing. Another reason, as this NPR story points out, is that the truth about TARP does not seem to penetrate the preferred media narrative that the bailouts have been a failure, government is out of control, and people are in the midst of a tax revolt (even though taxes have gone down since the new administration took office). Why is it that we can't let the truth get in the way of a good story?
There are real victims in the assault on truth perpetrated by the Tea Party movement, its financial backers, and its media accomplices. One, quoted in this New York Times story on the success of TARP, is Utah Senator Robert Bennett who paid the ultimate political price for his vote in favor of the TARP program:
“For those who were screaming at me — and screaming was the operative word — ‘You’ve just saddled our children and grandchildren with $700 billion,’ I said, ‘No, I haven’t.'
“My career is over. But I do hope that we can get the word out that TARP, number one, did save the world from a financial meltdown and, number two, did so in a manner that, I believe, won’t cost the taxpayer anything. And even if it did not all get paid back, it was still the thing to do.”I wonder if any of the people screaming at Senator Bennett will now apologize; applaud him and others who supported this program for their political courage; and thank them for saving the financial, insurance, and automobile industries from collapse.