When TARP was first passed, the plan was to buy the toxic assets of banks so they could recognize their losses, clean their books and move on. However, the Bush administration stepped back from that plan, calling it too costly and difficult. Instead they just infused cash into the sick system.
FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair wants to revisit the original plan. As she told the Washington Post, "This takes courage to do, but if we don't do it, history shows that this kind of mechanism -- recognize the losses, get at the root of it and move on -- this is how you jump start the economy. The other option, just to park those assets on the balance sheet, I don't think gets us very far."