Financial meltdown averted: We ought to fold up the TARP


A report by the Congressional Oversight Panel credits the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program with keeping the financial system from collapsing in late 2008, according to The New York Times. But the panel also criticizes Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner for keeping TARP's purpose vague -- leading some in Washington to think that any extra TARP funds are free money they can spend as they chose.

I disagree. TARP's real purpose has been achieved, so we ought to declare TARP triumphant and put the program into liquidation mode. This means no more writing checks from the TARP account, and trying to maximize the amount that the government collects from selling warrants and getting funds back from the banks that were lent the money. Unfortunately, that's not quite the way it's going to play out. Today, Secretary Geithner announced that TARP would be extended until October 2010.