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Debunking Bailout Myths: Banks Have Only Repaid a Fraction TARP Funds (mostly with Gov $$$), and Only 3% Has Gone to Homeowners

Debunking Bailout Myths


Apologists for government bailouts push two main myths:

  • That all of the bailout funds have been repaid

  • That the bailouts helped the average American

But the official government overseer of the Tarp bailout program – the special inspector general for TARP, Christy L. Romero – has debunked both myths.

Today, Romero wrote the following to Congress:

After 3½ years, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (“TARP”) continues to be an active and significant part of the Government’s response to the financial crisis. It is a widely held misconception that TARP will make a profit. The most recent cost estimate for TARP is a loss of $60 billion. Taxpayers are still owed $118.5 billion (including $14 billion written off or otherwise lost).

And earlier this month, Romero stated that the portion of the Tarp funds which were supposed to help homeowners haven’t been disbursed:

A fund to support homeowners in the communities hit hardest by the collapse of the housing bubble has disbursed just 3 percent of its budget and aided only 30,640 homeowners in the two years since its creation, according to a report released on Thursday by a federal watchdog office.

The Hardest Hit Fund, which was created in the spring of 2010, grants money to state housing finance agencies for efforts to help families that are facing foreclosure. It has “experienced significant delay” because of “a lack of comprehensive planning” by the Treasury Department and limited participation by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the large mortgage servicers, said the report by the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

“Look at the TARP money that goes out to the banks,” said Special Inspector General Christy Romero in an interview with The Huffington Post. “That goes out in a matter of days. This has been two years and only 3 percent of these funds have trickled out to homeowners.”

Indeed, bailing out the big banks hurts – rather than helps – the American economy. See this, this and this. (And it doesn’t take a PhD economist to guess that using bailout funds to buy gold toilet seats and prostitutes is probably not the best way to stimulate the economy as a whole).