Could TARP, the $700 billion “bank bailout” that epitomizes the invasive big government ideology that gave rise to the Tea Party, actually be a good investment? After the Treasury Department announced a deal with insurance giant AIG today that begins the process of repaying taxpayers, the eventual cost of the program—enacted under George W. Bush shortly before Barack Obama took office—is now estimated to be a relatively small $50 billion. In fact, though a final accounting won’t be available for years, it could even become profitable for taxpayers. “This is the best federal program of any real size to be despised by the public like this,” said Douglas J. Elliott of the Brookings Institute. Of course, President Obama and the Democrats won’t be touting any of these accomplishments; the TARP bill is still reviled by most Americans. In a recent survey, one in three citizens said they didn’t believe it was even necessary.
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