Feature

Why TARP can’t get any respect

The “troubled assets” that were the source of the meltdown included millions of individual mortgages, and in that realm TARP has failed miserably, said Annie Lowrey in Slate.com.

Annie LowreySlate.com

Was TARP a success? asked Annie Lowrey. Thirty months after President George W. Bush signed the Troubled Asset Relief Program into law, any judgment of the bailout bill, now “winding down,” depends on your idea of “who benefited from TARP, and who was supposed to have benefited.” If TARP was only supposed to relieve the financial sector, then it succeeded—particularly since the government is on course to make a profit of about $20 billion. But the “troubled assets” that were the source of the meltdown included millions of individual mortgages, and in that realm TARP has failed miserably.

Its mortgage modification program was supposed to relieve 3 million to 4 million American homeowners from onerous mortgages consuming more than 31 percent of their income. Yet to date, only 633,000 homeowners have had their loans modified under the government program. Experts will continue to debate whether TARP was successful overall. But “the court of public opinion” has long since decided it wasn’t, largely because it failed to come to grips with the foreclosure crisis.

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