Seeking Alpha
Profile| Send Message| ()  

The Troubled Asset Relief Program will cost taxpayers far less than initially feared, with the new price tag estimate now just in at $25 billion. That according to the Congressional Budget Office report released on Monday.

The nonpartisan group underscored that, "it was not apparent when the TARP was created two years ago that the costs would be this low. Because the financial system stabilized and then improved, the amount of funds used by the TARP was well below the $700 billion initially authorized and the outcomes of most transactions made through the TARP were favorable for the federal government."

The once much debated program now has fewer and fewer skeptics. And it seems each month brings better news from the CBO. In August, the CBO report predicted a cost of $66B. Just last month the Treasury Department estimated that TARP cost could end up being as little as $29 billion. Monday's report bested even that. At the $25B estimate, the program will cost less than half of what it took to clean up the massive savings and loan crisis of the 1980s.

The program which provided the equivalent of U.S. taxpayer loans to automakers, big banks, and bad loan brokers has ended up costing far less than expected because of a number of reasons. Most banks that received bailout funds repaid their TARP money sooner than even the most optimistic forecasters had projected 18 months ago. In addition, participation in a program designed to aid struggling homeowners with their mortgages has turned out to be much lower than forecast.

Indeed we now are seeing objective measures that point to 2008 gloom and doom claims that were massively overblown and our report that "TARP is Working" in early 2009 was right on.

Source: A Small Price to Pay for TARP: $25B and Falling