Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says the TARP bank bailout is yielding a profit for the federal government. We'll see. The facts will take time to come out, and require the efforts of a decimated press corps. But it's not surprising. The rescue, if it worked half right, was always expected to produce such results.
That's not the problem.
TARP was always seen by its smartest proponents, including candidate Obama, as half the solution to keeping the financial panic from turning into a deep depression. The other half, fundamental reform of the system, never happened, despite all the whining of bankers over the mild Dodd-Frank bill.
The panic and crash were a direct result of the dodgy swindles and high risk undertaken by the banking sector during the housing boom. These highly complex derivatives and other securities, insured with other complex vehicles cooked up by the likes of AIG, sold to investors in a world awash with money (your tax cuts at work), turned out to be the "financial weapons of mass destruction" that Warren Buffett warned against in 2003. Once housing values fell, mortgages went poof and a fire-sale mentality took hold, it turned out that many derivatives were "derived" from nothing.
Not much has changed. The banks are back to high profits, many coming from these "innovations," and . Obama's chief of staff is a former executive from JPMorgan Chase. The regulators are just as whipped and captured as before the crash. The Too-Big-To-Fail banks that posed such systemic risk in 2008 are bigger than ever.
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