The government's pretty-good investment, cont'd
One of the working theories in Washington is that if voters knew that the government -- and thus the taxpayers -- were likely to make a profit on TARP, they'd like it better. Not so, says Stan Collender:
Voters think the 8.2 percent [return on the financial bailout] is coming out of their rather than the financial institutions' pockets. At least that's what I heard at several focus groups I observed earlier in the year. The participants in the focus groups bristled when they were asked about the profits the government was making on TARP. Rather than be happy about it, they insisted that the banks were repaying the TARP funds and interest with higher fees that customers were being charged rather than by reducing other costs or lowering dividends.
It was almost a perfect example of a total no-win situation. They would have been angry if the government lost money and they were definitely angry that it was getting paid back. They would also have been angry if the government had made no attempt to deal with the situation, that is, if there had been no TARP, and they were clearly irate at everyone who had anything to do with it being enacted.
| October 21, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
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