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Altaf Rahamatulla on October 14, 2010 - 12:27pm
The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the $700 billion government fund to purchase assets and equity from large banks, officially ended at the beginning of October. In 2008, the Bush administration enacted the program following years of unregulated and reckless private banking actions that precipitated one of the most severe economic downturns in the nation's history. TARP has been an extremely contentious and politically toxic issue since its inception. In fact, an October 2010 Pew survey indicates that almost half of all Americans would be less likely to vote for a candidate who "supported the government providing major loans to banks during the 2008 financial crisis."
Though TARP successfully staved off further financial collapse, the government could have taken further steps to prevent corporate malfeasance, increase accountability and transparency, limit executive compensation, and rein in the harmful banking practices of institutions that received public funds through the program.