Report Card on Initiatives

Given that the recession officially began in December 2007, and recessionary conditions (especially high unemployment) continued through 2009, we have had a two-year period in which we can examine the performance of the federal government in response to an economic crisis. Here are my grades for the government’s specific efforts.

Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) (Grade: B)

The passage of TARP in 2008 and distribution of bailout funds showed that the government would not let major financial institutions (other than Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers) fail. That calmed the markets and forestalled runs on banks.
But TARP did not address troubled assets in a timely or substantial manner, and the bailouts had a mysteriously ...

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