TARP Came “Out Of The Air”

Don’t read this from today’s Washington Post if you have a weak stomach or blood pressure problems. In a remarkable story, Neel Kashkari, the many who conceived of and ran TARP for Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, admits that the $700 billion figure came “out of the air.” Here’s the money quote:

“Seven hundred billion was a number out of the air,” Kashkari recalls…. “It was a political calculus. I said, ‘We don’t know how much is enough. We need as much as we can get [from Congress]. What about a trillion?’ ‘No way,’ Hank shook his head. I said, ‘Okay, what about 700 billion?'”

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About Stan Collender 126 Articles

Affiliation: Qorvis Communications

Stan Collender is a former New Yorker who, after getting a degree from the University of California, Berkeley, moved to Washington to get it out of his system. That was more than 30 years ago.

During most of his career, Collender has worked on the federal budget and congressional budget process, including stints on the staff of the House and Senate Budget Committees; founding the Federal Budget Report, a newsletter that was published for almost two decades; and for the past 11 years writing a weekly column for NationalJournal.com and now RollCall.com.

He is currently a managing director for Qorvis Communications, where he spends most of his time working with and for financial services clients.

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