GAO Says Treasury PR On TARP Not Accurate

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The General Accounting Office has released a statement in which it essentially has misled the public about the taxpayer costs of the TARP and related programs. Most of the costs not mentioned in Treasury press releases related to expenses that have to do with managing the investments over the long term.

GAO said:

Although press releases for programs expected to result in a cost to Treasury provide useful transaction information, they exclude lifetime, program-specific cost estimates.

The agency added:

Consistently providing greater transparency about cost information for specific TARP programs could help reduce potential misunderstanding of TARP’s results. While Treasury can measure and report direct costs, indirect costs associated with the moral hazard created by the government’s intervention in the private sector are more difficult to measure and assess.