Erik Larson

Apr 4, 2009

Like, Whatever CBO

The Congressional Budget Office in March released revised estimates for the cost to tax payers of the 700 Billion Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), to 356 Billion from 189 Billion. This quiet piece of news from CBO doesn’t even seem troubling to me anymore, desensitized as I am to seeing billions or trillions appended to estimates of new government programs these days.

There’s a kind of perverse liberation one can get when a situation is so bad that there’s no point worrying about it anymore. Oh, so it’s really 356 Billion ? Okay, thanks for letting me know. If it goes up again, no need to say anything. I’ll assume it’s really bad, and you can spare me the details, okay? Cool.

I can’t really get my mind around these bills anyway; if I run up a hundred dollar tab at the Macaroni Grill, I can see that’s a lot for a couple hours of dinner and wine. But 356 Billion? What does this mean? And what can any of us do about it anyway?