On March 30, 2011, the Treasury announced that the TARP Capital Purchase Program has now generated more money for taxpayers than it originally cost.  Through March 30, 2011, the Treasury had collected, on behalf of the U.S. taxpayers, over$251 billion from the financial institutions that Treasury invested in through repayments, dividends, interest, and other income.

This exceeds the original investment Treasury made in these banks by approximately $6 billion, and Treasury currently estimates that the bank programs under TARP will ultimately provide a lifetime profit of approximately $20 billion to taxpayers.

We have attempted to emphasize the investment nature of the Capital Purchase Program since 2008, but the term “bailout” helps sell papers and has generally stuck.  As we noted on October 30, 2008:

The emphasis should be on supporting the Government’s program to strengthen the entire banking system in order to enable banks to continue supporting their local community through this economic downturn.  The program is designed to earn a return for the Government (and thus the taxpayer), and is thus not a “bail-out” at all.

Perhaps now that the Treasury has already recognized a positive return on its investment, the mainstream press (and the public generally) may begin to accept that TARP should not have been a four letter word.