WASHINGTON | Fri Mar 4, 2011 10:55am EST
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Treasury's last man in charge of the $700 billion financial sector bailout program has two words for congressional overseers: It worked.
Testifying at the Congressional Oversight Panel's final hearing on Friday, Treasury's bailout chief Timothy Massad said the program "brought stability to the financial system and laid the foundation for economic recovery."
The much-maligned Troubled Asset Relief Program is estimated to cost taxpayers as little as $25 billion -- a far cry from initial projections -- and even some of the program's harshest critics admit it helped pull markets "back from the abyss."
"Today the panic of 2008 is a slowly fading memory, and the TARP played a role in turning the page on that grim chapter in American history," said former Democratic Senator Ted Kaufman from Delaware, the chairman of the congressional panel.