2. A government program that costs less than advertised
When initially conceived, TARP was intended to purchase or insure $700 billion of mortgage-backed securities, and initial lifetime costs of the program were estimated to potentially reach $300 billion. The program's aims and costs have evolved drastically, and current numbers show its final costs to be far lower. The most recent numbers from the Treasury Department estimate $475 billion in total commitments, and estimate TARP's lifetime cost at $49 billion.