After having seen strings magically appear since taking TARP money as their "patriotic duty," several financial institutions receiving TARP money have expressed a strong interest in repaying the money early. Now, we see there are even strings attached to that!
Reuters is reporting that healthy banks will only be allowed to give back money it took from the taxpayers if it is in "national economic interests." So how many things are just wrong with that condition? Well, first, the banks will know whether they can handle repayment better than any government bureaucrat. Second, it is inherently in the "national economic interest" to reduce the government control of the banking industry. Simply put, the government has created such a mess with respect to this TARP money - from the insistence that banks take it to the limits on executive compensation and now to the new restrictions on repayment - that the sooner the "investment" is repaid, the better everyone will be.