Former President George Bush told NBC News in an interview airing Monday that he believes TARP funds used to bail out Wall Street banks in 2008 "saved the economy" and that he would “absolutely” do it again today, if presented with the same problem.
“The idea of spending taxpayer money to give to Wall Street banks to save them—a lot of people think they created the crisis in the first place—so I can understand the angst [of the American people],” said Bush.
Bush signed TARP into law in the waning days his presidency in October 2008. TARP, which stands for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, was the government’s program that authorized the use of billions of dollars to buy assets and equity from banks to fortify the financial sector and address the subprime mortgage crisis.
“In my place, I wasn't worried about angst, personal angst or contradiction, I was worried about the economy going down, and I believe TARP saved the economy.”
Bush's memoir, Decision Points, will go on sale Tuesday.
Bush famously said during the crisis, “Wall Street got drunk, and we got the hangover.”
In the interview with Matt Lauer, the former president also said he didn’t think the financial crisis was caused by a lack of regulation, but “bad judgment,” and added: “I think more regulation could have helped, and I tried.”