Quantitative easing (QE) is a type of monetary policy used by central banks to stimulate the economy when standard monetary policy has become ineffective. A central bank implements quantitative easing by buying specified amounts of financial assets from commercial banks and other private institutions, thus raising the prices of those financial assets and lowering their yield, while simultaneously increasing the monetary base. This differs from the more usual policy of buying or selling short-term government bonds in order to keep interbank interest rates at a specified target value.Expansionary monetary policy to stimulate the economy typically involves the central bank buying short-term government bonds in order to lower short-term market interest rates. However, when short-term interest rates reach or approach zero, this method can no longer work. In such circumstances monetary authorities may then use quantitative easing to further stimulate the economy by buying assets of longer maturity than short-term government bonds, thereby lowering longer-term interest rates further out on the yield curve.Quantitative easing can help ensure that inflation does not fall below a target. Risks include the policy being more effective than intended in acting against deflation (leading to higher inflation in the longer term, due to increased money supply), or not being effective enough if banks do not lend out the additional reserves. According to the International Monetary Fund and various economists, quantitative easing undertaken since the global financial crisis of 2007–08 has mitigated some of the adverse effects of the crisis.
The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) is a program of the United States government to purchase assets and equity from financial institutions to strengthen its financial sector that was signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush on October 3, 2008. It was a component of the government’s measures in 2008 to address the subprime mortgage crisis.
The TARP program originally authorized expenditures of $700 billion. The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act reduced the amount authorized to $475 billion. By October 11, 2012, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) stated that total disbursements would be $431 billion and estimated the total cost, including grants for mortgage programs that have not yet been made, would be $24 billion. This is significantly less than the government’s cost of the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s but does not include the cost of other “bailout” programs (such as the Federal Reserve‘s Maiden Lane Transactions and the Federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). The cost of the former crisis amounted to 3.2 percent of GDP during the Reagan/Bush era, while the GDP percentage of the latter crisis’ cost is estimated at less than 1 percent. While it was once feared the government would be holding companies like GM, AIG and Citigroup for several years, it was reported in April 2010 that those companies are preparing to buy back the Treasury’s stake and emerge from TARP within a year. On December 19, 2014 the U.S. Treasury sold its remaining holdings of Ally Financial, essentially ending the program. TARP revenue has totaled $441.7 billion on $426.4 billion invested.