The federal government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program been complicated and controversial from the beginning. First sold by then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson as a plan to buy mortgage-related assets from U.S. financial institutions,TARP quickly morphed into an incoherent slush fund. New Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has had a very similar problem deciding how best the federal government can interfere with the market place.

The government’s constant policy whiplashes can be hard for the American people to follow. So here, in just 10 pictures, is TARP definitively explained:


UPDATE: Yes, we know some of the later pictures in the sequence are Photoshopped. But there’s nothing wrong with a little fun on a Friday!