TARP II: What could go wrong?

But many experts think the political difficulties are going to get worse before they get better. “They don’t have any more money, and the prospects for getting it are pretty close to zero,” said Barry Bosworth, a senior fellow in economics at the Brookings Institution. “The politics of this are very harsh.”

Exactly how much running room the president has before he would have to go back to Congress for new TARP funds has been a matter of some mystery. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner offered a glimpse at the current TARP balance sheet on March 29, saying in a television interview, “We have roughly $135 billion left of uncommitted resources.”

That number, though, isn’t as solid as it may seem.