Thanks to commenter Blake for flagging this article from Bloomberg about the NAMA plan.
The reference in the article to the original US Trouble Asset Relief Plan (TARP) is a useful one in light of our current public debate and one that I’ve thought about blogging about a few times lately. It is indeed the case that US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson wanted to use large amounts of US taxpayers money to purchase distressed assets from US banks, an idea that sounds a lot like NAMA. However, the US Treasury ended up deciding that a better approach was to use the funds to purchase equity stakes in banks for the taxpayer. There were various criticisms at the time that the terms of these equity purchases were too generous to exisiting shareholders but it seems now as though many of these deals will provide a decent return to the US government.
There are, of course, numerous difficulties in comparing bank rescue schemes across time and place but I think the TARP story is still instructive.