The Bailout Is Making Money

At least part of it is. As we noted earlier, the Treasury department is insuring (already very safe) money market mutual funds. Treasury just gave me the numbers. They have pulled in $332 million in insurance premiums, and haven't had to pay anything out.

"We've made money on it so far," says Jennifer Zuccarelli, a spokesperson for the Treasury Department.

As one of you pointed out in the comments section, and as Treasury readily admits, there is a footnote here.

One of the funds the government is insuring (a sister fund to the Primary Reserve fund which got into trouble) got taken into the program just as it was in the process of shutting down because investors were asking for their money back. And if the fund can't sell all the stuff it owns to do that, the government will buy what they have.

Zuccarelli says that if that happens, taxpayers would be taking on $5.6 billion of assets. But that stuff is pretty safe — it includes things like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds. So the government would expect to get its money back.

But as with the rest of the bailout, we'll have to wait and see.

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