What It's Costing Us

The Congressional Budget Office has put out its latest calculation of the loss taxpayers will take on the TARP bailout.

CBO estimates that the subsidy cost of the transactions (broadly speaking, the difference between what the Treasury paid for the investments or lent to the businesses and the market value of those transactions, including repurchases of preferred stock) amounts to $159 billion.

The automobile bailouts look particularly grim. Of the $55 billion that went out the door, CBO expects $40 billion will never be returned. Table 1 has a full breakdown.

These numbers obviously have some caveats. No one knows what will happen to GM in bankruptcy. And other loss estimates depend on the market value of mortgage-backed-bonds. Those could go up. Or down.

The CBO doesn't expect any of the bailout efforts to make money for the taxpayer, despite the fact that Treasury has sometimes called them "investments."

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