Monday, August 10, 2009

Status check on bailouts

I haven't checked these numbers, but according to Tim Fernholz at Tapped today, here's the current tally on bank bailout money:
Even the limited transparency has allowed federal regulators to examine the weird compensation practices at the banks, creating a prototype for real financial regulation. And for all the talk of taxpayer money and expense, we may end up being surprised by how relatively cheap the bailouts ultimately are -- keep in mind, for all the talk of spending, the Obama administration's policies will still result in a lower deficit than if Bush administration policies had been kept in place, that banks are paying back their loans, plus interest, and that ultimately the cost of the bailouts will be much lower than its sticker price, especially if management of the program continues to improve under congressional and public pressure for higher returns. Of the $1.1 trillion in bailout money being tracked by ProPublica, only $583 billion has been committed, even less has been spent, and $77 billion has been returned.

That picture will only continue to improve as banks continue to pay the loans back. I don't know whether the bailouts were a good idea, but it's useful to keep the actual dollar amounts in mind when considering the topic.

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