Wall Street Bailout: Too Big To Collect?

EconMatters's picture

By EconMatters

In light of the recent S&P downgrade of the U.S. sovereign credit rating, the nation suddenly looks more dire financially than before the downgrade ( (at least psychologically, as the country still has the ability to borrow at its pre-downgrade low interest rates.)  So it would make tracking down Wall Street bailout money still outstanding a good start to reclaim some of the lost treasure. 

However, more than two years after the bailout, there never seems to be a straight answer to these two questions:  (1) Where has Uncle Sams' bailout money gone? (2) Has the money been paid back yet?   The Treasury Dept. already declared milestone reached in June, 2010 when  "Repayments to Taxpayers Surpass Tarp Funds Outstanding."  New York Times and CNNMoney both keep stattistics of the bailout and tell a different story from the government's account.  

NYT says fund outflow has amounted to $550 billion, funds returned is $70.1 billion, that leaves amount outstanding $480 billion.  CNNMoney data suggest $475 billion out of the door, $118.5 billion returned, netted to $357 billion still needs to be collected.  Pro Publica also keeps track of a bailout list including the $700 billion TARP program, and the separate bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  According to Pro Publica,  

"Altogether, accounting for both bailouts, $580 billion has gone out the door—invested, loaned, or paid out—while $273 billion has been returned.  The Treasury has been earning a return on most of the money invested or loaned. So far, it has earned $67 billion. When those revenues are taken into account, $239 billion is the net still outstanding as of August10, 2011."


The spreadsheet downloaded from Pro Publica shows the top 5 bailout deadbeat recipients--Fannie Mae, AIG, Freddie Mac, General Motors, and GMAC (now Ally Financial)--account for almost 97% ($232 billion) of the total net amount still outstanding.

Now, the more jaw dropping numbers come from a recent analysis done by the Center for Media and Decmocracy (CMD), pointing to an actual total still outstanding at $1.5 trillion (See Chart), 


".....while the TARP bailout of Wall Street (not including the bailout of the auto industry) amounted to $330 billion, the government also quietly spent $4.4 trillion more in efforts to stave off the collapse of the financial and mortgage lending sectors. The majority of these funds ($3.9 trillion) came from the Federal Reserve, which undertook the actions citing an obscure section of its charter."

"..$4.8 trillion went out the door to aid financial companies and repair the damage they caused to financial markets, and $1.5 trillion of that is still outstanding."


CMD keeps a list of 'Total Wall Street Bailout Cost' here, but not down to the detail recipient level.  CMD’s analysis also shows that most of the bailout funds were comprised of aid to banks, in the form of loans with below-market interest rates and for questionable collateral to banks directly from the Treasury and Federal Reserve (See Chart).



The $4.8 trillion bailout of the financial sector, according to CMD, also dwarfs the $600 billion that the Federal Reserve spent on the QE2 that was intended to stimulate the broader economy.  Andrew Ross Sorkin at NYT also pointed out that when WSJ quoted the U.S. Treasury that "the projected cost of the bailout is shrinking" to $89 billion from an earlier estimate of $250 billion (see graph below),

"....there’s a small problem with all this happy Washington math: it doesn’t take into account the piles of cash we’re likely to lose on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac..... The overall math also doesn’t account for the more than $1 trillion the Federal Reserve pumped into the system through loans to Wall Street that were virtually interest-free."
Source: WSJ.com


So it looks like the bailout could have different ROIs (return on investments), depending on what you count as "investments."

Fannie and Freddie just recently asked for $7 billion more bailout funds, and looking at the domestic housing market and the current economic outlook, American taxpayers probably should consider it a draw even if just no future funding will be directed to the two government-sponsored housing entities, let along expecting a single dime coming back form Fannie and Freddie.

But the sad thing is that even if Uncle Sam gets to collect the whole 1.5 trillion as calculated by the CMD, it would not have made a difference in the debt and deficit of the U.S. government (as the S&P Rating Agency has taught us.)

Further Reading:

Tracing America's "Too Big To Fail" Crisis: An Infographic

Fadel Gheit Throws Wall Street's Big Banks Under The Oil Speculating Bus

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apberusdisvet's picture

We need the sheeple to connect more of the dots.  MERS was established in 1995, coincidentally at the beginnings of ZIRP.  Was foreclosure fraud and the housing bubble pre-planned?  Is the coming market crash another pre-planned event?  Nothing better for the NWO then to have a once vibrant middle class stripped of all assets and then frightened to give up all constitutional rights after 9/11.  Apparently the UN has usurped our sovereign authority to wage war under the notion of R2P, and Hillary is moving full speed to sign on to the UN's worldwide gun control.

The magic number of 65% of all US households on the government teat will be the start of the final phase in the oligarch agenda.  Who will be the WH puppet overseeing it?




windcatcher's picture

I agree with you apberusdisvet and with many of the other long comments that have taken the time to articulate themselves; most of the short comments are either paid propagandist trolls or idiots with no argument.


The fact is that no one has a true tabulation of how much taxpayer money/debt is involved in this great robbery or who owes who or how much?


That is the beauty of the fraud; no one knows how much we owe to the banksters until we are in so deep that the taxpayer can’t get out; the final number could be 60 trillion! Ha. Ha.


Economics and accountability are left behind for insanity! As Iseeit pointed out in his comment:  “Sociopaths/Narcissist are not decipherable by most healthy people.”

rwe2late's picture


The actual figure given away is doubtless many trillion$ more than just 1.5.




It is also near impossible to quantify the many and various effective handouts which reward the elite super-rich, such as:

 tax breaks, accounting gimmickry (mark to model etc.), access to insider info,

and the trillions by misusing the military to secure control for themselves of markets, resources, and corrupt henchmen, as well as by the direct war profiteering itself.


rwe2late's picture

why do you even ask?

shouldn't you be off and about, killing and looting somewhere?

SanOvaBeach's picture

Does all this mean we don't have to pay our parking tickets anymore?

time123's picture

Bailouts are free money handouts to those who find the opportunity to play victims when a pot of money is availble. But there is something much better for an investor than getting bailed out by the governmanent: making the money on his/her own, and bailing out themselves. How? 

Here is an example: You get a timing signal to buy DGP on July 8 at 49.23. You put $10K in DGP and sell it at 62.27 on August 12, for a 26.5% profit. That is a cool $2,650 in just a month.

You take that $2,650 and go to the Carribean for a 10 day vacation. You have just been bailed out!

Ladies, and gentlemen, that is how it works best. You bailout yourself, on your own! No need to wait for anyone else to do it for you!

But you must be lucky to pick that DGP timing signal to use. You must have the conviction first that gold is moving up to pick that timing signal, and stick with it for a month. So if your conviction is right, you'll get your bailout!


admin at http://invetrics.com


The above return data is real, not made up. 

New American Revolution's picture

Easy come, easy go.   I light my cuban cigars with US Treasury Bonds.

cdskiller's picture

EconMatters, nicely done. You've given us all a little nugget of truth we can deposit when people like Jackie Calmes of the Times tries to tell her little lies. The CMD charts are awesome.

But, my friend, it's not just about money out vs. money received back. We didn't just hand them taxpayer money expecting to receive a return. We allowed them to stay in business when they should have failed. Every single penny in bonus money the big banks paid to themselves since the bailout SHOULD have been paid to us. Without TARP, without paying off AIG's CDS counterparties, without taking over Fannie and Freddie, without purchasing toxic assets, without taking toxic shite as collateral, without suspending M2M, they all go out of business. It's not just about the trillion+ the banks still owe us. We saved them trillions in losses and years of lawsuits. We paid off their debts, covered up their crimes and let them keep gambling in secret with our money. You can't put a dollar figure on what they truly owe us. They owe us their lives. Literally. Many bankers would have committed suicide. Many should be in jail.

The dollar cost of saving the banksters? $4.8 trillion.

Saving them from regularly running out of Astro-Glide in prison? Priceless.

Fred Hayek's picture

Don't forget, the staff at treasury was all set to pay back AIG's counterparties at 50 cents on the dollar. Then Turbo Tax Timmy swooped in and insisted that they get every single penny.

Kayman's picture

Save Goldman, kill America. What's wrong with this picture ?

Downtoolong's picture

The scary thing is simply to know that a relatively small number of people control assets of this scale, where tens and even hundreds of billions of dollars become a rounding error or acceptable uncertainty factor.


Bansters-in-my- feces's picture

Sounds like ZerOhenge has Zero brains.

TwelfthVulture's picture

According to Pro Publica,  

"Altogether, accounting for both bailouts, $580 billion has gone out the door—invested, loaned, or paid out—while $273 billion has been returned.  The Treasury has been earning a return on most of the money invested or loaned. So far, it has earned $67 billion. When those revenues are taken into account, $239 billion is the net still outstanding as of August10, 2011."


I have to double check with my bank on Monday, make sure that the interest I'm paying on my mortgage is applied to principal reduction.  I never knew that was the way it works.

YC2's picture

christ what a clusterfuck...  and what a shame journalism doesnt require competance on the topic you report on.... 

Fred Hayek's picture

Competence would just delay you in -gasp- making a difference. It would also delay you in getting to the dinner party in McLean and on the lower east side. That's what journalism's all about.

nohweh's picture

Well spotted. My thoughts exactly

williambanzai7's picture

I saw a stupid article the other day that said AIG is the company America used to love to hate.

I don't recall letting them out of the doghouse. Anyone else?

disabledvet's picture

They were never in it in my book. In this "normal" getting a bailout is a good thing. Imagine the entire airline industry uninsured then you'll understand.

ISEEIT's picture

Let me guess: Newsweek? Time? NY times?

Accountability is a concept still waiting for maturity.

Bitch Tits's picture


Real accountability is for the little people, like taxes.

jSixPack's picture

Does anyone know how the food stamp (SNAP) program works?

If a person uses a credit card a percentage 2%-3% as I understand is charged to the merchant as a fee for handling the transaction.

Does the bank doing god's work by providing the credit cards get this cut from 40 odd million customers?

Back of the envelope math tells me this is a pretty nice gift that is guaranteed money with no risk if this is true.

James's picture

While I don't know the percentage paid, I do know it goes to Dimon @ the morgue

Imminent Crucible's picture

Not only is JPM Chase making a killing off the SNAP program, they've outsourced the food stamp customer service calls to India:


Gree D bastids, without a shred of concern for Americans.

ISEEIT's picture

Yes. They get a cut. I believe that you can get the numbers on this from GW's blog. Maybe another source though. Obviously not a highly advertised fact. These 'masters of the universe' really don't appreciate we poor idiots paying attention to what they actually do. Much preferred for us to believe what they say you see.

Magicians/Charlatans/Ponzi operators depend on that. Maybe it is good that you don't fully understand.

Sociopaths/Narcissist are not decipherable by most healthy people.

That is why the sicko's tend to succeed.

Kinda like an element of surprise, only just a little different.

Bitch Tits's picture

When you do wake up and recognize them for what they are, the nightmare is just beginning.

ISEEIT's picture

What I find interesting is that this submission relies on 'progressive' sites for 'fact' quotes. Not disputing the 'facts' at this point. I just find it interesting that the author reveals a bias toward known leftist sources of material. My bigger point is that I have for quite sometime now perceived a potential alliance among the grassroots/useful idiots of the Left and Right. In such Farcical times common sense becomes less avoidable despite the regimes programming. I for one don't really care all that much if my neighbor wants to screw chickens in his spare time (just keep it quite please). I do care though about a cabal of global elitist who want to not only screw chickens: they intend to screw me, my wife, my kids and my chicken screwing neighbor as well.

That seems to be something of a potential awakening. I've spent some time scanning comment threads at leftist sites today and funny enough, many are commenting that RP has some good and allowable positions. They seem pissed at the asshat in the WH now and truly disgusted.

Hell hath no fury like a woman/useful idiot scorned.

I do truly sense a people waking up.

Thanks internet!

gwar5's picture

Good points.

The selective outrage of the progressives against 'evil' corporations has always amazed me. The Fed and the Squid.Co run by the Robert Rubins of the world always get a free pass when they're the mothership jackbooting everybody with their currency monopoly.

Is it because inflation and deficit spending is the mother of all redistribution schemes, even though it's destructive to all? It isn't capitalism either, by any stretch of the imagination. It's protected parasitism under the pretense of 'economic stability'.

Imagine if there was one oil company monopoly chartered by the US Government that was allowed to cheat everybody by secretly diluting gas at the pump 3% per year, every year, with government protection. There would be justified riots in the streets by the left and right against it. That is what the Fed is doing to our money and our savings.

The Federal Reserve System continues to play both sides against each other while operating their monopoly under the radar with their propaganda.




EconMatters's picture

If the math fits, we take no side.  

Rick64's picture

 AIG, Fannie, and Freddie are toxic dumps for the banks. Things are a lot better for the banks, but surprise those dogs backed by the American taxpayer are sinking.  Maybe they should make them banks and they can start trading then the other banks can saddle them with their trading losses.

Manthong's picture

Fannie, Freddie, Toxic TARP, Post Office, California, Illinois, Euro Bank MMF exposure, Jobs, Inflation...

enough to make an alcoholic gold bug hit the bottle.



PulauHantu29's picture

Repay the taxpayers...LMAO......


Good one!

max2205's picture

Wait till the black people hear about this....wait, or the white people?!

Zer0henge's picture

Sounds to me like things are working as planned.  The Bernank and Geethner are geniuses...regardless of the opinion of alcoholic gold bugs...only 1.4 trillion outstanding is nothing.  I'm surprised its that little.  Next!

doggings's picture

only 1.4 trillion outstanding is nothing

yea right, trillions are so 2010..

If you were alive when Jesus was born and you spent one million dollars every single day since that point, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.

If you went out today and started spending one dollar every single second, it would take you over 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars.

but what's a few trillion between friends? #SOTOTALLYANDHOPELESSLYFUCKED

Fred Hayek's picture

Nothing, huh? Sounds like you're volunteering to have your wages garnisheed to pay for it. Maybe you and Lloyd and Jamie who all probably think of such amounts as nothing can volunteer to pay it back to the citizens of the U.S.? I mean, it's nothing. What's the big deal? Get moving indentured servant.