Reality Check: What Did Bailout Cost Taxpayers?

By Pat Kessler, WCCO-TV

WASHINGTON (WCCO) — We’ve been hearing about it for a couple of years now, especially on the campaign trail this year — the government bailout of Wall Street. How much did it really cost taxpayers?

The bailout was widely criticized for massive government spending, and it certainly was an extraordinary government intervention in the markets.

It was also maligned by political candidates as a spectacular failure, and it was not.


The Troubled Asset Relief Program, known as TARP, is now almost completely paid back.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says the $700 billion Wall Street bailout will end up costing taxpayers about $25 billion.

That’s roughly the cost of six months of unemployment benefits.


TARP also provided funds to struggling American car companies, including General Motors.

GM raised $20 billion last month in a public stock offering, cutting taxpayers’ stake in the company from 66 percent to 33 percent.

Here’s what you NEED TO KNOW…

TARP was created in the last days of President George W. Bush’s administration — and continued by President Barack Obama.

It is wildly unpopular to this day, but economists say it helped prevent a worldwide financial collapse.

That’s Reality Check.

To check the resources for Pat Kessler’s Reality Check, click on the links below.

CBO: Just $25B Owed on $700B TARP
Congressional Budget Office: Report TARP
CNN: Last Unemployment Check is in the Mail
Estimated Government Loss Dips to $19B in Auto Bailout
GM Nov Sales +11% On-Year; Core Up 21% On Strong Crossover Demand
Wikipedia: Troubled Asset Relief Program
Washington Post: Two Economists Say TARP Worked

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