Bailouts Earn $35 Billion for U.S. Taxpayers

Hugh Collins

The federal governments bailout program has earned the taxpayer nearly $35 billion in the last two years, The Associated Press said.

Income from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) rose by almost 17% through November compared with the estimate in October, the AP said.

Part of the extra income came from the government's ongoing sale of stock in Citigroup (C). The government sold off the last of its stock in the banking giant Tuesday, earning a $12 billion return on its $45 billion investment.

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The TARP program, enacted under President George W. Bush and continued under President Obama, has been widely reviled by voters as using taxpayer money to protect the very wealthy.

In his State of the Union speech in January, Obama said that the bank bailouts were "about as popular as root canal."

In recent months, the estimated cost of the program has fallen, while projected income jumped. Besides the extra income from Citigroup, the Treasury has received dividends from the support provided to the former financing division of General Motors (GM).

Last month, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office cut its estimate of the projected losses from the bailout program to $25 billion, compared with a forecast of $109 billion in March.

The CBO pointed to smaller than expected costs for the bailout of insurer American International Group (AIG) and automakers GM and Chrysler as key factors in the lower cost.

The government will its monthly report on TARP later today.

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