Bailout Bottom Line For Taxpayers: Mixed Returns

By Tamara Keith

The government has started selling its stake in Citigroup, and taxpayers stand to see a multibillion-dollar profit from that deal and from the bailouts of other big banks. Those are the winning bets in the game of financial-rescue roulette the government has been playing. But there are plenty of losers, too. At this point, the Treasury Department has distributed less than $400 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. The big banks have rushed to return their money to get out from under the heightened federal scrutiny that came with the cash. “The bulk of the TARP money went with guns at their heads in often cases to banks that didn’t need it anyway,” said Karen Shaw Petrou, a managing partner at Federal Financial Analytics. “Most of that’s come back, and all of it’s coming back with interest.”

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