Friday, January 22, 2010

The REAL Size of the Bailout

Mother Jones gives us a look at the REAL size of the bailout.

The price tag for the Wall Street bailout is often put at $700 billion—the size of the Troubled Assets Relief Program. But TARP is just the best known program in an array of more than 30 overseen by Treasury Department and Federal Reserve that have paid out or put aside money to bail out financial firms and inject money into the markets. To get a sense of the size of the real $14 trillion bailout, see our charts here.

Granted, not all of these funds have been used – but they could have been. Imagine if even a quarter of this money had been spent on job creation and helping small business entrepreneurs get loans? Instead, billions were shoveled into banks who responded by refusing to loan the rest of us money, while handing out bonuses to the same guys who drove the financial bus over the cliff.

MOJO also takes a look at the behavior of the banks in: Too Big to Jail?

MAYBE WALL STREET should open a casino right there on the corner of Broad, because these guys simply cannot lose. After kneecapping the global economy, costing millions their homes and livelihoods, and saddling our grandchildren with massive debt—after all that, they're cashing in their bonuses from 2008. That's right, 2008—when amid the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments over the $700 billion TARP legislation (a mere 5 percent of a $14 trillion bailout; see "The Real Size of the Bailout"), humiliated banks rolled back executive bonuses. Or so we thought: In fact, those bonuses were simply reconfigured to have a higher proportion of company stock. Those shares weren't worth so much at the time, as the execs made a point of telling Congress, but that meant they could only go up, and by the time they did, the public (suckers!) would have forgotten the whole exercise. It worked out beautifully: The value of JPMorgan Chase's 2008 bonuses has increased 20 percent to $10.5 billion, an average of nearly $6 million for the top 200 execs. Goldman's 2008 bonuses are worth $7.8 billion.

And why are bank stocks worth more now? Because of the bailout, of course. Bankers aren't being rewarded for pulling the economy out of the doldrums. Nope, they're simply skimming from the trillions we've shoveled at them. The house always wins. Indeed, 2009 bonuses are expected to be 30 to 40 percent higher than 2008's.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate creeps higher and higher, as does the number of home foreclosures. It sure is nice of us working folks to go broke, so the bankers don’t have to.

This is cross-posted at

1 comment:

DissedBelief said...

Monty Python sketch perfect Susan, thank you (just watched this movie AGAIN a couple of weeks ago). I know there are millions of us concerned about this. What comfort lawmakers and their cohorts feel to dwell amongst us peaceful and uncomplaining masses. Of course W ensured that any type of legal protesting was squashed and since then, I for one am quite fearful of appearing overly enthusiastic in my complaining. But rumblings of ousting Bernanke are now being raised and I'd love to see the rear end of Geithner too. Corruption I think is so endemic, that it is beyond institutionalized and we have the W regime to thank for sending its roots wider and deeper.