Anyone who still says the bailout cost $700 billion doesn't get to have an opinion until they catch-up on current events.And this is just maddening, as the people who still hate the bailout act as if they're the highest experts on the subject, simply because everything seemed so obvious to them. The bad guys got us into this, so the bad guys don't deserve to get bailed out. And to help that along, they insist on painting the whole thing in the worst light, as if we all got hornswaggled by Wall Street by a fake scare, and the phrase "$700 billion" is all the evidence needed to know we got screwed.
But of course, $700 billion was the amount authorized. But it's not like they just wrote one of those giant sweepstakes-style checks for that amount and handed it to Mr. Moneybags. Because this wasn't the free-for-all these "experts" led themselves to believe. There were strings attached to that money. And it wasn't an automatic payout on the funds.
The Real Numbers
And finally, I found a site that actually kept track of the money. And lo and behold, the amount spent wasn't $700 billion. In fact, if you include the Wall Street bailout, Fannie and Freddie, the Auto bailout, AIG, Toxic Assets purchased, and foreclosure relief; we spent a combined total of $536.3 billion.
And yes, that's a lot of money. But that's considerably less than $700 billion, and while many bailout-haters imagined that these other bailouts were on top of the $700 billion, they weren't. In fact, the Wall Street bailout was only $244.9 billion. And again, that's a lot of money, but it's not $700 billion.
And of course, a lot of the money has already been paid back. As of today, $186.9 billion has been repaid, which is almost half of the TARP funds borrowed, while we've received revenues of $29.9 billion on the assets we got. Because again, this wasn't a free-for-all. There were strings on that money.
Haters Don't Need Numbers
And even now, we're still holding a lot of assets, waiting for the right time to sell them for a profit. Like our shares of Citigroup and GM that we still have. Yet the "experts" who hate the bailout imagine that none of this is happening. To them, we wrote that giant check to Wall Street and they laughed all the way to work.
And yes, these bastards royally screwed up and in a more fair world, they would have suffered. But...the world's not fair and the powerful still know how to stay that way. But all the same, things aren't nearly as bad as the bailout haters want to believe. These were borrowed funds. We got equity in companies. We bailed them out, but we didn't get buried.
Oh, and to put this in perspective: Last year's Stimulus Bill was for $787 billion, of which, an estimated $237 billion went to individuals as tax cuts; including a child tax credit, payroll tax credit, college tuition credit, and many other items that went directly to the poor and middle class. And no, we didn't get quite as much as Wall Street got, but it wasn't shabby. Now, if we can just get our financial reform passed, we should be able to get back to business.