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6 Ways the Big Banks Are Getting Back-Door Bailouts and Making Big Money From Taxpayers

The country's biggest banks are happy to make their money from the same governments about which they love to whine.

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So they're profiting just from being too big to fail. And each time there's a crisis, the expectation of government support actually grows—as of 2009, Bloomberg notes, they're saving about 0.8 percent every time they borrow. The total benefit to the big banks just of the expectation that there will be another bailout? About $76 billion a year—which Bloomberg points out is equal to their total profit from the past twelve months, and is more than the federal government spends each year on education.

Brad Sherman, a Representative from California, asked Jamie Dimon this week, before Congress, “[H]ow can medium size banks compete against you when your cost of capital is reduced by 80 basis points, 0.8 percent, because of a belief that if they go under we'll let 'em go under, but if you go under we'll bail out your creditors?”

Dimon, of course, claimed that it wasn't true, and that he borrowed in the marketplace, “with the smartest people in the world.” But it looks like the smartest people in the world are getting a whole lot of help—and making a whole lot of money—off of college students and taxpayers, off the working poor and unemployed in the U.S.

Sarah Jaffe is an associate editor at AlterNet, a rabblerouser and frequent Twitterer. You can follow her at @sarahljaffe.

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