Burn the Bailout Money, It'd Be More Useful on Fire

Say, how's the bailout going?


Some bailout holdings down $8 billion

Stock intended to eventually earn taxpayers a profit as part of the Bush administration's massive bank bailout has lost a third of its value -- about $8 billion -- in barely one month, according to an Associated Press analysis. Shares in virtually every bank that received federal money have remained below the prices the government negotiated.

Most of the Treasury Department's investments since late October have been in preferred bank stocks, more than $180 billion worth, with investments in giants like Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase and many small community banks. But the government also negotiated options to buy up to 1.2 billion shares of common bank stock that was valued at $27 billion.

The Treasury Department said it did not expect these common stock options to be profitable immediately and negotiated them so taxpayers could share in the wealth if the bank stocks recover.

Now, however, the value of that common stock is worth about $19 billion. If the government exercised all its warrants to purchase the stock today, it would lose money on 51 of its 53 agreements. Taxpayers would be out $7.9 billion.

Oh.

You know, it's nice that we're spending hundreds of billions of dollars to keep rich people from feeling bad about themselves, but I think I've come up with an even better plan: we take all the money left over in TARP and we set it on fire.

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