Ask Money

Bailout banks

Chris Farrell Jan 21, 2009

Question: I’ve done a bit of searching around and have had no luck finding a comprehensive list of organizations which have taken funds from the $700B bailout. This bailout is absolutely criminal and I really want to make sure I’m not doing business with thieves. Where can I go to find out who has stolen taxpayer money through this fund? Thanks for the show and any help with this issue! Mike, West Bend, WI

Answer: No one is happy with the bailout. It’s very clear that the day-old Obama Administration is burning the midnight oil–after the inaugural parties I guess–devising a broader, bolder plan to stabilize the financial system. To be clear, I’m a supporter of the government committing more money, but this time around with a much clearer strategy and less concern about bank shareholders and management.

That said, a number of our listeners and readers have said they don’t want to do business with bailout companies. The best resource I’ve found for looking at where the bailout money is going to is run by Propublica. It’s a new independent, non-profit newsroom that focuses on investigative journalism. It has a comprehensive bank bailout page at www.propublica.org/special/show-me-the-tarp-money. It has a lot of detail and a bailout map at www.propublica.org/special/bailout-map. By their calculations nearly $302 billion of public bailout money has been disbursed to 3125 financial institutions.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.