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Fallout: The Financial Crisis

Treasury loses on bailout investments

Dan Grech Feb 6, 2009
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Fallout: The Financial Crisis

Treasury loses on bailout investments

Dan Grech Feb 6, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

All right, in this environment it’s not easy to tell a good investment from a bad investment. But what’s the government’s excuse? A congressional watchdog says taxpayers overpaid by the billions when they bailed out troubled financial institutions. The worst investments were . . . drumroll please:

[Sound of a drumroll]

Citigroup and AIG. Marketplace’s Dan Grech reports.


Dan Grech: The report found that Treasury overpaid by $78 billion.

Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren chairs a panel that keeps tabs on the bailout. She says Treasury lost money on nearly all of its investments, but those losses varied.

Elizabeth Warren: For every $100 invested in Wells Fargo, for example, Treasury got back about $93. By contrast, with Citigroup, it got back about $62.

In the report, the independent firm Duff & Phelps compared government bailouts to investments made by the private sector. It found private firms made a killing, even as taxpayers got bilked.

Berkshire Hathaway’s $5 billion investment in Goldman Sachs in September had an immediate return of 10 percent.
That means Warren Buffett’s firm made $500 million in one day — if anyone’s counting.

I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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