NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

CBO Updates TARP Tally: $24 Billion Cost to Taxpayers

October 17, 2012

The latest update from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) will ultimately wrap up at a cost of $24 billion, says Steve Schaefer of Forbes.

The ultimate losses from TARP will not come from the first round of spending, as all of those initial bank investments have been repaid, but instead from the use of TARP funds to help smaller banks (minimally), as well as the extension of the program to pump $79 billion into automakers General Motors and Chrysler and contribute to the bailout of insurer American International Group.

  • According to the CBO, which made its latest projections based on data and share prices as of Sept. 17, the TARP portion of the rescue of AIG is expected to have a net cost to the Treasury of $14 billion.
  • Treasury still owns 14.4 percent of AIG's outstanding shares, but has drastically lowered its stake in the company over the past year.
  • Most recently the department unloaded more than $20 billion worth of AIG shares in September.
  • Overall, the government maintains that the combined efforts of the Treasury and Federal Reserve to rescue the insurer have already turned a profit.
  • The auto bailout, the CBO says, will ultimately carry a net cost of $20 billion, considering that the Treasury still owns approximately 32 percent of the outstanding shares of GM after selling a chunk of its stake in the car company's November 2010 initial public offering.

The updated CBO numbers conflict slightly with those of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which peg the ultimate cost of the TARP $39 billion higher at $63 billion. Most notably, the OMB estimates the cost of assisting AIG to be $22 billion and the auto bailout $25 billion, while tallying mortgage programs associated with TARP -- a $16 billion cost according to the CBO -- to a cost of $46 billion.

The two also differ on the returns delivered from the capital purchase program -- the aspect of TARP that included the initial investments in the country's biggest banks. The CBO figures the program will turn an $18 billion profit, while the OMB is counting on just a $7 billion net gain.

Source: Steve Schaefer, "CBO Updates TARP Tally: $24B Cost to Taxpayers ($14B From AIG)," Forbes, October 11, 2012. "CBO's Latest Estimate of the Cost of the TARP: $24 Billion," Congressional Budget Office, October 11, 2012.


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