Bush overpaid $78 billion for bank shares in bailout, report finds
John Byrne
Published: Friday February 6, 2009

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Bush Treasury Sec. 'subsidized' his ex-firm with $2.5 billion

President George W. Bush overpaid $78 billion for investments in the nation's largest banks and brokerages, according to a Congressional report released late Thursday.

The findings showed that government investment in the banks amounted to a nearly $80 billion subsidy of an industry that seems to have recently excelled at flushing money down the drain.

Ironically, the "subsidy" itself was doled out by Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the former chief executive of investment bank Goldman Sachs. According to the report, Goldman got an effective $2.5 billion subsidy from the Treasury Department.

While at Goldman, Paulson earned upwards of $10 million a year and was the richest member of the Bush Administration at the cabinet level or above.

The largest other purported subsidies were paid to: Citigroup ($9.5 billion), JP Morgan Chase ($4.4 billion) and Morgan Stanley ($4.2 billion).

The second round of bailout financing also added another $10 billion to Citigroup's alleged subsidy, and the second AIG bailout, $25 billion.

By contrast -- the entire amount the US government spend on higher education in 2006 was just over $50 billion -- less than the "subsidies" issued to the banks in the first round.

Click here to see a chart detailing which companies got what -- and at what cost to the US taxpayer (via Pro Publica).

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