CBO lowers bailout price tag to $21 billion

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Rescuing General Motors and Chrysler is expected to end up costing the government money. The Treasury has recouped $37 billion of the $61 billion it invested in the two companies, but has already written off $11 billion in losses, the CBO said.

The government actually turned a profit on the most visible, and infamous, part of the program — its bailout of the banking sector. The government made $25 billion its support for banks, plus another $8 billion in profits from the support for Citigroup and Bank of America alone. However, the government has paid out $15 billion to rescue AIG.

The government has disbursed $419 billion under TARP, with another $9 billion expected to head out the door, according to the new estimate.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimates TARP will end up costing $47 billion. The difference is largely due to different expectations for how heavily the housing programs will be utilized. The OMB estimates that $38 billion will be doled out in housing relief, while CBO pegs the number at just $16 billion.