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Final Price Tag to the US Taxpayers for the Treasury Department’s TARP Bailout of Banks & Lenders: $40 Billion

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The price tag for the massive taxpayer bailout of Wall Street and the nation following the 2008 financial meltdown has been whittled down to approximately $40 billion, according to a report from the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) cited by CNNMoney.

But the report warns that the bailout — of big Wall Street banks, of the housing market and of automakers — may have left some of the parties involving thinking they can get federal help again the next time the bottom falls out.

Special Inspector General Christy Romero wrote that bailed out companies may now conclude that, in the future, they can once again "play by their own set of rules without regard for consequences."

The remaining $40 billion of red ink is the bottom line for the TARP that was set up in the wake of the 2008 crisis.

The bulk of this amount is from losses to just two companies that were bailed out: General Motors and AIG. While $50 billion went to GM, $11.2 billion is considered written off or lost, and of the $68 billion that went to insurance giant AIG, $13.5 billion is considered gone and not recoverable.

The Treasury Department spent $7.8 billion of the TARP monies helping taxpayers with underwater mortgages get cheaper loans. But $1.2 billion has been lost on loan modifications for borrowers who later defaulted anyway.

The outcome might have been worse. The government spent about $475 billion in the TARP bailout, most of which has been paid back. So the $40 billion that is being written off amounts to a loss of less than 10 percent on the original outlays.

The task force President Obama appointed to manage GM's bailout and bankruptcy in 2009 was unaware of the faulty ignition switches installed for years in the automaker's cars, and that are now costing hundreds of millions in damages for deaths and other liabilities, Bloomberg reported.

If the task force had known, it would have considered setting aside even more money for GM, according to Bloomberg's sources.

The price tag for future government bailouts in the United States theoretically could be even steeper than the 2008 version was, according to a new report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The report concludes that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac alone could require another $190 billion in government support under the worst-case economic scenario laid out in new stress tests.

The stress tests, required by the Dodd-Frank financial reform, are designed to forecast potential losses in a "severely adverse" economic environment. Under that most severe forecast, home prices would plunge 25 percent during nine quarters, a downturn worse than the one experienced in 2007 and 2008, according to The Journal.Commentary:  One of the most pressing questions that needs to be asked is how can the Federal Government (whether through the Department of Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service or the Small Business Administration (SBA)) come after an SBA debtor or an IRS tax debtor for purported federal non-tax or tax debts AND still have the “gall” to use “taxpayer” monies to bail out Banks or Lenders who not only originated the so-called “liar loans” associated with these mortgage backed securities that sold on the market in tranches and nearly collapsed the entire US economy, but also paid these same Banks & Lenders with SBA guaranteed monies (upon default) all with taxpayer dollars?

If you are a former small business owner with a defaulted SBA loan and/or are being harassed by the Department of Treasury, then you need professional help.

The attorneys in our office want to help you figure out your SBA or DOT situation. No matter how difficult your circumstances may seem, the right lawyer can assist you. We understand that you probably have questions regarding a wide range of issues, including how to respond to an SBA or DOT demand letter, what SBA loan foreclosure actually entails, and what a tax offset program is. One of our specialists can tell you about all of these topics and more. We urge you to read our blog to learn more about subjects that are confusing to you and to contact us right away if you have specific questions. We look forward to working with you during this period of your life.

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