GAO estimates TARP losses for the last year: $41 billion
That's the net cost -- after $364 billion in outlays, an estimated loss rate of more than 10% a year. And on the automakers' side, the Obama administration is trying to spin a $30 billion loss as a good thing -- telling the Detroit News impossibly stupid things like, "The real news is the projected loss came down to $30 billion from $44 billion." $30 billion is more than the estimated cost to rebuild Iraq after the war there, or the discretionary budget of the US Department of Energy. It's appalling. So while GM talks about repaying a $6.7 billion loan from the Federal government, it's taken almost ten times that amount from the Treasury.
The rules for the extended first-time homebuyers' tax credit
Up to $6500 available for non-first-time homebuyers, too. The program is going to cost American taxpayers a fortune in the long term, since every time a taxpayer takes the credit, that's something up to $8000 in taxes that won't be collected, with no change in government spending. In other words, it's $8000 in new Federal debt, which will of course grow with interest.
One remarkable blizzard
The huge snowstorm that hit Iowa and other parts of the Midwest yesterday and today was accompanied by a huge pressure gradient -- one that dropped 34 millibars in 24 hours, which may in fact be an unprecedented drop. It's created strong winds that have rendered much travel impossible.