The financial bailout is looking a lot less expensive these days: At a projected $250 billion just a year ago, the expected federal bailout tab is now down to $89 billion—less than the government paid for the savings-and-loan crisis 20 years ago. The falling bailout costs come thanks to fast stabilization of markets, which has let companies pay back the government sooner than expected.
Citigroup and GM are expected to cut their government strings this year, and even AIG could be on its own within a year. Only Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will likely stay on the federal tab for years. But the picture looks less rosy for the total impact of the bailout, which dwarfs its direct costs, the Wall Street Journal reports: The effects of soaring federal debt, economic misery, public anger and lost tax revenue will linger for years.
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