The government’s unprecedented $700bn economic bailout will actually cost taxpayers just 16% of that total, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released Wednesday. The Treasury’s losses on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) will total $109bn over the program’s lifetime, CBO latest estimates show. That’s up $10bn from the agency’s last projection, released in January. CBO, which is charged with reviewing congressional budgets, has released a series of TARP cost calculations in the 17 months since the bailout began, each time updating its numbers with the latest data. At one point CBO expected the cost to be as high as $356bn, but faster-than-expected bank repayments and other cost adjustments have drastically reduced the expected price tag. TARP’s two big moneysuckers are AIG and the auto industry.

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