The Treasury Department today announced it has sold its remaining shares of American International Group, bringing the U.S. bailout profit to $22.7 billion and concluding the largest government assistance package of the financial crisis.
Four years after taxpayer support saved the insurance giant from the brink of collapse, the Treasury sold its remaining 234,169,156 shares of the company for $32.50 each, raising $7.6 billion.
“Giving effect to today’s offering, the overall positive return on the Federal Reserve and Treasury’s combined $182 billion commitment to stabilize AIG during the financial crisis is now $22.7 billion. To date, giving effect to the offering, Treasury has realized a positive return of $5.0 billion and the Federal Reserve has realized a positive return of $17.7 billion,” Treasury announced.
To put this huge figure in context. The $22.7 billion that taxpayers profited from the bailout is roughly the same as the 2013 discretionary budget for the Department of Agriculture. The Food and Drug Administration’s entire budget is only about $2.5 billion. The budget of the Internal Revenue Service is $13 billion. The US Postal Service is about $12 billion in the hole.
AIG nearly collapsed as a result of its bad bets on the housing market in September 2008, prompting the politically contentious massive taxpayer bailout, the largest in U.S. history.