It was Monday afternoon in late September 2008 when congressional leaders rejected an initial plan to bail out America's failing banks, plummeting the Dow Jones Index and wiping a record $1.2 trillion from American businesses.
The Great Recession was not just an American crisis but a global one in which developed countries' interconnected banking systems were stressed simultaneously. World leaders eventually capitulated to calls by U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and others to pump banks with capital to avoid economic collapse.
The idea of taxpayers bailing out Wall Street for short-sighted lending practices was wildly unpopular. One Republican congressman referred to the proposal as "a huge cow patty with a piece of marshmallow stuck in the middle of it." Still, leaders worried the U.S. could plunge into a second Great Depression without action.
Packaged with financial support for homeowners and stimulus for automakers meant to prevent job losses, the concept eventually won approval in October 2008 when Congress passed the Troubled Asset Relief Program and former President George W. Bush signed the measure into law.
Stacker analyzed data about the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program compiled by ProPublica to see which states' businesses have been the most responsible in paying their loan money 14 years later and found that 34 states have outstanding or failed investments that will not be paid back.
TARP was massive in its potential scope, authorizing up to $700 billion in funding, though the Treasury utilized only a fraction. The commitments broke down into $250 billion for banks, $27 billion for credit markets, $82 billion for the automotive industry, $70 billion to support the insurance giant American International Group, and $46 billion to help Americans avoid foreclosure on their homes.
Congress later passed legislation lowering the disbursement cap for TARP to $475 billion in 2010 and lost its authority to approve any new bailout commitments that same year.
By 2013, the watchdog group overseeing TARP and enforcing its rules pursued charges against 107 senior bank officials alleged to have misused bailout funds, most of whom received prison time, according to an analysis by the Washington Post. In 2016, TARP wound down its investments, including in companies such as AIG, declaring it had recouped disbursements.
In total, $635 billion has been distributed; $17 billion are considered lost or a failed investment.
Funds that were committed to helping Americans avoid foreclosure and were never meant to be repaid were ongoing up to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw the U.S. government issue $800 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans intended to keep Americans employed—nearly all of which is expected to be forgiven.
Read on to see how businesses in your state repaid their funds—or didn't.
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