Taking billion-dollar stakes in banks was never popular, but government officials insisted it was essential to stabilizing the rickety financial system. So how have these investments performed so far? Time magazine crunched the numbers:
Since October, the government has deposited $165 billion into the accounts of the nation's eight largest banks. Yet those same financial firms are now worth $418 billion less than they were four months ago. And the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the government's preferred shares are worth at least $20 billion less…All told, the government's annualized rate of return on its investment in the nation's largest banks is -1,096%.