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To justify the exorbitant cost of the bailout for the financial industry, Bush administration officials have been repeating the dubious claim that American taxpayers should expect to recover much, if not all, of the proposed $700 billion:
PAULSON: This is not an expenditure. … Money will come back in.
BERNANKE: What’s clear is that the $700 billion is not an expenditure. There’s going to be a substantial amount of recovery.
BUSH: Money will flow back to the Treasury as these assets are sold, and we expect that much, if not all, of the tax dollars we invest will be paid back.
The White House’s assurances that the bailout will pay for itself is eerily reminiscent of the assurances the Bush team made that the Iraq war would be similarly inexpensive — if not profitable — for America.