The single best investment — in terms of greatest return on invested dollars — has been the lobbying efforts of the major banks and finance firms.

They spent $114.2 million dollars in contributions toward the 2008 election, according to the the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The companies that have been awarded taxpayers’ money from Congress’s bailout bill spent $77 million on lobbying and $37 million on federal campaign contributions, the Center finds.

These firms political activities have yielded them $295.2 billion from Recapitalization, TARP and other assorted bailouts.

The return on investment: 258,449 percent.


TARP Recipients Paid Out $114 Million for Politicking Last Year
Open Secret.Org February 4, 2009 9:52 AM

Category: Bailouts, Politics

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

43 Responses to “Single Best Investment in History = 258,449%”

  1. tCA says:

    No comment necessary…

  2. VennData says:


  3. Ny Stock Guy says:

    No wonder China and Russia laugh at our so-called “democracy”.

  4. SINGER says:

    O. L. I. G. A. R. C. H. Y.

    Ostensibly Legal Investments Acheive Returns Creating Hierarchical Yoke

  5. AmenRa says:

    I can see why you would have a hard time testifying before Congress. This is the type of info they don’t want their constituents to find out about. Hopefully if this gets more attention then Congress will grow a pair and enact the right type of legislation. I can only dream…

  6. jpmist says:

    Nice perspective. I guess it’s not a surprise that our congressmen sell themselves out, but that they do it so cheaply.

  7. DL says:

    Surely Hank Paulson got something under the table.

  8. TDL says:

    America’s politicians don’t sell themselves, they merely lease themselves.


  9. emmanuel117 says:


    Now why would the bribe-ee want to hinder the bribe-or?

    @Ny Stock Guy

    I wonder whose more jealous of the other, the American financial oligarchs or the Russian mining/metals/energy oligarchs?

  10. HCF says:

    Perhaps not as great of an investment, but apparently those surveyed (by Case-Shiller) believe the long-term AVERAGE per year return on housing will be 11.2%:

    So doubling your money in ~6.5 years isn’t bubblicious thinking?


  11. KJ Foehr says:

    This is the stuff of Pulitzer Prizes. Bravo!

  12. Steve Barry says:

    Yes…very laughable…the populace is very easily duped. They can’t realize that this rebound in the market and economy is all from trashing the dollar. CNBC is hyping Dow 10K again…I see commercials for gold…but I think, from futures data and a sense that China cannot allow this, the dollar has to rally soon…and violently at that.

  13. DL says:

    OTOH, how many TBP readers would refuse a suitcase full of cash in exchange for shafting the public?

  14. leftback says:


  15. Yellow_Submarine00 says:

    This calculation ignores that the banks are paying back all this money with interest. But then again this is the usual BS I find in this site. This time I couldn’t resist to comment.


    BR: Then why do you come here?

  16. Greg0658 says:

    I’ll log in and call these 2 posts .. half truth bullpucky

    that cash in store is to boost balance sheet .. until it goes somewhere it is nothing but a number ..
    you know that BR ..
    NOW is it going somewhere .. and where .. and yes just being there it is sucking the winds out of sails

    I would suspect the cash store will buy depressed assets back (at the right time) to as you’s like to say “the market can stay solvent longer than you can” and with balance transfers like this … duhh

  17. worth says:

    DL is right.
    If we wiped the Congressional roster clean and got 435 new bodies in there, it would just be a bump in the road for the lobbyists. Once they convince the new Congress that no, the money’s not traceable, and yes, even if somebody WERE to dig something up, it would quickly go away, the new Congress would be just as corrupt as the old.
    As long as people and companies are allowed to make “contributions” (bribes) of ANY kind to the government, it will remain corrupt. Why on EARTH is anyone allowed to pay money to individuals or to political parties, other than the obvious reason, which is to influence them? Is it because not enough revenue is collected through taxes? Then raise taxes! But give me just one g.d. reason why a person or legal entity is allowed to write a check to anything that has anything to do with our government and how it’s either selected (campaigns) or operated?

  18. DL says:

    Directly related to the subject of the Congress wasting our money…

    Article in today’s WSJ points out that this year, 40% of all income tax receipts will go to pay interest on the national debt:

  19. KJ Foehr says:

    DL Says:
    “OTOH, how many TBP readers would refuse a suitcase full of cash in exchange for shafting the public?”

    We can’t change human nature. There will always be a significant percentage of people who would shaft the people for personal gain. But what we can do is remove the suitcase, or, if that is not possible, then INSIST that they be punished: either criminally, or by putting them out of office, or, at the very least, by not electing them again!

  20. Greg0658 says:

    ps – what interest rate return are they getting .. I mean we getting .. um I don’t know what I mean .. you know what I mean

  21. laureni says:

    Fascinating way to spin this. I’d like to see this post accompanied by your full opinion/analysis of the matter.


    BR: This blog has 11,000 posts, many of the ones over the past 18 months specifically with bailouts.

    That is in addition to a 343 page book on the subject.

    My full opinion/analysis is not a well kept secret — If you are really interested, it doesn’t take much in the way of research to find out what it is . . .

  22. KJ Foehr says:

    Stiglitz says TBTF = armed robbery by banks.
    at 19 mins 30 secs.

  23. Moss says:

    The really sad part is that this is occurring with many other sectors of the corporate communist economy.
    Defense, Health Care, Energy to name a few.

  24. JZumbrun says:

    I love this blog and agree with the direction of the comments, but I disagree that this is a valid ROI calculation.

  25. Scott F says:

    Why don’t your readers get this is a joke ?

  26. leftback says:

    TBTF malinvestment and misallocation is crowding out VC investment into real innovation. Predictably.

  27. cvienne says:

    That’s nothing!

    I think Wanger has that percentage beat… Since JULY!

  28. cvienne says:

    “The indices will lead us higher”

    LOBBYING Indices… that is

  29. Rikky says:

    a bit dated but felt compelled to share

    You Lie!

    By Wayne Allen Root
    When Congressman Joe Wilson screamed “You Lie!” at President Obama, many liberal critics, political commentators, and media experts responded by criticizing the lack of manners and civility in modern-day politics. But I believe the opposite is true. The truth is that we’ve all been too nice, too well-mannered, and too civil.

    For far too long, we’ve stood by as politicians destroyed our country, wrecked our economy, spent us into bankruptcy, and indebted our children and grandchildren for generations to come. The current situation doesn’t demand civility; it demands rage. Why should we show respect and civility to the corrupt thieves who are lying to our faces and robbing us blind? Why should we show respect and civility to the very people who are stealing our children’s future?

    The problem isn’t civility; it’s stupidity. We’ve been far too civil and docile for far too long. We’ve been intimidated and blinded by the power and fancy titles of our political leaders. We’ve accepted their lies without flinching. We’ve given the benefit of the doubt to the people in charge – even though most of them are criminals.

    We’ve reelected the very people who have been lying to us and robbing us. In reality, we should have been throwing all of them out – from both parties. We should have been limiting our politicians to two terms – one in office, one in prison!

    We stuck our heads in the sand. We wanted to believe they were telling us the truth. We might have cursed Congress, but we each praised, thanked, and reelected our own congressperson. We showed respect for Congress’s authority. It’s like a political Groundhog Day: Each day we keep doing the same illogical things (supporting the same incumbents who are bankrupting the country) and waking up the next morning hoping the outcome will be different. But it never is.


  30. constantnormal says:

    I saw Michael Moore’s mockumentary “Capitalism – A Love Affair” over the weekend (eagerly awaiting a Ritholtz review, given Barry’s brief (non-speaking) cameo in the film), and he hits this notion of goobermint co-opting by the uppermost 1% repeatedly.

    Also, over at Jesse’s Cafe Americain there is a piece (The Speculative Bubble in Equities and the Case for Deflation, Stagflation and Implosion) with an excellent chart showing the concentration of wealth from 1913 to present. Noting the spikes that have occurred in the past (circa 1916 and 1928) and the economic blights that followed, it seems reasonable to expect a similar blight to occur Real Soon Now.

    Of course, Moore’s preferences lead him to propose a different (and predictable) solution than might be seen here (he never deigns to consider seriously the notion of reform and regulation in constraining capitalism’s unrestrained tendency to self-destruct), but his spotlighting of the problem is second to none, especially considering the huge expanse of time and events he skims over. Worth the price of a theater ticket, unless you have a severe aversion to ideas other than your own.

    Myself, I can take the parts I agree with and leave the less tasty bits on the plate. I suspect most of the visitors to this site are similar in nature, else there would not be such excellent back-and-forth jousting, and folks on the edges would be quickly driven away.

  31. Malnutrition Impairs U.S. Children’s Health, Behavior
    Some 13 million children in the United States live in homes with limited access to a sufficient food supply. A new generation of research demonstrates a direct link between inadequate food supply and a poorer overall health status among U.S. children, according to LSU AgCenter food and nutrition expert Dr. Annrose Guarino.

    “Food security, the ability to obtain food without having to resort to emergency sources, is an important factor in the physical and mental development of children,” the LSU AgCenter nutrition expert points out, adding, “Food hardships are even more pronounced among certain groups of children.” For example, about 30 percent of African-American and Hispanic children and more than 40 percent of low-income children live in homes that do not have access to nutritionally adequate diets.

    Guarino says adverse effects of hunger among children include heath consequences, behavioral impacts and academic outcomes. Research strongly suggests that children who live in households with insufficient access to food are more likely to be in poorer health than children from food-sufficient households…
    gives new meaning to ‘eating our own’..

    APICS Announces National Partnership with the America’s Second Harvest Network

  32. cvienne says:


    Are you sure it’s insufficient food supply, or is half the problem insuffient “nutrition”?

    Moms, as the case may be, need not use their food stamps to buy Macaroni & Cheese dinners & potato chips…

  33. Harry Wagner says:

    Cvienne Nice to see how the indicies will lead the way and we will have mini boom after mini boom.

    And don’t be a silly goose I don’t have that percentage beat, not yet anyway.

  34. RandyClayton says:

    Articles like the one cited lead to the common confusion that banks were handed the cash without cost or an obligation to pay it back (the article does not even cite the 30 or so institutions that have paid back their loans).

    Most of the TARP money will be paid back, but surely a lot will not. In the interim, our government is earning a return on the loaned monies and avoiding the costs it would incur had the TARP not been put in place.

  35. Why does no one have a sense of humor these days ?

  36. leftback says:

    Why does no one have a sense of humor these days ?

    Because even those of us with a dark sense of humour are disgusted with the criminality of the banks.

  37. Maverick1 says:

    “Why does no one have a sense of humor these days ?”

    They are just pissed because they didn’t lobby Congress and get in on the action.

  38. beaufou says:

    talking about food, if it is of any use for people around here.

    No more hormones and antibiotics.

  39. t1dude says:

    Sadly, this figure is likely low. why did they only include $250-ish billion in the returns? Haven’t we given the banks TRILLIONS in bail out money? And who knows if that figure even includes stuff like tax breaks and/or tax credits.

  40. cv,

    it’s a good Q:. see: “Eileen Kennedy DSc, RD, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, offers an updated view of global nutrition. She describes how global demographic, epidemiological, and nutritional transitions have led to a unique situation in which food insecurity (uncertain or scarce access to safe and healthy food) exists side by side with problems of obesity and chronic nutrition-related diseases, even in the same household…”

    and, as one can see here it is being turned into the *next Mad Ave. madnees..

    when, much to beaufou’s point, natural, non-processed foods (contra to KFT), as opposed to frankenphoods(thx MON), have much of what we need to begin with..

    further: “OHM was founded in 1994 to promote orthomolecular health-medicine, based on the medical use of nutrients, detoxification from pollutants, and physiological support of healing.
    OHM provides:
    1. Leadership, putting nutrition first in medicine and health.
    2. Educational programs for physicians, health professionals and the public.
    3. Referral service.
    4. Research in health-medicine.
    5. Critical analysis of health issues.
    6. Newsletter.
    7. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine.
    from # 5 here
    and: ht tp://

  41. [...] What’s the single best investment in history?  (TBP) [...]

  42. keithpiccirillo says:

    That’s one hell of a ROI.