Is This Where the $700 Billion Is Going?

There was a lot of noise last week about how the banks who’ve been drawing down the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program fund can’t account for how the money is being spent. It’s not like $700 billion can just disappear, right?

Well, a reader named Gannon Hubbard wrote in with a hunch as to where the money is being spent.

No, not on commercial loans or mortgage relief or even a new highway fund. Try … a rabbit hutch.

Yes, a third-party seller on Amazon.com was offering a “Marshall Peters Hinged Mat Woven Grass for Rabbits and Small Animal” for the low, low price of $766.5 billion:

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As Gannon writes: “It looks like third-party selling on Amazon isn’t exactly foolproof.”

The good news is that a serious discount was invoked since this screen shot was taken, with the hutch now selling for just $13.59. The seller is called Sleepy Pets, and as of this writing, its most recent customer feedback was a five-star review that said: “Arrived well ahead of schedule.”

For $766 billion, I should certainly hope so.

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  1. Jim says:

    reminds me of an old Dennis the Menace cartoon where he and Joey are at the Lemonade stand and Dennis has priced a glass of lemonade at $10.

    Joey is looking depressed because there are no customers while Dennis is saying:
    “But all we have to do is sell ONE GLASS!”

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    • David says:

      That particular cartoon is seriously one of my favorite comics ever, although in my mind, I remember the price being ONE dollar, which for a sixties lemonade stand would be sufficiently astronomical … I’m glad it stuck with someone else! Many’s the time in pricing discussions I wish I had it handy — !

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  2. catherine the great says:

    seriously a much better way to spend that money than on a bailout!

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  3. whoanellie says:

    Obviously the third party seller is requesting to be paid in ZIm dollars…

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  4. Senia says:

    Cute. :)

    Have you seen the U.S. bailout hedge fund site? It’s quite a happening site. StrategeryCapital.com
    The job postings is the single best part of the site.

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  5. Scott Supak says:

    Let’s take a look at where our money is really going, shall we?

    The Wall St. Journal reports:

    Merrill Lynch’s Peter Kraus Collects $25 Million, Then Resigns

    http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2008/12/22/merrill-lynchs-peter-kraus-collects-25-million-then-resigns/

    Then Kraus’s wife (right) purchases a new apartment…

    http://ny.therealdeal.com/articles/alliancebernstein-ceo-pays-37m-for-pad-at-720-park-avenue

    “The buyer was identified as Jill Kraus, wife of Peter Kraus, a former executive vice president at Merrill Lynch who reportedly received a $25 million bonus after working at the firm for three months this year. However, only her name was listed on the property report. He was hired as chairman and CEO of AllianceBernstein on December 19. A Merrill Lynch spokeswoman would not comment on his pay package.”

    That’s a $36 million dollar apartment purchased with tax payer money.

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  6. GoingLikeSixty says:

    Some banks don’t even like it when a newspaper calls it “Bailout” money.

    http://bgdailynews.com/articles/2008/12/30/news/news9.txt

    “A headline on Page 1A Saturday incorrectly referred to money Citizens First Bank received from the federal government as “bailout” money. The U.S. Treasury’s $8.8 million investment in Citizens First came from the Capital Purchase Program. While that program is a part of the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program, its emphasis is on providing capital to healthy financial institutions to meet the lending needs of their customers and the communities they serve. Prior to the Treasury purchasing preferred stock in Citizens First, the bank was considered well-capitalized by all regulatory standards. The additional capital injection from the CPP will further improve the bank’s safety and soundness position.”

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  7. DaveyNC says:

    catherine @ 2 beat me to it. That is a better way of using the bail out money by giving it to a going concern like Sleepy Pets than to a soon-to-fail enterprise like GM or Chrysler.

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  8. Eric M. Jones says:

    I posted earlier that $700 billion would build everything in Massachusetts from the ground up, or pave all 10,550 square miles of the Bay State in concrete 12″ thick (rebar included). How huge $700 billion really is seems to elude people.

    Here’s another, perhaps more practical purchase–

    The approximate cost of constructing a twin track 10,000 km maglev system including 300 kph trains, tunnels, bridges and stations, between major US cities is about $700 billion.

    Average construction cost would be about $US 50 million per kilometre. About 1200 maglev cars would be needed. The rolling stock would cost only US$20 billion.

    Actually, it would not be able to pay its own way, but at least you’d see where your money went….and how fast.

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