Although the banks have made much of having paid back much (but not all) of the face value of TARP funds extended, they have not paid a market rate of interest on the money they borrowed. They have even kept what Bloomberg calculates to have been a neat $13 billion in profit from lending the money they borrowed back to American consumers and businesses at higher rates. The American people not only threw the banks a life raft, but pulled most of them ashore.

Yet over four years later, millions of American homeowners are still sinking. About twelve million homeowners are underwater, summing to the ironic number of about $700 billion. To avoid foreclosure, these homeowners will have to make, month after month, year after year, payments totaling far more than their homes are worth.

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