While You Were Broke: Federal Reserve Posts Record Profit

Hey, sometimes $45 billion just falls in your lap...

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Here's some news that warms the heart. According to The Washington Post, the Federal Reserve has posted a record $45 billion dollar profit despite the country's current economic troubles. Way to go, team!

The Federal Reserve made record profits in 2009, as its unconventional efforts to prop up the economy created a windfall for the government.

The Fed will return about $45 billion to the U.S. Treasury for 2009, according to calculations by The Washington Post based on public documents. That reflects the highest earnings in the 96-year history of the central bank. The Fed, unlike most government agencies, funds itself from its own operations and returns its profits to the Treasury.

The numbers are good news for the federal budget and a sign that the Fed has been successful, at least so far, in protecting taxpayers as it intervenes in the economy -- though there remains a risk of significant losses in the future if the Fed sells some of its investments or loses money on its stakes in bailed-out firms.

Those same bailed out banks are having to show their earnings for the year and the bonuses they handed out. The WaPo article says that there's so much anger in Washington over the bailouts and bonuses that the Obama administration will "probably" have to impose some sort of sanction to recoup the cost of saving these institution.

"Probably." And they wonder why people get mad...