Is it fair to say that taxpayers bear risk in the Fed's bailout of Bear Stearns? The notion that the taxpayers will wind up funding the bailout is gaining traction in political circles. DealBreaker comments section regular Anal_yst, however, says that this just isn't true.
While the Fed is funded and overseen by Congress, it is "private within the Government;" it is effectively a self-funded entity operating as a "private" organization within Government. The loan extended by the Fed to JPM (via Maiden Lane, LLC) was a direct extension of credit from the Fed's balance sheet, not from an appropriate of taxpayer monies, which so far as I can tell, would have required specific Congressional action.
Overlooked here is that taxpayers have a direct interest in the Fed's balance sheet since the Fed remits excess earnings to the Treasury's general revenues. If those earnings are diminished because of the loan made to JP Morgan, the revenues will have to be made up for by decreased spending, increased debt or tax hikes. Taxpayers, as residual claimants of the Fed's earnings, will indeed end up bearing the price.
Setting the Record Straight: Taxpayers Are NOT Funding JPM's Buyout of Bear Stearns [1-2 Knockout]