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Bailout update: Will taxpayers recoup their investments?

An oversight panel predicted Wednesday that automakers General Motors and Chrysler are unlikely to pay back much of a $23 billion loan package.

General Motors world headquarters is shown in Detroit, in this April 21 file photo.

Paul Sancya / AP / File

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As the economy recovers, the US government is getting back some of the rescue money that it doled out to prevent a depression. But tens of billions of taxpayer dollars may be lost for good.

That outlook came into focus Wednesday, as an oversight panel predicted that automakers General Motors and Chrysler are unlikely to pay back much of a $23 billion loan package.

The report comes as other events have hinted at the costs and benefits of the government's economic bailout programs that ramped into high gear a year ago.

Here's a tour that includes both signs of recovery and the recession's financial wreckage:

Detroit automakers. On the brink of bankruptcy late last year, GM and Chrysler got a lifeline. An all-out collapse of these two giants was averted, saving as many as 1.1 million jobs when the potential ripple effects are considered. But the companies, now in the hands of taxpayers and other private stakeholders, would have to float new public stock and see it rise to "highly optimistic" levels, the Congressional Oversight Panel says, for taxpayers to recover roughly $23 billion in emergency funding.

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