THE FED IS UNDER ATTACK, BUT STILL PROFITABLE FOR TAXPAYERS
Last year the Fed poured a record $117 billion back into U.S. coffers, a record high. That money gets spent on everything from highway construction to the military and food stamps. In the last decade, its payments to Treasury have totaled nearly $700 billion. Since the bank's operating expenses are only about $4 billion a year, it's an incredibly profitable business. "We'd all like to have this kind of business," said Frederic Mishkin, a former Fed governor who is now a professor at Columbia University.