How Much Has the Economic Rescue Cost?

Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, testified to Congress last week that the federal government’s potential exposure to the various programs and facilities targeted at combating the financial crisis is $23.7 trillion. That is way more than the $700 billion TARP bailout and estimated $794 billion stimulus package that were passed by Congress. Where did all that spending come from?

As of July 2009, the government has committed, spent, loaned, or guaranteed debt for a combined $12.8 trillion use of government money. Billions of that has been invested in banks and used to buy assets that may not regain value, which is why there is the potential exposure of nearly twice that spending figure. Here is the way it breaks down from January 2007 to the present:

  • The Federal Reserve has spent, loaned, and guaranteed $7,815,300,000,000
  • The FDIC has issued debt insurance totaling $2,579,200,000,000
  • Congress has approved the Treasury spending $2,492,000,000,000

For a full list of the programs, acts of Congress, and details on this spending, see this chart.

For details on each one of the spending, guarantee, or loan programs, see descriptions here.