The Real Cost Of The Bailout

A number of people have asked me to document how we have spent over $4 trillion in money. Turns out, the graphic below was a snapshot of bailout money and now the total has risen to almost $7 trillion. I believe the final total may top $15 trillion. Of course, I said all this months ago but it feels somewhat good to say, “I told you so” to some folks.

1. See the figures below.
2. Bloomberg estimates that the Federal Reserve has spent $3 trillion and pledged $5.7 trillion which would make the total bailout over $12 trillion.
3. I was on a radio program with Congressman Steve Pearce (R-NM) recently and he confirmed that trillions are being spent without approval of Congress.

Financial Crisis Balance Sheet

Government Entity Sum in Billions of Dollars
Federal Reserve
(TAF) Term Auction Facility 900
Discount Window Lending
Commercial Banks 99.2
Investment Banks 56.7
Loans to buy ABCP 76.5
AIG 112.5
Bear Stearns 29.5
(TSLF) Term Securities Lending Facility 225
Swap Lines 613
(MMIFF) Money Market Investor Funding Facility 540
Commercial Paper Funding Facility 1800
TALF 200
(TARP) Treasury Asset Relief Program 700
Automakers 25
(FHA) Federal Housing Administration 300
Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac 350
TARRA – The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 787
Total $6,814.5

*References includ US National Archive, US Dept of Defense, US Bureau of Reclamation, Library of Congress, NASA, Panama Canal Authority, FDIC, Brittanica, WSJ, Time,, and a number of other websites.

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42 replies
  1. pumabydesign001
    pumabydesign001 says:

    Our children and our children’s children and their children will be paying for these bailouts and it angers me terribly.

    I pray that this will not be the downfall of America.

    This bailout mess which is far from over can very well be.

  2. cathy
    cathy says:

    I actually think we should help them. The problem is that they do not spend it with the correct motives.
    OK hear me out. the American public as a whole is just as far in debt as these large companies when you look at it on persentage verses capitol basis. We expect help. We also do things like declare bankruptcy, and fib on taxes and refuse to pay debtors. I’m not talking about everyone here. I know we have good intentions. The thing is that God said to owe no man nothing. We simply do not follow this rule when we borrow. And then we default on our loan causing these large lending companies to be in trouble. Granted, they are not good at spending money. They are in fact down right wasteful. they need to go back to money management 101.
    I like that congress is making them say where they are spending the money. I believe they should carry it a step further and deny any application that shows wastful spending in the last year. That might help to get the companies to spend better.
    Course if they were not wasting then they would not be in trouble. Congress needs to also keep these companies in check throughout the duration of their loan.
    But what do I know?
    I’ve never even seen more than $3500 at one time.(Katrina relief check)(I made that last almost a year with no other income at the time)
    I guess I will leave this one alone for all you guys who are more experienced with money than me.

  3. tonyknuckles
    tonyknuckles says:

    It’s been a very pleasant experience viewing your site. However, there are some articles here that I found a bit troubling. But of course as we all know everyone can’t be satisfied.

    Have A Great Day!!

  4. Johnny Walker Purple
    Johnny Walker Purple says:

    You forgot to account for inflation. Moonlanding dollars were not worth nearly as much as today’s dollars.

  5. Webbielady
    Webbielady says:

    Hmmm..what can I say about this now? Sorry but I would need some wording. I heard about a lot of bailouts but nothing specific on them. All I know is, governments need to make the public calm and have their public trust intact.

  6. Dr.Bruce
    Dr.Bruce says:

    I have added some info in the original post to clarify things. The RED DOT is the total spending on various bailout plans. The figures in the table are higher than the graph because the bailouts continue.

  7. Aywren
    Aywren says:

    This is scary to think about. Some really huge numbers here.

    This has been spotlighted at my blog! Thanks for a great post!

  8. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    I look at these numbers, and I can’t even make sense of them. We are talking in trillions of dollars here… it’s an amount of money that I can’t even wrap my head around, and I don’t understand where it’s ACTUALLY coming from.

    When I was in junior high, we made 1000 tally marks on sheets of copy paper and hung them up in the halls of the math wing. These tally marks took up EVERY SINGLE BIT of white space in the whole entire hall, and it was a big hall, so how can a trillion dollars even EXIST?

    This is so frustrating to me that we are putting ourselves under this financial strain like this just so the government feels like it is doing something to help. I pay my bills on time, I send in my taxes every year, and all this is going to cost me.

    Seriously, I call shenanigans government. Shenanigans!

  9. College Experience
    College Experience says:

    I dont believe throwing a bunch of money at it will solve the problem. It feels like we are trying to rush this and just throw money at it to get out of depression. But the most important thing is time and the recovery of jobs. Eh, at least their trying their best i guess. =P

  10. JenniJ
    JenniJ says:

    I remember when “trillion” sounded like a made up word. Oh…those were the days. The monetary system in the US is so undeniably flawed that this was inevitable. Money cannot be created without also creating debt and it was only a matter of time before it all caught up.

  11. Tom Usher
    Tom Usher says:

    Hi Bruce and All,

    Percentage of GDP? Per capita spending or borrowing? Even if those two aspects would make the bailout appear less onerous, the whole thing is still just a huge scam conjured up by the spiritual children of the liar from the beginning.

    Their plan is exactly what they’ve nearly accomplished: A huge increase in the National Debt so that more of the income tax will be going to pay interest to the bankers/gamblers (rightfully called banksters during the Great Depression) who were bailed out but used the bailout money (again taxes) to pay bonuses and to buy up solvent smaller fish and the assets of bigger troubled fish but at extreme discounts.

    Watch them yet turn around to say there isn’t enough money to aid the poor or to have Social Security, etc. They want it all.

    What an evil bunch of schemers are the top usurers! They prey upon everyone else. They create no bounty. They “create” money to lend to the “people’s” government (of, by, and for the people supposedly) just by making an entry in their Federal Reserve checking account, which Federal Reserve is not Federal and no one has ever audited them to verify any so-called reserve.

    The currency of the United States isn’t publicly owned or controlled. The so-called legal tender of the U.S., the only currency accepted in payment of coerced taxes, is privatized for private profit.

    There isn’t one drop of sweat expended to “create” tens of trillions to lend at interest.

    The interest payments go into private billionaire-family hands for no good reason. They do nothing that wasn’t being done before but without owing them any interest (hundreds of billions per year for nothing). It can’t be justified. All they do is try to hide these truths behind a bunch of mumbo jumbo.

    In the 1950’s, the rich made about 24-25 times more than the average earner. That changed to about 10 times that in recent years. There’s only one reason for it: Greed. It’s satanic.

    The whole of society certainly isn’t better off for it. The economy (the national household) certainly hasn’t been strengthened by following the schemers.

    On top of it, they want to rape the planet into a complete dystopia. They aren’t really interested in Creation Care.

    Why did Jesus clean the temple of the moneychangers?

    We all know that the god of this worldly world is the spirit of Satan. We all know that kleptocrats/plutocrats/oligarchs are running things. They certainly aren’t following Jesus who said the chiefest is the lowliest servant. The greedy top bankers live to be served and not to serve.

    Well, return good for evil. Let’s not fail to tell the truth though while we don’t, repeat, don’t cut off their heads. Just call them to turn: Soften their hearts.


  12. Sushi Freak
    Sushi Freak says:

    Not to mention the impact of Uncle Sam crowding out other borrowers as it attempts to sell the paper to fund this mess. That is a LOT of paper to move. We are truly in China’s hands.

    And that is not good news. China needs to create jobs at a breakneck pace just to stay flat. With demand being destroyed in consumer goods, it’s not unreasonable to wonder if and when China might decide to invest that money in its own country rather than buying US paper at absurdly low rates (given the probable inflation this printing will deliver). If they balk, there is no plan B. Rates go up.

    And the US goes into a nosedive.

    The REAL cost of this mess will be much greater than a few trillion dollars or a larger tax bill.

  13. Angela Wenke
    Angela Wenke says:

    It is amazing to me how far in debt our country has gotten into. But I think what upsets me more is when we use our hard earned tax dollars to bail out companies like AIG and they still want to take company vacations with their employees and fly around in their coporate jets.

    Like most Americans we leave pay to check some weeks and we work hard for our income so to know a portion of our tax dollars are bailing out companies like that really upsets me.

    I just hope we start to see a better economy soon, because right now it is darn right scary

    Thank you

  14. Nick
    Nick says:

    I know that we have to spend some money to get out of debt. Kind of like buying yourself a new suit to go to interviews in. But 7 trillion dollars seems like a little much, and by a little I mean alot. 7 Trillion dollars!!!! We still have kids that can’t afford to go to college. When will our leaders learn.

  15. Dr.Bruce
    Dr.Bruce says:

    This spending will not stop under Obama. His philosophy is to spend money on his projects without regard to fiscal constraints. He honestly believes he can spend and tax the US into a booming economy.


  16. Bret
    Bret says:

    My honest opinion? Stop bailing everyone out. Let their stupidity and greed get the better of them and let businesses fail and lives be destroyed.

    Treat them like children. The only way children learn things is the hard way. They don’t believe parents when they say “Don’t do that, it’s bad”. They go and do it anyways and later on realize that mommy and daddy were right. Let this happen, stop bailing everyone out!

    Survival of the fittest is something I believe extremely strongly about. If you can’t figure it out, then obviously it wasn’t a position you should have been in.

  17. Liane
    Liane says:

    I’ve never imagines I’ll get so many pieces of information with just one post. That is simply, I don’t know, disturbing or comforting? To know where all the money is going is a great relief, it’s like you’ve been giving the explanations to the things swirling in your mind. But to know the real monetary value, it’s like… wow… This is where american taxes are going? Should this be a justifiably way of spending things or are there things that are questionable?

  18. Jack
    Jack says:

    When will someone realize that we cannot spend our way into recovery? Spending like this is inflationary.

  19. impNERD
    impNERD says:

    I think the bailout is completely stupid. I do think AIG should receive some federal help however, but not in the way it was given. AIG insures the insurers, so if they went under so would a lot of banks and other corporations. So what should have been done is buy AIG at market price (not the 40 cents extra per 60) and then sell off the company in smaller pieces or insurance rights.

    As for the inflation costs of the other money, inflation doesn’t really work to where you can compare it to today’s dollars. Way too many factors come into play such as less people actually having money, factories paying different salaries, price of other goods, etc. It is only a small way to say ‘this number *might* look like this today’.

    But really, $3000 today is nothing like $400 in the 1930s simply because there are more people with that amount today than then.

  20. danalamano
    danalamano says:

    That is such a crazy amount of money! One method I use to grasp how large those figures are is to put it this way!

    1 Million Seconds = 11.5 days
    1 Trillion Seconds = 32,000 YEARS
    7 Trillion Seconds = 224,000 YEARS

    That amount of number is next to impossible to fathom for most!

  21. Dr.Bruce
    Dr.Bruce says:

    Just what I like best .. rational, thoughtful prose. Perhaps the reply should be, “Tax and spend socialist liberal.”

    Nah. That just sounds mean.

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