So far Uncle Sam has spent, lent, or created around $13 trillion to bail out most everyone on Wall Street, in the banking sector, part of the housing industry, and associated with the automakers, as well as a number of assorted others. But we are just getting started. We might have another $11 trillion to go.
“The total potential federal government support could reach up to $23.7 trillion,” says Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, in a new report obtained Monday by ABC News on the government’s efforts to fix the financial system.
Yes, $23.7 trillion.
“The potential financial commitment the American taxpayers could be responsible for is of a size and scope that isn’t even imaginable,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “If you spent a million dollars a day going back to the birth of Christ, that wouldn’t even come close to just $1 trillion — $23.7 trillion is a staggering figure.”
Granted, Barofsky is not saying that the government will definitely spend that much money. He is saying that potentially, it could.
Barofsky’s estimate means that if each federal agency spends the maximum potential amount involved in these 50 different initiatives — if the Federal Reserve ends up spending $6.8 trillion on its programs. If the Treasury Department spends $4.4 trillion, if the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation spends $2.3 trillion, and so on — then the numbers add up to a total of $23.7 trillion.
Well, don’t worry, be happy. After all, it’s only money!