That is what Bloomberg reports as of February 9, 2009 has been committed on behalf of the American taxpayer to bail out America's finance system and stimulate the economy.
Only a small percentage of this money--$1.68 trillion--has been voted on by Congress. Congress has voted on the Bush era tax cuts of $168 billion, the Obama era stimulus of $800 billion, and the $700 billion TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) legislation to bail out the financial sector.
The vast majority of the spending, $8.1 trillion, has been off the Congressional books and made by the Federal Reserve and FDIC. The Federal Reserve (which is a non-government, private institution made up of US banks) and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation have lent or spent over $2 trillion over the past two years and pledged up to $5.7 trillion more to cover bad investments made by the financial system. The commitments are composed of about $1 trillion in stimulus packages, around $3 trillion in lending and spending and $5.7 trillion in agreements to provide aid.
* The amount is equal to almost two-thirds of the value of everything produced in the US during 2008.
* It is enough to pay off 90% of the mortgages in the United States--$10.5 trillion would pay for all mortgages, according to the Federal Reserve.
* It is $30,000 for every man, woman and child in America; that is, $120,000 for a family of four.
* It would be enough to send a $1,430 check to every man, woman and child alive in the world.
* It's 13 times what the US has spent so far on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We do not even known where all of those funds have gone. The taxpayer is putting up a king's ransom and not being told who is receiving it. We guarantee the debts of banks and are not being told what collateral is provided or who is receiving the funds. Before receiving the bailout funds, Treasury Secretary Paulsen promised transparency. But Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke says that such transparency would be "counterproductive."
All of this money and yet foreclosures, bankruptcy and unemployment are all up; the stock market, consumer spending and housing prices are down.
Pouring tax dollars into banks is not working. It is too early to tell whether the economic stimulus will get the economy moving.
We don't know where the bottom is yet, see no evidence that the bailout is working, and already, as Barry Ritholtz, author of Bailout Nation, points out, the bailout has cost...