23 Dec 2008

Total Costs of Bailouts So Far…

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This Slate piece tallies them up. In terms of commitments (not actual money going out the door), the government had promised, as of Nov. 25, $5.6 trillion in new handouts, er, measures to revitalize the economy. (I think it starts with the Term Auction Facility from the end of 2007.) To put it in perspective, I heard on the radio that a Bloomberg story had found that this was more than all of the United States major wars (and it included Afghanistan), even when adjusting for inflation.

Now remember back when they first bailed out Fannie and Freddie (and then especially AIG), and all of the bad things that certain economists were predicting? Do you think at that point, if we knew for sure that it would lead to an outpouring of almost $6 trillion in new commitments in just a few months, that they would have said, “Let them go bankrupt and let the chips fall where they may”?

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