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Financial Crisis Tab Already In The Trillions

By CNBC.com |

November 18, 2008 "
CNBC" -November 17, 2008 -- Given the speed at which the federal government is throwing money at the financial crisis, the average taxpayer, never mind member of Congress, might not be faulted for losing track.

CNBC, however, has been paying very close attention and keeping a running tally of actual spending as well as the commitments involved.

Try $4.28 trillion dollars. That's $4,284,500,000,000 and more than what was spent on WW II, if adjusted for inflation, based on our computations from a variety of estimates and sources*.

Not only is it a astronomical amount of money, its' a complicated cocktail of budgeted dollars, actual spending, guarantees, loans, swaps and other market mechanisms by the Federal Reserve, the Treasury and other offices of government taken over roughly the last year, based on government data and news releases. Strictly speaking, not every cent is a direct result of what's called the financial crisis, but it is arguably related to it.

Some 68-percent of the sum falls under the Federal Reserve's umbrella, while another 16 percent is the under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, TARP, as defined under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, signed into law in early October. (The TARP alone is bigger than virtually any other US government endeavor dating back to the Louisiana Purchase. See slideshow.)

  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 257
   
   
(TARP) Treasury Asset Relief Program 700
   
   
Other:  
Automakers 25
(FHA) Federal Housing Administration 300
Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac 350
   
Total 4284.5
Note: Figures as of Nov. 13, 2008

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

(Editor's Note: CNBC's Steve Liesman and Sabrina Korber have been keeping a runny tally of the government's efforts, while Sean Entwistle, Yolaiki Gonzalez, Giovanny Moreano and Ariel Nelson researched and computed the data for the comparisons with other major historical events in the slideshow.)

2008 CNBC.com

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