U.S. Bailouts Could Cost $23.7 Trillion, Inspector General Says
Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) Neil Barofsky told House members on July 21 that the TARP program and other government bailout programs have mushroomed the liability of the federal government to $23.7 trillion.
In prepared testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for July 21, Barofsky said: Since the onset of the financial crisis in 2007, the Federal Government, through many agencies, has implemented dozens of programs that are broadly designed to support the economy and financial system. The total potential Federal Government support could reach up to $23.7 trillion."
One indication of the immensity of Barofsky's figure is that the entire U.S. Gross Domestic Product this year--the value of everything produced by every person in the United States -will only be $14.1 trillion. (Barofsky's figure doesn't count the nearly $3 trillion in other government spending as a regular part of the fiscal 2009 federal budget, of course.)
Treasury officials stressed that Barofsky's figures are worst-case scenarios that won't pan out in reality. …