Bailout May Cost $23.7 Trillion: Barofsky

From The Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON – The federal government has devoted $4.7 trillion to help the financial sector through its crisis, a level of assistance equal to about one-third of the overall U.S. economy, a watchdog report said Monday.

Under the worst of circumstances, the report said, the government’s maximum exposure could total nearly $24 trillion, or $80,000 for every American.

The figures are part of a tough new quarterly report to Congress from special inspector general Neil Barofsky, who accuses the Treasury Department of repeatedly failing to adopt recommendations aimed at making one component of the government financial rescue effort more accountable and transparent.

The $4.7 trillion commitment to the industry takes into account about 50 initiatives and programs set up since 2007 by the Bush and Obama administrations as well as by the Federal Reserve. Barofsky oversees one of the initiatives — the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Much of the government assistance is backed by collateral and Barofsky’s $23.7 trillion estimate represents the gross, not net, exposure that the government could face. Continue reading

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