Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the TARP program, says the total cost of the TARP programme – the Toxic Assets Relief Programme that I would characterise as “producing the toxic assets of tomorrow” – says that the total bill for the TARP programme is, wait for it, $23.7 trillion. “TARP has evolved into a program of unprecedented scope, scale and complexity,” Barofsky said. HE sure got that right.
Barofsky’s estimates [reports Bloomberg] include $2.3 trillion in programs offered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., $7.4 trillion in TARP and other aid from the Treasury and $7.2 trillion in federal money for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, credit unions, Veterans Affairs and other federal programs.
Just to say that again, that’s 23,700,000,000,000 dollars – one billion dollars multiplied 23,700 times – spent on junk. Not Zimbabwe dollars, US dollars. More money than was spent on two world wars put together – two wars that bankrupted two continents. More money than presently exists in the world -- spent on more “toxic assets” than the world has ever before seen, in a “recovery programme” more destructive than any of its progenitors could have fathomed.
And, to add irony to ignominy, the airheads on CNBC are for some reason getting angry at the guy pointing out the size of the bill [hat tip Fred Gibson].
UPDATE 1: Bernard Hickey spots US Congressman Alan Grayson grilling Helicopter Ben overnight on a NZ item in the multi-trillion dollar bill:
Here is some grand theatre in a CSpan video on Youtube from Ben Bernanke’s Congressional hearing overnight where Congressman Alan Grayson grills Bernanke over currency swaps with various central banks, including “New Zealand, who got US$9 billion or US$3,000 per person” (2mins 31). It’s a fascinating watch and all part of the growing momentum to audit the Fed.
“This will go viral,” says Bernard of the video of the confrontation. Here’s the first re-infection:
UPDATE 2: And the busy Bernard Hickey also links to this short video to help you get your head around the concept of one trillion dollars – which is less than 1/27th of the total bill for the TARP programme.