According to Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the total amount of money committed to help those affected by the economic meltdown is $23.7 trillion.
That's more than the moon shot, the New Deal and World War II combined ... in 2008 dollars. And it's way more than the entire U.S. gross domestic product of just over $14 trillion.
Not to worry, Barofsky now says: The actual amount the taxpayers are on the hook for is closer to $3 trillion.
Why? Because the $23.7 trillion figure assumes that all government rescue programs spend all their money and suffer total losses.
"We took a look at all these different programs ... based on what the government said it is willing to commit to," Barofsky says.
"This doesn't mean the taxpayer is on the hook today for $23.7 trillion."
Barofsky added that the numbers used for the calculations come from the Treasury Department, and pointed out that if the numbers are inflated, then the government itself inflated them.
The high figure is comprised of $6.8 trillion from the Federal Reserve, $2.3 trillion from the FDIC, $7.4 trillion from Treasury and $7.2 trillion in other government programs, for a total of $23.7 trillion.
Still, $3 trillion is plenty of money. How much? Well, consider just $1 trillion.
"If you spent a million dollars every day since the birth of Jesus you wouldn't have spent this much," Congressman Darrell Issa told CBS News.
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