8 January 2009

Bailout Cost Exceeds All American Wars

By Bethany Stotts | December 18, 2008

From CNS.com:

“The total value of the bailouts undertaken by the federal government in 2008 now exceeds the combined cost of every major war the United States has ever engaged in, according to a comparison of war costs calculated by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the value of the bailouts as calculated by Bloomberg News or Bianco Research.

According to CRS, all major U.S. wars (including such events as the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, but not the invasion of Panama or the Kosovo War), cost a total of $7.2 trillion in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars.

According to Bloomberg, the federal government has made commitments worth a total of $8.5 trillion in the bailouts of 2008. That includes actual expenditures as well as loan and asset guarantees.

Bianco Research puts the total value of the bailouts at $8.7 trillion.

The $296 billion spent on World War II, America’s most expensive war, would be $4.1 trillion adjusted to today’s dollars, according to the CRS report from June.

The adjusted cost of the Civil War would be $60.4 billion for both the Union and the Confederacy combined. The inflation-adjusted cost of the Vietnam War would be $686 billion. The cost of the current Iraq war up to last June was $648 billion, while the adjusted cost for Afghanistan to that point was $171 billion.

The total cost of the American Revolution was a relatively inexpensive $1.8 billion.”

This doesn’t necessarily count the $1 trillion “stimulus” bill that will come up in January or the additional $1 trillion that the Federal Reserve says it is likely to guarantee in the near future. From Marketwatch on December 16,

”The Fed’s balance sheet has risen to $2.25 trillion over the past two months from $850 billion and has made promises to spend about a $1 trillion more.

The Fed is using the money to ease strains in the market for the debt of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and mortgage-backed securities issued by these GSEs.

These purchases may be expanded, the Fed said.“The FOMC is also evaluating the potential benefits of purchasing longer-term Treasury securities,” the Fed said.

....By February, the Fed is also going to begin buying credit card debt and student loans.

This template could be expanded.

Under this plan, the Treasury is assuming the risk of loss while the Fed is making the purchases.”

Actually, the taxpayer is assuming the risk of loss while the Fed continues to make purchases.

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