WASHINGTON -- The watchdog overseeing the federal government financial bailout says the government's maximum exposure to financial institutions since 2007 could total nearly $24 trillion, or about $80,000 for every American.
The whopping amount compiled by the inspector general for the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program takes into account about 50 initiatives and programs set up by the Bush and Obama administrations as well as by the Federal Reserve.
Many of the programs are backed by collateral and the $23.7 trillion represents the gross, not net, exposure that the government could face. No one has suggested that the full amount, in fact, will be used.
Granted, it's not a given that this cost will actually become a reality.
But the fact is that it could.
Kind of scary, isn't it? With all the unprecedented, bizarre weirdness going on these days...