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November 26th, 2008
01:41 PM ET

Biggest government expenditure in US history?

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Editor's note: The current bailout costs more than the Iraq war, the Vietnam war, the Korean war and the NASA missions - combined. The only thing that comes close is the cost of WWII…

Barry Ritholtz
Ritholtz.com

Whenever I discussed the current bailout situation with people, I find they have a hard time comprehending the actual numbers involved. That became a problem while doing the research for the Bailout Nation book. I needed some way to put this into proper historical perspective.

If we add in the Citi bailout, the total cost now exceeds $4.6165 trillion dollars. People have a hard time conceptualizing very large numbers, so let’s give this some context. The current Credit Crisis bailout is now the largest outlay In American history.

Jim Bianco of Bianco Research crunched the inflation adjusted numbers. The bailout has cost more than all of these big budget government expenditures – combined:

• Marshall Plan: Cost: $12.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $115.3 billion
• Louisiana Purchase: Cost: $15 million, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $217 billion
• Race to the Moon: Cost: $36.4 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $237 billion
• S&L Crisis: Cost: $153 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $256 billion
• Korean War: Cost: $54 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $454 billion
• The New Deal: Cost: $32 billion (Est), Inflation Adjusted Cost: $500 billion (Est)
• Invasion of Iraq: Cost: $551b, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $597 billion
• Vietnam War: Cost: $111 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $698 billion
• NASA: Cost: $416.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $851.2 billion

TOTAL: $3.92 trillion

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Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Barry Ritholtz • Economy
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Cindy

    Well I hope that all of our money that the government is shelling out actually does what it is supposed to do. Seeing that this bailout is costing us more than all of these examples combined really puts it into perspective. If it doesn't work then we have definitely lost some big bucks!

    Cindy...Ga.

    November 26, 2008 at 2:10 pm |

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