$8.5 Trillion Doesn't Buy What It Used To

Current bailouts dwarf most of U.S. history

As the government tries to spend its way out of the Great Recession, the total bill being rung up is mind-boggling. But how does it compare to some of the other great public works projects in the nation's history?
In November, it was announced that $600 billion was being spent to help lower mortgage rates, $200 billion for consumer loans and nearly $300 billion to help the ailing mega-bank Citigroup.
Estimates are that at this point we've committed $8.5 trillion -- or half of the United States' 2008 Gross national Product -- to bailing out various sectors of the economy. Of that money, $4.6165 trillion is just to revive our credit markets.
For some context, that tab exceeds the total adjusted-for-inflation cost of World War II, the Marshall Plan, the Louisiana Purchase, the Race to the Moon, the S&L Crisis, the Korean War, the New Deal, the Invasion of Iraq, the Vietnam War and NASA combined.  Yes, combined. 
Those adventures and expenditures cost $7.52 trillion combined, according to Jim Bianco of Bianco Research, nearly a trillion less than the current fiasco. 
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