One-Pager No. 23 | December 2011

$29,000,000,000,000: A Detailed Look at the Fed’s Bailout of the Financial System

The extraordinary scope and magnitude of the financial crisis of 2007–09 induced an extraordinary response by the Federal Reserve in the fulfillment of its lender-of-last-resort function. Estimates of the total amount of bailout funding provided by the Fed have ranged from its own lowball claim of $1.2 trillion to Bloomberg’s estimate of $7.7 trillion (just for the biggest banks) to the GAO tally of $16 trillion. But new research conducted as part of a Ford Foundation project directed by Senior Scholar L. Randall Wray finds that the Fed’s commitments—in the form of loans and asset purchases to prop up the global financial system—far exceeded even the highest estimates.


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