Fun With Math: How Much Has the Bailout Cost?

I recently used this data in a client presentation to illustrate, and give context to, the cost of the 2008 bailout versus other large expenditures in US history.  The numbers themselves come from Bianco Research LLC and only factor in expenditures as of mid-December, the dollar amounts have only grown since then. 

Marshall Plan115.3 billion
Louisiana Purchase217 biliion
Race to the Moon237 billion
S&L Crisis256 billion
Korean War454 billion
New Deal500 billion (est)
Gulf War/ War on Terror597 billion
Vietnam War698 billion
NASA (cumulative)851.2 billion


3.92 trillion
2008 Bailout4,284.5 trillion

All figures in US Dollars, adjusted for inflation

Only World War II comes close to the total cost of the 2008 bailout, at an inflation-adjusted cost of $3.6 trillion.  Back then we were fighting for freedom from fascism.  I still haven’t figured out exactly what we’re fighting for here…

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