$700 billion and counting: What the "bailout" is really costing taxpayers

We've all been referring to the federal government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) for banks as the "$700 billion bailout." But last night, BailoutSleuth, Marc Cuban's site created to follow the administration of the bailout reported that our government has spent a whole lot more than that to rescue financial services companies.

How much so far? Try $2.5 trillion.

This comes out as Bloomberg L.P. has filed a lawsuit to force the Federal Reserve to provide more information about which companies are receiving money and what assets have been pledged to get the money. Although the bailout was initially approved amid claims that there would be total transparency, the reality has fallen far short of that.

Here's how BailoutSleuth comes up with its total:

  • $170 billion for banks who sold preferred stock to the government

  • $150 billion given to AIG -- $85 billion initially, another $25 billion, and another $40 billion

  • $2 trillion in emergency loans from the Federal Reserve to banks under 11 different programs that are separate from the TARP program, and which didn't require approval by Congress