Your bill for the bailout. And a few questions for the guys with the printing press


It's almost impossible to get your head around the numbers: $700 billion for "troubled Assets;" $25 billion for the auto industry. $300-some billion to bail out Citigroup.

With this last promise, the United States Government has now pledged $7.76 trillion on behalf of American taxpayers to try and rescue our financial system. That's Trillion. With a T.

According to Bloomberg, which has an outstanding break-down of the very big mess we're in, the amount of money pledged so far amounts to about $24,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States. That sounds sort of tame to me, outrageous as it is. I guess all these numbers are making me immune to shock.

Of course give it a couple of days. It's bound to go much higher.

Barry Ritholtz at the Big Picture points out that the current credit crisis outlay is the costliest by far in American History, costing more than other big-government expenditures, including the Vietnam War, the Iraq invasion, the New Deal, the Marshall Plan, and the Louisiana Purchase (adjusted for inflation) combined.

So considering that this is a historic occurrence, being paid for on my time with my tax dollars, I do have a couple of questions -- and pardon me ever so much for my ignorance, being but a humble citizen and not a Master-of-the Universe:

1.) How is trying to spur lending to an over-leveraged and utterly tapped-out consumer going to help the economy?

2.) What's in it for us, the little people? How about something we could all benefit from, such as basic universal health care for all citizens. What's the reason we don't have it yet? Is it because it's "too expensive?" Or is it because it's too much like "socialism," which is patently un-American.

3.) And if that's the case, can you explain Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to me? What about all those bank takeovers? And guaranteeing $300 billion to Citigroup? Can you define "Free Market doctrine?"

4) Where is all this money coming from really? I thought the United States was now a debtor nation, and as such, doesn't actually have the cash for this kind of thing. Who are we borrowing it from? Or are we just printing money? Does that strategy ever end well?

5) I have a few irrational investments over the past few years that are now languishing on my credit card. I'll need a bail-out myself. The American Taxpayer is too big to fail, after all. Can I get Hank Paulson's email?