When you add up all the various programs that the government has put in place since last fall -- $12.8 trillion -- it's almost as much as the U.S. GDP of $14 trillion. And most of that $12.8 trillion has gone to the people who created the problem -- banks. But is that $12.8 trillion enough? Is there any hope for the U.S. ever getting paid back? What happens if the borrowers decide not to repay the money? What if some repay and others don't?
These questions come to mind as bank stress test results trickle out. Bank of America (BAC) needs to come up with $34 billion and Citigroup (C) needs $55 billion. In the case of Bank of America, it could get much of the capital it needs by converting the U.S.'s preferred stock into common stock -- a move which would make the U.S. the dominant shareholder while reducing the cash flow drain of preferred dividends. And Bank of America is considering the sale for $8 billion of its stake in China Commercial Bank (CCB).