Since the economic-stimulus package in February, the federal government has offered more than a dozen multibillion-dollar rescue packages for a variety of industries and people endangered by the financial chaos and the recession. The magnitude of even one of these mega-bailouts is hard enough to grasp—see the "Explainer's" take on the meaning of $700 billion—and combined they represent trillions of dollars in federal commitments. The following Slate visualization attempts to put the magnitude of these rescue packages in perspective.
How to read this graphic
Think of the rings above as an onion; each ring is an added layer of federal money, such that the combined picture represents the total financial commitment of the U.S. government.
Mouse over the rings or labels to get a description of each bailout. (The ring in question will turn red when you mouse over it or the corresponding label. Pardon the acronyms—it's the only way to squeeze their ungainly names on the page.) In its default setting, the chart displays federal money committed (but not necessarily spent). To see how much of this money is already out the door, just click on "Spent" and watch the rings shrink to the size of expenditures to date.
When the graphic first loads, you see each bailout add on to the previous one in chronological order. To see the whole picture, just click "View All." Hit "Play" to see the animation again.
The data for this graphic were gathered from a variety of sources, including the Federal Reserve, The Big Money, and CNBC. Some editorial judgment went into deciding which lending programs and federal guarantees to include in the chart; for example, we don't include total FDIC backing of financial institutions, which the very highest estimates typically do. As these loans are repaid (and new short-term loans are offered), some dollar amounts will fluctuate. Please e-mail Slate with any suggestions for programs to add or figures to update.
Update, Jan. 15, 11:01 a.m.: The first half of the $700 billion TARP fund is depleted, and now both Barack Obama and George W. Bush want Congress to free up the other half.
Outstanding federal loans for the Term Securities Lending Facility are down to $155.8 billion. Outstanding loans related to the Fed's program that buys asset-backed commercial paper from money-market mutual funds continues to decline, down to $21.4 billion, almost half from where it was a month ago. But the commercial paper funding facility, which buys similar short-term debt directly from the issuing companies, now has $334.4 billion outstanding, up since December.
The amount owed under the Term Auction Facility dropped to $384 billion. The Bear Stearns debt incurred is getting paid off slowly, with the amount owed down slightly to $27.1 billion.
Meanwhile, the Fed has bought $4.9 billion more in debt owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, bringing its outstanding obligations to $19.9 billion.
Update, Dec. 19, 8:40 a.m.: President Bush announced today that $17.4 billion in TARP funds will go to General Motors and Chrysler. The Commercial Paper Funding Facility rose to $318.8 billion, according to the Federal Reserve, while outstanding asset-back comemerical paper loans were down to $27.4 billion. The term securities lending facility droped slightly to $182.3 billion.
Update, Dec. 15, 5:33 p.m.: Outstanding federal loans for the Term Securities Lending Facility are down to $185 billion, according to the Federal Reserve, while Asset-Backed Commercial Paper lending stands at $40.8 billion.
Update, Dec. 12, 8:35 a.m.: The Term Auction Facility is now up to $448 billion in dollars spent, while the Commercial Paper Funding Facility rose to $312.4 billion, according to the Federal Reserve.