As the government tries to spend its way out of the Great Recession, the total bill being rung up is mind-boggling. But how does it compare to some of the other great public works projects in the nation's history?
In November, it was announced that $600 billion was being spent to help lower mortgage rates, $200 billion for consumer loans and nearly $300 billion to help the ailing mega-bank Citigroup.
Estimates are that at this point we've committed $8.5 trillion -- or half of the United States' 2008 Gross national Product -- to bailing out various sectors of the economy. Of that money, $4.6165 trillion is just to revive our credit markets.
For some context, that tab exceeds the total adjusted-for-inflation cost of World War II, the Marshall Plan, the Louisiana Purchase, the Race to the Moon, the S&L Crisis, the Korean War, the New Deal, the Invasion of Iraq, the Vietnam War and NASA combined. Yes, combined.