"The total potential federal government support could reach up to $23.7 trillion," says Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, in a new report obtained Monday by ABC News on the government's efforts to fix the financial system.
Yes, $23.7 trillion.
"The potential financial commitment the American taxpayers could be responsible for is of a size and scope that isn't even imaginable," said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. "If you spent a million dollars a day going back to the birth of Christ, that wouldn't even come close to just $1 trillion -- $23.7 trillion is a staggering figure."
But in his new quarterly report to Congress that will be released Tuesday, the watchdog warns that hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars could be lost if the government does not make certain changes to these programs. The Treasury Department, he cautions, needs to increase the transparency of the $700 billion TARP program, which he says has grown to an unprecedented scope and scale. (see full report at ABC News)