The special inspector overseeing Treasury’s TARP program says federal assistance to banks and other financial entities could end up costing taxpayers $23.7 trillion, Bloomberg reports. Aside from the $700 billion bailout, Neil Barofsky says in testimony prepared for told Congress tomorrow, other trillion-dollar federal programs could balloon. “TARP has evolved into a program of unprecedented scope, scale and complexity,” Barofsky says.
The Treasury Department strenuously objects to Barofsky’s estimates, and says the US has spent less than $2 trillion to help troubled financial institutions. “These estimates of potential exposures do not provide a useful framework for evaluating the potential cost,” a spokesman says. “This estimate includes programs at their hypothetical maximum size, and it was never likely that the programs would be maxed out at the same time.”