Everyone knew that the bailouts of the major banks in 2008 were enormous, but the full scale had been kept under wraps. For example, the emergency loans banks received from the Federal Reserve: "The loans dwarfed the $160 billion in public bailouts the top 10 got from the U.S. Treasury, yet until now the full amounts have remained secret," reports Bloomberg. Thanks to Bloomberg's successful FOIA request, the public knows just how much in loans the banks got. That would be $1.2 trillion dollars:
Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s unprecedented effort to keep the economy from plunging into depression included lending banks and other companies as much as $1.2 trillion of public money, about the same amount U.S. homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages. The largest borrower, Morgan Stanley (MS), got as much as $107.3 billion, while Citigroup took $99.5 billion and Bank of America $91.4 billion...
It's hard to fathom those numbers, but Bloomberg puts them into context (also with an interactive bailout funds chart here to see the largest borrowers):
The $1.2 trillion peak on Dec. 5, 2008 -- the combined outstanding balance under the seven programs tallied by Bloomberg -- was almost three times the size of the U.S. federal budget deficit that year and more than the total earnings of all federally insured banks in the U.S. for the decade through 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.