When Barack Obama came to power, the United States was in the throes of its worst economic crisis since 1929. The collapse of the real estate market had repercussions across the financial sector, and the country was plunged into a recession. In the first weeks of his presidency, Obama put in place an economic stimulus package of $787 billion. His goal was to preserve or create 3.5 million jobs in the ensuing two years. Before him, George W. Bush and the US Federal Reserve had, in just a few months, released some $3,000 billion to save banks and other companies.

Unemployment is soaring
By the Numbers | Washington springs to the aid of capitalism
  • 4,6 billion
    The money committed by the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury between 2008 and 2010
  • 7out of 10
    biggest bankruptcy cases in US history have occurred since 2008: Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual, GM, CIT, MF Global, Chrysler, Thornburg Mortgage
  • 18.4billion
    The total in bonuses paid out by Wall Street companies to their employees in 2008, despite the fact that they had received taxpayer bailouts of several hundred billion dollars through the recovery plan
  • 25billion
    The loan requested from Congress by the CEOs of Ford, GM and Chrysler, who flew to Washington in private jets
© David McNew/Getty Images

Tax Day "Tea Party" Protestors Rally Around The Country (April 15, 2009 in Santa Monica, California)

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