Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Charlotte Observer

It was the year the U.S. government pledged more than $8.5 trillion in loans and guarantees to bail out struggling companies.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson appeared on the cover of the New York Post more than Paris Hilton. Stockholders lost more than $30 trillion in market value. Here's a look at 2008 through the numbers, as of the end of Dec. 30:

$30: Amount, in trillions, erased from the value of stocks worldwide.

$8.6: Amount, in trillions, of taxpayer money the U.S. government has pledged to prop up cash-strapped financial companies as of Nov. 25, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

$61,871: Maximum amount the bailout could cost each taxpayer, based on 139 million tax returns filed in 2007.

$882: Amount, in billions, of U.S. currency in circulation, according to Bloomberg data.

$613: Amount, in billions, listed as liabilities when Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filed for the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

$150: Amount, in billions, of taxpayer money pledged to help American International Group

$440,000: Cost of a resort retreat for AIG salespeople days after its September bailout.

$37: Amount, in billions, clients invested with Bernard Madoff, according to Bloomberg's latest tally of disclosures and news reports.

400: Number of U.S. nonprofit organizations directly affected by Madoff's alleged Ponzi scheme, according to data tallied by Bloomberg.

$742: Amount, in millions, raised by President-elect Barack Obama's campaign, as of Nov. 24, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. It was the first time a major-party candidate declined public financing since the system was started in 1976.

11.7: Number, in millions, of households that owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, according to

2.7: Increase, in millions, in the number of unemployed since last December, according to data released by the Labor Department in December.

$144,545: Cost of outfitting, accessorizing and styling Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, according to

$57,884: Annual tuition for Malia and Sasha Obama to attend Sidwell Friends School, where they start studies in January.

$600: Maximum rebate check paid to individuals as part of President George W. Bush's economic stimulus program, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

$339: Cost of a guest room on the club level at Washington's Mayflower Hotel where former N.Y. Gov. Eliot Spitzer (aka Client 9) met Ashley Dupre.

77: Number of years since the Standard & Poor's 500 Index has fallen this much (1931).

76: Percent decline in the price of crude oil from a high of $146.93 on July 14 to a low of $35.35 on Dec. 24.

18: Number of times in 2008 the S&P 500 rose or fell at least 5 percent in a single day.

2, 1: Number of pictures, respectively, of Hank Paulson and Paris Hilton on the front page of the New York Post, according to a LexisNexis search and the Post's on-line archives.

0: Number of the five largest securities firms that aren't now banks or partly owned by the U.S. government.

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