President-Elect Obama is proposing an enormous stimulus package to save us all from Great Depression II, but just how much will it cost?

The Washington Post and Bloomberg both say $700 billion, but The Wall Street Journal says $500 billion. Hey, what’s a couple hundred billion dollars between friends?

Actually, not to belittle our point, but Bloomberg, in another story, says the funds pledged by the government in the rescue—so far—total $7.4 trillion.

Here’s some amazing info:

The worst financial crisis in two generations has erased $23 trillion, or 38 percent, of the value of the world’s companies and brought down three of the biggest Wall Street firms…


The money that’s been pledged is equivalent to $24,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. It’s nine times what the U.S. has spent so far on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Congressional Budget Office figures. It could pay off more than half the country’s mortgages.

And we’re still in a tailspin.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.