Bailout cost: Somewhere between $356 billion and $3 trillion

So far, cash commitments made by various bailout efforts — including the Treasury’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program bailout and various lending programs by the Federal Reserve — are just shy of $3 trillion, Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for TARP, told the Senate Finance Committee March 31.

But the net cost to taxpayers will be much lower — more like $356 billion in direct spending — according to an analysis published last month by the Congressional Budget Office.