This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," May 9, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PAUL GIGOT, FOX HOST: This week on "The Journal Editorial Report," forget the banks. We're giving the federal government a stress test and tallying up the potential losses for taxpayers.
Plus, Pakistan on the brink. With the Taliban gaining, an up-close look at the battle for control of that nuclear nation.
And Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha makes an appearance in our pay-to-play scandal of the week.
Welcome to "The Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
This was the week that financial regulators revealed the results of the stress test on the nation's biggest banks. How did they do? The feds say many of them are facing a capital shortfall and may need billions of dollars in additional funds to see them through the recession. But what about the government itself? Would it pass a stress test? We've looked at the fed's balance sheet and the results aren't pretty.
Here to tally it up, Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger; columnist, Mary Anastasia O'Grady; and assistant editorial page editor, James Freeman.
Well, James, you've been stressed all week.
JAMES FREEMAN, ASSISTANT EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR: Yeah.
GIGOT: And used the assignment to look at this and tally up the numbers. What have you found?
FREEMAN: Well, the — as you said the government doesn't make it ease toy figure out exactly how much they've committed to this bailout. It's a little stressful trying to gather up the numbers, and not too scare the folks at home, but if you looked at all of the programs they've announced, if everyone who was eligible used them, of they basically spent to the max of what the authority is, you're talking about over $15 trillion, which is kind of mind-boggling, bigger than our economy.
GIGOT: Just to put that in perspective the economy is thought to be 14.5 percent of...
FREEMAN: $14.5 trillion. I'm sorry.
GIGOT: And the U.S. economy is about 20 percent or one-fifth of the global economy. You're talking one-fifth of the global economy in commitments, federal guarantees and spending and so on. Let's break that down a bit. How much has been spent? How much is out the door or heading out the door?
FREEMAN: About $3.5 trillion out the door or will be out the door. And if you want to look at the glass is half full, only a trillion to you as the taxpayer, you're definitely not getting back.
GIGOT: That includes?
FREEMAN: That would be the Bush and the Obama stimulus plans.
GIGOT: $800 billion or so for Obama.
FREEMAN: $955 billion together.
GIGOT: $168 billion for the Bush, or stimulus, which was long forgotten, deservedly so. It didn't stimulate anything at all. And then what about the TARP plan, that sort of a bailout plan.