A $50 bill under a microscope
A $50 bill under a microscope - 
Listen To The Story


Stacey Vanek-Smith: The Pew Charitable Trusts is launching a new Web site today. It's called Subsidyscope, and it should help give us taxpayers a better idea of what exactly lawmakers are doing with all of those billions of dollars in bailout money Uncle Sam has been throwing around. Nancy Marshall Genzer has more.

Nancy Marshall Genzer: Subsidyscope will tell you how much the government forks out for food stamps. But it'll also list how much Washington spends on corporate tax breaks.

John Morton directs the project. He says it'll put the government's $700 billion bailout package under a microscope.

John Morton: Obviously, the $700 billion is a number that people understand and have heard, but it doesn't really represent the true cost of the bailout.

For example, Subsidyscope will track the cost of federally-guaranteed loans gone bad.

Gary Bass heads OMB Watch, a nonprofit watchdog. He plans to use the free site to calculate the price tag over time of all government bailout plans.

Gary Bass: The cost of all these bailouts could get as high as $7 trillion. So it makes enormous sense to see whether or not we're getting our dollars' worth for this.

The site will post its first batch of data in late winter or early spring.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.