We have $11 trillion residential mortgages, $3 trillion commercial mortgages. Total $14 trillion. Five percent of that is $700 billion. A nice round number.
Seven hundred billion was a number out of the air. It was a political calculus. I said, ‘We don’t know how much is enough. We need as much as we can get [from Congress]. What about a trillion?’ ‘No way,’ Hank shook his head. I said, ‘Okay, what about 700 billion?’ We didn’t know if it would work. We had to project confidence, hold up the world. We couldn’t admit how scared we were, or how uncertain.
~Neel Kashkari, former Interim U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability, ex-Goldman Sachs banker, "Neel Kashkari's Fuzzy TARP Math," WSJ.com, December 7th, 2009