No. 5: $3.6 billion in goodwill impairments. That's the same amount that: a.) Merrill Lynch paid in bonuses the night before Bank of America (BAC - Get Report) took control; and b.) the increase that veterans groups have called for in health care.
No. 4: $4.4 billion as a result of a credit valuation adjustment. That's the same amount that: a.) Vietnam has invested in overseas development; and b.) Medicare is owed in overpayments by insurance companies.
No. 3: $6.9 billion paid in interest and amortization on credit lines provided by the Fed. That's the same amount that: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reportedly owned in foreclosed homes a year ago; and b.) the total sales of the world's largest diamond corporation, De Beers Group, in 2008.
No. 2: $13 billion in other-than-temporary impairment charges (losses on the value of investment assets). That's the same amount as: Nigeria's bilateral trade with India in 2008; and b.) bailout funding the government provided to automakers in December.No. 1: $21 billion in lost tax benefits. That's the same amount as: a.) sales that the entire video gaming industry booked in 2008; b.) the estimated value of the Bollywood film industry; and c.) of course, the commercial paper credit line that AIG received last year when $1 billion still meant something. Oh, there was another $2.3 billion in the "other" category, bringing the total to $64.1 billion. This is how a $62 billion loss can appear reasonable.