“The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost. By increasing the number of U.S. dollars in circulation, or even by credibly threatening to do so, the U.S. government can also reduce the value of a dollar in terms of goods and services, which is equivalent to raising the prices in dollars of those goods and services. We conclude that, under a paper-money system, a determined government can always generate higher spending and hence positive inflation.”
Ben Bernanke, 2002
On September 3, 2008, the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve showed $906.7 billion in total assets.
As of April 29, 2009 the amount was $2.07 trillion.
The handiwork of Helicopter Ben: http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/bst_recenttrends.htm