This is the GAO report that jrifkin mentioned. It's right there on page 131 like he said (report page 131, not pdf page 131).
The thing to note is, most of the $16 trillion you say was "given" to the banks was really "loaned" to the banks. My point being a loan is better than straigt-up giving away the money, even if it is a risky loan that is clearly controversial.
By means of comparison... jrfikin mentioned that the government could have used that $16 trillion to give every man, woman, and child a $50,000. Again, since the money was lent, not given, that is also a bad idea.
DevLeopard and Davide Marney have made the comments I agree with most in this
/. discussion -- do not rely on credit/leverage as it will only put you at risk for trouble. The government sets a bad example in this case but at least it has a reliable income, whereas an individual or corporation can lose their income over night as we have seen occur to our family, friends, businesses, and banks over the past decade.
The ship called the US (or Global) Economy is in danger of sinking, and instead of figuring out how to patch the hull or securing the life rafts, everybody is busy blaming the engineers for poor construction, questioning the navigator's abilities, and claiming the passengers are too fat. The more practical and rational approach is if we all banded together to get the ship sailing again, crew and passenger alike.