If you follow consumer credit, then you know it's been steadily declining since late 2008. But if you follow it really closely, then you also know that the federal government has been increasing its holdings of consumer debt, while other holders like banks and finance companies have been shrinking their exposures. If you combine these two trends, then you might hypothesize that consumer credit would have fallen even further without the government's support. You would be right.
So just how much has the government influenced consumer credit recently? Here's a chart that helps:
The red line is total consumer credit, while the green one shows the same statistic if federal government holdings are taken out of the equation. You can see how much the variance between the two lines widens starting in 2008, but it really begins to grow in 2009. In January 2007, government holdings were just $95 billion. In June 2010, its share grew to $223 billion. That's a 134% increase over those 41 months, which results a 39.3% average gain per year.
But as mentioned, the real growth began in 2009. Here's another chart showing how total credit fell, compared to total credit less the federal government's share: