COMMENTS: But How Would the Bailout Work?

"If it works the way it should, this is not an expenditure it is an investment." That was the wishful thinking by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that inspired the reporting of CBS' Anthony Mason. He quipped that calculating the cost of the "bad mortgage-backed securities now dragging down the banks" was like playing a game on his network's The Price is Right. "No one is buying them because no one is sure what they are worth." NBC's Tom Costello paraphrased the argument by Chairman Benjamin Bernanke against forcing the banks to sell the paper at rock-bottom fire-sale prices: "Paying more will help ease the credit crisis--but it could also mean a worse deal for taxpayers."

ABC's Dan Harris (embargoed link) consulted economists who agree with the need for a bailout. A freeze on lending has them "terrified," he reported, invoking the specter of "a collapse, a crash, maybe even another Great Depression." Already the credit crunch has crimped expansion plans by McDonalds franchises and automobile sales at Chrysler. Meanwhile Kevin Tibbles conducted a Main Street vox pop survey for NBC. "Angry and worried" was the mood.


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