Bailout’s authors didn’t bank on any of this – Orange County Register

If Shakespeare were alive today, he’d be challenged to write anything as dramatic as the epic chapter of history that concluded this week, with one mega-CEO solidifying his position on top of the world and another forced to step down from the heights of power.

The story begins in 2008, in the autumn of the last year of George W. Bush’s troubled presidency. A catastrophic meltdown of the financial markets had brought Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to Congress to plead for $700 billion to buy up “troubled assets” in order to stabilize the financial system.

But then, in an Oct. 13 meeting, Paulson told the CEOs of the nation’s biggest banks that the government was instead going to buy a stake in their companies. Paulson said the “investments” were mandatory, whether the banks wanted the money or not, because the public must not find out which banks were weak.

The bailout…

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