Congratulations fellow citizens of the US! You (and I) are the proud owners of 5.7 trillion bucks in new liabilities.
The Treasury Department seized control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the nation’s giant quasi-public mortgage finance companies, and announced a four-part rescue plan that includes an open-ended guarantee from the Treasury Department to provide as much capital as they need to stave off insolvency.
The extra $20,000 or so per capita debt we have taken on was made necessary by the imminent collapse of those institutions, which would have been a great annoyance to those owed the money (China, $600 billion or so, with the rest divided among other countries, banks, and rich people. This in turn would have brought the end of the financial world as we know it.
Another great triumph of crony capitalism, American style.
Not that it's likely, but if our new enterprises actually should turn a profit, we aren't likely to see any of it.