Markets Relieved at Spain Bailout Deal, Financial World Still Worried

Over the weekend, the Spanish government bowed to the necessity of seeking a bailout for its banking system. The amount was large: $125 billion in loans from the European Union to stave off the collapse of Spanish banks. The result was greeted with relief by financial markets around the world, with stocks initially rising, bond prices falling, and the outflows from southern European banks for the moment stanched.

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Germany’s Risky Eurozone Bailout a Positive Step in Right Direction

The German government voted in favor of a European bailout fund designed to aid Greece tentatively set at $600 billion. That rivals in size the bailouts the United States passed at the urging of then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in the fall of 2008 and again in February 2009, which prevented a complete implosion of the financial system whose consequences would have made the resulting recession and market plunge look inconsequential by comparison. 

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Bad Accounting Rules Helped Sink AIG

The decision by the Federal Reserve to loan insurance giant AIG $85 billion in return for as much as 80% ownership of the company is by any measure dramatic. The takeover early last week of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac represented the culmination of years of intermingling of public and private interests. Even if the intervention was imperative, its scope is startling.

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