The Big Bank Bailout: Are You Next?

The U.S. helped unlock lending by injecting $250 billion into big banks. But consumers and businesses mauled by the market aren't in a spending mood

They've saved the bankers, but what about the butchers, the bakers, the autoworkers and their dented 401(k) savings? Who's going to bail out the retailers, restaurants and manufacturers small and large? The government has committed $250 billion to rehydrate the balance sheets of the nation's leading banks and get lending flowing again. But if you're not exactly feeling reassured, there's good reason. With the global financial system wobbling, policymakers don't have many ways to stop the rest of the economy from heading for a recession. The challenge now is to try to contain it.

As banks have slammed on the lending...

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