The crisis explained
By one RDF:
Joe goes to the track and bets $2 on a horse.
Two guys standing nearby get into a discussion and Fred says to Sam, "I'll bet you $5 that Joe wins his bet."
Next to them are Bill and Bob. Bill says: "I'll bet you $10 that Fred welshes on his bet if he loses."
Next to them is Sally. Sally says: "For $3 I'll guarantee to Bill that if Bob fails to pay off, I'll make good on the bet."
Sally then goes to Mary and borrows the $7 needed in case she has to ever pay off and promises to pay back $8. She doesn't expect to every have to pay since she believes Bob will always make good. So she expects to net $2 no matter what happens to Joe.
A quick calculation indicates that there is now 2+5+10+3+7 = $27 riding on the outcome of the horse race.
Question how much has been "invested" in the horse race?
Wait for it:
$50,000 by the owner of the horse who is expecting to recoup his investment from the winnings of the horse and other future deals. Everyone else is gambling, not investing.
So, when Hank Paulson and his golfing buddies go to the track and lose the rent money playing the ponies, we should pay up?
NOTE Readers, if you enjoyed this post, you might also like this post by Shystee on bailout vs. "bust out" (a Sopranos reference).
UPDATE If you call Speaker Pelosi's office at (202) 225-0100, a human answers! That's what I just did at 11:17 PM EDT. So, if you want to share your views on the bailout, be polite!