Way at the end of this excellent Politico article about the political logjam over the financial logjam is a nugget of good news that I haven't read anywhere else.
The cost debate illustrates just how nuanced the massive intervention will be. Paulson has often stumbled this week when trying to describe its intent, and the clearest voice has been Bernanke, a former college professor who casts the whole effort as an unprecedented experiment in “price discovery” that will add not just capital but also precious knowledge to jump-start the credit markets.
With the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble, mortgage-related securities are caught in a vicious downward cycle, commanding only “fire sale” prices, Bernanke says. The government purchases, through a series of novel auction mechanisms, will help the market value these assets, he says. And this could be the spark needed to get markets working and the economy’s engine turning over again.
This explanation is very different from the “bailout” imagery that surrounds the debate. And the great challenge for both sides has been to find some path in between these two poles — able to satisfy the anger voters feel toward Wall Street but also leaving enough room for Bernanke’s experiment to function.
"Bailout" makes me cringe, but I'd really like to learn more about this auction experiment. Reading these few paragraphs makes me much more optimistic. Why aren't the details of the plan being reported accurately?