In fact, some of the most basic details, including the $700 billion figure Treasury would use to buy up bad debt, are fuzzy. "It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."
"So I just did a Nexis search trying to find out when Paulson and Bernanke started talking about price discovery, which we’re now told are at the core of the plan’s logic. And the answer is …
I can’t find any use of the term, or even a hint of the argument, until yesterday’s Senate hearings.
One possible explanation. It wasn’t until yesterday that they realized that it would actually be necessary to explain themselves.
But there’s another possible explanation, which I find terrifyingly plausible: the plan came first, and all this stuff about price discovery is an after-the-fact rationalization, invented when people started asking questions.
It has seemed very strange to me that such a supposedly crucial economic program would be based on such an exotic argument. My sneaking suspicion is that they started with a determination to throw money at the financial industry, and everything else is just an excuse."