Intellectual Breakthrough?

A senior official (that's how reporters were instructed to refer to the person) at Treasury last week described the public-private partnership idea for buying up the toxic assets as an "intellectual breakthrough."

That view doesn't seem to be widely shared on Wall Street, especially since Treasury hasn't given any details. But I can see part of the appeal.

The government does not want to set the price for these toxic assets. If it pays too much, for instance, the tax payers get ripped off. But if Wall Street types put their own money in, the best minds in finance will be helping get a good price on the government's behalf.

This senior official, by the way, kept referring to "Tim" then correcting himself to say "I mean the Secretary." Clearly, we're in early days.

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