Hear: How Scared Should You Be?


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Today on the Planet Money podcast, we take a look at the $700 billion Wall Street bailout that wasn't. The House of Representatives voted down the Treasury's proposal for buying up bad assets from troubled banks and investment firms. Lawmakers rejected it even after a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders tweaked the bill, curbing executive pay, adding oversight and giving taxpayers a chance to make money on the deal.

The Dow fell 778 points — the biggest point drop in a single day ever. Nervous traders wiped some $1.2 trillion in value off the books. We were, you know, nervous ourselves. The economists we talked to all said, yes, the nation is having a crisis. And then they told us exactly how scared they are, personally.

The list includes:

— David Hensley, global economist at JP Morgan Chase

— Conrad DeQuadros, who runs his own economy shop at RDQ Economics

— Suresh Sundaresan, an economist and professor Columbia University's business school.

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