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Plan A?

Still Plan A David Kestenbaum/NPR hide caption

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David Kestenbaum/NPR

So whatever happened to Plan A, wherein the government buys those toxic assets?

Peter Cramton at the University of Maryland who has been working on a possible design for the auction to do that says he and his colleagues have been in contact with the government on a daily basis.

Cramton says and as far as he knows, the government still plans to buy up toxic mortgage-backed securities. That's what the rest of the $700 billion is for. (The first $250 billion is going toward shoreing up the banks more directly by buying stock in them.)

"Things are moving very quickly," he said in an email.