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Finance & Economy

$700 Billion Question

(L-R) U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke, and Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission Christopher Cox wait for the start of a hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee September 23, 2008 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Getty Images hide caption

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Breaking News: The Associated Press reports that the FBI is now investigating the extent to which fraud may have been a factor in the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's $700 billion bailout plan for the recent financial catastrophe on Wall Street has many on Main Street scratching their heads about the priorities of some of those elected (or appointed) as executors of law and order in this country.

More specifically, there are spirited conversations taking place that question what types of catastrophic events in the U.S. trigger the swift, immediate attention of the nation's foremost senior leaders, and that wonder what types of implosions — which, no doubt, threaten the fabric and vitality of world society — are able to so abruptly summon leaders of a nation into one room to brainstorm a plan on how to restore, calm and uplift a seriously flawed system.

Or, to phrase it differently, what types of crises in the U.S. might not warrant such an aggressive focus among government ... but should?

Is anyone else having these conversations at their kitchen table? At the barbershops? ... The water cooler?

... Or, are such ponderings absurd?

Please, tell us more.