Lehman Brothers Files For Bankruptcy

Financial markets tumbled Monday as investors tried to deal with extraordinary news. An effort to save Lehman Brothers failed, so one of Wall Street's oldest firms filed for bankruptcy. Then Bank of America, one of the firms that walked away from Lehman, bought another firm, grabbing Merrill Lynch.

NPR's Adam Davidson tells Steve Inskeep that private bankers were pressing the federal government to step in to save Lehman like it did Bear Stearns and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

"The government kept saying no, no. This time we're not going to do it," Davidson says.

The government's reasoning seems to be that Lehman Brothers isn't as big as Fannie and Freddie, "not by a long shot," Davidson says.

"Secondly, the government has just had enough. They're saying, 'We will not have an orderly resolution to this crisis until the Wall Street firms take responsibility for their own mess without turning to the government every time.' "

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