The Wall Street Bailout: A Conflict Of Interest?

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson

Henry Paulson: The Treasury secretary's $700 billion bailout plan awaits congressional approval. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

With financial markets in flux and a massive government rescue package in the works, financial reporter and New York Times columnist Gretchen Morgenson looks into what's involved in the nearly $700 billion deal.

One central concern: The way troubled banks' assets get valued when the federal government buys them. "Depending on how [the bailout program] is operated, and how the assets are valued before taxpayers are forced to buy them, it could bloat our final bill for this mess while benefiting the very institutions that got us into it," Morgenson wrote in a recent column.

Morgenson talks to Terry Gross about strategies the government might employ to value the assets taxpayers are buying from endangered institutions — and how regulators might earn back some of the trust they've lost in recent weeks.



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