"Insurance like that is priceless. But for the banks, the best part is that the government is paying them -- in some cases billions of dollars -- to accept its seal of approval. For taxpayers, on the other hand, this entire plan is extremely risky, and may well cost significantly more than Paulson's original idea of buying up $700 billion in toxic debts. Now taxpayers aren't just on the hook for the debts but, arguably, for the fate of every corporation that sells them equity."

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