Hammer time

The US Senate and House of Representatives approved legislation in early October giving the US Treasury secretary the authority to purchase troubled assets from banks' balance sheets. However, the only mention in the bill about the manner in which this would be accomplished was as follows1:

In making purchases under this Act, the secretary shall:

(1) make such purchases at the lowest price that the secretary determines to be consistent with the purposes of this Act; and

(2) maximise the

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