... is called the bailout.
I even got to see Ed Lazear (presently chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, founding editor of the Journal of Labor Economics and former U of Chicago b-school professor) defending the bailout last night to Judy Woodruff of the News Hour. Talk about role reversal! To be honest this gives me a bit of pause, because Ed is a very smart fellow and has access to information that I do not have, but at the same time I have no way of knowing if Ed really believes what he was saying on the News Hour or if he was just doing his job as part of the president's team.
Here is a very fine post by Megan McArdle at the Atlantic about how things got this way in certain parts of the US auto industry.
Addendum: In addition to his many fine scholarly articles, Ed is perhaps best known for saying that "if you don't miss the plane sometimes, you are not doing it right."
Addendum 2: The economist weighs in on the bailout.
Who was my favorite student this term?
11 months ago