LEDYARD, Conn. — Really it was only one government bail out–Bear Stearns–but to hear it from these economists, it might sound like two different stories.

Members United's resident economist Nick Perna said that Bear Stearns "was a relatively small cog in the financial wheel…but if it had been allowed to go under, there would have had a number of innocent firms go under as well." That would have been a high-risk proposition so the Fed really had no choice, he estimated.

On the other hand, Kevin Hassett, economic adviser for two presidential campaigns, stated, "Bear Stearns was the biggest policy mistake in a generation." Not only is there a sense that these large brokerage firms are too big to fail, but now the government, politically, has to make peace offerings to subprime borrowers as well. "If you can bail out Bear Stearns, why not mom and pop?" is the attitude.

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