This has been going on for a couple of weeks now, and it's still breathtaking in its audacity. Some of us have been arguing that the country was headed this way, but I confess I never dreamed it would be in one $700 billion fell swoop:
The chief executives of the nine largest banks in the United States trooped into a gilded conference room at the Treasury Department at 3 p.m. Monday. To their astonishment, they were each handed a one-page document that said they agreed to sell shares to the government, then Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. said they must sign it before they left.
They must sign before they left. Think about that. It's probably a good thing they all signed. Waking up with the horse's head in the bed would have been too traumatic for them.