The web is drowning in discussion of the current financial tsunami. For a reasonably accessible explanation of what's going on and what it all means, I like the economics columnists at The American Scene. Their conclusion seems to be that the Fed and Treasury had to do something to help the markets deal with all those bad assets (mortgages, but mostly over-leveraged financial instruments based on pieces of mortgages). Going forward, though, the massive transfer of debt from private actors to the US taxpayers raises the potential for all kinds of other bad consequences. It's critical to re-establish accountability, both among the executives who got their companies into this mess in the first place, and within government. It's not at all clear that Treasury's current proposal will do that.