Government bailout becoming a buy-in |

Government bailout becoming a buy-in

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Big banks started falling in line Tuesday behind a rejiggered bailout plan that fast was becoming more of a buy-in. The Bush administration announced it would fork over as much as $250 billion in exchange for partial ownership – putting the world’s bastion of capitalism and free markets squarely in the banking business.

Some early signs were hopeful for the latest in a flurry of radical efforts to save the nation’s financial system: Credit was a bit easier to come by. And stocks were down, but not alarmingly so after Monday’s stratospheric leap.

The new plan, President Bush declared, is “not intended to take over the free market, but to preserve it.”

It’s all about cash and confidence, and convincing banks to lend money more freely again. Those are all critical ingredients to getting financial markets to function more normally and reviving the economy.