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Banks on the Brink45:53
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A screen shows Lehman Brothers' stock evolution in a financial office in Paris, Monday Sept. 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
A screen shows Lehman Brothers' stock evolution in a financial office in Paris, Monday Sept. 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

“Shaken to its core,” says The Wall Street Journal. Giant Lehman Brothers, headed for bankruptcy. Once mighty, century-old Merrill Lynch — with its famous brawny bull logo — racing for cover with a sale to Bank of America.

More giants trembling. Everybody praying for a taxpayer bailout. The federal government trying to stop doing that.

This hour, On Point: What just happened, why, and where it ends.

What do you see going on here? How do we stop the bleeding? How did the billionaires get it so wrong? Who will take the hit? Join the conversation and tell us what you think.

Guests:

Joining us from Washington, just off a train from New York, is Jon Hilsenrath, chief economics correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. His article this morning looks at the Fed's effort to calm the markets. And on the Journal's Real Time Economics blog, he and colleague Sudeep Reddy analyze the government's decision not to bail out Lehman Brothers.

Also with us from Washington is Vincent Reinhart. From 2001-2007, he was director of the Federal Reserve Board's Division of Monetary Affairs. He is currently a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Last month he wrote about "Messages from Merrill's Misfortunes" for The American magazine.

Joining us in our studio is Allen Sinai, chief global economist, strategist, and president of Decision Economics, Inc. He spent 15 years at Lehman Brothers, where he was chief global economist and managing director of Lehman Brothers Global Economics.

And with us from Belmont, Mass., is Nancy Koehn, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and author of "Creating Modern Capitalism: How Entrepreneurs, Companies, and Countries Triumphed in Three Industrial Revolutions."

This program aired on September 15, 2008.

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