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Why Lehman Bros went bust; what it means for you

September 16, 2008

Could the United States government helped, like it helped Bear Stearns in May this year, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac earlier this month?

The US government could have helped, but US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said that it would not use up any more taxpayer dollars to bail out Lehman Brothers as it would lead to investment banks getting away with their gambling ways. Paulson had bailed out Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Bear Stearns, saying that if the government had not done so, the US housing loan market would have collapsed leading to gigantic losses for hundreds of banks all over the globe that have invested in US property.

Paulson, however, believes that a brokerage major like Lehman, which does not have a direct connection with ordinary people who have taken on home loans, need not be bailed out as it would not cause any systemic damage to the US economy.

Image: US Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson. | Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

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