all teetering unworthy

Joe Nocera:

I had watched the first two hearings with a growing sense of bewilderment.

It always seemed obvious to me that if the Bank of America-Merrill deal hadn’t gone through, Merrill Lynch would have been in a horrible position, akin to Lehman Brothers or the American International Group. The government very likely would have had to spend an awful lot more than $20 billion to save it.

Surely, the end result was worth whatever arm-twisting and additional government aid was required.

So why the anger?

Why the suggestions of “cover-up” and “lies”? On Thursday, as I watched Mr. Paulson being castigated, it dawned on me.

Seven months later, with the palpable fear of a financial collapse largely subsided, it really all boils down to how you view what happened last year. Was it, as Mr. Towns believes, a bailout of a handful of unworthy but too-big-to-fail institutions? Or was it, in the eyes of Mr. Paulson, a rescue of a teetering financial system? My vote is for the latter.

how deep our crawl