7 of 21
BACKNEXT
Paulson's 'bazooka' backfires
Paulson's 'bazooka' backfires
Actions speak louder than words, Mr. Paulson. As shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac plunge in mid-July on worries about their viability, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson assures Congress that merely promising to give the beleaguered mortgage lenders access to Treasury funding would calm market fears - at no cost to Uncle Sam.

"If you've got a squirt gun in your pocket, you may have to take it out," Paulson tells legislators. "If you've got a bazooka and people know you've got it, you may not have to take it out."

Congress delivers the bazooka, but investors aren't buying it. Two months later, Treasury takes over both companies in a move that could cost taxpayers billions of dollars. -- By Colin Barr, Fortune senior writer

What do you think was the year's Dumbest Moment in Business?Join the discussion now.

NEXT: Fannie's delusions of grandeur
Last updated December 31 2008: 10:36 AM ET
Lamest roadtrip ever The Big 3 CEOs' drive from Detroit to D.C. to request a bailout was classic. More video
How to lose an electionJohn McCain's statements about the economy may have killed his campaign. Morevideo
The ballooning bailout Expanding from three pages to 451, the TARP bill was loaded with pork, eventually resulting in a flip-flop by Paulson. Morevideo
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.