The government has steadily broadened its role to safeguard the economy from the credit crisis. Here are some important milestones:
DATE: DEC. 11, 2007
TARGET: COMMERCIAL BANKS
WHAT GOVERNMENT DID: The Federal Reserve begins lending to banks for longer than overnight. By October 2008, many banks are on Fed life support.
DATE: MAR. 16, 2008
TARGET: WALL STREET
WHAT GOVERNMENT DID: The Federal Reserve starts lending money to Wall Street firms that are primary dealers in Treasuries.
DATE: SEPT. 7, 2008
TARGET: MORTGAGE FINANCE
WHAT GOVERNMENT DID: The Federal Housing Finance Agency puts Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship.
DATE: SEPT. 17, 2008
TARGET: INSURANCE INDUSTRY
WHAT GOVERNMENT DID: The Fed makes an $85 billion, two-year loan to American International Group and gets warrants for a majority stake.
DATE: SEPT. 19, 2008
TARGET: MONEY MARKET FUNDS
WHAT GOVERNMENT DID: Treasury offers insurance to money market mutual funds, which help corporations and local governments by buying their debt.
DATE: SEPT. 30, 2008
TARGET: FINANCIAL SECTOR
WHAT GOVERNMENT DID: Congress passes the bailout bill, which authorizes Treasury to buy up mortgage-backed securities from banks.
DATE: OCT. 7, 2008
TARGET: ALL CORPORATIONS
WHAT GOVERNMENT DID: The Fed says it will buy commercial paper from issuers, thus providing direct financing to banks and corporations.