"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages." ~ Adam Smith. It's been over 230 years since the "father of economics" said the above words. In every respect, they have stood the test of time, but in the modern day markets high on scientific developments and globalisation, the concept of Smith's 'invisible hand' seems to be coming more and more into question. We have just witnessed probably the largest economic turbulence of all times where in the US one financial icon after the other has tumbled and has probably left the Fed little choice but to come up with a rescue package, which again boasts to be the highest ever in the economic history of the world. So who are these two chief architects of this mega bailout package, Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke, and what exactly do they stand for? Do they really regard the common man and the average taxpayers as expendables who should be burdened for the larger good of the markets or bluntly for the good of a handful of fancy corporations? Can they make such blatant mockery of free market concepts/laissez-faire, something, for which the American people and the American society have stood as symbols for the rest of the world? These are all questions that are being frequently asked not just by US citizens, but also by people around the world. I had the pleasure of once listening to Paulson in a lecture that he delivered at an international forum and interestingly my impression of him then was no different from the one that he himself projects today - of a person who is convinced that (a) the world needs to be saved, and (b) that he is the man to do it. For a moment, just forgetting about the original plan of spending $700 billion of public money or the present modified one (that got passed), let's try and analyse that what exactly is their rationale behind coming up with such a rescue package in the first place? Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson argue that ad hoc responses to the continuing financial crisis like the bailout of American International Group (AIG), a huge insurer, are no longer sufficient. In their opinion the scale of the American authorities' response should reflect both the violence with which this crisis has spread and the determination of the American authorities, most importantly of its leaders (meaning Ben and Hank), to learn from the mistakes that made the Depression so deep and long. Yet the given plan appears to be notably different rather than being similar to the efforts of the 'Great Depression' days. From the stock market crash of 1929 to the federally declared bank holiday that marked its bottom, three and a half years elapsed, and unemployment reached 25 percent. The present crisis in reflection has been under way for a little over a year and the unemployment thus far is just over 6 percent, lower than in the wake of the last, mild recession. More than 4 percent of the mortgages are now considered to be seriously delinquent, but the figure in 1934 had topped 40 percent before real rescue efforts came underway Well, in this way it may be regarded as a timely action, i.e. arrest the cancer in its initial stages, but let's also have a look at what the critics have to say. For one, the plan could have been better structured. Most economists want the state to focus on putting equity into the banks - arguing that it is the best way to address their lack of solvency. Two, this plan has its basic shortcomings. In the sense, that it will be hard to stop the sellers from rigging auctions, if only because no two lots of dodgy securities are exactly the same. Taxpayers may thus pay over the odds and banks may be rewarded for their stupidity. Finally three, what we must remember is that we are trying to not only rescue, but also put a number to a large pool of Level-3 assets, which in itself can be a tricky and morally hazardous proposition. There is no mechanism in the world that can truly determine the accurate value of such assets that largely go on speculation-cum-perception and a value that is determined by the state will run the risk of legitimising some previously false assessments, thereby shortchanging the common investor. Still, from a broader perspective the costs though appearing huge in single transaction terms, are made to look small against the benefits of putting a floor under the markets and fine calculations about moral hazard tend to be less pressing when investors are fleeing risk. Also, with both Messrs Obama and McCain thankfully agreeing on the common agenda of curtailing the Fed's sweeping powers to spend the cash quickly and without accountability, and by putting a cap on the period of the package to ensure that the concessions do not outlast the crisis, the modified proposal, as passed, gives a much sharper and a prudent look. Like any other plan, it may not be perfect, but it is there and more importantly marks the resolve of an economic team that demonstrates seriousness and responsibility in efforts to deal with problems before they spin beyond control