BUSINESS

The Wall Street Bailout Plan: Questions And Answers

News reports about the upheaval in the world of finance have been full of esoteric terms like "mortgage-backed securities" and "credit-default swaps," but the crisis has resonated for people who know little about Wall Street and who did not think they would ever have to know. Here are several questions and answers of concern to people outside the financial world:

Q. The bailout program being negotiated by the Bush administration and congressional leaders calls for the government to spend up to $700 billion to buy distressed mortgages. How did the politicians come up with that number, and could it go higher?

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