Regarding Geithner's bank plan, Jane Hamsher writes:
Do you get a chance to make money in this "off-the-charts good" investing opportunity? Noooo, these loans that nobody has to pay back aren't being offered to the public.
Well, sort of. Half of the plan -- "The Legacy Securities Program" -- is open only to fund managers with a "demonstrated capacity to raise at least $500 million of private capital." If you think you qualify then here's the application form (pdf).
But the other half of the plan -- "The Legacy Loans Program" -- will, according to the Treasury white paper (pdf), "particularly encourage the participation of individuals, mutual funds, pension plans, insurance companies, and other long-term investors." The white paper says that the "exact requirements and structure" of this program "will be subject to notice and comment rulemaking," so its not clear that John Q. Public can just wander into an FDIC auction if he has some time to kill. But the benefits of the government subsidy will probably be open to a wide range of investment vehicles to which the general public has access.