The worst is yet to come for Hank Paulson, the US Treasury Secretary.
While Mr Paulson has been working around the clock, every weekend, for five weeks to guarantee more than $1 trillion worth of American mortgages, manage the collapse of two banks, the distressed sale of two others and to secure the $850 billion bailout package, his work has barely begun.
Mr Paulson has just over a month to construct one of the biggest asset management funds in the world, a fund that will act as a financial landfill for the billions of dollars worth of toxic investments currently stagnating on the balance sheets of the world’s largest banks.
The fund – which after its three federal instalments will hold $700 billion worth of taxpayer money – is to buy up distressed mortgage-backed debt and help the banks to purge their books and, it is hoped, start lending to one another again. At the moment, the fund has no formal official to oversee it, no fund manager to run it and has no idea how it will value the assets it is about to buy.