NYT: Do you think it was appropriate for the Federal Reserve to lend a helping hand to Bear Stearns and save a private investment company from its own bad decisions?
Paul O'Neil: I would say they didn't save Bear Stearns. They saved the financial system from a panic collapse. I reject the notion that they helped Bear Stearns. Bear Stearns was destroyed.
NYT: No it wasn't. It was purchased by JPMorgan, which will keep it alive.
Paul O'Neill: They're going to keep the book alive. But the institution of Bear Stearns has been destroyed. They've gone from $158 to $2 of equity. It's wallpaper. It's not even good wallpaper. It's butcher paper.
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