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An example of what the “too big to fail doctrine” gets you:

Mr. O’Neal, the man considered most responsible for Merrill’s disastrous foray into risk-taking, told me in an interview last year that in the fall of 2007, when he saw that the firm’s problems were insurmountable, he had a deal to sell Merrill to Bank of America for around $90 a share. But Merrill’s board rejected it, believing he would be selling out cheaply. The CDOs would eventually recover, they argued, as the Fed pumped life into the markets.

That from Charlie Gasparino. So, rather than the Merrill problem being handled privately with no impact on taxpayers, well … you know what happened.

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