This is just so ridiculous. The Treasury Department is still looking for asset managers to execute the $700 billion bailout approved by Congress on Oct. 3.

So much for the program being up and running within a few weeks.

Seriously, how hard can it be to find asset managers? One of the sticking points, according to The Wall Street Journal, is figuring out how much to pay the financial firms to manage the bailout.

Say what? After all the money the government is throwing at banks and insurers, they should be offering their services for free.

There's no one at JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) who owes the U.S. a favor after the Bear Stearns rescue? What about AIG ( AIG) -- come on, the Feds control that operation these days.

And the Treasury now owns stakes in dozens of banks, including Goldman Sachs ( GS), Citigroup ( C) and Morgan Stanley ( MS). No money managers there?

Maybe it's smart to go outside the inner circle to avoid a conflict of interest. A leading contender is reported to be Allianz's ( AZ) Pimco.

Let's not kid ourselves into thinking Bill Gross & Co. don't have a vested interest in all this. Pimco's got big positions in a lot of debt that's been devalued by the financial crisis. So why shouldn't Gross do this for free?

For the sake of the nation, let's stop with the delays, dispense with what's left of the "rules" and get this bailout going.

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