Remember the good 'ole days when only highly qualified institutions could go to the Federal Reserve to borrow money?

Even then, no one wanted to go to the "discount window" at the lender of last resort. It was like a preacher window at a liquor store in the South. You went around the back.

Then we got the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF, when the government got so desperate to save the credit markets that it set aside $200 billion and lowered what it would accept as collateral for loans and even who could receive the loans.

The once-vaunted Fed was now willing to accept student loans, credit card loans or even auto loans as collateral. Yup, Joe's RV loan is backing up your tax money that the government is lending out to various financial entities in order to lend out more money to consumers like Joe. (Hopefully not to buy another RV.)

Also now good: Asset-backed securities backed by mortgage servicing advances, loans or leases related to business equipment, leases of vehicle fleets and floorplan loans.

GE ( GE), for one at least, is excited. It mentioned in its meeting today that it was hoping to use some equipment leases as TALF collateral.

So our tax money is being lent out and in return if the borrower doesn't pay the loan back, we get what? A lease on a tractor?

Originally, TALF was created to "minimize credit risk for the government," according to the Fed. You can now pick yourself up off the floor from laughing. Or were you sobbing?

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