Interestingly, Kanjorski, and likely more and more Democrats, are starting to shift to the camp that more time is needed to make a correct decision this time (which may explain Geithner's decision to postpone the "bank-rescue" announcement by one day to Tuesday), instead of rushing into another half-baked plan. Very scary stuff.
On Thursday (Sept 18), at 11am the Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous draw-down of money market accounts in the U.S., to the tune of $550 billion was being drawn out in the matter of an hour or two. The Treasury opened up its window to help and pumped a $105 billion in the system and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide. We were having an electronic run on the banks. They decided to close the operation, close down the money accounts and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account so there wouldn't be further panic out there.
If they had not done that, their estimation is that by 2pm that afternoon, $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out of the money market system of the U.S., would have collapsed the entire economy of the U.S., and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed. It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it.
We are no better off today than we were 3 months ago because we have a decrease in the equity positions of banks because other assets are going sour by the moment.
Update - for all who claim that Kanjorski is yapping with a few screws loose upstairs, take a look at this clip: http://financialserv.edgeboss.net/wmedia/financialserv/hearing092408.wvx
and fast forward to the 1 hour, 50 minute and 48 second mark. This is archived footage from the September 24 House Financial Services hearing at which both Paulson and Bernanke are present. Kanjorski asks Paulson this very question, and states to Paulson, that the information came originally from him. Now, Kanjorski may be anything but not senile as he is merely repeating facts that Paulson tells him. And Paulson does not refute the facts. His explanation is somewhat amusing. Make your own conclusions.