Make of this what you will:
The Treasury Department has decided to extend bailout funds to a number of struggling life-insurance companies, helping an industry that is a linchpin of the U.S. financial system, people familiar with the matter said.
The department is expected to announce the expansion of the Troubled Asset Relief Program to aid the ailing industry within the next several days, these people said.
Since I really do not understand all the ins and outs of our economy, I will describe it in ways I understand: it looks like the primary cancer has metastasized.
*** Update ***
Via the comments, this story about municipalities across the country in deep trouble because they got into the risky derivatives mess that got us all here, which featured this awesome quote:
“When these sophisticated things were created, most people didn’t think they’d ever be used by the smallest issuers, who had the least amount of resources and knowledge and experience to understand the risks,” said Thomas G. Doe, the chief executive of Municipal Market Advisors, a bond strategy company in Concord, Mass.
Shorter Thomas Doe: “No one could have predicted that people would want to use our tools to make free money.”