Chevy emblemIt's no surprise that U.S. automakers are in trouble. Facing massive costs for health insurance, falling demand for mainstay products like trucks and SUVs, and skittish consumers worried about the economy, the Big Three face an uncertain future.

Bank hoardingOn October 28, as the Treasury Department announced a series of steps to begin delivering infusions of a $250 billion government bank-recapitalization plan, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino used carrot-and-stick language to convince the nation’s banks to lend more money.

AIG signThe American International Group is burning through its $123 billion bailout loan quickly. According to Edward Liddy, the man brought in to restructure the company, it may soon need to ask the Federal Reserve for even more.

Bailout Line upWith the federal government doling out $700 billion of Americans' hard-earned money under the new bank bailout law, a sizeable list of companies is competing fiercely for a share— and it isn't just banks anymore.

BernankeIn its latest desperate move to head off the inevitable recession, the Federal Reserve announced Tuesday the creation of another new facility, the Money Market Investor Funding Facility, which will provide up to $540 billion dollars in new funds to back the purchase of short-term debt from money market mutual funds. Much of the debt, all of which will expire in three months or less, will consist of CDs and commercial paper.

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