I should mention that what I am hearing from economy-watchers is pretty grim indeed on the big picture post-Bear. But if you haven't already, read Novak's latest at WaPo, which hits this ominous but darkly satisfying crescendo:
The Bear Stearns bailout, approved in private by unelected officials, contributes to paranoid grievances on the left and right that built support for Ron Paul's presidential candidacy. A Fed official conceded privately this week that "we may have crossed a line" in jumping into Bear Stearns -- and that is an understatement. There is no doubt that the U.S. economy is in uncharted territory, with reverberations that cannot be forecast.
I have gone easy on the Bush administration for making a lot of blunders and errors which can quickly be corrected or will pass away naturally over time. Even deeply entrenched boondoggles like DHS are unfortunate but mostly benign mistakes. But Bush may go down in history as having managed to oversee the profoundest macroeconomic mismanagement since the Depression. Probably not, I think, but maybe; and only in that context will the Iraq War really become a term of hate and bitterness in the American lexicon.