If you give them the $700 billion, make them issue stock. Make every recipient of the bailout issue stock in return for our "investment." Don't give them the dough. Make them sell a stake in their companies. Banks, investment firms, insurance companies, you name it.
Put the money in accounts to fund Social Security.
Or, as my friend David said over dinner tonight, only give the money to small, local banks. Savings and loans. To rebuild the mortgage market on the local level. Borrow the money from a guy who lives in your town. To Hell with Wall Street. The current Wall Street. Why prop up a system that may soon devolve into Three Big Banks, only to watch one of those fold after the election?
Remember one of the most damning things about this government: they lie. All the time. There is likely more to come. And $700 billion will not cover it. So, they'll come back for more. A lot more.
Don't give them the money. Don't loan it. Make them sell us a piece of the action.