Now that the government has agreed to rescue Citigroup (C), investors are pondering again a question that never seems to die: Wasn't it a mistake to let Lehman Brothers fail? Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson was asked this very question in a Q&A that ran in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, and he replied, "We didn't have an option." He said that Lehman had neither a buyer, as Bear Stearns did in JPMorgan Chase (JPM), nor adequate assets to justify a life-saving federal loan.
There's a certain irony here. Did you know that Lehman had incomparable Washington connections? Downright presidential connections, in fact (and even they couldn't save the firm). Now that Lehman's North American core has been acquired by Barclays Capital (BCS), they remain: