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The Paulson Bailout Game Show

Where's Bob Barker when we really need him?

With untold billions about to be put to work to mop-up this mortgage-related mess, the $700 billion question is price.

How will "PBC Partners" (Paulson Bernanke Cox) figure out what to pay for all those ''priceless assets'' -- when, for months, Wall Street's smartest accountants and top-paid traders were unable to get much further than "illiquid = worthless"?

To be sure, the unknown will loom large in any negotiations and it would be my bet that the government will therefore err on the cautious side with any bid. As I am a taxpayer, that's great news since many of these assets are not non-performing but simply sidelined.

And when given a chance to ripen and run, the once flat-lined securities could make for the mother of all showcases... as long as "PBC Partners" invests our money wisely.

If not -- if they pay too much -- then this Federal Bail Out of Mortgage Backeds (F-BOMB) will be a disaster all its own. And we the taxpayers will end up like Bob Barker's prized pets!

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CNBC's Companies Today:

Goldman Sachs , Morgan Stanley
(Will Goldman, Morgan Gobble Up Regionals?)

Google
(T-Mobile Introduces Google-Powered Phone)

WaMu
(Toronto Dominion Among Bidders for WaMu)

Lehman
(Nomura Buys Lehman's Europe Arm)

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