I've been hearing more and more about how the impending "bailout" could be avoided by simply changing some of the regulatory language for the industry. Currently they are under Mark to Market rules (warning - possibility of article induced dizzyness after reading linked Wikipedia page). This article from the L.A. Times has more of a laymen's description. This one from the Phoenix Business Journal has detail about the current (Tuesday 9/29/08) talk of easing the mark to market rule. The Times Online piece has some good historical background on the current situation.
It seems to me (IMH-uneducated-O), that if this bailout can be accomplished without costing taxpayers a trillion dollars, that should be the course to take.