Charlie Chaplin bailed out of the stock market a year before the crash of 1929. He felt if average people were in it, time to get out of it. But he had a feeling things were not right.
After the 1929 crash, it took three years and more stock market falls, before the full effect was in place. It wiped out Edna's and many of her families money by 1932.
In comments I have placed an article about why it is so hard for Paulson to be straight in his answers to congress on this mess many people created, and will be saddled with, bailout or not.
It is called about CDS (Credit Default Swap). A popular derivative used to make uncontrolled money, you could say. CDS's were worth up to $62 Trillion dollars in December 2007 (Bloomberg mentioned often today).
Update: Oct. 5, 2008 - CBS 60 Minutes report about Credit Default Swap. Transcript is in comments.
October 1, 2008 - Charlie Rose with Warren Buffet about the meltdown
If you want to know what taxpayers are getting into with all this 'toxic paper' no one else wants, you need to read the 2002 report in comments, warning about it.