A mere $700 billion is what was needed to save the world from immediate ruin.
According to Hank Paulson, the former boss of the Goldman Sachs investment bank who is now US Treasury Secretary, this money has to come from tax payers and go to his chums on Wall Street. Otherwise they will throw the rattle out of the pram.
I have a better idea. In 2001 and 2003 the George W Bush regime cut taxes for the rich in the US - those who, like Paulson himself, have an income of $1 million or more every year - by what would amount to $1.3 trillion over the following 10 years.
About five years have passed since then, so the rich have had roughly half that amount already - by a strange coincidence, close to that $700 billion.
So, if Paulson and his chums really do want to save the world, why don't they just pay it back?