Over the weekend, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson sent a financial bailout proposal to the U.S. Congress that gives the Treasury Department broad authority to buy mortgage-related assets.

To calm the markets, step one is announcing a plan and proposing legislation to isolate and liquidate bad mortgages. But execution is the next challenge for the Bush administration, and it is no easy task if the record of our last real estate cleanup — the savings and loan crisis in the 1980s — is closely observed.

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