Yesterday the Fed announced that it would begin to buy mortgage and other private debt securities — easily the most dramatic and unprecedented action in the Fed’s 95-year history.

Mortgages immediately fell a half-percent to 5.5 percent. An immense volume of loan-rate locks has pushed rates back up a bit today, but the decline is highly likely to resume. For the first time in the last 18 months’ credit-market nightmare the authorities have moved in front of the crisis, jumping past broken banks to fund the nation.

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