I am familiar with the problems of the life insurance companies. It is hardly reassuring that several of them are acquiring small savings and loans, transforming themselves into S & L holding companies to be able to apply for TARP funds. This smells too much like desperation. Hartford (HIG) and Lincoln (LNC) have recently done this legerdemain. MarketWatch I may just go ahead and buy 30 shares of Lincoln notwithstanding all of problems. I was surprised to just see MET LIFE trade down to 17.44, down over 16% today even at the current price of 18.6. This breaks the long term chart to pieces. The stock did fall to close to 20 during the last bear market. I do not own the common but I do have a small position in Met's floating rate preferred stock, METPRA.
One of the best suggestions that I have heard about the automakers' bailout is just let them fail, go ahead and declare bankruptcy, and then for the government to guarantee some new lending while in bankruptcy so that they do not end up in Chapter 7 liquidation. This would keep them operating but allow the Trustee in bankruptcy to reorganize the companies, including the labor contracts, requiring elimination of the job banks for example that require the auto companies to pay wages for up to a year once a worker is laid off and to close some of the more inefficient plants as well as to eliminate some of the less profitable or most unprofitable brands.