The US government has effectively nationalised Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the two mortgage groups with a combined $5.4 trillion in liabilities (about equal to the entire federal debt).
What's more they "seized control" - no pfaffing about trying to appease shareholders and having to deal with malicious hedge-funds-on-the-make as we did with Northern Rock. They're proper socialists in America.
For those gob-smacked by the American action because they thought that the USA was the acme of free-market liberalism, don't be. The superpower era of America has always been underpinned by the taxpayer and the willingness of government to intervene - whether it is the Fed slashing interest rates to rock-bottom or the military-industrial complex where tax money keeps vast defence industries going, or the pork-barrel system where tax money is used for all sorts of dubious things or the way the US taxpayer takes on the job that should be done by insurers and compensates people who deliberately build in hurricane zones, so that some folk have their house rebuilt over and over courtesy of that indulgent Uncle Sam. Americans have never actually practised pure free-market liberalism, they've merely preached it to countries like Russia in the 90's and hence destabalised and killed the fragile democracy there. In proper democracies (and the USA is a proper democracy), the free-market is always modified, controlled and underpinned by the representatives of the people.
The nationalisation of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae is actually a good move, it reduces the uncertainty that kills economies. But it's also interesting in that, as I said previously, we are in an era of where government intervention is deemed to be good and markets are deemed to be foolish and wicked (in direct contrast to the early 90's when government was deemed bad and the markets were the heroes who rescued us from govt, especially as regards the ERM).
The recent Populus poll showed massive support for government intervention, including for one-off fuel-payments, windfall taxes to pay for it, and public spending on housing. Voters seem to be leaning left, which is at odds with the voting intention polls. But then the Conservatives have no policies other than increasing the inheritance tax threshold to £2 million, and the public are projecting on them a view that they would be more left than Labour. What will happen when the Conservatives have to unveil a manifesto at last?