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OPINION

Bernanke: Fed was 'helpless' in Lehman failure

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The bailouts of Bear Stearns and AIG were "distasteful" but still necessary, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told students at George Washington University on Tuesday.

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Meanwhile, the Fed was "helpless" when it came to saving Lehman Brothers, he said.

"Lehman Brothers was in itself probably too big to fail, in the sense that its failure had enormous negative impacts on the global financial system," Bernanke said. "But there we were helpless, because it was essentially an insolvent firm."

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