U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Statement to the Senate Banking Committee, February 10, 2009:
By providing the financing the private markets cannot now provide, this will help start a market for the real estate-related assets that are at the center of this crisis. Our objective is to use private capital and private asset managers to help provide a market mechanism for valuing the assets.
Billmon, on Daily Kos, explains why said assets are called "toxic," in a longish analysis of the current financial crisis. At the end he notes:
One of the things that creeps me out about the political system’s response to the crisis so far – the insolvency of the banking system in particular – are the increasingly desperate attempts to maintain a phony façade of free markets and private enterprise, in an economy now utterly dependent on the federal safety net.
[hat tip backspin]