Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke appear to be trying to convince Congress as well as taxpayers that the only way to keep the U.S. from financial ruin is to use taxpayer money to buy banks' toxic assets. Financial analysts and economists said there were other ways that might be more effective to address the crisis. "They presented this as a comprehensive, decisive solution, but it's clearly not comprehensive and probably not decisive," said Simon Johnson, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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